Wednesday Flashback: RUSH

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I have been aware for some time that people have unique musical tastes, and sometimes they defy logic. This was brought to clarity when an old friend of mine declared that she hated listening to Bruce Springsteen. We are no longer friends, though that may be a coincidence.

In the early 1980’s I was struggling to find my musical taste. I had been exposed early on to top 20 California radio, the Beatles were a huge favorite of mine and I was trying to understand the Disco movement. I liked the Eagles, Zeppelin, Madness. Because I never belonged to the ‘cool’ crowd, I had missed being exposed to early Springsteen, Tom Petty or the Police.

Finding myself in 1982 living alongside my now husband, who was the coolest geeky person I knew, I was exposed to a lot of new music that has become the soundtrack of my life. One of those exposures was to the band Rush.

I know there is a teasing belief that only guys like Rush. I don’t understand that any more than I could have tried to understand my old friend not liking Springsteen. From the moment I heard them on the record player (yes, we had records back then) I distinctly remember my first question to Jay was “there are only three of them?” The sound that came out of those speakers blew me away. Now I will admit here (since the statute of limitations is past) that my first listen to Rush was chemically enhanced. Still, they were the first band I ever listened to that made me ‘see’ their music as well as hear it. It was a sensory overload that I had never experienced before. Maybe this was what all the Zep fans talked about, being almost transported along with the music. I fell instantly in love with Rush. We named our first cat Panacea, our first goldfish “Alex and Geddy”.

My early favorites were “Tom Sayer” and “Red Barchetta” because of the sensory images they created. As time went by I started really listening to their lyrics, and used the lyrics from “Fountains of Lamneth” in my thesis paper for Medical Psychology. I always told Jay I wanted this at my funeral, because I think the ending is how I would like my life here to end: “Now at last I fall before the Fountain of Lamneth, I thought I would be singing but I’m tired, out of breath. Many journey’s end here but the secret’s told the same. Life is just a candle and a dream must give it flame….Though I’ve reached a signpost it’s really not the end. Like Old Sol behind the mountain I’ll be coming up again. I’m in motion, I am still, I am crying, I am…still. I’m together, I’m apart, I’m forever at the start. Still…I am.”

As I’ve gotten older, I love listening to “Freewill” and “Entre Nous” from Permanent Waves. Perhaps because it was the beginning of our married life but listening to those lyrics always comforted me that we were on the right path together:
“We are islands to each other
Building hopeful bridges
On a troubled sea
Some are burned or swept away
Some we would not choose
But we’re not always free.
Just between us, I think it’s time for us to recognize
The differences we sometimes fear to show
Just between us, I think it’s time for us to realize
The spaces in between, leave room for you and I to grow.”
Still, Rush is not all about the lyrics, though they are very adult and beautiful most of the time. I would defy anyone to sit and just watch one member of the band at a time and try to comprehend how they could possibly play the way they do. Their recent DVD “Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland” (released on November 8) will give you the opportunity to do just that. Watch Neil, Alex and Getty playing “YYZ” and it defies all reason that anyone can play something that complicated, that well, and sound that amazing. I missed seeing them in the 70’s or 80’s, but we now see them any time they come to Utah and they are my favorite live band experience ever.

I’m still just a girl who loves Rush. I am determined to boycott the R&R Hall of Fame every year until they are recognized there. For anyone to listen to them and not believe they are immensely talented and influential in the realm of progressive rock is beyond my scope of understanding.

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