“Who is John Rutsey?” you may ask.
Well, as I have metioned before, I am a Rush fan (the band, not Limbaugh…. gosh, people, come on), and John was part of the band.
“Dude, no he wasn’t. There’s only three guys – Alex, Geddy and Neil.”
Yes, this is true. And to those that only think that, sadly, I must say that they don’t know their Rush history. Rush, like the Beatles (and tons of other bands, I’m sure), had other members before they “made it”, with those other members only being footnotes in the musical history – kids hanging out and playing together, until the right blend managed to form, and be heard by the right people.
John, however, was just a little something more than the usual “band-member-footnote”. He was actually documented, and there is proof of his existance in the band. He was the first drummer, performing on their first album (“Rush”, released in 1974). Just before embarking on the US leg of the tour to support the album, he opted to leave the band for medical reasons. (This is what opened the door for Neil to join the band, and the rest is history)… However, unlike other prominent “documented” (recorded) band changes (The Stones, Chili Peppers, Kiss, etc.), he eventually left the music altogether.
I have sometimes wondered what happened to John in his days since leaving the band, but information was scarce (even Google couldn’t find anything significant). Not that I was looking for any music or anything, but just the curiosity of “Where are they now?”
Sadly, as I was reading over some information at the Rush website today, there was a notice on there (under “News”) about John’s passing – from complications due to diabetes (the reason he left the band in the first place) – last month. It’s not much, and it is soooo behind the power curve, but it was news that led me to reflect. It’s not my favorite album, but it was solid enough, and he did have some very tricky parts on there. I feel for his family, but there is at least a small part of him that will live on…