Friday, February 8, 2008

These Halls Were Built For Canadiens, Too

As I troll the interweb for new info regarding the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, I stumble onto this page. A simply wonderful wall where we realize that yes, there is a growing movement to include everyone's favorite pasty, technically prowessed, gilded cage-singing band into the hallowed shrine.
Although not particularly cherished by hip critics, Neil Peart, Geddy Lee and the other guy (poor Alex Lifeson) have changed a lot of peoples lives for the better. Check out these words of reverance:

In my youth Rush gave me the not only the World but the Universe.
I Thank You.

Such are the powers of a giant fricking drumkit. Such formality in her writing, although this is the band that gave her the control of the universe. Of all the people in the World, I did not expect someone named "Lisa" to rule over all matter, great and small. Maybe someone named Krondak the Powerful, or someone who has "Powers" for a last name. That's reasonable. But the decision is up to Rush, so who am I to say?

And now is where the discussions of influence, longevity and technical prowess are thoroughly discussed. In my mind, longevity is not the greatest gauge of a band's greatness. Many truly great and influential acts came and went in record time:

Television, Suicide, Wire, Swell Maps, Sex Pistols, dB's, Gang of Four, the Zombies, My Bloody Valentine, Nirvana, Slint, Silver Apples, New York Dolls...

Really, the argument for longevity as a valid basis of greatness is incredibly muddled. Some bands original line-ups last only one or two albums, as members are replaced and the band carries on. King Crimson is a good example. The original line-up of Robert Fripp, Ian McDonald, Michael Giles, Greg Lake and lyricist Peter Sinfield lasted a SINGLE record. Over the years Fripp is the only constant member as others shift around him (much like M.E. Smith of the Fall). However, the King Crimson name remains, making them yet another band that has lasted as long as Rush.

And then there is the question of how one accounts for a hiatus. Is the band considered together, or loosely affiliated? The grey area is looming larger as I type. In 1998, due to personal tragedy (Peart's wife and daughter both dying in separate instances), the band took time off. Geddy fired off a solo album (with Matt Cameron from Soundgarden?), but not a peep from the band till 2002. So, is thirty years really a fair amount of time?

I'm not really looking for answers, I just think that Rush is above all of this arbitrary one-ups-manship involved in the Hall. I mean, just look at this drumset!

A band like this has no use for awards or annoying ceremonies where everyone claps too much and old-fogey bands are joined by "new talent" like Rihanna or John Mayer. Although imagining Rush and Rihanna onstage is a wonderful thing.

Rush is too busy winning fans with Ayn Rand references and bass guitar solos. Who gives a crap what a bunch of idiots in Cleveland think. Drew Carey has nothing on Tom Sawyer!

Anyways, some more highlights from the Rush/Hall of Fame thread:

Turnerbudd says:

"The bias against Rush is unbelievable. Explain the reasons some of these people are in and Rush is not.Is it influence? Look at the artists who call this trio influential. "

Dream Theater? Metallica? Living Colour? Yngwie Malmsteen? And then a list of vague prog bands that only people from "Guitar Magazine" can name. They are influential, I guess...

"Is it musicality? Three of the tightest musicians as consistently lauded by every major publication.
Um seriously? Rush has consistently garnered terrible reviews from every major publication. And when they did get good reviews, you have to wonder. Greg Prato is a little too into Rush as evidenced by his review of Hemispheres.

"" Neil Peart had become one of rock's most accomplished lyricists by this point, as evidenced by "The Trees," which deals with racism and inequality in a unique way (set in a forest!)."

The Lyrics in question:

"The Trees"

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas

The trouble with the maples
(And they're quite convinced they're right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade

There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream 'Oppression!'
And the oaks just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
'The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light'
Now there's no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw"

Look, I know I could get in trouble with Fair Use laws, but did you read those lyrics!? Trees forming unions, showing a complex range of emotions, and an all-comsuming quest to claim sunlight as their own?! Prato goes on to say that this record is probably Rush's best. Hilarious.

Turnerbudd goes on to say, "Trust me, I'm not one of those die hard Rush fans who do not listen to any other form of music (hey, no one applauded more than me when Mile made it in)."

Two things: Firstly, why lobby for a band to be in a hall of supposedly great musicians and then claim not to be a super-fan? Secondly, I'm assuming you're talking about Miles Davis getting into the Hall. Why is it so special that YOU clapped for one of the greatest artists of the last century, knowing that he was a lock to get in? Do you consider jazz to be that different from rock and roll, especially when the man helped fuse those same movement together (for better or for worse)?

AmazinFudd finishes an impassioned speech to act with these solemn words of solidarity, "Look out...for the force without form"; lets you and I become that force to effect the change. Let's throw three flaming spheres down their throats and keep doing it until our goal has been reached."

I mean, whatever you need to do to get the R&R HOF's attention. I personally would go down these routes:

-send By-Tor, knight of darkness, Centurion of evil, and devil's prince to sway the vote
-claim that La guillotine will claim her bloody prize
-Tell them the Necromancer is watching them with his prism eyes

In the end, Rush reminds us of what is truly important with this gem from Spirit of the Radio.

"One likes to believe in the freedom of music
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity"

So, what's the point Rush fans? Would you rather have integrity, or join the ranks of the arbitrary? The prism eyes are watching...

1 comment:

Mattie-O said...

Man oh man.

Ok, well first I think it goes without saying that I view the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame as being two c-hair's more important than Grammy nominations. It's always nice to see bands you like being praised, but who *really* gives a shit? No one, that's who.

Now, as to whether Rush is deserving of the Hall's arbitrary praise... sure, why not?

Truthfully, I sometimes have trouble owning up to my love of Rush, because there's no good reason for it. I openly acknowledge the horriditude (yes that is a word) of Peart's lyrics, and I've never really been the sort to give something a pass just because it's played with virtuosity (or on the soundtrack to Virtuosity).

More importantly, I do my best not to enjoy anything on a purely ironic level - no Journey, thanks.

There's just something so wonderfully awful about Rush, though...

Whoops, gotta go, Sebastian Bach is emailing me.