I’ve been playing bass guitar since I was about thirteen years old. When I started out I was hugely influenced by Geddy Lee from the Canadian rock band Rush. As a novice, I struggled to play along with their seminal live album ‘Exit…Stage Left’ but it made me strive to get better. Lee is a multi-instrumentalist and, frankly, a prodigy. I’ll never be at his level but that’s ok. It’s good to have heroes to look up to.
Rush have been releasing records since the early seventies and the three band members are now in their late fifties. Most bands still going after this long are content to live off their legacy or have become a pale shadow of their former selves. However, in 2012 Rush released their 20th studio album – ‘Clockwork Angels’ – and it is staggeringly good! The musicianship is astonishing, no really, it’s breathtaking. Some of these songs are as good as any from their ‘classic’ albums. To be able to motivate yourself to work this hard and this well, after such a long time doing it, really is something to be applauded.
The album has a loose concept devised by the drummer and lyricist Neil Peart. It’s influenced by the Steampunk movement and there will be a novel as a companion piece to the music. For me, the standout song on the album is the closing track ‘The Garden’. I love the melody and the message in the lyrics:The measure of a life, is a measure of love and respect, So hard to earn, So easily burned, In the fullness of time, A garden to nurture and protect
I think Neil Peart is spot on – the most important things in life are love and respect both given and received. I must say though, I do hope my metaphorical garden is slightly better tended than my actual one!
Listening to this album, I’ve been inspired on so many levels. The continual drive to improve; the quality of what they’ve produced; the fact that they can still deliver so comprehensively ‘at their age’. When I look back over my life in later years, I really want to be able to say I always tried my best to get better – whether that’s music, writing or as a person.
I’m going to see Rush in concert next year when they tour the UK. In the meantime, I’ll keep trying to play along…