Rush drummer Neil Peart was recently interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, and discussed a variety of topics during the conversation, including some of the real history that inspired the band's latest album, Clockwork Angels; his youthful interest in the libertarian philosophy of writer Ayn Rand; and Rush's stellar live reputation.
Says Peart, "The Seven Cities of Gold always fascinated me. Southwestern U.S. history especially fascinates me. The whole spur of the Spanish exploration of the Southwestern U.S. was the search for these mythical Seven Cities of Gold. The Spanish ones would go back to Mexico City and say, 'I saw it! I saw it! I just couldn't get to it, but I could see this city of gold in the distance!' They kept believing it and sending expeditions...Another story that fascinated me was the Wreckers. This Daphne Du Maurier novel Jamaica Inn describes these people called 'The Wreckers' on the coast of Cornwall in Britain. They would not only plunder shipwrecks, but they would actually put up a fake light and attract the ships in a storm to crash on their shores so they could loot them. It's just a shocking example of inhumanity, and it happens to be a true story. I wove it all of that into the story of this album."
Regarding the philosophy of libertarianism as expressed in Ayn Rand, he says he no longer embraces that worldview, explaining, "That was 40 years ago. But it was important to me at the time in a transition of finding myself and having faith that what I believed was worthwhile...For me, it was an affirmation that it's all right to totally believe in something and live for it and not compromise."
When it comes to live performance, Peart is justifiably proud of Rush's reputation, which has been hard-earned. He says, "We devoted ourselves to it. We always played the very best show we had in us that day. And it didn't matter if it was 2,000 people or if we were opening in front of five other bands in front of 20,000 people. Every show was like that for us. A point of honor, a point of pride and total dedication. That's what builds a reputation, and the reliability that we do tend to show up on time."