Blogospheres: Older Posts

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Alex Lifeson talks tennis in new interview from the Rogers Cup
10:08AM EST | link | comments (5) |

Geddy and Alex in tennis gearAlex Lifeson recently sat down with Tennis Canada's Cameron McLellan for an interview from the Rogers Cup in Toronto last week. Alex really doesn't talk about Rush at all, but when asked what other musician he might want to challenge to a tennis match Alex mentions Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. Both Alex and Geddy play tennis and have participated in a few charity tennis events over the years. You can watch the 4-minute interview below or on YouTube at this location (thanks RushFanForever):

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Alex Lifeson guest appearance at Keram's Come to Life release party
4:24PM EST | link | comments (12) |

UPDATE - 8/15@9:58AM: I've also learned from Keram that the other track Alex played on Moving Dark Circles.

UPDATE - 8/14@4:03PM: Here's a great photo gallery from the event including several of Alex Lifeson.

UPDATE - 8/14@3:20PM: Here's some camera phone video of part of an Alex Lifeson guitar solo from the CD release party (thanks Asif K).

UPDATE - 8/14@10:16AM: Keram posted a recap of the CD release party to his blog this morning including another photo with Alex Lifeson in it (thanks RushFanForever).

Keram - Come To LifeCanadian-born actor and musician Keram Malicki-Sanchez collaborated with Alex Lifeson and 20 other renowned artists over the past several years to create his Come to Life album. The album officially launched via a listening party in Toronto for Indiegogo contributors back in late May. An official CD release party was also held last night at the Supermarket Restaurant and Bar in Toronto and Alex Lifeson made a surprise guest appearance along with a few of the album's other contributors. You can see photos of the event on Keram's official Facebook page (thanks RushFanForever). The album is available for digital purchase via a number of outlets including iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, and eMusic; and physical copies can be purchased via Amazon or via CDBaby. In addition to playing guitar on the album, Alex Lifeson is also executive producer. Alex plays guitar on the 11-minute track The Devil Knows Me Well and also on Mary Magdalene, which you can listen to below or on YouTube at this location.

Related Posts:
[Keram's Come to Life album featuring Alex Lifeson now available]
[Keram Malicki-Sanchez unveils new track featuring Alex Lifeson from upcoming Come to Life album]
[Alex Lifeson guest appearance on Keram Malicki-Sanchez album Come to Life]

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Willowdale Lee Lifeson Art Park naming gets approval
10:26AM EST | link | comments (9) |

According to Classic Rock magazine, the proposal to name a new, arts-themed park in the Toronto neighborhood of Willowdale the Lee Lifeson Art Park - after 2 of Willowdale's most famous residents - received the green light by the North York community council yesterday, as expected. The Toronto Star recently spoke with Geddy Lee about the proposed art park and here's what he had to say:

... "I know my mom is very happy!" ... "We met with the park architects and were really impressed with the thought and plans they have for it," ... "[Willowdale] is where I met my best friend and bandmate," ... "We were humbly honoured by the suggestion to name the park after us." ... "On tour and during our travels, ... we get to visit and enjoy so many parks around the world and really appreciate having that communal green space that is so important to a vibrant city."

The idea was first put forth at a consultation meeting held on April 22, 2014 by Councillor John Fillon and was then formally recommended by the Toronto parks committee on July 17th:

... Early designs for the area include art installations, a collaborative performance space and even a small bandshell for "acoustic concerts," according to [Filion], who first hatched the tribute plan two years ago. "I was standing around one night with a fellow music lover trying to think of somebody who had grown up in Willowdale who was a famous artist or musician," Filion said. "We both came up with the name Geddy Lee almost simultaneously." The councillor contacted Lee with the idea, and he immediately got on board - albeit with one condition. "He said he was interested and honoured, but also suggested it be named after Alex Lifeson, too," Filion said. ...

Work is slated to begin on the park early next year with the official opening planned for late 2015 or early 2016.

Related Posts:
[Geddy Lee on the proposed Willowdale Lee Lifeson Art Park]
[Update on proposed Lee Lifeson Art Park in Toronto's Willowdale neighborhood]
[New arts park in Toronto's Willowdale community to be named after Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson]

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

New book Rush: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellence from Robert Freedman now available
8:13PM EST | link | comments (42) |

Robert Freedman is an author, journalist, communications professional and keeper of the Rush Vault website who has just released a new book from Algora Publishing titled Rush: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellence. Here are some comments about the contents of the 178-page book from the author's website:

... Thanks to the work of lots of other people, including Chris McDonald and Durrell Bowman, whose books and Ph.D. dissertations paved the way for many of us who spend a lot of time thinking about the band's music, I found lots of great work to draw on. The one thing that was missing, in my view, was an overarching narrative that put everything the band has done under a single, unifying theme. It was my intention to do that in my book by showing how all of the band's music can be understood as an expression of classical liberalism rooted in Aristotelian individualism. ...

Here's an excerpt from the book's foreword which I had the honor of writing:

"Robert Freedman's book, Rush: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Excellence, brings together all the different treatments of Rush's music into one grand, unifying theme, Aristotelian individualism, and shows the historical context into which the band falls. Whether he's looking at Aristotle, Ayn Rand, humanism, or critics' responses to Rush over the years, Freedman brings it all together in a comprehensive history of Rush's lyrical philosophy and does so in an accessible, down-to-earth manner that I think any Rush fan will enjoy." -Ed Stenger, RushIsABand

And here's an excerpt from an early review of the book by Rush, Rock Music, and the Middle Class author Chris McDonald:

... With an engaging writing style, Robert Freedman takes stock of all of Rush's albums and considers how they reflect a unified approach to the challenges, possibilities, and problems of life during the late 20th century and the early 21st. The book builds on previous analyses of Rush by Price, Lombardo, Berti and Bowman, taking Rush seriously as pop culture philosophers, and brings further depth to the argument that Rush's music presents a secular, humanistic, and individualistic outlook that is rare in rock music. Rush fans who actively reflect on the group's lyrical messages will enjoy this opportunity to broaden their understanding of Rush against a particular philosophical background. There is an exciting analysis of Rush's recent Clockwork Angels album, making the book not only up-to-date, but providing a clear sense of how Rush's broader philosophy extends into its newest material. Freedman gives a balanced account of the impact of Aristotelian and Randian individualism on Rush, and by extension, the generation to whom Rush spoke.

You can purchase the book directly from the publisher, or from Amazon and other online retailers.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Updates and other random Rush stuff
11:50AM EST | link | comments (86) |

Rush 2015 TourAlthough Rush is on an extended break for 2014, we are still expecting them to tour sometime next year as Alex pointed out in an interview with Rolling Stone back in March. In case you forgot what he said, here are some excerpts from that interview:

... "The three of us just had a meeting," ... "We said, 'Let's not talk about anything band-wise for the next year. Let's separate ourselves and come back rejuvenated.' Unfortunately, the other people at that meeting didn't hear what we were talking about, so there are already plans being made for spring of 2015. It's going to be a 41st anniversary tour, or whatever they're going to call it." ... "We haven't really talked seriously about what we want to do," ... "But I think we're probably going to lean towards making it a real sort of fan event, and really try to put something together that's very pleasing for the fans across the board. That's always been difficult, for us to sort of balance things." ... "We want to try and play different material this time," ... "I've always wanted to do some rarer Rush material, and this should be a good opportunity to do that. I also think it's going to be a long tour. We just need to stay healthy until then." ...

We haven't really heard much since then (Geddy indirectly mentioned it in his Terroni Magazine interview), but a tweet from Neil Peart drum tech Lorne Wheaton earlier this week seems to offer some confirmation that plans are definitely still underway for a 2015 tour. Lorne is currently on the road with Steely Dan as Keith Carlock's drum tech and in response to a tweet from a fan asking whether he'll continue to work with Keith when he goes on the road with Toto, Lorne said this:

If they decide to tour in the fall, maybe. Still NP's guy, and we will be busy next year. I love working with both though!!

Good news!

We learned early last month that a new, arts-themed park in the Toronto neighborhood of Willowdale is slated to be named after 2 of Willowdale's most famous residents - Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. Earlier this week the Toronto Star spoke with Geddy Lee about the proposed Lee Lifeson Art Park:

... "I know my mom is very happy!" ... "We met with the park architects and were really impressed with the thought and plans they have for it," ... "[Willowdale] is where I met my best friend and bandmate," ... "We were humbly honoured by the suggestion to name the park after us." ... "On tour and during our travels, ... we get to visit and enjoy so many parks around the world and really appreciate having that communal green space that is so important to a vibrant city."

The idea was first put forth at a consultation meeting held on April 22, 2014 by Councillor John Fillon and was then formally recommended by the Toronto parks committee on July 17th:

... Early designs for the area include art installations, a collaborative performance space and even a small bandshell for "acoustic concerts," according to [Filion], who first hatched the tribute plan two years ago. "I was standing around one night with a fellow music lover trying to think of somebody who had grown up in Willowdale who was a famous artist or musician," Filion said. "We both came up with the name Geddy Lee almost simultaneously." The councillor contacted Lee with the idea, and he immediately got on board - albeit with one condition. "He said he was interested and honoured, but also suggested it be named after Alex Lifeson, too," Filion said. ...

The article also mentions the overwhelming support of the online fan community for the idea and the misplaced anger of some fans over the perceived snubbing of Neil Peart.

... Why isn't it being called Rush Park? The perceived snub of drummer Neil Peart is not intentional, the band's publicist explained. It's just that he didn't grow up in Willowdale. (Your move, St. Catharines.) ...

The proposal will come before the North York community council this coming Tuesday, August 12th and is expected to pass overwhelmingly.

The fourth of six issues of the graphic novel version of Clockwork Angels released this past Wednesday, August 6th, and Comic Book Resources posted this preview showing 6 panels from the issue earlier this week. In addition to the standard cover that is available in comic and book stores, there is an exclusive, limited edition cover available via BOOM! Studios and the Rush Backstage Club. The first issue of the graphic novel was released back on March 19th and there were a number of different covers and subscription options made available as described in this post. The second and third issues are also available in both the standard and limited edition covers and can be purchased via the Rush Backstage Club, BOOM! Studios, Amazon.com, or your local comic/book store.

Neil Peart will be releasing the follow-up to his 2011 book Far and Away: A Prize Every Time via ECW Press this coming October. The book will be another collection of his blog posts from the past few years and is titled Far and Near: On Days Like These. A limited edition hardcover version of the book was made available for pre-order from the Rush Backstage Club a few days ago and will release on October 1st:

Neil Peart - Far and Near Limited Edition Hardcover has its own charcoal grey cloth slipcase adorned with a silver stamp of Neil's drumhead logo. Inside the book is a limited edition bookplate that is autographed by Neil Peart. Each book is also hand numbered out of 500. ** Only 500 of these Limited Edition hardcovers were produced**. Get your hands on this rarity before it sells out!

Unfortunately the pre-sale has since sold out and its unclear whether any more copies will be made available. The regular hardcover edition of the book is listed as releasing on October 14th and can be pre-ordered here.

Prog magazine revealed via their Facebook page earlier in the week the cover of their next issue featuring the 100 Greatest Prog Albums Of All Time as chosen by their readers and a number of prog-rock artists. The covers of Rush's Hemispheres, 2112 and Moving Pictures albums are all pictured in the album cover collage artwork gracing the cover. The issue started hitting newsstands this past Wednesday, August 6th. And speaking of Prog magazine, Rush's Rush ReDISCovered LP box set is one of the nominees for The Storm Thorgerson Grand Design Award at the magazine's 2014 Progressive Music Awards. Voting closed earlier today and the winner will be revealed at the ceremony which takes place at the Underglobe beneath Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, England on Thursday September 11th.

There was a Rush 2112 reference in an episode of Cartoon Network's Regular Show this past May that we hadn't mentioned yet. During the episode Video 101 (Season 5, Episode 25, May 5, 2014), Eileen calculates the time it will take to shoot a music video and the total shown on her calculator is 2112 as shown here. Thanks to Craig J for the heads up and Eric at Power Windows for the screenshot.

Music Radar posted their list of the 60 Greatest Bassists of All Time as chosen by a readers poll earlier this week and Geddy Lee made the cut at #2 (thanks RushFanForever):

It's Geddy Lee. The Rush man has inspired thousands to pick up the bass guitar, and many of the other bassists in this rundown cite him as an influence. A leading frontman, songwriter and a remarkable bass talent, it's no surprise he remains perennially popular with you guys.

Craig Breaden at Progarchy.com posted an article earlier this week where he profiles a number of Rush highlights on video. It's titled Moving Pictures: Rush on Film and you can check it out here.

Bassist Aaron Gibson recently had his all-bass version of Rush's Fly By Night featured at NoTreble.com, where they shared this exclusive video of the virtuoso bass player playing the cover (thanks Tom):

That's it for this week. Have a great weekend!

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Neil Peart's Far & Near: Days Like These limited edition hardcover now available for pre-order
10:32PM EST | link | comments (10) |

UPDATE - 8/6@6:16PM: It looks like the Rush Backstage Club pre-sale for the limited edition is now sold out.

Neil Peart will be releasing the follow-up to his 2011 book Far and Away: A Prize Every Time via ECW Press this coming October. The book will be another collection of his blog posts from the past few years and is titled Far and Near: On Days Like These. A limited edition hardcover version of the book is now available for pre-order from the Rush Backstage Club and will release on October 1st:

Neil Peart - Far and Near Limited Edition Hardcover has its own charcoal grey cloth slipcase adorned with a silver stamp of Neil's drumhead logo. Inside the book is a limited edition bookplate that is autographed by Neil Peart. Each book is also hand numbered out of 500. ** Only 500 of these Limited Edition hardcovers were produced**. Get your hands on this rarity before it sells out!

The regular hardcover edition if the book is listed as releasing on October 14th and can be pre-ordered here.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Rush featured in Prog magazine's 100 Greatest Prog Albums Of All Time
11:49AM EST | link | comments (42) |

Prog magazine revealed via their Facebook page earlier today the cover of their next issue featuring the 100 Greatest Prog Albums Of All Time as chosen by their readers and a number of prog-rock artists. The covers of Rush's Hemispheres, 2112 and Moving Pictures albums are all pictured in the album cover collage artwork gracing the cover. The issue will start hitting newsstands this coming Wednesday, August 6th. Thanks to Power Windows for the heads up.

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Clockwork Angels graphic novel issue 4 preview
6:18PM EST | link | comments (2) |

The fourth of six issues of the graphic novel version of Clockwork Angels releases this coming Wednesday, August 6th, and Comic Book Resources recenlty posted this preview showing 6 panels from the issue. In addition to the standard cover that will be available in comic and book stores, there will be an exclusive, limited edition cover available via BOOM! Studios and the Rush Backstage Club. The first issue of the graphic novel was released back on March 19th and there were a number of different covers and subscription options made available as described in this post. The second and third issues are also available in both the standard and limited edition covers and can be purchased via the Rush Backstage Club, BOOM! Studios, Amazon.com, or your local comic/book store.

Related Posts:
[Clockwork Angels graphic novel issue 3 now available]
[Clockwork Angels graphic novel issue 3 now available for pre-order]
[Clockwork Angels graphic novel issue 2 releasing this week]
[Kevin J. Anderson on the Clockwork Angels graphic novel]
[Clockwork Angels graphic novel issue #1 preview]
[Clockwork Angels graphic novel cover art updates]
[Clockwork Angels graphic novel cover art preview]
[Clockwork Angels graphic novel preview, new interview with Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart]
[Neil Peart and Kevin J. Anderson talk Clockwork Angels graphic novel in new interview]
[Kevin J. Anderson talks Clockwork Angels: The Graphic Novel in new interview]
[Clockwork Angels: The Graphic Novel now available for pre-order]
[Kevin J. Anderson, Neil Peart talk Clockwork Angels: The Graphic Novel in new USA Today article]
[Clockwork Angels: The Graphic Novel from Kevin J. Anderson coming April 2014]

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Geddy Lee on the proposed Willowdale Lee Lifeson Art Park
11:06PM EST | link | comments (7) |

We learned early last month that a new, arts-themed park in the Toronto neighborhood of Willowdale is slated to be named after 2 of Willowdale's most famous residents - Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. The Toronto Star recently spoke with Geddy Lee about the proposed Lee Lifeson Art Park (thanks RushFanForever).

... "I know my mom is very happy!" ... "We met with the park architects and were really impressed with the thought and plans they have for it," ... "[Willowdale] is where I met my best friend and bandmate," ... "We were humbly honoured by the suggestion to name the park after us." ... "On tour and during our travels, ... we get to visit and enjoy so many parks around the world and really appreciate having that communal green space that is so important to a vibrant city."

The idea was first put forth at a consultation meeting held on April 22, 2014 by Councillor John Fillon and was then formally recommended by the Toronto parks committee on July 17th:

... Early designs for the area include art installations, a collaborative performance space and even a small bandshell for "acoustic concerts," according to [Filion], who first hatched the tribute plan two years ago. "I was standing around one night with a fellow music lover trying to think of somebody who had grown up in Willowdale who was a famous artist or musician," Filion said. "We both came up with the name Geddy Lee almost simultaneously." The councillor contacted Lee with the idea, and he immediately got on board - albeit with one condition. "He said he was interested and honoured, but also suggested it be named after Alex Lifeson, too," Filion said. ...

The article also mentions the overwhelming support of the online fan community for the idea and the misplaced anger of some fans over the perceived snubbing of Neil Peart.

... Why isn't it being called Rush Park? The perceived snub of drummer Neil Peart is not intentional, the band's publicist explained. It's just that he didn't grow up in Willowdale. (Your move, St. Catharines.) ...

The proposal will come before the North York community council on August 12th and is expected to pass overwhelmingly.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Updates and other random Rush stuff
10:53AM EST | link | comments (26) |

Neil and GeddyThis past Tuesday, July 29th we celebrated a very important day in Rush history. Not only was it Geddy Lee's 61st birthday, but it was also the 40th anniversary of the day that Neil Peart joined Rush, replacing original drummer John Rutsey. He's been the new guy in the band ever since. The day after Neil joined the band Rush bought equipment for their first tour at Long and McQuade Music in Toronto, including Geddy's black Rickenbacker, Alex's Gibson Les Paul Deluxe and Neil's Slingerland kit (aka Chromey)... and the rest - as they say - is history. To celebrate Neil's 40th anniversary, Ultimate Classic Rock put together a nice article detailing the events surrounding Neil joining Rush, including some relevant past interview snippets with the band. And Rush.com sent out a newsletter commemorating both events (Geddy's birthday and Neil Peart's 40th anniversary), complete with details on some new swag from the Rush Backstage Club to celebrate.

Wednesday we learned that Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio will be offering a new course this fall titled Rush: Progressive Rock and Modern Society. From the Advertiser-Tribune:

... [the course will] explore the musical and cultural issues of the 1970s and '80s, according to course instructor and adjunct professor Nathan Santos. Santos proposed the course and is designing the curriculum for the 2014-15 academic year. He said students in the special topics course are to analyze progressive rock, along with its musical elements, lyrical themes, historical, social and cultural content and its significance within the development of popular music styles. The 15-week course, for three credit hours, already is filling up, he said. The course is centered on the music and styles of Rush ... Santos said students are to look at the style changes the band went through over the years and how bands withstand changes to continue to create music. "It is a good lesson for our students who are pursuing a career in the music field," he said. "The band played an important part in our culture and heritage and the commercial music industry." Rush is the focus of the course, but also a starting point, he said. Other topics include literature, philosophy, politics, technology, songwriting, biographys, life on the road and album covers. Santos has been teaching at TU since 1998, mostly music history. ... "I had always thought a course focused on (Rush) would be a neat idea, (but) never had the chance to do it," he said. ... "Rush is trying to communicate a message," he said. "We want to take that and look at where we are today and how we got there."

The new book from veteran music writer Max Mobley titled Rush FAQ: All That's Left To Know About Rock's Greatest Power Trio was released a couple of months ago. Mobley has written for a number of music magazines including Crawdaddy! and Premier Guitar, and has interviewed Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson twice. He's also a huge Rush fan and has seen countless Rush shows dating back to the A Farewell to Kings tour. The book comes in at 250 pages, including a foreword from Donna Halper, and you can check out a copy of the introduction in this post. Examiner.com posted a great, 4-star review of the book earlier this week which you can check out at this location:

... Rather than go with a day-by-day (or even album-by-album) approach, Mobley forgoes a rigid chronology when discussing Rush's formation in order to make astute observations about where the band eventually took its music, and to comment on the events all self-respecting Rush scholars know would come to pass. Employing a wide lens for his mind's "Camera Eye," Mobley offers a broader view, a semi-omniscient (if subjective) take on the threesome's career trajectory-the albums, songs, and concerts. ... when it comes to condensing forty-plus years of factoids behind the world's most endearing rock trio into one reader-friendly volume, Rush FAQ is a "companion unobtrusive."

Order your copy of Rush FAQ at this location.

As a complement to their list of the 100 Best Canadian Songs Ever from early this month (Rush's The Spirit of Radio came in at #87), Huffington Post Canada posted a list of the 50 Worst Canadians Songs Ever earlier this week. Unfortunately Rush's Roll the Bones made the cut at #45 (thanks ou812112):

The title track from the legendary rock band's 1991 album features an attempt at rap. A really ill-advised and ill-informed attempt at rap. It's like a prog rock "Rapture" minus any of the charm or enthusiasm. Oh, and the video features a rapping skeleton.

Rush is not only a band, Rush is also the name of a new show on the USA Network. Reader John T let me know that there was a Rush (the band) reference on episode 2 of Rush (the show) last Thursday, July 24th. The show stars Tom Ellis as renegade physician Dr. William P. Rush, a medical fixer who privately caters to the elite of Los Angeles for a hefty price tag. In one scene Dr. Rush is attending to MMA fighter Troy Huntsman whose nose won't stop bleeding. Troy says, so rush like the band?. To which Dr. Rush replies (rather sardonically), sure, like the band. You can watch the show online here and the reference occurs at about the 14-minute mark.

Rush's Manhattan Project was featured in an NPR article from earlier this week on educational songs (thanks Billosaur). The song's lyrics tell the tale of the WWII project that created the first atomic bomb.

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Neil Peart joining Rush, here's a YouTube audio clip of Neil Peart's first recorded drum solo as a member of Rush. The clip runs a little over 3 minutes long and is from the band's recording of its August 26, 1974 show at the Cleveland Agora for a radio broadcast on Cleveland radio station WMMS (where Donna Halper worked). The show is one of the better known Rush bootlegs and was made available for purchase in Europe as Rush ABC: 1974 a few years back.

That's all for this week. Have a great weekend! Oh yeah... here's Alex Lifeson playing a slug.

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