Rush’s Neil Peart: I was betrayed
Rush drummer Neil Peart still feels “totally betrayed” by a journalist who interviewed him in the 1970s and portrayed him as a borderline fascist in a subsequent article.
During a conversation with the NME in 1977, Peart was asked about his reasons for basing Rush’s song 2112 on the work of right-wing philosopher Ayn Rand.
“I recall that NME interview very well because the conversation was great,” Peart recalls in an interview in the forthcoming new edition of Classic Rock. “And we all felt totally betrayed after, because we had a lovely time with the guy. I remember him being so courteous. It was so amicable. As far as I was concerned, we were just having an intellectual conversation. But these things are wide open to misinterpretation, and that was a classic case.”
Peart, who has since distanced himself from Rand’s writings, added: “I know where I fall politically. And I define it better now: I’m a libertarian, but a bleeding-heart libertarian.
“I believe in taxation and health care that is outside the usual libertarian mandate, because I don’t want people to have to suffer. It’s as simple as that. If people are suffering and I can help, I want to. But here’s the difference between being an idealist and a realist. Idealistically, I believe that we should help people. But realistically, do I think that government will do that? No.”
Peart defines ‘libertarianism’ as follows: “It’s enlightened self-interest. Free will. I’ve lived in the US for the last 10 years, and I wanted there to be a health care system. The little bit that there is, it’s a wonderful thing. So that’s an example of what I consider enlightened self-interest. That’s why I’m a bleeding-heart libertarian.
“Paul Theroux said: ‘A cynic is a disappointed idealist.’ But I’m not a cynic. I’m not disappointed. I’ve just broadened my idealism.”
* The full interview with Neil Peart appears in the new edition of Classic Rock, on sale Wednesday, April 24.
Got an iPad or iPhone? Download our free app to get the digital edition of Classic Rock – plus grab your free awards issue! Simply go here http://goo.gl/z4Yhu (in the UK) or here http://goo.gl/YUnR9 (for the US) to get well and truly digitized.
Buy the print edition from all good newsagents or direct from www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk.
Get the Classic Rock Spotify app for must-hear mag-related playlists. Go to http://open.spotify.com/app/classicrock or find us in App Finder in Spotify.