Friday, April 25, 2014
Updates and other random Rush stuff
Rush is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of their 1974 debut album with a special Rush ReDISCovered LP box set containing a re-mastered version of the album on 200g vinyl which is set to release this coming Tuesday, April 29th. You can get all the details regarding what's contained in the set by watching this promotional video and checking out the Rush.com press release. Earlier this week the band announced a Twitter contest where they'll be giving away a copy of the box set signed by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. For all the contest details and how you can enter, just visit this location, and you can pre-order your copy of Rush ReDISCovered here. In celebration of the release I thought I'd ask everyone what their favorite track of the debut album is. Take the poll and let us know!
There was a Rush reference on Wednesday night's episode of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report. Stephen opened up the show with a report about how the Canadian middle class is now the most affluent in the world, displacing the United States at the number one position. Stephen goes on to state the following:
... no longer will people around the world aspire to the American dream of a house, a white picket fence, 2.5 kids. No, now it's the Canadian dream of a beaver dam, a maple syrup moat and 2.5 members of Rush. I don't know about you but I don't want to teach Geddy Lee to catch. ...
The accompanying graphic displays a photo of the band, with Geddy Lee, Neil Peart and the lower half of Alex Lifeson (2.5 members of Rush) along with a beaver dam and bottle of maple syrup. You can see a screenshot here and watch the complete episode online at this location. There have been a few other Rush references (here and here) on The Colbert Report over the years and the band famously appeared on the show for a live performance back in 2008.
The new Rush book Rush FAQ: All That's Left To Know About Rock's Greatest Power Trio is also slated for an April 29th release, but according to author Max Mobley it likely won't be actually hitting the shelves until early June. Mobley is a veteran music writer (Crawdaddy!, Premier Guitar) who has interviewed Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson twice and seen countless Rush shows dating back to the A Farewell to Kings tour. The book comes in at 400 pages and you can check out a copy of the introduction in this post and pre-order your copy of Rush FAQ at this location.
Rob Higgins is the bass player and frontman of Canadian band Dearly Beloved and he also happens to be Geddy Lee's nephew (his mother is Geddy's older sister). Higgins was recently interviewed by MusicRadar.com to discuss the band's latest album Hawk vs. Pigeon, and he also ends up talking at length about what it was like growing up with Geddy Lee as an uncle.
... [Geddy] would get stuck babysitting me. So for me, I was lucky! I was sitting in the corner of rehearsals. He'd have to look after me for the afternoon, so if he was going to rehearsal I was going to rehearsal. I would sit in the corner and watch the band for six hours without saying a word. I was always a quiet observer. They maybe thought I was tuned out, but I was absorbing every interaction, every attempt at a song, every beat, every note. I was so enthralled with all of it. Growing up, he was my cool uncle. My mom would take me over there and we would have family visits. He was the uncle who always had the instruments in a sound proof room in the basement. My mom would visit with the family and I would spend the whole afternoon just bashing around on drums and guitars and basses. ...
Higgins then relays a couple of stories about traveling with the band and being given the opportunity to sit in on recording sessions, and how much these experiences influenced him as a musician. You can check out the entire interview online at this location and learn more about Dearly Beloved by visiting their website or following them on Facebook/Twitter.
Reason Magazine posted an article adapted from FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe's latest book Don't Hurt People and Don't Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto earlier this week. The article is titled You Can't Have Freedom for Free: On Rush, Ayn Rand, and Not Compromising and starts out by describing how Rush's 2112 helped turn Kibbe on to Ayn Rand and libertarianism.
In 1977, I bought my first Rush album. I was 13. The title of the disc was 2112, and the foldout jacket had a very cool and ominous red star on the cover. ... The moment I dropped that stylus, and that needle caught the groove, I became obsessed with Rush like only thirteen-year-old boys can get obsessed. I turned up the volume as loud as I thought I could get away with, and I rocked. Mom shut that jam session down real fast. So I turned down the stereo, sat down, and began to read the liner notes inside the album cover jacket instead. The text inside the cover read, "With acknowledgement to the genius of Ayn Rand." What an odd name, I thought. Who is Ayn Rand? ...
He then goes on to use Rush's struggles in developing 2112 after the relatively disappointing sales of their previous album Caress of Steel to exemplify his argument that true innovation comes from not compromising your ideals, despite external pressures. You can read the entire article online at this location and order Kibbe's book here. Kibbe was also a guest on NPR's Weekend Edition a few weeks ago and during the interview a snippet of 2112 was played while Kibbe described how Rush's 2112 inspired him; the transcript of the interview is available here.
The 14th annual RushCon will take place at The Great Hall in Toronto the weekend of August 22-24. The convention will consist of 3 days of Rush-filled events, including a Friday night opening mixer (location TBD); Rush tribute band show; Rush-themed trivia, games, multimedia shows, door prizes, etc.; the Rush charity auction; special guest speaker Kevin J. Anderson; and more! You can get all the event details here, and register online at this location. 14 applications for the Rush Tribute Band contest were submitted and they've narrowed it down to 3 finalists. Now they need your help to determine the winner. To place your vote just visit the RushCon website here. One vote per person is allowed and voting will run through May 11th. For all the RushCon details just go to RushCon.org, and be sure to follow RushCon on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest RushCon news.
Reader Nancy alerted me to a Rush 2112 reference in the recently-released Knights of Badassdom movie. The comedy-horror film from director Joe Lynch stars Peter Dinklage, Steve Zahn, Summer Glau and Ryan Kwanten and follows 3 friends who are into LARPing (live action role-playing) as they embark on a LARP adventure where part of their quest involves looting the Temple of Syrinx. The film had a limited US release earlier this year, but was first shown at some film festivals late last year. It is now available on-demand through a number of online services, and can also be purchased on DVD/Blu-ray.
Music Times posted their list of Six Lead Vocalists Who Don't Write Their Own Lyrics earlier this week and one of the featured vocalists is Geddy Lee:
3. Geddy Lee - Rush: Neither bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee nor guitarist Alex Lifeson of Rush were ever interested in writing lyrics for its songs. Though the band's original drummer John Rutsey had intended on being chief lyricist, he never submitted any, forcing Lee to quickly write some for the band's eponymous debut album. When Neil Peart eventually replaced Rutsey in 1974, he actually delivered lyrics for Lee to sing.
Thaddeus Wert over at Progarchy.com posted an article yesterday where he gives a retrospective review of Rush's Hold Your Fire album and makes the argument that it's one of the band's finest:
... Do I believe Hold Your Fire to be Rush's finest album? No, I give that honor to Permanent Waves. However, I don't think Hold Your Fire has ever gotten the respect it deserves. Rush plays relatively few songs from it on their tours, and it peaked at #13 on the charts when it was released. If listened to in conjunction with Power Windows, it completes what that album began. Enough time has passed to listen to it with fresh ears, and we can appreciate it for what it is: a successful attempt to craft a radio-friendly album filled with accessible songs. Sometimes you just have to have some fun! ...
Italian virtuoso bass player Alberto Rigoni recently unveiled his Alusonic Alberto Rigoni Hybrid signature bass, and in the accompanying demo video he plays a bit of Rush's Tom Sawyer (thanks Ian D). You can check out the video at this location at about the 3-minute mark. He also posted the full video of himself covering the track at this location.
Reader RushFanForever noticed that there was a quote from Geddy Lee included in the 2011 Queen biography, Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock. Here's what Geddy had to say about the band:
Their music was incredibly original in blending hard rock and pop in a way that had never been done before. Obviously, they wrote a lot of catchy tunes that will probably be around forever. They seem to be that kind of band that created that rock/pop anthem that you hear at every sports arena. So, yeah, I think they are a fairly pinnacle band.
A couple of Keep Calm-themed Rush t-shirts recently appeared at teespring.com. The first reads "I can't keep calm. I'm crankin' up the Rush." using various Rush album fonts and the starman logo. You can check that shirt out at this location. The second shows a pair of headphones with the words "Screw calm and listen to La Villa Strangiato." on it, and can be seen at this link
Alex Lifeson was recently vacationing in Tokyo, Japan and stopped into Ishibashi Music for a visit, and was kind enough to allow them to videotape it for the store's YouTube channel. Alex tours the store, talks guitars, and signs both his signature series Gibson Les Paul Axcess and his Paul Reed Smith Private Stock signature series Acoustic Guitar. You can check out the video below or on YouTube at this location.
That's all for this week. Have a great weekend everyone!!