Rush, a band renowned for its progressive rock sound, has a legacy that extends far beyond its genre. Frontman Geddy Lee describes Rush as “the world’s most popular cult band,” underscoring their widespread yet unique appeal.
However, not all interactions with fans have been positive, as Tim Commerford, bassist of Rage Against the Machine, discovered. An avid Rush fan, Commerford recounted his experiences meeting Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson: “I was such an over the top Rush fan, I met Geddy and Alex, and they couldn’t have been cooler. I spent all this time talking to Geddy.” His enthusiasm, however, hit a roadblock when it came to Rush’s drummer, Neil Peart.
Describing the encounter, Commerford said, “They showed me to a room. I immediately became a superfan. Saying ‘Hey I’m the hugest fan of your music.’ And I got the Neil Peart cold shoulder and the security guard removed from the room. It was a weird, uncomfortable situation. I love Neil Peart even though he totally blacklisted me. But I’m like ‘if I was Neil Peart and I saw me talking to him, I would probably want to remove me too.'”
Peart himself acknowledged his discomfort with intense fandom. He once noted, “I never dreamed of finding my favorite band’s hotels or interfering in their lives in any way. I love being appreciated. Being respected is awfully good, but anything beyond that just freaks me out. Any sense of adulation to me is just so wrong.”
Commerford wasn’t alone in his observation. Jack Black, the actor and musician, also noticed a stark contrast in the band’s dynamics. Upon meeting Rush, Black remarked, “What struck me was by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson’s friendship. Just seemed like there was a lot of joy there, like genuine fun. Then I looked over at Neil. He was just as focused but had a brewing intensity, with subtle wisps of darkness.”
These accounts reveal the complex nature of fame and fan interactions, especially when viewed through the lens of Rush’s legendary status in the music world.