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Subject: 11/28/91 - The National Midnight Star #390  ** Special Edition **

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----------------------------------------------------------------------


          The National Midnight Star, Number 390

                Thursday, 28 November 1991
Today's Topics:
          "Row the Boats" article by Neil Peart
----------------------------------------------------------

[ In light of the upcoming Neil Rockline interview, I thought this might
  be a good time to post this.                                 :rush-mgr ]

Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1991 15:58 EDT
From: "Matthew Barton, Administrative Computing X-3055" <BARTON@ACC.FAU.EDU>
Subject: "Row the Boats" article by Neil Peart

The following article written by Neil Peart is contained in the
press kit and scroll released with "Roll the Bones." The scroll
is a roll of "parchment" containing the article. The press kit is
a full color, 12 page, 12 x 10 pamphlet similar to a tour guide.
A full description of the press kit follows the article.
_________________________________________________________________

Row the Boats

by Neil Peart

** We're only immortal for a limited time. **
     Musicians are sometimes said to be immature. Not US guys,
you understand, but some of the other musicians we know. Like
them, we spent our adolescent years welded to our instruments,
obsessed by music to the exclusion of nearly everything else in
"normal life." And maybe that youthful seriousness, which in a
way is growing up too fast, means that the adolescent sense of
immortality and irresponsibility stays with us a little longer,
into the time when we're supposed to be adults. This is called
the "artistic temperament." This is also called a good excuse.
     The point is, each of us experiences a time when we feel
immortal, when time is not passing and we're never going to die.
But it's a limited-time-offer - time DOES pass, and soon enough
the realities of life come crowding in on us, whether we're ready
for them or not, and we have to get SERIOUS. This is called
"facing the real world."

** We're only at home when we're on the run. **
     Being mature doesn't have to mean being dead. You just have
to get out there and rock, keep your bones ROLLING, and stay out
of the ruts. That has been true for Rush as well: we have
continued to learn and grow and change, but behind all that the
important thing was to just keep moving. Rolling bones gather no
rust.
     Through seventeen years and umpteen albums and tours
together, we seldom stopped to look back, but neither did we look
ahead much beyond the next album or tour. We just kept doing what
seemed right, without worrying about the future - it would take
care of itself. That is called being philosophical. That is also
called a good excuse.
     But suddenly it's different - all at once it seems obvious
that we have a long creative partnership ahead of us. Maybe we're
growing up a tiny bit; I'm not sure; but I do know that we are
excited about this band in a whole new way. Each of us feels it,
and _Roll the Bones_ was the catalyst - this record was so
enjoyable to make, and the process was so satisfying through each
of its stages that suddenly we feel a new conviction, a sense of
rebirth. We cut our holidays short in order to start the record
sooner, we finished it in "record" time, and now we're eager to
get it out so people can hear it. We're even cutting our holidays
short again in order to start a tour, then get on to the next
record. We are PSYCHED. And still immortal ...

** We will pay the price, but we will not count the cost. **
     A line from John Barth's _The Tidewater Tales_ (he said I
could use it) which echoed around inside me for a long time after
I read the book. To me, it just means GO FOR IT.
     "There are no failures of talent, only failures of
character." I think that's often true too. Sure there are a lot
of talented people who don't achieve artistic or worldly success,
but I think there's usually a reason - a failure INSIDE them. The
important thing is: if you fail once, or if you think your luck
is bad this time, the dream is still there. A dream is only over
if you give it up - or if it comes true. That is called irony.
     We have to remember the oracle's words, from Nike, the Greek
goddess of victory and lumpy athletic shoes: Just do it.
No excuses.

** The night has a thousand saxophones. **
     And nary a clarinet between us.

** Turn it up - or turn that wild card down. **
     The line that started it all... On a rainy day in late
summer, cool enough to draw me close to the fire, I sat on the
floor of my cottage with a pile of papers around me - notes from
the previous two years, lines and phrases collected on the road,
or in that dream-like moment before sleep. I began playing with
the phrases "turn it up" and "turn it down," thought of turning a
_card_ down, as you do in some game I forget the name of, and
then I started to think more about the "wild card" idea. I guess
that's called inspiration.
     So many wild cards we are dealt in life - where we're born,
the genes we wear, the people we meet along the way, and the
circumstances of the world around us. Sometimes we even CHOOSE a
wild card: Faith is like that, and so is Trust - one of the
biggest chances you can make in life is trusting somebody, and
yet most of us take that chance, at least once or twice. Some of
us pursue ambitions where the odds against success are great (and
where we might have to stay adolescents all our lives). That is
called bravado.
     There is truth in homilies like "the harder I work, the
luckier I get" and "luck is when preparation meets opportunity,"
but they are only tendencies, not _laws_. The best-laid plans, et
cetera. No matter how intelligent, talented and beautiful we
might be, we still don't know what the hell's going to happen
next. But we CAN improve the odds by the choices we make.
     I am NOT an existentialist; I am a FREE MAN!

** Where's my thing? **
     Where indeed. No deep meaning here, I'm glad to report -
just one of those things people say: "Where's that ... um ... oh,
YOU know ... where's my - THING?"
     We have a lot of fun with this one, putting so much stuff
into it there wasn't even room for a SMALL kitchen sink. And for
once, the lyrics are guaranteed politically correct. We've been
meaning to do another instrumental (exercise in self-indulgence)
for a few years, but something always seemed to derail our good
intentions - as soon as Geddy and Alex would come up with a good
musical part, it would fit with some lyrics I'd just written.
     This time I outsmarted them; I wouldn't give them any more
words until they'd finished an instrumental! It worked.

** Playing the game, but not the way the big boys played. **
     Yo, DJ - spin that wheel!
     Sorry. You lose. Life is so unfair. I mean, shuffling around
this mortal coil, this vale of tears, playing the cosmic game
show and waiting for the party-at-the-end-of-the-world, taking
commercial breaks and flicking through the channels - then
suddenly the show is OVER? If you played well and gave it all you
had, you're certainly a true winner, but sometimes the winner
takes nothing. That is called tragedy.

** Do we have to be forgiving at last? **
     I suppose. The deconstruction of the Eastern Bloc made some
people happy; it made me MAD. For generations those people had to
line up for toilet paper, wear bad suits, drive nasty cars and
drink bug spray to get high - and it was all a MISTAKE? A heavy
price to pay for somebody else's misguided ideology, it seems to
me, and that waste of life must be the ultimate heresy.
     The drum part in this song was inspired by a different part
of the world. One hot night I lay under the stars on a rooftop in
Togo, and heard the sound of drums from across the valley. Even
on the edge of sleep the drumming moved me, the rhythm stayed in
my head, and while working on this song I used variations of it
and other West African influences. Depending on your point-of-
view, that is either called cross-pollination, or plundering the
Third World ...

** Somehow we find each other, through all that masquerade. **
     The timeless quest - find somebody to love, and make it
last. We know the odds are not good, but most of us keep trying.
Some of us get lucky. Some of us don't. C'est la vie.
     Some greater guitar stuff in this song, I think, but don't
tell him I said so.
     This is the kind of song that WE always think ought to be a
massive hit single, but by this time we've learned that it won't
be, because we're too weird.

** Life is a diamond you turn into dust. **
     Some people can't deal with the world-as-it-is, or
themselves-as-they-are, and feel powerless to change things - so
they get all crazy. They waste away their lives in delusions,
paranoia, aimless rage, and neuroses, and in the process they
often make those around them miserable too. Strained friendships,
broken couples, warped children. I think they should all just
stop it. That is called wishful thinking.

** Be-bop or a one-drop or a hip-hop lite-pop-metallist. **
     Yep - no matter what kind of song you choose to play, you're
betting your life on it, for good or ill, and what you believe is
what you are. So there. However you slice it, you're taking a
chance, and you MIGHT not be right. (Just this once.) No one can
ever be SURE, in this best of all possible random universes.
     That's why the essence of these songs is: if there's a
chance, you might as well take it. So what if some parts of life
are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap. A random
universe doesn't have to be FUTILE; we can change the odds, load
the dice, and roll again.
     And there's no escaping the dice; even if you try to take
the sting out of a random universe by embracing the prefab
structure of Faith, you still have to gamble that it's the RIGHT
one. Say the secret word and win a hundred dollars. For anyone
who hasn't seen Groucho Marx's game show "You Bet Your Life," I
mean that no one but Groucho knows the secret word, and one guess
is as good as another. You might have lived a good long life as
an exemplary Christian, only to be met at the gates of heaven
by MOHAMMED ...
     Anything can happen. That is called fate.

** Why are we here? Because we're here. **     Row the boats.

_________________________________________________________________

Front Cover:             R U S H
               (with a faded pic of the boyz)

page 2:   (the full-length photo of the cover shot)
          Music by Lee and Lifeson
               Lyrics by Peart
          Produced by Rupert Hine and Rush
          Engineered by Stephen W. Tayler
          Arrangements by Rush and Rupert Hine

                         The Songs
          Dreamline * Bravado * Roll the Bones * Face Up *
          Where's My Thing? * The Big Wheel * Heresy *
          Ghost Of a Chance * Neurotica * You Bet Your Life

                      September 1991

page 3-5: (Row the Boats article, page 5 has a small pic insert
               of the elephant's gluteus max)

page 6-8: (pics of Alex, Neil, Geddy)

page 9:   (close-up shot of a similar dice stack with a block
               missing, through which is blue sky. Three bones
               are coming in through the window - leg bones I
               believe, not wishbones)

page 10:  (reproductions of all 18 album covers with titles &
               years released underneath each)

page 11: (this is a pocket for the press release B&W photo of the
               boyz)

back cover:    (pic of the three wishbones over sunset-lit water)

9229 Sunset Blvd.        (Atlantic logo)     75 Rockefeller Plaza
Los Angeles, CA  90069                       New York, NY  10019
213/205-7450                                 212/484-6000
FAX:213/205-7475                             FAX:212/484-7825

----------------------------------------------------------

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The contents of The National Midnight Star are solely the opinions and 
comments of the individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the 
opinions of the authors' management, or the mailing list management.

Copyright The Rush Fans Mailing List, 1991.

Editor, The National Midnight Star
(Rush Fans Mailing List)

********************************************
End of The National Midnight Star Number 390
********************************************



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