Monday, July 9, 2012

Playing is More Fun than Listening: Rush's "Circumstances"

I have been playing guitar in bands for awhile now.  In spite of the generous financial and career sacrifice that has accompanied these musical pursuits, performing and recording music with like minded folks has been one of my life's greatest joys and triumphs.  However, there have been moments during the journey that were less than great.  I blame at least a few of these on the rock band RUSH.

I'm not a RUSH fan.  It's not that I dislike their music entirely.  I'm sure there have been many times when I've stopped my radio dial on a RUSH song because it was the least offensive choice available.  But I own no RUSH recordings, I've never seen them live, and I've never joined in when the guys in my bands have broken in to RUSH songs during rehearsals.  These spontaneous musical tangents occur at 85% of rehearsals.   

Every time this happens, I seethe internally.  This is partly because I have no idea how long the foray into the prog rock cock forest is going to last; and when you have to wake up early to go to a job, those minutes of lost sleep start to add up.  But, it's also because I can't play along. I hate sitting on the sidelines and watching anything.  And every time I watch the guys rip into the opening riff of "Circumstances," impish grins curling across their faces, I've felt left out.  

The answer of course seems simple.  Learn a RUSH song.  But the complexity of RUSH's music seemed to far exceed my ability as a guitar player and I assumed attempts to learn would prove futile.  As such, I never tried.  However, I've decided that needs to change.  After years of merely observing my band mates engage in a musical circle jerk of joy over Canada's most loved export, I've begun to learn "Circumstances" so that I can join the party. 

I'm about half way through the song now.  The intricate arpeggios of the middle section lie ahead.  This is the hardest part of the song.  But I've got it.  And, while I can't say I'm becoming a rabid RUSH fan, I can say that RUSH is like golf - far more fun to play than to watch or listen to.