18. I Know It's Only Rock And Roll...

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

As anyone who's been reading this can see, I'm all over the musical map from 12 tone fugues to jazz and funk to musicals to top 40 rock and elsewhere. That's because for me, quality in music is not about style. It's about whether a piece of music is good or not regardless of style. I have always reasoned that if the same author who writes novels and poetry can also write newspaper and magazine articles, why is music any different? I think it's necessary to use the musical language that best fits what you are trying to say. Some music is art, some music is the news of the day, and some music the jury is still deliberating on. So for these reasons, I have always resisted categorization. Okay, so now back to the story....

Rush was booked, making money and band life was a funky Bali Hai until things started heading south. The primary reason was new stricter drinking laws which made it preferable to stay home and substitute MTV music videos for live music at a public dance venue in order to avoid getting pulled over or stopped at a sobriety checkpoint. This concern put a huge dent in nightclub attendance and the nightclub owner's profits, which were also affected by large increases in their liability insurance rates. It wasn't exactly prohibition, but people were clearly being discouraged from going out as they had done in the past.

The writing was on the wall. Lower profits and attendance meant lower pay rates for bands, and many nightclubs started hiring DJ's instead. It became almost impossible to find work that paid enough to justify the time, travel and expense. And I was starting to get annoyed by being pulled over after gigs simply because I was on the road at 2 a.m. by police with phony excuses like, "We had rumors of a suspicious vehicle in the neighborhood," or "Your left tire touched the center line." Once I had to open up the back of the truck, and open up a guitar case behind the front seat to demonstrate that there was nothing illegal contained inside without any just cause at all. I had to pass sobriety tests by reciting the alphabet backwards, walking a straight line heel to toe, and proving that I knew the correct time. Bottom line: Driving home was starting to feel like running the gauntlet. So we tried to adapt by playing at smaller clubs closer to home. I did this for a while, but ended up quitting Rush after six years. The Glory Days were clearly over and it was time to focus my attention closer to home.

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