Mike Portnoy Had to Remain Quiet About Neil Peart’s Cancer Battle
Dream Theater Drummer Mike Portnoy had to remain quiet about the Rush drummer Neil Peart’s cancer battle for the past few years. During an interview on Sirius XM (transcribed by Blabbermouth)
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“I’ve known for about two years now and was held to secrecy,It was something that he and everybody in his camp, obviously, went to great lengths to keep private and keep secret. And that was Neil – he was a very, very private guy.”
“Even though I’ve known for this amount of time and I kind of have had time to psychologically prepare for, knowing that it was inevitably coming, it didn’t make it any less shocking. … It just took the wind out of me when I heard it on Friday.” He added that he couldn’t imagine how shocking it was for “the whole rest of the world that didn’t know about this.”
Portnoy recalled reading emails from Peart in his final years and as he put it “had a big, big cry” going on to say
“You’ve read his books, you’ve read his tour programs, you’ve read his blogs on his website, and that’s the way he wrote even in his emails,” So whenever I would get an email from him, it was very, very lengthy, very thorough, went into a lot of details of whatever he was going through.”
Portnoy met Peart in person during Rush’s farewell tour in 2015 where his son was able to play Peart’s drum kit and hung out with him in the dressing room.
They last met during Rush’s farewell tour in 2015, when Peart let Portnoy’s son play his drum kit and welcomed them in his dressing room. Despite the heavy emotional weight of losing his friend Portnoy said it was “nice” to be asked to talk about his late friend in interviews while also adding
“But it hurts,. This one’s a big one for me, personally. I haven’t felt like this since maybe John Lennon or John Bonham or Frank Zappa. It hits on that level as a fan, as it does for millions of Rush fans around the world. But this has a whole new level for me as well, because I didn’t know John Lennon or John Bonham or Frank Zappa, but Neil I did know and had a relationship with. So there’s that whole level as well, which just makes it horrible.”