Rush is a Band

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

Fri, Feb 21, 2020

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Feb 11, 2011@12:09PM | comments

The 53rd Grammy Awards ceremony takes place this coming Sunday in Los Angeles and the Rush documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage is nominated in the Best Long Form Music Video category. The winner in this category will be announced during the pre-telecast ceremony which takes place Sunday from 1-4PM PST at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The pre-telecast will be streamed live at Grammy.com and the winner in the Long Form Music Video category is traditionally one of the last to be announced. Rush has been nominated 6 times in the past in the Rock Instrumental category, losing each time. This is their first nomination in the Long Form Music Video category. In a Winnipeg Free Press article yesterday it was confirmed that none of the members of the band will appear at the ceremony although filmmakers Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen will be in attendance. From the article:

... We tried to bring the band and (drummer) Neil (Peart) said the last time he came to the Grammys — he's only been once — it was the worst day of his life," McFadyen said during a party at the Canadian consul general's residence on Thursday. "So he said he's never coming again."...

..."We're proud to be category 109 of 109 categories," Dunn joked.

The directors of "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey" and "Iron Maiden: Flight 666" were dressed casually for the swanky soiree, pairing sport coats with T-shirts and sneakers on a balmy L.A. evening. They acknowledged that they stood out a bit.

"This event's a little more formal than what we're used to dealing with," Dunn said.

Added McFadyen: "The invite said 'business attire,' and we were like: 'Should we just wear our sweat pants — like what we wear to work?'"

The duo will square off against some other highly regarded films at the Grammys, including movies about the White Stripes, Blur and the Doors, so they weren't necessarily optimistic about their chances of winning.

"We're not holding our breath," McFadyen said.

But they can't deny the allure of helping Rush secure its first Grammy.

"If we could bring it home for those guys, that would be amazing," Dunn said. "It would be amazing for us and I think for the band as well."

Alex Lifeson was a guest on the VH1 Classic Rock Nights syndicated radio show Wednesday night as part of their celebration of Grammys Week. Alex talked a good deal about the documentary along with all the usual subjects including the 5.1 surround sound re-release of Moving Pictures, the I Still Love You Man video, and the upcoming tour. He also mentioned a few new side projects he's working on but didn't provide many details.

Alex had first mentioned the 5.1 surround sound remix of Moving Pictures in his Planet Rock interview a couple weeks ago and elaborated on it in his VH1 Classic Rock Nights interview Wednesday night saying that it's finished and that he was very impressed with the results. Rush engineer Richard Chycki gave some more insight into the remix in a blog post on his website from last week:

Ok, so the word is out. I’ve been in the studio for last month remixing the original Moving Pictures CD in 5.1 surround. I finished tweaks on Red Barchetta yesterday. It really was an amazing experience to spread the original tracks of such a classic CD into the 3D word of surround. (The car speeds off, goes behind and banks a sharp right in rear BTW). The listening experience is drastically enveloping and coupled with songs and performances that epitomize this band, it’s definitely a great time to re-discover Rush.

After discussion with the band, the goal here was to pay serious homage to the production of the era so a considerable amount of time was spent researching and working through effects etc. that matched the original but would fare well in the 5.1 world. And of course, placement was also a critical issue. I’m pleased with the results and Alex Lifeson was pretty blown away when he came in to listen to the finals.

So enjoy and more to come shortly!

There had been some question as to whether Rush would be remixing their entire catalog in 5.1 or just Moving Pictures since they are due to re-release their entire Universal-era back catalog later this year. But it sounded like Alex implied in his interview Wednesday night that this was a one-off project done in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of Moving Pictures, which occurs tomorrow on February 12th.

A couple of weeks ago Alex Lifeson revealed in a Classic Rock interview that Rush has been working on remixing their 2002 album Vapor Trails with the assistance of Rush engineer Rich Chycki, who had been responsible for re-mixing 2 tracks from the album - One Little Victory and Earthshine - for Rush's 2009 compilation album Retrospective 3. Chycki then posted some more details regarding the album re-mix at his website last week. Chycki was also recently profiled at the Sonnox Oxford Plugins website in an article titled Rich Chycki Sculpting Sounds With Sonnox For Rush. The article is very technical and obviously focused on Sonnox equipment, but Chycki mentions Rush a few times including this excerpt where he remarks on the Rush tracks he mixed for Guitar Hero:

... For surround work, all bussing is done in the box and I'm pretty happy with the results, so I'm experimenting with some all-in-the box configurations now. The Rush tracks for Guitar Hero are remixes done that way, and they hold up pretty well to the originals....

He then had the following interesting tidbit to say when asked about how he used the Sonnox Oxford Inflator:

Across the mix, as a touch of it goes a long way to add size without smashing it. In fact, Inflator was one of my ‘secret weapons’ to wrap up the remix of Rush’s One Little Victory on Retrospective 3.

He ends the interview by summing up what's on his plate for the near future... lots of Rush work!

I will be completing the recording and mixing of the rest of Rush’s Clockwork Angels CD in 2011, recording and mixing a new live DVD of Rush's current tour as well as doing some recording for Dream Theater.

Last week Neil Peart updated the News page on his website with a story titled Talking Drums in Death Valley. In this latest installment Neil reveals that - in addition to his new book Far and Away - he'll soon be releasing his third instructional DVD which will focus on live performance. The working title for the DVD is Taking Center Stage: A Lifetime of Live Performance and a website has been set up at this link although there's no content as of yet. From the update:

... The theme for our next collaboration seemed obvious: live performance, preparing for it and surviving it. In early 2010 we began collecting material ... In April, 2010, the Hudson Music crew joined me at Drum Channel in Oxnard, California, and filmed several days of my rehearsals for the Time Machine tour. In July they filmed an entire Rush show, in Saratoga Springs, New York, with supplementary “drum-cams” on me. They also captured the soundcheck and pre-show warmup, when I did a bit of talking to the camera, as I had during the Drum Channel filming in April. However, we would need to shoot some more “talkie bits” to go before each of the songs from the live show, explaining about special problems or challenges in a particular song, and technical highlights. ...

Neil then described how he decided to film these talkie bits in one of his favorite locations - Death Valley:

... It seemed to me that if we could combine such splendid natural backgrounds with the existing rehearsal and stage footage, it would elevate the show enormously. I was glad when the Hudson Music guys agreed, and set about getting the necessary permits (filming in a national park has certain “conditions”), and making the arrangements. ...

Neil also spoke about his other big project; his 5th full-length book - Far and Away: A Prize Every Time - where much of the content is taken from the many road stories he has written for his website over the past few years:

... I have long wanted the stories I write for this department to be “dignified” and made permanent by appearing in print, and at last I made it happen. ... I needed a title and subtitle, which would help direct the design of a cover, which I would develop with Hugh Syme, as usual. ... All in all, it was a solid two months of work, but I was delighted to see it truly coming together—a collection of stories that had been written and published independently now took on a unity, a single narrative span, that covered almost four years of my life. At first I had been daunted by having to write the “Intro” and “Outro,” but they proved to be the keystones in framing the twenty-two individual stories, to make it feel like one. ...

The Rush Backstage Club started taking pre-orders for a special limited edition hardcover version of the book last week and managed to sell out all 500 copies already.

Gibson Guitars unveiled their new Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess at the 2011 Winter NAMM show last month. We learned earlier this week that the guitar is now available for purchase with either a Viceroy Brown or Royal Crimson finish at Chuck Levins and other retailers for a suggested retail price of around $4,000 ($6,115 for the limited edition autographed models). From the specifications sheet:

Created through extensive work with Alex, this new model incorporates the Graphtech Ghost-equipped Floyd Rose licensed tremolo and newly designed output circuitry that offers unprecedented signal routing (via "Regular" output jack and/or "Life-OSound" output jack) and tonal shaping flexibility (via push/pull pots) that takes full use of the guitar's complete pickup arsenal. Available in Viceroy Brown and Royal Crimson finishes, both of which were specified and approved by the artist. ...

Alex spoke a little about the guitar in an interview from late last summer:

... I've been working with Gibson on putting together a Les Paul Axcess model, which would be an Alex Lifeson signature guitar. It'll have the Floyd Rose, the piezo pickup in the bridge and single-coil taps in the volume pots. Basically, we've taken everything you could want in a guitar and we're putting it into a really true utility instrument in a fantastic platform. ...

Guitar legend Gary Moore passed away from a heart attack while vacationing in Spain this past Sunday at the age of 58. Moore is best known for his work with Thin Lizzy but was also an accomplished blues rock solo artist. Rush had a lot of respect for Moore and had him as an opening act for several dates on the Grace Under Pressure tour. He also is credited with introducing Rush to Peter Collins; the producer behind Power Windows, Hold Your Fire, Counterparts and Test for Echo. Alex Lifeson remembers the legendary guitarist in this Classic Rock Revisited article:

"I was very saddened to hear the news of Gary 's death. We toured together in the 80s and I remember him as a soft spoken, gentle man with a quick smile. His influence as a guitarist is undeniable and his purity of playing and passion will live on in all of us who love the instrument he so cherished.

Jay Leno's drumming catOnto lighter subjects, there was a funny Rush reference in Jay Leno's monologue on last Thursday night's Tonight Show. Toward the end of the monologue Jay says the following:

CNN did a story the other day about a dog who could keep a beat. Did you see this? Take a look, I'll show you... (shows news clip of dog keeping beat with his paw). I admit - that's pretty good. But you know my cat Bedalius? My cat is so much more talented. ...

Jay then shows a concert clip of his cat playing drums to Rush's Limelight. You can check it out at NBC.com at this link at about the 10:35 mark.

Last weekend RollingStone.com asked their readers who they thought were the best drummers of all time. Earlier this week they published the results and Neil Peart came in at #3 behind John Bonham and Keith Moon (thanks Jeffrey C):

To Rush's army of fans any name at the top of this list other than Neil Peart is surely sacrilegious, though it's likely that Peart himself would be more than happy to see his name at Number Three – right beneath Bonham and Moon. Of course, no Rush concert is complete without a Peart drum solo. Here's one from Frankfurt Germany in 2004.

Boston Herald writer Jed Gotleib doesn't think Neil Peart should be on this list at all (thanks tragedy32) .... what!?

ChartAttack.com published their list of 13 Great Songs About Space Travel and Rush's Countdown came in at #4 (thanks Power Windows):

Turn it up a little. A little more. Just crank it. You wouldn't think that Geddy Lee narrating a 1980s NASA launch would be this exciting, but there it is.

Reader Phill M pointed me to this well-written article at Goldmine titled For the Rock Hall, no Rush to get it right which argues for Rush's inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. From the article:

... The Hall of Fame seems to go out of its way to recognize the obscure, including some who can barely sing or play their instruments, while rejecting many who demonstrate the highest proficiency in their recordings and stage performance. Rush consists of three virtuosos who have dazzled – and continue to dazzle – fans in the studio and on stage for close to 40 years, proving even those ridiculously proficient on their instruments can rock....

Speaking of the Rock Hall, Power Windows reported the following this morning:

The Colin Cowherd Show, "The Herd" on ESPN radio, one of the most listened to sports radio show in the U.S., is having a contest to determine the greatest rock 'n roll band of all time. Colin has been pushing for RUSH and he talked yesterday about how RUSH should be in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. They are going to do a field of 64 similar to the NCAA tournament, all seeds have to be in by Monday morning February 14th. It will strictly be fan voting, so do your part RUSH fans and overwhelm his email box. Let's light him up with some emails to theherd@espnradio.com to push RUSH over the top; put RE: Rush in the subject, and tell him why you like RUSH!

The Super Bowl took place last weekend where the Green Bay Packers were victorious over the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was a great game too although the same can't be said for the halftime show featuring the Black Eyed Peas. The Bleacher Report put together a list of their Top 10 Choices to Play the 2012 Super Bowl Halftime Show (thanks pariahdog) and Rush made the cut at #6:

Now, this one seems like it could be a real possibility. I mean, if the Who played last year, then it is just a matter of time before we get Rush playing on Super Bowl Sunday.

Again, I am not sure they are a New York-style artist, but I think they would be awesome on the big stage.

Headline song: Tom Sawyer

Reader Peart#1 alerted me to a recent article on stereophile.com which lists the 2010 Records To Die For as selected by their writing staff. Brian Damkroger chose Rush's Caress of Steel and had this to say about it:

Caress of Steel, Rush's third album, narrowly edges out their fourth, 2112, as my R2D4. The sparse arrangements showcase their playing; in particular, Alec Leifsen's chord-based guitar style is shown off far better here than on their later, more complex albums. With Caress and 2112, Rush exploited the album format with longer, more developed operettas than were possible with their later focus on radio-friendly singles. Yes, "I Think I'm Going Bald" is woefully out of place, the lyrics are a little pretentious, and Geddy Lee's vocals are an acquired taste, but the music and sound are incredible. Rush at their very best.

Caress of Steel also gets referenced in this recent article at golfing site Secret In The Dirt (thanks su2112).

Every Friday the UK's Guardian newspaper publishes a playlist of the songs or albums, old or new, they (their music team) just can't turn off. Reader grazza let me know that in today's edition Rush's 2112 was featured:

Rush 2112: There's nothing better than spending a fiver in Fopp on an album with a 20-minute title track about individual liberty (in space) inspired by Ayn Rand, which ends with a mock broadcast intoning: "Calling all planets of the Solar Federation! We have assumed control!" Crazy and magnificent stuff that surely must feature in Matt Bellamy's record collection.

Reader nephronic let me know of a new Rush book/dvd (it's listed as a book plus 4 DVDs) due out in the UK this April 25th. Very little is known about it at this point except that the title is Changing Hemispheres and I was able to verify with Rush's management that it is not authorized by the band.

Reader krlowe was recently browsing through a bookstore and came across a book by Michael Heatley simply titled Guitar. When he looked up Rush in the index and flipped to the cited page, he was surprised to see this photo of Geddy Lee in a section showcasing the Fender Jazz bass. Despite the sunglasses, long hair and Fender bass, the photo is most certainly not Geddy Lee. FAIL!

A few weeks ago Adventures of Power was released to DVD. Adventures of Power chronicles the adventures of air-drummer extraordinaire Power (played by filmmaker Ari Gold) and contains a cameo from Neil Peart along with a slew of Rush references including a Tom Sawyer air drum-off. It first hit the film festival circuit back in early 2008 and made its theatrical debut last fall. Back in 2009 Neil Peart and Ari Gold paid a visit to the Drum Channel studios to film an air drum-off video which you can check out here. The DVD contains over 60 minutes of bonus material including deleted scenes with Jane Lynch, a rare music video with Adrian Grenier, and the 25-minute Drum Channel interview and air drum-off with Neil Peart. There's a charity auction currently underway supporting music education via VH1 Save the Music which runs through March 16th. It features drums from Ringo Starr, Neil Peart, Lars Ulrich, Marky Ramone, Ween, Weezer, Judas Priest, Dresden Dolls, and many more. For more info visit adventuresofpower.com. Here's the film's official trailer and here's a recent Artisan News Service story on the DVD release (thanks BW&BK). The story contains clips of Neil Peart's cameo in the film along with a short interview with filmmaker Ari Gold talking about how Peart became involved:

That's all for this week. Have a great weekend and a happy Valentine's Day!

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