This is it. Rush's North American R40 Live tour will unfortunately come to a close after tomorrow's final show at the LA Forum. Many fans - especially those outside of North America - are holding out hope that the band will decide to extend the tour, although that seems unlikely at this point. If there were going to be any additional legs added this year, we probably would have heard about it already. So if there is any kind of extension, it likely won't occur until next year. Hopefully we'll hear something from the band one way or the other after they've had some time to relax and reflect. Back when it was first announced in January, the tour was billed as the band's last major tour of this magnitude, causing a little bit of a panic among some Rush fans who thought this might mean the end of the band. In the time since the tour's announcement, Rush has tempered these concerns a bit in various interviews, assuring fans that the band may be slowing down, but that Rush is still a band and will continue in some shape or form into the future. Much of the decision on slowing down had to do with the various health issues of Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart, as well as Peart's desire to spend more time with his young daughter. Here's what Alex Lifeson had to say about the tour and the band's future in his recent interview with Eddie Trunk:
... I think in my gut that this is probably the last major tour that we'll do. I'd like to think that we'll do specialty gigs, maybe a week in New York or something like that. But we haven't even discussed that. We just want to get through this tour and see where we're at. We want to discuss whether we want to make another record anytime soon. ... Whatever this tour is, it's not the end of the band. It's just kind of reviewing where we're at in terms of major tours. ... Whatever it is - if it is the end of touring - I feel good that we're at least playing as well as we are, that we've developed a show that's really quite something in terms of our historical story and it's nice to go out on a note like that. ...
Speaking of Alex Lifeson interviews, yesterday Spin magazine posted a new interview with Alex where he talks about the R40 Live tour, Rush's longevity, the current state of the music industry and more. When asked about what has been the primary takeaway for him from the whole Rush story, Lifeson replies:
I think perseverance is the key thing. I've come to learn that if you wanna be good at anything, you have to put in your 10,000 hours and stick with it and never give up. As difficult as it seems some times, don't give up if it's truly something you want to do. I spent the afternoon with one of my friends today, and he was talking about his kids, and he was talking about how they're growing up and the conversations that he'd had with them, and how he instilled in them that whole sense of it doesn't matter how much you make or how successful you are at something. The true measure of success is being happy, and if you're happy being a gardener, then do it. If you're happy being a bank executive, do it. If you're happy being a musician, do it. But make sure you do it. I'm glad to hear people are still thinking that way.
This final show in Los Angeles is bound to be a special one, and will hopefully hold a few extra surprises for the fans. Allan Cross at Metro News wrote an article this past week about the LA show potentially being the band's last major performance titled After 40 years, Rush could finally be leaving the Limelight. California Rush fan Bridget M created a special t-shirt for the final 2 shows with a clever open letter to the band on the back that uses several Rush song/album titles as seen here.
Last month Rush in partnership with Qello Concerts launched a Qello Concerts Rush channel, providing full-length Rush concerts and documentaries streamed on demand to any device. The channel also includes exclusive behind-the-scenes webisodes from the R40 Live tour, with a new webisode airing each week through the end of the tour. In the 3rd and 4th R40 on the Road webisodes that were posted over the past couple of weeks, Geddy Lee shows off his extensive collection of basses that he's using on Rush's current R40 Live tour. You can see the 2-part interview on Qello.com (part 1, part 2). The first webisode featured Alex Lifeson's guitar tech Scott Appleton and can be seen here. The 2nd webisode featured violinist Jonathan Dinklage and can be seen here. This morning Qello posted the 5th webisode - a 2-minute video interview with Rush's road chef Frenchie which you can watch online here. From the video description:
Call it the ultimate job for a chef who loves music and traveling. This "R40 on the Road" webisode is all about "Frenchie," Rush's personal chef and nutritionist. Frenchie calls Geddy Lee, Neil Pert, and Alex Lifeson "very culinarily literate," as he takes us behind-the-scenes of his dinner preparation from the farmers market to the plate during the Rush R40 Live tour. It might be a dream job, but it's no easy task, Frenchie says "cooking in a dressing room without setting off an alarm, it's a dance brother." This mouthwatering webisode, which is part of the exclusive series of webisodes on the Rush On Demand channel on Qello Concerts, shows us how the boys, who eat in some of the best restaurants in the world, stay well-fed on the road.
The 15th annual RushCon Rush fan convention takes place this weekend in Los Angeles to coincide with the band's final show of the R40 Live tour. The festivities will begin with an opening night mixer at the Nokia Live VIP lounge tonight at 7:45PM with games, prizes, appetizers and lots of Rush music. Tomorrow the activities shift to the Belasco Theatre for the main convention. The Rush Backstage Club, Kevin J. Anderson and Fantoons will all have booths onsite, and there will be plenty of games and prizes along with the charity auction. Author Kevin J. Anderson along with Vertical Horizon's Matt Scannell will talk about their collaborations with Neil Peart and spin tales from their own personal creative ventures. Anderson will also be unveiling the cover of his upcoming Rush-themed short story anthology 2113. The day will be capped off with Rush's final show of the R40 Live tour at the the LA Forum Saturday night. Sunday's activities will kick off with a Star Map of Hollywood sightseeing tour of Los Angeles in double-decker buses, including a stop at Rush's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Guitar Center's Rock Walk, where the hand prints of Geddy, Alex & Neil are immortalized. The convention will end with a farewell party at the Grammy Museum, where there are sure to be many tears shed. In addition to all the festivities, the Rush fan documentary crew will be on hand for some filming. For all the details and to register for the convention, check out the RushCon website, and be sure to follow RushCon on Facebook and on Twitter for all the latest news and info.
Back in June we learned about a new book by author Bradley J. Birzer titled Neil Peart: Cultural Repercussions that will release via Wordfire Press on September 15th. The book is a biographical, in-depth examination of the words, ideas and professional life of Neil Peart. You can check out a high-res scan of the book's cover here. An ebook preview version of the book is one of the many titles included in a new book bundle being offered by Humble Music. Also included in the bundle is Clockwork Angels and Clockwork Lives: The Bookseller's Tale. The way it works is that you pay what you want for the bundle. If you pay a minimum of $15 you'll get all 18+ titles including Cultural Repercussions. To purchase your bundle and get all the details, just visit the Humble Music website.
Music journalist Paul Semel recently posted two vintage interviews with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson to his website. Both interviews took place in July of 1996 just prior to the release of the Test For Echo album. Portions of the interviews were used in a magazine piece, but much of the content has been unpublished up until now. You can read the interview with Geddy Lee here, and the interview with Alex Lifeson here.
Musical comedy duo and YouTube sensation Ninja Sex Party released their new album Attitude City a couple of weeks ago. The popular duo's YouTube page has over 500,000 subscribers and nearly 55 million views, and their videos have been featured on the front pages of Funny or Die, CollegeHumor, and Dailymotion. Attitude City is their third album and includes a song titled 6969 which is a parody of Rush's 2112. The song is split into 6 parts, containing lyrical nods to 2112 such as, I know it's most unusual to come before you so and also mirroring some of the themes included in the story of 2112. From the Genius.com description of the track:
The song follows Danny Sexbang and Ninja Brian as they travel to the future in hope of getting laid... future-style. They instead, however, stumble on a dark dystopia where sex is outlawed and the human population is controlled by some really big dicks.
A few weeks ago I had the honor of appearing on the SHOOTING FromThe LIP podcast with the one and only Donna Halper. This was the first episode in the podcast's Rush 40 for 40 Super Fan Series, where host Kevin Hale plans on talking to 40 Rush superfans. Donna and I talk about 41 years of Rush, our thoughts on what defines a superfan, the R40 Live tour and what the future may hold for Rush. You can listen to the podcast online at this location. Over the past couple of weeks Kevin posted the 2nd and 3rd episodes in the series. In the 2nd episode he speaks with Rush Superfan Julie Porter from Canton, OH. Julie is an admin for the Facebook fan page Clockwork Angels (Rush Fans United) and owns and operates Julie Porter Photography. You can listen to her interview online here. This past week Kevin posted the 3rd episode where he chats with Jon Gregory - a New Jersey based Rush fan who is an Art Director at Concepts TV Productions who is putting together an amateur Rush fan documentary. You can check out his episode online here.
TeamRock.com spoke with the Trailer Park Boys this past week, and asked Bubbles, Ricky and Julian to list off the 10 best Rush songs according to the Trailer Park Boys. Tom Sawyer tops their list and here's what they had to say about it:
Bubbles: "We've missed out a bunch, but Tom Sawyer has to be in the list."
Ricky: "It's about a guy on a boat who got screwed around. He says, 'fight the government' or something. It's about rebellion. I get into a fight pretty much every time I listen to that song."
Bubbles: "This song isn't supposed to make you want to fight people. The video is awesome. It was filmed in a studio in Quebec. You get to see all that equipment. I've been there. I took something. Ricky brought a crowbar and peeled one of the boards right off the wall. But Tom Sawyer is a masterpiece. I read a lot of poetry because of Rush. I've got about 20,000 poetry books."
Ricky: "Where do you keep them?"
Bubbles: "Oh, around. In places..."
In the latest edition of the A.V. Club's AVQ&A they asked some of the staff the question, Which "not great" works by great artists do you love more than the critical darlings? A.V. Club's Becca James chose to talk about two of Rush's albums that she thinks don't get the recognition they deserve:
... Power Windows and Presto aren't getting the massive amounts of love they deserve. I realize the 1985 synth-heavy album and the 1989 softer (for Rush) rock album aren't typical of the prog Rush most people know and respect-2112, Moving Pictures, Permanent Waves, A Farewell To Kings-but both are the ideal combination of Rush's best qualities-masterful musicianship and poignant and playful lyrics-one paired with a pop sensibility, the other with more singer support, both allowing for a broader audience to enjoy the band. I urge you to give them a listen if you haven't.
After a 2-month, tour-spoiler-free hiatus, the Rushcast podcast is back up and running and host Jay Mantis posted a couple of new shows over the past few weeks. Jay hid himself away until his first show of the R40 Live tour at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and in his July 9th podcast he talks with fellow fan Chad about the show and the tour in general. Then in his July 20th broadcast Jay goes over the results of his setlist guessing contest.
This past Saturday, July 25th was the 41st anniversary of original Rush drummer John Rutsey's last show playing with Rush which took place at Centennial Hall in London, Ontario on July 25, 1974. In recognition of this anniversary, Ultimate Classic Rock re-posted an article they'd first posted last year where they look at the history of Rush with Rutsey, focusing on how he helped form the band, why he eventually left and how he was snubbed at Rush's Rock Hall induction last year. 4 days after Rutsey left the band on Geddy Lee's 21st birthday, Rutsey's replacement Neil Peart joined the band. So this past Wednesday, July 29th was not only Geddy Lee's 62nd birthday, it was also the 41st anniversary of this important day in the annals of Rush history. Neil's first show with the band took place a couple of weeks after he joined the band on August 14, 1974 at the Pittsburgh Civic Center Arena opening for Uriah Heep and Manfred Mann. Here's a bootleg audio recording of Finding My Way, the song they opened their set with.
That's all for this week. A big shout out to everyone attending RushCon and/or tomorrow's final show. Have a great and Rush-filled weekend everybody!!!