We've always sort of been outside - well, maybe not a little bit - we've always been kind of outside the mainstream, we've done things our own way, ... We have a very strong core following that's been very loyal and stuck with us for all these years and allowed us to function that way without having a broader appeal. To suddenly be asked to be in films, of course the Rolling Stone thing, and the Stephen Colbert - all these things ... it makes us smile that all of a sudden Rush is a cool thing, when we have not been a very cool thing for a very long time.
On his friendship with Geddy Lee Alex says:
The Rush experience for us has been a family experience. Geddy and I live five minutes from each other. This is [after] 40-plus years of knowing each other and we're still five minutes from each other. I played tennis with him last week, we had dinner the other night, [there's a] wine tasting next Tuesday - he's my best friend and we happen to be in a band together. That makes it a little easier to make those decisions about what you would do if they weren't there anymore. It's not just a job, it's a whole life we've lived together.
Right now we just want rest,... We've been working really hard for the last seven or eight years on numerous records, tours, and DVDs; it's been pretty constant through that whole period. We really feel like we need to step back and recharge our batteries and just not think about the band and what we're going to do. You never know, Geddy and I might do some casual writing in the spring, but I'm guessing we probably won't do anything until the fall of next year. At that time ... we'll set out what we're doing. There are a number of options open to us. I think the most likely is that we'll record another record and tour off that. Working with ["Snakes and Arrows" producer] Nick Raskulinecz, he's pushing us to think about doing another sort of concept record ... instead of just a thematically conceptual album like the most current records are. Whether we're up for that kind of thing, I'm not so sure. We'll have to wait and see."
So Alex essentially confirms what Geddy had said in his Billboard interview. But the bit about the possible concept record is pretty interesting. I'll believe that when I see it though! He also says the following in a sidebar piece:
Another option is that we might do a specialty tour, or we'll do another major tour and look at doing more obscure songs. I don't think we would just do the same sort of tour we did last time. I would be different. I don't think we would be content to just do another tour ... just milk it. Otherwise, I'd rather stay home, to be honest with you." (Laughs)
And also in the sidebar he's asked about doing Hemispheres and/or one of the band's longer pieces on tour:
It takes up too much time. I'd totally be into doing that. We did that with '2112' a few tours back where we played the whole thing. That was the first tour where we did, in fact, play all of '2112.' Even when we first started doing it back in the '70s we never played the whole thing. I like the idea of the challenge of doing that. ... If we're going to play for five hours, let's do 'Jacob's Ladder,' let's do all those songs. It'd be fun. And visually we'd have a lot of license to do some very interesting things technically. Wait and see.
Alex has stated similar things in the past regarding a b-sides tour and performing some of their longer pieces live. Whether he can convince Neil and Geddy to do something like this is still an open question. The article ends with a question regarding Rush's Grand Finale:
As the conversation winds down, talk pushes to the end of the band. Given that all the members of the group are in their mid-50s, the end of Rush is certainly closer than its beginning. So how would Lifeson like the band to go out? How would he script Rush's finale?
"That's a tough question. I don't know," Lifeson said. "I was going to say that we go out on this incredible tour where we were just at the top of our game and we moved on and that was it. But at the same time, and I think maybe it's because I am Canadian, I think I'd like us to rather just go quietly out. Just kind of fade away quietly and not cause a big deal."
This was probably the best Rush interview I've seen for quite some time. Thanks to robertkincaid96 for the heads up.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
White Flag; Jack Secret collaboration with Neil Peart
Jack Secret (aka Tony Geranios) has been Rush's keyboard tech since 1977. Back in February I let you know about a song called Tough Break on which Jack Secret collaborated with Rush. An mp3 recording of the song had appeared online and was creating quite a buzz. Per the the US copyright database there are several separate listings for a Dean Anthony Geranios (aka Jack Secret) including Tough Break and another song called White Flag which has lyrics attributed to Neil Peart. Jack recently recorded a version of White Flag with guitarist and engineer Paul Crook and posted it to his MySpace page. You can listen to the track (lyrics by Neil Peart) along with Tough Break at Jack's MySpace page here. Many thanks to Burger King Diamond over at Counterparts for the info.
Wired.com has put together a list of the 10 Best Songs About Cars. Making the list at #9 is Rush's Red Barchetta. Here's what they say about it:
Lyricist and drummer extraordinaire Neil Peart is a hardcore motorcycle fanatic, but he's clearly spent some time behind the wheel. This track from 1981's Moving Pictures perfectly captures the imagery of tearing up the countryside in a vintage Ferrari.
Adventureland is a new film from director Greg Mottola of Superbad fame that is set to release this March. The trailer for the movie features Rush's Limelight along with a funny Rush moment; about 45 seconds into the trailer Limelight plays in the background then fades out at about the 1:15 mark, where one of the characters starts to sing along but forgets the lyrics. Here's the trailer on YouTube:
Thanks to readers Phil and Shane for the info. Have a great weekend everyone!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Reminder: Geddy and Alex on the CBC's The Hour tonight
UPDATE - 11/28@6:20PM: Here's the 13-minute interview segment up on YouTube (thanks coolphantom190):
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UPDATE - 11/26@9:28PM: Hell... it's already posted on their website! Check it out here. The interview is the 2nd of the 10 tracks in the video player. There's a short intro and the interview runs about 10 minutes. No new revelations, but it's a fun interview to watch. Thanks to presto1990 for the heads up.
UPDATE - 11/26@9:11PM: Here are the view times available on Bell Expressvu and Star Choice dishes. All times are EST. Thanks to Armeee for the info.
CBC -Atlantic and Halifax... 10pm CBC-Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa... 11pm CBC-Winnipeg - midnight CBC-Calgary- 1am CBC-Vancouver- 2am
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As I'd mentioned earlier this week, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson will be guests on the CBC's The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulostonight at 11PM. Unfortunately only those of us who get the CBC will be able to catch it. The good news is that it should be up on the show's website within a couple of days at this link. Geddy Lee appeared on the show back in June of 2007 and you can watch this interview here. To all you in the US, have a great Thanksgiving!
Rush: Retrospective 3 deluxe fan pack; release date pushed?
Those of you who have purchased the Snakes & Arrows DVD are already aware that the DVD contains an insert with info on pre-ordering a deluxe fan pack version of Rush's upcoming Atlantic-era greatest hits package, Retrospective 3. The insert directs fans to an online pre-order site which states:
RETROSPECTIVE III, (1989-2008) features the best of Rush from the Atlantic years and is the perfect addition to complete your Rush collection.
Pre-order the Deluxe Rush Fan Pack and you'll be the first to receive the Retrospective III CD/DVD package, complete with an exclusive live performance, full band interview, and music videos when it hits stores in March. You'll also receive a limited edition lithograph highlighting Rush's past albums featured on Retrospective III. The first 100 orders will receive a signed lithograph.
The Deluxe Fan Pack is $22.00. The CD/DVD is $18.00. The CD is $13.00.
So according to this, Retrospective 3 won't be released until March sometime as opposed to January 27th. It sounds like the fan pack contains an extra live performance and an interview on the DVD (either that or a separate DVD with the extras) along with a lithograph. You can pre-order your fan pack at this link. From what we know so far the tracklist will contain one unreleased live track (Ghost of a Chance from the 2008 leg of the S&A tour) along with 13 studio tracks. The DVD will contain 10 Atlantic-era music videos along with live videos of The Seeker, Secret Touch and Resist. Also of interest are 2 remixed/remastered versions of One Little Victory and Earthshine off of 2002's Vapor Trails. You can check out the complete tracklist and a full-size image of the album cover in this post.
UPDATE - 12/1@8:39PM: I've received word from a couple of sources that the documentary should be out by the end of 2009.
A little over a year ago we learned that filmmakers Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn - creators of the critically acclaimed, award-winning documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey - were planning on creating a documentary on Rush. They were present at RushCon 2007 and both Toronto shows on the 2007 leg of the Snakes & Arrows tour getting footage and interviewing fans. The original official press release about the project came out in October of last year and the plan was to release the documentary in late 2008. But due to another project they were working on simultaneously (an Iron Maiden documentary) it looked like the project might be put on hold for a little while. The last we'd heard on the documentary was from an interview that Sam and Scott did with iConnotationsback in May. They had this to say about it:
... Well it's in the early stages yet. It's not a film that's going to be based around a particular tour like the [Iron] Maiden doc. It's going to be more of a history of the band and a chronicle or testament to their influence over the years. Because you guys know how influential Rush is on musicians and we just feel that nobody's ever really told their story. You know, it's funny - we've been listening to Rush for decades and I really don't feel like I know who they are still. They're quite private and I don't really have a sense of what makes them tick or the struggles that they've been through. So what we're aiming for is to try and pull that out and make it kind of a human story about how they've changed over the years - some of the struggles and experiences they've been through. And then - at the same time - show how influential they are. They're Canada's biggest rock band and they're one of the biggest rock bands in the world. So it's high time someone did something. ...
Well, there's finally some new information to report. A press release was just put out yesterday saying the following:
Directors Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn of Banger Films Inc. - and their historical films Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and Global Metal - are gearing up for the upcoming release of RUSH - The Documentary. According to a new press release, "the film will be the first to reveal the inner workings of one of the world's most enduring rock bands and will engage both die-hard Rush fans and general music lovers. The documentary examines the history of Canada's best-known rock band. It delivers the first in-depth portrait of Geddy Lee (bass/vocals), Alex Lifeson (guitar) and Neil Peart (drums) tracing their heir musical evolution and personal struggles from when they first picked up their instruments, through their early tours with KISS and AEROSMITH all the way to their Billboard chart topping Snakes And Arrows album and tour."
The film features interviews with members of METALLICA, TOOl, KISS and THE FOO FIGHTERS.
Along with the press release was a sellsheet which you can check out here. I'm not clear on what gearing up for the upcoming release means. Hopefully that means it will be released sooner than later. Thanks to Metal Tim for the news.
Yeah, and this one really is about the performance. It's about the interplay amongst the three of us; how we play, how we sound, and how we are presented. In the past some of our DVDs have been about different aspects of our show. For example Rush In Rio that we did in 2001, in obviously Rio De Janiero, was really about the event. It was a huge crowd in a big soccer stadium. It was really about that energy and the band where this is something pure about the performance.
He also said the following regarding the What's That Smell comedy vignette:
It connects us with our fans more. It all becomes part of the Rush family. Rather than bringing in actors or some other people to do these little bits that give you some kind of flow visually in the show. When we do it, it's more of an effort on the part of the band. It's more genuine. I think Rush fans like to see us goofing around and see that we're not particularly serious about most things in our life. We take our music seriously, we take our performance seriously, we want to do the best that we can, but we're not serious people. This is really one way where we're able to show this side of the band, and I think Rush fans really enjoy it. I know we do. As you can see by the outtakes in 'What's That Smell' that we're just having a riot doing that stuff. So, we hope to continue with that.
Thanks to Brendan for the heads up.
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UPDATE - 11/25@10:05PM: I'd forgotten to mention that Rush.com also has received the Snakes & Arrows DVD treatment and now features a theme celebrating the release. Thanks to Lerxster for reminding me.
UPDATE - 11/25@8:00PM: As expected, the official Rush MySpace page has been updated with a shiny new Snakes & Arrows DVD theme. Thanks to mr soul for the heads up.
UPDATE - 11/25@1:01PM: Here's a description/instructions for the Easter Egg (including the Blu-ray version) from MovieWeb:
Select 5.1, wait like 7 cycles, Jerry comes on and tells you to push play already, then when suitcase (Envy) Al tells you to listen to the man and go for it, go for it! You'll see no menu options, just Al crossing his eyes at you. Hit enter or play You get a bonus extra What's That Smell behind the scenes with interviews of Ged and Al in character being interviewed.
This is on the Blu-ray as well - go to Bonus Features, go down to Oh, Atlanta! then press 'down' again and then enter/select
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UPDATE - 11/25@11:30AM: Reader Lerxster seems to have found an Easter Egg already! Here are the instructions. On Disc 1 at the main menu, wait for Jerry Stiller to come on. Then suitcase Al is crossing his eyes and there are no menu options - he's just looking at you. Hit the enter button on your remote and you'll be treated to a What's That Smell behind the scenes extra with interviews of Geddy and Alex in character. I haven't had a chance to try this myself yet, so if you have anything else to add (or if you find any other Easter Eggs) - please do so in the comments. Thanks Lerxster!
Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson will be guests on the CBC's The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos this coming Wednesday, November 26th at 11PM. In case you miss the interview, it should be up on the show's website within a couple days after it airs at this link. Geddy Lee appeared on the show back in June of 2007 and you can watch this interview here. Thanks to rocketcan for the heads up.
UPDATE - 11/22@8:06PM: Limelight from the DVD is also now up on YouTube (thanks Sean).
It's been a roller-coaster ride of a week with regards to Rush news. While the release of the DVD has us excited, the news that I reported yesterday that Rush's next tour will likely be their last has left many of us a bit shell-shocked.
So let me take a moment to put things in perspective and attempt to highlight the good side of all this. First and foremost, Rush has made it pretty clear that they have no plans to call it quits even if this next tour will be their last. All 3 members still seem committed to the notion that Rush will continue to exist and to put out new music as long as they are all still breathing (many more years hopefully!). That should be enough to make us all very happy. Indeed, they've essentially verified that they will be putting out another album in a couple of years. Just to reiterate; a farewell tour does not mean a farewell Rush tour. Secondly, if this is their last tour I'm sure it will be one doozy of a tour. I'd venture to guess that it would likely consist of 2 legs and include at least one trip overseas along with some heretofore unknown surprises. Also, 2011 is a long ways away. Anything can happen and minds can change. Rush have given hints in the past regarding their next tour being their last all the way back to 1987, and each time it's turned out to be false. I have a feeling it's different this time (mostly because of the age factor), but still ... you never know. I seriously thought about sitting on this information because I knew it would cause quite a stir. But my policy has always been to report any credible rumor that I hear, good or bad - so that's what I did. I know some of you don't like the fact that I report rumors, but most of you do. And - as a fan myself - that's the kind of stuff I want to hear. I don't read too much into these rumors myself either and I suggest everybody else do the same and focus on the positive, of which there is a lot. For starters, we have a new Rush DVD releasing next week!
The Snakes & Arrows DVD - Rush's 3rd DVD in the last 5 years - will be officially released in the US this coming Monday, November 24th on both DVD and Blu-ray. Many fans in Europe will be getting it even earlier. Several teaser videos from the DVD are floating around the intertubes namely The Larger Bowl, 2112, YYZ, The Spirit of Radio, Far Cry and Limelight; several screenshots and a description of the menu/packaging can be seen here; and Geddy had a lot to say about the DVD in a recent Billboard interview. If you've already gotten your hands on the DVD please let us know what you think.
Earlier this week we got our first glimpse of the album cover for Rush's upcoming Atlantic-era greatest hits package, Retrospective 3. You can check out a full-size image of it here. The image features the seven albums released throughout the Atlantic era (1987-2007) and is a reworking of an image which originally appeared in the R30 tourbook. One interesting note is that the Leela cover of Snakes & Arrows has been replaced by the original roadsign image which was found in the linernotes, t-shirts, and other merchandise for the album. It's not clear at this time why this was done. The album will be released on January 27th and come in both a CD and a CD/DVD version. You can check out the complete tracklist and other details in this post.
With prog all the rage in some new-music circles, the band that practically invented the genre is as big as ever. Rush's musical virtuosity, intricate time changes, suite-style song cycles and cerebral texts continued to fill arenas this year as the trio extended its Snakes & Arrows tour and prepared to release a live DVD..
On Alice Cooper's radio show this past week Alice mentioned Alex Lifeson after playing Limelight. Alice said that he was working on a Canadian vampire film with Alex called Suck where Alice plays a vampire bartender! According to the Internet Movie Database, this film is currently in production and set to release sometime next year. Although Lerxst is not yet listed in the cast. Interesting. Thanks to Bellingham Rush Fan for the heads up.
A couple of weeks back I let you know that Wired.com had run a feature on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and why Rush wasn't in it. They'd sent 3 questions to their contact at the Rock Hall and are awaiting a response. The piece garnered some reaction from Blender Magazine who recently dedicated a blog post to it and added a few reasons of their own as to why Rush should be inducted. The article also includes a poll asking reader's opinion; the overwhelming majority (98%!) vote in Rush's favor. Thanks to Dylan for the heads up.
Reader Vinnie let me know that back in August Primus played the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco and - as they have done several times in the past - they payed homage to Rush by including snippets of Rush songs as intros to a couple of their songs. They opened Frizzle Fry with a A Passage to Bangkok snippet (YouTube video here) and Here Come the Bastards with a YYZ snippet (YouTube video here).
In last week's Yahoo Music Blog's List of the Day, they feature Ten Legendary Rock Drummers. Neil Peart makes the cut at #10 (10 ??). Thanks to Evangeline V for the heads up.
... "Snakes & Arrows Live" will have to hold Rush fans over for a while. The trio is currently "on a break" and "a little burnt out right now," though he has every confidence there will be another Rush album in the future.
"I think we're gonna stay quiet for awhile and then start writing -- when we're going to start writing I can't say just yet," Lee notes. "It may be in the fall, maybe the spring, maybe the following spring. But eventually we'll start writing some songs and recording them, and hopefully that will be followed up by another tour down the road a couple years from now."
This essentially squashed any plans for a 2009 tour which we were all hoping for based on the rumor that I had reported in early October. The rumor being that the band had been presented with an offer from Live Nation and were considering it. It turns out that the rumor itself was true - it's just that the band's ultimate decision was not what we were hoping for. :(
I'd first heard this rumor from an industry source back in early October. Evidently concert promoter Live Nation had put an offer to the band on the table for a 35-date tour in 2009 and the band was considering it. Not much else came of this rumor until a week or so later when Geddy and Alex were guests on VH1 Classic's new That Metal Show on October 15th. Reports from the taping stated that Geddy was asked if they would be taking a break for a while and Geddy stated I think we will be doing one more tour. Speculation abound as to what Geddy meant by these words. I now have some new information that sheds some light on all of this (although you may not like what I have to say). Apparently the band had considered the offer from Live Nation to tour in 2009 but ultimately decided to opt out, despite the money. As Geddy stated in the Billboard interview, the band is a little burnt out right now. Both Geddy and Alex want to spend more time with family while Neil wants to focus on several other endeavors including a couple of books he's working on, a possible new instructional DVD and projects related to the newly-launched Drum Channel. The band has informed all of the crew to find other work until 2011 when they should be ready to head back out. So it looks like the band will start the recording process sometime next year or early in 2010, record an album in the 2010 or early 2011 timeframe and tour in 2011 ... and we'll have to wait at least 2 years for another album/tour. And here's the killer ... the bit of very unfortunate news that I heard is that this will more than likely be their last tour. So when Geddy said one more tour it looks like that may just be exactly what he meant. This is one rumor I really hope is not true, although I have a feeling that it is. The driving force behind this decision I hear is Neil Peart, who does not want to be on the road touring at age 60 (he'll turn 60 in 2012) but would rather like to remain active as a writer and as a producer working on various projects related to drumming. Despite wanting to possibly hang up their tour hats after this next time out, the band has expressed no desire to disband or to stop putting out new music. The big question for them is how to release new music. They really don't make much money from album sales anymore. So - as I've reported before - they are therefore mulling the idea of releasing digital tracks or digital eps in lieu of albums. This is still an open question though - no decisions have been made on this front.
So that leaves us with the other rumor that the band has some kind of surprise on tap that should make us all very happy (Donna Halper's words). The exact nature of this surprise is unknown to me at this time (if it was... then it wouldn't be a surprise I guess!). However I have heard of at least one new project that the band is working on. Apparently they are working on a Classic Albums treatment for Moving Pictures. Classic Albums is a TV series made by Eagle Rock Entertainment that are broadcast worldwide (BBC, ITV, VH1, VH1 Classic etc) and also available on DVD. If that's successful they plan on possibly doing the same for 2112 and Signals.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I'm a bit stunned at this point - it hasn't really sunk in yet. I really hope what I've heard is not true. As always, more as I learn it.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Geddy Lee on the DVD and Rush's future in new Billboard interview
UPDATE - 11/22@8:10PM: Limelight from the DVD is also now up on YouTube (thanks Sean).
UPDATE - 11/20@10:19AM: Amazon now has the official release date listed as Monday, November 24th. And apparently several readers have been getting the notifications from Amazon that their DVD has shipped - one as early as Monday of this past week. They may base delivery date on when the item is expected to arrive. Regardless of the whys and hows, it looks like folks will start receiving their copy over the next several days. If you receive your copy, please let us all know what you think.
UPDATE - 11/20@7:14AM: Sorry. Teaser vid links were broken. Fixed now.
The release of Rush's 3rd DVD in the last 5 years is just a few days away. The Snakes & Arrows DVD will be released early next week on both DVD and Blu-ray. The official US release date is Tuesday, November 25th although Eric from Power Windowsposted on Counterparts that all major music labels in the US have moved the traditional Tuesday release date up to Monday to accommodate the Thanksgiving holiday - which means we can likely get our hands on it a little sooner. Geddy Lee was recently interviewed by Billboard magazine and had a lot to say about the DVD:
... "With this one we wanted to focus on the playing," ... "So a lot of the camera work features the interaction between Neil (Peart), Alex (Lifeson) and myself, a lot of the details that you don't normally cover in a DVD performance. So for fans of the music who love to see what everybody's fingers are doing and how we interact back and forth with each other, that became the overriding focus on this one."
"Snakes & Arrows Live" was shot with 21 High Definition cameras during a two-night stand in October 2007 at the Ahoy Rotterdam Arena in the Netherlands -- the same shows that produced the "Snakes & Arrows Live" album that came out in April. The two releases were separated, Lee says, because Rush wanted to have something out for its 2008 North American tour and also because "we needed more time to spend on the DVD to make it more special." ... "we were playing really well and that everything in the show kind of revolves around that and there was great energy coming from us. That's what I was seeing on the screen." ...
Geddy also talks a bit about the band's future:
... Lee says "Snakes & Arrows Live" will have to hold Rush fans over for a while. The trio is currently "on a break" and "a little burnt out right now," though he has every confidence there will be another Rush album in the future.
"I think we're gonna stay quiet for awhile and then start writing -- when we're going to start writing I can't say just yet," Lee notes. "It may be in the fall, maybe the spring, maybe the following spring. But eventually we'll start writing some songs and recording them, and hopefully that will be followed up by another tour down the road a couple years from now."
Stewart over at the National Midday Sun has posted the album cover for Rush's upcoming Atlantic-era greatest hits package, Retrospective 3. The album will be released on January 27th and come in both a CD and a CD/DVD version. The tracklist will contain one unreleased live track (Ghost of a Chance from the 2008 leg of the S&A tour) along with 13 studio tracks. The DVD will contain 10 Atlantic-era music videos along with live videos of The Seeker, Secret Touch and Resist. Also of interest are 2 remixed/remastered versions of One Little Victory and Earthshine off of 2002's Vapor Trails. Here's the album cover and the complete tracklist:
Disc: 1 (CD)
1. One Little Victory (remix) 2. Dreamline 3. Workin' Them Angels 4. Presto 5. Bravado 6. Driven 7. The Pass 8. Animate 9. Roll the Bones 10. Ghost of a Chance (live) 11. Nobody's Hero 12. Leave That Thing Alone 13. Earthshine (remix) 14. Far Cry
Disc: 2 (DVD - Atlantic-era videos)
1. Stick it Out 2. Nobody's Hero 3. Half the World 4. Driven 5. Roll the Bones 6. Show Don't Tell 7. The Pass 8. Superconductor 9. Far Cry 10. Malignant Narcissism 11. The Seeker (live) 12. Secret Touch (live) 13. Resist (live)
TAXI is a Canadian advertising agency that was founded back in 1992 in Montreal. In 2007 they celebrated their 15th anniversary and they came up with an innovative idea to both mark the occasion and give back to the community. Thus was born the 15 Below Project. Its first initiative was to create a jacket for the homeless. From the website:
The jacket would be breathable, waterproof, lightweight, and the lining would be made up of pockets throughout. And these pockets would be able to be stuffed with newspaper to provide adjustable levels of insulation from the cold. "We've survived 15 years, now we're going to help others survive the night," said Mykolyn, who enlisted long-time friend and designer, Lida Baday, to create the jacket.
Adding weight to the 15-year theme, as well as lending the project a name, is the Cold Weather Alert many cities issue when the temperature drops to -15ºC.
"It's a lifeline for people without homes. They're a pretty low-cost, immediate way to address a huge issue," said Paul Lavoie, co-founder, chairman, and chief creative officer of TAXI. "Our approach to solving problems - of any sort - has always been to question convention. This won't eliminate homelessness, but it can make a lot of people more comfortable."
On behalf of clients and staff, 3,000 15 Below jackets will be donated to people living on the streets throughout Canada and the U.S.
To raise money for the project, TAXI enlisted the help of 15 celebrities including our favorite Canadian power trio, Rush. Between now and November 25th you can bid on a package which includes one of the 15 below jackets signed by all 3 members of the band at the final stop on the 2008 Snakes & Arrows Tour; a signed tour book; a local crew pass; and a souvenir VIP backstage pass from the 2008 tour. For details and to place your bid go to this eBay link. Thanks to Skip Daly for the heads up.
Last weekend Rush fan, photographer and artist John Kane hosted a Rush-themed art exhibit at The Front Street Coffee House in Salem, MA titled Workin' Them Angels: Rush through the Camera Eye. Several members of this site were lucky enough to attend and by all accounts it was a huge success. Also in attendance was Donna Halper - the woman credited with discovering Rush. Donna gave a little speech discussing her career in radio and her special relationship with Rush. John has posted a bunch of great photos from the event at this link, and there are still some t-shirts and posters available at John's CafePress store. John also wanted me to let everyone know that he is working on a series of Rush paintings and sculptures that will be for sale soon, and there will be another event in the near future. Details to follow.
In her speech at the art exhibit Donna Halper also alluded to the fact that Rush had a special surprise in store for us in the near future but was not at liberty to divulge any details. This goes along with the vague rumor I'd been hearing that the band is working on something as well as considering a 2009 tour. Hopefully we'll get some concrete information from the band in the coming weeks. Donna also decided to become a member of RIAB and has left several comments in a few recent posts. And - as if all the planets of the Solar Federation were aligning - just a day before the art exhibit we learned that the folks at RushCon are considering Cleveland and 3 other cities as alternate locations to Toronto for 2009's RushCon. For those of you who read my Rush History 101 post from the other day you already know the relationship between Donna Halper, the city of Cleveland and Rush. But if not, go school yourself. To go vote for your city of choice [begin subliminal message] CLEVELAND [end subliminal message] for next year's RushCon, go to this link. :)
For my next poll I thought I'd mirror the RushCon poll and ask you the same question to gauge what RIAB readers think. I promise I won't fix the results! Take the poll and let us know where you prefer RushCon 9 take place.
The results of my last poll where I asked everyone whether their first copy of Hemispheres was on vinyl, 8-track, cassette or CD are in. The overwhelming winner was vinyl with over half the vote. Both cassette and cd got about 20% of the vote, and 8-track only received 2%.
A couple of weeks ago I let you know that for the 3rd year in a row Alex Lifeson was participating in The Kidney Foundation of Canad's A Brush of Hope project. Lifeson along with a number of other Canadian celebrities created paintings to help bring attention to the crisis surrounding kidney disease and kidney-related illness around the globe. The winning bid on Alex's painting was $1225. Of the painting Alex states:
It was painted from a photo I'd taken at a friend's cottage in Muskoka looking out at Georgian Bay at dusk during the summer of 2006. The painting is done in acrylic and I used a sheet of paper towel fixed to the board to add texture.
Speaking of Lerxst, Alex Lifeson's Toronto night club The Orbit Room will be having their 14th anniversary party this coming Saturday, November 29th and the house band The Dexters will be playing. It's very likely that Big Al himself will be attending as he's done in recentyears past. Thanks to El Queso for the heads up.
In the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine (issue #1065, 11/13) AC/DC graces the cover and gets a 4800 word feature story by David Fricke. Rush also gets a mention on page 16 in the Editor's Notes section. In a piece titled We (Finally) Salute AC/DC editor Will Dana discusses how up until now the magazine had overlooked AC/DC's career outside of a good review for Back In Black. Sound familiar? They go on to state:
... Recently, we stunned hardcore fans of Rush - another band we long neglected - with a lengthy feature on the group. Rushies didn't know whether to cheer or throw their calculators at us. Fricke expects the reaction from AC/DC nation to be simular. "I don't know how shocked they will be, but they'll think - What took you so fucking long?" - he says". ...
Italian reader Luca let me know that Tsunami Edizioni will be distributing an Italian translation of the Jon Collins Rush biography Chemistry in March 2009. This will be the first such book to be made available in Italian. Che Bello!
Several readers let me know that Palladia HD is airing R30 in High-def throughout the month of November. Here's the schedule.
I've mentioned severaltimesin the past about Alex Lifeson's friendship with professional golfer Rocco Mediate. He's interviewed in the latest issue of Cigar Aficionado and he talks about his best friend on the tour, fellow golfer Lee Janzen. He states that it was their mutual admiration for Rush that made them friends; when you meet another Rush fan there is an instant connection.. Thanks to Power Windows for the heads up.
... Yesterday's final two shows featured Ace Frehley and Alex and Geddy from Rush as in studio guests. What a way to wrap up Season 1! I can not thank Alex and Geddy enough. The guys flew to NYC in and out on the same day just to do my show only. It's an honor to be able to call the Rush guys friends over the last few years and I am so grateful. To have artists of this caliber willing to step up for me like this is unreal. We had some fun with the guys and talked about their new DVD. They both were entertaining and very funny and seemed to have a good time. Was also cool to see Ace and Rush interact backstage. Rush opened more shows for Kiss then any band in the 70's and the stories and old memories were flowing in the halls and around the makeup room. Was just great to watch these legends interact and catch up. ...
According to some secondhand reports of the taping, they were asked if they would be taking a break for a while and Geddy stated I think we will be doing one more tour. And he said it in a fashion as to not insinuate one more tour EVER, but rather one more tour before taking any extended break. So this seems to add credence to the rumor that the band will be touring next summer. Hopefully we'll be getting some more details on this front in the coming weeks. Thanks to TMMB for the heads up.
This past weekend Rush fan, photographer and artist John Kane hosted a Rush-themed art exhibit at The Front Street Coffee House in Salem, MA titled Workin' Them Angels: Rush through the Camera Eye. Several members of this site were lucky enough to attend and by all accounts it was a huge success. Outside of the incredible photographs and artwork, the highlight of the evening was the speech given by Donna Halper - the woman credited with discovering Rush. She discussed her career in radio and how she discovered Rush as well as describing her special relationship with the band with whom she is still close to this day. She included some cryptic remarks about the band having a surprise in store for us but did not go into any details. This goes along with the rumor I'd been hearing that the band is working as well as considering a 2009 tour. Hopefully we'll get some concrete information from the band in the coming weeks. Donna also decided to become a member of RIAB and even left a fewcomments in a couple of recentposts including this one:
First, if we can get RushCon to Cleveland, I'd be delighted to help in any way. I have some unfinished business in Cleveland-- a certain former boss of mine had some very unfair things to say about me and about the band way back when... and it would be kind of amusing to go back and take part in a celebration of all things Rush. I am not comfortable discussing the incident on a blog, but sometime, we'll chat and I'll tell you the inside story of how the RRHOF got to be located in Cleveland, and other stuff like that...
Don't get me wrong-- I am not bitter, I have no scores to settle, but I do have some memories-- among the parting words from the manager of the station I worked at (WMMS) when he found that I was leaving to work in New York was that I would never succeed in broadcasting, and this person basically tried to take credit for Rush's success!!! Rush found out about it, and they stood up for me -- they said that it was me, not any other person-- and in fact, they did a concert at the Agora (I have a tape of it) where they made a point of doing a shout-out to me and thanking me for what I had done!!! I never asked them to do that-- they just did it. That is the kind of loyalty these guys have, and that is why I will be loyal to them to the end.
#22 - Posted 11/10/08 @9:31PM by donnahalper
Regarding RushCon, she's referring to how we learned late last week that the folks at RushCon are considering alternate locations for the convention this coming year. Since its inception it's been held in Rush's hometown of Toronto, but this year they are considering Cleveland, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles as alternate venues. The issue is up for a vote on the RushCon website and Cleveland is currently way out in the lead with nearly one third of the votes to the bewilderment of many it would seem. Personally I think it would be only fitting for Cleveland to be the chosen location because of its important role in the history of Rush, so I'm not surprised at all that it's winning. But after reading several comments on the variousmessageboards and on this blog, I've become aware that a lot of Rush fans have no idea who Donna Halper is and how she and Cleveland rock fans played such an important role in the annals of Rush history. A lot of folks are asking the question Why RushCon in Cleveland? Well, to put it simply it would not be a stretch to say that - outside of Toronto - there is no city more important in the history of Rush than Cleveland. To make my argument and set the record straight, here's an abbreviated bit of Rush history for you (taken mostly from Donna's own account).
Back in 1974 Donna Halper became the music director for Cleveland's groundbreaking FM radio station WMMS. While working in Boston Donna had developed a good relationship with several record promoters as she loved to play music from unknown bands and for some reason she had a particular affinity for Canadian bands. So Canadian record promoters would often send her recordings. One day Donna got a package from Bob Roper of A&M Records of Canada. In the package was an album from a Toronto band (put out on their own label Moon Records) named Rush that no Canadian labels seemed to be interested in but that Roper thought had promise. Donna listened to the album and was particularly struck by the songs Working Man and Finding My Way although didn't think much of the single In the Mood. Like many who first listened to Rush back then, Donna could hear a lot of similarities to Led Zeppelin - especially with the singer Geddy Lee. WMMS DJ Denny Sanders agreed with Donna that this band definitely had something so he played the track Working Man. This was the first airplay Rush ever received in the US. Almost immediately the phones lit up with people asking when the new Led Zeppelin album was coming out! Denny was forced to explain that it was not Led Zeppelin but a Canadian band called Rush. Everybody wanted to know how they could get a copy of the album. Over the next few days the popularity of Working Man in Cleveland skyrocketed so WMMS added Finding My Way, Here Again and even In the Mood to their playlist. Requests from record stores regarding how they could get copies of the album began to pour in. So Donna contacted Rush's management - Ray Daniels and Vic Wilson who formed Anthem Records in 1977 - to see if they could get some copies of the album to these stores. The big import record store in Cleveland at the time was Record Revolution (it's still around too - just a couple of miles from my house) and they sold out their supply quickly. While all this was going on, local concert promoter Jules Belkin couldn't help but notice all the buzz the band was getting. Donna put him in touch with the band's management and before you knew it Donna became the conduit for getting Rush music into the stores and getting the band to come to Cleveland for a concert. So on August 26, 1974 Rush played a show at the historic Cleveland Agora that was recorded for FM broadcast. Donna introduced the band at this show and Rush acknowledged her role in jumpstarting their career and thanked her for believing in them. This was not Rush's first show in the US but it probably was their first major headlining show (the picture at the top of this post is from one of their 1974 Agora shows). Bootlegs of this show are the stuff of legend these days and highly sought after by traders. Donna went on to befriend the guys in the band, becoming a self-described big sister of sorts and remains friends with them to this day. The rest is history as they say. Rush dedicated their first 2 albums to Donna which tells you how much respect they have for her and her role in them getting their big break.
So basically without Donna Halper, WMMS and Cleveland rock fans, Rush may have been delegated to the Toronto club concert circuit for the remainder of their career rather than selling 35-million-plus albums worldwide and becoming an international rock icon. As a Clevelander I'm extremely proud of the city's role in Rush history and eternally grateful to Donna Halper for giving them their break. Thanks Donna!
... Upon playing the DVD, viewers are greeted with Alex's genie head who says "Hello and welcome to the DVD, are you ready for some fun? I always am..." and "Have you adjusted your audio?" There is a full introduction including new dvd intro animation prior to the original concert intro film. While "What's That Smell" from the second leg of the tour is included as a bonus feature, the full "Plain Of Dharma" video (which served as the introduction to second set of the first leg of the tour) is included as part of the live show. Also included in the live show is the full South Park intro to "Tom Sawyer"; it is also accessible by its own chapter. The blooper reel for the production videos are said to be hilarious and worth the price of the video itself; Geddy has a very tough time following his script, and many more clips of Alex's "Plain of Dharma" video and Neil and Barbie dolls are included as well.
As far as the packaging itself, it is all cardboard digipak style, no plastic, and is normal DVD case size (in both width, height and thickness) folding out to 4 panels. One panel holds the booklet (which includes a couple pages of pictures, 3 pages of credits, and a dedication to Shelley Nott), then the next two panels hold the discs themselves (they slide into the cardboard like R30). Those three disc panels have a red lenses look at Holland windmills (also printed on the discs themselves). Other side of panels have snakeskin with arrow and names on one, and the "Working Them Angels" factory shot on the other. ...
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UPDATE - 11/12@9:53PM: Eric over at Power Windows has posted several additional screengrabs from the DVD in this photobucket album. In addition to the same 7 photos I posted earlier are several more concert footage screengrabs, 1 of Lil' Rush and one additional DVD menu shot. I've also added them to the slideshow.
Stewart over at the National Midday Sun has posted several screengrabs from the upcoming Snakes & Arrows DVD. There's 7 total - mostly from the behind-the-scenes footage but there's one of Geddy in concert and one of the DVD menu screen. You can see them using the slideshow viewer below. The DVD will be released on both DVD and Blu-ray on November 25th and is available for pre-order from Rounder, the Rush Backstage Club, Amazon and other online vendors. For complete details and tracklisting check out the official press release in this post.
Three months ago, Listening Post followed Stephen Colbert's lead and wondered aloud why Rush hadn't made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet. We asked the readership to chime in on the snub, and it hit us back with a record 500 responses. We might have to check the math, but that might also be an overall site record as well.
His contact at the Rock Hall also agreed to field a few questions from fans. Thill scoured through all the feedback and came up with these 3 questions:
1) According to Wikipedia, Rush possesses 24 gold records and 14 platinum records, placing fifth behind The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Kiss and Aerosmith for most consecutive gold and platinum rock albums, moving an estimated total 40 million units worldwide. And although the Hall of Fame argues that sales don't count, given that Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart are consistently recognized and decorated as some of the most skilled performers on their given instruments, hasn't Rush made the commercial and professional case that it belongs in the Hall?
2) Rush is still together, while other bands, including those already in the Hall of Fame, have fragmented and ceased production. As a result, the power trio has amassed a diehard core following of early adopters, including several accomplished musicians, as well as a significant audience of latecomers. Doesn't this longevity and influence demand the band's inclusion?
3) Does Jann Wenner dislike Rush, and is his alleged dislike of the band responsible for its controversial exclusion from the Hall of Fame?
He's now waiting on the Rock Hall's responses. In case you didn't know, Rush was recently passed over yet again for inclusion in the 2009 list of Rock Hall nominees. Thanks to highwater for the heads up.
Today is the 10th anniversary of the release of Rush's 4th live album, the 3-disc set titled Different Stages. Most of discs 1 and 2 were recorded at the New World Music Center in Chicago during the 1994 Counterparts tour and the 1997 Test for Echo tour. Disc 3 is from a performance at the Hammersmith Odeon in London during the 1978 A Farewell to Kings tour. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA on December 2, 1998 and reached as high as #35 on the Billboard charts. It was compiled and released in the wake of the deaths of Neil Peart's daughter Selena and wife Jackie in 1997 and 1998 respectively. It was dedicated to their memories using the following line from Afterimage: suddenly...you were gone...from all the lives you left your mark upon. It was widely believed by fans to likely be their final album. Thankfully that was not the case! The liner notes contain the following from Geddy Lee:
This collection was recorded over a span of 20 years, primarily during 3 tours. Our desire was to record many shows hoping to capture some "magic" performances as naturally as possible. But, as Murphy's Law would dictate, with well over 60 shows to choose from, we found ourselves being drawn to a mere handful. We have tried not to "mess" with these tapes very much and to present something that we think represents a fairly definitive retrospective of our live work and changing sound over that period of time.
Of course, no band is an island, and so we thank our various crew members, management staff and drivers throughout the years who have been the unfailing support system that has kept us rolling, stage to stage, with great dedication and professionalism, and good humour.
But most significantly, we would like to thank our many fans around the world for their long-standing support which, to our continuing amazement, has enabled us to hang around for so damn long - despite the inherent weirdness of our music!
best wishes to all
Thanks to Power Windows (who currently has a nifty Different Stages theme featured on his site) for the reminder.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Free mp3 download of 2112 from the Snakes & Arrows DVD
UPDATE - 11/7@12:27PM: Quick update. I just received the RushCon newsletter and for next year's RushCon the organizers are considering having the convention in a city other than Toronto. I think this is great idea just to mix things up a bit. The potential alternate locations are Cleveland, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles and they are asking for your feedback. To vote go to the RushCon website. I highly encourage everyone to vote for Cleveland!! :) Seriously though - all local bias aside, Cleveland's WMMS radio station is where Donna Halperdiscovered Rush back in 1974; I think it would be fitting to have the convention there at least once.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Rush friend and photographer Andrew MacNaughtan had 3 new autographed Geddy Lee prints available for purchase. We also just learned via the newly revamped Rush newsletter that Andrew will be donating a portion of the proceeds from each print to benefit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The prints include a portrait with the spotlight on Geddy and his red bass used to perform 2112, and two live shots of him performing A Passage to Bangkok and Malignant Narcissism from the 2008 tour. You can check them out at Andrew's website here.
Rush gets a mention in the latest installment of CNET TV's top 5 worst downloads. Number 3 is a download for Canadian Rock Radio and they take a jab at Rush, Triumph and ... Chilliwack?. Thanks to skin2112 for the heads up.
We also have 2 Rush gatherings happening tomorrow; the Tiles show in Lakewood, OH and John Kane's Rush art exhibit in Salem, MA. I'll be at the Tiles show and hope to see you there if you can make it. And I know several RIABers will be attending John's Rush art exhibit. It should be a fun weekend.
Reader and Phillies fan Shimer reminded me that I neglected last week to acknowledge the Phillies World Series win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Back in June Rush played the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia and for the whole second set Geddy wore a 1980 Phillies World Series shirt. I like to think that's the reason they won this year. :) Here's A pic of Ged with the shirt courtesy reader Secretly Touched.
... The show will consist of photographs from the three Greater Boston area shows on the 2007/08 "Snakes & Arrows" tour. It opens at Front Street Coffeehouse in Salem on Saturday.
"I always feel inspired at a Rush show," said Kane, a drummer. "I feel inspired to create. I feel anxious when I listen to Rush. It inspires my artwork; it inspires my life - lyrically and musically." ...
... Kane's photographed the band from front-row seats at the Comcast Center in Mansfield and the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H. The framed photos consist of black-and-white and color shots of the band, during performance and in between songs.
"I wanted to show what it was like to be at a Rush show," he said. "I was attempting to show Rush on stage from a fan's perspective - showing the whole stage experience, capturing moments of each member in downtime, (during) solitary moments."
Kane's photographs, shot with a Canon Powershot 8 megapixel digital camera, also convey the arena experience of Rush's colorful laser shows. And he includes several portraits of band members Geddy Lee (lead vocals, bass, keyboard), Alex Lifeson (guitar) and Neil Peart (drums and lyrics). ...
... A triptych of portraits of Lee, Lifeson and Peart is included in "Workin' them Angels," and the framed piece is scattered with Kane's past concert stubs. None of the photos are for sale, Kane said, but he will sell fine-art posters and hold a raffle. ...
... Fans from around Boston and New England are expected to attend the show, and Kane added one woman is on her way from Minnesota....
I think I know who the woman from Minnesota is (could it be PetieLee?). In addition to the show, there will also be an after party concert with the premier Rush cover band, Lotus Land, at the Dodge Street Bar and Grill across the street from the show. Also, Donna Halper (the person who discovered Rush) will be a guest speaker and conduct a brief Q&A. To commemorate the event, John produced this poster featuring one of his fine art paintings of Rush. The poster, a limited edition of 60, will be sold at the show for $10 at the opening. He has also created a Cafe Press store where you can purchase both larger 16x20" prints and t-shirts of the image for $20 each. The event will also include a $5 raffle of some of John's photographs of Rush, and a t-shirt. The photos will be on exhibit for the entire month of November.
UPDATE - 11/5@7:31AM: We have a winner! Joe R from Cuyahoga Falls will be the recipient of 2 tickets to the show. Congrats! For anybody else going, I still have plenty of promo CDs to give out. Just let me know if you can make the show.
This Saturday, November 8th Detroit-based progressive rockers Tiles will be playing at the Phantasy Concert Club in Lakewood, OH just west of Cleveland. Tiles' most recent album Fly Paper has a number of Rush connections. Alex Lifeson plays on the track Sacred and Mundane, the album was produced by Terry Brown, and Hugh Syme did the album art in addition to playing keyboards on 2 tracks. I interviewed guitarist Chris Herin and Terry Brown regarding the album back in February. Also on Saturday's bill will be a couple of other Cleveland-area progressive rock bands; The Rick Ray Band and Slick Flux. I will be at the show and if you are in the Cleveland area I hope you can make it too. I have 2 FREE tickets to giveaway as well as several promo CDs. I'll give the tickets to the first person who emails me (you must be in the Cleveland area, we can work out a time/place to pick them up). If you can come please let me know and I'll give you a promo CD along with a RIAB bumper sticker at the show (while supplies last). Cleveland State radio station WCSB 89.3 is promoting the show and will be playing songs from Tiles and the supporting bands on DJ Keith Miller's radio show which airs tomorrow from 1-3PM. They'll also be doing some ticket giveaways. Here's the video for the Alex Lifeson collaboration track Sacred & Mundane:
Now that the the Buddy Rich Memorial Concert is in the books, Neil Peart has taken some time out to update the News page on NeilPeart.net. This update focuses exclusively on the concert, giving a detailed background and history of the show and those involved, how it developed, how Neil prepared for it and how it ultimately played out. Neil discusses at length about how he sought out the great jazz drummer Peter Erskine to help him hone his swing drumming skills. It's a very interesting read - one of Neil's best. So rather than pick and choose some excerpts to highlight, I encourage you to read the whole thing. Thanks to phreakinearl for the heads up.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Alex Lifeson to participate in Kidney Foundation's A Brush of Hope
For the 3rd year in a row Alex Lifeson is participating in The Kidney Foundation of Canada's A Brush of Hope project. Alex Lifeson along with dozens of other Canadian celebrities have donated paintings to be auctioned off to raise money for the charity. To check out Alex's painting titled Muskoka Dusk or to place a bid on it go here. Thanks to John at Cygnus-x1.net for the heads up.