Rush is a Band

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

Wed, Nov 13, 2019

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Jun 22, 2012@12:07PM | comments

UPDATE - 6/24@10:02AM: Here's a review from VVN Music (thanks John at Cygnus-X1.net), and a short video review (at about the 2:15 mark) from KXAN (thanks RushFanForever).

UPDATE - 6/23@5:50PM: Here's a short, 2-minute interview with Alex Lifeson from Chop Shop Radio (thanks RushFanForever).

UPDATE - 6/23@5:48PM: Here's another great Clockwork Angels review from Modern Rock Review.

UPDATE - 6/22@2:22PM: The latest edition of Classic Rock's Prog magazine recently hit the shelves and the issue contains a great review of Clockwork Angels which you can check out by clicking on the scans (thanks Tony R). It also includes a very cool steampunk-themed image of the band. Eric at Power Windows has also transcribed the review at this link.

Rush's Clockwork Angels album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 in its first week of release, matching 1993's Counterparts which had been their highest charting album to date. The exact figures were a total of 104,707 units sold with LP (Vinyl) sales of 2,361, CD sales of 72,007, and digital sales of 30,339. The album charted even higher in the band's native country of Canada, where it debuted at #1 with close to 20,000 units sold according to Nielsen SoundScan. The exact total Canadian sales numbers were 19,625 units sold with LP (Vinyl) sales of 367, CD sales of 14,311, and digital sales of 4,947. It did well internationally as well, debuting at #2 in Japan, #10 in Norway, #11 in Germany and Holland, #4 in Finland and #21 in Switzerland. In addition to taking the #2 spot in the Billboard 200 Albums Chart, Clockwork Angels also ranked extremely well in other various categories with a #3 ranking on the Digital Albums Chart, and #1 on both the Rock Albums Chart and Hard Rock Albums chart. The album also continues to get great reviews in the press and online. MetaCritic's metascore for the album is currently a strong 81 based on just 6 reviews from major publications. PopMatters recently gave Clockwork Angels a 7/10 review saying the following:

... The strong themes and narrative arcs reveal a freshness in the band's songwriting I haven't heard in a long time. If you focus solely on the music, you won't find much that distinguishes Clockwork Angels from Rush's greatest feats. Sure, Lee's ability to hit those high notes while managing to run his fingers up and down the fretboard is impressive, and Lifeson's guitar solos are ever-difficult, but you know that about Rush. But through taking their requisite musical skills and channeling them into a story with real depth, they've produced the best LP they've made in over twenty years; I can easily see this attaining a cult following amongst devoted fans. This record is one that doesn't merely rely on flashy displays of musicanship and portentous song structures; there is a depth to Clockwork Angels that demands attention beyond a casual listen. Reading the liner notes and analyzing the story are an absolute must to appreciate what's going on here. Best of all, in doing so you're likely to discover a real vitality in Rush, one I think fans new and old will find to be a real breath of fresh air. We're two years away from Rush having existed for forty years, and it's with great pleasure I can say they haven't lost their stride yet. It may be hard to recapture the glory days, but for musicians as talented as these three, it isn't difficult to keep putting out quality material.

Here's a roundup of some more reviews that have come in over the past week:

[Consequence of Sound] 4/5
[PopMatters] 7/10
[The Objective Standard]
[The A.V. Club] A-
[Musicians for Freedom]
[Zoiks! Online]
[Rolling Stone] 3.5/5
[Toronto.com] 3/4
[ASU's The State Press] 4.5/5

The other bit of big Rush news this week was Alex Lifeson revealing in an interview with Billboard that the band will be bringing an 8-10 piece string ensemble on tour with them later this year. Back in April we first heard rumors that Rush was considering bringing an orchestra or string section in some capacity on their Clockwork Angels tour. These rumors were met with a lot of skepticism from fans initially, but when the album was released and it became apparent that strings were included on several of the tracks, the rumor started to gain some traction. Here are Alex Lifeson's comments from the Billboard interview:

... "Our intention is to take strings out on the road," guitarist Alex Lifeson tells Billboard.com. Orchestrations, arranged by David Campbell, feature on several of "Clockwork Angels' " tracks, and Lifeson says Rush will employ a small string ensemble, likely eight to 10 pieces, to recreate those pieces and to be added to some of Rush's older material. "It's just something different for us, and I can't wait to hear what it sounds like."

Lifeson says Campbell will be writing arrangements for the tour, which kicks off Sept. 7 in Manchester, N.H., and will likely appear at some of the shows as well. "Certainly in the beginning he'll be out for a bit," the guitarist says. "I think his intention is to use these musicians he's been working with for a long time, who he trusts, and once they're settled in he doesn't have to be around all the time and he can come out whenever he feels like it."

Lifeson says the production is "still in a planning stage" but promises that "it's a whole new show. It's new staging, new lighting, everything is new and fresh about it. I would say that it's an evolutionary extension of what the (2010-11) Time Machine Tour was, but we are definitely freshening it up and bringing and there'll be a lot of new video stuff going on." And, of course, Lifeson and his mates expect to dedicate a considerable amount of stage time to "Clockwork Angels," a concept album that will be followed by a novel co-written by drummer/lyricist Neil Peart and Kevin J. Anderson.

"The set list is quite fluid these days," Lifeson reports. "We're dropping and replacing songs constantly, and that's the way it always goes before we get into rehearsals. There's a great deal of pressure on us now to do the whole record, which we don't anticipate. I think our intention is probably to prepare the whole thing; whether we'll do it or not we're still not sure, especially on the first leg of the tour. There's still a lot of older stuff we want to do, and we've got some great songs lined up from the past. We'd be loathe to drop them to add more of 'Clockwork Angels,' at least on the first leg. It's always nice to switch up on the second leg and make it a little different." ...

Note how Alex hints at the band adding a second leg to the tour. Geddy also hints at a second leg in this French language Le Soleil article (thanks Frederic D), saying that he hopes to add Halifax and/or Quebec City to the tour itinerary in 2013. So it's sounding more likely that the band will add a 2013 North American leg at some point. Rehearsals begin next month and hopefully after that point we'll start to hear some more details regarding the tour. This past week Alex was also interviewed for Rolling Stone, interviewed at ClassicRockRevisited.com and appeared on the Nights with Alice Cooper radio show last night.

Billy Corgan and Geddy LeeEarlier this week MusicRadar.com posted part 1 of an interview where they sat down with both Geddy Lee and Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins. Corgan recently interviewed Geddy and Alex Lifeson for an FMQB Clockwork Angels special and had also been prominently featured in the Rush documentary along with giving a speech at Rush's Hollywood Walk of Fame star unveiling a couple of years back. Corgan also has a new album out, and he and Geddy talk about a number of subjects in the interview including their new albums, albums vs. singles, the constantly changing music business, and fan websites. You can read all of part 1 of the interview at this link. In part 2 of the interview Geddy and Billy will discuss the mastering loudness wars, concept albums, the importance of jamming and their signature vocal styles. On a related note, here's an article at Grantland that talks about Corgan's new album and makes heavy mention of Rush. It's titled Billy Corgan's Quest for Cool with the subtitle the best Smashing Pumpkins album in nearly 20 years and what their front man can learn from Rush.

Geddy Lee - Bass Player magazine August, 2012Geddy Lee is also featured on the cover of the August, 2012 issue of Bass Player magazine with the tagline Geddy Lee: further exercises in self-indulgence. The article feature itself is titled Full Steam Ahead and Geddy discusses the new album, with some special focus paid to the bass playing. There's also a one-page Inside Geddy's Gear feature with Geddy's bass tech John "Skully" McIntosh.

Rush sound engineer Rich Chycki updated his website on Tuesday with a blog post where he discusses the recording of the Clockwork Angels album:

... The making of this album was a further development of technique and technology and also a return to some old ways. In my work with some of Rush's older masters like Moving Pictures, I learned that at that time much of the processing for guitars was committed to tape - a good example being the solo in Limelight, which is a stellar performance wrapped in lush sonics. Alex and I applied much of the same methodology for Clockwork, where a song like Carnies for example, with complex modulations, panning, eq and echo were committed as a premix during the recording phase for simplicity and reproducibility down the road. And Alex did some amazing solos in preproduction that were again, tweaked with vintage and modern technology during the recording phase so they would sit well within the production guidelines that the band had set. ...

You can read the entire post at this link.

We learned earlier this week that the June, 2012 (issue #52) edition of the melodic rock magazine Fireworks features Rush on the cover along with a 2-page spread on the band and the Clockwork Angels album. The cover tagline reads, wind them up, watch them go! the legendary Rush return with Clockwork Angels. For more information visit this link.

Clockwork Angels audiobook narrated by Neil PeartKevin J. Anderson's novelization of Rush's Clockwork Angels album will release via ECW Press this September to coincide with the launch of Rush's North America tour. Neil Peart has recorded the audiobook version of the novel and author Kevin J. Anderson gave the following update regarding the audiobook via his blog on Wednesday:

... Before Neil could read the audio, we had to get all the editing finished on the prose, all the corrections made, all the last-minute fine-tuning done. And we had to wrap up before Rush began their intense rehearsals for the tour.

I received the final galley pages of the novel to proofread, while Neil went into the studio to record the audiobook, and I tried to stay one day ahead of him so I could send in corrections and sentence changes before he recorded the words. I received email reports from him every day, telling me Our Hero's progress across the steampunk landscapes of Albion, Poseidon City, Atlantis, and the Seven Cities, his encounters with the Watchmaker, the Anarchist, the Wreckers...all while I was up in Seattle with Brian Herbert brainstorming the intricate plot for MENTATS OF DUNE. My head was in two universes (not counting the real one) but every night I took a few hours before bed to proofread as much as possible, send in more corrections...and we finally got it done.

I can't wait to hear it myself, but since I've read the novel six times in the past three months, I think I'll let the imagination-dust settle for a little bit! ...

You can pre-order the audiobook version of Clockwork Angels at this location, and the hardcover edition here.

Headlong FlightRush's Headlong Flight single continues to move up the rock charts, boosted by the album's release. It's now sitting in the top 10 on the Mainstream Rock Charts at #6.

Back in April we learned that pioneering American thrash metal band Anthrax would be including a cover of Rush's Anthem on an upcoming tribute album. Some more details regarding the album were posted to Eddie Trunk's website earlier this week (thanks Will C):

To celebrate the creative success and critical acclaim of the band's 2011 album, Worship Music, Anthrax are planning on releasing a special EP due out in September of this year. During a recent interview with Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante, told Loudwire that the band is currently working on an EP of cover songs. It will pay tribute to some of Anthrax's favorite bands, more specifically, bands from the 1970s. "To commemorate the first year of Worship Music being out, we're putting together a little companion EP with some fun s-t on it," says Benante. "It started out as what I call The '70s EP. It's made up of some cover songs from our favorite bands, consisting of Rush, Thin Lizzy, Boston, Journey ... We're still working on it now, but I think it's gonna be really cool." Anthrax have already covered God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols, Black Sabbath's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and numerous KISS songs such as She and Love Her All I Can. The one year anniversary of Worship Music falls on September 13th, 2012.

Here's a one-minute video of Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante laying down the drums for the track.

Earlier this week Power Windows reported that an unused photo of model Paula Turnbull from the Permanent Waves album cover photoshoot, taken by Fin Costello, recently surfaced online. The pose is similar to the photo which eventually was used on the Permanent Waves album cover. You can check out the photo at this location.

Reader ENTREWHO sent me this website for Louisiana-based IT company Lamneth Inc., and also let me know that the license plate on the owner's work truck reads wrknman. I'm guessing he's a Rush fan. :)

On October 14th, 2012 six Rush fans from across the globe who have dubbed themselves The Edge Walk Angels will meet in Toronto to do the CN Tower Edge Walk all in the name of charity. The 6 fans are Mike Sword, Pamela Amos and David McLeod from Scotland, Ray Subject from Canada, Jennifer Ayers from the USA and Tracey Thomson from Australia. From the group's website:

... We are "The Edge Walk Angels" - 6 'mad' 'crazy' RUSH fans with a tendency to be a little 'nuts' as described above. We are 3 Scots, a Canuck, a Merkin and an Ozzie all making our pilgrimage to Toronto to see RUSH in concert, and also raise funds for the nominated RUSH Eucon 2012 charity; The Downs Syndrome Association.

We are doing the CN Tower Edge Walk, at Toronto's iconic landmark, The CN Tower, 1100ft/356m above the ground. See the video to understand! Few have ventured and most have walked away repeating the quotes above!

It scares the bejeezus out of us all, but we all WANT to be ABLE to do it ... what we needed was an incentive!! That incentive is your support and our doing it for charity. ...

For more information on the The Edge Walk Angels and how you can donate to their efforts, please visit their website here or on Facebook.

Rush's The Trees made Media-ite's list of the The Top 10 Songs Guaranteed To Annoy Liberals at #6:

Rush's obsession with Ayn Rand's philosophy during their early career means there are plenty of songs that could've made this list, but "The Trees" makes the cut because I said so. It's essentially a parable that rails against forced equality among anthropomorphic trees. Choice lyrics: "Now there's no more oak oppression / For they passed a noble law / The trees are all kept equal / By hatchet, axe, and saw"

And in more list-making news, Rush's Xanadu made Xfinity's list of the Worst Song Lyrics of All Time (thanks Ziegler).

MusicRadar.com recently asked Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci to come up with his list of the 11 greatest prog-rock albums of all time. Rush made his list twice with 2112 at #8 and Hemispheres at #9 (thanks RushFanForever). Here's what he had to say about 2112:

Rush are my biggest influence and favorite band. Just the idea of this concept album, of a story being told and songs as vehicles to tell the story - it's unbelievable. I would get lost in this album. I wanted to know what they were talking about. 'Who's this guy? What's happening?' It took you to another world. Beyond his incredible drumming, there's Neil Peart as a lyricist. I would say he's been the biggest influence on me in that respect. The way the tale evolves is astonishing, using the guitar as an actual part of the story - that really drew me in. To this day, 2112 is one of the greatest albums I've ever heard.

Our own air guitarist/drummer extraordinaire Lance LanceTheShred Kasten will be performing at The U.S. Air Guitar Championships D.C. Regional at the 9:30 Club in D.C. tomorrow. Lance is featured in this NBC Channel 4 video news story and demonstrates some of his mad skillz while wearing a Rush t-shirt and air-guitaring to some 2112. Check it out at this link.

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson stopped by Toronto's Q107 last Monday afternoon for a Clockwork Angels album Q&A session with Jeff Woods. The interview is now available online and you can watch it below or at this link.

That's all for this week. Have a great weekend!

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