Rush: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Excellence

Rush: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Excellence

Rush: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Excellence

Rush: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Excellence


Rush is often referred to as a libertarian rock band, but really what the band is channeling is an Aristotelian individualism, a philosophy that strongly resonates with today's 40-somethings. This helps explain the band's resurgence in popularity, culminating in its 2013 induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 'Rush: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Excellence' brings together the excitement of the band's progressive music, performed by three musicians whose mastery of their instruments has won them the admiration of their peers, and the surprising philosophical sophistication of their music's lyrics. the book is a systematic look at the Aristotelian philosophy embedded in the band's lyrics over its 40-year recording career. Although the topic of the book is academic, the writing is sharp, down-to-earth, and leavened with a dry wit. Anyone interested in the band's music, popular culture, and philosophical ideas simply explained will enjoy this entertaining and thought-provoking work.As a cultural phenomenon, Rush is worthy of serious study, and although other books have looked at the philosophical character of the band's music, this is the first time the music over the band's entire 40-year career is demonstrated to fall under a single, unified theory: Aristotelian individualism.


Ed Senger, Rush is a Band

“I believed what I was told. I thought it was a good life, I
thought I was happy. Then I found something that changed it all.”

Anonymous, 2112

Like so many other fans, my obsession with Rush began with this simple, 4-digit number: 2112. One rainy afternoon in the fall of 1982, when I was 12, I discovered a beat-up cassette tape of Rush’s 2112 in a cave behind a waterfall— okay, it was my older brother’s closet, but you get the picture. After several listens on my mono-speaker cassette player I was hooked. What struck me about the music was the power of the lyrics and the emotion in which they were delivered.

The lyrics told a story of discovery, hope, rejection, and despair. These were themes I could relate to, and they were told it in such a way that I felt I was being spoken to, like the song was written for me. in the weeks that followed I devoured Rush’s catalog and would forever be changed by it.

Although I loved the music and recognized the musicianship behind it, the lyrics were what ultimately drove my fascination with the band. the messages of individualism and humanism, often conveyed in stories of science-fiction and fantasy, resonated with me as a teenager. Whenever I was down, I’d listen to Rush as a pick-me-up, or as a form of musical therapy, and whenever I needed strength I would turn to the band for inspiration. There was just so much to think about in what was being said. Whenever a new album came out, I would pore over Neil Peart’s lyrics before listening to a single note, conducting my own philosophical analysis of them.

After speaking to many other fans over the years, from my vantage point as editor and publisher of Rush is a Band, I’ve learned I’m not alone in this practice.

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