Shut Up Shuttin’ Up: Background
In the Bugs Bunny cartoon, “shut up shuttin’ up” is what you say when someone keeps talking after you’ve asked them to be quiet. In this comic piece, Alex’s wife and her friend are gossiping about him, and about men in general, while he plays the guitar. He soon reaches the point where he can’t take it any more and repeatedly tells them to shut up. Is life imitating art, or is art imitating life? The piece even channels the fun Warner Bros. style of music, with an almost bouncy rhythm and little background noises poking through, but it does so with a slightly rough, gravelly edge in the guitar.—Rob Freedman, Rush Vault
“I got my wife, Charlene, and her best friend, Esther, who’s a real character, in to do this little bit of nagging about the funny little habits that some of us have, and the silly little things that we argue about that end up becoming big things in the overall picture. We had [Charlene and esther] in there for about seven hours going through so many different things, and they were well lubricated with a couple of bottles of wine. By the end of it, of course, we couldn’t get them to shut up.”—Alex on Rockline, reproduced in Merely Players, Robert Telleria.
“‘Shut Up Shuttin’ Up’—a title almost certainly lifted from one of Yosemite Sam’s many orders to Bugs Bunny—is practically a novelty song: two women carry on a man-bashing conversation before instructing Lifeson to “shut up and play the guitar,” which he does, before interjecting his own yells. Due to its complex music and lyrics, Rush is often incorrectly viewed as being comprised of humorless members, but diehard fans know that Lifeson is the joker in the trio and this song proves it.”—Bret Adams on All Music
“‘Shut Up Shuttin’ Up’ is an instrumental piece, save for the conversation between two women. The conversation of these two women (Alex Lifeson’s wife and her best friend) is inane and disheartening as the main theme of the song, which is ‘Shut up and play that guitar.’ Lifeson comes in at the end and repeatedly yells ‘Shut up.’ A bit of an odd track if you ask me.”—Cygnus X-2 on Prog Archives
“Ouch! I don’t like this one at all. Two women complaining about their boyfriend guitar players grows old really fast, like during the first time I heard it. Not funny at all. The guitar is really good, though.”—Mellotron Storm on Prog Archives