Red Barchetta
December 15, 2009 8:21 PM   Subscribe

The classic Rush song "Red Barchetta" was inspired by a short story. Neil Peart, the band's lyricist, couldn't get in touch with the author until 2006...
posted by Electrius (33 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pretty lackluster short story.
posted by Oxydude at 8:27 PM on December 15, 2009


Still cool.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:28 PM on December 15, 2009


That was just nice. I'm glad to know Neil Peart is a good guy.
posted by marxchivist at 8:36 PM on December 15, 2009


That was pretty great. I love the story that weaves through Red Barchetta. The fact that it kicks ass is icing on the cake.
posted by docpops at 8:38 PM on December 15, 2009


Cool. I just happened to google "red barchetta" a couple of days ago after hearing the song for the first time in a long time, and ended up reading that R&T story -- which reads a bit like a GOP dystopian fantasy, actually, with crazy liberals smashing the sensible people's antique cars for sport with there super-safe blubbermobiles, or whatever.

Last link is a nice capper.
posted by smcameron at 8:40 PM on December 15, 2009


When I was in the 10th grade I had my head on my desk, asleep as usual, and the teacher asks the class some question. I sort of wake up at this point, but there is silence. I replay the mental tapes, and all I can come up with is, "What will be the greatest invention of the 20th Century?" I look up, hoping he's not looking at me. He is, but I am not doomed. This is 1995. I know the answer!

All smug I answer, "Air Cars," since we'd been promised that one since the first World's Fair.

The class burst out laughing, and pointed at me.

To this day I have no idea what the real question was, but when in doubt the answer is always, "Air Cars."

Now do a post about "By-tor and the Snowdog" dammit!
posted by cjorgensen at 8:40 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Peart was cool enough to appear as himself in Adventures of Power, a movie about air drumming.
posted by gottabefunky at 8:47 PM on December 15, 2009


Neil's blog entry was considerably shorter:

Roadtrip yesterday with this old guy who's a total cam-whore. Kept trying to ditch him but it was too easy and I felt guilty..
posted by mannequito at 8:49 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's like that time he tried to get in touch with the author that inspired 2112 and she kicked him out and called him a commie collectivist for having a band because real rational artists play all by themselves.
posted by qvantamon at 8:50 PM on December 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


> But in the late Seventies, with no major wars, cancer cured and social welfare straightened out, the politicians needed a new cause and once again they turned toward the automobile.

Oh yeah. Four brief paragraphs along and this story's already on a quick trot across the fields of plausibility.
posted by ardgedee at 8:58 PM on December 15, 2009


Uh, "their" blubbermobiles, actually.
posted by smcameron at 9:03 PM on December 15, 2009


Wow. That is cool on so many levels. I've always liked the song. Neil sounds like a great guy. THEY STOPPED IN MY HOME TOWN! And this has to be the best groupie shot I've seen.

West Virginia really is a beautiful place. Even the interstates are scenic.
posted by irisclara at 9:03 PM on December 15, 2009


Whoops! bad link there. try this one.
posted by irisclara at 9:40 PM on December 15, 2009


Awesome post! Rush and riding BMW bikes - two of the best experiences in life!
posted by mctsonic at 9:50 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been an unapologetic fan of Rush since I was a kid, and I always assumed the cars chasing the protagonist in Red Barchetta were some kind of dystopian cops/authority figures and that cars had been made illegal. The original appears to be sort of a bad metaphor for government-mandated auto standards (the protagonist is in danger because the "safety vehicles" can damage his car without damaging themselves). Given Neil's well-known Randroid leanings, this is probably exactly what he liked about it. That kind of ruins it a little.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:01 PM on December 15, 2009


("made illegal for private citizens", rather, since the antagonists are driving "gleaming alloy-air cars")
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:04 PM on December 15, 2009


Really, this is awesome.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:07 PM on December 15, 2009


FWIW, Peart grew out of Randroidism in the early 80s.
posted by pelham at 10:08 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but "Moving Pictures" came out around 1978-79, I think.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:10 PM on December 15, 2009


What a life!! Wake-up. Ride bike all day. Eat and drink at night. Wake-up next day and ride bike all day. Play concert at night. Wash, rinse, repeat. Awesome. I shoulda been a rock and roller.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:15 PM on December 15, 2009


Wow, I love Rush and I love Red Barchetta. That story was awful though. Add song writting to the sausage making and politics you never want to see made.

The whole premise is just so silly. I mean I could wreck all kinds of property without concern that I may hurt my car or myself, but I don't. Most people wouldn't, and while I'm sure there are some jerks out there that would see it as sport, I doubt the police would turn a blind eye to it.

Cars being made illegal (because of emissions or fuel or whatever) as I think the song does suggest makes way more sense.

I did appreciate the guys story about meeting Peart. that was much more interesting than his fiction.
posted by willnot at 10:49 PM on December 15, 2009


I'm surprised this isn't a double. Great story nonetheless!
posted by archagon at 11:37 PM on December 15, 2009


I always thought this song was funny. The artifact from a "better managed time" is a fuel guzzling SUPERCAR, while the tool of the oppressors are FLOATING AIR CARS.

Not sure you're lining up behind the right team.
posted by absalom at 5:24 AM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


But why all the Barbies? Anyone know?
posted by wittgenstein at 6:23 AM on December 16, 2009


But why all the Barbies? Anyone know?
posted by wittgenstein


Rush's concert rider specifies that a case of Schlitz be provided.
posted by 445supermag at 6:40 AM on December 16, 2009


I saw Rush on the Snakes and Arrows tour, and the Barbies were at the show as well.

The whole stage set was kind of odd, with large rotisseries and a chicken that came out and basted the rotisserie chickens through out the show.

My best guess is that the Barbies were a play on 'Shrimp on the Barbie' to carry along with the cooking/grilling theme. It was pretty weird.

Stilll, I got to see Neil and the rotating drum kit, so it was a good day.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:27 AM on December 16, 2009


Hate everything about that song. You see those people wanting to reduce global warming and deaths are wrecking everything.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:41 AM on December 16, 2009


I just wanted to say that my favourite RUSH member is Alex Lifeson. I think he jingle-jangles like no other guitar player, apart from Johnny Marr.

Yeah, but "Moving Pictures" came out around 1978-79, I think.

1981
posted by elmono at 7:45 AM on December 16, 2009


the politicians needed a new cause and once again they turned toward the automobile. The regulations concerning safety became tougher. Cars became larger, heavier, less efficient. They consumed gasoline so voraciously that the United States had to become a major ally with the Arabian countries.

Too funny, not just because this is prescient in a way, but because it was conservative dogma and dumb greed that actually made it happen.
posted by fungible at 7:54 AM on December 16, 2009


I always thought this was sort of like Neil Peart's take on Chuck Berry's Mabelline or something, his car song, plain and simple. I certainly never read any sci-fi elements into it. Very interesting, thanks.

And may I also say - adrenaline suuuuuuuuuuurrrrrggge!
posted by stinkycheese at 7:57 AM on December 16, 2009


The whole stage set was kind of odd, with large rotisseries and a chicken that came out and basted the rotisserie chickens through out the show.

Because Geddy doesn't use amplifiers for his bass (it's wired into the sound system) the band felt that they needed something to fill out that side of the stage. One tour they had three clothes dryers tossing t-shirts that the band would toss out to the crowd at the end of the show. Another year it was a refrigerator covered with magnets and a carousel vending machine. And yes, Snake and Arrows tour it was the rotisserie chicken. And during the show a roadie would come out and attend to whatever is going on, whether switching the t-shirts around, buying a sandwich, and basting chickens. It all goes to the Rush sense of humor. After all, this is a band that has used videos from Count Floyd, Doug & Bob McKenzie, and South Park to introduce songs.

Regarding the Barbie dolls in front of Alex's effect rigs, one site reported that they hold post-it notes that the crew make up every show. Some of the notes have read: "I Like The Drummer", "My Grampa Says Your Cool", "Can I Roll Your Bones?", "I'm A Dino-Whore AKA Suckasaurass", "I Was Conceived While My Dad Was At A Rush Concert", "I'm Not Wearing Any Panties", "My Mom Thinks Your Hot!", "I'm Only Doing This To Pay For College", "Freebird!", "I Thought ZZ Top Had Beards", "Bass Player's Cute! Is That His Real Nose?", "I Golf Naked", "Nice Dinosaurs-You Must Be A Caveman", "If It's Too Loud You're Too Old"

Oh yeah, and the top of Alex's amps are covered with toy dinosaurs.
posted by Ber at 8:23 AM on December 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


Did I just hear him say "bar-CHET-uh"?

It's Bar-KAY-tah. And roll the 'r'.
posted by Zambrano at 10:01 AM on December 16, 2009


Ber: Yeah, for whatever reason Rush seems to be perceived as humorless (I guess it's the Ayn Rand thing), but all three of them are complete goofballs. Geddy Lee even appeared on Bob & Doug MacKenzie's album ("Take off! To the Great White Nooooorth!").
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:36 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


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