All posts by bradbirzer

By day, I'm a father of seven and husband of one. By night, I'm an author, a biographer, and a prog rocker. Interests: Rush, progressive rock, cultural criticisms, the Rocky Mountains, individual liberty, history, hiking, and science fiction.

lush simple minds: street fighting years

Thirty years ago, Simple Minds released a gem, Street Fighting Years. It sounded almost nothing like the previous albums–the bombastic Once Upon a Time; the fay New Gold Dream; or the mesmerizing Sons and Fascination. Far more Peter Gabriel in restrained rage than Ultravox or U2, Street Fighting Years lived up to its title: a lush, nuanced, and political affair, all managed by the incomparable Trevor Horn.

Sadly, it was the last album on which keyboardist Michael MacNeil played a central role, giving the band a much needed depth.

At times Celtic, at times Norse, and at times just Simple Minds, Street Fighting Years was a last cry before the wilderness of grunge and techno swamped us all.

Steve Hogarth Marillion eonmusic Interview September 2019

For an album that was rushed, there’s so much depth on it, not least with ‘Out of This World’, which was about Donald Campbell and the Bluebird tragedy.
I wrote those words many, many years ago even before I met or joined Marillion. I just had a handful of words about the Bluebird, and they were just my recollections of my mother crying when she saw it on the news, and I was sitting there wondering what she was crying about. She explained to me what was going on, and that strange lobster-shaped craft doing a back-flip in the water and a man losing his live, and it never really left me.

It’s a very haunting song.
Dave Meegan, our produce always maintained that song was haunted. Strange things happened in the studio, and it was beset with technical difficulties at every stage. Overdubs kept going missing off the tapes, and even when he came to mix it, things had gone missing. But we had to keep going trying to find them, and it was all full of clicks, and it would drive him up the pole! It was dragged kicking and screaming into the world against its’ own will. It was a strange, strange track.
— Read on www.eonmusic.co.uk/steve-hogarth-marillion-eonmusic-interview-september-2019.html

“Secrets of Blackmoor: The True History of Dungeons & Dragons” ~ The Imaginative Conservative

The films tells the story of Arneson in the 1960s and the 1970s, following his war gaming club centered in the Twin Cities and out of the many colleges of the area, but especially the University of Minnesota. Convincingly, the film explains that what would be Dungeons & Dragons—coming to game stores in 1974–actually originated in Arneson’s basement between, roughly, 1969 and 1971. The war gamers, all avid and intelligent, began to experiment with actual individual personality in games. Rather than simply moving troops around a map, why not send in a spy or an assassin?
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/09/secrets-of-blackmoor-true-history-dungeons-and-dragons-bradley-birzer.html

Rush: ‘A Farewell to Kings’ Graphic Novel Tells Story of 1997 Classic – Rolling Stone

Fantoons, an L.A. studio known for creating rock-themed animation, has released a new full-length graphic novel that chronicles the making of Rush’s 1977 prog-rock classic, A Farewell to Kings. Spanning 144 pages, fully authorized by the band, and based on interviews with Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson and Kings producer Terry Brown, the richly illustrated comic offers a detailed account of the writing and recording of the LP that contained future Rush classics like “Closer to the Heart” and “Xanadu.”
— Read on www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/rush-farewell-to-kings-graphic-novel-882168/

1619, Slavery, the Founding, and All That ~ The Imaginative Conservative

For nearly fifty years, we have taught American children that the three greatest determinants in history are race, class, and gender. Virtue is scoffed at; “Great Men” are mocked; and free will is ignored. Should we be shocked—do we even have the right to be shocked—that our press, our culture, and our educators are obsessed with race? In every way, we are a far more racist society than we were in, say, 1989. Everything evil we now call “racist,” whether the thing is actually racist or not. Racist has come to be synonymous with evil and wrongdoing. Aside from the fact that this severely diminishes and attenuates the true challenges to true racism, it is also demonstrably false, especially in regard to our history as an American people.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/09/1619-project-slavery-founding-bradley-birzer.html