UPDATE - 8/24@1:31PM: Kevin J. Anderson spoke at RushCon today and revealed his second promised big announcement. Here's another tweet from Kelly D with the news:
BREAKING: @TheKJA and Neil Peart are in the process of writing new book called Clockwork Lives. . .!!!!!! @cygnusx1net @rushisaband
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UPDATE - 8/23@4:52PM: Although Kevin J. Anderson isn't scheduled to speak at RushCon until tomorrow, it seems that longtime RIAB member and RushCon 14 attendee Kelly D managed to get some info on what at least one of KJA's big announcements is in regards to. Here's what she tweeted out less than an hour ago:
BREAKING: @TheKJA to release novella called "2113" in @rushtheband story anthology @cygnusx1net @rushisaband
More news as we learn it.
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Tonight's the night! The 14th annual RushCon Rush fan convention begins this evening with an opening mixer at the Chelsea Eaton Churchill Ballroom, kicking off a 3-day, Rush-filled extravaganza in Rush's hometown of Toronto. Sunday's guest speaker at the Con will be Clockwork Angels author and good friend of Neil Peart - Kevin J. Anderson. Anderson tweeted out earlier this week that he'll be making a big announcement (or two) at the Convention this weekend:
And I will have a big announcement at @RushCon this weekend. Oh man, a big one. Maybe two. If you guys can handle it. @rushisaband
There's no other indication or clues as to what the announcement will be so there has been plenty of speculation over the past week (how about a Clockwork Angels movie?!). In addition to Anderson, the other guest speakers will be Rush lighting director Howard Ungerleider, Rush roadie Tony "Jack Secret" Geranios, and author Martin Popoff. The convention will also include a Saturday night Rush tribute band show with Lotus Land; Rush-themed trivia, games, multimedia shows, door prizes, etc.; the Rush charity auction; a closing party on Sunday night at Alex Lifeson's Orbit Room with the David Barrett Trio; and more. You can still register online at this location or just register at the door this evening. For all the RushCon details just go to RushCon.org, and be sure to follow all the RushCon action on Facebook and Twitter.
After a long hiatus, Neil Peart once again updated the news page on his website yesterday. The August, 2014 entry is titled Magnetic Mirages and in it Neil details a couple of recent trips he took to the islands off the coast of California with his friends Craiggie and Chris Stankee. It's a long update (3 pages) and - as is typical with Neil's prose - is chock full of a number of historical anecdotes and reminiscences from Neil's past, but no news about Rush or the band's future plans unfortunately. You can read the entire update online at this location. And speaking of Neil, as part of MusicRadar.com and Rhythm magazine's online Drum Expo 2014 earlier this week, Neil Peart sat down with David West for an interview where he talks at length about his pursuit of excellence as a drummer. He speaks about all of the different teachers he's had over the years, his influences, his practice techniques and more. Here's Neil discussing the importance of being respected by fellow musicians:
... "There is nothing I would rather have than the respect of other musicians for what I do, but respect is something you have to earn continually. A lot of times people only respect dead musicians because they can't let you down. Everyone has had that experience of being a fan of someone who suddenly really lets you down. "As a musician it's my responsibility to get better and if people are admiring the work I do then that's even more inspiration to improve and to take it up a notch. The hunger for improvement and exploration and all that really does derive from the acclaim. I know people give me that respect so I feel I have to earn it."
You can read the entire interview online at MusicRadar.com here. As part of Drum Expo 2014 MusicRadar.com is also running a poll to determine the greatest drum song intro, and Rush's The Spirit of Radio is one of the choices. So go vote for Rush!
There was another Rush reference on Wednesday night's episode (Season 2, Episode 7 - Lamia) of the FX police drama The Bridge which complements the reference that occurred on the season 2 premiere last month. In that episode 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, and the 2 have a discussion involving Rush. Wednesday night's episode opened with the 2 characters in Daniel's apartment, both wearing Rush t-shirts (this time Daniel has the Grace Under Pressure shirt and his sponsor wears a Rush explosion t-shirt), doing cocaine and rocking out to Rush's The Spirit of Radio. The episode is available online for FX subscribers (you have to login with your cable TV provider) at this location.
NMR Distribution recently added a Rush Starman tin lunchbox to their large line of Rush merchandise seen here. This classic tin lunchbox measures 7.75" x 6.75" x 4" and is now available for purchase at this location. NMR Distribution also makes Rush playing cards, posters, and the official Rush calendar. The 16-month, 2015 Rush wall calendar also features the Rush Starman and is available here.
The Rush documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage made Rolling Stone's list of the 40 Greatest Rock Documentaries earlier this week, coming in at #29 (thanks RushFanForever):
Few bands have had such a divide between critical praise and fan adulation as Rush. Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen's straightforward doc chronicles the Canadian group from its beginnings as a high school band to the arena-filling prog behemoths they would become. Trent Reznor, Les Claypool, Jack Black, Kirk Hammett, Gene Simmons and Billy Corgan all appear to laud the group's music and influence, but this one makes the list for the treasure trove of archival footage geared toward the Rush completist (including a teen Alex Lifeson fighting with his parents about not finishing school). When the film was released, the self-described "world's most popular cult band" were still three years away from their Hall of Fame induction, but Stage functions as the cinematic accompaniment to that cherry-on-top honor. JN
Robert Freedman is an author, journalist, communications professional and keeper of the Rush Vault website who released a new book from Algora Publishing titled Rush: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellence a couple of weeks ago. Here are some comments about the contents of the 178-page book from the author's website:
... Thanks to the work of lots of other people, including Chris McDonald and Durrell Bowman, whose books and Ph.D. dissertations paved the way for many of us who spend a lot of time thinking about the band's music, I found lots of great work to draw on. The one thing that was missing, in my view, was an overarching narrative that put everything the band has done under a single, unifying theme. It was my intention to do that in my book by showing how all of the band's music can be understood as an expression of classical liberalism rooted in Aristotelian individualism. ...
You can read an excerpt from the book's foreword which I had the honor of writing, and check out an excerpt from an early review of the book by Rush, Rock Music, and the Middle Class author Chris McDonald in this post. The book is available for purchase directly from the publisher, or from Amazon and other online retailers. And speaking of Rush and philosophy, Progarchy.com contributor eheter posted an article earlier this week where he argues that Neil Peart's lyrical philosophy is an example of Stoicism. It's a lengthy article which uses several examples from Rush's library of lyrics to illustrate the author's point. It's titled The Stoic Wisdom of Neil Peart and you can read it online here.
Calum Slingerland at Noisy.com posted a retrospective review of Rush's Moving Pictures this past week which you can check out here.
Geddy Lee made a stop at Long & McQuade in Yorkville earlier this week and posed for a photo which you can check out on the Long & McQuade Regina Facebook page (thanks Eric at Power Windows).
Runners World magazine is running a poll to determine the Best Running Songs and Rush's Marathon was one of the songs nominated in the 2nd heat. Unfortunately it did not make the final cut, coming in a distant 6th out of the 8 songs in their heat. You can check out the results so far at this location (thanks Ken M).
Earlier this week, both Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson were nominated to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Geddy Lee was nominated by Primus bassist and Rush friend Les Claypool in this video, and Alex Lifeson was nominated by Bubbles from the Trailer Park Boys in this video. On Wednesday Geddy Lee accepted the challenge and posted the following video to Rush's YouTube channel, which includes a guest appearance from the Rush bobblehead dolls. He then forwarded on the challenge to Ed Robertson of the Bare Naked Ladies, actor Jay Baruchel and baseball legend Randy Johnson. Since Geddy made the challenge, all 3 of his nominees have accepted; Jay Baruchel's video is here, Randy Johnson's video is at this link and you can watch Ed Robertson's challenge video here.
This coming Wednesday, August 27th our favorite guitar player Alex Lifeson will turn 61 years young! Happy almost birthday Lerxst! That's all for this week. Have a great weekend!