Friday, July 18, 2014
Updates and other random Rush stuff
Although Rush hasn't been up to much lately, there was a good bit of Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson news to report this past week. A couple of short, new interviews with our favorite front-man/bassist surfaced along with the news that Geddy will be featured in an upcoming Primus biography. Earlier this week Classic Rock magazine released a special, 244-page issue to celebrate their 200th edition. The issue includes a short, 1-page interview with Geddy Lee with the tagline The Rush Man on Life and Love Outside the Band where Geddy talks about family. Eric over at Power Windows has transcribed the 1-page interview and made it available online here. When asked whether his children are Rush fans here's what Geddy had to say:
I don't think so! I think it was difficult for my son, as a teenage boy in Canada, where we're considered very mainstream. I think it was hard for him at school to be independent, so he tried to create a life away from being my son. He's an academic now and I'm incredibly proud of him. And he's about to become a father himself. I think it was easier for my daughter, as a girl at a girls' school, because they weren't so bothered about Rush and my kind of music.
Geddy was also the subject of a cover feature for the latest issue of Terroni magazine. The magazine is published by the Terroni Italian restaurant chain in Toronto and Los Angeles. Although the interview focuses on Geddy's wine collecting and there's not much talk of Rush, the feature's tagline mentions that the band is in the midst of planning a 41st anniversary tour, which is a good sign. We haven't heard any word regarding the anticipated 2015 tour since Alex Lifeson first mentioned it in a Rolling Stone interview back in March. You can read the entire 2-page interview feature online at this location and there's also this transcription posted over at Power Windows. As I'd mentioned above, Geddy Lee is one of the many artists interviewed for author/journalist Greg Prato's new Primus biography Primus: Over the Electric Grapevine. The book is an oral history and biography of Primus as told through a series of over fifty interviews with a number of the band's peers in the music industry including Rush's Geddy Lee. Primus first opened for Rush on the Roll the Bones tour and have remained good friends with the band ever since. The book is slated for release on September 16th and can be pre-ordered at this location.
Alex Lifeson was one of many Canadian celebrities that participated in the Smilezone Foundation's second annual charity golf tournament at Rattlesnake Point Golf Club this past Monday. Toronto Sports Media writer Mark Szaniawski attended the tournament and tweeted out a photo of himself with Alex Lifeson that you can check out here.
We learned a couple of weeks ago that a new, arts-themed park in the Toronto neighborhood of Willowdale will likely be named after 2 of Willowdale's most famous residents - Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. The proposed Lee Lifeson Art Park is slated to begin construction next year as described in Willowdale Councillor John Fillon's written proposal to the North York Community Council last month. The idea was first put forth at a consultation meeting held on April 22, 2014 and was very favorably received by residents. InsideToronto reported yesterday that the proposal is scheduled to come before the North York community council on August 12th and is expected to be approved:
... The name has been applauded by residents at two community meetings and Lee and Lifeson are pleased with the honour, Willowdale Councillor John Filion said. "They were wonderful about it. They asked a lot of questions," he said about meeting with the band mates about the idea in May. "They said they would be honoured to have a park like this named after them." ... Lee and Lifeson launched Rush as students of Fisherville Junior High School, northeast of Bathurst Street and Drewry Avenue, in the late 1960s. "All their early rehearsals were at their parents' homes in Willowdale. Most of their early gigs were at local high schools, like Earl Haig," Filion said. "They're very connected to Willowdale and they're very renowned musicians." ...
The park will be built next year northeast of Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue between Hillcrest and Princess avenue, east of Gladys Allison Place. A sign with the park's proposed name is currently posted on Hillcrest Avenue near Yonge and Sheppard as shown in this photo.
Audio Fidelity's SACD version of Rush's Presto became available for purchase via the Audio Fidelity website last week, and is now also available from other online retailers such as Amazon as of this past 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.
Wednesday evening I was a guest on the inHALE-exHALE podcast on Blog Talk Radio. I talked Rush with host Kevin Hale for about 25 minutes and you can listen to the conversation online here.
Attention all planets of the Solar Federation! In a very interesting coincidence (or is it?), a team of astronomers recently conducted a survey of 22 red giant stars, and one of them stood out because of its unusual spectrum. The red star in question is named HV 2112! You can read all about the discovery on astrophysicist Brian Koberlein's blog here (thanks Eric at Power Windows). Speaking of 2112, Prog Sphere posted their list of the Top 30 Progressive Rock Concept Albums earlier this week and Rush's 2112 made the cut at #10 (thanks RushFanForever):
The science fiction theme comes front and center in the first few seconds of the song, erupting with a trippy spacy intro that was very rare for the time. While the music is very hard rock centered, the concept and theme of the music gives it a very progressive dimension to it.
2112 was also the subject of the latest Counterbalance column at PopMatters.com, where authors Jason Mendelsohn (a Rush fan) and Eric Klinger (not a Rush fan) debate the themes surrounding the album's title track. You can read their back-n-forth argument at this location. Continuing with the 2112 theme, Music Times posted a list of 11 Great Albums That Open With Their Longest Song and Rush's 2112 and Hemispheres made the cut at 9 and 10 respecitvely:
Continuing the prog tradition of sidelong songs was Rush, who proved to be a major force in progressive rock with its fourth album 2112, which opens with its 20-minute sci-fi epic title track. The band would take its progressive leanings to the extreme with its 1978 album Hemispheres, which opens with the 18-minute "Cygnus X-1: Book II - Hemispheres."
Music Times also posted their list of 6 Artists From The '70s Who Did Well In The '80s earlier this week and Rush took the top spot:
Prog-rock in the '70s was mostly contained to England, but Rush was one of the rare North American bands to tackle the genre, doing so with a hard rock intensity that Yes and Genesis often lacked. Though many of its prog peers went into the '80s with their best days behind them, Rush was cleverly morphing itself with the times, incorporating new wave into its sound to create three of its strongest albums: Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, and Signals.
Yes drummer Alan White was interviewed for a feature in the Cleveland Plain Dealer earlier this week and spoke a little about Rush and the Rock Hall:
... What hasn't been accepted in at least some circles of America, despite the induction of Rush in 2013, is that prog-rock has a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "One would have thought so," White said when asked if he felt the enshrinement of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart had opened the door for other prog-rock bands. "I went to the awards ceremony for that," ... Lifeson's acceptance speech - several minutes of nothing but the word "blah," was a statement, at least in White's mind. "You heard the guitarist," White said. "I think he was making excuses: 'I don't know why we're getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Yes isn't. We modeled our music on Yes music, and they're not in yet.'" ...
A satirical story over at Over the Top Metal News garnered a lot of attention from some gullible Rush fans this past week. The story claims that Tom Hanks will be playing Neil Peart in an upcoming Rush bio movie titled Moving Pictures: The Rush Story. It would be cool if it was true, but it's not. :)
Cracked.com posted a list of disturbing song choices for ad campaigns and Walmart's use of Rush's Working Man in a commercial earlier this year made the cut at #3 with the tagline Walmart Honors Hard Work With a Song About How Much Work Sucks. You can check out the complete list online here.
Reader John T let me know of a Rush reference he noticed in the July 14th issue of People magazine. On one page of the magazine they profile ABC Family Baby Daddy co-stars Derek Theler and Jean-Luc Bilodeau who also happen to be roommates in real life. Bilodeau's profile includes a photo of him in his bedroom with a couple of Rush album's framed on the wall behind him, and a vinyl copy of Signals opened up on the bed he's sitting on. You can check out a photo of the profile here.
Tool guitarist Adam Jones was recently conducted a Q&A for VIP fans and a transcript was posted to the Tool fan site Fourtheye.net. Jones was asked the question, Besides Rush, what other bands were anchors in your life? and answered by saying, Rush was the band that made Adam appreciate music. The album 2112 changed his life and perspective on music. (thanks chris s).
BBC Radio 2 is attempting to determine the Top 100 Greatest Guitar Riffs with the help of their listeners and Rush's The Spirit of Radio is one of the song's nominated. If you are a UK resident you can vote for the song at this location (thanks Gabriel). And speaking of The Spirit of Radio, the song was included on Dr. William Irwin's happy song playlist that he posted for the Psychology Today website last month (thanks RushFanForever).
In celebration of Bastille Day this past Monday, the Keno Album Reviewer site posted a review of Rush's Caress of Steel album which you can check out here. The review received such a great response that they also decided to post a review of Clockwork Angels a couple of days later which you can read here.
The RatCon 2014 Rush fan convention took place this past weekend at Club Carnie in Marlboro, NJ and was a HUGE success. You can check out photos and videos from the event on the official RatCon Facebook page. Here's the video of LanceTheShred introducing Donna Halper and opening up the festivities, Donna's speech and kRUSH's first set:
Speaking of Rush fan conventions, the folks at RushCon have posted the full schedule of events for this year's convention which takes place August 22-24 in Toronto. For all the details and to register, just visit RushCon.org. That's all for this week. Have a great weekend!