Founding drummer of Rush dies at 55


For my 13th birthday, my best friend John Doyle gave me a vinyl copy of Rush’s Moving Pictures. Being a very young drummer myself, this album of course changed my life, as I began my lifelong Rush obsession on that humid July afternoon. Quickly buying up their back catalog, I had a special affinity for […]

by Chris Ayers

For my 13th birthday, my best friend John Doyle gave me a vinyl copy of Rush’s Moving Pictures. Being a very young drummer myself, this album of course changed my life, as I began my lifelong Rush obsession on that humid July afternoon. Quickly buying up their back catalog, I had a special affinity for their 1974 debut with drummer John Rutsey—mainly because I could actually (well, almost) play all of Rutsey’s beats, as opposed to the intricate polyrhythms of his successor, drum demigod Neil Peart.

And play them I did: those rapid single-stroke rolls in “What You’re Doing” that made my forearms ache; that bad-ass cowbell (mine was a coffee can) in “In the Mood”; those muffled cymbal crashes and metronomic snare march in “Take a Friend”; his kickdrum boogie in “Before and After”; and his big drum finale in “Working Man.”

John Rutsey died at age 55 on Saturday, May 10, according to this fansite. Hopefully Ged and the boys will honor their fallen mate on their Snakes & Arrows tour this summer. I just finished listening to Side 2 of the Rush album, and I still can’t play Rutsey’s always creative and tasteful fills in the spotlight tune “Need Some Love.” Thanks for the blisters, John—you will not be forgotten. (Special thanks to Metal Bob for breaking the news to me.)

 

Comments

  1. Commented by: swampthang

    eh well that sucks dude was still young RIP


  2. Commented by: Chris Dick

    You’re a drummer? You never said anything about being a drummer, Chris. Tim and me will have to see you in action.


  3. Commented by: Bearer of Soup

    Chris…a drummer?!?! Let’s put it this way: If Geddy and Alex had seen him hit the skins at the Museum of York County show in ’93, then there would’ve been a 3rd Rush drummer. Rest in peace JR.


  4. Commented by: Steve Cook

    Is this the same Chris Ayers from the Charlotte NC area? This is Fred Ped from the Peds, we performed mainstage at the Milwaukee Metalfest in ’98 and you reviewed us.


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