Rush: Fly by Night (1975)

There have been some conflicting reports this week about the status of Rush drummer Neil Peart — widely regarded as one of the best drummers of all time, and most probably with the sickest setup.

So with that in mind, I decided to dig into Rush’s 1975 album Fly by Night, of which I’d never heard in its entirety.

I know people love Rush, in the same way they love the Dead or Pearl Jam or Phish. For me, they’ve always been the technically awesome band with the singer that sounds like Janis Joplin. But digging into Fly by Night, they’re definitely more than that.

For starters, this band is a 3-piece. All that sound is emanating from just three guys. And let’s not discount that Geddy Lee is perhaps the greatest bass-playing lead vocalist in rock; and perhaps across all genres. And there is no shortage of praise for Rush from their musician counterparts. Metallica’s Kirk Hammett once called Rush the “high priests of conceptual metal.”

Rush are like the Tim Duncan of rock music. They’re the big fundamental, the polar opposite of a Jimi Hendrix type that views a wrong note as a “half step from heaven,” relying on soul and vibe over technicality in their compositions. And maybe that’s why I’ve never really dug into Rush before today. I’m definitely in the latter category when it comes to playing and listening, and I guess I kind of view Rush as someone who’s really good at Excel. Those tricks are sick, and I would like to do them, but I don’t like Excel enough to care. But there’s no doubt I can see the appeal in Rush for music fans, and I’m glad I listened.

Suited for: Helping your friend move.

Appropriate Playback Device: A sick Hi-Fi system. Or, an old radio while you’re helping your friend move.

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