Rush is a Band

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

Mon, May 25, 2020

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Apr 17, 2020@12:00PM | comments

The April, 2020 issue of Drumhead magazine includes an extensive and deeply moving tribute to Neil Peart written by John King. It also includes tributes from a number of Neil's fellow drummers and friends including Martin Deller, Rod Morgenstein, Peter Erskine, Steve Smith, Joe Franco, Chris Stankee, Doane Perry, Jason Bittner, Corey Manske, Jeff Berlin and John Good. John Good recounts his last encounter with Neil this past November:

... It was just before last Thanksgiving that I wrote him an email. He had been responding less and less, but he wrote me back and asked if I wanted to come visit. So, Don and I went together and met Neil at the Man Cave. Neil was moving slow, shuffling around a bit, not really walking around too much. Words were coming slow and he couldn't really write much anymore. We sat down and talked for a while and he said, "I'm not in pain guys, I'm okay." When it was lunch time, Don offered to go across the street to get us some food, so I was there alone with Neil and asked, "Is there anything you want? Anything at all." He said, "No, nothing at all." So, I said, "Well, I want to do something. I want to take your R40 kit and put it in our showroom, behind plexiglass, where people can come in and check it out." He just smiled and said, "That's what I want." He then said, "I have my driver that takes me from my house to the Man Cave every day, and on the way to, I listen to three songs. Then when he picks me up to go home, I listen to three more." I said, "Really? What songs?" Neil said, "Rush songs!" Then he said, "I spent a life time concentrating on my parts. All I could think about was my parts, rehearsing my parts, and trying to be the best possible drummer that I could be for that music. But I never really listened to the embodiment of the music as a whole." He took a minute as I was taking that in, and then he said, "You know John, we were pretty good." As we finished our lunch, we got up to leave and give him a hug-and when you hug Neil Peart, you're hugging a man of great stature-I said, "I hope I see you again soon," and as I turned to walk away, he grabbed my hand, and just gave me a long stare, and a smile.

John over at Cygnus-X1.net has transcribed the entire article and made it available online at this location. On a related note, Police drummer Stewart Copeland was recently interviewed for the Sound Vapors podcast and spoke a little about the death of his friend Neil Peart and its affect on him. You can listen to the podcast online at this location; the Peart part comes in at about the 34:30 mark (thanks RushFanForever).

And speaking of tributes to Neil Peart, the effort to name the pavilion at Lakeside Park in Neil's hometown after the late drummer has taken another step forward. From iHeartRadio.com (thanks RushFanForever):

It's come down to two names. Starting on Friday residents will be able to cast their ballots to name the Lakeside Park pavilion to honour the late Rush drummer and one-time St. Catharines resident Neil Peart. The city received hundreds of submissions for naming the Port structure, but have whittled it down to two names. After staff review, and consultations with the Peart family, the City has settled two possible names for the public to vote on, 'Neil Peart Pavilion' and 'Lakeside Park Pavilion.' Voting opens on Friday via the City's online engagement platform at www.engageSTC.ca/LakesideParkPavilion. Following two weeks of voting the results will be tallied and the name presented to City Council for final approval.

Music writer Martin Popoff has written a new Rush book titled Anthem: Rush in the '70s, which is the first of a 3-part Rush Across the Decades series. The second book is titled Limelight: Rush in the '80s and is slated for an October release; it can be pre-ordered at this location. Although the book doesn't officially release until May 12th, Popoff has received a supply of the books from the publisher and is selling signed copies out of his home office, as he outlines in this Facebook post:

OK, got 'em... Anthem: Rush in the '70s...

...has just arrived at the office and is ready for signing and shipping. Not at my website yet, but yes, boxes are here and I am sending them NOW.

The book is 354 pages, comprising my deepest dig into Rush ever. It's twice as long as my other Rush books and hopefully it'll stand as the most definitive book on this period, although there's no stopping Rush scholarship.

It's a textured hard cover book, sweetly appointed with foil and embossing. There are two eight-page colour sections, but other than that, it's a 126,000-word deep dive into the origins of the band up to the end of 1979.

Toward that end, there's extensive discussion of the childhood and teen years, leading into separate chapters on Rush, Fly by Night, Caress of Steel, 2112, All the World's a Stage, A Farewell to Kings and Hemispheres.

Inspired by what I had to do on my recent Led Zeppelin and Clash books (i.e. writing 500 words on every single song), there's far more song-by-song analysis than I stuck in any of my previous Rush titles. But there's also a trove of unseen first-hand interview material with the band as well as engineers, producers, managers and other industry movers an' shakers.

Books will be signed by me to you unless you wave your arms wildly and tell me otherwise within like half an hour of ordering!

Price including shipping:
US orders: $41.00 US funds
Int'l orders: $47.00 US funds
Canadian orders: $47.00 Cdn. Funds

If you'd like a PayPal invoice, please indicate what country you are in.

Or just do yer usual and direct funds to martinp@inforamp.net . Sweet postage savings to be had for multiple orders (or two of pretty much anything-long story, ask me!), especially for US orders.

Anthem is the fourth Rush book from Popoff who also authored the 2004 Rush biography Contents Under Pressure, 2013's Rush: The Unauthorized Illustrated History (an updated edition was released back in 2016), and - most recently - Rush: Album by Album in 2017. Anthem: Rush in the '70s can also be pre-ordered via Amazon at this location.

Music writer Robert Ham recently wrote a piece for Discogs.com titled How I Became A Rush Fan By Accident where he describes how he became an "accidental" fan back in 2011 after on assignment to cover a Rush gig outside Seattle (thanks Tom J).

WRAL.com's Tony Rice published an article highlighting the International Day of Human Space Flight this past Sunday, April 12th. Yuri Gagarin became the first person to fly in space on April 12, 1961, and twenty years to the day later, STS-1, the first space shuttle mission, launched:

... I've seen a few shuttle launches, and even more attempts. For me, the best description of the experience is provided by the Canadian rock trio Rush in "Countdown" on their 1983 album Signals. The band left for Florida immediately after the Houston date on their Moving Pictures Tour. They arrived in the early morning hours of April 10, 1981, for the first launch of the Space Shuttle program. That first 7 a.m. attempt was scrubbed due to communication errors between Columbia's computers. While NASA engineers patched the software , the band rushed (no pun intended) to the airport to return to Texas for a pair of shows. "We had a show in San Antonio, after which we drove off immediately, clambered into a hired jet, and flew straight back to Florida," Rush drummer Neil Peart recalled in the Signals tour book. "I remember thinking to myself as we flew back to Fort Worth after a couple days without sleep, 'We've got to write a song about this!' It was an incredible thing to witness, truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Country radio station 98.1 KHAK DJ Ryan "Brain" Brainard posted his 2020 Quarantine Playlist this past week, and Rush's The Spirit of Radio was one of the few "non-country" tracks to make the cut. You can check out the full playlist here (thanks RushFanForever).

Stereonet editor-in-chief David Price wrote an article this past week where he profiles three of his favorite hi-fi "torture tracks"; examples of tracks that he typically uses while reviewing hi-fi products. One of these three tracks is Rush's Red Barchetta:

... this song is very well produced. Indeed it's notable for being one of the first digital rock recordings, done of course in 16-bit - odd then that it's flagged up on Qobuz at 24/96 'hi-res'! The whole album sounds clean and punchy, but not as immediately 'hi-fi' as some of its contemporaries, like Pink Floyd's The Wall. Yet this is one of those albums that opens up more, the better your system gets. It sounds compressed and closed-in via an imperfect system, but a high-resolution one will dig in deep to show its technical perfection. ... the band deliver an enthralling performance in one single take. There's great dramatic tension between the players - with Peart's breathtaking drumming taking centre stage. It's set in 4/4 time, but in the middle guitar solo, he switches between 4/4 and 3/4, to further increase the sense of movement. His stick-work is all the more impressive thanks to the use of a pressure zone (boundary) microphone taped on to his chest, which gives a panoramic feel to the drums. Red Barchetta is an audio assault course, a stern test for any hi-fi. It probes the system's soundstaging, depth perspective, bass grip, treble resolution - but most of all it tests dynamics and detail. If you're not hanging off the edge of your seat, getting the feel of being taken on a rollercoaster ride, then the hi-fi system you're listening to simply isn't up to par.

System Of A Down drummer John Dolmayan was recently interviewed for Metal Hammer and listed off the 10 Albums That Changed My Life, one of which was Rush's Hemispheres:

"My favourite Rush album, my favourite Rush story, this is Neil Peart writing lyrics that could be turned into a movie. Incredible music, three of the best musicians of our era, certainly one of the best drummers of our era, it was a big loss losing him this year. It's not a lot of people's favourite Rush album, but it is mine just because of the concept, the lyrics and the high calibre of the players involved. I've got nothing but good things to say about that album."

Voivod vocalist "Snake" was recently interviewed for Agoraphobic-News and spoke a little about opening for Rush back in 1990:

... "Opening for Rush was amazing! It was like a dream coming true for us but we were really nervous. Opening for Rush, you know, you set up the level to a certain degree and there were some bands that actually got booed before opening for Rush. So we were really scared of getting booed but actually we did pretty good. We did our stuff and it went really well. The first gig was in Quebec City and we played in Montreal the next day and there was like two days in Toronto after that so we played four shows together. I remember the first show we came back after in the dressing room with the big bottle of champagne, all signed by the guys and I was like: oh my god this is crazy! Really nice people. They treated us like gentlemen. It was fantastic. It was one of the top thing, the highlights of my career. We're fans in the first place. Just being in their surroundings, looking at them doing sound check I remember Neil Peart's setting and different kind of resetting, different kind of his drum kit. It was like, my god...we're in heaven here!" ...

After the overwhelmingly positive response they received from their cover of Rush's YYZ a couple of weeks ago, Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante's impromptu virtual band decided to follow up that performance earlier this week with a cover of another of Rush's instrumental masterpieces - La Villa Strangiato. Benante's band consists of himself on drums, Testament's Alex Skolnick on guitar and Suicidal Tendencies' Roberto "Ra" Diaz on bass. You can check out their performance below or on YouTube at this location, and in case you missed their YYZ cover, check out this post. Here's the YouTube description from Benante:

The three of us - Alex, Ra,and Myself had so much fun doing our version of Rush's "YYZ" and are blown away by the positive response that we've received. So we've decided that the best way to say thank you is to do one more song. This one has been requested by some and again, will be recognized by every fan of Rush. By popular demand: here is "La Villa Strangiato." Despite being an instrumental, the song tells a complete story, complete with plot and characters. It's based on some nightmares Alex Lifeson experienced We hope you all enjoy it as much as we did playing it! Stay safe and wishing everybody a great week!

That's all for this week. Stay home and listen to Rush. Have a great weekend!

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