This past Tuesday, July 29th we celebrated a very important day in Rush history. Not only was it Geddy Lee's 61st birthday, but it was also the 40th anniversary of the day that Neil Peart joined Rush, replacing original drummer John Rutsey. He's been the new guy in the band ever since. The day after Neil joined the band Rush bought equipment for their first tour at Long and McQuade Music in Toronto, including Geddy's black Rickenbacker, Alex's Gibson Les Paul Deluxe and Neil's Slingerland kit (aka Chromey)... and the rest - as they say - is history. To celebrate Neil's 40th anniversary, Ultimate Classic Rock put together a nice article detailing the events surrounding Neil joining Rush, including some relevant past interview snippets with the band. And Rush.com sent out a newsletter commemorating both events (Geddy's birthday and Neil Peart's 40th anniversary), complete with details on some new swag from the Rush Backstage Club to celebrate.
Wednesday we learned that Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio will be offering a new course this fall titled Rush: Progressive Rock and Modern Society. From the Advertiser-Tribune:
... [the course will] explore the musical and cultural issues of the 1970s and '80s, according to course instructor and adjunct professor Nathan Santos. Santos proposed the course and is designing the curriculum for the 2014-15 academic year. He said students in the special topics course are to analyze progressive rock, along with its musical elements, lyrical themes, historical, social and cultural content and its significance within the development of popular music styles. The 15-week course, for three credit hours, already is filling up, he said. The course is centered on the music and styles of Rush ... Santos said students are to look at the style changes the band went through over the years and how bands withstand changes to continue to create music. "It is a good lesson for our students who are pursuing a career in the music field," he said. "The band played an important part in our culture and heritage and the commercial music industry." Rush is the focus of the course, but also a starting point, he said. Other topics include literature, philosophy, politics, technology, songwriting, biographys, life on the road and album covers. Santos has been teaching at TU since 1998, mostly music history. ... "I had always thought a course focused on (Rush) would be a neat idea, (but) never had the chance to do it," he said. ... "Rush is trying to communicate a message," he said. "We want to take that and look at where we are today and how we got there."
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 a couple of months ago. 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. Examiner.com posted a great, 4-star review of the book earlier this week which you can check out at this location:
... Rather than go with a day-by-day (or even album-by-album) approach, Mobley forgoes a rigid chronology when discussing Rush's formation in order to make astute observations about where the band eventually took its music, and to comment on the events all self-respecting Rush scholars know would come to pass. Employing a wide lens for his mind's "Camera Eye," Mobley offers a broader view, a semi-omniscient (if subjective) take on the threesome's career trajectory-the albums, songs, and concerts. ... when it comes to condensing forty-plus years of factoids behind the world's most endearing rock trio into one reader-friendly volume, Rush FAQ is a "companion unobtrusive."
Order your copy of Rush FAQ at this location.
As a complement to their list of the 100 Best Canadian Songs Ever from early this month (Rush's The Spirit of Radio came in at #87), Huffington Post Canada posted a list of the 50 Worst Canadians Songs Ever earlier this week. Unfortunately Rush's Roll the Bones made the cut at #45 (thanks ou812112):
The title track from the legendary rock band's 1991 album features an attempt at rap. A really ill-advised and ill-informed attempt at rap. It's like a prog rock "Rapture" minus any of the charm or enthusiasm. Oh, and the video features a rapping skeleton.
Rush is not only a band, Rush is also the name of a new show on the USA Network. Reader John T let me know that there was a Rush (the band) reference on episode 2 of Rush (the show) last Thursday, July 24th. The show stars Tom Ellis as renegade physician Dr. William P. Rush, a medical fixer who privately caters to the elite of Los Angeles for a hefty price tag. In one scene Dr. Rush is attending to MMA fighter Troy Huntsman whose nose won't stop bleeding. Troy says, so rush like the band?. To which Dr. Rush replies (rather sardonically), sure, like the band. You can watch the show online here and the reference occurs at about the 14-minute mark.
Rush's Manhattan Project was featured in an NPR article from earlier this week on educational songs (thanks Billosaur). The song's lyrics tell the tale of the WWII project that created the first atomic bomb.
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Neil Peart joining Rush, here's a YouTube audio clip of Neil Peart's first recorded drum solo as a member of Rush. The clip runs a little over 3 minutes long and is from the band's recording of its August 26, 1974 show at the Cleveland Agora for a radio broadcast on Cleveland radio station WMMS (where Donna Halper worked). The show is one of the better known Rush bootlegs and was made available for purchase in Europe as Rush ABC: 1974 a few years back.
That's all for this week. Have a great weekend! Oh yeah... here's Alex Lifeson playing a slug.