Friday, May 11, 2007

Snakes & Arrows

Life is Good.

Rush released a new CD.

Life is Good.

For those of you that might have thought that melodic, hard driving rock was dead need look no further than Rush and their new CD "Snakes & Arrows". This is their 18th major album release (NOT including compilations) - 30 years of creating some of the best music ever heard. This CD debuted #3 on Billboard's Hot 200 - the highest debut for Rush - ever.

Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. Three guys on the top of the food chain when it comes to musical talent and they just keep getting better. How can this be? Geddy's vocals are better than ever, I am conviced that his vocal cords are made of some alien material that just starts breaking in after about 50 years. For the first time in many years, Alex steps a bit to the front. In a group of three virtuosos he often gets overlooked - that's a tragedy considering he is on the short list for best rock guitarists of all time.

Then there's Neil - what can you say about him. Ask any drummer to name the best 3 drummers ever and I would bet that almost all of them would list Peart in their list. Then, there is the cherry on top of the ice cream - he once again delivers lyrics that pierce your soul, expand your mind and make you wonder what is going on inside his head.

When "Vapor Trails" came out a few years ago I though it might have been their best work since "Moving Pictures" (arguably the best Rock album of the 80's). "Snakes & Arrows" IS their best work since "Moving Pictures" - in fact, I would stand it up against MP and maybe call it the "Moving Pictures of this Generation". There are 3 instrumentals on this CD and "The Main Monkey Business" is absolutely amazing. My son and I decided that we would call it "MMB" because we think it's the "YYZ" of this generation.

Now tell me do three of the best, most experience muscians have the guts to call on a relative "new-comer" to help them produce their work. Neil talked about Nick Raskulinecz in an article he wrote back in December about the then upcoming album. Nick pushed them beyond their abiilities - how do you do that?

The Mighty Booujze [a nick name for Nick] came into his own there, coaxing, coaching, and inspiring me into ever more outrageous drum parts and fills. “Bloppida-bloppida-batu-batu-whirrrrr-blop—booujze.” Sweaty and sore, I would come into the control room to listen to a playback, and hear myself thrashing away at the very edge of my abilities, just barely pulling it off (or not), and I would have to laugh out loud at the audacity—and the excitement, if it worked.

Geddy was listening, too, and he shook his head slowly and smiled, saying, “Now that’s comedy!”

In turn, Booujze also urged Geddy’s bass playing into uncharted areas, playing along with him on “air bass” as he described his ideas. Geddy and I soon decided we were “the world’s funniest rhythm section,” and thought we ought to call the album Don’t Try This at Home.

Pretty awesome stuff.

Life is Good.

Rush is still around doing what they do best...

"Like a stone in the river
Against the floods of spring
I will quietly resist."

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"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18