You have to believe me that I was going to write about this album anyway. Then Neil Peart died (R.I.P.) and so I held off a few weeks because I didn’t want to look like I was timing a post for clicks. Also I fucking hate Rush – always have, so I didn’t want to hit Rush fans with that either (like the TISM song says, I might be a cunt – but I’m not a fucking cunt…)
Anyway, Roll The Bones isn’t a classic Rush album – and though I’d argue there is no such thing, I recognise there are some fans out there; this band got to people in a way that simply makes me pleased I’m the age I am. Rush was never in my world until I started reading Modern Drummer magazine.
It’s always disappointed me that Neil Peart is loved by so many drummers – he is groove-less and lacks any of the vitality that, for me, makes great drumming a thrill. But anyway.
All this talk of Peart in the pages of the magazine I worshipped as a teenager meant that I had to check out Rush. Where to start though?
I bought Roll The Bones for $5 back when CDs were still and almost always $30. So a $10 CD was considered an absolute bargain. If you found one for $5 you bought it regardless of whether you liked the artist or not. You only thought twice if it was something like Billy Ray Cyrus.
So – after listening to Roll The Bones a few times and genuinely not seeing what the fuss was at all I decided to check out some of the “classic” Rush albums. I bought compilations, I watched the concert DVDs, I bought the earlier works – 2112 and Moving Pictures and a few others. None of them lasted. None of them meant anything at all.
There’s so many hurdles when attempting to want to like Rush: the silly lyrics, the awful singing, the groove-less propulsion of the tunes. The fans…
In fact the way the songs pile everything up and create no actual layers, they’re like a less tuneful Queen really; it’s plausible that if the three instrumental members of Queen hadn’t found Freddie they might have sounded a bit like Rush. Granted, they’d have found better hooks, but you know…
Somehow the one thing that did stick around for me was Roll The Bones.
Almost comical. But I had listened to it a load, mostly to try to understand what was ever special about Peart. Why had those drummer magazine pages talked so often, so highly, of him?
I just couldn’t hear it.
And as a result I had sorta fallen for the album. It was genuinely baffling.
And it’s such a funny relic of early 1990s production and ideas. The ‘rap’ in the title song sounds the same – flow and production and ‘style’ – as the rap in Michael Jackson’s Black and White, for instance.
I am listening to this album again – first time in fucking years – but it’s stayed with me.
Maybe You Bet Your Life is a half-pie decent wee pop song? I mean, I know it’s shit. It’s Rush. But there’s something there. Almost. If you could add some oomph to the drumming rather than just ‘show’. If you could change that silly voice.
I guess I was always fascinated in the world that Rush occupied (occupies?) for people. Like at what point in the day are you listening to this? What’s it doing to your soul and your psyche? How is it helping?
And yet I’m still somehow – weirdly – attracted to the music on Roll The Bones. It’s not even a Top 5 Rush album (I imagine). But there’s something about the amount of time I spent listening to this trying to understand why anyone would bother (yes, I bothered in trying to see why someone would bother – and I know that’s rather insane, but you couldn’t just click on to something else then, opening the CD tray before the 45 minutes had passed by seemed so defeatist).
So. In short. I’m sorry for your loss Rush fans. And I’m sorry you’re Rush fans too. And yet I’ll still almost defend Roll The Bones when there were loads of other $5 CDs I hiffed straight into the sea. (Not literally. I might be a Rush Hating Cunt But I’m Not A Fucking Environment Hating Cunt).