Rush is a Band

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

Wed, May 31, 2023

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Nov 20, 2020@11:52AM | comments

Hudson Music announced earlier this week that they are sponsoring a Neil Peart Drumset Scholarship in partnership with the Percussive Arts Society ( PAS will begin accepting applications for the scholarship in March of next year. The scholarship will annually award 4 drummers the opportunity for online drumset lessons from well-known artists/educators. Hudson Music produces instructional how-to videos and lesson books for drums, bass and guitar, including Neil Peart's Anatomy of a Drum Solo and Taking Center Stage instructional videos. The Percussive Arts Society announced Neil Peart as a member of their 2020 Hall of Fame back in May, and formally inducted him at PASIC this past weekend. You can view their induction tribute video to Neil here. More details about the Scholarship will be forthcoming, so be sure to follow Hudson Music on Facebook for updates. You can watch a promotional video for the Scholarship below or on YouTube.

Music writer Martin Popoff's Driven: Rush in the '90s and 'In the End' - the third and final book in his 3-part Rush Across the Decades series - is slated for release in April of next year and is now available for pre-order. The first book in the series was Anthem: Rush in the '70s, which released back in May, and the second book was Limelight: Rush in the '80s, which officially released last month. Driven: Rush in the '90s and 'In the End' is currently slated for release on April 27, 2021, and the imitation leather bound book will come in at 368 pages. From the book's description:

In this conclusion to his trilogy of authoritative books on Canada's most beloved and successful rock band, Martin Popoff takes us through three decades of "life at the top" for Rush's Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart. Though this era begins with the brisk-selling Roll the Bones and sees throngs of fans sell out international tours, there is also unimaginable tragedy, with Peart losing his daughter and his wife within the space of ten months and, two decades later, succumbing to cancer himself. In between, however, there is a gorgeous and heartbreaking album of reflection and bereavement, as well as a triumphant trip to Brazil, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, and ― some say surprisingly ― the band's first full-blown concept album to close an immense career marked by integrity and idealism.

The December, 2020 issue of Guitar World magazine includes a cover feature on the 40 Guitarists Who Changed Our World Since 1980, and Rush's Alex Lifeson is included (thanks RushFanForever):

What He Did: With virtuoso skills and a keen sense of songcraft, Lifeson has been the sole guitar force behind Rush for more than 45 years.

"Soloing shouldn't be about how fast or how many notes you can play, or how much 'better' you can play than the next guy. It's got to really relate to the song or be a reflection of something in your character" - Alex Lifeson

In the years since Rush's 1974 debut album, Alex Lifeson evolved from being a heavy rocker in the classic Seventies power chord/pentatonic scale tradition to his role as rock's preeminent texturalist that lasted well into the 2000s.

As Rush's compositional sophistication grew in the late Seventies and Eighties, so did Lifeson's guitar work - his favored use of suspended chords (played with plenty of chorus and delay) instead of triads defined the ethereal, instantly recognizable and often-imitated Rush sound.

Lifeson developed his signature sound by using arpeggios as harmonic pads underneath Geddy Lee's vocals to counterbalance the band's driving, odd-metered riffs. Other Lifeson stylistic approaches include using notes on the top strings as common tones above a moving arpeggiated bass line ("Fly by Night"), incorporating open strings in arpeggiated sequences ("Closer to the Heart") and sustaining open strings over moving power chord shapes ("Jacob's Ladder").

Over the past couple of months, Ultimate Classic Rock has been posting excerpts from an interview they conducted with longtime Rush art director Hugh Syme where he discusses the history and background of Rush's album cover art. So far they've covered Counterparts, A Farewell to Kings, Caress of Steel, Hemispheres, Exit ... Stage Left, and Power Windows. This past week they released another excerpt where Rush's 1982 Signals album is covered, and Syme recalls Rush manager Ray Danniels' negative reaction to the iconic cover art:

... the band's manager was apparently puzzled to the point of anger. "When I told [him] my concept for Signals, he didn't seem to appreciate it," the prog-rock trio's longtime art director, Hugh Syme, tells us. "It was one of the few times he was quite irate and stormed out of my studio, saying, 'I don't know what the fuck this has to do with rock 'n' roll.'" The image - a Dalmatian sniffing the base of a bright red fire hydrant on a freshly cut lawn - wasn't intended to enrage. Instead, it sprung from the idea of "leaving your mark, determining whether or not you were the first to occupy a particular territory...a signal to other interloping canines in the subdivision." ...

Zach Robinson of Denver-based band Sixty Minute Men was recently interviewed by The Orange Magazine for a feature in their latest issue (thanks RushFanForever). Robinson was asked the question, "What are the 5 albums that have helped make you the person you are today? And why?", and Rush's Moving Pictures was one of the albums he mentioned:

Three dudes who sound like ten on stage. The energy, the precision, the mysticism ... that's what drew me to Rush. The first time I heard 'Tom Sawyer' I was blown away. Alex Lifeson is another inspiration of mine on guitar. He played with such fierce determination, it had me hooked on their brand of prog-rock immediately.

Zack Miller wrote a piece for the Loyola Phoenix this past week on Classic Rock and the Art of Knowing When To Give Up, and used Rush as a prime example of a band doing things the right way:

... I also don't want to ignore the fact some of these bands have released amazing albums in their later years. Rush's 2013 album, "Clockwork Angels," is a prime example of this. Geddy Lee works within the vocal range he has left to put some beautiful melodies behind the timeless (or at least compared to David Lee Roth's sexcapade lyrics) words of Neil Peart to create an amazing final studio album for the group. Despite the album not producing any songs to compete with their classics, the record's closer, "The Garden," is a beautifully reflective track that leaves longtime fans with a wonderful memory of their favorite band. ...

Instagram user @barbicastelvi posted a photo yesterday of herself and Alex Lifeson sitting in with the band at a late '90s wedding. Apparently the song being played was Blondie's Heart of Glass (thanks Ian H aka @hellocombover). :)

The folks at RushCon have announced their 4th (I think?) annual Rush fan Secret Santa! Fans who wish to participate can get all the details and sign up via this Google docs form. The deadline for entry is this coming Sunday, November 22nd with matches being sent out on November 26th. For details and updates be sure to follow RushCon on Facebook and Twitter.

That's all for this week. For all my fellow US readers, have a great Thanksgiving holiday next week!