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Cail's big honking Rush thread
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After our second viewing, my daughter and I had a similar conversation. I told her about Mickey Mantle, who was (for his time) the best baseball player ever, and could have achieved so much more, if not for his party night lifestyle. Neil has beat the shit out of himself by insisting on riding his bike between shows.

I've been reading Neil's latest book, "Far and Wide," where he talks about leasing a building in Los Angeles to serve as a man cave to store some of his cars and in which to write. It's apparent his parts are filmed from that location, with all of the shiny, high dollar cars in the back ground. Neil has made frequent references to his love of high priced scotch, and he looks like a man who drinks far too much of it.

During Geddy's parts, I picked up on a feeling of sad acceptance that it's over, but I also picked up on some underlying anger that it's over.

I don't think that Neil was the "most replaceable" of the group, since he wrote almost all of the lyrics, and giving his reputation as one of the greatest drummers in rock. I don't see Rush becoming "Rush" had Rutsey stayed with the band.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Geddy and Alex have written some lyrics. Neil has also had help from friends. I think Neil's lyrics are decent, but no comparison to the musical virtuosity for which the band is known. With Rush being my favorite band, it might surprise you to learn that there are only a few Rush songs that I actually know the lyrics. They're just not that important to me. Freewill, Secret Touch, and a few others I think are truly moving. The rest are mostly syllables for Geddy to give voice.

When I said that Neil is the most replaceable, it's not because he isn't good, it's only because there are a number of drummers who could play Neil's parts, and no one would be able to tell the difference. Those drum parts are only patterns of rhythm after all, and very mechanical without much "feel." Even Neil admits that he does not improvise, but memorize.

In contrast, no one else on the planet sounds like Geddy's voice, or plays guitar just like Alex. And certainly there are few single musicians who can do everything Geddy does; he is three musicians in one!

Neil is a great drummer, but he's no Bruford. His playing is part of the Rush sound, but it's the least part. I would love to have heard what Rush could have done with a more versatile, improvisational, jazz drummer. I think Neil held Rush back. They wouldn't have sounded so clinical, sterile and mechanical if not for him. You could always tell that Alex has some blues and Geddy has some funk ... but Neil has neither. It's like they've been playing with a session musician all these years, someone who was never *really* part of the band, just filling in.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that's a bit harsh Zar. I notoriously ignore lyrics, but I'm incredibly moved by a lot of Rush's. Of the top of my head, Subdivisions, Middletown Dreams, Presto, The Pass, Afterimage, Far Cry, Time Stand Still.....These are just amazing lyrics, which is what makes them amazing songs.

And Neil is, in fact, the best living drummer in rock. There's no getting around that. He's a pompous, stand-offish jackass, and I think his health problems are self-inflicted, but there's just no denying his skill and talent.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys are being ridiculous. Neil has always been the introvert, and losing his wife and daughter in the span of a few months has to have permanently changed him. If he wants to ride his bike, or motorcycle, let him. How you think his hobbies are in any way your business is beyond me.

If you think Neil's lyrics don't matter, then you should re-read the 1st album's lyrics. If you don't think he's a great drummer, you're an idiot.

Geddy's voice is gone, Alex has arthritis, and Neil has tendonitis. Be thankful for the 40 years they gave us; I know I am.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dANdeLION wrote:
You guys are being ridiculous. Neil has always been the introvert, and losing his wife and daughter in the span of a few months has to have permanently changed him. If he wants to ride his bike, or motorcycle, let him. How you think his hobbies are in any way your business is beyond me.

If you think Neil's lyrics don't matter, then you should re-read the 1st album's lyrics. If you don't think he's a great drummer, you're an idiot.

Geddy's voice is gone, Alex has arthritis, and Neil has tendonitis. Be thankful for the 40 years they gave us; I know I am.
I won't speak for anyone else.

Neil's always been an introvert, but also an asshole. Read the lyrics to Limelight. He's a tool. I'm sorry for the loss of his wife and kid. I deal with that crap everyday, and I get it.

It's frustrating that he's such a prick. He is who he is, and he gave us some great music. Doesn't make him less of a prick. Alex beat his wife; doesn't make him a lesser guitarist.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan I did say that Neil is a great drummer, and I do think his lyrics matter, just not as much any of the music. I was arguing that he was the most replaceable member of a great band, not that he sucked.

No one is blaming him for being an introvert, but rather him spoiling our love of Rush by treating tributes to his band as an opportunity to bitch about being in his band. That's not being an introvert, it's being a dick. If those were his private thoughts, that would be one thing, but these are his public thoughts as published in his book and filmed for a final tribute. Fans have spent millions and given years of admiration. Show some gratitude, Neil!

Cail, I'd add a few of those songs to my short list of great lyrics. However, they've got 40 years of material, so of course they're going to have a handful that stand out. But so does Pink Floyd and King Crimson and lots of other bands.

Anyway, I love Rush! I'm so glad I have their CDs and concert discs to remember them.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every musician I've ever played with or enjoyed their music professionally has said and done things I am not happy about but that doesn't diminish their talents as musicians.

I am a hopeless introvert and every interview I've ever watched of Neil helps me understand and relate to him to some degree. Thank God I'm not famous because I'd come off as a prick too and it wouldn't be deserved because I can't help what social anxiety does to me.

Rush is my favorite band of all time for many of the same reasons that have already been stated. I am truly grateful for the music the band has produced and I find it hard to accept that Rush is done but I understand it. As Dan pointed out all three members are dealing with real physical issues that directly impact their ability to perform. These are not young men and a deterioration of their abilities is natural. Geddy's concert voice was obviously the first thing to go a few years ago but the band was still able to create some awesome studio recordings in spite of their live limitations. Now its just become impossible to perform at the level I think Rush demands of itself and its finally time to call it a day.

I understand the notion that of the three irreplaceable members of Rush Neil is the most replaceable in theory in that of the three parts the percussion is not as up front as the bass, guitar and vocals however a Rush fan would notice the difference no matter what drummer you got as a replacement. A different drummer at the beginning after John Rutsey may have been more open minded and flexible than Neil but it wouldn't have been the same and we most likely wouldn't be talking about them now given Neil's obvious impact on the band's sound and identity.

In my opinion Neil's lyrics are completely irreplaceable. Dear God. Can you imagine what would have happened to Rush if the lyricist had been someone else? Sure Geddy and Alex can write lyrics but not Rush lyrics. Makes me cringe imagining Geddy belting out love songs or some of the incoherent nonsense similar bands were producing in the 70s. Imagine Rush playing and singing KISS songs and you can easily understand the nightmare I'm talking about.

I'm just thankful for how things turned out and I wouldn't have wanted it to go any other way.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose Neil did give the band an intellectual, Libertarian, existentialist, humanist, sci-fi flavor that other lyricists would not have produced. Fair point. Perhaps I downplayed that aspect too much in my irritation toward Neil.

I don't understand the repeated point that his introverted nature makes him unlikeable. I like introverts and geeks, get along with them fine. We're not talking about his awkwardness towards people or dislike of being famous, but rather his own dislike for being in Rush. Have you seen the documentary? He said he broke down in the worse case of Tourette's syndrome when Alex pulled the "arthritis card" to get him to tour one last time. The drummer of Rush throwing a hissy fit at the thought of getting to do --one last time--what the other two members are heartbroken to have to give up. At the thought of what most musicians on the planet can only dream of doing, Neil is throwing a temper tantrum.

I honestly don't think I've seen him smile so big as he did onstage when the last show was finally over. It's like someone opened the prison doors and he saw sunshine for the first time. Everyone else in the crowd is in tears, and this guy is beaming like it's his 7th birthday and his mom just brought out the puppy. Funny how his awkward introverted nature completely faded away at that moment when he rushed (heh) to the front of the stage to greet the crying faces with a jubilant wave.

On a more personal note ... his refusal to extend the tour is why I missed my first Rush tour in 26 years. They didn't come close like they usually do, because the tour was short. (Maybe I'm throwing a hissy fit ... lol)
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
but rather his own dislike for being in Rush.


That.
Without Rush, he would have been [if he wanted, and maybe happier being] an incredible session drummer definitely in high demand for work, very likely for important projects. Maybe even groundbreaking projects.

And much poorer. And the only people who gave a damn about him would be people who subscribe to musician mags for drummers [and who notice occasional mentions of "Oh...and so and so is SO great but ignored" in mags for bass, guitar, keys, and vox.]

Hardly anyone would have hired him for lyric/songwriting, though.
But thinking lack of him would have ruined Rush...perhaps, but barely perhaps. The idea that the other two would have been less demanding---settled for lyrics like "Love Gun" and the drumming/rhythmic complexity of Winger just seems silly to me.

As an aside...it really isn't fair to blast a singer for sounding "bad" as tours go on...especially any singer pushing the envelope. If you play any instrument to your max ability every night for a month, you will probably be TIRED. If you do the same singing, you won't be tired---you will be DAMAGED. Sure, there are ways to limit it, and some throats are more durable than others. But honestly, if a singer sounds as vocally pure/good on gig 200 as on gig 1 of a tour, they ain't really working. [[there are exceptions, of course---and also compensations, such as the rawness/lack of perfection in live production that can add more to the performance than perfect recreation would. That also might reflect back to N.P. More immersion/less perfection, more creation/less replication might have increased his pleasure. Or not. For some, a microsecond miss on the downbeat negates any possible positive.]]

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
and the drumming/rhythmic complexity of Winger just seems silly to me.
Rod Morgenstein is widely regarded as a top-tier drummer by other musicians, and Winger puts on one of the tightest shows I've ever seen.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn, I had no idea that the drummer for Winger was the drummer for Dixie Dregs! I LOVE Dixie Dregs!!! They are an overlooked prog rock/southern rock group. Steve Morse is awesome. A look at Cail's link even shows that they toured with Rush in the 70s. Smile
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Damn, I had no idea that the drummer for Winger was the drummer for Dixie Dregs! I LOVE Dixie Dregs!!! They are an overlooked prog rock/southern rock group. Steve Morse is awesome. A look at Cail's link even shows that they toured with Rush in the 70s. Smile




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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aTOMiC wrote:


In my opinion Neil's lyrics are completely irreplaceable. Dear God. Can you imagine what would have happened to Rush if the lyricist had been someone else? Sure Geddy and Alex can write lyrics but not Rush lyrics. Makes me cringe imagining Geddy belting out love songs or some of the incoherent nonsense similar bands were producing in the 70s. Imagine Rush playing and singing KISS songs and you can easily understand the nightmare I'm talking about.



Agreed. The songs that made me a fan would not exist.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cail wrote:
Vraith wrote:
and the drumming/rhythmic complexity of Winger just seems silly to me.
Rod Morgenstein is widely regarded as a top-tier drummer by other musicians, and Winger puts on one of the tightest shows I've ever seen.


Hah...I had forgotten he had that job, if I ever knew...
But "Can't get enuff" popped into my head right after "Love Gun."
And his particular skills didn't make Winger write good songs, and absence of Neil wouldn't make Rush write terrible ones.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorus wrote:
aTOMiC wrote:


In my opinion Neil's lyrics are completely irreplaceable. Dear God. Can you imagine what would have happened to Rush if the lyricist had been someone else? Sure Geddy and Alex can write lyrics but not Rush lyrics. Makes me cringe imagining Geddy belting out love songs or some of the incoherent nonsense similar bands were producing in the 70s. Imagine Rush playing and singing KISS songs and you can easily understand the nightmare I'm talking about.



Agreed. The songs that made me a fan would not exist.
No argument there.

There's a scene in BtLS where Billy Corgan (someone who I have no time for at all) talks about sitting his parents down to listen to a Rush song (I can't remember which one) and telling them something like, "this is important. If you want to get me, you have to understand this." I did that exact thing in '82 or '83 with "Subdivisions", and I suspect that there are thousands and thousands of other kids who did the same with one Rush song or another. And it wasn't because of the bass line or the guitar solo.

It's really easy to hate on Neil, and I hate to sound like an apologist. But Rush would never have been Rush without Neil's lyrics.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like this quote from Cail's link:

Quote:
Rod can be summed up in the following passage from a cover story in Modern Drummer Magazine: "You can see it in his face; Rod Morgenstein loves what he does for a living. Get him talking about drums and you'll see those eyes start to crinkle as a warm, sincere smile spreads over his face. Get him behind a set of drums, and the same enthusiasm is evident in the way that he tears into the kit as though he's been waiting for weeks to get at it. That's not to imply that his playing is uncontrolled, because he is definitely in charge of everything that is happening on the drum set. It's just to say that you never get the sense that Morgenstein has lost any of the initial excitement about
the drums that makes people become drummers to begin with."


That's what playing is all about.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
I like this quote from Cail's link:

Quote:
Rod can be summed up in the following passage from a cover story in Modern Drummer Magazine: "You can see it in his face; Rod Morgenstein loves what he does for a living. Get him talking about drums and you'll see those eyes start to crinkle as a warm, sincere smile spreads over his face. Get him behind a set of drums, and the same enthusiasm is evident in the way that he tears into the kit as though he's been waiting for weeks to get at it. That's not to imply that his playing is uncontrolled, because he is definitely in charge of everything that is happening on the drum set. It's just to say that you never get the sense that Morgenstein has lost any of the initial excitement about
the drums that makes people become drummers to begin with."


That's what playing is all about.



I'm not sure the above is fair when applying it to Neil or any musician that has devoted an incredibly long career playing music of any kind. Yes some musicians will be plugged into their music until they die. They aren't all the same. I remember back when I first started playing guitar. I literally couldn't leave it alone for more than 15 minutes. I'd play until the tips of my fingers were raw and I'd set it aside. Sure enough a few minutes would go by and I had it in my hands again. I've been playing guitar since 1983 and I can assure you I don't have the same kind of emotional attachment to it that I had when I was 19. I've written and recorded hundreds of songs. I've performed live shows and billions of band practices. I don't have the same kind of elite experiences that the members of Rush have but I know what it is like to be enveloped by music for most of a lifetime and realize that the human mind craves other distractions over time. Because of the commitments of Rush Neil probably does feel a sense of relief that he's free to pursue other interests. Sure he could be more gracious while on camera but I feel like I understand the underlying emotions behind his reactions. However at the and of the day I don't know Neil Peart the person. He may be a colossal prick but I personally wouldn't jump to that conclusion. But that's me.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
Cail wrote:
Vraith wrote:
and the drumming/rhythmic complexity of Winger just seems silly to me.
Rod Morgenstein is widely regarded as a top-tier drummer by other musicians, and Winger puts on one of the tightest shows I've ever seen.


Hah...I had forgotten he had that job, if I ever knew...
But "Can't get enuff" popped into my head right after "Love Gun."
And his particular skills didn't make Winger write good songs, and absence of Neil wouldn't make Rush write terrible ones.
To go further down the Winger rabbit hole....

Reb Beach is widely regarded as a virtuoso guitar player (so two virtuosos in the band), and the rest of them ain't slouches either. Set the images of their music videos aside, as well as the uncomfortableness of the lyrics of "17" for a moment, and listen to their first album. With the exception of the dreadful Hendrix cover, it's an astoundingly good album, maybe even great. I don't think there's a 4/4 song on it, and even the power ballads are strong. Sadly they fell victim to their image and the style of the time on their second release, but the first Winger record is a high water mark for late-'80s rock.

So while Winger's drummer wasn't their songwriter (that'd be Kip Winger and Reb Beach), I'd argue that they had some pretty good songs.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cail wrote:
Set the images of their music videos aside, as well as the uncomfortableness of the lyrics of "17" for a moment, and listen to their first album.

I don't know...maybe I'll try it...you've got an ear that I've found reliable in the past. [[Not necessarily persuaded in the end, but after a listen with what you say in mind, I can usually see/appreciate the point]]. And I might have a tinge of bias, considering what I was performing, listening to, and hanging out with at the time.

But the question is interesting, on who is essential/what happens if...
All speculative, of course.
I remember thinking Pink Floyd was history with the Waters split, despite my massive love and respect for Gilmour. They did change in noticeable ways...but a large part of the heart/core remained...and I think it would be very hard for anyone to show they were ruined...if anything Waters is the one who looks worse by comparison.
Neil's lyrics DO matter on a fair number of Rush's best.
Subdivisions is a great example.
But even more often they feel mechanical or polemical or bathetic---occasionally downright trite.
OTOH---plenty of bands/songs, who would even bother to mention the lyrics? Who would expect anything as long as there is end-rhyme, and metaphors/euphemisms/slang for fucking?
One critic wrote "How many cliches can you cram into one song? Chances are, not as many as Bon Jovi." But no one who likes Bon Jovi gives a damn about cliches. In fact they probably LIKE them.
And [[at the other extreme]] there are plenty of bands/songs...especially in the progressive...with lyrics that no one understands. Not even whoever wrote them.
Maybe his lyrics really are an essential part of the bridging Rush managed---holding onto the people who like progressive as a whole while pulling in people who don't like ANY prog EXCEPT Rush.
It doesn't seem that way to me---because many of his lyrics leave me saying meh. I recognize he's got a distinctive style/voice/vocabulary...but it doesn't usually reach me.
I suspect...but it's just that...that Rush without Neil would have been a different Rush, but still a great Rush. I don't think they'd have succumbed to the generic sex and drugs and rock-n-roll lyric swamp because Alex and Geddy are more demanding than that.

Neil's attitude about the whole thing, though---that just seems strange to me.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great discussion, guys!

aTOMiC wrote:

I've been playing guitar since 1983 and I can assure you I don't have the same kind of emotional attachment to it that I had when I was 19. I've written and recorded hundreds of songs. I've performed live shows and billions of band practices.
Damn I had no idea. Let's hear some of your stuff!

In the past year I discovered Audacity and I've been recording my own songs, doing all the parts myself: bass, guitar, drums, vocals, keyboard. I'm having a blast. It feels so good to have "sounds" that have only existed in my head to finally be out in the world.

aTOMiC wrote:

Because of the commitments of Rush Neil probably does feel a sense of relief that he's free to pursue other interests. Sure he could be more gracious while on camera but I feel like I understand the underlying emotions behind his reactions. However at the and of the day I don't know Neil Peart the person. He may be a colossal prick but I personally wouldn't jump to that conclusion. But that's me.
Neil already pursues other interests as an adventurer, explorer and writer. No one begrudges him a full life. Again, it's the lack of love for the thing he's most famous for, even the sense that he dreads/hates it, that we're talking about. Imagine if Donaldson hated writing and complained about how hard it is and how he can't wait to stop when people go see him at Elohimfest. Wouldn't that be a buzz kill? It would diminish the joy of enjoying his art to know that he looks at it like a chore he can't wait to stop doing if it weren't for these pesky fans that he can't stand to meet in person, so much so that he writes a book about it (analogous to Limelight).

I'm not even convinced Neil actually hates it. It's almost like he enjoys bitching about it because it makes him "cool" to disdain what so many others like ... as if he's some wannabe hipster when it comes to his own fame/popularity. He's too cool and intellectual for his own band. Fuck him.

Cail, I really liked Winger when it first came out. I'd heard that they were all really talented session musicians, but then forgot about them once the 90s hit. I saw them with Bullet Boys and Cinderella.

Vraith wrote:
Neil's lyrics DO matter on a fair number of Rush's best. Subdivisions is a great example.
But even more often they feel mechanical or polemical or bathetic---occasionally downright trite.
...
... many of his lyrics leave me saying meh. I recognize he's got a distinctive style/voice/vocabulary...but it doesn't usually reach me.
I suspect...but it's just that...that Rush without Neil would have been a different Rush, but still a great Rush. I don't think they'd have succumbed to the generic sex and drugs and rock-n-roll lyric swamp because Alex and Geddy are more demanding than that.
I agree with all of this, especially the 'mechanical or polemical ... downright trite.' He has some high points, but many more low or average. Too many of his lyrics remind me of his drumming: mechanical, soulless.

Has anyone read the book Clockwork Angels? I dare you. Laughing It's awful.
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