It would not be an exaggeration to argue that meeting Carrie Nuttall served as one of the most important moments in Peart’s life and in precipitating Rush 3.0. In her, Peart found a reason to live fully, a reason to rediscover excellence, and a reason to return to his life in Rush. It was through their mutual friend, Andrew McNaughton (now deceased), that the two met.
In those days, Andrew and I often talked on the phone from wherever I wandered, and shared our sorrows and anxieties. Typically, Andrew was determined to find a “match” for this crusty old widower. When my motorcycle had carried me back across the continent yet again, to pause in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Andrew sent me a few test Polaroids of a photo assistant he had been working with-a pretty dark-haired girl named Carrie. Again, I was reluctant, gruffly telling him, “not interested”—but finally I made my meandering way west again, and stopped for a while in Los Angeles.[i]
When she met Peart, she knew next to nothing about the band.[ii] She told him, however, that she would love to see him perform again, especially considering his reputation as a drummer and his own love of music. For Peart, all of this proved almost Faerie-like.
Andrew introduced me to Carrie, my real angel of redemption; in less than a month we were deeply in love, and in less than a year we were married in a fairy-tale wedding near Santa Barbara. Carrie: Beautiful, smart, cultivated, artistic, affectionate; Deep green eyes, long dark hair, radiant smile; Tall, slender, shapely, nicely put together; Half English, half Swedish, all American, all mine. The answer to a prayer I hadn’t dared to voice, or even dream. Carrie. Soulmate, a lover, a wife, a new journey to embark upon, the greatest adventure. [iii]
Though still in pain—a pain that would (and will) never fully cease—when he met her, he found her instantly attractive intellectually as well as personally. They bonded almost immediately in friendship. She considered him a modern-day Conquistador, armed in black leather and mounted on a powerful red horse, forever seeking the road and adventure. But, his days of restless exploration had come to an end, and the Ghost Rider faded into memory. On September 9, 2000, just three days short of his forty-eighth birthday, Peart married Nuttall in Montecito, California.[iv]