Bravado: Background

“We will pay the price, but we will not count the cost” is 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 that book. To me, it just means go for it. There are no failures of talent, only failures of character.” (Row the Boats)—Neil in Merely Players

“That’s a pretty emotional song for me. It’s one of my favorites. It stands out on Roll the Bones as being a different texture than most of the other tracks. That line to me says so much about the people that move the world. They’re not worrying about what it’s going to cost them personally down the road. They’re doing what has to be done, and they’re prepared to pay the price.” (CD Launch)—Geddy in Merely Players

“All three of us were especially fond of that song—it was enjoyable to play, and its blending of music and lyrics was among our best, I thought. We had played the song on almost every tour since 1991, when we wrote and recorded it for our Roll the Bones album, but no matter how many times we played that somg, I always felt it, emotionally.”—Neil in Roadshow

“We lifted some of the guitar parts off the demo tapes we used on the finished record. The solo is a thrown-away solo that was just a one-take solo. There was really no reason to re-record it. You could never capture that innocence and emotion in it. And that’s what it really boils down to. Sound doesn’t really matter. You can get a half-decent sound on anything and enhance it and make it a little better, but at the cost of losing the emotion. It’s not worth it.” (Roll The Bones Radio Special)—Alex in Songfacts

“I played my Telecaster through the GK preamp direct to tape. The solo has a particular character and personality that’s uncommon for me. If I’d erased that and gone with something else, then it would have been just another solo I put together in the studio, rather than something that happened at a special moment.” (Guitar Player, 1991)—Alex in Merely Players

“Neil’s parts are complex, too. Listen to the end of ‘Bravado.’ There’s an example of limb independence that rivals any drummer, anywhere. The fact that he nailed that in one take blows my mind. In only four days, Neil and I had all the drums and bass parts down. When you record that quickly, you wonder if maybe some ugliness will rear its head two weeks down the road. There were only a couple of little moments that sounded a tad unsteady over all that work.” (Guitar Player, 1991): —Geddy in Merely Players

Neil credits the song with inspiring him to produce what later became the Burning For Buddy two-CD tribute to jazz drummer Buddy Rich. He had just participated in a Buddy Rich tribute in New York. The experience hadn’t been good because of technical problems. He also wasn’t given a chance to practice with the other musicians before having to play his pieces. The John Barth line “We will pay the price, but we will not count the cost” came to him on his drive back to Toronto, and at that moment he resolved to contact Buddy Rich’s daughter with a proposal to produce a tribute album, which later became the two-CD set. “This was the first time I had ever been inspired by my own words!” he says in Traveling Music, his 2004 memoir.

Listen to a Gregorian chant version of “Bravado.”

More about “Bravado”

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~ by rvkeeper on January 12, 2011.

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