When I first discovered that Neil Peart was a biker, I felt that the strong connection I have to this band, as a Rush fan, became even stronger. I grew up on two things … one is Rush and the other, anything to do with motorcycles. To think that The Professor would spend so much time on his bike travelling between shows just inspired me so much. As a regular reader of Neil`s “News, Weather and Sports”, I soon realized that not only is he the most amazing drummer, the most amazing lyricist, but he also happens to be an avid motorcyclist … even though he started late !!
All through the mid 1970s , it was Barry Sheene and A Farewell to Kings. Just mentioning those names brings the taste of the atmosphere at the time, straight back to me .. and so vivid. Our stored memories are a wonderful way for us to step back into a past moment or event that we enjoyed so much. Ok so here`s a funny connection – FTKings was released in 1977 and, if you include Archives, its Rush’s 7th album. Barry Sheene always raced the No 7 number on his bike and in 1977 became the last British Motorcycle World Champion!! All the 7s eh...
In the mid 70s, I also became a fan of a jazz fusion band called Weather Report, the main interest being, in the one of a kind, Jaco Pastorius. In later years I became intrigued with the connections between Rush and Weather Report!! Neil Peart had jazz lessons from Peter Erskine, Weather
Report’s drummer, Geddy Lee received and used a Jaco Pastorius Fender Jazz bass guitar on the Snakes and Arrows Album/Tour. As for Alex, I cannot find any connection. Maybe his is “I can`t stand them..” haha. So if anyone has anything on this, I would love to hear from you so I can
complete the connection.
So back to the bikes…which is what this blog is supposed to be about. For those of you interested in bikes, here is what I have had over the years. My first bike in 1981 was a Yamaha DT125, followed soon by the iconic Yamaha RD350LC, and several years later by a Yamaha XJ500. I had a sleeveless denim jacket covered in Rush logos with the “Man in star” hand drawn and embroidered by me (yes embroidery!) which was proudly worn over my leather jacket anytime I went out on my bike. Kinda like a “patch”, but this club was Rush. I wanted the world to know that this biker was a Rush fan full stop!! After a spell on 4 wheels I was back on bikes in the
early 90`s. Kawasaki GPZ1100, Honda XRV750 Africa Twin, Honda VFR800F1, and finally Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird. I still drive the Blackbird today. A few years ago, I managed to fully restore an old 1983 RD250LC and it has been on the road too!!
It`s funny how music and bikes are so connected. I feel it`s down to like minded people really. Music so often can take you away to another place, especially live music and, most especially, live Rush. Bikes do the same. It’s a whole different driving experience on a bike because you do not have the same sense of freedom, concentration, flexibility of movement, and greater sense of awareness, when driving 4 wheels. Just my opinion!! The lyrics from Red Barchetta could so easily be interpreted as being about riding a motorbike, such is the feeling you get. Every nerve is literally, aware.
Speaking of nerves being aware, from all the bands I have been involved with over the years, 2112 is for sure and without a shadow of doubt, the most exhilarating band I have ever been involved with. Back in the 70s when I was first listening to, and jamming on my guitar, to Rush albums, I could never have expected to be years later (a lot of years) in a band playing their music. You just did not go there … as well as it being to hard to play properly, it was too hard to get the right musicians and, what I really mean by that is, people who really love Rush music… who have had
it as part of their lives… who totally get it!! I like to think that anyone who comes to one of our gigs can actually see it in our faces, how much we love to play this music. So if on the 1st of July, you see a biker pulling up outside the Sugar Club, with a bass guitar draped across his back, (and yes, I have done that in the past) you will know its yours truly – carrying the torch for Neil, kind of !!