Neil Peart was once asked by Godsmack singer Sully Erna if he would play on one of the band’s songs. He politely declined, but he had a good explanation for it.
Speaking with Revolver, Erna recalled asking the Rush drummer, whose 2002 book Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road had directly inspired Erma to write a song called “Serenity.” As luck would have it, Rush was playing in Miami around the same time Godsmack was recording their third album, Faceless, at Criteria Studios. “Neil’s assistant reached out to my assistant at the time,” Erna recalled. “He’s like, ‘Hey, we’re in town. We know you guys are fans of the band, and Sully always talks about Neil and he’d love to have you guys at the show.”
When they met, Erna showed Peart the lyrics to “Serenity” and asked if he might be interested in playing drums on the track. But Peart gently turned it down. “He said, ‘You’ll see one day when you’re well into your 50s that when you’re on break, you’re on break. And once this is done, I’m going to be taking some time off,'” Erna said. “And now I get it because I’m in my 50s.”
The two musicians went on to maintain a friendship that lasted until Peart died in 2020.
Watch Godsmack’s ‘Serenity’ Video
“When I got the call, it was like a big part of my life ended there, too, because, you know, he was a tremendous influence,” Erna said at the time. “I can’t even articulate how much this guy meant to me, and how big of an inspiration he was and an influence on me being a musician. He was one of the everything people in my life.”
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