Archive: Blog Entries from January, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Updates and other random Rush stuff
10:58AM EST | link | comments (80) |

All considered, this past week was a fairly busy one for Rush news tidbits. Alex Lifeson made a surprise guest appearance at Saturday night's Trailer Park Boys Community Service Variety Show at Massey Hall in Toronto. He came out towards the end of the show to perform Closer to the Heart with the boys. You can check out a video of it at this link. On Tuesday I posted an interview with Geddy Lee from the latest issue of German magazine Bass Quarterly which you can check out here. Just yesterday we were treated to a view of the working promo poster/cover for the upcoming Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn Rush documentary, and we also learned that the film has a planned November release date. And last but not least, your humble webmaster (me) was quoted in a USA Today article which was posted online late yesterday titled Grammy for Rush? There's always hope. The article contains snippets from a Geddy Lee interview and addresses the question of why after such a long and illustrious career Rush has yet to win a Grammy or be inducted in the Rock Hall.

Back in October Rush's 2112 was introduced as the first in a series of officially licensed, limited edition framed gold records commemorating classic Rush albums to be made available by Photo File. They have just recently also made available gold records celebrating Moving Pictures, Signals, Grace Under Pressure, and Power Windows. These 18"x24" framed and matted album depictions include a 24KT gold-plated record and an image of the album cover along with an individually numbered text plate. For details and to place an order go to this link.

In its ninth week of release the Snakes & Arrows DVD is hanging on to the top 10 at #7 on the Billboard Top Music Video chart - down from its #5 position last week.

FanboysThe long-anticipated Kyle Newman film Fanboys finally releases next Friday. The film follows a group of Star Wars-loving geeks in 1998 who travel cross country so that their dying friend's dream of watching Star Wars: The Phantom Menace at Skywalker Ranch before its release can come true (trailer here). The film is reported to be chock full of Rush references and include several Rush songs on the soundtrack. One of the main characters - Hutch - is a huge Rush fan and spends most of the film in a Rush t-shirt as depicted in this photo.

While we're on the subject of movies with Rush references, reader Morphiaflow was lucky enough to see a sneak preview screening of the upcoming film I Love You Man which stars Paul Rudd as Peter and Jason Segel as Sydney. We've known for some time that the movie contains a Rush cameo and several Rush references, but Morphiaflow had some more details to report including the fact that there's one scene in the film's finale/closing credits where the cast is jamming to Limelight at a wedding reception. He also reveals that the song they are jamming to in the movie's trailer (depicted in this image) is Tom Sawyer and Rudd's character is playing what looks like a Geddy Lee signature Jazz Bass. And during the concert scene (depicted in this image) Rudd's character proclaims I haven't seen them live since the Signals tour!. The film is set to release on March 20th and you can check out the trailer at this link.

Canadian singer/songwriter Jacob Moon's rooftop rendition of Rush's Subdivisions has become a YouTube hit amongst Rush fans. But it's not just Rush fans who like it - Rush themselves like it too! About a week ago Jacob posted the following in the comments to his video on YouTube:

I just got an email from Geddy himself!
Here's what he had to say:

"The guys have all seen this and think it's terrific.

Kudos to Jacob and best of luck ...

Great voice!!

best,
Geddy"

You gotta love it when Geddy himself gives you a compliment. I can die now!!

Very cool. Thanks to PD for the heads up.

The Rush Backstage Club is running a new promotion for the upcoming Retrospective 3 greatest hits package. When you order the CD/DVD version you will get a free 4GB USB stick custom made for the Snakes & Arrows tour and loaded with the video of Red Sector A from R30. Good deal. Thanks to lilvictory for the news.

In Alex Lifeson's recent Modern Guitars interview, Alex stated the following when discussing the untimely death of original Rush drummer John Rutsey:

... that last year, in 1973, we had a substitute drummer for a while because John was really sick. We had some gigs we had to play, and so we had this substitute drummer. Jerry Fielding was his name. ...

Reader Asif K may have dug up some information on the elusive Jerry Fielding - assuming his name is actually spelled with a G rather than a J. Could this be him?

Sports radio personality Jim Rome is broadcasting live from the Superbowl all this week. Earlier this week Jim noted that one of his producers was wearing a 2112 t-shirt. Jim stated that his producer was Rocking a Rush Shirt and he thought it was cool. This sparked a discussion about Rush off and on for the entire 3-hour show. Jim even replaced his traditional Welcome to the Jungle intro to the last half hour with Tom Sawyer. At one point the producer admitted that he only knew one Rush song - Tom Sawyer. Jim then started dogging him about it and named lots of Rush songs that he listened to in his college days such as Bastille Day, YYZ and Red Barchetta. He said Geddy Lee should come down there and take him out for wearing a shirt and only knowing one song. :) Thanks to readers Rick and Mahogie for the info.

Yahoo! Music blogger Rob O'Connor recently included Neil Peart among his list of the 10 Worst Rock Lyricists. Neil was #8:

The joke is that Peart doesn't ever sing the lyrics. He hands them off to the bass player. Grab any Rush album and sit down with the lyrics and before listening to the music imagine how YOU would attempt lyrics that often sound as if they're not coming from someone who wishes to be a poet, but from someone who is apparently writing school textbooks in his spare time.

Evidence: "Catch the witness, catch the wit, Catch the spirit, catch the spit."--"Tom Sawyer."

Whatever. Rush also made his list of Ten Performers Who Were Never Called The Voice Of A Generation:

Rush sang about society! They sang about outerspace, the future, geopolitics. Their worldview seems every bit as thought out, if not more so, than that of the Clash or U2. Is it because they're Canadian?

Thanks to Brian C for the heads up.

Rush's Permanent Waves made this list of the 25 Greatest Albums Ever - Of All Time! Redux. Thanks to Spindrifter for the link.

Reader bravest_face alerted me that the latest issue of Revolver is a special Ultimate Fighting Issue and includes a feature story titled Insane Band Member Brawls!. In a bit of really bad taste, they include Alex Lifeson's 2004 New Year's Eve run-in with Florida cops along with Big Al's mugshot.

Microsoft Songsmith is a recently-launched music composition software package for Microsoft Windows which can generate a musical accompaniment for a voice track. Not surprisingly, various YouTubers have been taking the voice tracks to many classic songs and running them through the software to humorous effect. Yes... Tom Sawyer is one of them. Prepare to be dazzled (thanks Mars):

Ouch! Have a great weekend everyone!

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Geddy Lee talks Grammys, Rock Hall in new USA Today interview
10:07PM EST | link | comments (39) |

[Grammy for Rush? There's always hope]

Geddy Lee was recently interviewed by USA Today's Marco R. della Cava for an article titled Grammy for Rush? There's always hope. Geddy addresses the question of why after such a long and illustrious career Rush has yet to win a Grammy or be inducted in the Rock Hall:

... "We've gotten nominated before in the rock instrumental category, but I guess overall we're just not a typical Grammy band," ... "As for the Hall of Fame, maybe there's some personal bias there. Or perhaps we're still too young." ...

Rush was recently passed over yet again for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2009, and is up for their 6th Grammy nomination in the Best Rock Instrumental category - which they've never won. Geddy also addresses the notion that Rush's fans are mostly nerds:

... "I think we appeal to a broader spectrum than just nerds," ... "But our music does require many listens, and the lyrics (written by Peart) offer a lot of depth. People who read books like our music, and I don't consider that a bad thing." ...

And the author also spoke with one special fan who I happen to know quite well to get the fan's point of view on the subject:

... The band's frequent allusions to science fiction are what captured Ed Stenger, a Web developer from Cleveland who created the popular RushIsABand.com fan site. "Their anti-establishment themes also appeal to me, songs like Free Will," he says. "I'd say most fans are male, and even nerdy. One thing's for sure: Rush is a band you love or hate." ...

My nerd comment was taken a bit out of context. In my defense, I went on to say that although the idea of the stereotypical Rush fan being a male, nerd may have been true back in the 70s, it's not so much the case these days. Damn ... I knew I shouldn't have brought up the n word. :)

Geddy concludes with this statement:

... "We're together now thanks to the fortitude that Neil had to come back," ... "After all these years, the creative juices still flow. It says a lot about our ability to stick around."

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More Rush officially licensed limited edition framed gold albums
4:04PM EST | link | comments (21) |

Back in October Rush's 2112 was introduced as the first in a series of officially licensed, limited edition framed gold records commemorating classic Rush albums to be made available by Photo File. They have just recently also made available gold records celebrating Moving Pictures, Signals, Grace Under Pressure, and Power Windows. These 18"x24" framed and matted album depictions include a 24KT gold-plated record and an image of the album cover along with an individually numbered text plate. For details and to place an order go to this link. Thanks to Power Windows for the info.

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Rush: The Documentary working cover, planned 2009 release
10:31AM EST | link | comments (34) |

Rush: The Documentary posterUPDATE - 1/29@11:07AM: Eric from the Power Windows site just let me know that Rock biographer Martin Popoff is involved with the documentary, and according to him they are planning to release the movie in November.

Back in September of 2007 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 2007 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. Just a couple of months ago a new official press release was put out which stated 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. Grindstone Media is one of the financiers of the project and now have a page up on their website for the documentary which confirms a 2009 release date and also includes a working promo poster/cover image which you can check out here. Thanks to TMMB for the heads up.

Related Posts:
[Rush: The Documentary update]
[Sam Dunn on the upcoming Rush documentary]
[Rush: The Documentary]
[RushCon report]

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Geddy Lee interview in German Bass Quarterly magazine
3:57PM EST | link | comments (66) |

The latest issue of German magazine Bass Quarterly has an interview with Geddy Lee in it. The interview is in German of course, but reader kisaki was kind enough to scan and translate the article for us. In the interview Geddy covers a wide variety of topics including the US election, the band's fanbase and longevity, humor as part of Rush shows, the reasoning behind the dryers and the chicken rotisseries, and a lot of talk about his various basses and style of playing. You can read the entire article below the fold. Keep in mind that it was originally in German and was translated back to English, so the dialogue may seem a little off in places.

READ MORE...

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Alex Lifeson guest appearance at Trailer Park Boys variety show
11:17AM EST | link | comments (94) |

UPDATE - 1/26@8:33AM: Here's an even better video (closer up) from reader Andrew W:

----- snip -----

UPDATE - 1/25@9:01PM: I've replaced the video below with a slightly better version (thanks The_Way_The_Wind_Blows).

Alex Lifeson made a surprise guest appearance at last night's Trailer Park Boys Community Service Variety Show at Massey Hall in Toronto. He came out towards the end of the show to perform Closer to the Heart with the boys. Here's a grainy video of the performance:

If you can find any better videos and/or pictures from the show, please let me know so I can share them with everyone. Thanks to Andrew W for the heads up.

The premise of the variety show is that the guys are fulfilling court order community service and must put on a puppet show aimed to demonstrate the dangers of using alcohol and drugs. They've been touring the show across the Maritimes to rave reviews and recently started a swing through Ontario including last night's Massey Hall show.

The Trailer Park Boys is a popular Canadian mockumentary TV series that focused on the misadventures of a group of trailer park residents living in a fictional Nova Scotia trailer park. The show ran on Showcase Television from 2001 until 2008 and also had a feature-length movie which came out in 2006. Alex Lifeson made a cameo appearance on one episode of the show in 2003 titled Closer to the Heart, and was also heavily involved with the movie's soundtrack in addition to making a cameo as a cop in the film. Rush also performed Closer to the Heart with Bubbles from the Trailer Park Boys for the CBC's tsunami relief telethon back in 2005.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Updates and other random Rush stuff
1:26PM EST | link | comments (83) |

Late last week Rush released another official press release regarding their upcoming Retrospective 3 greatest hits package which confirms the March 3rd release date. It also revealed details about the interview alluded to on the band's pre-order page for the Deluxe Fan Pack version of the CD/DVD. It sounds like it is most likely the Colbert Report performance of Tom Sawyer along with Stephen Colbert's interview with the band.

Earlier this week we learned that Rush's Closer to the Heart was among the winners of the CBC Radio's contest to determine the 49 songs that best define Canada to incoming US President Barack Obama, who was sworn in as the 44th US President this past Tuesday. Not only did the song make the final 49, but it was also first in its category!

Metallica was recently chosen as one of the 5 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2009. In a press conference late last week, each band member was asked who they'd most like to see inducted and guitarist Kirk Hammett's choice was Rush. Here's what he said:

I'd have to say Rush. I think they're a great band who took rock to a different level altogether in terms of songwriting and technical proficiency. And I believe that they deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

You can see all the details and watch the press conference in this post. In light of this, I thought I'd pose the same question to RIAB readers for my next poll. It's a multiple choice poll, so I limited the options to a dozen despite the fact that I can think of at least 20 bands that deserve to be inducted. I apologize in advance if I left out your choice. So - other than Rush obviously - which of the 12 bands listed do you think most deserves to be in the Rock Hall? Take the Poll and let us know. In my last poll I asked everybody what they're most looking forward to from Rush in the coming year. By a large margin (over 40%), everybody seems to be most anticipating the release of Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn's Rush Documentary. The complete results can be seen here.

Speaking of the Rock Hall, reader Paul S let me know that DJ Eddie Trunk went off on a rant against the Hall in a recent blog post regarding the inductees. He also gave kudos to Metallica for mentioning neglected bands like Rush, Deep Purple, UFO and Motorhead. And Dan Haggerty of 411mania.com also thinks Rush should be inducted (thanks rmull):

OK. Why in the name of God, Mohammad, Buddha, and Tony Iommi is Rush NOT in the Hall of Fame. Seriously. What - The - Hell. If you want sales, then Rush has 23 gold records and 14 platinum records, including the fact that they are one of the top 5 bands to have the most consecutive gold records in a row. You want awards, they have been nominated for 4 Grammy's and have 9 Juno Awards. They are already in the Canadian Rock Hall of Fame, and were the first musicians made officers in the Order of Canada. Of course, to be fair you could say that last part was Canada's way of apologizing for Brian Adams. Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee have won numerous guitar magazine awards (13) plus fan write-ins. Neal Peart, this dude won best rock drummer six years in a row at Modern Drummer Magazine, so in the seventh year they put him on an "Honor Roll" to basically say he was "The Man" and no longer eligible for voting to give everyone else a chance. Despite that he still has won the voting several times despite his ineligibility! Finally, Peart has won best Recorded Performance every year Rush has released an album since 1980.

You want influence, besides rock and rolls most noted guitarists and drummer, then you need to look no further than the rise of progressive rock they helped spearhead along with Genesis and Yes, or their influence on lyrics and story telling, or epic concept songs. How many bands dedicated a whole side of vinyl to a song before Rush? How many have done that or gone the full album approach since?

The fact Rush is NOT in is insulting. There first 10 albums are certifiable classics, but you don't have to like them to recognize their career or impact.

The complete Modern Guitars interview with Alex Lifeson that Skip Daly had conducted a couple of months ago is now online. I'd posted several preview excerpts from the interview back in early December. If you missed reading those excerpts, I highly suggest you check out the interview; it's definitely one of the better Alex Lifeson interviews I've read in recent years.

Yesterday Maxim.com alerted its readers that they were taking question submissions from fans for Geddy Lee. You can submit your question at this link.

Tuesday we learned that legendary progressive rock drummer and Neil Peart influence Bill Bruford had posted an excerpt from his soon to be released autobiography to his blog. The excerpt describes his experience with the 1994 Burning for Buddy project.

In its eighth week of release the Snakes & Arrows DVD is hanging on to the top 5 at #5 on the Billboard Top Music Video chart - down from its #4 position last week.

Last month I'd mentioned a company called Axe Heaven which makes miniature replica guitars of famous musicians, including several Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson models. Little did I know at the time that Eric over at the Power Windows site had been collaborating with Jason from Axe Heaven to ensure that the replicas were as accurate as possible. You can check out all the details and obtain a coupon code for purchasing one of the replicas over at the Power Windows site.

The NAMM show took place this past weekend in Anaheim, CA. Ludwig drums, which Neil Peart played in the late 80s and early 90s, is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year and their booth contained several replica sets of famous Ludwig drum kits over the years. One of these was a very detailed replica of Neil Peart's Presto kit complete with gold-plated hardware, orchestra bells and a xylophone. You can check out several photos of the replica in this flickr gallery (thanks Scott L).

Rock photographer Ross Halfin - who has shot Rush many times over the years - made a humorous Rush mention in his online diary entry for January 14th while discussing famous photographer Yousuf Karsh.

... Looked at Newsweek's (about the only half decent magazine on the plane) Society & The Arts page, which has Yousuf Karsh, who took the famous photo of Winston Churchill looking angry. It is a classic portrait. The article shows others like Albert Einstein (looking like your kind uncle), Margaret Thatcher (yuk), Ronald Reagan (rubbish). I looked at this and think old Karsh wasn't that good. Karsh shot a Rush cover. If I remember rightly they all looked kind of effeminate and Rush are a man's band - they're Canadian, the land where men chop trees down and go hunting in the dead of winter, drink whisky and sleep in igloos. Found Yousuf's work nondescript. ...

Thanks to George for the heads up.

Paul from Toronto alerted me to this article from the Toronto Star titled An Obama survival guide for that first Canadian trip. One of the bullet points in the article is called The Rush Principle - Or How Canadians Learn to Love Those Who Won't Go Away:

... For years, the Canadian prog-rock trio Rush - currently the object of a vast and eternally fervent international following - toiled in high-decibel obscurity, gigging in bars and high school auditoria while enduring all manner of critical indifference and outright hostility. But they stuck it out. Kept making that complicated noise, kept slogging that equipment from venue to venue, never giving in to fashion, never distracted by the fleeting commercial temptations of disco, punk, new wave, hip-hop or whatever. Just doing their thing: like the beaver building a dam on the same spot its predecessor was just washed away from; like Pierre Berton's facial hair or Anne Murray's gym teacher-practical hairstyle. They just stuck it out.

And you know what happened? We came to them. Rush is now considered a venerable Canadian institution as cherished as Mr. Dressup, the Banff Springs Hotel or Stanfield y-front briefs. ...

Sarah Beard of Henderson State University's The Oracle recently preached the gospel of Rush in this opinion piece titled Six Degrees of Geddy Lee. Thanks to Rob M for the link.

This Denver Post article titled The Fit Life: Rush concert inspired running groove describes how a Rush concert experience inspired one fan to drop over 150 pounds of weight.

Brian Walter isn't certain exactly when he decided to lose weight, but he knows the idea took root at Red Rocks. It took the 342-pound Rush fan three songs just to get up the stairs from the parking lot. He was mad to have missed the opening numbers by his favorite band. ...

Good for him! Thanks to nobodys hero for the heads up.

Reader Andy C sent me this picture of a 2112 sighting at a 5K run. Michael K found this small Rush reference in an ad for Bose speakers in Mens Journal. And Frank from Holland sent me this picture of him and his friends holding up his Why are we here? To see Rush and for the beer banner which can be seen on the Snakes & Arrows DVD.

And I leave you with this video of a 6th grade band's rendition of Tom Sawyer (thanks maxbeckman).

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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Alex Lifeson Modern Guitars interview now online
9:57AM EST | link | comments (14) |

[Modern Guitars Alex Lifeson Interview]

Back in early December I'd posted several preview excerpts from an interview with Alex Lifeson that Skip Daly had conducted for Modern Guitars magazine. Skip is the cofounder of BOS Music as well as the creator of the infamous Rush Petition site. The complete article is now online at this location. You can read several of the better excerpts below the fold but here's my brief summary of some of the highlights. Alex talked about his and the band's disappointment with how the Vapor Trails album was recorded. He also discussed the possibility of remixing the entire album because Richard Chycki's remixes of One Little Victory and Earthshine for Rush: Retrospective 3 turned out so well. Alex talked about the existence of some old pre-1974 tapes that might have some interesting stuff on them such as recordings of songs like Run Willie Run, Slaughterhouse, Garden Road and other songs that they wrote and played during the early bar days. He also pretty much debunked the rumor that the next tour would be their last, essentially reiterating what he had stated in his Toledo Blade interview and what Geddy had intoned in his Billboard interview. They also touched on songs that almost made recent set lists such as The Camera Eye and A Farewell to Kings and how sites such as the Rush Petition (which Skip created by the way) help influence their choices. Be sure to read the whole interview.

READ MORE...

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Submit your question for Geddy Lee at Maxim.com
8:28AM EST | link | comments (15) |

[Submit Questions for Rush's Geddy Lee]

From a post at the Maxim.com Music Blog yesterday:

Is there something about Rush you've always wanted to know? Like how Geddy Lee is able to play bass, synthesizer, foot pedals and sing all in the same song? What the inspiration was behind By-Tor and the Snow Dog? What their thoughts are on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (and why the heck they haven't been nominated yet?!)?

Now's your chance to pick Geddy Lee's brain. All you have to do is submit your question, and you may see the answer in a future issue of Blender.

To submit your question go to this link. Thanks to Power Windows for the heads up.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bill Bruford recounts his Burning for Buddy experience
10:21PM EST | link | comments (63) |

[Bill's Blog - Studio stuff: the Burning for Buddy sessions]

Legendary progressive rock drummer Bill Bruford has a book due out this March titled Bill Bruford: The Autobiograpy. Bruford was the original drummer for Yes, played with King Crimson from 1972 until 1997 and is one of Neil Peart's more prominent early influences. Neil recruited Bruford to play on his 1994 Burning for Buddy project and Bruford describes the experience in detail in his upcoming book. He recently posted an excerpt from this portion of the book to his blog:

... An altogether grander 1994 project centered on Neil Peart, the charming and successful drummer with Canadian rockers Rush, who had taken it upon himself to make a series of recordings of Buddy Rich's music. Buddy had passed away in 1987, but The Buddy Rich Orchestra was still very much a working organism, featuring several of the musicians who were in the band when their leader was alive, most notably tenor saxophonist Steve Marcus. The idea was for an A-list of the most celebrated drummers of the day to do a couple of tunes each from the standard Rich Orchestra repertoire. The resulting CDs were to be called Burning For Buddy, and time was duly booked at the Power Station recording studio in Manhattan.

For reasons best known to himself, Neil thought I'd be suitable for this project and got in touch to explain the plan. He suggested a couple of tunes, and I, with what must have seemed like arrogance but in fact was that old insecurity, said fine, but how about one of his and one of mine? Neil asked for a demo of my proposed tune, which was duly approved, and I went off to see English trumpeter and arranger Chris Batchelor to have the composition transcribed. ...

You can read the entire excerpt at this link. Thanks to David J for the info.

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Closer to the Heart wins CBC Radio contest!
9:38AM EST | link | comments (39) |

[Obama's Playlist Revealed!]

The 49 Definitive Canadian SongsLast week we learned that the CBC Radio was running a contest to determine the 49 songs that best define Canada to incoming US President Barack Obama, who will be sworn in as the 44th US President later this morning. Rush's Closer to the Heart was one of the songs nominated and voting closed this past Friday at 11PM. The results are in and not only did Rush make the list, but Closer to the Heart was the overall winner in its category! It seems that RIAB and other fan sites helped push it over the edge:

... My colleagues behind the scenes tell me "it was thanks to a last minute voting push from Rush fans that Closer To The Heart narrowly edged out Gordon Lightfoot's Canadian Railroad Trilogy as the number one song in the first section. ...

Cool. You can check out the complete results at this link. Many thanks to Zitro for the heads up.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Metallica's Kirk Hammett wants Rush in the Rock Hall
2:29PM EST | link | comments (95) |

[Metallica Want to Avoid "Drama of a Van Halen" at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction]

UPDATE - 1/19@7:27AM: Here's the video of Metallica's press conference regarding their induction into the Rock Hall. The band is asked about who else they'd like to see inducted at about the 11-minute mark. Here's what Kirk Hammett had to say:

I'd have to say Rush. I think they're a great band who took rock to a different level altogether in terms of songwriting and technical proficiency. And I believe that they deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

Well said. You can check out the video below. Thanks to bscsmkr for the heads up.

----- snip -----

Kirk HammettBack in September the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced it's list of nominees for induction in 2009. And - as we've come to expect - Rush was not on the list. Metallica was among the nominees however and we just learned earlier this week that they will be one of the five inductees for 2009. Metallica have cited Rush as one of their influences in the past and even thanked the band in the liner notes to their 1986 album Master of Puppets. In a recent article at rollingstone.com discussing the band's induction, all 4 members were asked what band they'd most like to see inducted and guitarist Kirk Hammett's choice was none other than Rush. Here's what each member had to say:

... Each member of Metallica was also asked what band he'd like to see in the Rock Hall. They lobbied for Motorhead (Hetfield), Deep Purple (Ulrich), Rush (Hammett) and UFO (bassist Robert Trujillo.)

Thanks to Power Windows for the heads up.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

New Rush: Retrospective 3 press release
6:19PM EST | link | comments (35) |

Anthem just put out a press release today with a few more details regarding their upcoming Retrospective 3 greatest hits package, due out March 3rd. From the press release:

Anthem/Atlantic recording group Rush has announced details of the upcoming third volume in its continuing compilation series. "RETROSPECTIVE III (1989-2008)" arrives in stores on March 3rd.

The collection -- available as both individual CD and two-disc CD/DVD set -- features tracks culled from the legendary trio's two decades with Atlantic Records, spanning such acclaimed studio works as 1989's "PRESTO," 1991's "ROLL THE BONES," 1993's "COUNTERPARTS," 1996's "TEST FOR ECHO," 2002's "VAPOR TRAILS," and 2007's "SNAKES & ARROWS" (see attached tracklisting). In addition, "RETROSPECTIVE III" features a previously unreleased live version of the classic "Ghost of a Chance," recorded live in Atlanta during Rush's 2008 "Snakes & Arrows Tour," as well as two tracks -- "One Little Victory" and "Earthshine" -- newly remixed by the band's Alex Lifeson and master mixer Richard Chycki (Aerosmith, Mick Jagger, P. Diddy).

The "RETROSPECTIVE III" DVD gathers the band's 10 stunning music videos during the Atlantic years, including clips for fan favorites such as "The Pass," "Roll The Bones," "Stick It Out," "Driven," and the Grammy Award-nominated "Malignant Narcissism." What's more, the DVD includes a trio of live videos filmed in Frankfurt, Germany during Rush's 2004 "R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour," highlighted by a masterful performance of The Who's classic "The Seeker" (originally recorded by Rush for 2004's "FEEDBACK"). As an added bonus, the band has included a rare televised performance of the classic "Tom Sawyer" and an on-camera interview featuring all three members.

Both the CD and CD/DVD versions of "RETROSPECIVE III" are available now for pre-order at www.rush.com/preorder. A "Deluxe Rush Fan Pack" is also being offered, combining the CD/DVD package with a limited edition lithograph highlighting the albums featured on "RETROSPECTIVE III." The first 100 orders will receive an ultra-rare signed lithograph. ...

This officially confirms the March 3rd release date and we have a little more info regarding the interview alluded to on the band's pre-order page for the Deluxe Fan Pack. This sounds to me that it might be the Colbert Report performance of Tom Sawyer along with Stephen Colbert's interview with the band. It also looks like the only extra in the Deluxe Fan Pack is the lithograph and I doubt that any of the signed ones still remain. Here's the complete tracklist from the release:

RUSH
"RETROSPECTIVE III (1989-2008)"
(Anthem/Atlantic)
Release Date: March 3rd, 2009

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

DVD:
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)
14. Interview and "Tom Sawyer" (Live)*

* bonus material

Many thanks to snowdog2113 for the heads up.

Related Posts:
[Rush: Retrospective 3 release date pushed back to March]
[Rush: Retrospective 3 release date pushed back to February]
[Rush: Retrospective 3 deluxe fan pack; release date pushed?]
[Rush: Retrospective 3 album cover]
[Rush: Retrospective 3 release date pushed back to January]
[Rush: Retrospective 3 greatest hits album tracklist revealed]
[Rush: Retrospective 3 greatest hits album due out in December?]
[Rush to end Atlantic relationship with new greatest hits package; in negotiations with Rounder]

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Updates and other random Rush stuff
10:50AM EST | link | comments (36) |

Gone Country: 70s RockIt's been yet another quiet week (and a very cold one here in Cleveland ... -9 degrees as I write this!). Rush's Closer to the Heart made the news twice in the past few days. The song is in the running to be one of the CBC Radio's 49 songs that best define Canada to incoming US President Barack Obama. They're running a contest to determine the list and if you haven't voted yet you can do so at this link up until 8PM tonight. Last we heard the song had skyrocketed towards the top of the heap in the standings shortly after I ran the story on Tuesday. American Idol runner-up Bo Bice recently recorded a countrified cover of Closer to the Heart for a recently released Time Life Music compilation album called Gone Country: 70s Rock.

VH1 Classic recently posted several extra bonus videos from season 1 of That Metal Show to their website including four one-minute videos from the Geddy and Alex episode which aired on December 27th. You can find links to view the entire episode plus the bonus videos in this post.

I've received a little more info regarding the rumored Rush tour of South America later this year. Not surprisingly my industry source tells me that it is definitely not going to happen; the band has already turned down the offer from Live Nation for a late 2009 tour. Another indicator is the fact that Neil's drum tech Lorne Wheaton will be touring with Yanni for the better part of the year. Speaking of Lorne, he has several pics from the Buddy Rich Memorial Concert up on his MySpace page that reader Asif alerted me to.

In its seventh week of release the Snakes & Arrows DVD is still bouncing around the top 10 at #4 on the Billboard Top Music Video chart - down from its #2 position last week. Here is yet another stellar review of the Blu-ray version of the DVD from Blu-ray.com (thanks rosmakloma). And Scott_PA let me know that Classic Rock Revisited gave the DVD an A+ rating. Can't get much better than that!

The Snakes & Arrows Live CD made the Perthshire Advertiser's list of the best albums of the year.

Reader bluebuttskunk pointed me to a very cool online biography of Andre Perry - the founder of Le Studio. It has a nice little write-up on the history of Le Studio and mentions Rush.

Reader timbale let me know that WCBS sportscaster Jared Max made a comment about Rush the other day. His co-anchor asked him if he really expected the Nets to win the other night and he said ... yeah, right, just like I expected Rush to be inducted into to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night!. In case you didn't know, the Rock Hall announced its list of inductees for 2009 on Wednesday (we'd already known for some time that Rush was not one of the nominees). Jared is a big Rush fan; on his bio page he mentions Neil Peart and the guys from Rush as being his role models and lists Rush among his favorite musicians.

American jam band Perpetual Groove performed a cover of Rush's Tom Sawyer at their recent New Years Eve show in Athens, GA. You can read a review of the show at this link and listen to an archive recording of the entire show at this link (FLAC file). Thanks to headache for the info.

Norwegian reader Stale G sent me a very cool picture of his 2112 rug (click thumbnail for a full-size image). I've never seen one of these before. I'm assuming it's custom-made. I want one!

Reader Snoscootr alerted me to a couple of Rush-related satirical motivational posters over at motifake.com. You can check them out here and here.

CNN.com recently ran a feature titled Love at first listen: Albums that shaped your lives where iReporters share stories about how a particular album affected their lives. One of the albums discussed is Rush's Signals:

... For Lulis Leal, one album completely changed her philosophy of life. She had not been exposed to Rush's music before their ninth album, "Signals," was released, but when she heard the song "Subdivisions," Neal Peart's drumming had her hooked.

Leal listened to more of Rush's music and soon learned that the band was influenced by author Ayn Rand. After reading her novels, Leal began to adapt Rand's philosophy into her own life. ...

Thanks to soozm32 for the heads up. Speaking of Signals - due to popular demand, here's Jacob Moon's rooftop cover of Subdivisions which I had first mentioned a couple weeks back:

That's all I've got for this week. Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bo Bice covers Closer to the Heart on new compilation album
1:26PM EST | link | comments (83) |

[Gone Country: 70s Rock]

Gone Country: 70s RockTime Life Music recently released a new compilation album called Gone Country: 70s Rock. It features several country music stars performing classic rock hits from the 70s. Rush's Closer to the Heart gets the country treatment from American Idol runner-up Bo Bice. You can listen to a sample of the track and purchase the CD for $9.99 at the Time Life website here. Thanks to tangy for the info.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Vote for Rush's Closer to the Heart!
10:24AM EST | link | comments (70) |

[49 songs from north of the 49th parallel]

UPDATE - 1/14@9:32AM: Phil P let me know that he was listening to the CBC morning show and they mentioned that Rush had surged into 3rd place in the contest. The RIAB bump strikes again! :)

The 49 Definitive Canadian SongsCBC Radio is running a contest to determine the 49 songs that best define Canada to incoming US President Barack Obama. Rush's Closer to the Heart is one of the songs nominated. From the website:

Beginning Monday, January 5, CBC Radio 2 invites Canadians to help select the top "49 songs from north of the 49th parallel" that would best define our country to the incoming U.S. President Barack Obama.

His playlist could definitely benefit from some Canadian content, especially given the depth of our musical offerings - spanning a wide variety of genres and representing our culture from coast to coast.

"One of the best way to know Canada is through the depth and breadth of our artistic expression," says Denise Donlon, Executive Director, CBC Radio. "We're excited about the new President and we want him to be excited about us, so we're asking our audience to help compile the list of our most definitive Canadian songs!"

Thank you for all your nominations, we have tallied them down to 100 songs. You have until Friday, January 16 at 11 p.m. ET. to vote for your favourites.

So, what Canadian music do you think is the most definitive 49 songs from North of the 49th parallel?

You can see all the nominees and vote for Rush at this link. Thanks to Zyrannix for the heads up.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Geddy and Alex That Metal Show extra bonus videos
3:24PM EST | link | comments (92) |

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson were guests on the December 27th episode of That Metal Show on VH1 Classic. The show is a hard rock and heavy metal themed talk show hosted by DJ Eddie Trunk. Geddy and Alex appeared on the 7th and final episode of the show's inaugural season (outside of last week's best of show). If you missed the show you can watch the entire thing on the VH1 Classic website at this link. VH1 Classic recently posted several extra bonus videos from season 1 on their website including 4 1-minute videos with Geddy and Alex. Here they are:

[Rush: Neil Rides Bike]
[Rush: Girls At Shows]
[Rush On Opening for Kiss]
[Rush On Touring Europe]

Many thanks to lilvictory for the heads up.

Related Posts:
[Geddy and Alex on That Metal Show]
[Geddy and Alex That Metal Show video preview]
[That Metal Show Throwdown: Rush Fans versus The Kiss Army]
[Geddy and Alex That Metal Show appearance air date]
[Geddy and Alex That Metal Show interview pictures]
[Geddy and Alex That Metal Show interview with Eddie Trunk]
[Alex and Geddy to be guests on VH1 Classic's That Metal Show]

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Happy 20th anniversary A Show of Hands!
9:36AM EST | link | comments (19) |

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Rush's 3rd live album A Show of Hands. It was recorded in Birmingham (UK), New Orleans, Phoenix, and San Diego during the 1988 Hold Your Fire tour as well as in the Meadowlands (East Rutherford, NJ) during the 1986 Power Windows tour. A video of the same name was released in 1989 on both VHS and laserdisc. A DVD version was released as part of the Rush Replay box set in 2006, and as an individual DVD in 2007. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA on March 9, 1989 and reached a peak position of #21 on the Billboard album charts. Here's the video for YYZ / The Rhythm Method from the A Show of Hands DVD:

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Updates and other random Rush stuff
10:14AM EST | link | comments (67) |

Not much happened this past week in Rush-land but I do have several random Rush bits to share. So let's get to it!

Earlier this week we learned that the release of Rush's upcoming Retrospective 3 Atlantic era greatest hits package has been delayed once again. The release date is now set for March 3rd. Online retailers such as Amazon have already updated the release date on their websites.

RushCon 9 will remain in Toronto, Ontario and take place sometime in late July. The organizers had tossed around the idea of an alternate location this go-around, but ultimately settled on Toronto where the convention has taken place since its inception back in 2000. More details will be forthcoming in the near future.

The Snakes & Arrows DVD is climbing back up the Billboard Top Music Video chart. In its 6th week of release it's moved up to the #2 spot from its #6 position last week. RushOzFan has a bit of bad news for Australia fans regarding the Australian release of the DVD. It apparently will be released by Shock Records and for reasons unknown it will not contain the Atlanta bonus disc. I haven't been able to independently verify this though. More as I learn it.

Former Coney Hatch bassist and current Anthem representative Andy Curran was recently a guest on Q104 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Reader Paul H was lucky enough to catch the interview and had a report for us. Andy talked about his early days in Coney Hatch, being signed by Anthem and how he now works with Rush's manager Ray Daniels and helps promote Rush. He spoke about his history with Rush and his involvement on the road for the Snakes & Arrows tour, specifically the missed Halifax date. He described a meeting he was in with Ray and Geddy and how emphatic Geddy was about playing there; apparently Geddy was quite upset about it. Andy then mentioned that Halifax was on top of the list for the next tour. He even stated that the crew was reading the RIAB comments and relayed the sadness and disappointment regarding Halifax to the band and that it really helped get the point across. Cool!

I was deluged with emails about the fact that NBC used some Rush music during the 2nd quarter of the Colts-Chargers game this past Saturday night. Al Michaels was reviewing the Indianapolis Colts 2008 season while Limelight played in the background. Thanks to everybody who let me know about this.

Reader The B-Man let me know that The Sun of London recently published a list of the top 40 greatest rock vocalists. Geddy Lee made the list at #34. You can see the complete results at this link.

The UK's premier digital rock radio station Planet Rock recently released its end-of-year poll results and Rush's Snakes & Arrows Live was the #3 live album of the year while the Snakes & Arrows DVD was the #2 music dvd of 2008.

A couple of weeks ago we heard some news from the Southern Hemisphere regarding a possible Rush mini-tour of South America. Suffice it to say that I was a bit skeptical, as were many other fans. We've been hearing rumors of a South American tour for over 2 years now and nothing has happened. So reader remistofeles decided to get in touch with the original source of the rumor, Chilean journalist Claudio Vergara S., for a little clarification. He confirmed that Chilean TV station Canal 13 was the driving force behind the effort to bring Rush to South America and that negotiations with Live Nation were ongoing. It sounds as if everyone is on board at this point except the most important participants - Rush. :) I think I'll remain skeptical for the time being.

Word on the street is that Geddy Lee recently purchased a vintage 1974 Fender Jazz Bass from a music store in Arlington, VA. Cool.

American alternative country band, The Gourds, have paid homage to our favorite bass player on their most recent album Haymaker!. One line of the track Shreveport goes as follows: Midnight drive down on Jewella Road ... Looks like it's gonna be just me and Geddy Lee tonight.

Ridgefield, Connecticut is home to pre-teen rockers Tailpipe. The band, which consists of 4 boys between the ages of 9 and 12, was recently featured in a Ridgefield Press article titled 11-year-olds play their way to stardom. Not surprisingly, drummer Chris is a Neil Peart fan. From the article:

... Chris has been drumming on everything, including pots, tables and limbs since he was a little kid, his father said. He's been a part of Tailpipe for about two years. To his father's delight, Chris named drummer Neil Peart of the band Rush as one of his main musical influences. ...

Reader GoldenRushFan was recently looking into a Disney vacation for his family and stumbled across this website for Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort which states the following in its description:

The 2,112 Guest rooms are arranged into 5 villages-Trinidad, Martinique, Barbados, Aruba and Jamaica-spread over 200 lushly landscaped acres.

I wonder if there's a room number 2112 too? :)

Back in July I mentioned the formation of a Rush-themed fantasy football league. Reader and participant MikeD gave me a rundown of how the season went. Apparently Why Why Zed defeated Busy Little Creatures to win the Larger Super Bowl (get it?).

Zu Audio sells loudspeaker and cable products for musicians including an interconnect called the GEDE - named after ... Geddy Lee of course! Thanks to Glenn A for the heads up.

Reader Rich2112 sent me this really cool picture of a red Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta with a big white number 212 on the side. Add another 1 in there and a starman logo on the hood and you'd have the ultimate Rush-mobile. :)

Scott K noticed this definition of Rush which is contained in the online Urban Dictionary:

One of the greatest progressive rocks bands of all time. The lyrics are superb, and the magnificent bass, drum, and guitar playing hold the music together, completed with Geddy Lee's unique vocal style.

Listening to Rush is a reminder of how great my taste in music is.

I particularly like the example sentence.

Rush's 3rd live album A Show of Hands celebrates its 20th anniversary tomorrow. So I thought I'd leave you with this video of YYZ / The Rhythm Method from the A Show of Hands DVD:

Have a great weekend everybody!

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

RushCon 9 to remain in Toronto
9:26PM EST | link | comments (22) |

Back in early November the RushCon organizers surprised everyone when they revealed that they were considering having the 2009 convention in a city other than Toronto, where it's been held since its inception back in 2000. The potential alternate locations were Cleveland, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles and they put up a poll and asked for feedback to gauge people's opinions. Their poll had Cleveland way out in front with Chicago and Las Vegas in 2nd and 3rd (if I remember correctly - the poll seems to have vanished from their website). I conducted an identical poll on this website and got similar results. The results seemed to surprise a lot of people, which inspired this post detailing the important role of Cleveland in the history of Rush. Then the organizers quietly announced (I never received any newsletter about it, and as far as I know neither did anyone else) about a month ago that they were keeping the convention in Toronto:

After examining the poll results, feedback on various forums and discussion within the committee, it has been decided RushCon 9 will remain in Toronto.

Although we had hoped to try relocating the Con this year, certain late-breaking news led to the decision to keep RushCon in Toronto, for now. However, RushCon 10 may be out on the road, so keep your fingers crossed!

Thank you to everyone who voted in our poll and submitted feedback to us. We appreciate your input and support.

RushCon 9 has been tentatively scheduled for late July 2009. Exact dates are still being finalized, but keep watching here for further updates!

I'm not sure which forums they were reading or what poll results they were looking at, because based on that they should have chosen Cleveland. But I certainly understand if there were other reasons for not relocating the convention - namely the late breaking news they refer to. I'm intrigued! Maybe they are planning on having a really cool guest speaker or something. They promise to have more details in the near future. But for now, it looks like late July in Toronto for RushCon 9. Thanks to Zitro for the heads up.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rush: Retrospective 3 release date pushed back to March
11:34AM EST | link | comments (70) |

UPDATE - 1/8@5:08PM: Reader lilvictory noticed that Amazon now has the March 3rd release date listed.

According to an industry source, the release of Rush's Retrospective 3 greatest hits package has been delayed once again. Last we heard the official release date was given as February 24th but now it looks like that has been pushed back one week to March 3rd. This is now consistent with what Rush.com's Deluxe Fan Pack pre-order site says, namely that the album will hits stores in March.

The Deluxe Fan Pack version of the CD/DVD comes with a limited edition lithograph and can be pre-ordered here. 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.

Related Posts:
[Rush: Retrospective 3 release date pushed back to February]
[Rush: Retrospective 3 deluxe fan pack; release date pushed?]
[Rush: Retrospective 3 album cover]
[Rush: Retrospective 3 release date pushed back to January]
[Rush: Retrospective 3 greatest hits album tracklist revealed]
[Rush: Retrospective 3 greatest hits album due out in December?]
[Rush to end Atlantic relationship with new greatest hits package; in negotiations with Rounder]

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rush makes VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs
1:02PM EST | link | comments (87) |

All this past week from Monday, December 29th through Friday, January 2nd VH1 ran a 5-part series where they counted down the Top 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs. Each night they featured 20 songs and finished off with Friday night's episode where they counted down the top 20. Rush's Tom Sawyer made the list at #19. VH1 gave each song's back story along with new exclusive interviews with several rock icons. For Tom Sawyer - Chris Jericho, Sebastian Bach, Judas Priest and others gave praise to Rush's most well-known song along with footage from the song's music video, Exit ... Stage Left video and the band's appearance on the Colbert Report. The VH1 website features several extra bonus videos and interviews from the series on their website. You can see the entire list of the 100 featured songs at this link. Here are the top 20:

01. GUNS N' ROSES - "Welcome To The Jungle"
02. AC/DC - "Back In Black"
03. LED ZEPPELIN - "Whole Lotta Love"
04. BLACK SABBATH - "Paranoid"
05. METALLICA - "Enter Sandman"
06. THE WHO - "Won't Get Fooled Again"
07. NIRVANA - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
08. AEROSMITH - "Walk This Way"
09. VAN HALEN - "Running With The Devil"
10. MOTÖRHEAD - "Ace Of Spades"
11. DEEP PURPLE - "Smoke On The Water"
12. JUDAS PRIEST - "Breaking The Law"
13. DEF LEPPARD - "Photograph"
14. IRON MAIDEN - "Run To The Hills"
15. MÖTLEY CRÜE - "Dr. Feelgood"
16. KISS - "Rock And Roll All Nite"
17. TWISTED SISTER - "I Wanna Rock"
18. SCORPIONS - "Rock You Like A Hurricane"
19. RUSH - "Tom Sawyer"
20. BON JOVI - "You Give Love A Bad Name"

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Site updates
2:06PM EST | link | comments (89) |

I've just finished making some fairly significant updates to the blog comments. I changed the layout, removed the image Captcha verification, and you can now upload an avatar image to go with your profile. I think the new layout makes things a bit easier to read and the Captcha stuff isn't really necessary since only registered users can post comments anyways. I know some of you will really miss the odd letter combinations that would sometimes arise, but most of you probably won't miss them too much. :) To upload your avatar image just go to your member profile page. If you don't upload one then the default white-on-black Rush starman image will be used. If you notice anything not working properly, let me know. I'll be making a few more tweaks here and there over the next few weeks. Enjoy!

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Friday, January 2, 2009

Updates and other random Rush stuff
12:58PM EST | link | comments (48) |

UPDATE - 1/3@2:00PM: Here's one more quick update. All this past week VH1 ran a nightly special where they counted down the Top 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs. Each night they featured 20 songs and finished off with last night's episode where they counted down the top 20. Rush's Tom Sawyer made the list at #19. Thanks to bruckler2112 for the heads up.

Happy New Year everyone! 2008 certainly was a busy year for Rush and their fans. The biggest event was of course the second leg of the highly successful Snakes & Arrows tour which ran from April through July. Some other notable events were the Grammy nomination of Rush's Malignant Narcissism back in February; Geddy and Alex's guest appearance playing YYZ at a Foo Fighters show in Toronto last March; the release of the Snakes & Arrows Live CD in April; Rush's June feature in Rolling Stone magazine; the announcement that Rush would be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2009; the band's July live performance on The Colbert Report; VH1 Classic's Rush Hashanah special in September; the Buddy Rich Memorial Concert in October; and the release of the Snakes & Arrows Live DVD in November. On a sadder note, 2008 also saw the deaths of Shelly Nott - Rush's longtime publicist - and Rush founding member John Rutsey. Rush also continued their tradition of generosity by their numerous donations of time and money to charitable organizations throughout the year including the Make It Right Foundation, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, A Brush of Hope, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Little Kids Rock to name a few.

2009 should be another good year for the band and its fans, if not quite as busy as 2008. In February the 51st Grammy Awards take place and Rush is up for their 6th nomination in the Best Rock Instrumental category for their song Hope: Live for the Art of Peace off of Songs For Tibet: The Art of Peace album. Sometime this Spring should see the release of Rush's Retrospective 3 Atlantic-era greatest hits package. Sometime this year Rush will be receiving their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hopefully by year's end we'll see the release of Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn's Rush Documentary. Rush will be making a cameo in the film I Love You Man from John Hamburg starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel which releases on March 20th. We might finally see the release of Neil Peart's next book The Roadshow Illustrated Companion, which now has a release date of June 2009 listed at most online retailers. If the rumors are true, Rush might be doing a mini-tour of South America later this year. And hopefully Rush has some other unforeseen surprises on tap for us all in 2009. We'll see. For my next poll I thought I'd ask you which of the events I just outlined are you most looking forward to in 2009. Take the Poll and let us know.

In my last poll I asked you what your favorite Rush DVD/video is. I posed this same question back in October of 2007 and at that time Rush in Rio was the overwhelming favorite with 50% of the vote. But now it seems that the Snakes & Arrows DVD has taken over the top spot. It won with 44% of the vote and Rush in Rio came in second with 24%. The complete results can be seen here.

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson were guests on last Saturday's episode of That Metal Show on VH1 Classic. The show is a hard rock and heavy metal themed talk show hosted by DJ Eddie Trunk. Geddy and Alex appeared on the 7th and final episode of the show's inaugural season (outside of a best of show tomorrow night). The entire show is now posted up on the VH1 Classic website.

The first set of last October's Buddy Rich Memorial Concert is now available as an on-demand purchase up on the Drum Channel website. Set one features Neil Peart's performance of Time Will Tell. It costs $9.95 to view and sets 2 and 3 will be available on January 6th and 13th respectively.

Snakes & Arrows Live tied for 88th place on ProgArchives.com's annual list of the 100 best new progressive rock albums. Thanks to Stephen for the heads up.

Chop Shop Radio has compiled a list of the Top 100 Most Complete Guitarists Of All-Time. Alex Lifeson made the list at a respectable #29. Thanks to sndtatro for the news.

Reader Jov V let me know that Rush's July 4th show at the Marc Etess Arena in Atlantic City made pressofatlanticcity.com's list of 2008's 12 most memorable Atlantic City shows.

Eric over at the Power Windows site recently discovered that in the 2002 video game Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 there is a Launched Freefall ride named Escape Hatch which costs exactly $2,112.

Also from Power Windows, on the 2005 album Bass Invader Martin Motnik, Gregg Bissonette and Mattias Ia Eklundh perform a cover of YYZ. And the late rapper Proof sampled Rush's Xanadu on the track Cali Trip on his Mayor of Detroit mixtape album released online in 2008.

Back in September I let you know that Hamilton, Ontario (the birthplace of Neil Peart) rock radio station Y108 had started a petition to have a stretch of Red Hill Expressway in Hamilton renamed to Neil Peart Way. Y108 Promotions Coordinator Monica wanted me to give everyone a reminder about the petition which you can sign here if you haven't already.

Speaking of Hamilton, reader Andy S alerted me to this great cover of Subdivisions by Hamilton-based Canadian folk singer/songwriter and guitarist Jacob Moon. You can check out a video of the cover at this link.

Reader Stephen let me know about a very cool Rush collage from artist Abel Adames that you can check out and purchase as a poster at this link.

Reader Dino L got a very cool Rush quilt from his Mom for Christmas. You can check it out here.

Several folks sent me this video of 13-year-old drumming prodigy Sara playing YYZ. She's pretty impressive. You can check out all of her vids at this link.

Have a wonderful weekend and a great 2009 everybody!

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