Rush News

"A Different Kind of Progressive" at National Review online

Be sure to check out "A Different Kind of Progressive" at National Review online.  Author Bradley J. Birzer goes into detail on the "progressive rock" genre, and at one point describes the impact of the lyrics of Neil Peart:
"It’s hard to imagine that my generation has not been significantly influenced by the libertarian lyrics of Neil Peart of Rush. I write this with absolute certainty regarding myself, and with only a little trepidation do I speak for many when making this huge claim. “From a better, vanished time . . . ” Peart understood.  As I watched Rush play “Tom Sawyer” on The Colbert Report a few years ago, none of the song’s power or intensity seemed diminished to me. In ridiculous public-school detention in 1981, as a lonely and confused 13-year-old, I could relate to Peart’s “his mind is not for rent to any god or government.” While I’ve certainly and happily rented my mind (for what it’s worth) to JPII and B16, I’ve never given a moment — even in charity — to the government. A year later, when Peart wrote, “Some will sell their dreams for small desires,” I assured myself I would fight for integrity and human dignity. Do I give the NRO reader the mind of a 14-year-old raised in a dysfunctional family in otherwise idyllic Kansas? Yes, I do."
He also gives an interesting view of why prog bands have been virtually ignored by the mainstream North American press, and by relation, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
" rock generally is very European in its structure and in the atmosphere it creates. Because progressive rock has always tended to sidestep or ignore blues-based rock, mainstream periodicals such as Rolling Stone and journals of opinion such as the New York Times have assumed progressive rock is a betrayal of progressive culture rather than an embracing or enhancing of it.  After a very short flirtation with prog, music critics rejected the genre as pretentious and over-the-top."
- Thanks to Tim Weiss for the headsup!


  1. Power Windows--a huge thanks for this. I've been following you (2112) guys for a long time, and I was a member of the National Midnight Sun discussion group in the 1990s. Again, a huge thanks--yours, Brad Birzer (constant Rush fan since 1981).

  2. Sorry--National Midnight Star. Middle-age moment.

  3. I think Mr Birzer missinterprets Peart's world-view.
    That libertarian view is old-hat in terms of Peart's lyrics.
    Maybe it's a North American/UK interpretation thing, but I'd say that if you mean Libertarian in the current US stle which involves unfettered capitalism and generally right-wing views, then Rush as a band don't give off this idea at all. Correct me if I'm missreading you,Mr Birzer.
    alex recently described himself as socially liberal and I think Peart's recet writing reflects this too.
    maybe it's just me. I'm a liberal, socialist/anarchist who wants a fair deal for everyone and for capitalism to be restrained for the good of the planet and the less wealthy. Maybe I just hope that my favourite musicians are the same.

  4. oh.. an apologies for typos.. just dashed this off in a work break