For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Rush: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellence
  • Robert Freedman
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Rush: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellence.
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Rush is often referred to as a libertarian rock band but really what the band is channeling is an Aristotelian individualism, a philosophy that strongly resonates with today's 40-somethings. This helps explain the band's resurgence in popularity, culminating in its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2013.

About the Author

Robert Freedman has been a journalist and communications professional for 30 years. He studied philosophy in the Ph.D. program at the University of Nebraska and has a Masters in Humanities from Marymount University. He is the author or editor of five previous books including 'Noise Wars' (Algora Publishing, 2009), which looks at the rise of captive-audience media. Freedman is also editor and publisher of “Rush Vault,” the 1,500-page website on all things Rush. He lives in Alexandria, Va.

About the Book
"Rush: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Excellence" is a systematic look at the Aristotelian philosophy embedded in the band's lyrics over its 40-year recording career. The book brings together the excitement of the band's progressive music,...
"Rush: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Excellence" is a systematic look at the Aristotelian philosophy embedded in the band's lyrics over its 40-year recording career. The book brings together the excitement of the band's progressive music, performed by three musicians whose mastery of their instruments has won them the admiration of their peers, and the surprising philosophical sophistication of their music's lyrics.

Although the topic of the book is academic, the writing is sharp, down-to-earth, and leavened with a dry wit. Anyone interested in the band's music, popular culture, and philosophical ideas simply explained will enjoy this entertaining and thought-provoking book.

As a cultural phenomenon, Rush is worthy of serious study, and although other books have looked at the philosophical character of the band's music, this is the first time the music over the band's entire 40-year career is demonstrated to fall under a single, unified theory: Aristotelian individualism.

Even readers who have pored over earlier books on Rush will enjoy this unifying theme. "Rush, Rock Music and the Middle Class" (by Chris McDonald), says Rush is an avatar of middle class values. While the work ethic and value structure of the middle class is part of the band's philosophy, that is just a subset of the band's Aristotelianism, as shown by Robert Freedman here. The unified Aristotelian philosophy is also different from what's discussed in "Rush and Philosophy" (edited by Durrell Bowman and Jim Berti) looks at the music through multiple philosophical filters and no attempt is made to look at it through a single, unifying lens. Another book that studies Rush lyrics, "Mystic Rhythms" (Carol Selby Price ad Robert M. Price), provides an interpretation of selected lyrics but does not systematically look at any philosophy. Rather, it approaches the lyrics as literary analysis and provides no overarching theoretical framework.


Introduction

Foreword

Ed Senger, 'Rush is a Band'

Like so many other fans, my obsession with Rush began with this simple, 4-digit number: 2112. One rainy afternoon in the fall of 1982, when I was 12, I discovered a beat-up cassette tape of Rush’s 2112 in a cave behind a waterfall—okay, it was my older brother’s closet, but you get the...

Foreword

Ed Senger, 'Rush is a Band'

Like so many other fans, my obsession with Rush began with this simple, 4-digit number: 2112. One rainy afternoon in the fall of 1982, when I was 12, I discovered a beat-up cassette tape of Rush’s 2112 in a cave behind a waterfall—okay, it was my older brother’s closet, but you get the picture. After several listens on my mono-speaker cassette player I was hooked. What struck me about the music was the power of the lyrics and the emotion in which they were delivered. The lyrics told a story of discovery, hope, rejection, and despair. These were themes I could relate to, and they were told it in such a way that I felt I was being spoken to, like the song was written for me. In the weeks that followed I devoured Rush’s catalog and would forever be changed by it.

Although I loved the music and recognized the musicianship behind it, the lyrics were what ultimately drove my fascination with the band. The messages of individualism and humanism. . . .

Preface

Robert Freedman

It’s a remarkable turn of events that Rush is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While its brand of hard rock has long had a large and loyal following worldwide, the band has never been “canonical” to many music critics—that is, representative of what’s best about rock and roll. Not only did the band, when it was building its audience in the late 1970s and early 1980s, lack groove, but its spirit of rebellion seemed almost to be going in the wrong direction. While other bands were singing about smiling on your brother and getting together to love one another, it was exhorting people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get on with their lives, come what may.

But a lot has changed in the 40 years since the band first came onto the scene from its roots as a Toronto bar band. Today, the forty-somethings that make up its core fan base are moving into positions of power in business, government, academia, entertainment, and the arts and they want their band, the mythmaker of their generation, to be given its due. Maybe that’s why, when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 opened its selection process to the public for the first time, Rush was the biggest vote-getter of all the contenders. The people had been given a chance to speak and a band that leaves so many baby boomers mystified is joined with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin in the Pantheon of rock.

Rush really is a mythmaker for a generation. Its tales of the individual against society, cast in the robes of science fiction and fantasy in the band’s early years, formed the perfect backdrop for the first generation growing up on video games and harnessing the Internet. It’s all about the individual empowered: armed with sense and liberty, together each of us helps create a world that’s a perfect sphere, heart and mind united. . . .



Pages 178
Year: 2014
BISAC: MUS052000MUSIC / Lyrics
BISAC: MUS035000MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Rock
BISAC: PHI019000PHILOSOPHY / Political
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-084-8
Price: USD 19.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-085-5
Price: USD 29.95
eBook
ISBN: 978-1-62894-086-2
Price: USD 19.95
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