I first stopped listening to Rush sometime after ‘Power Windows’. I don’t really know why; I haven’t stopped to analyse it too much; it’s just one of those things that happened. Life went on; time failed to stand still; I got married, moved house, moved house again, changed jobs, lived life.
One day I was contemplating the tediously pointless daily car journeys I was making, and decided to buy myself a Rush album to while away the hours. So, I bought ‘Hold Your Fire’ on cassette tape, and I got right back into it all again.
I bought ‘Presto’ on tape, too. Then…
Then, nothing. I stopped again – this must have been about 1990. After that, Rush was just this band I used to listen to. My musical tastes changed, and for more than ten years now the only concerts I have gone to have been classical ones: I heard a magnificent Grieg Piano Concerto on Friday night; remind me to tell you about it some time.
Then I saw ‘Different Stages’ in a Virgin Megastore in Brent Cross one New Year – in the sale, it was, and I thought ‘Why not?’ And I was off again – it lived in my car CD player (I’ve moved on and – I like to think – up in cars since the ‘Hold Your Fire’ days) for months, and I grew to love all these old songs again. I even grew to love some of the new ones – that bass solo on ‘Driven’ is terrific, and I can’t resist -er, ‘Resist’, being Scottish.
Then – you’re probably getting the idea of this now.
Last Christmas, my family gave me an mp3 player. It’s a nice one – a Creative Zen Touch – and it has room for lots of Mahler symphonies. And the odd bit of rock music. I loaded some things on there I hadn’t heard for years – all that long-haired, sweaty music I loved 25 years ago – and I tried to pick just one representative Rush track to put on it.
And, of course, I couldn’t. So I loaded up representative tracks from all the Rush albums. And then I realised that wasn’t enough; I needed more. At the same time, following an intense period of work, I felt the need to get back to writing again, and needed a project to stimulate me.
So I hit on this idea of ‘Rediscovering Rush’. I have been intrigued and fascinated these last few months to realise that these three guys mean more to me than anything else I listened to all those years ago. I’ll be honest with you – they don’t mean as much to me as some classical music does – please don’t engage with me on the topic of Mahler’s second symphony unless you want to be bored rigid by my private enthusiasms – but there is something special in their music, and I’d like to find out what it is.
So, here’s the plan. Over the next – well, however long it takes, to be honest – I am going to listen to the entire Rush back catalogue on my little Zen Touch – while I’m exercising; while I’m flying to Italy (or Canada, soon); while I’m sitting here browsing while I should be working, and I’m going to write about it all. I’m going to try to find out just what connects so strongly with me, and I’m going to try to find out what I think of all this music now – am I more critical now? Am I still excited by it? Will I fall in love all over again with something I’d completely forgotten? Will I make it to the end of ‘Feedback’ with my sanity intact?
Tune in and find out. I don’t really know where this will go, but I aim to have at least a little fun finding out.