Happy New Year! Hope this year finds you healthy and brings you many good things.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on the blockchain and NFTs and getting very interested in the potential. As I always do, diving in the deep end and learn by doing. As such, I’ve launched my first NFT collection on solsea.io!
My collection is a numbered lot of CDs. “The Way Home” is my 2nd studio album and I’ve created NFTs that are linked to 10 physical copies of the CD. I’m looking at more of what the metaverse does with this, rather than trying to make any money from the NFTs.
I wrote this song about 10 years ago. I tend to write songs and then there’s something about it that isn’t fitting, so I put it on the shelf. I was about to re-shelve this one until I found a great acoustic drum beat that fit the song perfectly.
I’m on the outside looking in So how would it feel To let me in Forget the things that your mother told you About the friends you made and the enemies around you They all surround you Like people at a parade
Will you be there for me Will you wait for me
Everyone pitches in To solve your only problem So how do you fit in To the unfitting ways of the world? They just don’t fit
If I could help you through All the things that ail you Would you let me in, let me in?
I’m a huge fan of the bass guitar. I think it’s the most underrated instrument in modern music. If you took the bass out of 90% of the rock songs between 1972 – 2000, those songs would be completely different.
Bass was my second instrument and started playing at 15 years old. My first bass was a red Hondo. Haven’t seen one since then. I think I either sold it or gave it to my friend Pete Scales and then “upgraded” to a Peavey Patriot 🤣!
This is my one and only bass now.
It’s an Ibanez SDGR and I found it at a pawn shop here in West Dundee, IL a few years back. It has an active pickup that sounds great direct into my DAW. Someday soon I’ll pick up a Fender P-Bass or Jazz.
My love for the bass started with the band Rush in 1981. As I dug deep into their music, I realized Geddy Lee played both bass and keys – and piano is my first instrument. So naturally, I started emulating what he did and learned a bunch of Rush songs on bass and keys. The pinnacle of bass/keys combo is of course the song “Tom Sawyer.”
Today, as I write songs, I try and bring in bass parts as soon as possible since the song really starts to make sense to me with the low-end definition. Sometimes, I’ll even start with a bass line, then add drums and go from there. Those songs tend to be more interesting (IMO). My song Nowhere Fast is an example of that.
My first concert was in 1984 and it was Rush at the Rosemont Horizon (now, Allstate Arena). I remember the day vividly. It was June 29th and cold. I stood outside my house waiting to be picked up and remember thinking, ‘this is too cold for June.’ My friend and bandmate, Paul picked me up in his beat up Pinto. We took a wrong turn and went way out of our way. Got to our seats for the last song of the opener, Marillion.
My obsession with Rush started years before in 1981 when my cousin popped in an 8-track of Moving Pictures. Again, it was a vivid moment. I remember staring at the radio, listening intently as I have never heard music like this before. As a classical piano student, which I started in 1976, there was a quality to the Rush songs that affected me on a deeper level like no other band.
So, from the summer of 1981 to somewhere in the mid-90’s, Rush became my most binged music. I was into a lot of other artists, but as far as listening time goes, it was Rush 10:1. I attended a Rush concert every year they toured Chicago during that same period. Then, there was all the time spent learning bass/keys for most songs on Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, Signals, GUP and HYF. It’s safe to say I was a Rush junkie.
It’s been 3 days since I heard the news about Neil’s passing and I really think I’m going through the stages. Listening to their 2011 Time Machine album this morning and hearing how wicked Neil’s playing was at age 60 is mind blowing. What Neil had been able to accomplish as a writer and musician, puts him into a class of his own. The complexity, creativity and quantity of his drums parts over the course of 19 studio albums is a body of work that is almost impossible to compare. And, up until 2016, he was performing those songs at near perfection – again – in his 60s! I’m 50 and playing piano/guitar for almost 40 years has taken a toll on my hands. I can’t imagine the toll of that level of playing/touring had taken on Neil. It would be like Tom Brady playing into his 50s.
As a lyricist and drummer, Neil was a pure artist. Never watering down his craft to fit into a more “popular” genre. Yet, by all measurements, Rush is more popular than most pop acts. I can pretty much guarantee Justin Bieber will not be performing at 63 years old.
As a musician and human, I need to thank Neil and Rush for having such a positive influence in my life. They were truly my “companion unobtrusive” for so many years. It’s very tragic that Neil could not get the chance to enjoy his golden years and meet more of the people whose life he changed.