Record Time: A personal reflection on the 40th anniversary of Rush's 'Moving Pictures'
Record Time is a recurring feature written by members of Flip Rushmore. This one comes courtesy of Mike Green. Comment with your favorite memories of Moving Pictures at the bottom of the story, and check out Flip Rushmore's latest release on Spotify.
Growing up can be a time of contrasts. You desperately want to fit in, but also feel the need to express your individuality, find your own path and stick to your guns — or at least, a gun you’ve decided is worth sticking to.
When I was around 14, I befriended an eclectic fellow who was the best person I knew at forging their own path (wearing bright green and orange corduroy pants to middle school in the year 2007 earns you that “best of” title, in my opinion). He encouraged me to check out a Canadian rock trio named Rush, who I was only familiar with thanks to Guitar Hero and Rock Band. He burned me a few tracks onto a CD, and I was hooked — these guys were pretty cool!
About a year later, I caught wind that Rush was going to be playing at the Minnesota State Fair on their Time Machine Tour — a 30-year anniversary celebration of their album Moving Pictures. I hinted to my parents that I’d like to go, and the next thing I knew, they’d gifted me two tickets, one each for me and my dad, to go check them out. That night at the Grandstand changed my opinion on Rush from “pretty cool” to “the best band of all time”; and frankly, not much has changed since then — I’d found the gun I wanted to stick to.
Rush was just about everything a young, ambitious musician like me could want in a group. They were insanely talented; I considered (and still consider) Neil Peart to be the God of the Drums™, and Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee are certainly no slouches at the guitar and bass themselves. I spent hours slaving over how I could possibly get my playing to sound like Neil’s — can’t fault me for trying! With 14 platinum and four multi-platinum albums in the US, and a rabid international fan base, it’s safe to say I was not alone in this obsession. They were a little bit of a weird band that just connected with people. I was always very proud to be the only real diehard Rush fan in my circle of friends, even if I experienced a bit of teasing along the way.
As we got older and got our driver’s licenses, my aforementioned “eclectic” friend and I began frequenting local record stores to poke around for whatever cheap, off-beat hardcore punk and sludge tapes we could pick up and blast in my 2006 baby-blue Chrysler Town and Country. One day, we stopped by a shop (Half Price Books at the Miracle Mile in St. Louis Park, Minn.) and spotted a well-worn cassette of Rush’s seminal album, Moving Pictures, which I’d heard for the first time in full just about a year earlier at the State Fair Grandstand. I threw some crumpled dollar bills on the counter and walked to my car, reviewing the track listing briefly before sliding the cassette into the console.
I became completely consumed by Moving Pictures over the next few weeks — it immediately took me back to the fairgrounds where I’d heard these songs only once before. At the time, I was really into their hits from Moving Pictures, like “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight,” and “YYZ.” But I was doing deep dives into their prog albums of the ‘70s instead of exploring their ‘80s sound.
When I put on Moving Pictures in its entirety, it felt like I was rediscovering a band I thought I knew very well; every track on that album not only was a testament to a band who after seven years was reaching their peak, but was just a flat-out good listen. I can still remember to this day the rush (nice) I felt listening to Neil engage the double kick drums at the ending crescendo of the final track “Vital Signs” for the first time.
And here, reflecting on the 40th anniversary of the album’s release and just over a year since Neil’s untimely passing, I still hold the album in high regard — while not my personal favorite anymore, it’s definitely the most sentimental to me. That night at the State Fair (and a keen eye at a record store) helped cement Rush as a part of my youth and my young identity. And for a kid who wanted to both fit in and find his own path, to stick to his guns, Neil’s lyrics from “Vital Signs” felt like they were written just for me:
“Unstable condition: A symptom of life,
In mental, and environmental change…
Everybody got to deviate
From the norm….
Everybody got to elevate
From the norm…”
What was your favorite track on Moving Pictures? Let us know below, and check out Flip Rushmore's latest release on Bandcamp.
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