Rush is a Band

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

Sun, Feb 25, 2024

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Aug 18, 2023@8:48AM | comments

Neil Peart was tragically taken from us back on January 7, 2020 after a long battle with glioblastoma. For the past 3 years, on Neil's birthday, RUSHfest Scotland has sponsored the release of an album of Rush songs dedicated to the iconic drummer titled TRIBUTES - SONGS FOR NEIL, played by Rush tribute bands and musicians from around the world. Proceeds from sales of the albums were split equally between two charities - Glioblastoma Foundation Neil Peart Research Award in the USA and Cancer Support Scotland (registered charity SC012867). They are continuing the tradition this year with SONGS FOR NEIL VOL. 4, which will release this coming September 12th in celebration of what would have been Neil's 71st birthday. This fourth volume includes a special track titled Masterpiece which was written and performed by Neil's brother Danny Peart along with guitarist Brandon Dyke. Other tribute bands included on the album are Solar Federation from the U.S., Fleesh from Brazil, Scotland's Clockwork Angels, and even Ninja Sex Party, who added their rendition of Madrigal to the collection (full track listing here). Volume 4 is available in double-vinyl, double-CD, and/or digital download, and you can get all the details and secure your copy here. Thanks to John at Cygnus-X1.net for the heads up.

Also on the subject of Neil Peart, this past January 7th, Rush tribute band YYNOT hosted a charity concert dubbed Bubba Bash 2023 "In Celebration of Neil Peart" on the 3rd anniversary of his passing. The event took place at the Keswick Theatre outside Philly (Glenside, PA) and featured YYNOT along with special guests Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, etc.), Frank Bello (Anthrax), Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall, Overkill, etc.), Jon Dinklage (Clockwork Angels string ensemble), Joe Bergamini (drum instructor, author, etc.), John Wesley (Porcupine Tree), and Seven Antonopoulos (Opiate for the Masses). The show ended up raising over $100K to benefit Cedars Sinai Hospital, and was such a huge success, the organizers are planning yet another Bubba Bash this coming January, with the goal of making it an annual event. More details and ticket information will be forthcoming.

Goldmine posted their list of the Top 20 smartest band personnel decisions earlier this week, and Rush replacing John Rutsey with Neil Peart in 1974 topped the list (thanks RushFanForever):

Representing the reason we did this list at all, it's pretty cool to be able to put The Professor in the esteemed top slot, thus tying up our Top 20 in a big red bow. So why Neil? Well, Peart stormed into Rush as a drummer of immense power and proficiency, going on to be regarded in many circles as the greatest drummer of all time, although that concept is wobbly at best. But, yes, that is indeed said about him, while he's also one of the most beloved and most influential, if hundreds of interviews with rock drummers are to be believed. But Peart also brought to Rush the magic of wordsmithing, going on to write almost all the band's lyrics, which is surely another factor that helped Rush achieve immense success in the business across 50 years in operation, if one is to include all of the pre-Neil schlepping. So there ya go, with respect to one guy making a huge and positive transformation to a band that is also of huge commercial consequence, we humbly vote Neil Peart, given our parameters, as rock 'n' roll's "smartest personnel decision."

In the latest installment of Spin magazine's Band Jury series, where artists defend black sheep albums they feel deserve another listen, singer/songwriter Angel Marcloid makes the case for Rush's oft-maligned 1987 album Hold Your Fire:

... Corny always means sincere, unless it's really contrived, and then it's a different kind of corny. When people are so saccharine and melodramatic and sincere, it can come off like that. I don't think they were necessarily trying to be someone they weren't. I don't want to say the way they look back at it is wrong because they know what that was like and what they were doing, but I have a suspicion that they were a little embarrassed about being that heart-on-sleeve about things. I understand because pretty much every rock artist went through the '80s phase with the synths. By the time the '90s came, all the reverb dried up, and they went, "Oh god, our hair! Oh god, those clothes! Oh god, those keyboards! What were we thinking?" It just kinda pisses me off a little bit. I understand going through a phase and needing to shift gears in a really big way all the sudden. We all go through that in our lives where we have these huge growth spurts - we end up dressing different, acting different. I remember reading that Geddy said "Tai Shan" was a mistake. That fucking hurt. That hurt. Because that song is a spiritual masterpiece. Yeah, it's fucking corny. Those pan flutes - I fucking get it. But the song is about standing on a sacred mountain and having a spiritual experience. Calling that a mistake is just wrong to me. ...

CultureSonar.com posted a story this past week on The Age of The Great Rock 'n Roll Logo, and one of the classic band logos featured is Rush's iconic Starman:

There are two parts to this logo that stand out, the star and the naked man. Hugh Syme began designing album covers for Rush as far back as 1975's Caress of Steel (their 3rd album) and came up with the iconic "Starman" logo for the band's classic 2112 album in 1976. Syme described his design collaboration with drummer Neal Peart this way: "He (Peart) simply described the Red Star Of The Solar Federation as being all that is contrary to free thought and creativity, and the man as our hero. I simply combined the two." Over the years, Rush has denied that the star is a pentagram or promotion of paganism. They point out that although a pentagram is a five-pointed star, their logo is a red star inside a circle.

Yardbarker.com posted their list of 25 members of famous bands who deserve more love this past week, and Rush's Alex Lifeson is featured:

It's hard not to get noticed or praised within a three-piece band. But between Geddy Lee's presence and the legendary drum work and songwriting of the late Neil Peart, Lifeson is not necessarily the first member of Rush who comes to mind. Lifeson is an exceptional guitar player and composer within the Rush universe.

Bassist Billy Sheehan was recently interviewed for Music Radar to talk about his 6 top tips for bass players, and Rush is mentioned:

... "Listen to any great band and think about how the bass and drums work together, like Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr or Geddy Lee and Neil Peart or Steve Harris and Nicko McBrain. Those pairs work together and help make their bands great. It's the foundation you lay before guitars and vocals come into the mix. Drums and bass are like the cement!" ...

Far Out magazine's Tim Coffman wrote a piece this past week on The secret badassery behind Rush:

... Throughout their career, the band was also never afraid to try new things. Even if not every song worked out as they'd hoped, Rush's ethos was about making anything sound possible when they stepped behind their instruments. They may have been born out of the prog-rock genre, but the mentality of having no rules for any song is the closest to punk that progressive music would ever get. Many a father might claim that Rush is the best band in the world, but the band have earned that distinction at the top of the musical food chain.

Ultimate-guitar.com posted an article this past week title Intriguing History of Phrases Used In Famous Songs, and limelight - as used in the Rush song of the same name - is one of the phrases featured:

... "Limelight" was a type of stage lighting employed before the advent of electric lighting made its way to theaters. It is created by an intense flame being applied to a cylinder of calcium oxide (also known as "quicklime"), which can be heated to over 4600 degrees Fahrenheit before melting. The intense heat creates a glowing which gives off light, not unlike how metal glows red when it is heated up. The quicklime light was very bright and could be focused almost like a modern-day spotlight. The earliest known use of limelight at a public performance was outdoors, over Herne Bay Pier, Kent, on the night of 3 October 1836 to illuminate a juggling performance by magician Ching Lau Lauro. It had uses outside the world of stages and theaters as well. It was used in America during the Civil war to illuminate night sieges and blind enemies. The phrase still permeates the world of stage and theater today.

Loudwire.com posted a story this past week on 10 Rock Bands Who Followed Up a Classic Album With a Total Dud, and a pair of early Rush albums is included:

The Classic: 'Fly By Night' (1975)
Rush's second album finds drummer and lyricist Neil Peart joining the fray and this early on the band were already experts at crafting mind-bending prog journeys and concise, hit rock songs. It's the necessary balance that catapulted them to superstardom over the ensuing decades.

The Dud: 'Caress of Steel' (1975)
As the 17th most represented album live (out of 19), it's fair to say Caress of Steel is not at all popular. It's just a very stiff record and one of Rush's moodiest, darkest offerings. It's a bummer that the results aren't better, because those qualities are rather intriguing.

The Smashing Pumkins' frontman Billy Corgan recently sat down with Allison Hagendorf for an intimate conversation on Tuesday, August 8, hosted at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California. A limited number of fans were lucky enough to sit-in and listen to Corgan share various stories of his musical journey, his childhood, the early days of The Smashing Pumpkins and the band's future. He also took some questions from the audience, where one fan asked Corgan what influenced his poetic writing style, and he mentioned being influenced by Rush's Neil Peart and his incredible ability with words.

On the latest episode of Rush Roundtable (#195) on the Rushfans YouTube channel, the panel continues their Counterparts song discussions with Between Sun And Moon:

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

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