Sunday, July 18, 2010

Of Rocking and Rush

Friday night, I sewed. Saturday morning, I went on a garden tour. Saturday night, I watched the Rush documentary, all three hours, including special features.

As I write that, I wonder if it may seem strange to have such disparate yet equally enjoyable interests: Sewing, quilting, gardening--and hard rock.

Quilters are supposed to be nice ladies. Nice older ladies. Nice older ladies who hand-piece and cluck softly about why Florence wasn't in church on Sunday; she fell and broke her hip, poor dear. Let's make her a quilt and take turns bringing casseroles and homemade pie.

In other words, quilters sit in rockers; they don't rock.

Of course, that's a load of compost. We are as individual and unique as anyone else on the planet. But as humans, we like to put things in categories and slap on a label. Our brains seem to be wired that way, to sense patterns and make order from chaos. We create stereotypes.

So it can be surprising to find out a rock musician is an avid golfer (Alex Lifeson, guitarist for Rush). Or a collector of baseball memorabilia (Geddy Lee, bassist/singer for Rush). Or would rather bike to the next gig than ride in on the tour bus (Neil Peart, drummer).

As much as we like to put pegs into their matching holes, as much as we gravitate toward the familiar and routine, we also bristle at boring and predictable. We throw a pop of bright red into a black and white quilt. Take a previously untraveled back road to work. Listen to Rush.

I first heard Rush when my youngest brother became obsessed with the band as a teenager. He honed his guitar chops on albums like 2112 and Hemispheres. Rush music poured out of his bedroom across the hall to mine, and I became a fan as well. I was impressed by the musicianship of the power trio, fascinated by the ever-changing time signatures, the intellectualism of the lyrics--when we weren't laughing at them, that is.

There is unrest in the forest.
There is trouble with the trees,
for the maples want more sunshine
and the oaks ignore their pleas.

Sometimes my brother would demonstrate a few runs he'd learned, and I'd try to play them (very badly) on my acoustic guitar. Good times.

Rush was not your stereotypical rock band either, and that appealed to me. They didn't write the typical 3-minute radio song; they wrote the 10-minute "La Villa Strangiato." Geddy Lee sang in a high-pitched voice that sounded like he was being tortured with live voltage, and was likely to send your cat running for cover. And they were Canadian.

If you're a Rush fan--maybe even if you're not--Beyond the Lighted Stage is definitely worth watching. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

Finally, an unexpected surprise. This 11-year-old Japanese girl is playing the Rush classic, "YYZ." (You can see Rush doing their own song here.) It apparently took her six months to arrange this on her keyboard. Amazing!

Rock on!


  1. Wow! That little gal really knows how to rock, doesn't she?

    LOL! You already know about a lot of my non-stereotypical musical tastes--but have we talked about Jimi Hendrix and The Red Hot Chili Peppers? ;-)

  2. Ha! I don't fit the "typical" quilter profile either. And I don't want to. :)

  3. I am too ashamed to publicly state my musical tastes for fear you'd all die laughing...

    Totally agree with you on the "you cant tell who quilts " thing because when I tell people I quilt they roll around laughing and screaming "You? Really?" Apparently quilting is a much more sedentary and precise activity than I am capable of ...

  4. Let me start off by saying that little girls just rocks on the keyboards! I was introduced to Rush when I was 8 by my cousin who was 17 at the time. I love them still. My husband and I jam on their CD in the car and my kids are starting to like them too. That is a good thing.

    When I tell people I quilt, they give me a squinty look and they seem surprised all the time. I guess they still associate quilting with old ladies sitting around in a circle taking about memories past...

    Thanks for sharing :o)

  5. Thank you so much for your comment on my notebook. I did "go for broke" on the colors and that's where I am sure that I am not as good as other quilters. Your comments on this entry remind me how easy it is for us to presume what we know about someone else based on just what we see or the first word or 2 they say. Thanks for the back to the sewing machine.

  6. The Trees and Red Barchetta are my two favorites! You have great taste in music:)


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