Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Intelligent Conversation

Mean, mean pride beyond the gilded cage

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One night coming out of Illona’s in Greektown (and I would sell my soul for one slice of that pie with green peppers and sausage right now) in the early summer of 1980, my parents and I crossed the street to catch the Number 23 bus back home to Eastpoint. There was a store on the corner that had cassettes inside the door.

I had heard about Rush and seen their album covers like “2112” on the Columbia House flyers. I thought their artwork was cool. The “Permanent Waves” cassette was discounted to like $2.99 in the $6.99 era and my Pop was feeling generous. I came home and stuck it into the first cassette deck I ever had and heard “Spirit of Radio” and “Freewill.”

It quickly changed my life.

I had met Kevin Eck on the first day of 7th grade a year earlier in our well-documented friendship and we saw Rush later that year on September 26, 1980. That night, Geddy, Alex and Neil played elements of this album that would solidify the one band that had a perfect career – and provided me a lifetime of music and joy.

Saxon opened that show and opened my eyes to the world of British metal that would serve me well during the Judas Priest era that opened the door for all of the Def Leppards, Poisons and Teslas – and would create Child’s Play literally before my eyes in the subdivisions in the high school halls of Dundalk High – that would drive me through the Hammerjacks era.

I wrote at length about the loss of Neil Peart in January and his legacy as a songwriter and drummer.

I picked the “Moving Pictures” album because, well, you have to pick one and this was the one that set me on a course of dedication that defined my #MusicalNes journey. Plus, “Red Barchetta” is one of my favorite songs and that really defines the band for me. (I wrote at length about my 50 favorite Rush songs several years ago when I vapor trailed them around the country on a tour.)

A couple of years after “Moving Pictures” on the “Grace Under Pressure” tour, I was on the phone with Geddy Lee as a music critic and then my life got really #Almost Famous weird.

A feverish flux.

Since then, it’s been life on the lighted stage, the blur of the landscape and mean, mean pride…

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