Neal Sausen – God Bless Neil Peart

Neal Sausen. Screenshot from one of Neal’s YouTube videos.

SKF NOTE: In his first email to me about his longtime drum teacher and friend, Freddie Gruber, Neal Sausen mentioned Neil Peart’s stops by Freddie’s house to visit with his dying friend, and to bring food for Neal Sausen and others “keeping vigil” with Freddie. Sausen also mentioned, as an aside, about a night Neil paid to have Freddie’s toilet fixed.

I asked Neal Sausen if he would tell me more about that night, and if he would mind sharing the story publicly. Last night, using voice activation and a cell phone, Neal sent me a longer text about that night. I have adjusted certain voice activation word interpretation. Otherwise, here’s the story as told by Neal Sausen on November 16, 2021.


Towards the end of Freddie’s life he was bedridden pretty much of the time. Neil Peart would come by once or twice a week and bring a bunch of food for the few of us who standing vigil over Freddie. I was there every day and most of every night.

There was always someone with Freddie, usually me. Just the two of us. But other people would drop by from time to time to see Fred. Vinnie Colaiuta came by one night. Mike Baird came by one night when Neil Peart came by. I think Neil had Doane Perry with him. As usual, Neil brought some great food for us to eat. Neil was great. He really loved Freddie. Fred’s lawyer was there that night as well.

Freddie was having plumbing issues. His toilet had backed up and was not working. I think a root from a tree had grown into the pipe and was blocking the toilet.

On this particular night Fred’s lawyer called the plumber to come out and fix Fred’s toilet. Two young guys came out, probably in their mid-30s or so. I don’t think they recognized Neil Peart. But they did the job. They cleared Freddie’s toilet and got it working.

Well, it came time to pay them. Neil turned to me in Freddie’s bedroom, gave me his red plastic Bank of America credit card, and told me to go pay the plumbers. Whatever the cost. No problem.

I handed the card to the plumbers. They took down the info, gave me back the card – which I immediately gave back to Neil – and that was that.

The plumbers left and we just hung out. Doane Perry Neil Peart, the lawyer, and myself. Others may have been there. I don’t remember. I don’t remember if Mike Baird was there that night or another night when Neil came over.

I do remember Neil Peart quizzing Maine Baird about his time with Journey. But that might’ve been on another occasion.

Neil came over a lot. God bless him. That’s all I can say. God bless Neil Peart. He was a saint, that Neil Peart was.

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