Neil Peart Once Wrote A Song To Mock KISS
Neil Peart Moving Pictures Isolated Drums - analogaudio rules / YouTube
Rush made its mark in the music scene with the release of their eponymous debut album on March 1, 1974. Embracing a hard rock style typical of their generation, the band quickly gained popularity, particularly with the fan-favorite track “Working Man”.
On February 15, 1975, they ventured into the progressive rock genre with the release of Fly by Night, a significant moment for the band, featuring Neil Peart as the new lyricist and drummer.
The band maintained a prolific pace, unveiling the album Caress of Steel later that same year. Departing from their earlier hard rock sound, this album showcased a deeper exploration of progressive elements.
Drawing inspiration from Led Zeppelin, tracks like “Bastille Day” revealed the band’s evolving musical influences. Interestingly, amidst the praise, Peart crafted a song not to commend but to playfully mock their fellow hard rock band KISS.
A fun prank war between two very different bands
On the surface, there appears to be little connecting the flamboyant hard rockers KISS and the progressive metal icons Rush. Kiss thrived on their theatrical displays, overlooking missed notes and favoring straightforward rock and roll over intricate compositions.
In contrast, Rush, known for their technical prowess, demanded near-perfection, as any lapses could jeopardize their elaborate arrangements.
Witnessing these two bands share a stage in the 1970s might have been a perplexing clash of musical styles.
However, if you were in North America in the mid-1970s, you could have experienced precisely that. KISS enlisted Rush as an opening act for a series of tours across the United States and Canada during Rush’s early years, sparking a prank war that became almost as renowned as their individual musical journeys.
Neil Peart wrote “I Think I’m Going Bald” as a satirical nod to KISS
KISS unveiled their second studio album, Hotter than Hell, in 1974, featuring tracks like “Parasite” and “Let Me Go, Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Another memorable song from the album was “Goin’ Blind”, initially titled “Little Lady”.
According to Gene Simmons, the track, as explained during their MTV Unplugged performance, is a narrative of a dying sea captain attempting to reach a mermaid.
In their book Contents Under Pressure, Rush frontman Geddy Lee revealed that during their tour with KISS in the ’70s, Rush frequently listened to this song and playfully mocked it.
Lee shared that Peart came up with the iconic line “I think I’m going bald” in response to Alex Lifeson’s concerns about potential hair loss in the future, as Lifeson was already experimenting with various remedies to prevent it at a young age.
A goofy song about baldness and aging
According to Lee, Peart conceived this line contemplating the aging process, drawing inspiration from the KISS song and Lifeson’s anxieties. The rock star emphasized that, despite its sentimental connotation, the piece was, in reality, a ‘humorous’ one in terms of both its sound and narrative.
Contrary to public perception, Lee pointed out that some of Rush’s songs were anything but serious. The legendary bassist shared that the song that they made to poke fun at KISS started when they were touring with the band in their early days.
Simmons expressed a special appreciation for Rush’s first album, referring to it as the “Canadian Zeppelin” in the documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage. Thus a connection was formed.
Geddy recalled that “Goin’ Blind” and Lifeson’s hair loss anxieties inspired Peart, explaining, “I think it just got Neil thinking about aging, even though we weren’t aging yet and had no right to talk about that kind of stuff yet. It would be much more appropriate now. And it just became a kind of funny song, even though the song is not funny, in terms of sentiment, it kind of is, and the music is really goofy.”