Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: rush

Random Thoughts On Neil Peart

Purt? Pee-YART? Pyuh-ee-rght? Was there an unvoiced fricative in there somewhere? It doesn’t matter now.

Mistuh Peart, he dead. Mistuh Peart dead, suh.


What did the cool kids listen to? Fucked if I know; I didn’t go to cool kid parties. I was in the marching band. We listened to Rush. At least 75% of the crowd at a Rush show used to be in the marching band.


Imagine being the best in the world at something, anything.


It’s YY-Zed, not YY-Zee. Get it straight, hoser.


Neil wrote the words, and very few of them were about his dick. Most bands let their singers write the words, and all singers think about are their dicks, and so most rockyroll songs are about the singer’s dick: where it had been, and what its plans were, and how well pleased it did make all who encountered it. Mick Jagger sang about his dick so much that that the one time he didn’t (Waiting On A Friend), he is forced to spend the entirety of the lyric assuring you that it is not a ruse, that the song is not secretly about his dick, but instead sincerely about waiting on a friend.

Hell, even Dylan wrote about his dick. He just high-faluted it.


40 years without succumbing to Band Bloat. No black-up singers, no horn section, no utility guy covering keys and rhythm guitar and harmonies, no Ray Cooper on percussion. Just the three of ’em. Trios either self-destruct or last forever; there’s nowhere for assholes to hide in a trio.


I oppose the Solo Solo on principle, that spotlight ten minutes where the rest of the band leaves so the individual instrumentalist can show the crowd just how hot his licks are. It’s usually just an excuse for the singer to get a beej.

Neil’s were different:

He didn’t play the drums. He played music, on drums. Listen to his tom-toms: they’re tuned to a pentatonic scale.


I don’t know why he’s dressed like Aladdin in that clip. He just is.


He could take a punch. Daughter, 19 years old, dead on the highway. Wife a year later, cancer. He quit the band, rode his motorcycle for a while, rejoined the band, got remarried. Lot of folks would’ve taken up drinking.


Neil Peart was better than John Bonham because he didn’t employ any goons. Neil Peart was better than Keith Moon because he never, ever dressed up like a Nazi. Neil Peart was better than Ginger Baker because he wasn’t such an asshole he was forced to flee multiple countries. Neil Peart was better than Ringo Starr because c’mon now.

Neil Peart was not better than Charlie Watts.


Read this.


Christ, I’m getting tired of remembering dead Rock Stars.


You could be in a band when I was in high school. It was an identity, like being a jock or a theater kid or smart. Mostly, you jammed in your drummer’s basement and then drove around town discussing what the stage would look like when you played MSG. On occasion, there was the Teen Center.

And here’s how you judged bands when I was in high school: Can they play Rush?

My band could not play Rush, and did not even try. We stuck to Cheap Trick tunes.


Only the armless do not air-drum to Rush.

Living, In The Limelight

This is ’76 at the Cap. Shapiro’s already got a toque nailed to the wall that he’s charging custies ten bucks a pop to air-drum in front of.

FUN FACT: Foghat and Montrose were also on the bill, so if you listen real careful-like you can hear a vague, curly-haired “WOOO!” from backstage.

1982 in Montreal, which is in Canada, but not the Canada that Rush was from.

1988 from Birmingham, England,

FUN FACT: This was Geddy’s worst haircut, and that’s saying something.

’94 in Michigan. The Counterparts tour.

Scream for me, Rio.

FUN FACT: South American rock crowds are the best rock crowds in the whole wide world, but there might be a coup.

Rockin’ Germany like a hurricane on the 30th-anniversary R30 tour.

Live from the World’s Most Famous Phish Venue, the 2112 Suite.

And Now Just The Men

Virgil sang of arms and the man, but some people just sing about men (some of whom are armed).

That sentence could qualify as a war crime.

There’s a classical allusion and parentheses. How can a sentence with a classical allusion and parentheses not be outstanding?

I dunno, but you figured it out.

Quiet or I bring back Sleepy Batman. We come now, Enthusiasts, to a short, completely biased, and totally inconsequential list of the Greatest Songs With Men’s Names In The Title. I begin by informing you that I will be ignoring all of your suggestions and choosing my own songs, some of which will be selected just to annoy you.

Why are you like this?

It’s tough love.

No, it’s just being rude.

We’ll start off with the winner. None of this building-up-to-number-one bullshit: I’ll tell you what the Best EVAR blah blah is, and then the runners-up. Feel free to ripcord out after this.

Enthusiasts, it wasn’t even fucking close. If this contest were a prize-fight, they would’ve called it in the first; if it were a presidential election, it would’ve been Reagan/Mondale. Not only is Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner the best song with a man’s name in the title, it’s also the best song…

  • …about mercenaries.
  • …about vengeful ghosts.
  • …that mention Mombasa.

Plus it’s got one of Warren’s perfectly ambiguous ending lines, second best only to The French Inhaler’s “She said ‘So long, Norman.'”

Real Zevonophiles will wonder why Boom Boom Mancini isn’t included in the list, but they shouldn’t because here it is:

Now, there have been a shitload of songs about boxers and some of them have been brilliant, so this isn’t the best song ever written about boxers in general. It is, however, the best song about Boom Boom Mancini. (Unless Tigra and Bunny’s We Like The Cars That Go Boom is secretly about Boom Boom Mancini. That shit’s my jam.)

And now we come to Billy, Don’t Be A Hero.


You’re adamant.

I’ll burn the house down while we sleep.


Watching you, asshole.

How about Tom Sawyer?

Fuck, yeah. That jam’s my shit.

There might not be a better song about libertarian-flavored rugged individualism.

Also: Geddy Lee’s giant grandma sunglasses.

Okay, I lied: this one’s from the Comment Section. Andy Griffith and the Darlings (who were a real bluegrass band named The Dillards) on the old Andy Griffith Show. The reason there was a song break on the program is because they made 249 in eight years, which is over 30 a season. There’s only so many Otis the Drunk jokes you can write.

What’s with all this hillbilly music? This is some white bullshit.”

I know that voice.

“Voice of a genius, you cracker motherfucker.”



MISTER DAVIS! Mister Davis! Stop shooting guns to make your point.

“Wouldn’t have to if you weren’t so dumb.”

I was getting to you.


“Miles Davis don’t get gotten to, motherfucker.”

Sorry! Sorry, wow. You’re very mean.

“Shut up.”


“Play my music.”


This was recorded 4/10/70 at Fillmore West; guess who else was on the bill. Phil writes about feeling intimidated about going on after Miles, which is understandable. I’m impressed they stayed at all: I would have gone home.

“Where are you going?”

“What are we gonna do after that bullshit? Choogle? Are we gonna choogle? Nah, fuck that. I’m going to grad school.”

If he was from Venus, would he feed us with a spoon?
If he was from Mars, wouldn’t that be cool?
Standing right on campus, would he stamp us in a file?
Hangin’ down in Memphis all the while.

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes ’round
They sing “I’m in love. What’s that song? I’m in love with that song.”

Cerebral rape and pillage in a village of his choice.
Invisible man who can sing in a visible voice.
Feeling like a hundred bucks, exchanging good lucks face to face.
Checkin’ his stash by the trash at St. Mark’s place.

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes ’round
They sing “I’m in love. What’s that song? I’m in love with that song.”

I never travel far,
Without a little Big Star

Runnin’ ’round the house, Mickey Mouse and the Tarot cards.
Falling asleep with a flop pop video on.
If he was from Venus, would he meet us on the moon?
If he died in Memphis, then that’d be cool, babe.

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes ’round
They sing “I’m in love. What’s that song? I’m in love with that song.”

“I’m in love. What’s that song? I’m in love with that song.”

And that’s all that needs to be said about Alex Chilton by The Replacements. (Except for noting the irony in writing a song praising a songwriter that’s better than anything the titular songwriter ever wrote.)

Lemme ask you something, though.

Come closer.

It’s important.

Is there gas in the car?

Yes, there’s gas in the car.

(I always pretend that the line “Your low-rent friends are dead” is really “Your low-rent friends are Dead.” Anyone else?)

And that’s that.

Why can’t you write like a normal person?

Normal people don’t write.

Yeah, okay.

Cover Me

The Dead played a billion covers. Some they played forever: Me & My Uncle, NFA; some just the once: How Sweet it Is (from the DP 30 Academy of Music shows that I’m always honking on about). Some songs, though: it’s better the Dead never sat down to figure out the changes.

Dubstep would not have worked; Phil would probably like it. If you haven’t heard dubstep, it’s the sound of a Transformer getting raped. Actually, Mickey might have liked it, too. This is what dubstep is: it get interesting 90 seconds in. I understand why half-naked teens on drugs would love dancefucking to this, but it’s not for listening.

Itsy-Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (fuck you all for making me type that) would be a poor choice as Bobby would fuck up the chorus so badly that everyone would think it was a Dylan tune.

Any of the particularly tricky Rush tunes: La Villa, YYZ, By-Tor (not the Snow Dog, oddly enough.) The Dead had the chops to pull it off, but those tunes required precision and practice. Even the Dead’s more complicated tunes, like Terrapin–if you missed the musical turn, you could wait for it to come back around again.  Plus, there were twice as many people in the Dead as Rush, man.

Devo. Any deconstruction-type stuff. The Dead did not dismantle, in fact they piled on, always. They were rococo and baroque. Also, broke, but that’s for a different post.