Rush is a Band

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

Mon, May 20, 2024

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Dec 4, 2020@10:51AM | comments

FoosLollBerlin190917-21 (cropped)Foo Fighters' drummer Taylor Hawkins recently spoke with Doug Elliott of Toronto's 94.9 The Rock for a new interview and the subject of Rush and the late Neil Peart came up at one point:

... Nobody can do it like Neil, man. There can never be another Neil Peart. No way. He had the craziest hands, and he just had such a unique thing. I hope that Geddy and Al play together, and I hope they can find someone to do something with them. But no one will ever be Neil Peart; it's just impossible. And I think Geddy and Alex know that, and they feel the same way. But I want them to play - I really, really do. I know they wanna play. I don't know that, like, personally, but ...

When then asked about what a new collaboration between Geddy and Alex might be like and whether it would be in the same style as Rush, Hawkins added the following:

... Those are their songs. It would obviously be somewhat in the same style as Rush, I would imagine. But I think that they would, instead of trying to get a copy of Neil Peart, probably try a different sort of style. But I don't know. Who knows? Who knows if they'll ever even do it? Maybe they've been done long enough where now they're just, like, 'It's kind of nice just to be home and chill.' ... They did it for so long. ... But I know they'll wanna play on some level - I know they will. Geddy is such a player; he's such a musician. He's a musician's musician. And so is Alex. But I don't know Alex as well as I know Geddy. And I don't know Geddy that well. But just the few times I've gotten to really hang with him, he's a really funny guy. He's got a really dark sense of humor that you would never expect. But he's a smartass. I love it. ...

You can listen to the full audio of the interview on YouTube with the Rush part coming in at around the 7-minute mark.

Reader RushFanForever discovered some Alex Lifeson musical guest appearance news from late last year that had been missed. Former Chicago bassist and vocalist Jason Scheff released his second solo album Here I Am back in the fall of 2019 and Alex Lifeson played some acoustic guitar on the title track which can be heard here.

Prog and Classic Rock magazine are releasing a From the Archives special, 148-page Rush edition as seen in this 17-page sampler (thanks RushFanForever). The special issue is a compilation of past Rush articles/interviews from both magazines.

The Rush-themed 501(c)3 charitable organization Overtime Angels is sponsoring a 2020 Holiday Fundraiser auction via eBay which kicked off this past weekend. The auction features several rare and unique items of Rush memorabilia including an Anatomy of a Drum Solo poster signed by Neil Peart. The auction will run through this coming Monday and you can check out all of the items on eBay here. Overtime Angels is also organizing the upcoming A Night for Neil: The Neil Peart Memorial Celebration concert and fundraiser, now scheduled for April 17th.

Over the past few 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, Power Windows, Signals, 2112 and Presto. This past week they posted excerpts of Syme talking about the pun-laden cover of Rush's 1981 classic Moving Pictures:

... His vision for the prog-rock trio's eighth LP, 1981's Moving Pictures, crystalized as soon as he heard the title from drummer-lyricist Neil Peart - conjuring visual puns. "I Immediately saw people moving pictures," he says. Not that Rush were immediately onboard. "The band didn't get it at first," Syme says. "I said to Neil, 'We've gotta have some people moving pictures.' It was another one of those 'What?!' kind of moments. It took a little more description from me to fill in the details." It's a layered joke: The cover shows a crew of workers physically moving pictures (paintings of dogs playing poker, the "Starman" character from 2112 and a burning Joan of Arc) and a group of people being moved to tears by these pictures. ...

Moving Pictures will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of its 1981 release this coming February, and it's expected that Rush will be releasing a 40th anniversary box set to commemorate the occasion at some point in 2021. Over the past few years, they've released 40th anniversary editions of 2112, A Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres and Permanent Waves. No details on the anticipated Moving Pictures box set have been made available as of yet, so stay tuned.

Rush sound engineer Richard Chycki was recently interviewed for the November/December issue of Tape Op magazine and spoke a bit about his work with Rush, including how it all started (thanks RushFanForever):

... In 2004 Rush was doing a charity event for the tsunami that had devastated Indonesia earlier that year. I got a call from a friend of mine who works at the Rush office, and he said, "Rush is going into the studio to do a version of ÔCloser to the Heart.' They're going to film the event for a broadcast and they need an engineer. There's no money because it's a charity event, but do you want to do it?" I immediately said, "Rush? Yes!" Alex Lifeson [guitar]‎ and I hit it off. We were laughing and joking around the whole time. We ended up doing an 18-hour day, but it was a ton of fun and it turned out great. A few months later, I got a phone call from Alex and he said, "What are you doing? We're working on this DVD [R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour]. You want to come down to my place and talk?" I went to see him, and we just hung out, drank coffee, and, again, had a bunch more laughs. He asked me about how I'd approach mixing R30. I told him I'd mix in Pro Tools. He said, "You can't mix in Pro Tools!" Keeping in mind this is 2005, clearly, he wasn't sold on it. I offered to return the next day and bring my Pro Tools rig in to play back some music. I pulled everything out of my studio, set it all up in surround at his studio, aligned the playback rig, and proceeded to play back some surround mixes I had done. He was super enthusiastic about it. He asked if I wanted to try doing some R30 mixes, and he loved it. It was really well-received. Not long afterward, I was asked to work with producer Nick Raskulinecz [Tape Op #50] to record and mix Rush's Snakes & Arrows. It was a fantastic experience. Nick is such a great producer and he's also a Rush superfan! We always have a great time working together - a lot of chemistry, having fun, and making records. ...

The December 2020 issue of Thunder Bay Arts & Culture Magazine The Walleye includes a feature on page 100 which pays tribute to four notable musicians who passed away in 2020, including Neil Peart. You can read the tribute online here (thanks RushFanForever).

Speaking of Neil Peart tributes, British artist Chris Barker included Peart along with several other notable celebrities in his annual Sgt. Pepper tribute to famous figures who have passed away over the last year. Towards the end of every year since 2016, Barker has created a montage image of all the more notable figures from pop culture, politics and sports who died within that year in the style of the iconic cover art of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. You can check out this year's image with Peart in it here (thanks RushFanForever). posted their list of 25 underrated deep cuts from legendary bands this past week, and included Rush's Digital Man off of Signals:

Like most every other band on this list, it's not easy deciding on one deep cut that's worthy of mention. It might be doubly tough when talking Rush. To some, Signals is a forgotten album in the Rush catalog. Perhaps so, but what should not be lost is this song that once again highlights the talent of late legendary drummer Neil Peart. There's also a certain groove element to the piece through Geddy Lee's bass while Alex Lifeson delivers some strong axe work of his own.

Classic Rock magazine posted their list of the 50 Greatest Live Albums Ever as chosen by their readers this past week and 2 Rush albums made the cut; All the World's a Stage came in at #12, and Exit ... Stage Left was #5 (thanks RushFanForever):

On Exit... Stage Left, Rush are at their peak, combining prog rock odysseys with More modern classics such as The Spirit Of Radio and Tom Sawyer, and that combination certainly made its mark. "I discovered Rush around 1981 or so, when Moving Pictures came out," says drummer extraordinaire Mike Portnoy. "As much as I love Moving Pictures and Permanent Waves and Hemispheres, to me, Exit...Stage Left was the go-to album, because it had all the best songs from those albums. "It had Jacob's Ladder, Xanadu, YYZ. So to me, Exit...Stage Left was the go-to album to have a crash course in Neil Peart. I remember just learning every one of those songs - inside and out - and pretty much redefining my drumming at that stage of my life. "Neil turned my world upside down - in terms of what you can do with a drum kit. As well as progressive type writing - in terms of longer songs and odd time signatures. That was the album that really shaped my style."

Classic Rock also spoke to various musicians and asked them to pick their own personal favorite live albums, and Volbeat's Rob Caggiano also mentioned Rush's 1981 live classic:

"Rush has always been one of the tightest and technically perfect bands around. This album is testament to that. I've seen them about 12 times over the years and they were literally flawless every single time. Exit... Stage Left is a really cool record because some tracks were taken from their Permanent Waves tour in 1980 and other tracks are taken from their Moving Pictures tour in 1981. "That being said, there is a very interesting version of the classic Tom Sawyer (Moving Pictures) from the Permanent Waves tour a full year before Moving Pictures came out! I guess they were trying it out in front of a crowd before they recorded fucking cool!"

American comedian, writer, actor, and director David Wain has been keeping busy with various projects during his COVID quarantine, including live Zoom performances of Wet Hot American Summer, revamped sketches from The State, performing street magic, and pondering what it would sound like if Rush sucked ... wait, what? This past week Wain took Rush's Tom Sawyer, pitch-altered some vocals, slightly shifted tempos off-beat, and created an altered version of the Holy Triumvirate sounding like a School of Rock beginner's class as seen in this YouTube video. As to the question of why he did this, I have no idea.

That's it for this week. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!