13 May 2008

John Rutsey dead at 55


John Rutsey, a founding member of Toronto rock band Rush, passed away this weekend according to Rush management company Anthem Entertainment. He was 55.

Rutsey was famous for playing on Rush’s 1974 debut album, including the song “In The Mood,” before deciding to leave the group due to health concerns. Rutsey suffered from diabetes and was unable to go on extended tours with the group.

Rutsey was replaced by dummer Neil Peart, which marked a turning point in the band’s sound towards progressive rock.

Rush formed in 1968 in Toronto and was originally composed of guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist Jeff Jones (who shortly thereafter was replaced by Geddy Lee) and Rutsey.

According to a 1989 interview with Alex Lifeson on the Rockline Radio program quoted by Wikipedia.org, Rutsey, “gave up playing (drums) shortly after he left the band and went into bodybuilding. He competed on an amateur level for a while, doing that for a few years.”

As of Monday afternoon, no official statement has been released on a cause of death, nor plans for a memorial service.


firefly said...

Dang! All these great musicians dropping one-by-one: buddy miles, the dave clark five dude, etc. recently.
I wonder what Rush is saying about this? (john dying) Don't forget he was also on the original "working man!"
Also, I never knew of Jeff Jones on bass first, but I'm not doubting you ... I have a friend who is a super Rush freak, and has all their books, etc., and a huge, I mean huge library of Rush bootlegs ... Time to check out the Rush web site I guess.
Rush- what a great band, been touring and jamming forever it seems. Hard-working and still going strong despite Neil's daughter and x-wife passing. Anyone know if Neil has remarried?
PS. I think the name Rush came from John's sister/friend who sat in on keyboards with them a while.

Kevin B said...

Yep, Neil remarried to Carrie Nutall. She was a photographer, and Neil met her during his grieving process in LA. I believe that's what I remember reading in his memoir "Ghost Rider", which, btw, I highly recommend... :)

robertkincaid96 said...

Jackie was NOT his ex-wife!

firefly said...

Ok, I actually made two mistakes: deceased wife; and Bill didn't write this post, it was from the Rock Report he posted.
Thanks Kevin. There is a pretty lady zeroed in on on a Canadian awards video who might just be Carrie, very pretty, or it's Alex's. But this is a music blog; but, a little more quick trivia: I saw on an interview with Rush that Alex used to borrow Ged's amp, then asked him to join. At their first paid show they used a lamp post to hold their mic.
And Geddy's real name is Gary, but his Yiddish (sp.?) mom had an accent that sounded like Geddy, and Ged liked it and changed it legally. As for their music, it has progressed, hence prog. I have all their albums except Vapor Trails and Snakes and Arrows which I hear are really different than most of their stuff. Rush almost quit but did 2112 instead which "kept us afloat" per Ged. The rest is history! So much more to say ... what a band for just three guys!

Anonymous said...

I found the book in the library, and Neil talks some about his touring days and lots about the music and lyrics ...
He says he was only common-law married to Jackie whom died of cancer, and their daughter, Selena was in a fatal car accident.
With your permission, Bill, I'd like to write my summary (brief)on the book when I'm finished.