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Monday, April 7, 2014

Donna Halper discusses Rush's early history in new interview
1:36PM EST | comments (47) |

Donna Halper with her Fly by Night gold record and WMMS t-shirtJörg Reiche of the Rock Bottom radio show in Hamburg, Germany recently interviewed Rush discoverer Donna Halper to discuss Rush's early history and her role in it. Donna was the music director at Cleveland's groundbreaking WMMS radio station in the mid-1970s, and helped Rush get their big break into the US market when she had the band's debut album played on the station. In this 1-hour interview, Donna talks at length about this early period of the band's history and her role in it, along with describing her ongoing relationship with the band through the years. You can listen to the entire interview below or at this location (thanks Joe P).

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#47 - Posted 4/10/14 @9:56AM by larryrushman [contact]

Wow, I haven't been on here for a few days, but reading the past 46 comments on Donna's well deserved interview was very entertaining.

Interviewing Donna for RUSH related events is as good as it gets as far as being a RUSH fan. You don't interview a Kentucky Fried Chicken employee on how to make a big mac sauce.

I've been a RUSH fan for 35 years, seen 49 live shows all over the U.S., Canada and europe, Scandinavia, and to me, Donna is awesome! I can't tell you how happy I was to actually see you post on this site, and take the time to share your thoughts with us. To me, ever since I became a RUSH fan, I have heard of the mysterious Donna HALPER, and it was great to hear from you. It makes this site even more special that Donna shares her ideas with us RUSH fans.

Thank you Donna for everything you do, and have done for such a wonderful band that we all have our own love for.

Oh and by the way, if I was Bill GATES, I would end that bidding for the "Grapes Under Pressure" charity tour, $500,000!!!! As Vince Carter once said in the NBA slam Dunk contest....."It's OVER" I'd be going :)))))

Rush on everyone, and thanks again Donna.
#46 - Posted 4/9/14 @9:05PM by jiminseattle [contact]

that was nice Random, good for you. That type of action can be severely lacking here at times.
#45 - Posted 4/9/14 @8:38PM by random_sample [contact]

#39- You're right. I don't know you. Sorry if I misinterpreted your post. I think I did. My mistake.
#44 - Posted 4/9/14 @4:19PM by joerock213 [contact]

Comrade Halper, On behalf of the High Priests of Syrinx under The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly, I award you the Triple Fireballs Commendation and bestow the rank of Priestess 2nd Grade (the equivalent of Lieutenant Commander) for your work ab initio. Long live Rush! God save Geddy's noisy bastard!
#43 - Posted 4/9/14 @3:18PM by chutch15 [contact]

#35 - Billy Joel said it best...

"I am the entertainer
I come to do my show
You've heard my latest record
It's been on the radio
Ah, it took me years to write it
They were the best years of my life
It was a beautiful song
But it ran too long
If you're gonna have a hit
You gotta make it fit
So they cut it down to 3:05"
#42 - Posted 4/9/14 @11:39AM by Pale Facsimile [contact]

Ms. Halper, thank you as always for another entertaining, insightful interview. It always helps the work day go by faster! The decreasing freedom radio stations have is sad...and it's not just the frustrating, set-in-stone playlists, but also changing of station formats, and the addition of non-music programming (i.e. sports).

Here in Syracuse, we have two main rock stations that do classic rock, 95X (WAQX) and TK-99 (WTKW). 95X used to be a perfect balance of classic and modern, but about 5 years ago they started leaning heavily toward newer modern rock to compete with the strictly-modern K-ROCK (WKRL). TK-99 still is all classic rock, but in the fall/winter they do Syracuse football/basketball, and they have the new contract for Yankees baseball (I'm sure as someone who's spent a ton of time in Boston, you'll join me in a collective 'BLECHHH'...like Ged, I'm a Jays fan!).

It's gotten to the point where on either station, the 'most obscure' Rush song is Subdivisions. It's like gee, do we really need Tom Sawyer or Freewill for the 15-millionth time? I don't remember which of the two stations it was, but about a year ago my now-ex-girlfriend and I were riding around, and we heard "The Wreckers" and she nearly crashed the car because I started freaking out!
#41 - Posted 4/9/14 @9:55AM by Graham GB38457 [contact]

#35 - Thats correct most versions given to Radio stations are shortened. As an example if you purchase/or just take a look at the Rush CD Promo's listed on ebay you will notice (sometimes) that there are two versions. Usually an album version and a single version. These promo's are generally released to radio stations for promoting the single.

#39 Well said, I read you comment on #20. Personally who cares what views people have if you like Rush that's good enough for me. Would be a boring place if we all subscribe to the same view.

Given we are all drawn to this website as we enjoy listening to Rush I'm always amazed why people have to judge or criticise other members on this board. I guess that's the world we live in.
#40 - Posted 4/9/14 @9:54AM by chutch15 [contact]

Donna, thanks for that reply and setting some of the record straight. Much appreciated.

To your point about long songs, that practice is still in effect in some places. A good friend of mine has been hosting an excellent four-hour progressive rock show called The Gagliarchives here in the Philly area for well over 20 years. I know for sure his bio and smoke breaks are scheduled during the long songs that he plays. Many of today's progressive rock bands still create 10+ minute songs of high caliber too!
#39 - Posted 4/9/14 @9:24AM by Jediyyz [contact]

#36 You don't know me...don't presume that you can judge me in any way, shape or form. I gave Ms. Halper credit for playing Rush, and listeners credit for hearing the talent and potential in the music. How you get any more from my comment escapes me! I never said Rush "owes" me or any fan! Don't put words in my statement that don't exist!
#38 - Posted 4/9/14 @12:43AM by donnahalper [contact]

To #35, what you noticed is another example of how radio has changed. Many stations, even those that play Rush songs, are programmed by a corporate program director, who sends the announcers (in every city) their daily playlist; and nobody is allowed to deviate from it. (That's why some stations play the same Rush tunes, and no others. Somebody decided that those tunes were the "top tracks" on the CDs.) Some stations still play long songs, but many no longer do-- rather, they will edit the song to be able to fit in more commercials. This is especially true if a song was also a top-40 hit, or someone considers the edited version better than the long version. In some cases, the record company provides stations with the edited version only, so that's all they have at the station. Bottom line: yeah, the disc jockeys are being honest when they tell you that's the version they were given. Years ago, at most album rock stations, the d.j.'s had a say in finding some track that nobody else was playing. But these days, at many stations, it's all decided by someone in the main office, and you play what you are told to play. Sad but true.

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