Rush is a Band

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

Mon, May 20, 2024

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Aug 5, 2016@1:14PM | comments

Beloved Canadian band The Tragically Hip will finish off their current tour on Saturday, August 20 with a hometown show at Kingston's Rogers K-Rock Centre. The tour will most likely be the band's last since singer Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer earlier this year. The CBC will be broadcasting the show across all of its radio, TV and streaming channels, commercial-free. In the lead-up to the concert, CBC sat down with Geddy Lee at Rush's management's office in Toronto to talk about The Hip and their place in the history of Canadian music. Geddy discusses the distinct Canadian-ness of the band, when The Hip opened for Rush in the early '90s, his favorite Hip album, their cover of Rush's Limelight and more in a series of short video interviews which you can check out here. Here's some of what Geddy had to say:

"The first time you listen to one of their records it kind of sneaks up on you," Lee says. "It sounds simpler than it is. There is a particular way the power of those guitars work together.... [They] always sound sinewy and muscular. Then you put Gord's voice and his lyrics on top of that, and after repeated listening, you really start to love it. It just gets inside you. I think that's a trademark of the Hip."

Longtime SRO/Anthem Vice President Pegi Cecconi is the subject of the latest FYI Industry Profile for FYI Music News. Cecconi talks about her long history in the Canadian music business, focusing primarily on her work with Rush. Here's Cecconi talking about her first dealings with Rush and Ray Danniels:

... "Rush are as big as they are because of Ray Danniels' total loyalty. I was brought under that wing. When I fight for fuckin Rush, as far as I'm concerned they're the Beatles, there's nothing else. You sit there with people having big stars, and we'd be the pain in the ass- 'you're not getting this or that.' That part was fun. Ray's thing was I want more so you'd figure out what more you could give them." ... "I met Ray when I was booking bands at my high school, Roland Michener Secondary School in South Porcupine, Ontario. He was my agent and he used to try to sell me Rush. I'd say' no way. I can get a four-piece band for the same price as a trio. If Rush had ever played my high school the shit would have been beaten out of them!' ...

Here's Cecconi describing her relationship with Rush and her current role with the band:

... [Cecconi] describes the management relationship with Rush as both easy and efficient. "They had complete faith in the way we would do the business. Geddy [Lee] will say 'call the office. I don't know what you're talking about.' Geddy is very smart though. Alex [Lifeson] is way too nice. I remember one time calling him and going 'Alex, I'm reading whatever magazine it was, and you have three exclusive ads for different amplifiers. You can't do that! Send them to me.'"

"In terms of the machine they created to go on the road, that is very much the band. No-one quite knows how it works, but somebody has the key and it gets turned and it is one of the most efficient crews around. Ray hired very good people that would babysit them on the road, like Val Azzoli, Kim Garner, and most recently Megan Symsyk. She has moved to eOne but is still on retainer with Rush. eOne is lucky to have her."

Cecconi acknowledges that "Rush won't be onstage for ever." Similarly, her own role and workload with the company has changed significantly with ole's takeover of Anthem Entertainment Group in late 2015. "We sold my job, and I'm a consultant to ole now. I go in once a week there.

"I have a lot of knowledge, but they're like a giant company and we're like a cottage industry. It is definitely a reduced workload. I have one more year and if Rush goes out again I have another year. ...

You can read the entire interview/profile online here.

Edge Factor is a media company that produces inspiring and educational documentaries that tell the stories of innovative teams who design and build cutting-edge products. One of their latest film projects is a 20-minute documentary titled Behind Closed Doors which they have made available for watching online at their website for a limited time here. The film includes a segment on DW Drums and Neil Peart's R40 tour kit, where Neil talks briefly about drumming and why he practices so hard, and DW's John Good discusses the making of Neil's R40 kit. The interviews are not recent and look to have been conducted prior to Rush's R40 Live tour last year. You can watch the film online here and the segment on Neil Peart begins around the 9-minute mark.

KORN drummer Ray Luzier was recently interviewed by rock journalist Lucas H. Gordon to discuss the band's upcoming album, and references a conversation he had with Neil Peart when asked whether he feels like a full-fledged member of KORN after being in the band for almost ten years:

"It's funny. I was talking with Neil Peart from RUSH, and he was talking about the 'new guy' thing. And he goes, 'Ray, I've been in RUSH for thirty-plus years, and I'm still the new guy,' 'cause he's not the original drummer. My whole thing is, the band's gonna live on no matter what. ...

JMillerBoston wrote an article for last week titled Catch The Spit: Discovering Rush in Tom Sawyer Country where he relates the story of how he discovered Rush via his Uncle Jimmy.

Drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Winery Dogs) recently picked his Top 10 Prog Albums Of All Time for Music Aficionado and Rush's Hemispheres made the cut (thanks RushFanForever):

... Picking a favorite Rush album is difficult, but I would have to go with 'Hemispheres.' It's not my favorite Rush album - that would be 'Permanent Waves' - but 'Hemispheres' is them at their most proggiest. Like 'Close to the Edge,' it's only a few songs - it's four - and every one of them a masterpiece. The title track sees Rush getting totally out there, and even calling it "Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres" - that's the ultimate prog title. Even the cover - a naked man standing on a brain - is over the top. It's got all the elements of excess. I love the album closer, "La Villa Strangiato," which is the greatest instrumental ever written. It showcases Geddy, Neil and Alex and all their absolute virtuoso musical abilities.

Rush's 2112 album made a couple of different lists posted by this past week. The first was their list of The Top 10 Essential 70s Metal Albums:

A concept album based on the writings of obscure right-wing author Ayn Rand and performed by three Canadians, one of whom - drummer Neil Peart - sported a silly moustache. Yep, a recipe for... sheer prog-metal brilliance. Not only was this the album that broke Rush to an wider audience, but such was the bravura, technique and self-assured perspective that 2112 remains almost untouchable as the pinnacle of conceptual metal. Some misinterpreted it as proof that Rush held staunch right-wing opinions, but metalheads understood: 2112 was artistry turned up to 11.

The album also made their list of 40 albums that are 40 years old in 2016. Thanks to RushFanForever) for the heads up.

The guitars of Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee are featured in the 2013 book from author/photographer Lisa Johnson titled 108 Rock Star Guitars. The book includes a forward by Les Paul which he wrote before his death in 2009, and a portion of the proceeds from sales go to benefit the Les Paul Foundation. The book also has a Facebook Page and Rush is featured as the August Artist of the Month (thanks Adam J). To celebrate they are running a contest where they are giving away a top prize of a Rush guitar print set signed by author Lisa S. Johnson along with an R40 Live DVD. To enter, just take their Rush quiz and post a comment on this Facebook post.

Here's Geddy Lee talking about when The Hip opened for Rush back in the early '90s from his CBC interview:

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