Many people will link a potential savant as someone with autism. Neil Peart was the drummer for Rush and many believe that he has a high-functioning form of autism because of the clues he provides. He is a social recluse who reads a great deal and is a genius with a musical instrument. Of course, this could mean that he likes his privacy, enjoys reading as a pastime and took the time to learn to play percussion at a master’s level. The autism talk is complete speculation on the part of some fans and is meant as a compliment.
I have mild Asperger’s, my father has it, my grandmother had it, and my son has Asperger’s. I have been a huge fan of Rush for 35 years, particularly Neil. I can say without a doubt that Neil IS an Aspie, which is a good thing (especially for him). It has served Neil well in his endeavors in life but it explains so much. His obsession in drumming (complicated time signatures, etc), his love for travel on motorcycle, his love for reading, and, most importantly, his lack of socializing in large crowds. He has even gone so far as to explain this in his lyrics. But I love him! We are kindred spirits; love of music, a farming heritage, love of travel, love of motorcycles, and I’m not too keen on the social thing (although I can get by when the demand requires).
Hi Ron. I liked your post. I’ve been thinking the same thing. I’m just curious, what were you referring to when you said “He has even gone so far as to explain this in his lyrics”? I’m only asking as a life long Rush fan. Confidentiality is assured.
I’ll make a stab. Limelight lyrics
Cast in this unlikely role
Ill-equipped to act
With insufficient tact
One must put up barriers to keep oneself intact
I have been a Rush fan since the mid 70’s. It was not until my PDD, NOS son was diagnosed that I started seeing the potential for Neil to be on the Spectrum. Each person on earth is put here for a specific purpose. We need to look past the labels and diagnoses to realize the potential that each individual has and to understand and activate the talents that each person is gifted with. Not disabled, differently abled , different, not less.
Mark, the song is Limelight. “I can’t pretend a stranger is a long awaited friend” is probably the key phrase that alludes to his need for minimal social interaction.
I thought the same thing. I reject the Asperger name because Dr. Hans Asperger was a eugenist & Nazi sympathizer who used the parallel ideologies for personal & professional advancement…and willingly gave up at least two of his autistic patients to die in the Am Spiegelgrund system as part of Aktion T4, the forerunner of The Final Solution, so I only use & recognize the term High-Functioning Autism (HFA). To Eternal Hell with Asperger.
If Neil did indeed have this variant of autism, it would neither surprise me nor trouble me; it would make me extremely proud for and of him. Rush and Neil are my pride and joy; they hooked me and spooled me up to life like no other artisans ever could.
The rest of the world turned their backs on me for this lifelong ‘shadow-curse’ that followed me…until 3 years ago at age 52 when the diagnosis was made. Now I know…NOW I can really, freely be who I am. Did Neil ever feel this way? Moot question, but he carried it best he could…and he carried it well.
I cried for two days straight when I found out Neil was gone. I hope he found resolve in Jack London’s “Credo” he wrote about, just as I have: “I will not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time”.
I miss ya, Neil…I loved ya. You were THE best. You left your mark, your legacy. I am proud of you, no matter if you had autism or not. Be free…
I Agree on the part of Neil being a great drummer but please take it easy with your remarks on Hans Asperger burn in eternal hell and so on. I have relatives in Germany with the family name Asperger although i am not sure if related or not. My husbands name is Hans (Bergstrom) and he is a doctor a orthopaedic surgeon and my oldest son i diagnosed with Asperger and i really dont appreciate you writing about doctors and scientists that should burn in eternal hell. Hans Asperger was a doctor and did research on his patients and so does my husband on his patients with hip replacement techniques in young children with osteoporosis and that does not make him a monster. On the contrary his research is for the benefit of people. So eas ans Aspergers too. He did what was required of him in the time and place where he lived and his findings are really important for the nowledge of these dioerders and syndroms. I am myself deeply engaged in working with children with both Asperger and autistic disorders since my son was diagnosed. Please leave your hurtful disrespectful comments and political views from this forum and let us focus on the great drumming and other skills of Neil Peart and how he could make use of his presumable Asperger and turn it into an advantage in life.
PS. Sorry for the bad spellings DS