RUSH 40th Anniversary Cover Contest

On May 22nd, my friend Keith Leedham mentioned that he was thinking of entering the “RUSH 40th Anniversary Cover Contest” on the website. He mentioned wanting to do some kind of piano-based version of Time Stand Still from the 1987 album Hold Your Fire. I was going to see RUSH two days later at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, so it got my interest. He said he had someone in mind to work with but thought I might like to take a crack at it. The deadline for submission was June 2nd.

“You know that’s 10 days away, right?”

So anyway, after my “no holds barred”@GarlicRush, @cbubinas and @robkmusic & son RUSH extravaganza weekend (where I got to meet some of my RUSH Twitter compatriots in person BTW!), with seven days remaining, I sat down at the piano and hit the record button. Just a few short hours later, I realized that everything I was doing sounded… well, just horrible.

Crumple crumple… toss.

I picked up an acoustic guitar and began to at least get something recorded so I’d have the arrangement mapped out to work with. Very quickly, ideas began to manifest. By the end of the day, I had a rudimentary idea mapped out. I sent it off to Keith and prepared myself to be showered with accolades!

Now, they say it’s usually bad news when the jury comes back quickly. Keith was taking quite a bit of time and I saw many of these “I’m typing something” clouds start and stop like he was typing, then backspacing, and then starting to type again.keith_chat

“Gosh,” I thought. “It’s so amazing he’s having a hard time finding the right words.” So after about fifteen more minutes, I heard my chat alert sound and picked up my phone.

He basically said, “I hate this. It sucks.”

“Okay…” I thought. We don’t always see eye to eye, and I admit that sometimes my vision for a song idea or interpretation can go pretty far afield. Well, at that moment, I found myself in the farthest…uh…field.

I’ve never been a big fan of the typical “just play it faster and louder” approach to reinterpreting someone else’s music, so I can tend to err on the side of maybe going a bit too far outside of the box. We began to go back and forth over the next few days, in varying degrees of conflict and compromise, until a more clear and solid picture began to congeal from the audio goo. Except for three shows I had to play over the weekend, I would be sequestered in the studio most of the day, every day. My family would be happy to see me again. “Studio Cat” (quelle bébé!) was a trooper, as always, and opted to just tough it out with me. She can sleep through anything.

Ultimately, after me getting a little bit of chocolate in my peanut butter, and Keith getting a little peanut butter in his chocolate, we accomplished in seven days what in the past has taken us weeks or months.

Is it perfect? No.

Could I have used a few more days to tweak and refine it? Always.

However, I think we captured something that speaks to both of us and represents something meaningful with regards to one of our favorite RUSH songs. RUSH fan or no, we hope it speaks to you as well.

Voting is now closed but go listen and check out the track!!! (Public voting is June 2, 2015 until June 16, 2015 and requires a Facebook account.)

1 Comment

  1. Suzi Gwinn

    Hi Rob! I didn’t know you and @garlicrush met up before the Tampa show – that is so cool! He seems like one of the nicest Rush folks on Twitter. Thanks for sharing the pic! Suzi

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