Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Inspired by, Part I: Neil Peart

I heard the song a few times, and it struck a chord. I was always a Rush fan, but this song grabbed me and it wouldn't let go. It was "Subdivisions", a song about peer pressure and life in the burbs. I was blown away and moved, moved so much that I picked up a pen and started to express myself in song lyrics. Over the years I thought of publishing those lyrics, but I know they really aren't that good (hey, I was 17, a walking hormone and in love for the first time. What did you write about at that age?) Maybe I'll publish them on the blog under the title "Songs Unsung" because they never actually blossomed into a real tune. Either way, those first few lines sent me down a path that I am grateful to have walked.

Like I said, the song inspired me and I started reading all of the lyrics written by Rush's drummer, Neil Peart. The man is truly gifted with drumsticks and with words. I had never heard a drummer of his caliber when I started listening to Rush, and there are very few I have heard since (the legendary Buddy Rich and Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater are exceptions.) But it's his perspective, rhyme and structure that rival the greatest of poets. He's clever, sharp and concise; he pulls you in and you relate. He paints such a vivid picture that one cannot help to see. Here's a few lines from Subdivisions:

"Subdivisions
In the highschool halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out
Subdivisions
In the basement bars
In the backs of cars
Be cool or be cast out"

When I heard those words, I had chills. He was writing about my life! And about life in general, of course. I figured I could do the same, and I do. Not half as well as him, if I must say so myself. But that's okay. His words gave me the courage to pen my thoughts, spill the emotions out in ink and own up to what I felt and feel. I grew significantly from that, at least internally. I was still shy and somewhat awkward (hell, I still am sort of awkward) but I have more confidence in my abilities. I felt like I got to know him through his words, and it's a friendship I value today (even though he has never heard of me.)
I recently purchased two books that Peart wrote. He has had a lion's share of tragedy in his life and he coped by writing and traveling. I'm looking forward to his story.

Here are a few more of my favorite lyrics from Neil Peart and Rush.

From The Pass :

"...it's not as if this baricade
blocks the only road
it's not as if your all alone
in wanting to explode

someone set a bad example
made surrender seem alright
the act of a noble warrior
who lost the will to fight..."

From Resist:

You can surrender
surrender without a prayer
buy never really pray
pray without surrender

you can fight
fight without ever winning
but never ever win
win without a fight"

From Freewill:

"If you choose not to decide
you still have made a choice"

Anyway, I could go on all night.

To Neil Peart I say thank you, thank you so much.

3 comments:

TotalChaos said...

They are all good, but the 'be cool or be cast out' was what tainted my years. I couldn't be one of the "Cool" ones.

S.Douglas. said...

Ohh... you hit me hard. Way back in 1982 I was on the bus going to high school when I first heard those words. (Neil). He hit me hard too. I saw RUSH for the first time that November. at market Square Arena in Indy, In.("Signals" tour) I was forever changed for the better. And You. You are my brother...for this reason.

Day Dreamer said...

S.D.,
I never had chance to see Rush live (I couldn't afford it or the drive all the way to Chicago to see them.) However, they did impact me dramatically. Ironically, I just received a "Signals" concert T-shirt for my birthday last month.