Kit Walks Into the Wrong Room

Excerpts from a discussion on Future Rock Legends between Kit, a rock aficionado, and Rush fans, on whether the band should be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (edited for length, clarity, and grammar):

Kit: Rush was part of the second wave of progressive rock that had no idea what it wanted to do with itself and devolved into pointless instrument wankery. When the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame finally addresses progressive rock, Rush is going to have to stand in line behind a LOT of good progressive bands.

Moses: Kit, you’re an idiot. Rush was a prog band for a very short period of time. They have always, however, worked out of a hard rock context, influenced a hell of a lot of bands, and didn’t, as you said, devolve in wankery. If anything, the put the song ahead of instrumental noodling after 1978, and continued to do that throughout their career. Hell, their last proper studio album didn’t even have any out and out guitar solos, and had no keyboards. You might want to get yourself out of your myopic 1977 time-warp and save your critiques for people who don’t know any better, like KISS fans.

Alice: Kit is an idiot who needs to get a life and learn what the hell she’s talking about. She’s probably never even listened to Rush. They are the most underrated band in rock history and arguably in the top ten most talented groups of all time. Their lyrics are absolutely amazing and the music is beautifully fluid. The Hall of Fame is a joke if they don’t induct Rush.

Kit: I’m a he, darling. And I’ve heard Rush plenty of times, and everything they do was done earlier and better. Their lyrics are ridiculous Ayn Rand pieces of tripe and while I’d be a fool to deny their individual skill with their instruments, their playing comes across as showy for its own sake and robotic. Insinuating I’ve never heard a band because I don’t like them is a retarded thing to do. Rush can get in line behind King Crimson, ELP, Genesis, etc., bands I assume you’re familiar with. . . . The lyrics aren’t tripe for endorsing individualism or any of that fun stuff, they’re tripe because they either put it in a ridiculous incomprehensible sci-fi pastiche (2112) or they go the exact opposite route and just recite a philosophy essay while some guitars noodle away in the background (“Freewill”).

Michael: I have personally seen interviews with Metallica and the Police in which they site Rush as an influence. There are also two tribute albums to Rush with top notch rock musicians. RUSH HAS INFLUENCED COUNTLESS BANDS. IT IS A FACT. Lee has not influenced Bass players? Peart has not influenced drummers? Lifeson has had no influence on other guitarists? LOL. But, I guess we should simply ignore the facts and what members of Metallica actually say during an interview . . . but should instead listen to “Kit” of Nebraska, or wherever he’s from, because Kit knows better. As for other bands like ELP and Yes, I never said they should not get in, but the fact is, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a political organization and makes decisions without regard to longevity and influence in rock music. Name three songs of the Dells or the Moonglows. (QUICK, HURRY, DO A GOOGLE SEARCH. LOL.). Miles Davis, wasn’t he a Jazz player? If you want to debate facts, fine, but the fact is, Rush is not in because the “voters” at the Rock Hall simply do not like them. There is no objective criteria, which they claim on their website.

Kit: Dude, take a chill pill. No need to make this personal. We’re just two dudes talking music. My point in bringing up ELP and Yes is that if the Hall inducts prog, it will have to do so in tiers. Meaning, the first tier, the people who shaped it in the first place, should get in first. That means no Rush until King Crimson, et al, get their due. I don’t agree with the Dells or the Moonglows inductions either. Miles Davis is a legendary figure that transcends genre. PS: I’m from Texas, not Nebraska.

Michael: I’m taking my pills now. You don’t need to love or like a band to admit their influence or qualifications to get into the Hall of Fame. I remember once talking to some guy who said, ‘I do not like Rush at all, but I respect them as musicians and what they do.’ Just show some respect to one of the greatest and influential progressive rock bands of all time, as reflected in all of the bands they have influenced, as well as their huge record sales despite essentially being given no marketing or promotion and no air time.

Kit: I don’t rank Rush as totally worthless like I do Kansas or Journey. I just don’t think they are worthy of the Hall, especially not at the expense of the bands who made them what they are in the first place. There are some bands I despise but that are too important to the general canon of twentieth century music to ignore. Nirvana would be an example of a band whose importance outweighs their quality.

Michael: Kansas and Journey are totally worthless? What does that even mean? I do not like certain bands, but would never refer to any music or band as totally worthless. For starters, enjoyment of music is a totally subjective experience and for millions of people, Journey brought enjoyment and happiness. Plus, it makes you sound pompous and arrogant. As for Nirvana, they’re totally overrated, hyped by the media. Kurt Cobain: a depressed drug addict and suicide. I do feel bad for all of the physical and emotional pain he went through, but it really says something about our society when someone as essentially non-functional as him becomes elevated to such a god-like quality. Plus, Rush has influenced virtually all of these Seattle grunge bands.

Kit: I mean just what I said with regard to Kansas and Journey. They should be made to personally apologize to everyone that has ever heard their songs. I don’t like Nirvana either, but to deny that they had a huge impact on rock is to live in a silly, happy fantasy dream world. Are you denying that simpler songs have any place in rock? Technical play is not all there is to life. In fact, it can produce a feeling of detachment in the music. I think that’s the problem most people have with prog in general. Two chord songs can be, and most often times are, just as well written as the behemoths produced by the prog giants, and often times moreso. It is you who sounds pompous here. Rush’s influence on grunge is negligible and I doubt the bands Green River, the Melvins, Soundgarden, and Mother Love Bone took Rush into account when they started recording in the mid-80s.

The debate continues for more posts, then:

Michael: I am outta this blog for a number of reasons. For one, Kit is not living in reality. Of prog rock, Rush is clearly the best and clearly the most successful (at least commercially). Moving Pictures is not one of the best rock albums of all times? Wasn’t YYZ nominated for a Grammy? Rush has certainly influenced others musically, but in most respects its philosophy and vision has been a greater influence. Alex Lifeson said in an interview that many bands that sound nothing like Rush have been influenced by them because of Rush’s philosophy and vision: stay true to who you are as an artist and not be swayed by commercialism. He also said people “either love us or hate us.” This might sound like sour grapes, but I really think Rush couldn’t care less about the U.S. Hall of Fame. In fact, I think Rush being in the Hall is antithetical to who Rush is.

“One likes to believe in the freedom of music / But glittering prizes and endless compromises / Shatter the illusion of integrity.”

In all, about 600 comments were posted on Future Rock Legends.

For another fun take on the Rock Hall’s refusal to induct Rush, read David Banks’ piece in Wired magazine, “21—No, 12 Geeky Reasons Why Rush Should be Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

More This and That: an evolving collection of Rush randomness

~ by rvkeeper on February 28, 2011.

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