RUSH with AIMEE MANN: “Time Stand Still”
There are many ways to think about Rush’s long career in the context of remembering drummer Neil Peart, but we’ve never been able to get this amazing video for “Time Stand Still” out of our head since we first saw it in 1987 (over 30 years ago!!!!!).
Geddy had gotten it in his head that the song needed a woman’s voice to complement his own (hold the jokes, please: we’re here to remember Neil Peart), and considered women as varied as Kate Bush, Bjork, Chrissie Hynde, and Cyndi Lauper before landing on Til Tuesday lead singer Aimee Mann. While she’d soon be setting off on a solo career, the band’s videos were MTV mainstays, and any conversation about the women of alternative rock had to have Aimee near the top of the list.
Even though she’d never really thought too much about Rush one way or the other (no disrespect; they were just on different paths: the dance-punk flavor of early Til Tuesday was already morphing into Elvis Costello-inspired acoustic Americana), she loved the song and thought it sounded like fun. It really was that simple.
They spent a few hours getting to know each other, then another three hours to land on the vocal that made everyone happy – and hey, it makes EVERYONE happy who hears it to this very day. It truly is an amazing flourish to what would otherwise be a very good entry at the poppier end of Rush’s musical spectrum. With Aimee, it became magic.
I can almost imagine one of those other women singing (almost), but I can’t imagine any of them being as game as Aimee was to push around that camera and do that other goofing around with anything like the same exuberance.
Video nerds will appreciate that, under director Zbigniew Rybczyński.
they laid down the entire thing live to 1-inch broadcast tape, using the same kinds of camera we see Aimee pushing around, shooting in that very studio, around the clock for four days to build it one layer at a time – to the same master tape! No edits, so safeties, no lay-offs. Trust me when I tell you that this is INSANE.
As for Neil Peart, boy howdy, he drums up a storm on what sounds like a pretty simple track, and in obvious ways, of course, it absolutely is. But Neil had a way of making complicated drum patterns sounds simple. One advantage of this bizarre floating approach to the video is that Neil stays in the frame for darn near the entire video, even if occasionally obscured by other folks also floating through.
This is one of my favorite Rush tracks, and definitely my favorite Rush video, but do take some time to focus on Neil. Not just a terrific drummer, but like all the fellas in Rush, among the nicest guys in the business. Neil was uncomfortable with adulation, and didn’t care for the limelight (which he of course referred to as a “gilded cage” in one of his most famous lyrics), so, apart from some reticence around socializing, people only have good stories to tell about Neil.