Rush Reboot – Roll the Bones (1991)

I’ve been thinking about chance vs destiny of late, and what greater album and song than the title track for Rush’s 1991 album Roll the Bones. Everyone has an opinion about chance. About fate. And just as many fans had an opinion about this album’s musical styling.


About Roll The Bones

Roll The Bones, the band’s 14th studio record, was recorded once again at Le Studio in Morin-Heights, Quebec and McClear Place in Toronto, Ontario. Rupert Hine returned as co-producer, after previously producing Presto.

Roll the Bones has a taste of rap, a bit of funk, and a bigger “groove” than fans expected from Rush at the time. Neil chose to be more straight-ahead, leaving room for Geddy bass playing to be more aggressive.

Geddy, after the recording of the album, said:

“I’m pleased with the way the band has been able to streamline the sound over the past couple of records. I think it’s a positive change. I’m also pleased with the way we’ve been able to utilize a stronger sense of melody and vocal harmony.”

There is a romantic notion to believe in destiny. One wants to believe everything happens for a reason. It’s easy to make a case for destiny in hindsight. I often respond to the question about why something happens this way…because it happens. Roll the bones.


Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson
Lyrics: Neil Peart

Well, you can stake that claim —
Good work is the key to good fortune
Winners take that praise
Losers seldom take that blame
If they don’t take that game
And sometimes the winner takes nothing
We draw our own designs
But fortune has to make that frame

We go out in the world and take our chances
Fate is just the weight of circumstances
That’s the way that lady luck dances
Roll the bones

Why are we here?
Because we’re here.
Roll the bones
Why does it happen?
Because it happens.
Roll the bones

Faith is cold as ice —
Why are little ones born only to suffer
For the want of immunity
Or a bowl of rice?
Well, who would hold a price
On the heads of the innocent children
If there’s some immortal power
To control the dice?

We come into the world and take our chances
Fate is just the weight of circumstances
That’s the way that lady luck dances
Roll the bones..

Jack — relax.
Get busy with the facts.
No zodiacs or almanacs,
No maniacs in polyester slacks.
Just the facts.
Gonna kick some gluteus max.
It’s a parallax — you dig?
You move around
The small gets big. It’s a rig
It’s action — reaction —
Random interaction.
So who’s afraid
Of a little abstraction?
Can’t get no satisfaction
From the facts?
You better run, homeboy —
A fact’s a fact
From Nome to Rome, boy.

What’s the deal? Spin the wheel.
If the dice are hot — take a shot.
Play your cards. Show us what you got —
What you’re holding.
If the cards are cold,
Don’t go folding.
Lady Luck is golden;
She favors the bold. That’s cold
Stop throwing stones —
The night has a thousand saxophones.
So get out there and rock,
And roll the bones.
Get busy!


  1. I’m not a fatalist. I don’t believe in things happening because it’s all meant to be or because there is some divine force controlling us (and not because we have an influence on and control over things). Truth be told, we can’t control everything and that’s why the only possible and satisfactory explanation for me why certain things, bad or good, happen is precisely this – because they do.
    Pure chance. Sometimes we’re just in the right place at the right time or in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately, there’s not as nearly satisfactory an answer to the question why people get ill. The Germans would just say – Ist so. A lot is lost in translation, but the closest one would be – because they do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. I also do not believe in any divine force, and we cannot control everything. Right place right time. It really does come down to those moment and that we seize them before the opportunity passes and we never know what we might have missed. It’s so. I like that. Because they do.

      Liked by 1 person

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