Rush is a Band

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

Fri, Jun 2, 2023

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Aug 12, 2016@11:28AM | comments

Earlier this week TeamRock.com posted the fourth part of their interview with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson where the pair reflect on the history of Rush. They had posted the first and second parts back in February, and the third part earlier this summer. In this installment they discuss the period from Vapor Trails on through the present day, and touch briefly on what the future may hold. Here's Alex Lifeson on the band's legacy:

... I'm proud of the body of work we've created, and the longevity and the level of proficiency that we've been able to achieve. Looking back, I'm not embarrassed by any of our records. ... I think, in the end, the strength of the band is that we've always been so secure in knowing we have a strong following. I'm not sure I ever really felt competition with another band. It doesn't work like that. We just enjoy playing together. And that's why we'll know when we're done. I don't want to play when I can't. I would hate to go on the road and just be a facsimile of what Rush once was, with people saying, 'Oh God, they're hobbling around on stage and he can't even play the guitar solo in La Villa Strangiato!' I would hate that. I would rather people say, 'Oh man, remember how we went to the Rush show three years ago and they were amazing?' That's how I want this band to be remembered.

Neil Peart's upcoming book Far and Wide: Bring that Horizon to Me! will be released via ECW Press just one month from now on September 13th. The book will chronicle Neil's travels on Rush's R40 Live tour from last year and you can pre-order your copy at this location.

Speaking of Neil Peart, Canadian radio personality Jeff Woods released his first book Radio, Records and Rockstars back in May. The book takes you behind the curtain, revealing first-hand accounts and exclusive conversations with the legends of rock, including Rush, who Woods has interviewed many times over his career working in Canadian radio. The book is now available to order at this location. Woods recently launched an associated podcast to showcase some of the interviews referenced in the book, and the latest episode is his full, uncut interview with Neil Peart from back in 2014. You can listen to the interview online here.

Back in the fall of 2014 Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio offered up a new, 15-week, music history course titled Rush: Progressive Rock and Modern Society taught by Professor Nathan Santos. The course was a big success and even included a guest lecturer appearance from Donna Halper which is available to watch on YouTube here. Professor Santos let me know that Tiffin will once again be offering the course this fall beginning on August 22nd. The course explores the musical and cultural issues of the 1970s and '80s where students analyze progressive rock, along with its musical elements, lyrical themes, historical, social and cultural content and its significance within the development of popular music styles. The course is centered specifically on the music and styles of Rush where students look at the style changes the band went through over the years and how bands withstand changes to continue to create music.

The Toronto Star published an article this past weekend on the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, and mention the collection of 200 autographed baseballs that Geddy Lee donated to the Museum back in 2008:

... The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City has an unlikely Canadian connection by way of Rush, Toronto's most famous progressive-rock exports. Geddy Lee, the band's frontman, who is also a diehard Blue Jays fan and noted collector of baseball memorabilia, donated a collection of more than 200 baseballs signed by Negro Leagues players to the museum. It's the largest collection of its kind in the world and one of the most popular exhibits at the museum. "And it's all due to the benevolence of one Geddy Lee, a white, Canadian rocker," museum president Bob Kendrick says, laughing. "It just goes to show this story has no boundaries, it has no limitations, it touches virtually every one who experiences it." Lee, who won the collection at auction, never disclosed what he paid, Kendrick said. "... I tell people all the time: I can't say I was a big Rush fan before, but I'm a big Rush fan now."

TeamRock.com posted a short article this past week telling the story behind Rush's Permanent Waves album artwork (thanks RushFanForever). The article references quotes from a 1983 Creem magazine interview with album artist Hugh Syme and mentions how both Coca-Cola and the Chicago Daily Tribune took issue with the cover:

... "Coca-Cola asked that we strip out their billboard," recalls Syme of one visual reference that didn't make the cut, "because it was too close to a cotton-clad mons pubis."

Another bone of contention was the Chicago Daily Tribune newspaper in the foreground of the sleeve. Originally showing the infamous front page from 1948 (when the paper wrongly reported the result of the US presidential election as 'Dewey Defeats Truman'), the threat of legal action resulted in the headline being obscured on all but the earliest pressings of the album.

Music Aficionado published a story last week where they listed off The 10 Weirdest, Most Baffling, Most Embarrassing Songs of the '70s and Rush's By-Tor & The Snow Dog made the cut at #2 (thanks RushFanForever):

When drummer Neil Peart joined Rush in 1975, he also brought along his lyrical style, which has alternately been called literary, sci-fi influenced, and beyond the ability of a human being to process and remain sane. What better example than "By-Tor & The Snow Dog," in which a prince named By-Tor fights a dog named (I think) Snow for ownership of the hell they and the listeners are in? That's more or less the plot. It turns out that By-Tor is a bad guy and the pup, "coal-black eyes shimmering with hate," saves the "Overworld," and everyone goes home happy. Yep, pretty literary. As awful as this sounds on paper, it's infinitely more relaxing than actually listening to the song, which is divided into four parts and goes on for eight-and-a-half minutes... which is 59 Snow Dog minutes! I told you this was hell, didn't I?

Rob Hoffman of the Albany Times Union posted an article this past week where he lists off what he thinks are the greatest opening riffs/beats in rock. Rush's The Spirit of Radio makes the cut at #3 on his list of the best opening drum rolls/beats:

When it comes to technical perfection, hand speed, and the ability to cover a massive drum kit, nobody comes close to Rush's drummer/lyricist. His ability to match his drum rolls at the beginning of the song with Alex Lifeson's guitar will tell you all you need to know about Neil Peart.

TeamRock.com posted their list of the The Top 10 Essential 80s Prog Albums this past week and Rush's Moving Pictures made the cut (thanks RushFanForever):

The final of the four albums in Rush's second cycle, this is one of the Canadian trio's three strongest albums irrespective of the decade. The menacing introduction to the Mark Twain-inspired Tom Sawyer is merely a prelude to the equally wonderful Red Barchetta and the stunning instrumental YYZ. Moving Pictures is Rush at their best, pulling off the tricky balance between virtuoso musicianship and superb musical material and thought-provoking lyrics. Limelight's take on fame remains ever-pertinent more than 30 years later. Subsequent Rush albums in the 80s would get bogged down in synths, but Moving Pictures is the sound of the band at its peak.

Eric at Power Windows recently came across an obscure and definitely unique Rush tribute album that first released back in 2014. It's a music box tribute to Rush and includes covers of 6 Rush songs played on a music box. You can listen to some samples and purchase a digital copy online here.

The Orlando Sentinel ran a story last week about how many retailers who started out online are now turning to brick-and-mortar stores. One of the featured retailers in the story is The Foundation vinyl record store in College Park, and the video story accompanying the article features several in-store shots where Rush's debut album is prominently on display. Thanks to Richard D for the heads up.

Dweezil Zappa and his band are currently on tour, and in one part of the show they play a medley of songs from the '80s, including a 30-second snippet of Rush's Tom Sawyer as seen in this video clip (thanks Eric at Power Windows).

Evan Carmichael is an internet entrepreneur and motivational speaker who runs a website at evancarmichael.com along with a YouTube channel dedicated to helping entrepreneurs. He regularly posts videos to his channel where he compiles interview segments from famous people sharing their secrets to success. Last month Neil Peart was the subject of one of these videos which you can watch below or on YouTube here. Although there aren't any new interview segments, it's an interesting compilation of past interviews.

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

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