Rush is a Band

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

Mon, Aug 3, 2020

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Dec 11, 2015@12:21PM | comments

This past week the Rush news cycle was dominated by the fallout created by the online appearance of an article written by Neil Peart where he apparently announced his retirement. The article was written for the November/December 2015 issue of Drumhead magazine and in it Neil reflects on 50 years of hitting things with sticks. It was written around the time of Neil's 63rd birthday back in September - 50 years to the day after having received his first drumkit on his 13th birthday. This past Sunday John at Cygnus-X1.net first published the following excerpt from the article where Neil appears to announce his retirement from drumming:

... Lately Olivia has been introducing me to new friends at school as "my dad - he's a retired drummer." True to say - funny to hear. ...Now after fifty years of devotion to hitting things with sticks, I feel proud, grateful and satisfied. The reality is that my style of drumming is largely an athletic undertaking, and it does not pain me to realize that, like all athletes, there comes a time to ... take yourself out of the game. I would much rather set it aside than face the predicament described in our song "Losing It." In the song's two verses, an aging dancer and a writer face their diminishing, twilight talents with pain and despair, ...

John then provided the full transcript of the article on Monday, after which the music news outlets online got hold of it and the internet exploded with dozens of "clickbait" headlines saying that Neil had officially announced his retirement. Prog magazine then reached out to Geddy Lee and asked him what his take on the article was:

... "There's really nothing to say. I think Neil is just explaining his reasons for not wanting to tour, with the toll that it's taking on his body. That's all I would care to comment on it. We'll get together eventually and chat about things. But in my view, there is certainly nothing surprising in what he said. Neil just feels that he has to explain with all the thousands of people asking, 'Why no more tours?' He needs to explain his side of it."

Asked whether he feels Peart's quote was taken out of context, Lee adds: "I think that's absolutely right. That's their job. Talking about something when there's nothing to talk about." ...

So in Geddy's mind at least, Neil was talking more about his retirement from touring and less about retirement from drumming. It's already been pretty well established in other interviews with the band that this is the case; that Neil almost certainly is done with touring, but is still open to other things. To that point, here's what Neil said to Modern Drummer magazine when asked about his future:

MD: What's in the future? If Rush isn't touring, will you still record? Write prose? Be a dad?

Neil: You just answered it. There's no strict answer, but those possibilities are all there.

Donna Halper seems to agree with Geddy as she wrote in her blog earlier this week:

... As it turned out when I did some fact-checking, this was not a new [article] (I was told it had been done several months ago, and was just being published now); and more importantly, it was not in response to what Geddy and Alex had just said in their mid-November radio appearance on Q104.3 in New York. Rather, it was just Neil saying basically what he had said before-- that he did not want to do any more touring. As it turned out, it was not exactly a "stop the presses!" moment. ...

MusicExpress spoke with Andy Curran of Rush's new management company Ole (formerly with SRO/Anthem) about the article and got this response:

... Ole general manager, Andy Curran, speaking for the U.S based company which had just purchased the band's Anthem/SRO Entertainment operation, offered a curt "It's just a rumour as far as I know" in response to coverage from The Toronto Star and other news media. Curran confirmed that Rush has a live recording and concert film of their R40 tour scheduled for release and the band is committed to at least one more studio project. ...

I found it odd that he says R40 Live is "scheduled for release" when it released last month, and that he says Rush is "committed" to at least one more album. I think Geddy and Alex at least are hopeful that Rush will put out a new album, but saying they are committed makes it sound like they are legally bound and that it's a done deal (they aren't and it's not). Other folks in the Rush camp seemed to take Neil's announcement somewhat seriously. Neil's longtime drum tech Lorne Wheaton tweeted out the following message:

As of today, the page is turning for Bubba Gump. Really happy my brother in drums & life has made it official. Love to him & his family.

Satirical news site The Beaverton had some fun with the whole fiasco with a news story they published titled Neil Peart to retire in three months after completion of current drum solo. :)

The funny thing is, the one person we haven't heard from who could easily clear this all up is Neil himself. So after all of the hullabaloo, we are right back where we started; Rush is probably done with touring, but we may still see another Rush album at some point in the future.

The Drumhead article also includes a sidebar titled Notes to Neil where several famous drummers such as Taylor Hawkins, Mike Portnoy and Mike Mangini congratulate Neil on 50 years of drumming and reflect on how Neil has influenced them. John has also made a transcript of that available and you can check that out here.

Rush's R40 Live concert film officially released back on November 20th in North America, debuting at #24 on the Billboard 200 album chart in its first week of release. R40 Live is available as 2 DVDs, 1 Blu-ray disc or 3 Audio CDs along with various combo packages. Previews of several tracks from the video are available on the Rush YouTube channel, along with a 2-minute trailer for the film here. R40 Live's tracklisting mirrors the Friday, June 19th Toronto show setlist, with One Little Victory, Distant Early Warning and Red Barchetta from the June 17th Toronto show as bonus material on the DVD/Blu-ray. The CD also includes audio for Clockwork Angels, The Wreckers, The Camera Eye and Losing It with Jonathan Dinklage as bonus material. Eric at Power Windows has the liner notes here, and John at Cygnus-X1.net has posted artwork here. The R40 Live reviews have been rolling in over the past few weeks and you can check out a few of those at these links:

[JP's Music Blog]
[Classic Rock],
[PopMatters.com] (7/10)
[Progarchy.com]
[A.V. Club]
[Toronto Sun] (4/5)
[Times Record]
[Winnipeg Sun] (4/5)
[The Mace and Crown] (3/5)
[Examiner.com (4/5)

You can order the various R40 Live packages at the following locations:

[3-disc CD/Blu-ray Combo]
[3-disc CD/DVD Combo]
[3 Audio CDs]
[Blu-ray only]
[DVD only]

Speaking of R40 Live, Geddy Lee has been continuing to hit the interview circuit to promote the release. He recently chatted with Nathan Carson of Noisey (Vice) for an interview where he discusses many of the topics already covered in other R40 Live interviews but also touches on some other subjects including how aging affects musicianship, having fun on tour, women at Rush shows, heavy metal music, and more. Geddy also shared the following story involving Metallica, and the rumor that he was asked to help produce their Master of Puppets album:

... I like Metallica. I've got great respect for them. ... [the rumor is] sort of true. There was some discussion with Lars, back in the day, about working with them. This was before Master of Puppets came out, I think? There was talk, you know. I was friends with their management and I met Lars back in England. I remember going to see them here in Toronto when they played at the Masonic Temple. That's when the original bass player was still happening. You know, before that tragedy. And, you know, we talked about it and I liked their band a lot at that time. But it just never came together. ...

Geddy also sat down for a video interview with Tim Masters of the BBC which you can check out here. You can check out some of the many other R40 Live interviews Geddy and Alex have done in recent weeks here: A.V. Club, Sirius XM, Q107, Digital Trends, EW, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Q104.3, Prog, Canadian Musician.

Rush's vinyl re-issue campaign continued today with the release of the band's 3rd live album, 1989's A Show of Hands. Rush has been releasing their entire back catalog on vinyl throughout 2015. Next up are Grace Under Pressure and Power Windows, both of which are slated to release next Friday, December 18th. All titles are high-quality vinyl with a 320kbps MP4 Digital Audio download code, and you can order/pre-order all the various Mercury-era and Atlantic-era reissues using the links below:

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

Fly By Night (01/27/15) - Vinyl | Blu-ray Audio
Caress of Steel (02/17/15) - Vinyl
2112: Hologram Edition (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 (07/24/15) - Vinyl | Vinyl + Large t-shirt | Vinyl + XL t-shirt
Signals (08/14/15) - Blu-ray Audio
Exit ... Stage Left (09/25/15) - Vinyl
Signals (10/09/15) - Vinyl
Presto (10/23/15) - Vinyl
Roll the Bones (10/23/15) - Vinyl
Counterparts (11/6/15) - Vinyl
Test for Echo (11/6/15) - Vinyl
A Show of Hands (12/11/15) - Vinyl

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

Grace Under Pressure (12/18/15) - Vinyl
Power Windows (12/18/15) - Vinyl
Hold Your Fire (1/1/16) - Vinyl
Feedback (1/15/16) - Vinyl
Snakes & Arrows (1/15/16) - Vinyl

Back in April a live radio broadcast recording of a December, 1974 Rush appearance at the Electric Lady Studios in New York City was released on CD in Europe. It's titled The Lady Gone Electric and was originally recorded in front of a small audience of around a dozen people for FM radio broadcast. It is now also available in North America as an import on both CD and 180-gram vinyl. Note that this is NOT an official Rush release. It's similar to the Spirit of the Airwaves and Rush ABC 1974 live releases from a few years back, in that it is essentially a packaged release of a radio broadcast bootleg recording that's been around for many years. You can order The Lady Gone Electric on both CD and 180-gram vinyl.

Alex Lifeson has been involved with the Kidney Foundation of Canada's A Brush of Hope charity auction for the past ten years. His latest entry was titled Blind Date Picnic and ended up raising $4,733 in the organization's annual online auction last month. Alex's 2014 painting was a photorealistic rendering of himself enjoying some wine with Geddy Lee titled L'ami Geddy a L'ami Louis which ended up selling for a whopping $10,100! Yesterday the Kidney Foundation made this 2014 painting available as a limited-edition print signed by both Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. Each print costs $500 CDN and can be purchased at this location.

A new trailer for the upcoming superhero film from Bryan Singer - X-men: Apocalypse - includes a scene with the character Quicksilver (played by Evan Peters) wearing a Rush Moving Pictures t-shirt as seen here. The film is due in theaters on May 27th and you can watch the trailer on YouTube at this location; the Rush t-shirt sighting comes in at about the 1:50 mark. There's also this cool animated gif of the scene.

Apparently someone who works for the Canadian government has been making anonymous edits to some Rush-related Wikipedia pages (thanks Bigleaf). From Kristy Nease of CBC News:

For some time now I've been following a Twitter bot that sends out updates every time a known Government of Canada IP address is used to make anonymous edits to Wikipedia entries. Finally, this morning, some journalistic paydirt: Between 8 a.m. and 8:28 a.m., someone at Shared Services Canada made a total of 19 edits to 15 separate Wikipedia pages... about records released by the Canadian rock band Rush. And I want to know who. ...

Nease is enlisting the help of the online community to try and identify the culprit. So far her top suspect is MP Tony Clement (a known Rush fan), but he denies any involvement. :)

The recent Muppet Show drum-off between Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and Animal of The Muppets inspired WBAB's Pete Rizzo to start a petition to get Neil Peart on the show to take on Animal. You can sign the petition here. If anything can bring Neil out of retirement, this can. ;)

The result of Total Guitar magazine's 2015 readers' poll were recently released, and Alex Lifeson made their list of The 10 best prog guitarists in the world today, coming in at #10.

3 years ago today, Rush was officially announced as a 2013 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here's the video of Flea (a huge Rush fan himself) making the announcement:

That's all for this week. Happy Hanukkah to Geddy Lee and all of Rush's Jewish fans! Have a great weekend everyone!!

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