What can be said about Rush that hasn't been said already? They have won more praise and awards for their work than can be catalogued here. One of the top-selling rock bands of all time, Rush has one of the largest and most dedicated fanbases in the world. And, they have been going non-stop for over thirty years. Yeah, that sums it up quite nicely.
Since Exit Stage Right: The String Quartet Tribute to Rush, Vitamin Records has raised the stakes for paying tribute to Canada's favorite sons. The first album was a smash amongst fans and was soon followed by the ambitious tribute to Rush's magnum opus, 2112. More hit tributes were to come and with each record Vitamin surprised the fans with their dedication to the craftsmanship of the godfathers of modern, progressive music. With this collection, Vitamin has highlighted 14 of the best tracks from these tributes. It is an essential collection for any Rush fan and any fan of Vitamin Records� captivating tributes.
And here's the tracklist:
1 2112 Overture 2 Xanadu 3 Closer to the Heart 4 Red Barchetta 5 The Spirit of Radio 6 Witch Hunt 7 Subdivisions 8 Presentation 9 Freewill 10 Distant Early Warning 11 The Trees 12 Soliloquy 13 Grand Finale 14 Jacob's Ladder
Alex Lifeson says new album will be "heavier and more powerful"
Two weeks ago I posted an interview with Alex Lifeson from Wine Spectator online. It was a low-key interview where Alex talked, not surprisingly, mostly about wine. The Wine Spectator online also has a blog run by James Suckling called James Suckling Uncorked. Last Wednesday Suckling was lucky enough to have dinner with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson out in Los Angeles and blogged about the experience the following day. The site requires paid registration but Rush Tour Forum user jahlove was kind enough to post the entry and I've reprinted it here. The most interesting bit is in the first paragraph where he mentions that Alex said the new album will be a new sound for Rush, "heavier and more powerful than before." Sounds good to me. They also pretty much confirm that they'll be playing in Milan this fall - good news for our Italian friends. Here's the entire entry:
James Suckling Uncorked: Rock 'n' Roll, Burgundy and Barolo Posted: 06:29 PM ET, January 25, 2007
I had a fun dinner last night at the restaurant Campanile with Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee of Rush. They are in Los Angeles finishing a new album that should be out very soon. Alex says it will be a new sound for Rush, "heavier and more powerful than before." They were both super excited about how the album was coming along. Me too!
We also got excited about some of the wines we drank, particularly a 2004 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir San Benito County Vista Verde Vineyard and a 2003 Bernard Dugat-Py Gevrey-Chambertin Coeur de Roy Vieilles Vignes. Geddy had purchased some of the later a couple of years ago when we were in Beaune together for the Hospices de Beaune. So it was fun to drink it together.
Interestingly, the California Pinot and the Burgundy were very close in style. Both had lots of ripe and showy fruit, loaded with strawberry jam character. They were big, round and soft. And they were already delicious to drink. I scored the Selyem 90 points and the Dugat-Py 92 points, unofficially.
Geddy is one of the most knowledgeable guys I know on Burgundy. And he was really pleased with the 2003 Dugat-Py, even though "it was really ripe from being from a very ripe year like 2003." He thought the California wine was a little one-dimensional. I thought he was being a little hard on it. Alex was with Geddy and preferred the French wine, too.
I thought it was amusing that Jay Perrin, the sommelier and manager of Campanile, thought the Selyem was 'feminine' in style. I told him in so many words that the wine's feminine style was pretty voluptuous then! Perrin has a super well-selected wine list, with good prices.
I really enjoyed both wines, more for their differences than what they had in common. Pinot Noir when it's outstanding, rocks.
We also had a 1996 Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra. I know this wine well. I did a big retrospective tasting of 1996 Barolos a couple of months ago and a column is forthcoming with tasting notes. Nearly all of the 1996 Barolos are as superb as ever-bright, aromatic, fruity and silky textured. Great wines. Unfortunately, I didn't think the bottle we had last night was perfect. It was a little hard and slightly subdued. But it was still outstanding, 90 points, unofficially.
Believe it or not, a group of Italian winemakers were also at Campanile-which, by the way, serves delicious Mediterranean-style food. Don't miss it if you are in Los Angeles. The group included none other than Domenico Clerico, not to mention Enrica Scavino, and others. I just about fell out of my chair when I saw them, with their importer Yanno de Grazia, walk into the restaurant. I saw a couple of them rubbing their eyes when they saw me, like they had seen a ghost or something.
By the end of the evening, a "Campanile reunion" with the Piedmont producers and Rush was planned for their concert this fall in Milan ... rock 'n roll and Barolo.
You should have seen the smiles on the faces of Geddy and Alex when I told them about the idea.
UPDATE - 3/2@11:29AM: Looks like the release date has been pushed back to April 13th.
If you've been keeping up with this blog for the past year then you no doubt already know that Neil Peart lends his voice talents to the upcoming Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie. Earlier this month the news came out that the movie would be released this March by First Look Pictures. There is now a trailer for the film online which also gives the exact release date as March 23rd. Watch the trailer - it's funny. I didn't spot Neil Peart in the trailer, although there's a flaming chicken and an ancient mythical secret kingdom tomb guy. :)
UPDATE - 1/29@12:23PM: User mtb keenly notes in the comments that it really is about 2112 miles from Aspen to Rhode Island. I just google-mapped directions from Aspen to Providence and it came back 2105 miles. :)
Back in Novemeber there was a major Rush reference on The Family Guy which featured a cheese-snortingChester Cheetah. Tonight's episode (season 6, episode 9: Road to Rupert) served up another Rush reference for us, albeit a very minor one. As the show was ending, Stewie and Brian were on the road back to Rhode Island from Aspen and the highway sign read Rhode Island: 2112 miles. I actually watched the show and this totally got by me. Luckily it didn't get by reader Mark R who also was able to grab a screenshot.
Back in October, Dream Theater sticksman Mike Portnoy revealed that he would be guest editor for the upcoming January 2007 special edition of the UK's Rhythm Magazine. In the issue, Mike got to choose 4 of his drum heroes to interview. He chose Nick Mason, Bill Bruford, Lars Ulrich and, of course, Neil Peart. Thanks to various users over at Counterparts (Empress and The Trinity) who made available a scan of the Neil Peart interview I have put together a transcription. The scans were a little hard to read so there are undoubtedly some errors but here it is. Enjoy.
Sitting in a New York City cab, in heavy traffic, Mike Portnoy explains how he not only managed to score an audience with the famously private and rarely interviewed Neil Peart, but that the iconic Rush sticksman was actually the first of his four dream interviewers to come foward and commit to taking part, "I emailed Neil and told him I was guest editing this issue of Rhythm, and would he agree to meet for an interview - and he said yes!" says a clearly thrilled Portnoy.
Anybody familiar with Portnoy knows how large the legacy of Peart looms in the drummer's life. "Throughout my career," he says, "there is no other drdummer I have been compared to and asked about as much as Neil." Indeed, Peart stands as the main influence for a whole generation of players affected by his energetically inventive playing and challenging technical finesse. Peart has manned the drum throne with Rush for more than 30 years, constantly evolving as a drummer and lyricist, and maintaining a fresh approach to his instrument and craft.
The last nine years have been no exception: despite tragic personal losses, Peart undertook an inward personal journey that saw him recommit himself to his music and his life. One offshoot of this has been a career in writing; Peart has published four books chronicling his many travels, the most recent being Roadshow: Landscape With Drums, A Concert Tour By Motorcycle. As luck would have it, Peart is in New York to promote the new book at the same time Portnoy is ensconced in a recording studio across town, working on Dream Theater's new album. The stars were aligned and the stage was set - the meeing of the professor and the apprentice was to take place at Peart's hotel.
Portnoy and Rhythm are greeted by Peart and after introductions and some comparing of road stories, the two drummers settle down onto a leather couch for what turns out to be the most comprehensive interview Peart has ever done. Peart is thoughtful, but with a great sense of humor, humble nd serious about his gifts and his art, and eager to share his thoughts about drumming, music, and life. When Portnoy asks for Neil's patience since he's never been on this side of the microphone before, Peart puts him at ease: "it'll be fine," he says. "It's not hard for drummers to find things to talk about."
Andy at ClassicRockCentral sent me a link to an exclusive 1982 2-hour radio special that they have up on their site. The show features a collection of rare interviews with each member of Rush as well as several Rush tunes interspersed throughout. You can listen to the show at this link (free registration required). Here's the site's blurb about the show:
They boldly go where no band has gone before. Rush. Master storytellers. Weavers of legends filled with swords, sorcery, and down to earth rock 'n roll. This exclusive special was distributed on radio stations throughout the U.S. in 1982. Hear Neil Peart, Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee in interview segments as they retrace the events that helped establish Rush in the early days. Hear Working Man, Fly By The Night, The Spirit of the Radio, Free Will, Red Barchetta, and more from their live album Exit...Stage Left.
Reed Lover over at Counterparts found this old interview podcast with Nick Raskulinecz over at the Budda amplifiers site. It's from around 5 years ago just after he produced the Foo FightersOne by One album. There is of course no mention of Rush but he talks very candidly about how he goes about producing a record and all of his various influences. It gives a lot of insight into what we might expect from the new Rush album. You can access the interview directly at this link or use the player above.
Also, Nick was at last week's NAMM Show in Anaheim and a couple of fans were lucky enough to speak with him. I've dug up 2 separate reports from different messageboards.
Presto-digitation over at TNMS had this to report:
I was at this seminar and this is what I posted on another board for those that are interested:
He (Nick) talked mostly about mics, compressors and pre-amps which was all a bit too technical for me. He did reveal that he liked the recording process to be like a 'camping trip', ie you all sit around a big fire and sing songs (the fire being the Neve mixing desk), how he became a 4th member of the band for the duration, he's the first US producer they've ever worked with, he now tends towards getting a big guitar sound with mics rather than layering, he hates over-compression in the mastering stage, how his entire focus is on the 'song' and how he likes the recording process to be performance oriented and organic - rather than multitracked. This is a complete turnaround to how they recorded Vapor Trails so could be interesting...
Finally someone asked him directly how it was working with them and he said that he still can't believe he worked with his heroes, indicated a fondness for the Moving Pictures stage of their career, said that he and his wife listened to the new mixes over breakfast and that he can't wait for people to hear the album.
He was a really nice, funny guy....not unlike Alex in his demeanour but considerably younger (about 35) and he seemed really genuinely enthusiastic about the album.
Went to a music producers seminar Grammy Sound Table at this weekends NAMM show in Anaheim, CA. All I can say is what Nick told me floored me! First question I asked him was what is it like working with all three in the same room recording new tracks, his reply was "I am the luckiest guy, its a dream come true". He said to me also he can't wait for the masses to hear it. On Sat. morning before the show he told me he was listening to the new album, so I believe that means its done and said he couldn't believe the way its sounding. He told everybody at the seminar when asked to produce for RUSH he had to maintain his composure as one would imagine. I gave him a bootleg of an early RUSH gig and he said he would watch it with them on Sunday! That made my day I'll tell ya! Best thing he said was RUSH is a class act when working and the best possible musicians ever hands down. Class act band with class act producer! Heres the link to see who else was on that panel, 4th paragraph down.
I must say, the more I find out about this guy the more I like him. Is it April yet?
The latest issue of Stuff Magazine has a feature where celebrities say what song they lost their virginity to. Comedian Margaret Cho apparently lost it to Tom Sawyer. Thanks to Counterparts member The Sauceman for the info. It seems to me that Losing It would be a more appropriate Rush song to lose your virginity to. :)
New Rush videos: interviews and clips from the early 1980s
Several old early-80s interviews/clips were recently uploaded to YouTube and I've linked them below. These are all taken from VHS and the quality is a little grainy but all are definitely worth checking out. Other than the 1980 interview clip, I hadn't seen any of these before.
I recently came across a couple of articles which deal with Vapor Trails and thought I'd throw them together in one post. The first, titled How CDs are remastering the art of noise, talks about the loudness wars in the album recording process of recent years - how albums are getting louder at the expense of sound quality. The article mentions Vapor Trails as one of the examples of this trend. This would certainly jibe with the many negative comments I've seen on this site and others regarding the recording of Vapor Trails.
The other article comes from the Tarot Channel blog and discusses the use of tarot imagery in the album lyrics and artwork:
... In his memoir Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road, Neil relates his 14-month, 55,000 mile trip on a motorcycle in search for a reason to live. Interestingly, Neil describes an accurate Tarot card reading he received in California, even using Tarot himself while reading Tarot for Dummies--with equally good results.
The liner notes to the Vapor Trails CD features thirteen Tarot card images--one card to each song ...
Over the last several weeks I've received a lot of email from readers of the site. People send me all kinds of neat Rush-related links and info and I don't always get a chance to post them. They often get trumped by bigger news (such as, say... a new Rush album and tour) or just lost in my inbox. So I recently went through all my recent emails and compiled everything into one big post. So here are all the many recent contributions from the readers of Rush is a Band.
Wim from the Netherlands sent me this link to a bunch of quality pics he took of the band in Oberhousen, Germany on September 17th.
Reader Tim L pointed me to this 1/10 post at Eddie Trunk's blog regarding the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Eddie says the following:
... Until artists like Kiss, Deep Purple, Rush, Alice Cooper, Yes, Judas Priest, and others that were true pioneers and legends finally get in, it remains the R&R Hall of Shame to me!
Also dealing with the Rock Hall, Tim A pointed me to this post in the USA Today Life section's music blog from 1/8 which dealt with the recent inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There are several posts in support of Rush. I've posted about the Rock Hall and their knack for excluding Rush in the past. You can check out the most recent post here.
... I was doing a guitar seminar for Ernie Ball during our SMB tour with Rush. It was afternoon, and the show was that evening. People were asking me questions in a music store. They were seated facing me, I was on a little stage that faced them and the big storefront window on the main street. One guy asked what Neil Peart was like, (the drummer from Rush). I recalled how he rode his bicycle from Chicago to Milwaukee just the other day on this tour instead of riding the tour bus. And I continued, "And there he goes right now, riding down the main street". Everybody laughed, but it was true. Neil had just ridden by on his bike, putting on a few miles before the show. As hard as I tried to convince them that it was true, the more they laughed. I gave up and then played another music example ...
Reader Justin noticed that the videos section of Neil Peart's website has been updated with 2 clips from his Anatomy of a Drum Solo DVD to add to the 3 clips from his A Work in Progress DVD that were already up. There are several other clips from both these DVDs floating around the net which you can view in the Rush TV section of this site.
James B directed me to Canadian musician Derek Fairbridge's website where he's peddling his 2nd album Eleven-Legged Race which contains a very interesting cover of Tom Sawyer. Apparently he's been performing the song live for several years now and finally decided to lay it down. You can listen to a sample here.
Reader Grant has written and published online a full-length novel based on the Rush song Red Barchetta. He's well aware that the original song was inspired by the short story A Nice Morning Drive too - but thought he'd put his own take on the story... and make a novel out of it! The story is called The Red Barchetta. Details and order information are available at lulu.com here. Here's the synopsis:
Based on the 1980's hit song from the Canadian group Rush, The Red Barchetta takes place in the future where the internal combustion engine has been illegalized. Technology has made mind control possible and some in the government want to capitalize on this form of power. Matt Cummins is an average citizen who becomes the only one who can stop those who want to use the mind control technology, with the help of his uncle and a 1949 Ferrari.
Musician David Heydon alerted me that he has put up a MySpace page for his "Project Rush" - which basically is his band DH Deluxe doing a bunch of Rush covers. He currently has mixes of 2112, La Villa Strangiato and Anthem up - with more to come in the future.
One reader (not sure who- lost the email) sent me this Rush reference from the world of pro wrestling. In a recent story talking about an upcoming show where the top 25 ECW superstars of 2006 (the "P25") are counted down, host Matt Striker explained how the list was determined:
... Striker declined to give much insight on the formula behind the P25, only stating, "E=MC squared. A squared plus B squared over C squared over the symbol for Van Halen minus by the pentagram for the band Rush and then the abstract polynomial symbol for the table of elements for Ginger Baker. ...
The current issue of Q Magazine focues on the 500 Greatest Lost Tracks. One of the features is a list of the 50 top lost metal tracks which includes Rush's Time Stand Still from 1987's Hold Your Fire. I wouldn't really classify this song as metal, but it's nice to see it recognized in some way. This truly is a great song from an otherwise mediocre Rush album that seemed to be overlooked by fans and critics alike. Thanks to reader Tom for the heads up.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Entire Jeff Burrows Alex Lifeson interview now online
On Monday I reported how Alex Lifeson had spoken with Jeff Burrows (The Tea Party) on his 95.1 The Rock radio show and had a number of cool things to say about the new album and tour. Among these were that the album will be out late April or early May; the tour will begin in June and cover North America, Europe and South America; and the recording process was videotaped for a possible in-studio DVD. The entire interview is now up online on the stations's website. Just go to the site here and click on the Rock Interviews banner on the right of the page. It's a fantastic interview. The excitement in Alex's voice is palpable. It's definitely worth a listen. Thanks to reader Jeff (aka Red Sector A) for the heads up.
Geddy Lee's My Favorite Headache electronic press kit
Back in November of 2000 during Rush's long hiatus Geddy Lee released his only solo album My Favorite Headache. It's a great album and if you don't have it yet I suggest you get it. I recently located a video online of the electronic press kit for the album. It's basically a 10-minute promo for the album that contains in-studio footage, interviews, etc. You can check it out here.
UPDATE - 1/23@10:00AM: There is now a clip of the karaoke scene online. You can check it out here.
About a month ago I posted about how a commercial for the new show from ABC The Knights of Prosperity contained a Rush reference. If you never heard of the show, it follows a group of working class misfits who dub themselves "The Knights of Prosperity" and attempt to rob Mick Jagger's luxury apartment. In the commercial the group's leader Eugene (Donal Logue) mentioned that Tom Sawyer is the Knights' theme song and went on to sing a few lines. The commercial was in reference to last night's episode Operation: Fighting Shape. At the beginning of the show, the group is trying to decide on a theme song. Eugene already has one in mind: Tom Sawyer. Eugene proceeds to unveil a karaoke machine and starts singing along with the Rush classic. The different characters then start joining in - singing some of the lines. The song also shows up as background music in a couple of fight scenes later on. You can watch it all yourself; the entire show is now available for viewing at ABC's website here. Many thanks to everybody who emailed me about this - I didn't catch the show when it aired.
just spoke with andy curran..with rush's management ...bands in LA mixing ...yahoo!!!!...says the band sounds 20 years younger ... totally rawked out!!! kool!!!
So he seems to be repeating the this will sound like an old Rush record theme that producer Nick Raskulinecz spoke about. The good news keeps pouring in.
If you don't know already, the rumored working title for the album is Snakes and Arrows. Also, Alex Lifeson stated in a recent interview that the album is slated for a late April or early May release; the recording process was filmed for a possible future in-studio DVD; and the tour will start in June and include North America and Europe with a break for Christmas then onto South America.
Wine Spectator online recently spoke with Alex Lifeson about his wine interests. Here is the entire interview as provided by Counterparts member sweetmiracle (Thanks!):
Wine Talk: Alex Lifeson Music introduced Rush's guitarist to Blue Nun, but a tour promoter saved him from it--and turned him into an enophile
Posted: Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Alex Lifeson, 53, was born in British Columbia. Along with Geddy Lee and former drummer John Rutsey (he was replaced by Neil Peart in 1974), the trio formed rock band Rush in 1968. Lifeson has been the composer and guitarist for all 23 of the band's albums, including a 24th, yet to be named, due for release in April. Over the past four decades the band's sound has evolved with the times, and so has Lifeson's taste in wine. When Rush started out, the band drank cheap wine and malt liquor backstage; now they prefer Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Along with collecting, Lifeson also found that he enjoys pitching in and helping make wine. But what he likes most of all is sharing great wines with friends.
Wine Spectator: How did you first get into wine? Alex Lifeson: I think I started looking for wines to buy in 1975. Before that, the wines we drank were like Castelvetro, Mateus and those sort of wines. That was our basic knowledge of wine. When we started touring, we had very limited access to wine because we were an opening act. Two bottles of Blue Nun and Night Train is what we used to get in the dressing room in the early days.
WS: Really? AL: Yeah, you got a loaf of white bread, some ham and some cheese, a couple of bottles of Blue Nun and a case of beer. It tasted great, Blue Nun, because that was all we knew. [Then] there was a gig in Milwaukee, and the promoter there had an interest in wine. He took us to a restaurant after a show there and he asked, "Do you guys like wine?" We said, "Oh yeah, we love it! We drink Blue Nun all the time!"
He took us to this restaurant and said, "Now you're going to drink a bottle of Latour and a bottle of Margaux." This was in 1975, so I don't remember the vintage but I would guess it was probably something like a '70. I was just blown away by how amazing it could taste. It had so much depth to it, and it evolved in the course of this dinner. We were there for a couple of hours at least; the wines became different--I had no idea that wine could be like that. So we got home and I would buy a bottle of this and a bottle of that, and work my way up. Maybe a grand cru if I could afford that. And I found the Riojas that were so cheap yet tasted so good.
WS: In your collection you have about 1,200 bottles. Do you specialize in any particular areas? AL: I really like the Rhône wines. The Guigals have all been my favorites. Particularly the single-vineyard wines. I had access to them about 10 or 12 years ago when they really weren't that popular, and I was able to buy one or two bottles here and there. I bought as much as I could at the time, so I ended up with probably five cases or so, a mix going back to '78.
WS: What are you buying now? AL: Lately I have been buying what I would say are good deals. René Rostaing [wines] are really well-priced. I also have some Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I collected a lot of Grange because I really enjoy it. I have vintages from the '70s, and I am finishing off the '82s that we had--I had a couple of cases of that. I've been able to enjoy them for 15 years. I bought a lot of that because then Grange was relatively cheap.
I kind of got pissed off at the prices of wine. It really bothered me that suddenly to get some of these great wines you spend 100, 200, 300 bucks on a bottle. I just can't justify that. And this is why I like looking around. I don't care about the prestige of the wine. I just want what tastes really great and that I can share with my friends and they get blown away.
WS: Do you buy any California wines? AL: Joseph Phelps, [because] I worked at Phelps for one week in 1990. We played in San Francisco, and the promoters sent us to Phelps. We just fell in love with everyone there. They were so nice. We were sitting outside eating, and drinking every wine they ever made--Backus, Insignia. We also drank some of their Johannesburg Rieslings. And Délice. In fact, I was drinking Délice out of barrel every morning that I was there for that week. That was like my orange juice.
WS: What were you doing? AL: I did everything. I think if you have an interest in wine it is the most fun thing that you could do. You get to see every aspect of the whole process. I was doing punch-downs and pump-overs. I helped out with some of the fermentation and racking. I cleaned out all the white barrels. I was up every morning at 5, and we would be at the winery by 6. I would work all day until 7 at night. I would eat and then go to bed at 9, completely exhausted.
Geddy [Lee, the band's bass player] and I went to Turley in 1998. We were getting into the big bins, and were pulling out rotten stems, grapes and tens of thousands of spiders that were crawling around in there. We left at 4 o'clock in the morning and were done by I think 10 or 11, and we were covered in grape juice. Our arms were purple. I had white shoes that were covered in grape juice. Then we went and had lunch in a local restaurant. We were so proud of the fact that our fingernails were purple.
WS: Do you guys have good wine when you are on tour? AL: Oh yeah. Every night! Are you kidding? We play the gig and then the dressing room is quiet for maybe half an hour after the show. We have a chef with us and he cooks according to what we are going to drink that night. We carry stemless Riedels with us on the road.
WS: What is the best bottle you have ever had? AL: You know I really do love those single-vineyard Guigals. I love having the experience of a really fine wine when you are with the right group of people.
As was mentioned in the previous post, the working title for the new Rush album is rumored to be either Snakes and Arrows or Snakes and Ladders. To put this in the context of the rumored spiritual theme of the album, I'll provide this quote from InnerTraditions.com which is in reference to a book titled The Yoga of Snakes and Arrows.
Chutes and Ladders, the popular children's game, is derived from the ancient Hindu game Leela, or Snakes and Arrows, which charts the ups and downs of the soul's path toward reunion with the Infinite. Snakes and Arrows was designed by the seers and saints of India as a tool for understanding the relationship of the individual self to the Absolute Self. For thousands of years the 72 spaces on this game board have enabled players to chart the paths that represent the course of their lives. Each space represents a virtue or a vice, an aspect of consciousness, or a plane of reality and is accompanied by a commentary explaining its meaning. The player's progress on the board is dictated by the fall of a die corresponding to the forces of karma. Repeated encounters with the snakes and arrows on the board reveal the full meaning of the commentaries and can give shape to habitual patterns of the player, resulting in greater self-understanding and even a gradual detachment from the ego's delusions.
UPDATE - 1/19@2:31PM: The entire interview is now up online on the stations's website. Just go to the site here and click on the Rock Interviews banner on the right of the page.
UPDATE - 1/15@10:00AM: I've also just heard a couple rumors that Lerxst mentioned that the working title for the album is Snakes and Arrows or possibly Snakes and Ladders? No idea if this is for real or not. I don't place much stock in working titles, since they usually don't end up being what is used. Either way, that's what I heard. :)
Alex Lifeson recently called in to Jeff Burrows' (The Tea Party) radio show on Canadian radio station 95.1 The Rock and had some very cool news regarding the new album and the tour. I didn't hear the interview but saw the highlights posted on the various messageboards. From what I read, Alex mentioned that the new album is set for a late April or early May release - but we already knew that. And ... he said that a lot of the studio work was video taped for a dvd! As far as the tour goes, it's currently scheduled to start in June and will include North America and Europe with a break for Christmas then onto South America. So this would seem to be the first official confirmation from a band member that they will tour and, as reported earlier, they will hit South America again. What I'm particularly excited about is the possibility of a documentary-style in-studio DVD! The station is supposed to be posting the interview at some point. If/when they do I'll link to it.
The other day on the way home from preschool, my 4-year-old says to me "Dad, I want to listen to that one song after the long song ." So I crank up A Passage to Bangkok. Then he asks me what the song is about. "Trains", I say. "The song is about trains." So this article was particularly amusing to me. IGN has compiled a list of the Top Ten Train Songs and here's what they say about A Passage to Bangkok.
While the song is more about a drug addled excursion through Indo-China, with stops in Colombia, Thailand, Morocco, and other infamous havens of ethereal experience searching hippies of old, this little ditty from the Canadian power trio of Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart, and Geddy Lee deliberately focuses on the mode of train transportation between the various areas of renown.
Were on the train to Bangkok/Aboard the Thailand Express/We'll hit the stops along the way/We only stop for the best..."
As to whether or not they actually convinced/inspired any listeners to embark on a similar journey is unknown, but the travel blueprint is there in the lyrics, my friend.
Thanks to Counterparts member D'Anconia for digging this up.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Neil Peart's recommended reading: Bubba's Book Club updated
Neil Peart has updated the Bubba's Book Club section of his website yet again. And this update covers a lot of territory; he reviews 7 books. There's the typical fare of travel books and a biography - but this batch also includes a few novels. The books are The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton, Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee, A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffet, Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende, The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, Paradise by Toni Morrison and Rebuilding the Indian by Fred Haefele. As always, Neil serves up his insightful opinion about each of these works; utilizing his unique style of prose. I haven't read any of them - I tend to stick to my usual diet of sci-fi and fantasy - but Neil's reviews are very persuasive; I may just have to give some of these books a look. Thanks to reader Jeanette for spotting this.
Today's edition of Knoxville's Metro Pulse has an interviewwith Rush producer Nick Raskulinecz. He says a lot about Rush and his experience producing the new album. Here are all the tasty Rush bits:
Like so many other hesher kids of his era, former Beardenite Nick Raskulinecz was a Rush freak when he was playing bass and guitar in local Knox rock bands circa 1990. ...
... Then imagine the excitement for Raskulinecz-now a well-regarded record producer living in L.A.-when the band's management called last year and offered him the chance to produce the venerable outfit's 19th studio album. Raskulinecz accepted, needless to say, and spent five weeks living and working with the trio in a remote woodland studio on a mountaintop in upstate New York. The resulting album, yet untitled, is set for release in April of this year.
"It was a dream come true, because they were one of my favorite bands since I started listening to music when I was 10 years old," says Raskulinecz, speaking from his home in Northridge, Calif. "Suddenly, I was sitting in Geddy Lee's kitchen, Alex Lifeson is there drinking coffee, and we're talking about preproduction."
"I think they needed someone to kind of come in and kick them in the ass, and I was able to do that. We had a great time, and I think we made their best record in 15 years." ...
... In his online blog, drummer Peart described his experience working with Raskulinecz by saying, "I have never enjoyed the recording process so much, nor been so satisfied with the results." According to Peart, Raskulinecz also "coaxed, coached, and inspired [Peart] into ever more outrageous drum parts... the very edge of my abilities," and "urged Geddy's [Lee's] bass playing into uncharted areas."
"For a few weeks, I was basically the fourth member of Rush," Raskulinecz says of his production method. "I become part of it. I have to really be able to get inside the songs; when I make a record, I can't just be casual about it."
He adds that the upcoming release will have "the sound and vibe of an old Rush record"-i.e. one of those gloriously overwroughtsci-fi prog-metal epics he grew up with, albums like 2112 and Hemispheres and Permanent Waves. ...
I'm even more pumped about this new album now. "Their best record in 15 years"!!!! The "sound and vibe of an old Rush record"!!! I really hope so. Thanks to reader Neil C for the heads up.
Yesterday's edition of the Toronto Metro newspaper contained an article/interview with Neil Peart. The article is titled Neil Peart Lightens Up and mentions Neil's many exploits of late including his appearance in the upcoming Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie, his newest book Roadshow, and his recent appearance on the Rick Mercer report. You can view a pdf of yesterday's edition at this link - the interview is on page 29. The article is also online at this link. Here are some excerpts:
... Neil Peart will guest voice in a film version of Aqua Teen Hunger Force - a U.S. Cartoon Network animated series - scheduled for release in March. "I get to work with a meatball, a bag of fries and a milkshake," laughs Peart. "It's quite a surreal departure."
Perhaps mindful of his serious-musician reputation, the 54-year-old seems to be putting more emphasis on lightening up. This past November, he appeared on CBC's The Rick Mercer Report giving drum lessons to his amused host.
And his fourth book Roadshow: Landscape With Drums, A Concert Tour By Motorcycle, released in September, is laced with drummer jokes ... backstage anecdotes, long motorcycle journeys plus a bizarre on-stage cameo from obvious Rush fan Jack Black, who cited Peart in his 2003 flick The School Of Rock.
"He had a lot of fun," says Peart. "I know he has great respect for Rush. For me personally, just the fact he made a nod to me in the movie was very personally rewarding." ... Peart has endured his share of life-altering seriousness: In 1997, his daughter Selena died in a single-car accident; nearly a year later, his common-law wife Jaqueline Taylor lost her battle to cancer. ... "I'm in a much better state of mind now," says Peart, also an avid cyclist. "There's something about whenever I go for a ride - it's like I'm going through a closed community where I get to explore and escape from whatever contagious monkeys might be on my back."
During his various travels across the U.S., as he accounts in Roadshow, Peart began noting a number of religiousbased signs he came across ... Many of these signs have given Peart lyrical inspiration for next Rush studio album, which the band is currently recording and expected to be released this year.
"Part of it is just me reporting, but I'm also overwhelmed by the spiritual landscape of America," Peart says. "But it got me thinking so carefully at how much we need to look for the positives in life. Too often we put up an armour to protect us from all the bad."
No new information but it's always nice to hear a few choice words from the Professor. Thanks to reader Andy G for the heads up.
I recently found a professionally-shot bootleg of Subdivisions from the Presto tour on YouTube. It's from a March 8, 1990 show filmed at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan. It's not the best quality (looks to have been taken from a VHS) but still worth checking out. You can watch it here.
GuitarGearCentral.com posted a bunch of pics of Alex Lifeson's gear from the R30 tour on their website last week. From the posting:
We are pleased to offer exclusive photos of Alex Lifeson's live rig used on the recent R30 tour. We hope you enjoy a stage-side glimpse of the guitars and floor-based units piloted by "Lerxst", (the nickname bestowed upon him by fellow Rush bandmates Geddy Lee and Neil Peart). So without further ado, we take you on our little "photo tour"...
The photos shown include his pedalboards complete with mini-setlist, several pics of his guitar rack, and his Hughes and Kettner amp. Great stuff. Thanks to reader crjphoto for the heads up.
The March 2007 issue of Modern Drummer Magazine includes a feature entitled The Top 30 Drum Tracks of the '80s. Tom Sawyer comes in at #11 and YYZ gets the top spot at #1. Cool. Thanks to reader Trevor for the heads up.
I missed this article but reader Mike D pointed it out to me recently. It's a humorous buyer's guide to celebrity fragrances from the Houston Press from before Christmas. One of the fragrances they "review" is Rush from Gucci. Here's what they have to say:
Fragrance: Rush Inspiration: Take off, ya hoser. Recommended use: Casual Recommended age: Mature Classification: Woods What it really smells like: Eau de Ayn Rand and essence de Canadian bacon. (That's French.) The Lowdown: While not actually endorsed by the band, I'm sure Tom Ford and Gucci had to be inspired by the Canadian stalwarts when introducing this cologne in 1999. Our only hope is for an endorsement deal that includes a triple live LP recorded in Uruguay! User review: "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."
A new radio special is up at Rush.net. This one is the 1984 Anthem special wherein the band discusses Grace Under Pressure; their first departure from working with longtime producer Terry Brown. Just go to Rush.net and click on the "Radio" link in the upper left column. Once the player is activated click on Interviews/Specials and scroll to the bottom.
Saturday, January 6, 2007
Alex Lifeson makes Guitar Player magazine list of top 40 guitar tones
The sequel to the 2005 horror flick White Noise was recently reviewed in the UK's Guardian and the movie apparently contains a neat Rush reference. Here's the review:
A sequel to the surprisingly successful Michael Keaton I-video-dead-people movie. A near-death experience gives Abe Dale the ability to see a spooky light emanating from those about to die. The casting of Fillion and Sackhoff, from Firefly and Battlestar Galactica respectively, pays off by providing charming actors who can play this stuff seriously.
Like the first movie, it's not even slightly scary, although in the last half hour, when the high cost of tampering with fate becomes apparent, things become enjoyably frantic. The final furlong features a stunning set-piece multiple death involving a piano, genuinely disturbing surgery make-up, and a school choir singing Rush's The Spirit of Radio. If only the first hour were this unhinged.
The Official Rush Contest Page and Mailing List, Rush.net, was recently updated. I'd noticed this myself but kept forgetting to post about it - thanks to reader Neil C for reminding me. They've redesigned the site with some new artwork (new album art?) and new features including a countdown timer to the album release date - although it's currently just counting down to the beginning of Spring since no release date's been announced. Here's their new welcome message:
Currently we are counting down the days left before spring, and we will of course update the Rush.net timer to countdown to the new album once a release date has been confirmed officially.
The screensaver and wallpaper downloads available on Rush.net's previous incarnation will be restored over the next few weeks. And we will be adding even more radio specials.
The Rush Radio Specials and Radio x3 have been combined and can be activated by clicking on the "Radio" link on the left. We've also added a new feature "Name That Rush Tune." Instructions and Rules are located under the "Name The Rush Tune" link to the right above this notice.
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie set for March release
Adult Swim's feature version of surreal animated series "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" has been set for a March release by First Look Pictures with an opening of more than 800 playdates.
The 86-minute pic, written, produced and directed by co-creators Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis, marks First Look's initial theatrical foray into animation as well as Adult Swim's first feature under the Williams Street banner.
The film centers on the origins of "Hunger Force" characters Meatwad, Frylock and Master Shake and an immortal piece of exercise equipment threatening the balance of galactic peace. ...
A short 90-second clip of the film was released online a couple of months back which you can check out at YouTube. It's the opening scene of the movie and unfortunately doesn't contain Neil Peart, but is funny nonetheless. If you've never seen the show, it's on Cartoon Network as part of its Adult Swim late-night programming block. The show's creators are big Rush fans and include several Rush references in the show, particularly in the episode titled "Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary" which you can watch here.
Last Spring I posted about Classic Albums Live, a group of musicians who get together and perform rock's greatest albums live note for note. They had been scheduled to perform Moving Pictures in its entirety in June of last year at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto. I missed the show but remember reading some glowing reviews from fans on the various message boards. The year prior to last the group performed all of 2112 at the same venue in June of 2005. YouTube user atomsmasher23 recently uploaded some video of the show in several parts which you can check out here. They do a really good job - definitely worth checking out.
Well, 2007 is here. I hope everyone had a good time celebrating. 2007 looks to be particularly interesting for us Rush fans; a new album and a tour. What more could we ask for?
As far as this site goes I unfortunately didn't get as much work done on enhancements over the holidays as I wanted to. I was only able to do a few under-the-hood changes and research a few applications. I naively thought that if I was home alone with a 1-year-old I'd be able to get some work done ... silly me. The good news is that I still plan on implementing the enhancements, just not as soon as I'd like. I investigated some different applications that I might use for enhancing the post comments - simple text markup and quoting for instance. I will also more than likely be using a flash-based calendar of some sort to keep track of Rush-related events; tour dates, release dates, etc. I think this'll be particularly neat when the tour commences. I'll keep you posted. Have a great New Year!