This morning I listened to the new Rush album Snakes & Arrows for the first time. My very first listen to the album was on my mp3 player. Instead of buying the CD last night, I bought the special DVD edition of the album -- one of the reasons was to get the extras such as the video about the making of the new album. The other reason was that the special edition came with mp3 files. That made it easier for me to listen to the album.
I rarely listen to CD's any longer. I mostly listen to music and podcasts via my mp3 player -- and yes, I'm a geek. I either buy the music off of iTunes or I buy the CD and then convert the music files to mp3 format. I know I can steal them, and that it's simple and easy, but what can I say -- I actually like supporting the economy, I like supporting the artist -- and yes, I know, I'm also supporting the big giant nasty corporations who have the nerve to expect to actually make money, run these giant companies that employ thousands upon thousands of people who make a living and contribute to a capitalistic society off the hard work of these artists.
I'll always remember my fond introduction to the music of Rush. I was in high school and greatly concerned with an involved with the concept of nuclear disarmament. My good buddy Pete Mihajic told me about the latest Rush album which was Grace Under Pressure and the theme of it and how similar it was to my concerns about nuclear war.
Pete made a cassette tape of Grace Under Pressure for me and I listened to it. As many people are, I was originally leery about accepting Geddy Lee's high pitched vocals. I first focused on Neil Peart's incredibly inspiring lyrics. I fell in love with them. Then the music moved me. Then, I began to appreciate the distinct and unique range of Geddy's voice. I was consumed, I was empassioned, I was one with the music. I went out and bought the album (and yes, it was actually a record and it was vinyl), then bought Signals and Rush (their first album), and then slowly worked my way backwards though the years of their works and discovered this great stream of wonderful music. I could go on about how each one of the albums touched me or impressed me in different ways, but then this post would fill an entire book, and I'm already writing enough books at the same time right now, so I won't get into that.
While I'll always remember the joy of sitting and holding the vinyl album cover in my hand while sitting alone in my bedroom on the floor with the door closed and listening to the record playing (and often think that that was the very best way to appreciate new music), as the music industry evolved, so did the way I approached new releases.
I remember driving in to Sudbury to purchase the next Rush release, and listening to it on cassette in the car on the ride home (it was a 45 minute ride which was certainly enough to listen to most or all of an album). Then later, it was buying the CD and appreciating that.
And now, of course, listening to the album on my mp3 player while driving then walking in to work.
So while the manner in which I listen to the music has changed, I have been a Rush fan for a long time and I'll roll with those changes. Sure, as Neil writes on their latest album, it's a far cry from the world we thought we'd inherit, it's a far cry from the way we thought we'd share it.
But I can get back on.
And while this count might seem to be about appreciating the changes in music, or appreciating the wonderful music that Rush has produced over the decades, including the way they have evolved it's not. I'm actually counting my lifelong buddy Pete Mihajic and the fact that every time I listen to a Rush song I can't help but think about him and the fact he introduced Rush to me. That and the fact that, though we live in different parts of the province and our friendship has evolved over the years (we no longer go out on daily bike rides or do air bands to Rush down in his basement, though both are quite appealing to me even now) it's still a friendship that I cherish.
(You see, Pete's really shy and wouldn't want the whole post to be about him, so I did this count in a round-about way. If he knew the post was about him he wouldn't read it, but because it was about Rush, he likely read it the whole way through. So, thanks for the friendship, Pete)