Forward from the upcoming book,
It's Over at Last
After the last curtain call of the R40 tour, the hubbub and cocktail chatter was turned up to 11. The Forum in Los Angeles is a great place to end the journey. Across the street, Steve Harvey's Fried Chicken joint is always ready to deliver. It's my personal favorite. Inside the special VIP lounge, amidst a captive audience, resident drinkmaster Howard Ungerleider was doling out a new concoction he called "Photobomb". My relationship with Howard started shortly after I joined up with Geddy and Alex. Even way back then, Howard was such a soothing balm to almost any stressful situation. He reminds me of Isaac, the Bartender from The Love Boat - always eager to chat enjoy a refreshing adult beverage. Watching him across the room I was struck by a flurry of emotions.
Liam Birt was there, another anchor of the past and also the present. The mere fact that we kept so many people from our humble beginnings was resonating within me. This moment was special, but not sad. A door closes, another opens. A new chapter in our lives was about to begin. Our manager Ray Danniels was surrounded by a conglomerate of yes men taking notes, sending texts, answering phones. My senses told me that after all the negotiating to make this tour happen, they didn't believe me when I told them it was over.
Our journey's end made me think of something...
Pimpin' ain't easy!
The Brazen Head is officially Dublin’s oldest watering hole, located down the quays of the River Liffey. Established in 1198, it was originally a coach house but it's unclear how much of the original structure remains. The pub certainly drips with history (metaphorically and literally), hosting historic figures who are known to have spent time in Dublin: authors James Joyce, Brendan Behan and Jonathan Swift, as well as famous revolutionaries like Robert Emmet, Wolfe Tone, Daniel O'Connell and Michael Collins. During a recent excavation, an earthen jar containing previously unknown manuscripts written by Oscar Wilde was discovered. Gems from yesteryear still prove relevant to this transplanted Canadian, and in this melancholy moment the poem hit me. Here's a snippet from his newly revealed writing:
The Ocean, my friend.
Father time, doesn't bend
"Bask in the sun next to the ocean blue,
as your soul gets sprayed in a golden, endocrinal hue.
When you breath in the air you discover a generous measure of kindness from Poseidon's trident.
Hear the gull crying out to its master, see it fly without care or burden on its wings.
Oh how I long to sit next to the ocean, and feel the warm spray and its ever comforting breeze."
He was on to something. I think.
Maybe golden showers feel good or something along those lines. Well, touring can be just that.
Here in Santa Monica it's the ocean air that kills you, but at least the beaches are immaculate. Manicured. Litter free. Acres of tan skin. Steroid stallions cruising for tuna. Sadly, the ocean air is jaded by the faint hint of burning petrol. Off in the distance, you can see the flames causing that acrid stain. In the dark corners of my heart I think of all those fat cat oil tycoons polluting the air without restraint. They've no concern for people like us, or the air we breath.
If one were to ask them about the smell in the air, they'd probably say: "That's the smell of money!"
No doubt. Speaking of money. When I started writing my new book I needed a change of scenery...because I'm thinking about my next paycheck. I'm officially retired, but living in Santa Monica isn't for the financially embarrassed.
In what's been standard operating procedure following our most recent tours, I always want to get away and focus on my next book. Really, that's my top priority. In order to create entertaining and insightful prose, atmosphere is always important. My mindset is certainly influenced by my surroundings. One thing on my mind is to share thoughts and feelings about the R40 tour, and why now is the time to hang it up. Much to the chagrin of Rush fans everywhere--it's time. Nobody wants to hear those words, but as I look at my hands and listen to my gut, it's time.
The term "fan" is derived from the Latin word fānāticus which means to be “carried away by a god, raving about, possessed”. To be honest, I'm tired of people being fanatical about me. Get over it guys.
Neil relaxing in the Dead Sea 2015
To escape the hubbub of LA, I set out for a favorite destination of Geddy's and mine--The Dead Sea. It isn't as busy, the air is clean, but it's the water that kills you. Looks inviting, but tastes like battery acid. Salt pillars poke up out of the water like buttes from an alien world. Similar to LA, there's plenty of old men hung like field mice and wearing speedos. It's liberating to be surrounded by people who just don't care. People just doing their thing, unaffected by the smirks of young women. Boarding El Al out of Los Angeles I started to reflect on the tour. One of the goals was to leave everything out there and to surpass the previous concert efforts. We have always been of the mindset that we want to improve as the tour progresses. At the end I feel we did just that. We surpassed even our own lofty expectations.
I'm already missing certain aspects of touring life, mainly seeing Michael everyday. Our rides certainly gave me plenty to think about between gas stations. The next concert, and the last show. It's crossing the finish line of a marathon that lasts months. I always take the time to give an extra bow from behind my set, but this time I got the courage to step out to the front of the stage. Kinda scary, but the multitude of women assuaged my fears of being stampeded by adoring fans. For some reason I enjoy the anonymity of stopping at Mom and Pop gas stations. We top off the gas tanks, maybe read a book, and take a catnap under a tree after a snack. Normally, Mosbach and I would get snow cones and a corndog. On a show day, I'll always get pickled eggs so I'm ripping farts strong enough to melt Geddy's and Alex's faces by the time Animate rolls around on the setlist.
One pastime Ged and I share when we vacation is bird watching. Israel boasts some friendly birds, but also the most dangerous. In 1989 while high atop Masada, I was attacked by a flock of Esegenei persecticus, better known as "Yarmulke Hawks". Swooping down from great heights to steal any hat or head covering a weary traveler may wear. The birds cackle with elongated jargon. I know this sounds crazy, but they have a weird Yiddish dialect when they cry out. Golan Heights Yiddish to be precise. They seemingly mock tourists into surrendering whatever snacks they're packing.
After my first visit to that part of the world, after they took a holy shit on my prayer cap, I told myself the next time I'd be prepared for those nuisances. I have no sympathy for them after that fiasco. I had my plan to give them antacid tablets wrapped in matzoh balls. It was rewarding to watch them explode in mid air. One reminded me of the time Randy Johnson vaporized a seagull during a game--poof! Nothing but feathers, and not a carcass to be found. That'll teach those bastards. I hope their friends were watching.
Reality hits you at 60
During the R40 tour I struggled just to get out of bed. After a show muscles ache, and no matter how many Asian masseuses Alex lines up for me, I still hurt. Epsom salt baths are beneficial but the side effects outweigh the benefits. Not to call him out in a public way, but most of his twitter followers know this already. My security guard has a bath salt addiction. So I gotta watch those around him on the bus and in the hotels, primarily because he runs the bath water for me.
In a perfect world I could keep on touring, but I'm no spring chicken and have a flourishing life outside of my chosen profession. Most Rush fans probably have no idea that I ride from show to show on a motorcycle, choosing the back roads for my routes. The more remote, the better. Claustrophobia and xenophobia are issues I deal with on the road. Traveling by bike makes those mental hurdles a bit easier. If I traveled by jet I would still have issues. Imagine living your life where you play a gig, fly to the next city, get to your hotel, stay there all day, waiting until the next day to jam. That's what many people don't get. Touring life is really no life at all. Hurry up and wait. So I travel by motorcycle to break up the droning monotony.
Don't get me wrong; the payday is significant. Financial embarrassment is something that I gladly left behind years ago, and I'm used to a lifestyle that many would die for. I have a huge garage full of cars. A swimming pool in the shape of a money sign, and three housekeepers I call Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria...in other words life is good, so why try harder?
Yukon Blade Grinder Exclusive Part II
A message to our old pal, the new guy:
Over a year has passed since our last gig. Man, what a show! Sold out tour. Tons of chicks at the concerts. Not a bad review to be found in the papers. We waved good bye in Los Angeles thinking there may be a few more gigs left in us, and then...radio silence.
How convenient that Anthem didn't have to ship the drum kit across the continent. We are all to familiar with your attitude at the start and end of a tour:
Now, here we are waiting for the winds of change to blow up your skirt and air out that candy ass! You're fooling no one. Ged and I know every time you use your turn signal that a drum beat is going off in your head. We know too well, Pratt. We don't believe for one minute you're cool with being old and fat. Time for you to get busy and start practicing.
So what if your older and feel you've reached the zenith of your abilities? We'll take you at 75% capacity. Still better than anyone else out there on the planet. We played Losing It several times last tour and not one of us shed a tear. So what if we aren't what we used to be? Jeez, we're in our 60's and not one of us takes viagra--that's an indicator the Rocket Sauce tanks are full. Time to drain those tanks, Pratt.
Dirk and I have completed a ton of music and feel it's about time to share, however, we don't seem to have your correct address. We feel that 1410 Itsbetterthanever Street is a fake, and your phone numbers changed. You thought you were clever giving Ray 867-5309--without an area code. It seems so orchestrated, Neil. Do you really want us to leave you alone? Not gonna happen buddy! You're our meal ticket.
Can't get in touch with you, yet you're popping up in the oddest places. Operation? You've really sold your likeness to Milton Bradley for that stupid game?!?
Ged and I thought it was a lame move, but when we found out you got paid $5 million, we started looking for games to endorse.
Then the modeling. Truly a WTF moment. You're modeling leather biker apparel. Wake up dude! Neil, re-attach your balls and call us...you know the number.
XOXOXO...blah blah blah,
Edited by Tombstone Mountain, 07 August 2016 - 10:05 PM.