As he did during Rush's first break from their Clockwork Angels tour, Neil has posted another update to the News, Weather, and Sports section of his website. The November 2012 edition is titled Witness to the Fall.
In this entry, similar to previous ones, Neil discusses his motorcycle travels between the dates on the current tour. As the title suggests, some of his travels in the north provided Neil with a view of the Fall colors, particularly in New York and Canada. One interesting note that Neil discusses is that, for the first time in 45 years, he met up with his original drum teacher Don George:So . . . before the first hometown show in Toronto, I planned to host my mother and father for dinner in the Bubba-Gump room, and to meet with my first drum teacher, Don George — for the first time in over forty-five years. In 1965, at the age of thirteen, I started drum lessons with Don at the Peninsula Conservatory of Music in St. Catharines, Ontario. When he stopped teaching there a year or so later, I didn’t see him again until the day of that first show in Toronto, on October 14, 2012.Later, Neil reveals that he has been playing through some growing pain in his left arm:
In recent years Don and I had been in touch by mail and email, and he sent me videos of his current teaching ideas and methods. I was pleased to see that he was obviously still a gifted and dedicated teacher. For his part, when talking about this long-ago student, Don was once quoted, “Neil didn’t have another teacher for thirty years, so I must have done something right.”... as the pain in my elbow grew steadily worse. Toward the end it hurt so badly that I simply couldn’t hit as hard as I usually do with my left hand. Before the second Toronto show, I consulted a local doctor, who prescribed some anti-inflammatories and an elbow brace, and that helped me enough that at least I could play properly. It still hurt quite a lot, but as I had learned during a similar attack on my other arm, back on the Test for Echo tour in 1997, I didn’t mind the pain as long as it didn’t interfere with “the job.”Finally, we also learn of some sad news that hits close to home in the Rush family:Another sad-looking tree is the weeping yew, which I had planted around the memorial to my first wife Jackie and daughter Selena.Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Ray Danniels family at this sad time.
Those thoughts about sad trees converge because we have been visited by another family tragedy — manager Ray’s twenty-three-year-old son Shane was struck down by a brain tumor, succumbing on November 1, only nine weeks after the terrible diagnosis.
It was the day of our show in Atlanta, and that night Geddy gave a subtle reference to Shane in his introduction to “The Garden,” which had been one of Shane’s favorite songs.
Two nights later, after the final show in that leg, in Tampa, I flew to Toronto with the other Guys at Work in their “bus” (Challenger C-605), and spent some time with Ray. I knew how it felt to lose a child. After fifteen years, I think of Selena every single day, and from time to time (birthdays, black anniversaries), I am still rendered helpless with grief at that unbearable loss.
To read the entire entry, click HERE. And to check out every News, Weather, and Sports entry Neil has made dating back to 2005, they are all available at the News, Weather, and Sports Archives.