Bubala, Mumi & Max

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Professor's New Book

Just in time for the 26th anniversary of me seeing my first RUSH concert, September 26th, 1980, I received Neil Peart's new book in the mail. It's his fourth book released by a major publisher. It's called "ROADSHOW - Landscape With Drums - A Concert Tour By Motorcycle." The book chronicles Neil's motorcycle travels on RUSH's recent 30th Anniversary tour. Yes, by motorcycle. While most rock stars prefer the jet set, four star hotel treatment, Neil prefers to dodge all that and kill the boredom on the road traveling by motorcycle. So, this turned into an opportunity for him to not only document the RUSH tour but to also to travel deep into the darkest heart of America and just observe things.

Neil In Leather
Neil writes travelogue books. His first one, "The Masked Rider", is about his bicycle tour through Africa with a group of about 5 North Americans. In the 80's, he used to do RUSH tours by bicycle as well. Can you imagine biking 175 miles from one city to the next and then drumming for a 2 hour RUSH concert? Now, in the 2000's, he motorcycles it and plays a 3 hour RUSH concert. So, he's a biker right? That means that he puts on his leather for protection from the elements. He's the "REAL THING." So, you won't find him getting out of his Mercedes in front of the Eagle and primping before going in, but you will find him driving through rain storms to get to the next gig with his riding buddy Mike who also manages security on the RUSH tour. Neil met Mike though Neil's gay friend who knows Mike's gay friend but neither Neil or Mike is gay. (At least, I don't think so.) But, for some reason, because they are both gay friendly guys, sometimes their banter back and forth with each other throughout the book sounds just like two old queens.

Neil & Mike
RUSH became very gay friendly around the time of their 1993 "Counterparts" album, which had several gay references on it. After that, Neil has written in his books about his gay friends and his positive experiences while hanging around gay people and how they have influenced him through out his life. I've watched the crowds at their shows which are always about 90% men anyway. (Most girls hate RUSH!) There are a lot of gay guys who go see RUSH concerts these days. I got cruised several times during the last two tours especially around Philadelphia. I think it's all the naked men on their album covers that draws the gays to RUSH.

Neil had a few very bad years. In 1997, his 19 year old daughter was killed when she lost control of her car and ran off the road, while she was on her way to college. The next year, his wife was diagnosed with cancer and passed away as well. This left Neil without his family and RUSH was put on hiatus indefinitely. To do with his grief, Neil took to motorcycle riding across his home country of Canada and then down and around in America and into parts of Mexico as well. These travels became the focus of his second book, "Ghost Rider."

Since then, Neil has put his life back on track. He remarried an American woman and moved to California. He's made a few new Rush albums and played on a few tours. He wrote his third book, "Traveling Music." This time, he traveled by car around the Southwest U.S. listening to a variety of different music along the way from Sinatra to Madonna, Mars Volta to Buddy Rich, reminiscing about the past, commenting about the present and passing on some history about parts of areas he traveled in.

Last year, he released an instructional drumming DVD, "Anatomy Of A Drum Solo", where he dissects and demonstrates the 10 minute drum solos he performed on the past two RUSH tours. He even does a few ½ hour improvisational warm up routines on his kit on the DVD. This stuff is for the drum enthusiasts like me.

Neil is currently working on a new RUSH album now, and I've heard that you may spot him in the new Aqua Team Hunger Force movie coming out next year. Until then, we have the new book about RUSH's 30th Anniversary tour. Bubala and I saw six shows on that tour. Virginia Beach, Cleveland, D.C. (well, Nissan in Man Asses, Virginia), Philadelphia. We finished the tour with two sold out shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York City because RUSH is just classy enough to play there.


Blogger Joshua said...

My Goodness, Steve. I was at that concert! I was a young pup of 25 years old and I believe it was their Permanent Waves tour. I loved/love RUSH! Now I have Tom Sawyer playing through my head. LOL. I can't remember where the show was, but I think it was at the stadium in Largo - that isn't there anymore (or it goes by a different name now).

10:05 AM  

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