Neil is Still Gone

Last night after work Jen and I went for a drive to nowhere. She put on some music. I didn’t ask for anything, I just planned to listen to whatever she wanted.

She picked some Rush. Clearly she’s brilliant with impeccable taste. Hold Your Fire mostly, but also a little Power Windows.

The song “Grand Designs” includes the line:

Some world-views are spacious

And some are merely spaced

That pretty much sums up our idiot world, doesn’t it?

The world sucks without Neil Peart in it.

Free Books

I learned this yesterday and took advantage of it today.  If you are an audible member, Neil Peart’s books are currently on sale for… free.  This doesn’t include Clockwork Angels or Clockwork Lives as those are technically Kevin Anderson’s.  I think it’s a nice little treat for fans, but I hope audible/amazon is still sending Neil’s royalty checks to his family.

I am hoping Rush has a few live records in the can that they can sneak out in the years to come.  I want Neil’s family to be looked after.  I know they have been releasing anniversary, deluxe editions of some records.  I hope that continues.  I will probably buy them rather than just listen to them on Apple Music or Spotify.  I remember hearing people bitch about how Pink Floyd was always releasing compilations.  There was a reason for it that wasn’t obvious though.  All of those comps had at least one or two Syd Barrett songs.  They were always finding ways to re-issue his music so that his Floyd related income never dried up.  They were trying to look after him without interfering in his life.  Those releases never moved big numbers, but it was enough to help Syd and his family.  I hope so at least.  I’d hate to learn otherwise.

Anyway, if you’re an audible member I recommend Ghost Rider.  I know I’ve read at least one other book too, but I can’t remember which one.  I think it was Far and Away.  I bought it, started reading it, and realize I’d already read the whole thing.  Well, a lot of it at least.  Neil was a blogger and that book, if that’s the book I am thinking it is, was made up of old blog posts.

Someone pointed out the other day that we probably should have known something was wrong in the Peart camp because it had been a long time since he updated his website.  He had his blog but he also shared recipes and had a sort of book club thing, if I remember it right.  I hadn’t heard of any new posts there for a long time.  In hindsight it feels like he was circling the wagons.

Anyway, listen to his music and read his books.

I took my photo a day picture this morning.  It was another record player picture.  138/365, call it Moving, Moving Pictures.

138/365 - Moving Moving Pictures

Nervous

Okay, I’m a little nervous. We have a gig on February 1st.  Given that we took the holidays off that means we have had one practice over the last month and we will only have two more before the 1st.  Now it looks like there might be a conflict this Sunday.  We are hoping to move the rehearsal to Saturday but there is a snow storm in the forecast.  Monday is a holiday and I have it off, I think I’m the only one, so I don’t have my long commute to worry about.  We should be able to have our usual 6:00 start time if the weather doesn’t cooperate on Saturday.  I don’t think we’re going to miss one of our two remaining weekends but like I said, I’m nervous.  We won’t be adding any new songs, but we are hoping to polish off the handful that we added in 2019 without ever playing to an audience.  I have some wood shed time ahead of me, for sure.

On the plus side, our singer told us he bought a new digital mixing board today.  One that we can control with an iPad app.  Does that mean we will turn into one of those bands and all of us will have iPads on stage with us?  Maybe.  Larry and I had a completely unrelated discussion the other day about in-ear monitors.  I would say this is the time to start experimenting with them, but sweet christmas they can get expensive.  No thanks.  If I happen to find a reasonably priced set that fits into my gigantic head (literally, not figuratively) that can also take the place of my ear plugs then maybe, but I don’t see that happening.  Greg uses an in-ear and said it cost him $600.  From what I have seen, that is cheap.  Nope.

Allow me to give some credit here.  In the last few months Greg has really come through for us in the P.A. system department.  I have a mountain of gear that I can bring to the band table, but a good P.A. system is not included.  Greg has stepped up and helped out in a big way.  Now we just have to book gigs so we can use all of the new stuff.

Change of subject, I mentioned the other day that my Uncle was having surgery.  It was actually a triple bypass.  We found out today that he is now off of the ventilator, which is good, but he still has a long way to go before he recovers.  On top of that my mother was having a bad night last night and there was talk of taking her to the ER.  Fortunately she improved and the hospital was not necessary.  It’s been a tough couple of weeks for her and her siblings.  Her older sister spent some time in the hospital a week or so ago, and her younger sister might have to go back on chemotherapy after being in remission for years.  Pardon me, oh universe, but do you have to be a dick to all of them at once?

As I typed that last sentence, the sun broke through the clouds.  Is that a sign?  Is the universe messing with my head?  Dick.

So Neil Peart mentioned me in one of his books.  Not really.  In Ghost Rider he tells a story of a stop on the Test for Echo Tour in 1997 where his daughter, Selena, joined him and his riding buddy, Brutus, on a between gig motorcycle adventure.  She met up with him at a show at Great Woods in Mansfield, MA.  Yup, you guessed it.  I was there.  June 23, 1997 to be exact.  Neil Peart, Selena Taylor, Brutus McTrash (that’s his name on facebook, if I remember correctly), and I were all in the same room at the same time.  Granted there were something like 12,000 other people with us, including Mike and Maria.  I don’t think Maria was there with us, we didn’t start the band with her until after that, but I know she was there.  In the story they left Mansfield and drove North into Maine and then the next day hopped onto their motorcycles and explored the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Pretty much the same thing my wife and I do a couple of times a year.  The difference being our vehicle has four wheels and theirs had two.  Given that Neil’s publishing career was made up of all travel books, I would say that he had good taste in road trips, which means Jen and I have good taste in road trips too.  Yeah, we rule.

I’m still doing the photo a day thing over on Flickr.  This morning before work I took the three minutes I should have spent shaving and took a couple of pictures.  This one is the outtake.  You’re welcome.

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The Professor Calls it Quits

In 2009 English prog rock/jazz drummer Bill Bruford was about to have his 60th birthday and he did something unexpected. He retired.

Neil Peart, a well known Bill Bruford fan, was probably sitting at home reading the news and thinking: Life goal. Retire at 60. I don’t know whether or not that actually happened, but I’ve always imagined that’s how it went down.

That was six years ago. Neil Peart is now 63. It’s about three years late, but it’s finally happened. The Professor has announced his retirement.

I’m happy for him without actually being happy, if you know what I mean. It pleases me very much that we got to see Rush on the R40 tour as it now pretty much looks like Rush is done for good.

I am sad. Very sad. But also pretty happy that I got as much great music and as many great shows as I did.

Thanks, Professor.

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2010-09-14 - Rush at TD Garden 986

Rush @ Manchester 7-11-08 038

Rush 7-5-08 Saratoga Springs, NY 021

The Good Stuff

I don’t drink. Ever. I just don’t. There’s no reason for it outside of never having come across an alcoholic beverage that actually tastes good to me. I’m also kind of proud that I’ve never been under the influence, in a weird anti-social sort of way.

This stuff though…

Obsessed Rush fans will understand.

This stuff I’ll at least try. It will probably make me want to vomit, but I’ll give it a try. It comes highly recommended by Neil Peart. Obsessed Rush fans will understand why.

Clockwork Angels the Audiobook

On my drive home today I started listening to the Clockwork Angels audiobook. It was read by Neil Peart. I’m still only at the beginning, but my first impression is that when it comes to audiobooks, Neil is a great drummer. No offense.

The other thing you learn very quickly is that Mr Peart is aboooot as Canadian as you can get. The first line: “It seems like a lifetime agoooo.”

You just have to love it.