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Subject: 11/30/92 - The National Midnight Star #572

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          The National Midnight Star, Number 572

                 Monday, 30 November 1992
Today's Topics:
      Re: 11/29/92 - The National Midnight Star #570
                    2nd favorite band
            Re: Subject: whip cracking on YYZ
                 Re rush and christianity
                       Japan shows
                 Re: Whip cracking on YYZ
                      Signals cover
                   Upload to FTP server
               Is the sound on YYZ a whip?
                       Ged on SNL?
               Christianity v. Rushism ?!?
    Christianity, Black Holes, and favorite other band
              Rush an' Religion (long post)

Date:         Sun, 29 Nov 92 21:14:32 EDT
From: Jon 
Subject:      Re: 11/29/92 - The National Midnight Star #570

Well it's been awhile but I thought I'd throw in my thoughts on this Rush
vs. Christianity thing.  I fail to understand how the enjoyment of
a particular band, or type of music, has any bearing on  religious
preferences.  The folks in Alcoholics Anonymous claim to believe
in "God as we understand him." I think this is quite healthy and
given the number of people that have recovered in A.A. it seems to be
a very reasonable way to deal with belief systems.  No one is going to become
a satanist simply by listening to a record or looking at a picture of
a pentagram.  Silly people with little minds... I have written extensively
on this subject in my work as a sociologist. If anyone is interested
email me privately and I'll give you citations.
Roll the Bones is about existentialism (ala Nietzsche). I know because
Geddy Lee told me during a rather strange backstage conversation about this
kind of thing that we had around a year ago. Second favorite Band: Rush. First:
Marillion (with Fish)


Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1992 20:27:00 CST
Subject: 2nd favorite band

Gee, my answer to the 2nd favorite group(s) poll has bounced back twice.
Anyone else have that problem?  Guess I'll post it here...  As it turns out,
for me it's a 3-way tie:

#1  Rush (that's a given)
#2  Tie:  Iron Maiden
          Roxy Music

Oh, and an honorable mention for Spinal Tap.  They can still rock after all
these years!

"He who affirms what he does not know to be true falsifies as much as
 he who affirms what he does not know to be false." - Abraham Lincoln


Subject: Re: Subject: whip cracking on YYZ
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 92 22:03:47 -0500


  Thomas Beaudoin writes:

>        I guess i always thought that was a sampled sound, or even
>completely electronically generated.  Not true?

Not true.  The "whip-cracking" sound is actually the instrument
listed in Neil's credits as "plywood".  He described playing plywood
in a letters section to one of the Backstage Club newsletters once
something like:  wear gloves so you don't get splinters, then hit a
piece of plywood against the top of a stool as hard as you can.



From: Chad King 
Subject: Re rush and christianity
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 92 3:15:43 MST

Hello all:

First of all, I'm surprised and pleased at how many wrote in and said that they
were both Christians and Rush fans.  Good to hear it.

Second of all, although I would consider myself fairly fundamentalist, I do not
believe that everything in the Bible can be interpreted literally.  For example
I think that in the story of creation, the six days of creation (and one of
rest) cannot be literally interpreted to mean seven twenty-four hour days.
Instead, I feel that, God being who He is, he could make a day as long as He
wanted to.  If anyone would like to discuss this issue with me, feel free to
e-mail me, as I'm sure all of NMS really doesn't care about my religious

I also believe that not every Rush lyric can be viewed as having
a spiritual meaning.  I would be the first to praise NP's intelligence and
depth as a lyricist, but, after all, he's only a songwriter. (albeit the best
one I've ever heard.)  My point is, he still has to write lyrics which sound
good together and also contain meaning.  So his specific diction and syntax
should not, IMHO, be over-analyzed.

Please feel free to flame me, as I would like to hear other Rush fans' opinions
on the subject.  (regardless of religious persuasion)  But do it in e-mail,
'cause I get tired of all the flame wars on the net.

Finally about the CD -- I'd prefer to keep the longer tracks (15+ minutes) such
as the complete Cygnus X-1 off the CD so that we could fit a larger number of
tracks on it.  But I'll be the first ot order one, regardless 8^}

So long for now --


ps - sorry for the marathon post ;^)

|         |    |    |         |    |    |                                     |
|         |    |    |      ---|    |    | Chad King ( |
|      ---|         |         |         |                                     |
|         |         |---      |    |    | "Leave out conditions -             |
|    |    |         |         |    |    | Courageous convictions              |
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Will drag the Dream into existance" |
|             GO BUFFS!!!!!             |                                     |
| Q: Why is it so windy in Wyoming?     | - Neil Peart, RUSH - "Vital Signs"  |
| A: Nebraska  sucks!                   |                                     |


Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1992 09:38:43 -0500
From: Scott David Daly 
Subject: Japan shows

Hello there.

	I'm just posting to say that anyone going to the Japan shows
this week should be sure to give us all a review!  (After all...we've
been without live Rush for about 6 months over here, and it's getting
kinda strenuous.)

	If the new album is really gonna come out in June, maybe
they'll even play a couple of new songs in Japan...they haven't done
that since PoW, but they might have some stuff already written...LET



Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1992 23:43:36 -0600 (CST)
From: MuffinHead 
Subject: Re: Whip cracking on YYZ

MaCHINE!  wrote:

>      I guess i always thought that was a sampled sound, or even
>completely electronically generated.  Not true?

   Nope. Read the FAQ and listen to the studio and live versions. In the
studio, all three "whaps" are different. Live, Neil uses a china type to
fake it (on ESL).

___________________________________________________________________________          -=<*>=-    


Date: Mon, 30 Nov 92 11:27:33 EST
From: grasso@Cards.COM (David Grasso)
Subject: Signals cover

I was listening to Signals (and reading the cover, again) this weekend and
noticed on the back cover, where the layout is for the city (Subdivision A, I
believe it's called on the jacket) I noticed that in the upper left corner
there was a mention of the name Warren Cromartie.  I know that Ged's a Blue
Jays fan.  Is one of the others an Expo fan???  I know Cromartie played for
them for awhile (I caught one of his fouls down the third base line in 
Cincinnati a number of years ago, when Montreal was visiting) before he went
to play in Japan.

Just curious.


Date: 	Mon, 30 Nov 1992 12:30:42 -0500
From: css1559@Glade.YorkU.CA
Subject: Upload to FTP server

  This is a note to all users:

    Comming soon, a special .VOC file of Geddy Lee's line in 'Tears
are Not Enough'.  It's in time for Christmas, so give it to all your
loved ones.  It is posted in the Rush/Incoming directory.

    Get it!

   PS  Also a .WAV format can also be made available in either
compressed or uncompressed format.  Just drop us a line at the RUSH
INSTITUTE OF FANDOM, c/o Rush Preservation Society of Canada, at or

 We now return you to your NMS!



Date: Mon, 30 Nov 92 10:35:34 -0700
From: Greg Thorwald 
Subject: Is the sound on YYZ a whip?

I had always heard the sound as breaking glass in YYZ and
had pictured it as beer bottles being thrown against a brick
wall to the rhythm of the music.

Greg Thorwald


Date: 30 Nov 1992 13:25:12 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Ged on SNL?

'scuse me if this was already brought up last Thanksgiving, but I wasn't a
NMS subscriber then, so I'll ask it now.  Last week's Saturday Night Live
(first aired last Thanksgiving) featured Mac Culkin and Tin Machine, but
did anyone notice the lanky, stringy-haired, sharp-nosed bass player who
was with GE Smith and the SNL Band?  Perhaps I've been reading this too
much, but there's no doubt in my mind that it was Geddy.  Anyone else see


Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1992 15:01:44 -0500
From: lhilbe46@uther.Calvin.EDU (Lance Hilbelink)
Subject: Christianity v. Rushism ?!?


Allow me to quote myself:

>... being Christian, I do not agree with 63% of the philosophy purported by
>the band (well, at least by Neil).

I think it's really kinda funny how one half of a sentence can spark so many
flames, especially when taken out of context.  Allow me now to put it in its

> However, Rush has by now made it to the top of my rock band favorites list,
>even though, being Christian, I do not agree with 63% of the philosophy
>purported by the band (well, at least by Neil).  Still, I delight in the
>meaningfulness of the lyrics--especially when contrasted with lyrics so
>common on the rock music scene these days--and in the sheer power of their
>ever-changing musical style.

First, let me thank those of you who posted to the digest in support of my
statement (Mark Steph, especially, for your specific examples).

Second, allow me to explain what I meant by the above statement:

	Point 1.  The number 63% is a completely arbitrary number, meant
primarily in jest.  The only possible real meaning that could come from this
is "somewhat more than half."

	Point 2.  The emphasis in the paragraph was meant to be on the part
that states that I enjoy listening to the music _and lyrics_ of Rush, not on
the part that states that I happen to disagree with some of the lyrical
content.  After all, how many others of you agree 100% with Rush's lyrical

	Point 3.  I think it is quite obvious that Rush's lyrics, in some
places, contain non-Christian elements (see also Mark Steph's post in NMS
#570), especially in the albums _Presto_ and _RtB_.

	Point 4.  Now I think I must explain the phrase "being Christian, I do
not agree with".  This does *not* mean that all Christians will concur with me
on this idea.  It only means that because of the Christian values that I, as
an Orthodox Presbyterian Calvinist, adhere to, I find *myself* at odds with
some of the ideas in other world-views.  In this case, that includes the
apparent world-view that Mr. Peart seems to support.

	Point 5.  In emphasizing the fact that Rush is my favorite band, I
mean that I enjoy listening to Rush, yet I take note of the lyrics and notice
that they generally have more meaningful themes than sex, fun, drugs, etc.,
which seem to be the themes of the songs of *many* other rock groups.  I
happen to enjoy comparing and/or contrasting other world-views to my own.  I
agree with whomever said it that it is awfully closed-minded of some people
simply to say that Rush is evil, and then to quit listening to them on that

Third, allow me to say a few more things...

I also heard a number of people in my past denounce the whole of rock music
because of a few superficial symbols by some of the groups.  I admit that
denouncing the whole of rock music on this basis is closed-minded, but it is
just as closed-minded to denounce these people for denouncing rock music.  I
am not so quick to discard their message as if it were (*$#@%.  There may be
elements of truth to the message.

My God is not a deterministic God.  He gave everyone a free will to choose Him
(or not to choose Him).  What good is lots of praise from mankind if they are
forced to do it? (I am trying to be careful here--predestination is a touchy
doctrine.  My pastor explained it all to me once, and it made perfect sense at
the time; however, I am not able to reproduce this argument, so don't ask me
to! :) )

There are also many good ideas to be learned from in many Rush songs, even
from my Calvinist perspective.  I don't think I need to give examples here.

The bottom line is this:
	I did not mean to say in the (far) above quote that Rush is
anti-Christian, but that *some* of their ideas are obviously *non*-Christian

Thank you for your patience. :)

Lance M. Hilbelink (
Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Go Brewers!
May I even be so bold as to say: "Packers! Packers! Pack, pack, Pack!"?


Date:         Mon, 30 Nov 92 12:49:39 MST
From: "Scott A. Raby" 
Subject:      Christianity, Black Holes, and favorite other band

first of all,
  Cygnus X-1 is the best 'Candidate' for a black hole, not an actual
confirmed black hole.  I know, I know, I am getting very picky, but hey,
anything to make me sound intelligent.

Second, on Christianity,
  I, too, am a Christian and have loved the lyrics and music of RUSH for over
5 years.  Until recently, I never really pondered the lyrics of Neil Peart as
compared to my religion.  Now that I am, I almost value Neil's lyrics more
than I did before.  As a Christian, I believe in predestination.  However,
that doesn't mean that Neil's lyrics go completely against what I believe
because life is still a roll of the dice --- for me anyway.  Sure, what I do
and where I go in life is already predetermined, but not by me.  The decisions
I make are decisions which I make.  I take a shot so to speak; at least that's
how it seems to me.  Of course, God knows what decision I will make and what
I will do, but He won't tell me that.  Confusing in a way, but it goes
along with Neil's lyrics to a point.  I know,  Neil wasn't saying what I am
when he wrote those lyrics, but what he says can apply to Christians (or
anyone).  My fate has been determined, but it is my job to continue in life
living out that fate, making choices based on my own Freewill guided by God.
If this makes no sense, that's ok,  I'm not trying to make an argument here,
just trying relate some of what Neil says to some of what I believe.   I
think that is one of Rush's qualities;  They are able to bridge this gap
between the religious and the non-religious.  We can all apply what they say
to all of us.

And lastly,
  I'm suprised that not more of the people who have responded to what is their
second favorite band have not said Yes.  That's by far, my second favorite
band.  The old stuff more than the new, except Union.  I really liked that
album for some reason.  (Compared to 90125 and Big Generator anyway.)

Well, I have said enough.
Waiting for next June to come around,


Date: Mon, 30 Nov 92 11:53:32 -0500
From: (Gregg Jaeger)
Subject: Rush an' Religion (long post)

Some thoughts:

>Subject: Christianity vs. Rush???
>From: Rob Halsey 

>However,  a point that one could logically make about Rush concerns the
>existentialist lyrics that come from Mr. Peart.  Most fundamentalist
>Christians would say that it is hard to justify man's existence without
>having a  reason to exist (to serve God).

And they'd be wrong. The fact that most people don't commit suicide
is evidence enough that they have reasons for continuing to exist,
irrespective of whether or not the reason is that they believe they
must serve God.

>My own view on the band and their philosophy is this:  I find it
>interesting to examine other worldviews other than my own.

I've always been wondered why so many people enjoy listening to opinions
they _agree completely_ with. Boring, I'd say!

>Subject: rush and christianity
>From: (Sean Flanegan)

> Rush music has an underlying theme that supports the idea
>that everyone is free thinking and that you decide your own fate.
>(Freewill, rtb,etc..) On the other hand ( I am not a true authority on
>Christian values so correct me if I am wrong in my explanation) , it is
>my understanding that Christians believe that our lives are controlled by
>God, and that what happens to us is destined to happen. One other belief
>that Neil has shown is his that he believes in evolution, whereas strict
>Christians believe in Adam & Eve. (High Water)

I'm always amazed that people are so quick to accept the
freewill/determinism and creation/evolution distinctions
as dichotomous. Sure it's easy to _present_ these distinctions
as dichotomies, but people are so willing to stop their
thought processes right there! I think more careful thought
shows that these distinctions need not be seen as dichotomies,
i.e. there are sorts of determinism and freewill, and sorts
of creation schemes that allow for the compatibility of these
distinct ideas.

Furthermore, there are faiths (e.g. Islam) which can be viewed
as espousing compatiblisms. Christianity might even be understood
as compatiblist in regard to freewill/determinism; after all,
what is the point of Judgment Day if God judges nothing but
his _own_ decisions? Clearly for Judgment to make sense there
must be a meaningful sense in which one has freewill.
There are clearly _physical_ limitations on freewill (I can't
will myself to the moon in 1 second, for example), why should
there not also be some sort of metaphysical limitation also?

As I see it, these distinctions are not so clear cut as most
are willing to see them as being. (Of course, if you _define_
these concepts as opposites -- as Objectivists would tend to do --
then the two will be incompatible, but this is not logically

>Subject: Survey, Religion, and Everything
>From: Russell Marks (Zgedneil) 

> I think Rush generally, and Neil in
>particular, don't like the idea of sticking to a set philosophy which you
>either inherit or decide you like bits of. This is essentially, in my
>opinion, how you are introduced to religion. They (and he) instead prefer
>the logical option of deciding what you want to do, as much as possible,
>yourself; and if you wish to, devising your own value system as opposed to
>adopting somebody else's. My general idea of basically not doing nasty
>things if possible is, admittedly, present in many religions. However, I
>came to that conclusion *myself* and I know it makes sense to me,
>personally, I haven't just thought 'hey I like that'.

Very well said! I think this is Neil's position on religion in a
nutshell. In fact I think he's so adamant about it that he won't
make a blatant statement to the effect that people should be
unreligious despite his being very critical of religious doctrines.
I think he does this precisely to make room for those who take his
lyrics seriously to make their _own_ choices on the issue.

> The problem with this is that you can decide to, for instance, be a
>Christian. That's free will, folks. But in many respects you lose it
>from that point on.

One doesn't really `lose it' (how _could_ you _really_ lose it,
metaphysically?). But, yes, accepting a set of ideas on the basis of
faith does usually make it psychologically _difficult_ to change
one's mind because there is a sense of security that comes with
that set of ideas. (I'll stop short of getting into the Freudian
theory that God is a proxy for one's father).

>From: (Mark Steph)

>Mark Jager  says:
>> For the record, I don't find Rush to be anti-Christian,
>> or anti-any-religious-belief.  That's why I'd appreciate some
>> other views on this.

>Well, here are a few references...  There are a lot more "one liners" that
>seem to poke at religion, but these can often be taken in several different
>contexts.  (Obviously, everything below can also be interpreted differently
>as well, since Neil didn't discuss this stuff with me before he published

(to prevent possible future misunderstandings, note that Mark and I
aren't the same person; Mark, what happened to your umlaut?!)

Excellent disclaimer. I'll try my hand at another interpretation at times:

>  This song upholds the "virtue of selfishness" as described by Ayn Rand.

`Claimed' might be a better word than `described.' (Imagine someone
talking about the Pope `describing' the virtue of self-sacrifice)

>  This is the antithesis of (christian) religion where selflessness is one of
>  the highest virtues.

It's not the antithesis of Christian religion, it's the antithesis of
the Christian thesis (one amongst many) that selflessness is a virtue.

>Free Will
>  Free will is incompatible with a deterministic god.  Of course, everyone
>  has their own ideas about the christian god, but the way he is presented
>  in the Bible, he appears to be a deterministic god.

Again, this depends on what _sort_ of determinism and what _sort_ of
freewill one is discussing. If these two are seen as opposed by
definition, then obviously; whether this is the _Christian_ conception or
not is another question.

>Tom Sawyer
>  "His mind is not for rent to any god or government"  I would also be
>  interested to hear other opinions on the lines "Catch the witness--Catch
>  the wit / Catch the spirit--Catch the spit".  I assumed that this
>  meant that TS would laugh at those that witnessed and spit on "the spirit".

IMO, this interpretation is colored by anti-religious prejudice.
I think the `spirit' is the spirit of Tom Sawyer, the `The Holy Spirit.'
I mean, `catch the Holy Spirit'? I don't think so. `Catch Tom Sawyer's
spirit,' i.e. notice TS's sense of life, is far more plausible.

>Witch Hunt
>  While this may be more about mob mentality than religion, there
>  still seem to be specific references to religious mob mentality.

Absolutely! Of course there are other sorts of mob mentality that
could be relevant here too, like McCarthyist mob mentality.

>The Weapon
>  I have argued before that this entire song is pointed at religion (or
>  at least christianity).

And I've argued that this is not the case -- let's look at the arguments:

>  "He's not afraid of your Judgement/He knows
>  of horrors worse than your Hell/He's a little bit afraid of dying/
>  But he's a lot more afraid of your lying".  This seems very specific
>  to christianity.

To me, the `he' here clearly is _not_ religious. He's _not_ afraid of
the Judgment after all!

>  "Can any part of life be larger than life?/Even love must be limited
>  by time"  Does it make sense that something bigger than life--outside
>  reality as we know it--could exist?  Can love be eternal?

This is an open question (as many of Neil's questions are). And it
also making a specific point about ideology, not specifically
_religious_ ideology. In fact, it seems far more sensible for this
song to be about Marxist political leaders than Christian ones! (IMO, Neil
was trying to incorporate both).

Furthermore, why wouldn't it make sense for there to be things beyond
our perception? Heck, one hundred years ago were weren't aware
that _atoms_ existed (I realize that this is a different sort of new
awareness, but the point is that one can _always_ learn more about
reality). Perhaps after one dies one _does_ have a life (perhaps
a very different one but a life nonetheless). No-one alive really knows.

>  "Is any killer worth more than his crime?"  Isn't death the worst
>  penalty you could bestow on someone that murders someone else?  Or
>  should you torment him in Hell for eternity?

I think the point is that there is _no earthly_ penalty which can deliver
justice to one killed. It's an expression of frustration at an injustice
which can't be corrected on earth and for which no earthly deterrant
exists: if the guy's not afraid of eternal damnation what's to stop
him from killing someone?

>  "They shout about love, but when push comes to shove/They live for
>  things they're afraid of"  Christians proclaim to do everything out
>  of love, but instead do it out of fear of god.

_Some_ Christians might, so might Marxists do everything out of fear
but fear of the material power of capitalism. To me, the song could
just as easily be seen as being about Stalin or Krushchev, especially
when you consider the `when push comes to shove' line!

On to the other examples:

>Show Don't Tell
>  This song seems to stress objective reality and renounce faith as
>  a means of cognition.  "But apart from a few good friends/We don't
>  take anything on faith".  I.e., you can have confidence in those
>  that have proven they are worthy of it.

Faith as a reliable means of cognition, sure. Objective reality,
well at least reality for the subjects in question. ;)
`We don't take anything on faith...Until later.'

>The Pass
>  According to Peart, this song is about suicide.  But it seems to also
>  go deeper than that.  It seems to also have an extreme distaste for
>  martyrdom.  The closing lines seem to implicate Christ as the one
>  that made surrender seem alright.  There is "no hero in [his] tragedy."

Sure. This has been discussed at length on TNMS before, with a even
split between the two interpretations of `Christ' here. (again I think
both meanings were intended -- clearly Neil is intelligent enough to
realize that both were possible, and he makes sure to prevent obvious
possible erroneous interpretations of his lyrics  -- he's said so).

>Roll the Bones
>  "Faith as cold as ice--/Why are little ones born only to suffer/For the
>  want of immunity or a bowl of rice?/Well, how would hold a price/
>  On the heads of the innocent children/If there's some immortal power/
>  To control the dice?"  This sounds very much like the old argument
>  about suffering:[...]

About this one there is little question. Though whether Neil has done
justice to the possible religious answers is another question. This
`open question' is far less open than most of his others, that's for

>Ghost of a Chance

Quite considerately, Neil uses the first person here so as not to
promote dogmatism. If he'd left out the "I"s _then_ there would
certainly be a conflict between Rush and the Judeo-Christian-Islamic
tradition! But Neil is thoughtful enough to leave it at a _tension_,
to leave it pointed as Mark said, but I think it's not so comprehensive
as he's portrayed it to be either.


Gregg Jaeger (jaeger@buphy)  Dept. of Physics (and Philosophy), Boston Univ.
"You see, the quantum mechanical description is in terms of knowledge" -Peierls
"One can _not_ put the psi-function... in place of the... thing" -Schroedinger
                   _De gustibus non disputandum_, NOT!


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End of The National Midnight Star Number 572

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