Cerebral Rock

rush albums.jpg
Rush collection

Three bands by the late 70s that rocked my world:

  • Led Zeppelin
  • Budgie
  • Rush

With the passing of Neil Pert I can’t help but recall my first reaction to the 1976 album 2112 which I listened to on a hand-me-down plastic mono record player in my suburban hell bedroom. What the hell are they making music about, I said, after playing side-one over and over and over. Here’s a summary of the song, dear worst-reader. By-the-buy, the lyrics of this song–or is it anthem–were written by Pert.

“2112” tells a story set in the city of Megadon in the year 2112 where individualism and creativity are outlawed, with the population controlled by a cabal of malevolent Priests who reside in the Temples of Syrinx. A galaxy-wide war resulted in the planets forcefully joining the Solar Federation (symbolised by the “Red Star”). By 2112, the world is controlled by the priests who take orders from giant banks of computers inside the temple. Music is unknown in this world absent of creativity and individuality, but in “Discovery”, a nameless man finds a beaten guitar inside a cave and rediscovers the lost art of music. In “Presentation”, the man takes the guitar to the priests at the temple, who say, “Yes, we know, it’s nothing new; it’s just a waste of time”, and then proceed angrily to destroy it and banish him. Next, in “Oracle: The Dream”, the man dreams of a new planet, established at the same time as the Solar Federation, where creative people live. He awakens, depressed that music is part of such a civilization and that he can never be part of it, and commits suicide, in “Soliloquy”, originally titled “Soliloquy of the Soul”. Another planetary war begins in “Grand Finale”, originally named “Denouement”, resulting in the ambiguous spoken ending: “Attention all planets of the Solar Federation: We have assumed control”. (Source: Wiki)

Of all the bands I listened to growing up, Rush is the only band that made me sit down and contemplate not just the music but what the heck were they going on about.  Compared to Zeppelin, Rush was a creative power that would take me years to truly comprehend. That is, where Zeppelin covered a lot of their famous tracks, Rush wrote and composed every damn story-be-told song. When I saw Rush in concert the first time, from the only nose-bleed seats I could afford, Neil Pert looked like an octopus wrapped inside a monstrous drum set. You could barely see the mans head. But you could see those arms, multiple, many arms, and sticks, all flaring around making magic sound galore. Indeed. A band to make one think. So I guess I’ll continue choking-up when listening to Tom Sawyer or One Little Victory, etc. Btw, the intro to One Little Victory still boggles my mind.

neil pert drum set

As far as that fantasy I’ve had for years, I guess I’ll never run into Neil Pert while riding a motorcycle cross country, which I’ve heard was his preferred mode of travel to concerts. Oh well. There’s still all those songs to listen to, to think about, to comprehend.

RIP Neil Pert.

Rant and rock on.



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