Rush is a Band

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

Thu, Jun 1, 2023

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Feb 13, 2015@12:09PM | comments

UPDATE - 2/15@8:31AM: Donna Halper added some clarification regarding her comments from the Rushcast interview about additional dates potentially being added to the tour:

Regarding my comments about Rush not "snubbing" Cleveland, I am not speculating at all. According to the band's management, they really really are trying to find a way to make a Cleveland date happen. It's a matter of logistics, as I said in the podcast, but I know they are still working on it. Whether it will happen remains to be seen.

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Ticket pre-sales for Rush's upcoming R40 Live tour ended last Thursday with the general public ticket sales for all 35 shows kicking off the following day (Saturday for Montreal). Since then things have been fairly quiet on the tour news front, although there has been plenty of other Rush news to report. The tour will hit 34 cities across North America beginning in Tulsa, OK on May 8th and ending at The Forum in Los Angeles on August 1st. Recent interviews with both Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson tend to indicate that the tour will take a retrospective look at Rush's 40-year career and include a good bit of older material that the band will alternate from night to night in some way. There also won't be any new material played or any opening band (they haven't had an opening band in over 20 years), and it sounds as if things will be stripped down a bit compared to other tours. Neil Peart's new R40 drum kit - which was unveiled at NAMM last month - won't be using a full V-drum kit nor will it spin. Peart's drum tech Lorne Wheaton also mentioned that it will be "full-tilt Rush songs and there will probably be a whole lot of old stuff in [the set]". Speaking of Rush's music gear, Tom Brantley Electric Guitar Pickup Rewinds posted a photo to their Facebook page this past week showing some experimental bass pickups that they are sending to Geddy Lee:

Here are some experimental 51 P-bass pickups headed up to Geddy Lee and Skully for install into his Zemaitis bass. One set uses the .250 diameter Alnico 5 and lower winds and the other has the same coils as heard on the Clockwork Angels album. We are trying to get the Zemaitis to sound more like his number one and number two basses. Tough to do considering the great differences in construction and design between the Fender and the Zemaitis!

Rush discoverer and media scholar Donna Halper was a guest on the Rushcast podcast Wednesday. Donna talks for about 45 minutes with host Jay Mantis about Rush, radio, baseball, Alex Lifeson's Rock Hall induction blah speech, and the upcoming R40 Live tour (you can listen to the podcast here). At one point Donna was asked about the snubbing of Cleveland, Pittsburgh and other cities on the upcoming R40 Live tour. She takes issue with the term snubbing, and hints that Rush is still working to add more dates to the tour. This is promising news, although it's not clear whether she's just speculating or has inside information. What's not so promising is the prospect of a European leg to the tour. UK reader Graham T contacted a representative of The Agency Group - who represents Rush outside of North America - and was told that there are currently no plans for a UK leg of the Rush tour.

Rush announced back in December that they will be releasing all of the Mercury-era Rush albums on vinyl along with a few select titles on Blu-ray audio throughout 2015. They are calling it the 12 Months of Rush, as they will be releasing one or two titles a month each month. They started with Fly By Night which released last month (Vinyl, Blu-ray Audio), and will continue with Caress of Steel which will release on vinyl on Tuesday, February 24th. All titles will be reissued on high-quality vinyl with a 320kbps MP4 Digital Audio download code, with Fly By Night, A Farewell to Kings and Signals also getting a Blu-ray Audio release. You can get all the details in the press release. Fly By Night is already available on vinyl and/or Blu-ray Audio, and several of the rest of the titles can be pre-ordered at these links:

Caress of Steel (02/24/15) - Vinyl
2112 (03/17/15) - Vinyl
All the World's a Stage (03/17/15) - Vinyl
A Farewell to Kings (04/21/15) - Vinyl | Blu-ray Audio
Hemispheres (05/19/15) - Vinyl
Permanent Waves (06/16/15) - Vinyl
Moving Pictures (07/21/15) - Vinyl
Exit ... Stage Left (07/21/15) - Vinyl
Signals (08/18/15) - Vinyl | Blu-ray Audio
Grace Under Pressure (09/15/15) - Vinyl

Geddy Lee will be the special guest on the season 14 debut episode of VH1 Classic's That Metal Show next Saturday, February 21st. Following the debut episode of That Metal Show will be the premiere of VH1 Classic's new series Rock Icons at 10PM, which will also feature Geddy Lee in the debut episode. Yesterday Rush posted a 30-second, VH1 Classic promo spot for both premieres to their Facebook page. The commercial features a few shots of Geddy Lee, including a short interview snippet from Rock Icons, and you can watch the whole thing at this location. There's also a 30-second teaser trailer for Rock Icons that includes a few shots of Geddy, and you can listen to Sam Dunn of Banger Films discuss the series in this VH1 interview.

On Wednesday Neil Peart updated the news page on his website with part 2 of his Bamm Bamm and the Lemon Slug story from last year, where he described driving in the 24 Hours of LeMons in Tooele, Utah last summer. After a fun but disappointing experience in the July race, Neil and his crew decided to enter a couple more races later in the year; one in September at Thunderhill Raceway in Northern California, along with the December "season ender" at Sonoma Raceway outside San Francisco. This latest news update tells the tale of those 2 subsequent races. The 24 Hours of LeMons is an endurance racing series, punning on the famous 24-hour race in Le Mans, France, where the mission is to give low-budget enthusiasts an opportunity to race-safely and humorously. You can read the entire update online at this location.

Last week ECW Press put out the official press release announcing Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart's new novel Clockwork Lives - the follow-up to their best-selling Clockwork Angels novel. Clockwork Lives will feature minor characters from Clockwork Angels and expand on their stories. Anderson also posted a portion of the first chapter to his blog here, and earlier this week released a video of himself discussing the origins of the novel which you can view on YouTube at this location. The 304-page book is now available for pre-order from Amazon with an expected release date in September of 2015. The book's cover has not been released yet but should be available soon.

Bassist Tim Commerford (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave) was recently interviewed by to talk about his new Future User project and mentioned Geddy Lee at one point:

... for the longest time, I was all about prog. I'm really thankful that I learned how to play Rush songs; I studied Geddy Lee big-time. To this day, I think his technique is perfect for what I did in Rage Against The Machine and everything else." ...

30 years ago this past Tuesday on February 10, 1985, over 50 of Canada's biggest artists including Geddy Lee gathered at Toronto's Manta Studios to record Tears Are Not Enough - Canada's anthem for African famine relief. The CBC commemorated the anniversary this past week with this article and news story detailing how the event came about and what it accomplished, including this quote from Geddy Lee from a documentary about the making of the song: "This is what we do, so this is what we give".

VH1 posted their list 10 Heavy Metal And Hard Rock Albums That Are Hated By Fans Of The Band yesterday and Rush's Roll the Bones made the cut at #4 (thanks Sean):

"Roll the Bones" is Rush's rap song. There's no other way to put it and, since then, there's been no way for the rest of the Roll the Bones album to get around it.

The title track from Rush's fourteenth album runs five-minutes, thirty-seconds and, of that, five full minutes consist of a terrific, mid-tempo, radio-friendly number from prog-metal's most beloved power trio. It's that thirty seconds of rhyme-busting in the middle that not only stinks up the song, it's largely sunk the reputation of the surrounding material.

No one is suggesting that's right as, among hardcore Rush devotees, Roll the Bones stands among the group's finest '90s releases. For less intense fans, though, Rush's momentary lapse of hip-hop was hard enough to take on CD, but was rendered hideous to the point of hilarity via the music video, wherein a crappy CGI skeleton dons wraparound shades and raps his way into humiliating rock-and-roll misstep history.

Satirical news outlet The Onion posted a photo of an earbud dangling down a man's shirt with the following caption to their News in Photos section this past week (thanks Rick S):

'Invisible Airwaves Crackle With Life,' Reports Geddy Lee From Man's Detached Earbud

Neil Peart with J.R. FloodAlong with Mumblin' Sumpthin' and The Majority, J.R. Flood was one of the bands Neil Peart was a member of while growing up in Southern Ontario in the late '60s and early '70s. Here's Neil talking about the band in a May, 2010 post on

It was a summer Saturday in 1970, and I was playing with the band J. R. Flood in St. Catharines, Ontario. ... All of those guys were pivotal in my musical development-each in his own way. Bob as a consummate, consumed artist; Paul as an exacting, disciplined, yet passionate musician; Wally as a solidly-grounded person whose equally grounded bass playing kept my flights of fancy rooted in "real time;" and Gary as a lead singer, lyricist, and front man who somehow managed to leave ego out of that job description (and who was the first singer to sing my lyrics). ...

Just last week someone posted the full audio from a 1970 J.R. Flood demo tape to YouTube, which is likely one of the earliest (if not the earliest) recordings of Neil Peart. You can listen to it below or at this location:

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