After a bad week, I heard the news on Friday that Neil Peart had passed away. 

My mom and I moved to the Chicago suburbs in 1978, thorougly uprooting me from my Mayberry like life in rural New England. My hometown was an example of late 70's post-industrial collapse. No jobs, no surviving industry, and being located in a valley, no radio signals. We'd get one rock station, that specialized in 60's hippie and acid rock and distantly, on a good night, a pop station out of Westerly, Rhode Island.

And then I got dropped into Chicagoland, and the rock scene there was heavily influenced by Canadian imports. Moxy, Pat Travers, April Wine, Triumph and this little band called Rush.

While my school peers listened to more mainstream bands, the nerds at my school all listened to Rush, among other bands. WLUP would occasionally throw one of their songs on the air, and it was always a good time. While Rush wasn't mainstream, it was at least well known enough in Chicago that you weren't completely ostracized for listening to them.

All of that changed in 1982, when we moved back to New England and the valley of shadow of radio signals. Coincidentally almost in time with Rush's release of their album, Signals. Then, my age peers didn't want anything to do with Rush or Geddy Lee's shrieky vocals. The content of Peart's lyrics was of little interest to them. Rush became my solitary pleasure. The music I listened to alone, frequently when I had time to read the liner notes and contemplate the message that Peart, Lee and Lifeson were sending.

Peart, in his younger years was an admirer or Ayn Rand, and although by his own admission he parted ways with her philosphy, he remained a staunch libertarian. And that belief shone through in his lyrics, and in a way, infected me. Meanwhile, the 80's and 90's rolled on. The albums kept coming, life was good.

Until it wasn't. Peart was rocked by two tragedies, the death of his only daughter and his wife. Rush ended their tour early and went on hiatus. I didn't know it at the time, but Peart took to riding his motorcycle around North and Central America, twice, trying to decide whether he wanted to live or die. As usual, great pain can be channeled into art. And he wrote about his journey in a book, Ghost Rider.

Hiatus usually means a band is done. But around the beginning of 2001 I started hearing rumors of a new Rush album. And sure enough it came to be. My favorite band was back and hopefully would be forever. 

But if you live long enough, you get to see your heroes die.

Peart officially retired in 2015. It was explained that he retired because he could no longer perform at the level he expected of himself due to tendonitis. Of course, it's easy to now surmise that his retirement was related to his diagnosis of brain cancer. 

So, here's Rush being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an honor that was long denied them. It's a nice snapshot of a happier time and acknowledgement that this little quirky trio from Toronto is, was and always will be cool.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTAqCEPMHEg


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Thanks for this Ray, I listened to Rush as a kid and didn't know the whole story.
I've known you 15 years and there is still so much I don't know about you. I had no idea you were a huge Rush fan. Sweeeeet!

Thank you for writing and sharing this snapshot.

Losing Neil, man... this one hurts.
Ouch. I thought he left the band to write steampunk fiction (which he did do in the past few years). He was an amazing musician and inventor - his drum rigs were unreal.
 

I bought this "signed and numbered" print in 1998. The art was completed in 1989 and the print was made in 1990. When I moved into my house in 2000 I had it in a crappy poster frame. The frame broke during the move. So the backing cardboard with the print reversed  and covered by the backer paper went on a closet shelf. Where, due to my mad procrastination skillz, it languished for 18 years.

A friend who knew about the print gave me a 60% off custom framing coupon to a local cafting store with orders to "Get Betty off the shelf", which I dutifully did before Thanksgiving. 60% off of nearly a thousand dollars, since I obviously wanted acid-free paper and museum glass to preserve the valuable (hopefully, someday) artwork.

I made note of the artist and Googled him after I paid for the framing. Seems like this fellow has about a dozen original pieces of Betty Page art, all done comic book style. And he's run 1000 signed and numbered pieces of each piece of artwork and sold for around $20. Each and every year.

So, the "valuable" "signed and numbered " print of original artwork is worth about $20. Plus $340 in framing means the whole shebang is worth about $360.

I guess the value is in the eye of the beholder.


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12/7 '18 1 Comment
I think it's cool.

If it makes you happy, then even better.

But maaaan-- I didn't know framing was so expensive. I have a few hand-drawn pieces my friend Stefan made for me that need framing, and at $350 a pop, I may need to put that off a bit longer.