Rush is a Band

A blog devoted to the band RUSH:
Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

Thu, Apr 18, 2019

Rush featured in the latest issue of The Walrus

Sun, Jan 31, 2010@4:44PM | comments

[Living on a Lighted Stage: Are we finally ready to take Rush seriously?]

UPDATE - 2/1@8:04AM: The complete article is now available online (thanks RushFanForever).

On Friday I mentioned that the March 2010 issue of The Walrus magazine contains a feature on Rush titled Living on a Lighted Stage: Are we finally ready to take Rush seriously?. Thanks to reader Toronto Writer I was able to get a copy of the article. It's a 4-page feature that discusses all the attention that Rush has been garnering in recent years, and talks at length about the upcoming Rush documentary. It sounds like the author was given a sneak peek of the film and the article includes many quotes from filmmaker Sam Dunn. It also confirms what I'd mentioned last week; that the movie will contain footage of the Canadian Bandstand gig that Rush played at Laura Secord High School in St. Catharines, ON in 1974. From the article:

Recorded sometime in 1974, the earliest known moving pictures of the rock band Rush are set against a decidedly unglamorous backdrop: the auditorium of Laura Secord Secondary School in St. Catharines, Ontario. Two of the three musicians who take the stage do their best to look the part. Dressed in a black sweater plastered with big silver musical notes, the young Alex Lifeson looks like a timid version of the humble guitar hero he will become. As for Geddy Lee, he's unmistakable; if the weird high voice isn't a giveaway, the billowing precursor of the "prophetic robes" the group would adopt as standard stagewear for the rest of the '70s surely is.

If the drummer seems strange, that's because he's not who you'd expect. Seen not long before he departed the band, John Rutsey is the longhair who thunders his way through a greasy, Zeppelinesque rocker typical of Rush's first album. A few months later, Neil Peart, a Hamilton native who grew up in the St. Catharines area, would become the crucial final member of Can-rock's holy trinity.

Captured in what turns out to be the only surviving footage of Rush's paleolithic pre-Peart era, the Laura Secord gig was one of countless high school concerts the band played during its long rise up the rock 'n' roll ladder. "I've played a lot of Sadie Hawkins dances," Geddy Lee remarks in a forthcoming documentary about the group. "We've probably bummed out a lot of people in their high school memories." ...

... The St. Catharines footage was discovered during research for the latest entry in this body of celebratory work, a new documentary by Toronto's Banger Films. Creators Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen, the team behind such hardrocking docs as Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and Iron Maiden: Flight 666, began the project in 2007 and may release it as early as this spring. Tentatively titled Rush: The Documentary, it is the first in-depth film about the group and its history. Besides never-before-seen footage like the Laura Secord show and photographs culled from the members' personal collections, the movie will include testimonials about Rush's greatness from members of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Metallica, and others inspired by the band over the past four decades. ...

The article also talks about author Chris McDonald's recently released academic study of Rush - Rush, Rock Music and the Middle Class: Dreaming in Middletown. They even mention rushisaband.com:

... Using interview with fans he met through rushisaband.com, as well as his own analysis of lyrics and article about the group, McDonald argues that Rush's success is largely due to its embodiment of the values, aspirations, and anxieties of the middle class. ...

RushCon is also a topic of discussion and the author talks with RushCon executive director Judy Staley:

.. She floats an analogy that equates the band with a well-loved restaurant: "It may not be the trendiest new thing on the block, but it's been there for thirty-five years, and that place is full every night. And you know what you're going to get, and you know that they only buy top-quality ingredients and that they spend a lot of time on their menu and make sure it's exactly right. All of that boils down to the integrity of the people involved." ...

Well said Judy! They also speak with Geddy himself who has some mixed feelings about the experience of reliving Rush's history for the documentary:

... "It's unwieldy, frankly - I don't like to think so much about the passage of time. To be involved in the documentary has been hard from that point of view, because they're making so much of things we've done in the past, and asking questions about details twenty-five, thirty years ago - a lot of them have just gone out of my head. It's a bit uncomfortable dwelling so much on what has happened. I'm more comfortable looking forward and not being constantly aware of how long I've been in the same rock band."

The very business of looking back - through the archival footage and photographs - can feel "self-indulgent," Lee says. "You want to spend your time thinking about things other than your own face."

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