Friday, December 14, 2012

An Open Invitation to Rush

Alex, Geddy, Neil
I've mentioned, before, how important the progressive rock band, Rush, was to my development as a musician and as a writer. Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist, was one of my biggest influences as a thinker and as a drummer. Geddy Lee, the bass player, singer and keyboardist and Alex Lifeson (maybe one of the most underrated guitarists of all time) also had a big influence on me. But, now, as a forty-four-year old, I am realizing how lucky I was to have had these guys as role models. Why? Because they were (and are) true individuals who have always been honest about their music and who never felt a need to play a part (whether that be "rock star" or "eccentric artist") that the world pressured them to play.

In fact, I remember one interview with Geddy Lee, back in the Moving Pictures days, I think. Geddy was asked if he wanted to meet his heroes. He said no -- not any more. He had met one of his heroes, once, and he had been horribly disappointed.

I feel the same about most of my heroes. I never really cared about meeting them. I never tried to make it happen -- never waited outside the back doors of clubs and I never went to bookstores to get my copies signed. It just didn't seem important. Plus, I always had suspicions that these meetings could turn out like Geddy's did: disappointing.

On a whim, I once sent a story to the fantasy literature icon, Peter S. Beagle -- just to see what he thought of my work. I was hoping for some free coaching and maybe some reassurance that I should keep at it. (I had doubts at the time.) I was honored by a phone call from the man himself. We talked, on his dime, from California to New Jersey, for about an hour. He had some encouraging things to say, but, also, some honest ones. It meant a lot to me. But what made it mean a lot was that I had not forced myself upon him or stood like a lemming in a line to get some of his ink on my copy of The Last Unicorn. We has interacted as writers -- as colleagues. I "met" a hero with my dignity intact.

To this day, I have never pursued forced interaction with a hero of mine. I never will. In fact, as I mentioned, I don't want to meet any of them...except maybe the guys in Rush. Why? Because I am pretty sure we would get along. Because I think we are birds (as they say) of a feather.

Recently, Rush was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If anything solidified my belief that these guys come from the right mental "place," it was Geddy Lee's interview with Rolling Stone, regarding the nomination.

When asked if he had mixed emotions about it taking so long to get nominated, Geddy replied:

Geddy, Alex, Neil
"No. My emotions are very simple and always have been about the Hall of Fame. It's something that I had absolutely nothing to do with and had no control over, so I never thought much about it, to be frank. But I appreciated how much it meant to our fan base. It really did mean a lot to them. It was kind of a cause they championed and I appreciated their feelings but beyond that, I really did not concern myself with it."

When asked if they would attend the ceremony (some miffed rockers have protested this and that by not going) Geddy said: 
"Oh yeah, we're gonna be there. I'm not saying I'm not proud to be inducted, because that would be wrong. I think it's a terrific honor and we'll show up smiling. "

"We'll show up smiling." Perfect. To the band, this is nice -- but they would have been happy with or without the nomination. I love Geddy's implication that they will play along for the sake of the fans -- because they owe their fans a moment of glory. But, for Rush, the music has always been the thing. Geddy Lee managed to clearly show a true happiness for the fans and, without being insulting, to show that he doesn't place much stock in whether or not they ever got nominated. That's my kind of thinking.

So, yeah -- I'd like to have dinner with Rush. I don't need to. I won't try to call their publicist. I'm not looking for a Conrad Birdie scenario. I won't even try to get a link to this to anyone in the band. Chance will rule the day: if they find this, they find this. Let's face it: they won't.

Alex,Neil, Geddy
And, if I ever get to dine with the fine Canadian lads, I won't pant and preen and pour praise upon them while they try to butter their bread. I'm a guy, like them, who has made the choice to follow his love of music (and words) and who is as unlikely as they were to find fame. I'd like to meet them because I am pretty sure we would get along and have a lot of fun, not because I see them as objects of worship. I owe them a lot. Maybe because of the path they set me on, I could pay them back with some honest (and, hopefully, insightful) human interaction.

And, maybe I could give them a night of sanity while they are on the road some time. So, that said, if they are ever back in the Philadelphia area, I'd love to have them come over for dinner.

Neil, Alex and Geddy -- if you ever see this blog, you're invited to my humble home. No press; no hoopla -- just some good food, good beer and good conversation. I don't want anything signed and I won't even ask you to come. Come if you want -- if you think it would be a nice change of pace to spend an evening with someone who loves your work but who never put a poster of you up on his walls. (Just give some notice, so I can dust off my Rush shrine: "The Temple of Syrynx" -- KIDDING!) I don't need to meet you and you don't need to meet me, but I don't think any of us would be disappointed.

And I promise: We'll have soup.

No comments:

Post a Comment