Jump to content


Listening to Vapor Trails After Having Read "Ghost Rider"

neil peart ghost rider vapor trails

  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 Show Don't Tell

Show Don't Tell

    The Seeder

  • Members *
  • 9234 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oshawa, ON, Canada
  • Interests:Music, Hockey, Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science.

Posted 16 November 2020 - 09:35 PM

I was curious to get some peoples' opinions on this. I recently finished Ghost Rider and, the next day, put on my VT CD to listen to (the remix/remaster – I'm not a masochist!). Anyway, it was interesting to hear the album in a "reflected in another source of light" as it were, specifically the songs related to Neil's travels. I obviously always knew the big picture of what happened from 1997 to 2002, but reading all the details gave some more context. For example, beyond the obvious "Ghost Rider", there is "Secret Touch" relating to his experience with Gabrielle; the mentioning of tarot cards in "Peaceable Kingdom" (probably inspired by the surprisingly accurate tarot card reading he had done); the line, "You can't tell yourself how to feel" in "How It Is", which is recurrent throughout the latter half of the book.

Actually, in terms of "Ghost Rider", I heard the lines, "There's a shadow on the road behind / There's a shadow on the road ahead" differently upon the most recent listen, and connect it to perhaps his reference of a "splintered personality" during his healing journey, of which the Ghost Rider was one facet.

It's strange because I always thought I knew what Vapor Trails was, and now it has given me a new perspective.

Sponsored Post

#2 Lorraine

Lorraine

    Dial-Up Diva

  • Members *
  • 52235 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 16 November 2020 - 11:36 PM

Who's Gabrielle?  And here all this time I thought Secret Touch was about Carrie.

#3 goose

goose

    Honkin' in Nevada

  • Members *
  • 78140 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sierra Nevada foothills, East Slope
  • Interests:marxism

Posted 17 November 2020 - 12:06 AM

View PostShow Don, on 16 November 2020 - 09:35 PM, said:

I was curious to get some peoples' opinions on this. I recently finished Ghost Rider and, the next day, put on my VT CD to listen to (the remix/remaster – I'm not a masochist!). Anyway, it was interesting to hear the album in a "reflected in another source of light" as it were, specifically the songs related to Neil's travels. I obviously always knew the big picture of what happened from 1997 to 2002, but reading all the details gave some more context. For example, beyond the obvious "Ghost Rider", there is "Secret Touch" relating to his experience with Gabrielle; the mentioning of tarot cards in "Peaceable Kingdom" (probably inspired by the surprisingly accurate tarot card reading he had done); the line, "You can't tell yourself how to feel" in "How It Is", which is recurrent throughout the latter half of the book.

Actually, in terms of "Ghost Rider", I heard the lines, "There's a shadow on the road behind / There's a shadow on the road ahead" differently upon the most recent listen, and connect it to perhaps his reference of a "splintered personality" during his healing journey, of which the Ghost Rider was one facet.

It's strange because I always thought I knew what Vapor Trails was, and now it has given me a new perspective.
The book definitely gives better insight into where Neil was at the time.  For me, the full context makes VT one of RUSH's best albums.

#4 goose

goose

    Honkin' in Nevada

  • Members *
  • 78140 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sierra Nevada foothills, East Slope
  • Interests:marxism

Posted 17 November 2020 - 12:14 AM

View PostLorraine, on 16 November 2020 - 11:36 PM, said:

Who's Gabrielle?  And here all this time I thought Secret Touch was about Carrie.
As I understand it, Gabriel is an alias for the woman that Neil fell for during his post-tragedy recovery.  Tge song Sweet Miracle chronicles his journey from despair through anger and finally to acceptance by way of finding love again (Gabriel).  One of my favorite RUSH songs.

#5 Show Don't Tell

Show Don't Tell

    The Seeder

  • Members *
  • 9234 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oshawa, ON, Canada
  • Interests:Music, Hockey, Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science.

Posted 18 November 2020 - 09:53 AM

View Postgoose, on 17 November 2020 - 12:14 AM, said:

View PostLorraine, on 16 November 2020 - 11:36 PM, said:

Who's Gabrielle?  And here all this time I thought Secret Touch was about Carrie.
As I understand it, Gabriel is an alias for the woman that Neil fell for during his post-tragedy recovery.  Tge song Sweet Miracle chronicles his journey from despair through anger and finally to acceptance by way of finding love again (Gabriel).  One of my favorite RUSH songs.

Yes, this was the spring of 1999, so about half a year before he met Carrie. In Chapter 12 of Ghost Rider, he reveals (mostly in letters to Brutus and others) his feelings for Gabrielle, but how they still seem foreign and induce a sense of guilt (re. Jackie's sister, Deb). Certainly "Out of touch / With life in the land of the loving". And later, when she cools off a bit, "Out of touch / With the things that last / And the things that come apart". Most obviously, though, I remember the title phrase in an excerpt Neil transcribed from Victory by Joseph Conrad:

Quote

He became a waif and a stray, austerely, from conviction, as others do through drink, from vice, from some weakness of character — with deliberation, as others do in despair. This, stripped of its facts, had been Heyst's life up to that disturbing night. Next day, when he saw the girl called Alma, she managed to give him a glance of frank tenderness, quick as lightning, and leaving a profound impression, a secret touch on the heart.
(p. 330 of my edition of GR)

Anyway, good note about Sweet Miracle. I didn't make the connection to it at first. I agree it is a great song!

#6 vaportrailer

vaportrailer

    A Passenger to Bangkok

  • Members
  • 7077 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Canada
  • Interests:music, reading, travel

Posted 18 November 2020 - 04:01 PM

I heard, and liked, the album before reading, and not liking so much, the book.
The letters soon became, and become, tiring; and the writing, and editing, what editing there is, is generally, and sometimes specifically, lackluster.
Although better, but not by much, "Masked Rider" is more readable, especially if your eyes are open, including eyelids, and you feel like reading about some cranky old bastard feeling smug about stuff, and other assorted things.
-Derek420

Posted Image

#7 chemistry1973

chemistry1973

    Rushaholic

  • Members *
  • 1773 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 18 November 2020 - 04:23 PM

View Postvaportrailer, on 18 November 2020 - 04:01 PM, said:

I heard, and liked, the album before reading, and not liking so much, the book.
The letters soon became, and become, tiring; and the writing, and editing, what editing there is, is generally, and sometimes specifically, lackluster.
Although better, but not by much, "Masked Rider" is more readable, especially if your eyes are open, including eyelids, and you feel like reading about some cranky old bastard feeling smug about stuff, and other assorted things.
-Derek420

Posted Image

I'm going to wade into dangerous territory ---

Do you think those letters to Brutus read as a little phony?

#8 vaportrailer

vaportrailer

    A Passenger to Bangkok

  • Members
  • 7077 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Canada
  • Interests:music, reading, travel

Posted 18 November 2020 - 04:39 PM

View Postchemistry1973, on 18 November 2020 - 04:23 PM, said:

View Postvaportrailer, on 18 November 2020 - 04:01 PM, said:

I heard, and liked, the album before reading, and not liking so much, the book.
The letters soon became, and become, tiring; and the writing, and editing, what editing there is, is generally, and sometimes specifically, lackluster.
Although better, but not by much, "Masked Rider" is more readable, especially if your eyes are open, including eyelids, and you feel like reading about some cranky old bastard feeling smug about stuff, and other assorted things.
-Derek420

Posted Image

I'm going to wade into dangerous territory ---

Do you think those letters to Brutus read as a little phony?

Dunno about phony, but forced...yes!
"Hey there, Blunderbuss! Sorry you're in jail, and I really shouldn't complain, but yet I will. Americans are fat. I saw a bird."

The letters also seem like padding. Lots and lots of padding. The book needed serious pruning, which he was apparently uninterested in.
Jack Kerouac disease: "I mean what I write, so don't change a word."

#9 Lorraine

Lorraine

    Dial-Up Diva

  • Members *
  • 52235 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 18 November 2020 - 05:08 PM

View PostShow Don, on 18 November 2020 - 09:53 AM, said:

View Postgoose, on 17 November 2020 - 12:14 AM, said:

View PostLorraine, on 16 November 2020 - 11:36 PM, said:

Who's Gabrielle?  And here all this time I thought Secret Touch was about Carrie.
As I understand it, Gabriel is an alias for the woman that Neil fell for during his post-tragedy recovery.  Tge song Sweet Miracle chronicles his journey from despair through anger and finally to acceptance by way of finding love again (Gabriel).  One of my favorite RUSH songs.

Yes, this was the spring of 1999, so about half a year before he met Carrie. In Chapter 12 of Ghost Rider, he reveals (mostly in letters to Brutus and others) his feelings for Gabrielle, but how they still seem foreign and induce a sense of guilt (re. Jackie's sister, Deb). Certainly "Out of touch / With life in the land of the loving". And later, when she cools off a bit, "Out of touch / With the things that last / And the things that come apart". Most obviously, though, I remember the title phrase in an excerpt Neil transcribed from Victory by Joseph Conrad:

Quote

He became a waif and a stray, austerely, from conviction, as others do through drink, from vice, from some weakness of character — with deliberation, as others do in despair. This, stripped of its facts, had been Heyst's life up to that disturbing night. Next day, when he saw the girl called Alma, she managed to give him a glance of frank tenderness, quick as lightning, and leaving a profound impression, a secret touch on the heart.
(p. 330 of my edition of GR)

Anyway, good note about Sweet Miracle. I didn't make the connection to it at first. I agree it is a great song!
I didn't know that about Neil and Jackie's sister.

#10 Show Don't Tell

Show Don't Tell

    The Seeder

  • Members *
  • 9234 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oshawa, ON, Canada
  • Interests:Music, Hockey, Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science.

Posted 18 November 2020 - 06:51 PM

View Postvaportrailer, on 18 November 2020 - 04:39 PM, said:

View Postchemistry1973, on 18 November 2020 - 04:23 PM, said:

I'm going to wade into dangerous territory ---

Do you think those letters to Brutus read as a little phony?

Dunno about phony, but forced...yes!
"Hey there, Blunderbuss! Sorry you're in jail, and I really shouldn't complain, but yet I will. Americans are fat. I saw a bird."

The letters also seem like padding. Lots and lots of padding. The book needed serious pruning, which he was apparently uninterested in.
Jack Kerouac disease: "I mean what I write, so don't change a word."
I'll admit the quantity of the letters was perhaps a bit much, even with the omissions to avoid repetition, though I suppose they did advance the story. As for the actual content, I dunno, I read it as authentically Neil, and I had to believe that the tone of them was appropriate (Brutus being a close friend of his). Still, the entire chapter of "Letters to Brutus" could have been condensed.

#11 vaportrailer

vaportrailer

    A Passenger to Bangkok

  • Members
  • 7077 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Canada
  • Interests:music, reading, travel

Posted 19 November 2020 - 02:42 PM

View PostShow Don, on 18 November 2020 - 06:51 PM, said:

View Postvaportrailer, on 18 November 2020 - 04:39 PM, said:

View Postchemistry1973, on 18 November 2020 - 04:23 PM, said:

I'm going to wade into dangerous territory ---

Do you think those letters to Brutus read as a little phony?

Dunno about phony, but forced...yes!
"Hey there, Blunderbuss! Sorry you're in jail, and I really shouldn't complain, but yet I will. Americans are fat. I saw a bird."

The letters also seem like padding. Lots and lots of padding. The book needed serious pruning, which he was apparently uninterested in.
Jack Kerouac disease: "I mean what I write, so don't change a word."
I'll admit the quantity of the letters was perhaps a bit much, even with the omissions to avoid repetition, though I suppose they did advance the story. As for the actual content, I dunno, I read it as authentically Neil, and I had to believe that the tone of them was appropriate (Brutus being a close friend of his). Still, the entire chapter of "Letters to Brutus" could have been condensed.

Wait a sec, there were omissions to avoid repetition? :o   But what about all the remaining needless repetition? :P
A good editor would've helped, although NP apparently balked at the idea. I understand NP not wanting to do too many rewrites, but that's what good writers do. There is a very compelling story hiding in the book, but NP wasn't interested in telling it, which is why the "redemption" he finds at the end seems anti-climatic. The album kicks ass though. :yes:

Posted Image





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: neil peart, ghost rider, vapor trails

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users