Tag Archives: Rush

Rob’s Update: Toys for Tots

Week of 12-18 November

Greetings all

It’s been a good week. Lots of work on Eleonore’s portion of Brief Is My Flame, which is always fun for me. She’s one of my favorite characters. The only real problem with her is not having too many words about her. There’s no real way to write a full novel just about her in this sequence, but I easily could.

One of the threads I’ve added that was not part of I Am a Wondrous Thing is Geirr Stronghair in Svellheim. He and Eleonore will have some interesting times together.

On a different note, I may have found a replacement for Brewbaker’s. If you recall, Brewbaker’s in the Kansas City area was a bar that proved especially comfortable and productive. There’s a barbecue place in Council Bluffs that may prove just as productive a spot.

And if it doesn’t turn out quite as well, I’ll somehow survive eating the ribs and pulled pork. And the brisket. Oh, the sausage balls are tasty too. It’s not quite B&C Creations in Wichita level of barbecue, but I’ll make do.

Tomorrow, I will head to Calontir’s Toys for Tots Tournament. It’s a great event because of all the toys we gather. Always over a thousand. It’s definitely a cool thing to have Marines come into a medieval-themed court and accept the toys formally. For those readers not coming, which is most of you, I ask that consider finding a Marine and giving him a new, unopened, and unwrapped toy. It’s a good cause in my opinion.

Well, I should get back to writing another battle scene. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone.

Quote of the Week

One of the interesting things about writing is how much you have to honestly evaluate what you’re doing, and that’s hard. Imposter syndrome makes it hard to like what you’ve written sometimes, but at the same time each sentence is one of your babies. Don’t want to cut what is good, but nothing is good if you leave in the extra stuff.

Rush, of course, helps me when I’m fighting through some of this, so we get this week’s quote. I hear this song and then I remember to distance myself from myself when I look at what I’ve written. I should probably just put this song on repeat when I’m editing.

All puffed up with vanity
We see what we want to see
To the beautiful and the wise
The mirror always lies
– Rush, “War Paint”

News and Works in Progress

  • Brief Is My Flame, about 25k now
  • A short story about the meeting of Edward and Deor
  • A seeeekrit project that I’ll open up in December.

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

Today, The Good, the Bad, and the Merc, the third collection of short stories in the Four Horsemen Universe was released into the wild. You can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Good-Bad-Merc-Horsemen-Revelations-ebook/dp/B077H6H36M/

There’s a lot coming up in the Four Horsemen Universe and these three collections have a ton of background information and backstories. And, of course, my excellent story “Where Enemies Sit” in For a Few Credits More 😉

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Currently Available Works

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Review: Iron Maiden Book of Souls Tour and Album

Sunday night, I saw Iron Maiden’s Book of Souls concert, with the Swedish band Ghost opening for them. Here’s my review.

I should get this out of the way. I’ve been an Iron Maiden fan since junior high. I was the only kid who liked Rime of the Ancient Mariner in English class, because of Iron Maiden’s song about the poem. Also, I happen to think that Book of Souls may be their best work. It’s powerful stuff.

I say all this so you can understand my bias here.

There are Maiden fans who think it blasphemy that Book of Souls is their best work. Most of these would look at either The Number of the Beast or Powerslave, and I can see their point. Both are excellent albums, with great songs throughout that have stood the test of time.

This last is important to me. I liked Iron Maiden in junior high. Over the last four decades, that liking has turned into love as I’ve seen more and more the depth of that music over the years. Many are the bands or songs who I initially liked, but now don’t really care if I ever hear again. Nirvana is one of those.

In any case, Book of Souls is an incredibly good album. It will not produce radio hits like The Trooper or Run to the Hills, but that’s irrelevant. Iron Maiden consists of six musicians who took music seriously when they were young, have fought a bunch of battles, including among themselves, and have come out the other side with great skill and a tremendous understanding of each other.

The songs on Book of Souls are closer to symphonic music than to 80s metal. No song is shorter than 4:59, three are longer than 10 minutes, including Empire of the Clouds at 18:01. It is a perfectly Iron Maiden thing to do that they released Empire of the Clouds as one of the two singles. They really don’t care about the “radio” way of doing things as opposed to the music.

The iconoclast in me loves that.

Anyway, Empire of the Clouds tells the tale of the R101 airship incident in 1930. More people were killed in its crash than the Hindenberg, actually. It’s a great song of dreaming big, the risks that entails, death, and bravery. It’s 18 minutes of swirling music that dreams big and risks boredom, but sails on through.

The other 10 minute plus songs, The Red and the Black and The Book of Souls are also songs that could be too long, but instead are simply opportunities for the musicians to push themselves. The closest things to “radio” songs are The Speed of Light and If Eternity Should Fail, are actually too good, too complex, though shorter, to do well on the radio.

Obviously, I could go on about how much I love Book of Souls, but let’s talk about the concert. First, one of the things about Iron Maiden that I’ve appreciated for some time is their confidence. I’ve seen a lot of bands choose a mediocre opening act lest that act outshine the headliner.

Maiden doesn’t have that problem. They chose Ghost, which is a very good band in its own right, with a large following of their own. They may not be megastars in heavy metal like Maiden, but they are not chopped liver.

And Ghost was excellent. I’d heard some of their stuff before, but I didn’t realize quite how good they really were. They create a cool, slow atmosphere while hammering the music. Great combination. They’re not the hardest metal out there, but they put on a great show. I loved the interplay between guitarists before Cirice.

When watching Iron Maiden in concert one is immediately struck by the energy of Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer. He’s almost 59. He’s survived cancer. Yet he bounces around the stage and pours it all out. By the end of the show, he is drenched in sweat. He’s talked in interviews many times how much a performer owes to an audience, and by the end of an Iron Maiden show, there’s no doubt he lives up to his own expectations.

Maiden has three guitarists, which is not unique, but is uncommon. The disadvantage is that there’s a lot of redundancy in sound. The advantage is there’s a lot of redundancy in sound. By that I mean that one guitarist can carry the song along while allowing the other two to add to it. For Maiden, what this means is that Adrian Smith does a lot of the carrying along, freeing Janick Gers to be a wild showman doing tricks with his guitar while playing and Dave Murray to add intricate and rousing riffs. Smith gets his own chance to show off at times, too, as they all take turns carrying the song along, but Gers and Murray are the most obvious beneficiaries.

The rhythm section is one of the best around. Not on Rush’s level, but then who is? Nicko McBrain, the drummer, is very good, and Steve Harris, the bassist, is the master of Iron Maiden. It’s been his baby all along, with everyone else coming and going at various times.

This may not be Iron Maiden’s only lineup in its history, but this is the iconic lineup. And it shows with the quality of music since they came back together in the late 90s. They are better than ever.

They are also known for interesting sets, and this did not disappoint. The best aspect was the raised area all around the main performance area that allowed Dickinson to bounce around. Did I mention he’s an energetic performer?

Not surprisingly, with a library of 16 studio albums, there were songs I would have liked to hear. Hallowed Be Thy Name is my personal favorite Maiden song and that wasn’t on this tour. Run to the Hills is one of the most commercially successful songs they have and that was not played, which I didn’t mind actually. However, I would love to hear Empire of the Clouds live. I think Maiden would make an amazing production of it, but it is a long song and would take the place of two or three others, so I understand why they didn’t.

It would be a cool thing, though, if Maiden did a one-time Fathom Events thing where they played Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Empire of the Clouds, and other long-form songs. Then they could release a DVD. I’d buy that.

Anyway, they did play The Red and the Black, which is 13 minutes or so, so it isn’t like they looked for the shortest songs. 6 of the 12 songs in the main part of the concert were off Book of Souls, though the encore was entirely from earlier stuff (The Number of the Beast, Blood Brothers, and Wasted Years). If Eternity Should Fail is a great song to lead off an album and a concert.

I went to the concert with my sweetie. She’s not a Maiden fan, so she mostly enjoyed the show because I enjoyed the show.

So she enjoyed it a lot.

Even if you’re not a big Iron Maiden fan, they put on a good show. Go see them some time, you’ll be impressed.

 

 

Rob’s Update: Drawn Like Moths

Week of 18 June – 1 July

Greetings all

It’s been a weird week here (I suppose I should say a normal week for my current norm). I apologize for not getting last week’s email out on time, but I’m going to just take advantage of the delay to do this post for both weeks.

I returned last Sunday night from Salina Comicon. I had almost no expectation of any kind of success there because it was the first one and Salina is not particularly large. I went because I had a free place to stay and it’s not far away, so expenses would be relatively low. However, the con was much better attended than anticipated and I sold far more than I hoped. It was also pretty well run, with things going smoothly throughout. I’m likely to be back, depending on schedules.

Next week is, of course, LibertyCon. I’m really excited. I have quite a schedule, thanks to the hard work of the LibertyCon staff. I’ve been to about 20-30 different cons now, and I can say without a doubt that Brandy and her staff at LibertyCon are the best con staff around. I have waited months for responses from many cons. Rich Groller responds in 30 minutes, even if I send an email at 11pm his time. Amazing job.

They cap LibertyCon at 750 attendees. And they sell most of the next year out before the weekend’s over. I’ll be buying my 2018 membership before I leave Chattanooga a week from tomorrow. The light at LibertyCon draws me in like a moth every year.

Anyway, enough gushing, what’s my schedule this year, you ask? Here’s my page on the LibertyCon website: http://libertycon.org/index.php/pros?pid=326&refer=1, but here’s a summation.

Friday
8pm – 11pm, Author’s Alley. Buy my books and I’ll sign them, of course rolling on the Wandering Signature Chart.

Saturday
11am, Overcoming Writer’s Block
2pm, The Middle Ages as Inspiration for Epic and High Fantasy
6pm, Reading
9pm, Joint Release Party with the Four Horsemen Universe guys

Sunday
10am, Kaffeeklatsch
11am, Autograph session
2pm, Cooking Out of this World

As you can see, Sunday night I’m going to be one tired puppy. This is why I pay for an extra night and drive back on Monday. Also, I get to hang out at the Dead Dog Party, which is always fun.

Hope to see many of you there. Gonna be a lot of fun.

Quote of the Week

This week, three capybara babies at a Toronto zoo have been named Alex, Neil, and Geddy. They chose the names of the members of Rush by creating an internet poll, and apparently people from across the world voted in the contest. I daresay that those who voted from places such as Argentina, South Africa, and Olathe, KS were probably Rush fans.

Not that I need an excuse to use a Rush quote, it seems too fun not to take advantage of the opportunity. The zoo in question is in not really in one of Toronto’s subdivisions, but Toronto is a city that draws people in. Now with extra Rush-named capybaras!

Drawn like moths we drift into the city
The timeless old attraction
Cruising for the action
Lit up like a firefly
Just to feel the living night

– Rush, Subdivisions

News and Works in Progress

  • Short stories, but not much progress because of packing

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Again, not much, but I’ll do some posting from LibertyCon


Upcoming Events

Spotlight

One of the people I am looking forward to spending time with this week is Chris Kennedy, who is an impressive guy along with being a fun writer to read. You can find his work at: https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Kennedy/e/B00E4MIJA8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1498574841&sr=8-2-ent
.
Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Currently Available Works

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Rob’s Update: One More Day

Week of 4-10 June

Greetings all

A Lake Most Deep is FREE on Amazon for one more day. If you’ve wanted to suggest the Edward series to anyone now is the time to do it. On Saturday, it returns to its normal $3.99 price.

One more day means much more than that to me, though. Jason Garrett, coach of the Dallas Cowboys, talks all the time about stacking good days. Do good work today. Then tomorrow, do more good work. Then the day after. Pretty soon, you’ve made great progress.

He’s right, and this is a business where that’s needed. You don’t get novels written in a week of good days, at least I can’t. Unfortunately, it’s a skill that I struggle with. This week has especially been a challenge. There was a bit of a catastrophe at my house a week or so ago. It’s nothing huge, and insurance is doing its job. I’d like to say right now that Nationwide has been awesome. Anyway, while nothing difficult, and will oddly end up being a good thing for the house, it takes time and energy, and has distracted me some from my work.Hence, I’ve done little but behind the scenes stuff all week.

The good news is that weeks like this often mean my mind starts bubbling with ideas, and that’s happened. I was in the shower the other day and I realized exactly how I will kill off a very important character. It won’t happen in the next book, or probably even in the book after that. However, there will come a time when that character will die in a certain way.

That’s always a satisfying feeling, actually. Oh, I cry every time I kill off a character I like, and I’ll cry when I kill this one off, but now I know the character’s entire story arc. I have a bunch of details to fill in between now and then, but the character has carved out his or her place in my world. One of these days, this character will have served its purpose, and I am happy to say its an important purpose.

Now I just have to keep stacking days, type out the hundreds of thousands of words between now and when that character meets its fate.

One last thing to mention. I was a guest on last Sunday’s Write Pack Radio discussion of Plutarch and writing non-fiction. I’ll be on again this upcoming Sunday where we discuss working with an editor. You can find them at:

Quote of the Week

The catastrophe basically involved water overflowing. Hence, this quote from Samuel Taylor Coleridge, one of my favorite poets, seems apt.

I first learned this poem, by the way, by listening to Rush. I learned another Coleridge poem from Iron Maiden, and I think I was the only person in 8th grade who really enjoyed going through the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Anyway…

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan

News and Works in Progress

  • Not much to report this week in terms of new fiction.
  • Started working on revamping my website.

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

Right about now, three friends of mine are flying to France so they can walk about 500 miles of the Camino Real to Santiago de Compostela. This is a pilgrimage that I’d like to take someday. In 2012, I walked about 100 miles of the Offa’s Dyke trail, and I will say that long distance walks are awesome, even if exhausting and tough. If you go to http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=248, you’ll find the first of my blog posts about that trip. I enjoy reading through that quite a bit.

However, this is a spotlight section, so I’ll point the spotlight at Heather Dale, who has provided a theme song for all pilgrimages at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww_lVS2P9cM. You can find the rest of her stuff, which is brilliant, at: http://heatherdale.com/.

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Currently Available Works

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Rob’s Update: Ghosts

Week of 22-28 January

Greetings all

As many of you read on my blog or my Facebook, my father passed away on Sunday. It was not unexpected, but it has filled this week with contemplation and remembrance.

I’ve been staying with my friend Talina the last few days as she lives almost exactly halfway between Chattanooga and Manchester in Frederick, Maryland. This happens to be an area filled with history, and wallowing in that history as added to the contemplation and remembrance. Today, for example, I worked for several hours at a pub that was originally established in 1783 as Hagan’s Tavern. Then, since it was such a beautiful day, I drove around and ended up at the Antietam battlefield.

The sunken road and Burnside’s Bridge are filled with ghosts. Both were especially bloody places, and it’s easy to see from the terrain why. Odd to walk on that ground. Dad and I often talked about all sorts of interesting places we each saw over the years.

Ghosts.

Quote of the Week
Tomorrow I’m off to New Hampshire. I may do a field trip during the day on Friday before setting up for Birka. We’ll see. There are ghosts up there too. In some ways, I’m one of them, ghosting through the miles.

Carry all those phantoms
Through bitter wind and stormy skies
From the desert to the mountain
From the lowest low to the highest high
Like a ghost rider
– Rush, Ghost Rider

News and Works in Progress
– I’ve overcome some of the challenges and made great progress on Where Now the Rider. Smooth sailing for a bit until I figure out the right order to arrange the climactic scenes.

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

  • 27-28 January: Market Day in Birka, Manchester, NH
  • 3-5 March: CoastCon, Biloxi, MS
  • 12-20 March: Gulf Wars, Lumberton, MS
  • 28-30 April: Planet Comicon, Kansas City, MO

Spotlight

I had a great conversation with Melissa Gay at the LibertyCon party this weekend. I especially love her starscapes, but she is a great artist and you can find her work at: http://www.melissagay.com/

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Currently Available Works

Weekly Update Archive

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Thanksgiving

Greetings all

It’s much easier to focus on what’s wrong and not what’s right about something. To let perfect be the enemy of the good.

Thanksgiving is a perfect example. I’ve seen people complaining for years about how it’s just a time for gluttony, an insult to Native Americans, and it leads into all the greed of Black Friday. There’s some truth to all of these and other complaints.

But there’s so much to appreciate about Thanksgiving that is forgotten when focusing on such things. It’s a time for many people to enjoy spending time with family.

Gluttony yes, but also an opportunity to make great food and share it with friends.

It’s also a great day for football. I personally really appreciate it.

I know there are those who love Black Friday in the way a hunter loves the opening day of deer season. Not my thing, but I’m happy for people who enjoy it.

More importantly, Thanksgiving prompts all of us to think about our lives. Cliche though the idea is, it’s a great thing to simply think about what we’re all thankful for. If you don’t do that now, I hope you do that at some point. It will make you happier.

So here are some things I’m thankful for.

My parents. I’m especially thankful my mother has survived breast cancer and that it looks my dad will survive his cancer for many years.

My sweetie. I’ve a great sweetie who puts up with me, despite my abilities to dig myself into a hole by being mouthy. She rocks. She even loved that went I went to see Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood last December that I had them pose with no one in between them so I could caption it as a picture of her with them.

My kitty. She’s a really nice cat who needs more love than I can really give her at times, but she’s still always there purring when I fall asleep.

My job. Writing is hard, but I love it. I’m not successful enough financially at this yet, but I keep plugging away.

Brewbakers. This is a bar in Lenexa that lets me sit here for hours writing and doing my job. In some ways, it feels like my office. Tonya and the rest take good care of me.

My readers. I’m very thankful for those who’ve made it clear that as long as I keep plugging away and doing my best they’ll read my stuff. The most important one in many ways is Cedar Sanderson, who has twice been there with nice things to say at exactly the time I needed nice things the most.

A myriad of *things*. By things, I mean my car, my house, my computer, my scrolls, my books, and all the rest of my stuff. I’m wealthy indeed when it comes to that and I’m thankful for all of it.

Rush. It’s really hard to express how important Rush’s music is to me. It’s been there when I’ve needed it ever since 1980. It’s inspired me many times.

My other favorite artists, authors, and performers. Too long to list, but I’ve admired a lot of great stuff over the years. In 2016, my new passion is Tengger Cavalry, which is Mongolian folk metal.

The Dallas Cowboys. I’m not saying that because they’re doing so well this year, but because they’ve given me a lifetime of great moments, even if some of those moments were some of the saddest in my life. Really, I could just say football. Or frankly, sports.

The SCA. The SCA continually gives me great opportunities to grow. Whether it’s as a person, or a public speaker, a poet, or all the other things, I am much stronger. Also, some of the best friends I’ve ever met.

My friends. Very lucky here, especially as I’m a guy who’s never really been anything but socially awkward. I do better now, but it’s never been easy. Thanks for staying when I’ve screwed up.

There’s so much more, but that’s a fine list. I don’t know about you but seeing it laid out like that makes me much happier.

I often quote Wallace Stevens, “death is the mother of beauty.” The universe gives us bad things that we dwell upon, but that makes all of the good things so much brighter.

Oh, one last thing.

Thanks to all of you for reading this.

 

 

 

Weekly Update: New Beginnings

Editor’s Note: I don’t know why I didn’t start out posting my updates on my blog but I’m adding the ones I’ve done so far and will add them each week.

Greetings all

Welcome to my brand new mailing list. This email will give you an idea of what to expect. I’ll be looking to post each Monday or so.

Quote of the Week

This quote symbolizes my life as a writer. At times, I have rued not starting writing professionally sooner, but my mother has pointed out that the challenges I’ve faced along the way have helped make me a better writer. Don’t tell her that I agree with her.

Anyway, this comes from the title track of Clockwork Angels, the most recent album by Rush. And yes, the first quote had to come from Rush.

“All the journeys
Of this great adventure
It didn’t always feel that way
I wouldn’t trade them
Because I made them
The best I could
And that’s enough to say”

Clockwork Angels, Rush

Works In Progress
– I am working on adding wiki links to The Eyes of a Doll. This will be completed early next week.
– I am also making progress on the next Edward novel, which will be called Where Now the Rider. Tentative release date is 30 November.
– Catching up with WorldCon contacts.
– Baby steps made on arranging for an audiobook. It’s still vaporware for the moment, but I made contacts at WorldCon that should help.

 News

– You’re looking at the big news. I’ve added a mailing list.
– My WorldCon After Action Report is up at: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=427

Upcoming Events
– 27 August: Cattle Raids in Lincoln, NE
– 2-5 September: Valor in Wichita, KS
Tentative 10 September: King’s Company of Archers in Smithville, MO
– 16-18 September: Dodecacon in Columbia, MO
Tentative 23-25 September: Gryphon’s Fest in Warrenton, MO
– 30 September – 2 October: Kansas Author’s Club convention in Lawrence, KS

– 8 October: Calontir Fall Crown in Omaha, NE

Let me know if you have any suggestions at rob@robhowell.org.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels
Website: www.robhowell.org
Blog: www.robhowell.org/blog
Shijuren Wiki: http://www.shijuren.org/World+of+Shijuren+Home
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/robhowell.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rhodri2112

Currently Available Works
A Lake Most Deep (Edward, Bk 1)
The Eyes of a Doll (Edward, Bk 2)
I Am a Wondrous Thing (The Kreisens, Bk 1)

Weekly Update Archive

Today’s Tom Sawyer

In a few hours, I will be in the Scottrade Center getting ready to watch Rush. This will be something like 24-25 times for me. More than many, but nowhere close to a few.

This may be their last tour, and while I am saddened to hear this, I completely understand. Every single Rush concert I have seen has been tremendous. I’m not simply saying this because of my pro-Rush bias, but also because I’ve seen a goodly number of concerts now. Others may have a few songs that are better for live shows, but no one ever consistently puts out such a powerful show top to bottom.

They give us everything they got, both on the night of the show and in preparation. It’s no surprise that at their age, they just can’t give out that energy over a tour like they could when we were all much younger.

Part of the reason is that, unlike many rock stars, Geddy, Alex, and Neil have never taken themselves too seriously. They have taken their skill and their art extremely seriously, but not themselves.

They’ve also played their own music, and was glad when a bunch of us liked it. However, they’ve never made music for us, rather, they made music that they liked and which challenged their skill. That’s why there’s no one really like Rush. Oh, Dream Theater has its Rush-like moments. Triumph was seen as Rush-lite at one point. Metallica and others have acknowledged their debt to Rush. But, no one else ever captured that same independence, intelligence, and brilliance.

I’ve grown up to Rush. When I struggled in high school, Subdivisions and Tom Sawyer helped me make it through. I listened to Countdown after the Challenger exploded. I read Coleridge and Rand and a bunch of others because of Rush. I’ve never been “normal,” and I knew they weren’t either. They helped me realize normal is a chimera, a mythical beast that can only bring bad things whether or not you track it down.

I’ll never forget hearing One Little Victory live for the first time. This was the tour that many of us, including Rush themselves, wondered if it would ever happen. Neil had lost his daughter and then his wife in a six-month period, and music just wasn’t important to him. But then Vapor Trails came out, and One Little Victory spoke directly to overcoming that loss. I am weeping as I am writing my memory of Rush pouring that emotion out to us at Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto.

I plan on seeing them again in Kansas City. Tonight may be my penultimate Rush show. Ask me in July after the KC show how I feel about that.

What I feel about tonight, though, is great excitement. Time to go watch them make the donuts.

In The Secret Wells Of Emotion

I was introduced to Rush in 1981 by Ted Shellhamer in 7th grade. I remember listening to Moving Pictures in his basement, and then Permanent Waves and Signals and Hemispheres and so on. His mom made so much macaroni and cheese for us while we talked sports and listened.

It’s hard to explain how Rush exploded into my consciousness, and how important Witch Hunt, Camera Eye, Subdivisions, Natural Science and all the rest of these amazing songs meant to me.

What I can say is that this is my 30th year of listening to Rush and their music is the one constant other than my parents in my life since Ted played Moving Pictures for me.

And their music has filled my secret wells of emotion ever since.

I remember vividly listening to One Little Victory in 2002 on Rush.com and weeping. It had been four years, four years that we all sort of thought we might not hear anything else from Rush. Four years wishing we could tell Neil that we wanted to help him after his wife and daughter died.

And then there was One Little Victory. To paraphrase Alex, One Little Victory my ass, it was an amazing accomplishment to recover after their deaths.

I wept the first time I heard the song. I wept the first time I saw them on that tour. And I wept tonight watching them talk about it.

Tonight I saw their rockumentary, Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, and it was better than I expected. I sort of expected to see all sorts of interesting things and enjoy myself, but I didn’t expect seeing the people and personalities quite so much. I expected the story, but got the humanity.

Neil, Alex, and Geddy have never been big media guys. They’ve had interviews, but the mainstream music media have never cared for them. I’ve seen most of those interviews. This, however, was nearly 2 hours of stuff, including probably more from Neil than he had ever had done in interviews before. Part of this were all three of the guys talking about what was going on in their heads in that horrible time after Neil’s family died. I never expected to see him ever discuss his headspace after that time. Very powerful.

And it was funny as hell. Geddy’s mom saying she didn’t particularly care about their music in the 1960s. Jack Black was hilarious. And the dinner scene as the credits were rolling was just too much.

I have, of course, already purchased the two new singles from the new album. Listening to a new Rush album is different than listening to any other new album. You never know what you’re going to get. You never know what styles and images they will project and I have not loved every Rush album the first time I’ve listened to it.

But I’ve never picked up a Rush album and not gone: “Wow, I didn’t remember how good this album was.” I’ve never listened to a Rush song after a period away from the song and not gone: “Wow, there’s something there I never got before.” There’s so much going on I know I’ll never hear everything. It’s amazing that the more I’ve listened to what these three guys have done the more I’ve liked it. The music of these three has never gotten old, and I can’t imagine that they will.

Three pretty regular guys whose passion is music, who delivered that passion, that emotion, to millions of fans for decades. A band who is becoming more popular now than they have ever been because we fans have continued to listen to them because the music has continued to mean something to us.

That’s the story. And that’s the emotion that made me weep. Because their music is the soundtrack of over 70% of my life and their story and their humanity is part of my story and my humanity.

Right to the heart of the matter
Right to the beautiful part
Illusions are painfully shattered
Right where discovery starts
In the secret wells of emotion
Buried deep in our hearts