Rush is a Band

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

Fri, May 25, 2018

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Jan 26, 2018@11:48AM | comments

Alex Lifeson's Globe and Mail interview that we first reported on last Tuesday gained a lot of steam in the online music press this past week, becoming the catalyst for another onslaught of clickbait headlines that are now the norm with these publications. Here are some of the "better" ones:

UPROXX: Rush Officially Breaks Up, Two Years After They Quit Touring
Live for Live Music: Rush Guitarist Alex Lifeson Confirms The Band Is Officially Broken Up After 40-plus Years, Will Not Reunite
Consequence of Sound: Alex Lifeson confirms RUSH's breakup
WAAF: Alex Lifeson Says That RUSH Is Over

The specific portion of the interview that these headlines refer to is this:

It's been a little over two years since Rush last toured. We have no plans to tour or record any more. We're basically done. After 41 years, we felt it was enough. ...

Apparently basically done translates into over and/or officially broken up according to most of these publications. Next up came a string of online Rush obituaries. Drummer and Rush uberfan Mike Portnoy had the following to say in an interview with The Chainsaw Symphony radio show:

... It's sad to see it end, but you've gotta respect that, because if they can't deliver, and if they are in physical pain and they can't deliver what fans wanna see, I respect that they would go out on top ... I would rather see a band like RUSH go out on top and have all the good memories of what they're capable of. ...

Jeff Miers of the Buffalo News reflects on his 38 years of being a Rush fan and his feelings about Alex's statements:

... Haters - and Rush has always had many - will probably say "Who cares, losers?" I care, deeply. If that makes me a loser, I'm happy to own it. ... it was about Rush for me, mostly. Why? Simple. Rush saved my life. The three Canadian musicians did not swoop down from the skies and transport me to their eternally orbiting rocket-ship of pure awesomeness, thereby rescuing me from adolescent suburban ennui and Catholic-Military high school abuse. Rather, the band saved my life by displaying to me things that were worth living for, and with. Music. Friendship. Integrity. The pursuit of excellence. Hard work. A sense of humor. Intellectual rigor. A reverence for the written word and the beautifully articulated musical passage alike. A belief that being different, weird, averse to the mainstream was not only acceptable, but desirable. ...

Michael Hann of The Guardian had this to say:

... Rush might have retrenched over the last couple of decades - they returned to being a power trio in the 1990s, largely at the insistence of Lifeson, who wanted to make his guitar central to the group after an 80s dominated by synthesisers - but they never shrank. To the last, they could play arenas, because they were so loved. Now they are gone, and how perfect it is that they have gone so quietly and gracefully: no rows, no deaths, no crisis. Just three friends doing what they want to do, the best way they know how.

And Kirk Baird of the Toledo Blade reminisces about his 2008 interview with Alex in his piece posted earlier today titled A Quiet ending for Rush:

... It is difficult, after all, watching something that's been a part of your life for so long just ... end. But that's the irony of youth: As we grow older, so does our past. During my Lifeson interview from nearly a decade ago, I asked him if he had ever considered what would be Rush's legacy. He said he hadn't. "We've always tried to stay in the present as much as we could and make sure we did the best job in whatever it is we're doing," Lifeson said. "I'm very proud of what we've accomplished and what we've done. The fact that we're still together after so many years is an amazing achievement, and the fact that we're playing the best that we've ever played is also quite incredible to me. "When it's all said and done," he added, "I think I'll feel very content and very happy with what we've left behind in the world of music."

Despite these heartfelt statements, the sensationalist headlines and online death knells, Alex's comments in this most recent interview are really nothing that hasn't already been said by the band multiple times within the past year or so. Geddy said the following in his AXS TV interview back in October:

No plans for touring right now... at all. ... I'm not sure that Rush as the 3-piece that people know will ever tour again at this point. It's highly unlikely. ...

And in Lifeson's Sirius XM interview back in April he said the following:

.. "I would say that it's unlikely that we'll tour again as RUSH. Really, we toured for forty-one years, and I have to say that first year off, I felt like I was grieving for my career and the band, but truly, forty-one years of touring the way we toured, I shouldn't feel badly about that." ...

The common theme here is that both Geddy and Alex are always very tentative when speaking about the band's future. It's readily apparent that neither of them want to say anything definitive, instead opting to leave some room for ambiguity judging by the language they use; Geddy says "highly unlikely" instead of "never happening", and Alex says "basically done" instead of "definitely done/over". Neither of them are ready to say the band has officially broken up, and may never end up being ready to say that - that's just not how they operate. But at the same time, you can also tell that they've begun to move on and accept the reality of the situation. That reality centers around Neil Peart, who announced his retirement from drumming over two years ago. Without Neil Peart, there is no Rush ... period - both Geddy and Alex have been adamant about this. Over the course of the past two years, Neil hasn't given any indication whatsoever to doubt the sincerity of his announcement, and has been essentially MIA since early 2016. So no, Alex's comments in this most recent interview aren't any huge revelation to anyone who's been paying attention. That said, his statement is still probably the strongest made by a band member to date regarding the band's future or lack thereof. So in that sense, the intense reaction from fans and the music press to Alex's interview isn't surprising and can be understood (although the Rush officially breaks up headlines are still annoying). All is not lost though! Rush being basically done doesn't mean that Alex and Geddy are done; it still seems very likely that the pair will get together and make music at some point down the road, or just break out on their own with solo projects. Whatever happens, it won't be called Rush, but it's probably as close as we'll get and the best we can hope for at this stage. In that same interview referenced above Geddy also said this:

... there will come a time when I will have to feed the beast - when I have to get down to the studio and write. And I still go down there and put ideas on tape and I know they're not going anywhere. So when the moment is right, and it feels right, and I'm ready to go out and do battle out there then I'll put something together and I'll go do that. ... it's a bit early to say [whether I'll record or tour], but probably a little bit of both. Invariably if I put music together that I'm proud of, I'll want to play it for someone. ...

And Alex had this to say in his Sirius XM intervew:

... Ged and I will probably do something together. He's been really busy. He's working on his own little book project. He's become quite a bass guitar collector, and he wants to do a little thing on the history of the instrument. So that's keeping him super busy. ...

While Alex waits around for Geddy to finish his book project, he's been keeping very busy on a number of side projects of his own, both musical and otherwise as he described in the Globe and Mail interview.

... I've actually been busier lately than I have been in a while. I'm writing a lot. I'm writing on four or five different little projects. I get these requests to do guitar work with other people. It's really a lot of fun for me. It's low pressure: I get to be as creative as I want to be and I can work a little outside of the box, which is really attractive to me. ...

He's been working with German drummer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Marco Minnemann on a new musical project according to this recent Facebook post from Minnenmann:

Sunset view from my music studio, while working on a new song together with ALEX LIFESON. This production also features MOHINI DEY on bass and ADI ARGELAZI on vocals. More about this adventure in a little while. We're working on it..... and it's coming together quite nicely I think. - MM

Alex also appeared on Minnemann's most recent album BORREGO that released this past summer, playing on 3 of the album's 24 tracks. You can watch a video preview of the album on YouTube, and order it via Amazon.com, lazybones.com, or at Pledge Music. Alex also makes a guest appearance on SoCal rockers Fu Manchu's new studio album Clone Of The Universe that gets released this coming February 9th. Lifeson plays on the 18-minute, side-long album centerpiece Il Mostro Atomico. Drummer Scott Reeder recently posted a story to his blog explaining how Alex's guest appearance came to be. The band will be hitting the road in support of the album next month. For more information visit the Fu Manchu website at fu-manchu.com, and you can pre-order Clone of the Universe at this location.

The graphic novel representation of Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart's 2015 novel Clockwork Lives - the follow-up to Clockwork Angels - will be getting released as a graphic novel via Insight Comics this coming June. The official announcement from Insight Comics was posted yesterday at comicbookmovie.com. Anderson first announced plans for the graphic novel via a blog post this past April. You can check out a picture of the graphic novel's cover, which was created by Hugh Syme, here. The 176-page book is currently slated for release on June 19th and can be pre-ordered at this location.

Speaking of book releases, reader David Pedreira is releasing his debut novel via Harper Voyager next month - a sci-fi murder/mystery that takes place on the Moon titled Gunpowder Moon. Being the lifelong Rush fan that he is, Pedreira inserted a Rush Easter Egg in the book. During a pivotal moment toward the climax of the novel, the protagonist give his security command code to one of his underlings to override an order that is shutting down his lunar mining station. The code is - of course - 2-1-1-2. Gunpowder Moon releases on February 13th and you can pre-order a copy at this location.

Here's some video of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart the last time they all appeared onstage together at the end of the Rush R40 Live Tour at the LA Forum back on August 1, 2015.

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

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