Rush Appreciation Thread.

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by ElJay370, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Holic

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    At about age 14, I took up the electric bass. Of course I wanted to play the guitar originally, but all those strings and awkward finger contortions were intimidating. Plus, my heavy metal heroes at the time all played with such ferocious speed and athletic precision that their otherworldly level of skill seemed impossible to obtain. The bass was different. With the bass I found less pressure, less of a push into the spotlight. I was a shy kid, but I still wanted to rock, so it allowed me to get in on the action while not drawing too much attention to myself at the same time. It was perfect. I sat down with a few Black Sabbath and AC/DC albums, and within a relatively short period of time, I was making music.

    A bit more time wore on and I improved to the point where I felt comfortable referring to myself as a bass player. My musical tastes had broadened as well, and I delved deeper into what would commonly be known as progressive rock, where the bass played a more vibrant, more prominent role. Along with this improvement came my musician father's assessment that my skill level warranted better gear, so with Rickenbacker in hand and a washing machine sized Peavey amplifier behind me, I finally felt confident enough to attempt an ascent on every young rock musician's Mount Olympus...

    I was going to learn how to play Rush.

    There were many others that mined a similar vein, but Rush was distinct from the other bands I listened to. While their songs weren't rigidly disciplined like Yes or ELP, and didn't writhe in algebraic psychosis like King Crimson, they weren't loose jams or free form psychedelic freakouts either. The individual parts of a song weren't overly foreboding, but technically challenging enough that you definitely needed chops, because they moved so steadily from idea to idea you had to pay close attention or you'd be lost. They played with authority and determination, but their music was easily digestible at the same time. It wasn't overly macho or wildly aggressive. They were.....approachable. Maybe it had something to do with them being Canadian.

    Other players may have shown me how to find the groove (John Paul Jones, Geezer Butler) or pushed my limits physically (Steve Harris, Cliff Burton) but Geddy Lee's playing inspired me to go beyond the notions of simply thumping through blues changes or hammering away at the root notes of each chord. It opened my mind to the possibilities of the instrument, and once I became somewhat proficient, instilled in me a level of self confidence I probably never would have had otherwise. It certainly never failed to impress my friends..."You can play Tom Sawyer??? Woah.."

    And they were unabashedly nerdy. Being a social misfit myself, I immediately identified with Neil Peart's couplets about social struggle, self examination, and not fitting in. A little bit of medieval adventure, dystopian intrigue and interstellar wanderings didn't hurt either. It was hard rock music that was too heady for the jocks and too geeky for the chicks. It was for all the imaginative, introspective kids who sat on the bleachers, didn't wear hip clothes or have trendy haircuts, and liked to read books.

    I was fortunate enough to see them live three times in the mid/late 80's. The arenas were full, and they were undoubtedly great, but even then it was obvious that their most prolific and iconic days were behind them. There were still a few old favorites in their set, but it was mostly synths and shoulder pads at that point. I was just a bit too young to have caught them in their kimono wearing, doubleneck wielding prime. It seemed as if most of the other massive, legendary rock bands were following suit. Things were changing. I was changing. An era felt like it was ending. So when grunge and punk rock called to me, I answered.

    Still, after all this time it warms my heart and gives me an undeniable feeling of vindication that the biggest "cult" band in the world have finally been recognized as the massive musical and cultural force that their fans have always known them to be for the last 40 years. Upon Neil Peart's passing, I've revisited many of the albums that played such a pivotal role in shaping me musically and personally. I haven't listened to much of it in years...but the other day, alone in my sensible four door family car, listening to "Xanadu" at an unreasonable volume on my Bluetooth enabled smartphone, I found myself transformed back into a kid in a ratty Toyota Celica with his friends, singing along, playing air bass (and air drums), and listening intently to a chewed up cassette for the millionth time, looking forward to getting home so he could lock himself in his room and figure out "that one part".

    A fond farewell to "The Professor"...and a heartfelt thanks to the band....for the music, for the inspiration, for the guidance....for everything.

    Neil Ellwood Peart
    1952-2020
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  2. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Rush was my favorite band of all time from maybe age 15 to 18. Like Tolkein, Rush is best appreciated by the young IMO

    Still one of my very favorite instrumentals:
     
  3. Urshurak776

    Urshurak776 Tele-Holic

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    Still love RUSH. Listen to the Hold your fire album and Signals all the time.

    There is unrest with the Tels's, there is trouble with the Strats....
     
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  4. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Neil was obviously incredibly gifted as a drummer and a lyricist. He really had no equal at either craft.

    Also, to reflect on the tragedy he had to bear...it had to be profound
     
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  5. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Holic

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    I've read a few of his books. Yeah, he went into a deep, deep hole. It took a strong will and a stout heart (and a bit of expensive Scotch) to get him through.

    He was a giant..in several respects.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
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  6. gtrguy005

    gtrguy005 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Growing up in the 80's, Rush was everywhere. They ruled my high school. I remember there was one kid who vowed to wear a Rush shirt to school everyday of the year. He's sporting one in his yearbook picture. I don't think he was able to follow through because the t-shirts couldn't stand up to the frequent washing.

    I came to appreciate the power of RUSH more as I got older and saw them live 2 or 3 times. I hope future generations continue to be turned on to them. There are/were one of a kind. RIP Neil.
     
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  7. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    My first big concert was fittingly enough, a Rush show. During their Signals tour.
    YYZ was the closer, because, what are ya gonna do after that?

    I was a big fan, and then, quite abruptly, they lost me, around Power Windows or so.
    No fault of theirs, I'd just changed and moved on.

    Maybe I should do some catching up...
     
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  8. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's

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    Just my opinion, of course, but their stuff from Power Windows on, while still better than most bands could do, just wasn't Rush.
    I don't know that I'd say those albums were bad, but they lacked the magic that Caress of Steel through Moving Pictures had.
     
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  9. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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  10. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    he's only human and therefore prone to faults.
    I mean, what kind of name is "Geddy" anyway? :p
     
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  11. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Starting with Signals, they made a conscious decision to strip things down, and to try to sound more like the Police. They've said this, in interviews.

    I think that's really too bad. I get the wanting to sound more contemporary and strip away the bombastic bloat, but for pete's sakes, we already had a Police, let the Police be the Police, and just be Rush.
     
  12. Moriarty

    Moriarty Tele-Meister

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    They had such a huge impact on me. So much great music and really powerful lyrics.
    I don't like everything they did, but for me there's something to appreciate in each distinct era of the band.
    Top five albums imo:
    2112
    Hemispheres
    Permanent Waves
    Power Windows
    Clockwork Angels
    I was fortunate enough to see them play four times - Counterparts, Test for Echo (twice, for 2112), and Vapour Trails. They were always great.
    I got to see my favorite song live: Natural Science. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
     
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  13. Tele-beeb

    Tele-beeb Friend of Leo's

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    ElJay370... great tribute post.
    I can’t word like that.
    For my friends and I, Rush (mainly the early stuff) was a measuring stick for all other bands.
    They did it without props.
    They did it without vulgar language.
    They didn’t shock in any form.
    They simply played Neils songs with power, proficiency and joy.
    I think as much as anything, we were jealous. Not in the bad way, we just wanted to be a part of that band.

    Have you ever tried to write that song with the big, deep meaning? For me, and most I’ve heard, it comes out contrived and dripping with the author bias.
    Neil wrote, and Rush delivered some of the most thought provoking lyrics in the whole of music. Seemingly effortlessly.
    It will likely be misunderstood by most and appreciated by a select few.
    RUSH!
     
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  14. stonetone7

    stonetone7 TDPRI Member

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    It may have felt effortless, but I can’t imagine the struggle it must have been to take Mr. Peart’s lyrics and mash them into a sing-able form. I bet there was a TON of give and take there.

    In fact, it’s probably safe to say that much of grandiose and - let’s face it - occasionally convoluted nature of the early songs had much to do with that struggle. (In addition to them simply being young and enthusiastic nerds.)

    And the gradual move to shorter, more melodic actual songs - in addition to growing maturity - was a reflection of Lee and Peart’s steadily improving ability to edit and tame those lyrics into songs that were still profound and interesting but also accessible and digestible.

    My favorite band as a youth, and still a top 5 of all time. It’s also pretty amazing that their last album turned out to be one of their strongest.
     
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  15. grayback

    grayback TDPRI Member

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    2112 was the album that hooked me on Rush. I was a nerdy bookworm in high school when it came out. Smarter lyrics than Zep or Sabbath, but the music was just as heavy. The soundtrack of my teens and twenties.
     
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