Monday, February 7, 2011

The Rand-Rush Connection: Coda

After completing this, I recently came across online a Hold Your Fire "backstage" newsletter from 1998 (Transcribed by Kathy View). Included is a Q&A featuring a few of Rand-related questions:

Q. How do you feel about Ayn Rand and Objectivism?
Ted Tomaszewski,
Clark’s Summit, PA

A. Pretty good. How do you feel about them?

The answer's kind of flip, as if weary of the question, followed a few questions later by this more neutral, yet more characteristic answer:

Q. I would like to know what are some of the more interesting books you’ve read to inspire your song writing, as with "Anthem" by Ayn Rand and "Powers Of Mind" by Adam Smith.
Angelo DiPronio,
Fort Wayne, IN

A. Well, lately I’m never inspired by any one thing, and usually try to pour a bucketful of ideas and images into every song, so the actual inspirations can be pretty oblique and hard to track down. They come from conversations sometimes, or something in the newspaper or on TV, or more often just from watching the way people behave, and thinking about why!
Then there is this, which is more relevant to this blog entry. It's a little surprising to see Peart with some individualistic "bite" here; he comes out so strongly for individualism and so strongly against Live-Aid when contrasted with some of Peart's later, more "left-wing emphasis" Libertarianism quotes, but it does need to be considered in the totality of the Rand-Rush connection, as a bridge, at least:
Q. Do the more compassionate or worldly lyrics of recent material underline a shift away from your strong right wing views expressed in "2112" and "Anthem"? Would the band feel uncomfortable performing "Anthem" in the age of Live-Aid with "Live for yourself, there’s no one else, more worth living for, Begging hands and bleeding hearts will always cry out for more."
Ian Harris,
Kent, England

A. Oh boy! I’ve been saving this one for last, so anyone who’s bored already can go watch the TV news or something.

This one could only have come from England-I doubt if anybody over here knows (or cares) what "right wing" means.

As a matter of fact, the term dates from the French Revolution, when the Royalists sat on the right side of the French parliament, while the Republicans sat on the left. So, in that sense, I have never had any strong French Royalist views expressed in any song. Ha ha.

But really, my world-views have grown onward and outward over the years, but they haven’t changed. I still believe in the sanctity of the individual, in freedom of action without harming anyone else, in a person’s right to be charitable (or miserly) as they choose, and all that good stuff.

As to the second point, do you really believe that whole Live-Aid circus was an act of selfless concern for suffering humanity? If it were simply and truly that, it could have been done quietly, with all those sanctimonious and self-righteous people doing something good for the world without the attendant spotlights on their oh-so-humble and sentimental altruism.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no cynic, and I have no doubt that "Sir Bob’s" motives were honourable, but didn’t you notice that only the "In Crowd" were invited to participate? Or that anyone who resisted the "invitation", like "Tears For Fears", were publicly and viciously maligned for their lack of "charity"?

I can easily illustrate the reality with a story from my own experience. A year or so ago, I had the idea of getting rid of a few spare drumsets by means of an auction, and I wanted the proceeds to go to the "Foster Parents Plan." If you’re not familiar with that agency, it’s a self-help aid program started by an Englishman during the Spanish Civil War to help refugee children, and later spread to the world, helping children as well as their families and communities. You "adopt" a child in a poor country, contribute to their health and education, and write back and forth to them as penpals. It’s a wonderful thing.

I got excited about the idea, thinking that other musicians must have spare instruments sitting around that they might donate to such a cause. And then the little idea grew into a great big dream. I envisioned a satellite network across North America, tied into MTV and Canada’s MuchMusic, with people phoning in to bid on all this great stuff, and for a great cause. Why, it could even become a monthly affair, with the proceeds going to different worthy causes every time. Fantastic!

Getting really excited now, I started to contact people, and asked our office to try to turn the wheels of our great "Entertainment Industry". And what do you think happened?
Absolutely nothing. It just wasn’t hip anymore. So what’s new?
(Previous, Pt. 7: "Dreaming in Middletown")
(Back to beginning: "Introduction")