Donna Halper discusses Rush's early history in new interview

Posted on Monday, April 7, 2014 at 1:36PM

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#47 - Posted 4/10/14 @9:56AM by larryrushman [contact]

Wow, I haven't been on here for a few days, but reading the past 46 comments on Donna's well deserved interview was very entertaining.

Interviewing Donna for RUSH related events is as good as it gets as far as being a RUSH fan. You don't interview a Kentucky Fried Chicken employee on how to make a big mac sauce.

I've been a RUSH fan for 35 years, seen 49 live shows all over the U.S., Canada and europe, Scandinavia, and to me, Donna is awesome! I can't tell you how happy I was to actually see you post on this site, and take the time to share your thoughts with us. To me, ever since I became a RUSH fan, I have heard of the mysterious Donna HALPER, and it was great to hear from you. It makes this site even more special that Donna shares her ideas with us RUSH fans.

Thank you Donna for everything you do, and have done for such a wonderful band that we all have our own love for.

Oh and by the way, if I was Bill GATES, I would end that bidding for the "Grapes Under Pressure" charity tour, $500,000!!!! As Vince Carter once said in the NBA slam Dunk contest....."It's OVER" I'd be going :)))))

Rush on everyone, and thanks again Donna.
#46 - Posted 4/9/14 @9:05PM by jiminseattle [contact]

that was nice Random, good for you. That type of action can be severely lacking here at times.
#45 - Posted 4/9/14 @8:38PM by random_sample [contact]

#39- You're right. I don't know you. Sorry if I misinterpreted your post. I think I did. My mistake.
#44 - Posted 4/9/14 @4:19PM by joerock213 [contact]

Comrade Halper, On behalf of the High Priests of Syrinx under The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly, I award you the Triple Fireballs Commendation and bestow the rank of Priestess 2nd Grade (the equivalent of Lieutenant Commander) for your work ab initio. Long live Rush! God save Geddy's noisy bastard!
#43 - Posted 4/9/14 @3:18PM by chutch15 [contact]

#35 - Billy Joel said it best...

"I am the entertainer
I come to do my show
You've heard my latest record
It's been on the radio
Ah, it took me years to write it
They were the best years of my life
It was a beautiful song
But it ran too long
If you're gonna have a hit
You gotta make it fit
So they cut it down to 3:05"
#42 - Posted 4/9/14 @11:39AM by Pale Facsimile [contact]

Ms. Halper, thank you as always for another entertaining, insightful interview. It always helps the work day go by faster! The decreasing freedom radio stations have is sad...and it's not just the frustrating, set-in-stone playlists, but also changing of station formats, and the addition of non-music programming (i.e. sports).

Here in Syracuse, we have two main rock stations that do classic rock, 95X (WAQX) and TK-99 (WTKW). 95X used to be a perfect balance of classic and modern, but about 5 years ago they started leaning heavily toward newer modern rock to compete with the strictly-modern K-ROCK (WKRL). TK-99 still is all classic rock, but in the fall/winter they do Syracuse football/basketball, and they have the new contract for Yankees baseball (I'm sure as someone who's spent a ton of time in Boston, you'll join me in a collective 'BLECHHH' Ged, I'm a Jays fan!).

It's gotten to the point where on either station, the 'most obscure' Rush song is Subdivisions. It's like gee, do we really need Tom Sawyer or Freewill for the 15-millionth time? I don't remember which of the two stations it was, but about a year ago my now-ex-girlfriend and I were riding around, and we heard "The Wreckers" and she nearly crashed the car because I started freaking out!
#41 - Posted 4/9/14 @9:55AM by Graham GB38457 [contact]

#35 - Thats correct most versions given to Radio stations are shortened. As an example if you purchase/or just take a look at the Rush CD Promo's listed on ebay you will notice (sometimes) that there are two versions. Usually an album version and a single version. These promo's are generally released to radio stations for promoting the single.

#39 Well said, I read you comment on #20. Personally who cares what views people have if you like Rush that's good enough for me. Would be a boring place if we all subscribe to the same view.

Given we are all drawn to this website as we enjoy listening to Rush I'm always amazed why people have to judge or criticise other members on this board. I guess that's the world we live in.
#40 - Posted 4/9/14 @9:54AM by chutch15 [contact]

Donna, thanks for that reply and setting some of the record straight. Much appreciated.

To your point about long songs, that practice is still in effect in some places. A good friend of mine has been hosting an excellent four-hour progressive rock show called The Gagliarchives here in the Philly area for well over 20 years. I know for sure his bio and smoke breaks are scheduled during the long songs that he plays. Many of today's progressive rock bands still create 10+ minute songs of high caliber too!
#39 - Posted 4/9/14 @9:24AM by Jediyyz [contact]

#36 You don't know me...don't presume that you can judge me in any way, shape or form. I gave Ms. Halper credit for playing Rush, and listeners credit for hearing the talent and potential in the music. How you get any more from my comment escapes me! I never said Rush "owes" me or any fan! Don't put words in my statement that don't exist!
#38 - Posted 4/9/14 @12:43AM by donnahalper [contact]

To #35, what you noticed is another example of how radio has changed. Many stations, even those that play Rush songs, are programmed by a corporate program director, who sends the announcers (in every city) their daily playlist; and nobody is allowed to deviate from it. (That's why some stations play the same Rush tunes, and no others. Somebody decided that those tunes were the "top tracks" on the CDs.) Some stations still play long songs, but many no longer do-- rather, they will edit the song to be able to fit in more commercials. This is especially true if a song was also a top-40 hit, or someone considers the edited version better than the long version. In some cases, the record company provides stations with the edited version only, so that's all they have at the station. Bottom line: yeah, the disc jockeys are being honest when they tell you that's the version they were given. Years ago, at most album rock stations, the d.j.'s had a say in finding some track that nobody else was playing. But these days, at many stations, it's all decided by someone in the main office, and you play what you are told to play. Sad but true.
#37 - Posted 4/8/14 @11:03PM by random_sample [contact]

My last comment also goes out to #18.
#36 - Posted 4/8/14 @11:02PM by random_sample [contact]

#20- I am a big Rush fan and have been for around 30 years. Rush "fans" like you are precisely the kind of Rush fans I can't stand. Self important and acting like they deserve some kind of "credit" for Rush's success or Rush "owes" them something and Rush makes the music they make ..just for them.
Leave it to some Rush "fans" (like you) to turn something NICE , like a Donna Halper interview around and say something like "the fans who first heard it and "got it" and spread the word...deserve perhaps even more credit!"
Personally, one of the things I always used to love about Rush, was that they DIDN'T make the music they make or decide things based on "fans". They did what they thought was right ,or challenging, artistically honest,etc. This might sound strange to some of you on here, but it actually irritates me, every time I hear Geddy or Alex (Neil doesn't do it, as much) in the last few years ,going on about their "fans". But I'm sure "fans" like #20 lap that right up, since they "deserve" so much...blahhhhhh blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....
#35 - Posted 4/8/14 @6:21PM by keith 82 [contact]

Hey everyone.Don't post to often but wanted to ask Ms. Halper a question. Ok? here goes. Just usuing "Headlong Flight" for example why is it now that radio can't play the whole song anymore. It's always a shortened version. Have asked my radio station that I listen to and they say thats the version they get. Is it me? BTW the station has always been great to me for Rush requests so just wondering. If anyone else on the site has answers post them. Donna,thanks for all you've done behind the scenes to help .......
#34 - Posted 4/8/14 @5:46PM by donnahalper [contact]

Regarding #31, I think some of what came up in conversation was new-- but I have no idea if it would be new to you. No sarcasm intended in that reply-- I only mean that I've given a few interviews over the years (!) and often, the person asking the questions has a particular perspective or specific information they are seeking. I think I provided a lot more details about those early years, but again, hard to say. I did not expect that we would talk for 56 minutes-- especially since it was on a German radio station and most of his audience was undoubtedly expecting German. (He did a translation for his listeners later, I am told, in a podcast). The discussion was punctuated with music on several occasions, but still, it was a long conversation that covered some familiar ground and some not so familiar. And to my friend Denny Crane, I love you, man! Thanks for the kind words.
#33 - Posted 4/8/14 @4:34PM by HighFidelityRob [contact]

That last post was a joke. Sorry :)
#32 - Posted 4/8/14 @4:29PM by HighFidelityRob [contact]

Trolls always gonna troll
#31 - Posted 4/8/14 @3:17PM by LedRush [contact]

With all due respect to Ms. Halper (thank you! and you're awesome!), is there anything new in this interview?
#30 - Posted 4/8/14 @3:14PM by MGRushFan

Bathroom song=Drop the needle and then go drop a deuce!
#29 - Posted 4/8/14 @2:57PM by winstontizzer [contact]

Dazed and Confused taken from that's what I call a bathroom song! I love the clip where the fan is being chased all over MSG by the cops. I wonder what happened to that guy...
#28 - Posted 4/8/14 @2:47PM by SA [contact]

Thank you Donna for recognizing there talent at that time and giving them the breaks they were looking for. I would love to sit and talk to you about the rest of your career (regardless of your notoriety to Rush) as I think you are well spoken and have had a interesting life.
Let me know if you are ever in Lansing MI. and I will take you to where Rush played their first U.S. show.
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