thumb-img_1812RUSH – ‘Freewill’

from the album ‘Permanent Waves’

Well, it seems I can’t help myself! I am learning some new pieces, from bands that aren’t RUSH, but something about this track just kept nagging at me.

It is, in fact, tracks like this that lead me into talking about one of those aspects of musicianship that is common to most of us – the spirit of perfectionism. It borders on obsession at times but in a good way.

While I was learning some of the other RUSH material for this self-indulgent trawl through my musical influences this track was the one that I would only ever nearly get right. There was always something I missed or mis-played.

5cdb6e997a505e00fe10154edd3a4ec4Most of the time I would say that I aim for being ‘in the moment’ – especially when playing live. Perfection has to be tempered with performance and interaction. If you let a small mistake affect you, it could ruin the rest of the performance.

But this track has made me appreciate again how much discipline – which is another way of saying obsessively working at something until you do get it right – is as much a part of playing as enjoyment and improvisation.

Listening again to the video I have to note that, in performance terms I could do better if I went away and practised just this song for another week. But, technically, this take heads off those obsessive tendencies. All the ‘bits’ that I wanted to master are there.

Which is a good place to round off the RUSH tapes for a little while. Neil Peart’s compositional skill – his ability to come up with all those little technical bits and pieces – plus his intuitive playing – putting all those pieces together in a way that plays and feels and sounds natural has, I think, the touch of genius.

But, I again find myself relating to his lyric for ‘Limelight’ –

“Get on with the fascination, the real relation, the underlying theme.”

The fascination with how drums work – the sticking, the rhythms (and cross-rhythms), the timings, is nothing but enhanced when you learn how a master goes about it.


‘Til next time…

Seex (pic by Ben Bell)

Seex (pic by Ben Bell)


About Stuart Dyer

Stuart Dyer, Christian Writer and Musician living in West Sussex, England. Works in the hope of producing the worthy novel or solo; giggles at Oliver Hardy, Peter Sellers and Spike Jones; admires Hudson Taylor, Dickens, Salinger, Bill Bailey and Neil Peart; listens from Wagner to Miles with lots of stops in between; dances to motown and aims to achieve balance in all things.
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