Oct. 10, 2006 - Issue #573: Ten Second Epic
Paul Holloway discusses Rush's Moving PicturesWhether you are a fan of their mix of hard rock and prog or not, there’s no escaping the fact that Rush is one of Canada’s most globally recognized musical exports.
You can count Paul Holloway of Edmonton rockers Mine All Mine in the “fans” camp. While his band doesn’t really bear a musical resemblance to the famous Toronto power trio—even though the band boasts a massive drum kit and has hints of prog in its rock melodies—Holloway was inspired to change the way he thought about music after embracing Rush’s most successful album, 1981’s Moving Pictures.
Moving Pictures was a landmark for Rush. The band had showed some pop-friendly leanings with the reggae-influenced hit single “The Spirit of Radio,” which came from Permanent Waves, one album before Moving Pictures. But Moving Pictures finished the transformation.
“Tom Sawyer,” with Peart’s oh-so-famous drum fills, became the band’s new signature song. Instead of swords and sorcery, “Limelight” showed how the band wrestled with its own fame; “Red Barchetta” did have a science-fiction lyric, but there was no doubt when hearing Alex Lifeson’s guitar howls that this was a classic rock, behind-the-wheel, top-down driving anthem.
“I think it was the pinnacle of their career,” Holloway says of Rush. “They were able to write a catchy song while maintaining that level of musicianship ... Before Moving Pictures, a lot of people didn’t get Rush, it was geek rock. But they stopped doing the voiceovers, and they combined concise pop-radio friendly with maintaining that instrumentalism everyone looked up to.”
When it comes to virtuosity, Rush has no equal. Peart is arguably rock’s greatest-ever drummer, while guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist/singer Geddy Lee are consistently ranked as top-10 players of their instruments by the major rock mags.
Holloway discovered Moving Pictures after a Rush fan introduced him to the album while they were both at the University of Waterloo. It was the early ‘90s and hair-metal had been displaced by grunge. At that time, technical bands like Rush were clearly out of style, but Holloway was dying to hear music that was based on more than three chords and 4/4 time.
He believes Rush is more influential than other challenging bands simply because they were able to make music that was technically difficult, in strange time signatures, that actually made it to the masses. In the end, pretty well every Canadian knows at least one Rush song.
“Lots of bands are complicated that you can never hear of, but you’ll never hear them because they’re not accessible enough,” says Holloway. “To me, being progressive is a band that changes the way people hear music.”
Mine All Mine is putting the finishing touches on a new album, recorded at Holloway’s home studio. You can check out some songs at www.mineallmine.ca. V
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