Rush is a Band

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

Sat, Oct 23, 2021

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Jun 18, 2021@12:13PM | comments

Earlier this week Alex Lifeson surprised Rush fans by releasing two NEW instrumental tracks via his newly-minted official website at AlexLifeson.com, coinciding with the release of his new signature Epiphone Les Paul Standard Axcess guitar. As part of the website launch, he also kicked off an official Instagram page at @TheRealLerxst along with an official YouTube channel, where he debuted a video promoting his new signature guitar, with the 2 new tracks as background music, and which included some new home movie footage of Alex as a young teenager with his first guitar. The 2 new tracks are titled Kabul Blues and Spy House, and both are available for listening online via his website here. Andy Curran plays bass guitar on both tracks and David Quinton Steinberg was recruited for the drums on Spy House, but otherwise it's all Lerxst. Alex's new signature guitar is a modern take on the classic Les Paul as described in the press release:

Through an extensive collaboration between Alex and Gibson, Epiphone pushed the boundaries of the classic Les Paul to create the exclusive Alex Lifeson Les Paul Standard Axcess. The guitar includes a pair of powerful Epiphone pickups - the Pro Bucker 3 bridge pickup and the Ceramic Pro neck pickup. It also includes coil-splitting options via the push-pull volume controls and a Graph Tech Ghost Floyd Rose system. Together these features give the player access to both traditional magnetic humbucker tones as well as the Ghost's realistic acoustic tones. For added flexibility, you can blend acoustic and magnetic voices to create a rich layered sound and then route them through either a traditional mono jack or use two cables to access the individual magnetic and piezo outputs. ...

Alex donated one of the early prototypes of the guitar to a virtual Rotary Foundation fundraiser last month put on by Rotary District 5060, and also was interviewed as part of the fundraiser's virtual gala on May 12th (the guitar ended up raising $6500). The district governor for Rotary District 5060 is Peter Schultz, who was a childhood friend of Lifeson, having played in early bands with a teenage Alex as Schultz discusses in this 2020 video interview. You can watch Alex's interview on Vimeo at this location.

As mentioned above, Andy Curran plays bass on both of Lifeson's new tracks. Curran has a long history of working with Alex Lifeson and Rush. He was a founding member and front-man of 1980s-era Canadian rockers Coney Hatch, who were also under Rush's Anthem Records label. After Coney Hatch called it quits, Curran went on to be Anthem's AR rep. In more recent years he moved on to Ole Music (since rebranded as Anthem Entertainment), the publishing house that took over the Anthem back catalog, including everything by Rush. He ended his tenure there back in 2019 and is now out on his own as a music industry "gun-for-hire". He was recently interviewed for the Rock History Canada YouTube channel and talked about how he started working at Anthem. You can watch that interview on YouTube here (thanks RushFanForever).

Longtime Rush album artist Hugh Syme will be opening a new art exhibit at Austin's Ao5 Gallery later this month. The exhibit will include a selection of Syme's best-known works, along with an assortment of previously-unseen originals. The exhibit will kick off with a VIP event on Friday, June 25th from 7-9PM where Syme will meet with attendees and autograph one personal item. The VIP event costs $50 and is limited to 50 attendees with tickets available via Ao5gallery.com. Admission also includes hors d'oeuvres and drinks along with a limited-edition signed print of Waiting. Opening night of the exhibit will take place the following evening on Saturday, June 26th with hourly entry available for $5 at 7PM, 8PM and 9PM (tickets available here). The exhibit will then be open to the public during regular hours through the end of July. All artwork will be available for purchase online at Ao5gallery.com, and the gallery will continue to include an ongoing assortment of more than 30 of Syme's works following the exhibit's end. Syme will be releasing a newly expanded and updated second edition of his The Art of Rush book later this summer; the original edition was released back in 2015. This updated edition includes a newly designed cover along with an additional 20-page section featuring the art of Rush's 40th anniversary releases.

Geddy Lee and his mother Mary Weinrib were featured in last week's season finale of From Cradle to Stage - the Paramount Plus docu-series from Dave and Virginia Grohl based on Virginia's 2017 book of the same name. The episode is now generally available for watching (for subscribers) wherever Paramount Plus is available, or via various Paramount affiliates in Europe. One of the more noteworthy scenes involved a conversation that Dave, Virginia and his daughter Violet were having around the dinner table about 15 minutes into the show. Dave is discussing his conversation with Geddy and his Mom, and her incredible Holocaust survival story, and says the following:

... It was funny for me to sit with Geddy and his Mom because ... he changed my life. Rush really changed my life. I loved music. I loved singing in the car to AM radio. But I never *listened* to the drums until I heard Rush. As we were sitting with Geddy and his Mom, I was thinking ... if it weren't for her I might not be a drummer ...

TV Overmind posted a highly complimentary review of the episode and the series in general, making reference to the aforementioned scene:

... Putting it simply, if Mary and her husband had never found each other, there might never have been a Geddy Lee. And had Geddy Lee never existed, it sounds as though Dave Grohl might have been listless and never discovered what it was like to be a drummer. The cause and effect chain that goes into this story is amazing, and it's been continued onward with Violet Grohl, Dave's daughter, as she appears to be an aspiring musician that now has every possible advantage heading into what might be a career choice if she decides that this life is for her. After listening to her sing, it's very likely that this could happen, and that Dave couldn't be prouder. ...

John and Dan of the 2 Guys Taking Rush podcast were busy this past week, posting 2 new episodes of the podcast within a 4-day span. You can listen to both episodes below or via your favorite podcast service. Episode 44 released this past Sunday and featured San Francisco-based writer Leslie Ylinen of McSweeney's Daily Humor website talking about the satirical article she published back in April titled An FAQ About Your New Birth Control: The Music of Rush.

Episode 45 of the podcast released just yesterday and features Mike Dixon and Mark Cunningham. Dixon was one of the "movers" on the album cover for Rush's Moving Pictures, and Cunningham is the organizer of Prog for Peart - an event to be held on August 13-14 in Oxfordshire, UK featuring 16 prog bands celebrating the life of Neil Peart and raising funds for Glioblastoma Multiforme research.

The latest episode of the Something for Nothing podcast features the second part of a planned 4-episode-spanning discussion of Rush's classic 1985 Power Windows album. You can listen to the discussion below or via your favorite podcast service:

Writer/journalist Alan Cross recently dug up part of his old cassette collection, and was inspired to write an article about what he found and his thoughts on the "cassette era". One of the cassettes he discovered was Rush's 2112:

... Marginally less bad was my cassette version of 2112 by Rush, which I remember purchasing at a K-mart in south end Winnipeg. I had wanted to buy the vinyl version but they were sold out so I went with the cassette as my second choice. It wasn't until I bought the compact disc some years later that I realized what I'd been missing. Still, that cassette sucked me into the Rush universe. ...

Yardbarker posted their list of Underrated albums from legendary bands this past week and Rush's Vapor Trails was included:

The fact that Vapor Trails was made and Rush still existed in the early 2000s was truly remarkable. Considering late drummer and main lyricist Neil Peart was dealing with the deaths of daughter Selena in 1997 and wife Jackie one year later. However, Peart pressed on, and Rush released its first studio album in six years. It was a top-10 album in the U.S. and did not include any keyboards or synthesizers. Highlights include the title track, "Out of the Cradle," "One Little Victory" and "Secret Touch."

In the latest issue of Guitar World magazine, there's a section titled Guitar's Greatest Live Moments where various musicians share their most life-changing concert moments. Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci shares the story of seeing Rush at Nassau Coliseum in 1982 (thanks RushFanForever):

My first concert. I was 12, and I can still remember it like it was yesterday. The whole arena smelled like pot - I'll never forget that. At that time, Rush were like these mythical figures to me; they didn't exist in the real world. Suddenly, there they were, in the same place as me - I couldn't believe it. Even though I had terrible seats, I didn't care. When they played 'La Villa Strangiato', Alex Lifeson did a solo that ripped my face off. Everything about the show was phenomenal. It was very inspiring.

Screen Rant published their list of the 10 Best Music Documentaries On Netflix this past week, and the 2010 Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage documentary made the cut at #10:

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage gets high scores for a reason, as it offers an in-depth look at the hard rock band, Rush. The 2010 documentary chronicles the start of the band and their evolution throughout the years in their music and the industry. Following band members, lead guitarist Alex Lifeson and singer/bassist Geddy Lee, fans get an inside look as to why the band is still popular, from their initial start to the present. Viewers also get a fun lesson in music history and just how impactful the band's music still is, with interviews from Jack Black and even South Park creator, Matt Stone.

In a sad bit of news, Neil Peart's father Glen Peart passed away earlier this week on June 12th after a whirlwind battle with cancer. Neil's sister Nancy broke the news via Facebook on Sunday, and provided links for fans who want to send their condolences by donating to various charities in the Peart family name, including the RVH Foundation's Peart Family Memorial Fund and Hospice Muskoka. In remembrance of Mr. Peart, and as a tribute to all fathers with this weekend's upcoming Father's Day holiday, Donna Halper wrote a blog piece In Praise of Fathers which you can read online here:

... I was thinking about parenting this week, partly because Father's Day is coming up, and partly because of the sad news that Neil's dad Glen lost his battle with cancer the other day. I would be lying if I said I spent a lot of time with the Peart family over the years, but when I did speak with them, they were very warm and very courteous, and I liked them a lot. I last saw Glen and Betty in person during the after-party at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. It was so obvious to me how protective Neil felt towards them. And when Neil passed last January, Glen and I exchanged emails several times. Glen was a dear human being, and it is no cliché to say that he will be missed. ... If you saw the movie "Beyond the Lighted Stage," you know that Neil's family had to accept the fact that Neil preferred a career as a rock and roll drummer, rather than working in the parts department at his father's farm equipment store. When Neil had a chance to become a member of Rush, his dad could have stopped him, but Glen understood how important being a musician was to his son. And so it was that both my dad and Neil's dad sent their kids out into the world with a strong sense of ethics to serve as a guide in difficult times. And as we come to another Father's Day, I send my love to all the fathers who are willing to listen, the fathers who spend time with their kids, and the fathers who are willing to accept it when their kid chooses a different career path from the one that was expected. I send my enduring thanks to my own father, of blessed memory, for the lessons he taught me, lessons I still use to this day. And I send my condolences to Neil's family: Glen did a fine job as a father; and how well Neil and his siblings turned out is certainly proof of that.

Rest in Peace Mr. Peart, and happy Father's Day to all the Rush dads out there. Have a great weekend everyone!

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