Instrument: Drums

Replaced by: Neil Peart

Albums he recorded while with Rush:

Rush (Album)

Not Fade Away (Single)


Born on July 23, 1952 , John Howard Rutsey had two brothers, Bill and Mike Rutsey, a father who had been a crime reporter for the old Toronto Telegram, and had died of a heart attack, and a mother, Eva Rutsey. When he joined Rush, he was the one to bug everyone to practice. He made being in the band his only job. Ian Grandy, Rush's first roadie, says "There would have been no “Rush” without John". According to Rush's official biography, Rutsey was supposed to write the lyrics for the band's first album, but grew dissatisfied with his attempts and never completed them. He was replaced by Neil Peart, who remains as the band's drummer and lyricist. After leaving Rush due to his diabeties and distaste of touring, he lived a low-profile life. He later took up body building. Alex Lifeson said in an interview that he hasn't seen John since the early 1990's. On May 11, 2008, at the age of 55, John Rutsey died in his sleep due to complications from his life-long struggle with diabeties. Some news reports said Rutsey died from a heart attack.

  • Formed The Projection with Alex Zinojinovich in Spring 1968
  • Lived on across the street from Alex Zinojinovich

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