I always sort of hoped that Rush’s drummer-lyricist Neil Peart and I would cross paths at some point and have an interesting conversation. We both first lived on family farms in Ontario, our fathers both worked at International Harvester dealerships, we both wrote multiple books (much of my work being about Rush’s music), we are both Canadians who lived in Los Angeles for a time, he was nicknamed “The Professor,” and I actually once was a Visiting Assistant Professor. Rush’s music is not everyone’s cup of tea, but the complexity (definitely present in the drumming), the constant stream of influences (lyrical and musical), and the work ethic were remarkable. Please consider giving a monetary gift in his memory to a cancer charity of your choice. RIP, Neil.
Rob Bowman quoted me about Rush’s song “Cygnus X-1” in his liner notes for the 40th anniversary edition of the band’s 1977 album A Farewell to Kings. http://cygnus-x1.net/…/rush/albums-afarewelltokings-40th.php. Thanks, Rob!
As Durrell Bowman (no relation) has noted, the piece “features a substantial amount of electronically generated sounds and sound effects, frequent metrical complexities (28% in asymmetrical meters alone), a large number of tonal areas (eight), a high degree of unison playing (35%), and one of the smallest sung proportions on Rush’s first five studio albums (16%).”
It’s nice to know that someone got as far as page 130 of my 318-page dissertation! I say pretty much the same thing in Experiencing Rush: A Listener’s Companion, but without such nerdy things as percentages and words like “asymmetrical.”
A positive, substantial review of Experiencing Rush: A Listener’s Companion (and my colleague Gregg Akkerman’s Experiencing Led Zeppelin) appeared in the Cleveland Music Examiner on February 11. See: http://www.examiner.com/review/listener-s-companion-series-to-help-fans-experience-led-zeppelin-rush-anew.
Excerpts: “While Bowman’s Rush reader need not be versed in theory, it nonetheless helps to keep one’s thinking cap on for his fascinating forage into what is arguably the world’s foremost intellectual rock band. … [T]he real success of the series is in the way the books rekindle readers’ interest in the subject matter by shedding light on the musical minutiae that might’ve escaped one’s attention till now. We knew these artists were good, but perhaps we couldn’t articulate precisely why. These authors effectively take reader / listeners undercover to view the musicians working all those levers behind the curtain. And it’s in their study and scholarly elucidation of all this musical sorcery that we arrive at a more profound understanding of (and appreciation for) the wizards responsible.”
My chapter outlines for Experiencing Rush: A Listener’s Companion are going very well. For my proposal (I have two weeks left to complete it), the folks at Scarecrow Press really only want one paragraph per chapter. I can easily focus on what I want to cover, because I know the topic extremely well.
The book and the proposal both need to be in short, accessible sentences and without any kind of technical or academic jargon. The trick will be to translate some of my more powerful song-discussion ideas from my UCLA musicology dissertation into “normal” language.
Another part of the proposal involves a writing sample of a page or two about a specific piece of music. I need to sneak selected lyrics directly into my prose sentences, otherwise permissions would be a nightmare. However, I might opt to include a short table that summarizes the main aspects of the structure and textures of whichever song I choose.
I should be able to write the entire book very quickly. I need to, because I have other things to do, and I’ve mostly moved on from this topic anyhow.