My 3 Year-Old Daughter is Scared of Rush Hemispheres

November 9, 2008 at 7:17 pm (Humor, Uncategorized) (, , , )

While I was cleaning up the kitchen his past Saturday, I was being kept company by my younger daughter, Tasha, age 3. I usually listen to a sampling of music while doing household chores, setting my iPod on “shuffle”. As I was putting away the dishes, Rush’s grand work “Hemispheres” came up. For those unaware, Hemispheres is an 18-minute 1970’s progressive-rock opus from the kings of the prog-rock. The genre includes grand, epic themes, in this case the metaphysical battle of logic vs. feeling, manifested in god-like avatars…well, you get the point. Nerd rock, in other words. At about 12 minutes into the song, the music segues into an ethereal soundscape which represents the aftermath of the protagonist’s body and soul being rent asunder (bear with me)…

At this point, Tasha, who has been sitting quietly on one of the kitchen stools says, “I’m scared.” The interlude lasts about 2 and a half minutes, and flows back and forth between major and minor chords. About half way through she starts really panicking so I pick her up and smile a big smile to convey that all’s well. She’s assured, but not totally convinced.

After this, the Canadian knights of dorkdom abruptly take the listener to a reveille with Geddy Lee’s alto-squirrel falsetto heralding the metaphysical transformation of the protagonist, followed by a passage which resolves in a fist-pumping, head-banging rock out. Tasha’s anxiety grows with every measure. Like an idiot, I keep trying the Rush indoctrination by bouncing her in my arms to the beat, even beseeching her to fashion her hands into rock n’ roll devil’s horn form, to pump them rhythmically and violently, pleading her to “get your horns up!” Some rock purists insist on the variant which involves the extended thumb to approximate a deformed, stubby demon tail, I guess, but I prefer my hand-demon to be of the manx variety). Any responsible father at this point presses “fast-forward” to XTC or the Beatles or They Might Be Giants the soothe the child.

Now, I’ve listened with rapt pleasure to “side A” of Rush Hemispheres countless times for literally over half of my existence here on Earth. Without exaggeration, I’ve enjoyed the album thousands of times. I can play the entire work on the bass, and most of it on the guitar. I’ve internalized it. Breathed it. Loved it. Been it.

So how I could forget about the climax of the song, which essentially is the audio equivalent of a nuclear explosion, remains a mystery so profound that it was recently submitted (but lost) for the “Way To Go, A-Hole!” award.

What followed was an outburst that can only be described as “apocalyptic”. Thankfully, the rulers of the prog-rock pantheon had the foresight to help future fathers’ attempts to introduce Rush to their children by resolving Hemispheres with a folksy, happy, acoustic guitar denouement which reminds one of sunshine returning after a storm. Next: removing 80% of my songlist due to content inappropriate for children.


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