UPDATE - 7/13@8:52AM: Here's LanceTheShred introducing Donna Halper and opening up the festivities, Donna's speech and kRUSH's first set from yesterday's RatCon 2014 celebrations!
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Although Rush is on an extended break right now, Alex Lifeson seems to be keeping himself busy with a number of side projects including helping out with the sophomore CD release of Toronto-based band The David Barrett Trio. Alex had produced the band's first full-length studio album back in early 2013. The Trio has been working on their first full length live DVD and their second full length CD over the past year and are seeking funds via RocketHub to pay for mastering and manufacturing costs. The new album is entitled DB32 and features 9 new instrumental songs along with a ballad titled Coppermine which features vocals from Michael Sadler (Saga). Alex Lifeson has continued to offer his support and guidance throughout the making of the album. Earlier this week Alex visited the studio for a recording session with celtic guitar virtuoso Tony McManus who is guesting on the new album, and the session was documented in this Facebook photo gallery. You can keep up with the album's progress by visiting the RocketHub site and following them on Facebook, and purchase DB3 music on Amazon. Alex Lifeson is also one of the many Canadian celebrities that will be participating in the Smilezone Foundation's second annual charity golf tournament at Rattlesnake Point Golf Club this coming Monday, July 14th (Bastille Day!). You can get all the details in this article from insideHalton.com. Alex Lifeson is an avid golfer and is a part owner of Coppinwood Golf Club. For more information or to register for the event, visit www.smilezone.com. And music journalist Anil Prasad posted the following to his Facebook page yesterday:
Yeeaaahhhh! Alex Lifeson will be participating in the upcoming John Wesley (Wes Dearth) piece in Guitar Player. You'll learn all about his contribution to Wes' new album 'Disconnect' and why he considers Wes a fantastic talent.
Guitarist John Wesley's latest album Disconnect released early last month and Lifeson makes a guest appearance, playing a guitar solo on the track Once a Warrior.
Audio Fidelity's SACD version of Rush's Presto is now available for purchase via the Audio Fidelity website, and will be available from other online retailers such as Amazon this coming Tuesday, July 15th. If you purchase it directly from Audio Fidelity you can use the code SCARS20 at checkout to get 20% off of your order. Presto is the 3rd Rush SACD release from Audio Fidelity; they've already released versions of both Counterparts and Hemispheres. Like these 2 previous releases, the Presto SACD was mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio.
The new book from veteran music writer Max Mobley titled Rush FAQ: All That's Left To Know About Rock's Greatest Power Trio was released last month. Mobley has written for a number of music magazines including Crawdaddy! and Premier Guitar, and has interviewed Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson twice. He's also a huge Rush fan and has seen countless Rush shows dating back to the A Farewell to Kings tour. The book comes in at 250 pages, including a foreword from Donna Halper, and you can check out a copy of the introduction in this post. Blinded by Sound posted a great review of the book earlier this week which you can check out at this location:
... The Rush FAQ provides a great overview of this band, as well as offering up the lesser-known band trivia that we have come to expect from the FAQ series in general. It is also a fitting counterpoint to the induction of Rush in the RRHOF, in terms of them finally being deemed "cool" by the rest of the world. No matter what level of Rush fan you are though, there is something for everyone in this new FAQ book.
Order your copy of Rush FAQ at this location.
There was a Rush reference on the season 2 premiere episode of the FX police drama The Bridge earlier this week. At one point the character Daniel (played by Matthew Lillard) - who has substance abuse problems - goes to see his AA sponsor (played by Brian Baumgartner) who is wearing a Rush Grace Under Pressure t-shirt. The 2 have a conversation about Daniel's continued alcohol problems and Daniel tries to change the subject by commenting on his sponsor's t-shirt. You can read a transcript of the interaction in this post and watch it online at this location. The reference occurs towards the beginning of the episode's 3rd segment at around the 17-minute mark.
Walt Hickey at FiveThirtyEight.com posted an article earlier this week where he details the findings of a study of classic rock radio he recently conducted. Hickey monitored 25 classic rock radio stations operating in 30 of the country's largest metropolitan areas for one week in June. He found that the 10-year period from 1973 to 1982 accounts for a whopping 57% of all song plays. This period of time also happens to be Rush's golden era, where they released their first 9 studio albums, 7 of which were certified Platinum - including the Multi-Platinum selling 2112 and Moving Pictures albums. Hickey found that Rush's indisputable biggest hit - Tom Sawyer from Moving Pictures - was the 15th most-played song in classic rock radio. The band was also #21 on the list of the most-played artists, with Kansas City as the city that played Rush the most. You can check out the complete findings online at this location. And speaking of Moving Pictures, Music Times posted a list of 13 Album Covers That Literally Represent The Title this past weekend and the album made the cut at #7:
The artwork for Rush's Moving Pictures actually interprets the term "moving pictures" in three different ways: people are literally moving pictures to another place, people are crying because they're emotionally moved by the pictures, and on the album's back cover, a movie crew is filming the entire thing. It's all incredibly stupid, but the music's great anyway.
And continuing with the Moving Pictures theme, Fender posted a list of Ten Great Fender Prog Rock Tracks last week, one of which was Rush's YYZ (thanks Phil Simon):
... "YYZ" perfectly embodies all this in a dazzlingly kinetic four-minutes-plus display of deft bass prowess that has had many a player hitting pause, backing up and saying, "How does he do that?" And you can bet your last Canadian dollar that those are the most nimble bass breaks since "My Generation" back in 1965 ...
Ultimate Classic Rock posted their list of Canada's Top 10 Rock Artists last week in celebration of Canada Day, and Rush came in 2nd behind Neil Young. You can check out the complete list online here.
Last year Geddy Lee weighed in on an effort to save Toronto's iconic Sam the Record Man neon sign by writing a letter to the Toronto city council. Ryerson University bought the store's old location back in 2008 and committed to remount the sign at some future point but later reevaluated the commitment, saying the costs were too high to reinstall the sign. Toronto city council and Mayor Rob Ford then decided late last year that the sign should be preserved and put on display near its original location, and have been working towards that goal for the past several months. They finally came to a decision on the sign earlier this week when City Council voted to have the sign reassembled on the roof of 277 Victoria Street, a city-owned building on the east side of Yonge-Dundas Square, and have Ryerson University pick up the bill.
The RatCon 2014 Rush fan convention kicks off this afternoon at Club Carnie in Marlboro, NJ and is all set to be the biggest RatCon yet. The organizers tell me that the event will be filled to capacity and include many extra goodies including a live webcam and an appearance from Donna Halper herself. The event's tagline is Forty years of "BLAH BLAH BLAH" and it will also include a heated pool, Rush-themed food and beverages, contests, prizes, live music from Rush tribute band kRush, and more. For all the details on RatCon 2014 visit the website and follow RatCon on Facebook.
Wolfgang's Vault posted remastered versions of over 13,000 live videos to their YouTube channel this past week including the full concert footage of Rush's December 10, 1976 show at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ. You can check it out below or at this location (thanks RushFanForever):
That's all for this week. A special shout-out to all of those attending RatCon this weekend. Have a blast!