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, Jul 10, 2020@11:23AM | comments

St. Johns based sculptor Morgan MacDonald has spent over 1000 hours over the last few months designing a statue of Neil Peart that he hopes will be selected to be placed in Peart's hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario as a permanent monument to the late drummer. From the CBC:

... His interest in honouring Peart ... is driven by a personal passion. "This is a bit of a volunteer thing. It started in January with the news of Neil Peart's passing. It came as a bit of a shock to me," MacDonald said. "We've been longtime fans of the band.... It's kind of been a lifelong thing for me to know the music." ... the city did opt to rename the Lakeside Park pavilion after Peart in his honour in early June, the placement of the yet-to-be-made statue is still making its way through city council. That didn't stop MacDonald from getting started - creating a clay maquette of what the final, larger product could look like. ... He will also be creating a duplicate maquette to give to Peart's sister, Nancy Burkholder, as part of an auction to benefit health-care charities throughout Ontario. ... The city issued the call for designs on additions that could be added to the pavilion at Lakeside. MacDonald said he has been in contact with some residents of the area and will follow the process closely. ... MacDonald expects a decision to be made in the next couple of months, but from there it will be about a two-year journey to the final product. And while his design may not get picked in the end, he said he's just happy Peart is being honoured. ...

You can see several photos of MacDonald's designs, including the Peart statue, on his Instagram page. There's also this mini-documentary video (thanks RushFanForever) showing MacDonald working on the sculpture and talking a bit about the inspiration behind it.

Speaking of Neil Peart, BraveWords has just announced that they will be sponsoring their first Streaming For Vengeance livestream show tomorrow afternoon at 4PM to benefit the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund. The event will feature a virtual, all-star band called Frost Coalition that includes 7 members from a number of well-known heavy metal bands including Savatage, Lizzy Borden and more. According to BraveWords.com, the event "is going to create the ultimate worldwide 'live' experience as bands perform on the 'Hemispheres Stage', uniting the world and honoring Rush legend Neil Peart". BraveWords will be hosting regular live events in the coming weeks on their official Facebook page. You can get all the details at streamingforvengeance.com.

Ernest Cline's critically-acclaimed, 2011 sci-fi book Ready Player One is held in high esteem by Rush fans due to the multitude of Rush references it contains, including a particularly significant plot point involving the band's 2112 album. Unfortunately, the 2018 film based on the book did not include these references other than a couple of Rush t-shirts/posters (although one of the film's trailers did feature Tom Sawyer). Cline has just announced that a sequel to the book titled Ready Player Two is slated for release this coming November and is now available for pre-order. Let's hope it includes as many Rush references as the first book did (if not more)!

Music writer Martin Popoff released his new book Anthem: Rush in the '70s back in May, which is the first of a 3-part Rush Across the Decades series. The second book in the series - Limelight: Rush in the '80s - is slated for release on October 13th and can now be pre-ordered here. From the book's description:

In the follow-up to Anthem: Rush in the '70s, Martin Popoff brings together canon analysis, cultural context, and extensive firsthand interviews to celebrate Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart at the peak of their persuasive power. Rush was one of the most celebrated hard rock acts of the '80s, and the second book of Popoff's staggeringly comprehensive three-part series takes readers from Permanent Waves to Presto, while bringing new insight to Moving Pictures, their crowning glory. Limelight: Rush in the '80s is a celebration of fame, of the pushback against that fame, of fortunes made ― and spent ...

In the latter half of the decade, as Rush adopts keyboard technology and gets pert and poppy, there's an uproar amongst diehards, but the band finds a whole new crop of listeners. Limelight charts a dizzying period in the band's career, built of explosive excitement but also exhaustion, a state that would lead, as the '90s dawned, to the band questioning everything they previously believed, and each member eying the oncoming decade with trepidation and suspicion.

The imitation-leather bound book comes in at 375 pages and includes two full-color photo inserts, with 16 pages of the band on tour and in the studio. You can pre-order Limelight: Rush in the '80s here. Popoff has also revealed that the title of the third and final book in the series will be Driven: Rush in the '90s and "In the End" (thanks Chad H).

Speaking of Rush books, Back in Febrary author and Rush fan Alexander Hellene was inspired by Neil Peart's untimely passing to write his first non-fiction book; a book centered on Rush fans with a working title of Dreamers and Misfits. The author has finished the book and plans to self-publish, so he has kicked off an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds to cover editing, formatting, and cover art. He's half way to his goal, so go help out if you are able, and check out his video message about the book as well.

The 2019 documentary on legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot titled Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind made its world premiere at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto last year. Back in March the movie was shown on the CBC's documentary Channel and is currently available for streaming for Canadian viewers on CBC Gem. Rush's Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson appear in the documentary (Geddy mostly), and here's a transcription of their comments from the film:

Geddy Lee: He [Gordon Lightfoot] to me is one of the greatest examples of timeless singer-songwriter, you know. A man dedicated to the word and to the tune. He is our poet laureate; he is our iconic singer-songwriter. He sent the message to the world that we're not just a bunch of lumberjacks and hockey players up here. You know, we're capable of sensitivity and poetry and that was a message delivered by the success of Gordon Lightfoot internationally. People were more willing to listen to someone from Canada because someone of such enormous talent had paved the way.

Alex Lifeson: He was at the top of the totem pole and we were proud of it.

The film had been slated to hit US theaters back in May, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is instead being released straight to video-on-demand streaming channels. According to the Gordon Lightfoot Facebook page, the film will be released digitally on August 21st, and on DVD on August 25th. It can be pre-ordered from Amazon at this location. You can watch the film's trailer here, and Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson can be seen at about the 25-second mark (although only Geddy speaks).

AL.com posted a list of 20 of the most iconic cars in rock & roll this past week, and the Ferrari 166 MM - aka the Red Barchetta - made the cut:

"Red Barchetta" is perhaps rock's ultimate car song. A 1981 track by Canadian power-prog trio Rush, the lyrics, penned by drummer/car enthusiast Neil Peart, were inspired by "A Nice Morning Drive," future-fiction by Richard S. Foster, published 1973 in Road & Track magazine. The "Red Barchetta" riffs are smart and swerving. Foster's story features an MGB roadster. Peart's lyrics, sung by bassist Geddy Lee, don't cite a specific car by name. But a barchetta, Italian for "little boat," refers to a small open-topped car, and Peart is said to have been fond of Ferrari 165 MM "barchetta" racers, built from 1948 to 1953. According to bravewords.com, when a Hot Wheels released a die-cast model of a 165 MM, the price was $19.74. Peart joined Rush in 1974.

Ultimate-Guitar.com posted their list of the Top 10 Rock and Metal Songs With Theremin this past week. The theremin is an unconventional electronic instrument consisting of two metal antennas that sense the distance to the player's hands and react accordingly, one controlling the volume of the sound, and the other controlling the frequency and therefore the pitch. Rush's BU2B made the cut at #7:

There is no denying that Rush were one of the most influential and revered Prog bands of all time, and their musical endeavors were for much of their 50-year career ahead of their time. Although inserted in the Prog movement, the group always escaped the urge to release a concept album (although they have more than a few narrative-driven songs) as singer and bassist Geddy Lee didn't want to date their work by associating it to what he thought was a trend for 70's Prog Rock. This changed when they released 2011's "Clockwork Angels", their final album that is a conceptual narrative of a young man's quest for his dreams through a steampunk world heavy with alchemy themes. Although seemingly much to absorb, it was a befitting swan song for the group as it was beloved by fans and critics alike and showed them triumphing over an effort they hadn't attempted before, resulting in an immersive album that is not weighted down by its plot nor does it sound dated. Among its finest moments, there is the second song "BU2B" (as a companion for opener "Caravan"), where Geddy Lee releases his fury on a theremin close to the 4-minute mark just in time to intertwine with Lifeson's riffs resulting in a tastefully heavy breakdown.

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

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