Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I think someone asked, "Would you please write about Canadian heavy metal power trio, Rush?" So here it is.

I always liked Rush in high school. But after the Moving Pictures album it seemed like they wanted to reinvent themselves as Canada's answer to The Police. I did like the song "Great White North," their collaboration with Bob and Doug McKenzie in the mid-80s. But by then it was too late. I was off Rush.

But lately I've been listening to Rush again. I just got the 3-LP set Rush Archives, which contains the first 3 Rush albums in their entirety (Rush, Fly By Night & Caress of Steel).

There's a song on the first album that's been puzzling me. It's called "In the Mood." In the chorus bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee sings:

Hey baby, it's a quarter to eight
I feel I'm in the mood

OK. I'm with you so far, Geddy. It's 15 minutes till 8 and you're horny. But then the next line goes:

Hey baby, the hour is late
I feel I got to move

Now here I have a problem. Does Geddy Lee consider 7:45 to be "late?" Because to me, either AM or PM, 7:45 is hardly "late." I have three theories.

1. Geddy Lee habitually goes to bed very, very early.
2. We're talking about 7:45 AM and Geddy has been up all night. So, from his perspective, 7:45 is, indeed, very late.
3. Maybe Geddy himself doesn't go to bed that early, but perhaps Canadians in general turn in early and he is reflecting a culturally ingrained habit.

I reject theory #1 because Geddy, being a rock & roller would hardly be able to go to bed habitually early even if he wanted to given the hours at which he worked. Theory #2 seems more plausible. But the song gives the impression that he has just met the young lady in question, with lines like "I like your style" and "won't you come talk to me for a little while" and so on. There are no other references to the two having stayed up all night, which would seem to be the theme of the song if theory #2 is correct. So I have to reject theory #2 as well. This leaves theory #3, which I can neither confirm nor disprove.

Canadian readers feel free to comment, or they or others can submit alternative theories.


rchinn72 said...

This is, by far, my favorite entry yet.

good night.

P-Nutz said...

Geddy is Buddhist, therefore, time has no meaning. It's late; he wants to get laid.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

My theory:
The first Rush album did not have the lyrical genius of Neil Peart, so Geddy and Alex wrote songs the way me and my buddies wrote when we were sixteen.
"O.K., let's list everything that rhymes with eight: hate, fate, weight, ate,... late?!"

Chris said...

I agree with rchinn72's statement.

Rush lyrical analysis > Everything else.

Anonymous said...

I think he is just trying to say "the time to hesitate is through so lets 'do it' like ... now before it's too late, 'cause now is all we got." Granted, the lyric lacks eloquence. Jim Morrison, though a reprehensible druggie, said it better.

Uh....did Rush take drugs?


Lone Wolf said...

I'm guessing Geddy has an early dentist appointment or something, and it's sort of getting late in the evening so he needs to make his move.Because Geddy is a four play master and a master at four play needs to know how to take his time with a lady.

door knob said...

Ah, finally, a post I can relate to, since I'm Canadian and all. Sad to say that I was never a Rush fan.

When it comes to turning in early, Canadians are no different from Americans--that is, we don't have a strange quirk in our collective consciousness that compels us to turn in earlier than usual (whatever "usual" is).

Slightly off topic but in the same vein, I grew up in a small town of 500 people in the province of Saskatchewan (north of North Dakota, which probably sounds depressing to most Yanks). There is a rural/urban divide when it comes to what is considered "early." I'm sure this exists in the States, too.

In small rural communities, the meal at 12 PM is not called "lunch," but "dinner"; the meal at 6 PM is not called "dinner," but "supper." Of course, people in the big cities think eating "supper" at 6 PM is insanely early, whereas small town folks think eating supper at 7 PM or after is way too late. "Lunch" to small town folks just means an afternoon snack. At least, this was how it was in my town.

The fun really began when I moved to the big city, if you consider a city of 200,000 to be big. (Believe it or not, any town in Saskatchewan that's bigger than 5,000 people is considered a "city.") Being just a country bumpkin, I had to adjust to the ways of the big city, especially to the new meaning of "dinner." I can't count the number of times I accidentally stood people up by meeting them for dinner at 12 PM (actually, I thought they stood me up).

Anyway, that was a long time ago and I now live in the big Canadian city on the left coast. Just like Seattle, except not as conservative. :) And I thank the one or two people who actually read my entire post.

Lone Wolf said...

Brad, what do you think about Zen and Psychology? I've been contemplating about changing from an English to Psychology major. I want to continue to write fiction, but as far as English careers go...I'm not diggin' my options.

As a person who suffered from major anxiety problems in my youth, I've worked hard to understand my mind and better my situation. I've came along way. Buddhism has been a large part of my journey. I would like to study Psychology in relationship to Zazen (balancing the automic nervous system) and help others with similar problems that I had. I mean I still have anxiety of course, everyone does, I just ceased to let it run or ruin my life as it once did.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the topic of Zen and Psychology.

I think if Neuroscientist and Psychologist continue to deeply study Gudo Nishijima's discovery of Zazen and the automic nervous system, then there could be some real scientific understanding of why people should practice Zazen, regardless of their religon.

Alex said...

There must have been a time lapse after 7.45 wherein the girl was giving him a hard time while destroying his mood, after which he needed an excuse to split. Seems the girl was the problem here ;-)

Anonymous said...

Wow - it's not that difficult!

Consider that time has indeed progressed between:

"Hey baby, it's a quarter to eight
I feel I'm in the mood"


"Hey baby, the hour is late
I feel I got to move"

This is a standard lyrical device that goes all the way back to blues and early rock and roll numbers.

He's getting horney at quarter to eight, but by the time the "hour is late" he's really "got to move".

Anonymous said...

p.s. Plus, the only time that rhymes with "late" is "eight".

Anonymous said...

Maybe the lyric is simply being ironic?

cromanyak said...

I've never listened to Rush except maybe on the radio at work by accident, but could it mean when he says it's getting late that they've already had sex and now he has to split???

Sam said...

When did Rush Limbaugh start making music?
I had no idea.

Leilani said...

I think that Geddy's rock 'n roll lifestyle has distored all sense of time, and that he should really get a good night's sleep.

Unrelatedly, here is an article about a Buddhist monk who is also a police chaplain in Orange County:

Anonymous said...

Rewriting Nishijima's version of the Mulamadhyamakakarika is good. Wondering about the dumb purple lyrics of the pretentious and overblown band Rush is bad. Do what is right and don’t do what is wrong. And don’t pretend you don’t know the difference because you do.

Matt said...

^ wow, what was that about pretentious?

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin said...

Leaving anonymous comments criticizing someone's blog is bad.

But yeah, I'm inclined to agree with a couple comments here stating that time has elapsed between the two statements in the song.

On the other hand, he may simply be stating that the time is getting "late" for action. In other words, his patience is running out.

Esmerelda said...

Perhaps given the name of the band, Rush, he is like the March Hare from 'Alice in Wonderland' always 'late for a very important date'.

If it were a Cole Porter song, I would have guessed a reference to the Manhattan standard dinner at eight with a double mean of hunger.

There are a lot of 'In the Mood' songs which are quite different from each other. I like John Lee Hooker's better. But I have to admit I would be more interested in Axl Rose's version than Rush's.

Jinzang said...

I don't know. But now that you've mentioned Rush, I can't get Geddy Lee's voice out of my brain. Oh, the pain!

Anonymous said...

I think that the hour is late considering the last time he got laid..

UncaDan said...

I was never a Rush fan but I can listen to the live album or 2112 if I have to. There are a couple of song on Farewell To Kings but after that I find them a bit repetitious and annoying. I almost saw them in the old days (late 70's) but missed the show due to a snow storm. I often wonder if my opinion of the band would be different if I had seen that show. If i became a Rush fan would I have not liked Bob Dylan or T.Rex, or later Michael Hedges and Francis Dunnery? Funny how life works.

Anonymous said...

There's another famous pop song with the line...
"Too much time on my hands..."

Kid Rock said...

I never liked Geddy Lee's music very much, but his ex-wife Pam Anderson is way hot!

Anonymous said...

Hey Brad,

Alex here, editor at New World Library, and RUSH fan. You've got to look at this from an editorial perspective.

Noting that this was from an album prior to Neil Peart's taking of the drum stool, these lyrics were written by either Geddy or Alex. I'm guessing Alex. That being the case, I'll speculate that he was merely compressing time here.

The first line it is indeed a quarter to 8. This little conversation between him and his lady probably went on all night. So the next line about the hour is getting late refers to a much later moment in the evening. We don't need to know that between phone calls to his lady that he was clipping his nails, sorting his socks, and puffing up his 'fro for the 1000th time that day. We just need to essential details -- that he had to work all night to get his lady.

More interesting, in my opinion, is the line at the end of the song "everything's getting hazy now honey, where'd you go?" Was this all a dream?

earDRUM said...

Well, I'm Canadian so I will respond.

Pretty much all of Rush's lyrics seem kinda silly to me.
I'm not a huge Rush fan, but my buddies are. So I've heard their music a lot. I liked 2112 and Farewell to Kings, back in the early 1980's. But I haven't been able to listen to anything they have done since Subdivisions.

Moving Pictures is one of those perfect albums for me. Every song is good. I even like the lyrics on that one.
I, for one, liked it when they added reggae to their mix. Even if it did make them look like Police copycats. Hey, the Clash did the reggae thing too. I think it improved all of these band's output.

On a Rush DVD that was filmed in Brazil, the huge audience sings the whole YYZ guitar solo.
Why is progressive rock so popular in Brazil? Weird.

Uku said...

Way to go, Brad! You have the same mode as Buddha had! Provocative!

Peace, my brother :)

Markus, Finland.

Matt said...

Okay, this is not relevant to Brads blog post but I just found this Henry Miller quote and wanted to share it with someone.....

“Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.”

--Henry Miller

Lone Wolf said...

Nice Post on Love at SG's. "Whats Love Got To Do With It", I think Tina Turner wrote that song after her big break up with the abusive Ike, in which she said her practice of Buddhism helped her through the difficulties.

So when you met Yuka, you didn't have that soul mate feeling or any high emotions of love when you met Yuka? And if you did, how did you deal with letting your emotions get out of hand?

I thinking the answer might have something to do with practicing Zazen everyday.

Actually, there is alot more that goes into potential marrige partners in love, there is economics, class status, persontality, etc. We were talking about that in Sociology class the other day. It's funny when people fall in "love at first sight", get married within a month, and wonder what the fuck they were thinking another month later when the honey moon is over and find out their "soul mate" is not even close to the person they THOUGHT they were. Eehh!

Matt said...

fucking hormones.....can't live with them, can't chuck stones at them.

Anonymous said...

don't want to Rush to judgement, but
is this criminal negligence or...

outright fraud?

Anonymous said...

as a canadian, i don't think we turn in any earlier than americans, but i can say that it's 7:00 PM where i am right now (edmonton) and it sure as hell feels late, being that it's completely dark out. hell, in december 4:00 PM feels late.

Anonymous said...

I love Rush. The fact that they are a power trio makes them even better. My other favorite canadian band is the lesser known (but just as loud) Voivod. They were a power trio for a few years in the 90s too. How cool is that?

Uncle Beesly said...

It's simple really - Geddy is a virgin (at least within the context of the song or time of writing) and fears the "time is getting late.." i.e - he's getting older and he's in a rawk band, fer chrissakes, he needs his cherry popped and hopes to get his jollies with the lady in question
. If you don't take the words too literally, then this is at least a plausible theory. It was after all only their first album - maybe only men went to Rush gigs in the mid '70s. I was a rush fan back in the '80s - there was a heavy testosterone bias even then let me tell you.

In-need-of-advice said...

Dear Abby,

My sink’s all clogged and the hubby is off screwing his secretary, what do I do?

Justin said...

When I was a teenager I was a Rush fan, but I got better and I acquired some taste.

Lone Wolf,

I took a Psychology degree (combined with philosophy) and I've been regularly practicing Zen Buddhism for a few years now. I don't know of any evidence for Nishijima's theory about Zazen and the autonomic system. I think it's just his own speculation. But some interesting research has been done into meditation and I would encourage anyone to pursue this further. Perhaps you could investigate Nishijima's theory as a PhD ?

Anonymous said...

Since your into music, i always liked Dont Hail Me from Guns and Roses.
" The only validation is in living your own life/ Vicarious existence is a F#%king waste of time"
" We take it for granted we know the whole story/ We judge a book by it's cover and read what we want/ between selected lines."

Jim said...

No, you've got it wrong. It's "a quarter to wait". His parking meter is about to expire and therefore he "has to move". He can spare no time picking up this woman.

BlueWolfNine said...

i always thought YES was waaay cooler. just my opinion anyway....

Esmerelda said...

What is most interesting about this post and the comments is the wide range of possible interpretations of a fairly simple set of words written in a language we all read. We all pretty much share the same culture as Geddy and are pretty much contemporaries. This really demonstrats the difficulty of interpretation and translation of the Buddhist texts that are hundreds of years old.

Lone Wolf said...

When I first became interested in Buddhism about 9 years ago, I read a book called "Awakening the Buddha Within" by Lama Surya Das. I loved this book back then, many years later, well... at least it got me interested in Buddhism.

I even met ol Lama Surya Das at a retreat I attended once.

But to see him face up against Stephen Colbert in a Battle of Contentment was well... alot more interesting than those audio tapes of his I gave away to a friendly neighborhood Dharma center.

Check it out:

Lone Wolf said...

Thanks for the advice Justin.

ghost said...

"This really demonstrates the difficulty of interpretation and translation of the Buddhist texts that are hundreds of years old."

esmerelda - I have to think that was the point of brad's post. He just likes to throw in a certain amount of pop culture misdirection.

Esmerelda said...

Ghost - I think so too, it took me a while to figure it out too.

Lonewolf, I liked the Surya Das book too. Like you I am not as fond of it now. However, one thing that stuck in my head is when his teacher tells him to stop reading novels on the subway and meditate instead. He started doing it.

Kind of puts the excuses for not focusing in a nice quite room with a blank wall in perspective.

Jinzang said...

I think Brad just likes to throw the ball in the air to see how we'll all chase after it.

Lone Wolf said...

Hi esmerelda,

There is some okay stuff in "A. the B.W.", I know there are many people in the Tibetan Buddhist community who are not happy with Lama Surya Das's openess with teaching Dzogchen, which is suppose to be the "hightest" teachings in TB.

Dzogchen, from what I know of, is very close to the instructions of Shikantaza.

Looks like us Soto Zen practioners are starting at the top. LOL

Kidding! Like there's really a top.

David said...

This anonymous is correct.

Anonymous said...

Wow - it's not that difficult!

Consider that time has indeed progressed between:

"Hey baby, it's a quarter to eight
I feel I'm in the mood"


"Hey baby, the hour is late
I feel I got to move"

This is a standard lyrical device that goes all the way back to blues and early rock and roll numbers.

He's getting horney at quarter to eight, but by the time the "hour is late" he's really "got to move".

2:04 AM

David said...

Jinzang said...

I think Brad just likes to throw the ball in the air to see how we'll all chase after it.

I say: I doubt it.

Dan said...


thanks for the comedy central link, i always enjoy seeing famous spiritual types on film. I think Lama Surya Das handled himself pretty well considering he was on the Colbert report. I got the impression he was a pretty decent guy. The Geoffrey from Long Island bit cracked me up though.

Jinzang said...

I met Surya Das when he was living at KTD. This was before he did the three year retreat in France, took Dzogchen on the road, and became a famous author. He was pretty much a regular guy and no doubt he still is.

I also knew Cliff Stoll way back when he worked at the Space Telescope. That was before he became a famous author. He was crazy back then and no doubt he still is.

Lone Wolf said...

Dan- I'm glad you enjoyed the clip.

Jinzang- I enjoyed your story, thanks for sharing.

KTD, so I take it you know Khenpo Karthar and Bardor Tulku. How about Lama Kathy? She is head of the KTC branch in Columbus, Ohio. Wonderful Lady!

Though I don't practice Tibetan Buddhism anymore, I still respect many of the teachers I've met. Bardor Tulku gave me some of the best advice once. I was telling him about what some new agey crystal healing lady said about me (can't really recall, but I was really agonizing over it at the time) Bardor Tulku said to me something like, "Don't listen to other people. It's more peacefull that way." LOL. I will always remember that.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the 'transformation-into-the-Canadian-answer-to-The Police' postulation. Their first album they sounded like a Canadian-Zep ripoff. Here's MY theory: Maybe It's a badly written lyric because RUSH SUCKS DONKEY BALLS. Don't act surprised. You knew...

Anonymous said...

Yes, eight rhymes with Late. That's all.


I miss John Rutsey, I can't take the objectivist crap.

Anonymous said...

ummmmm ur an ass.