Rush is a Band

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Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

Thu, Feb 22, 2024

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Nov 24, 2023@12:34PM | comments

UPDATE - 11/24@4:14PM: Alex Lifeson posted a very bizarre (what's new?!) video message to Instagram celebrating the fact that he now has 1 MILLION followers (he doesn't). Towards the end of the video he realizes that it's actually just 100K, and says "never mind" and abruptly ends the video. :)

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Geddy Lee's long-anticipated memoir My Effin' Life released earlier this month, and is now available for purchase in hardback, as an audiobook (or MP3 Audio CD), and for Kindle. The book debuted at an impressive #3 on the New York Times Bestseller list in the Hardcover Nonfiction category, and #4 in the Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction category. It also made the Washington Post's top 10 bestseller list at #8 in the nonfiction category. Glowing reviews continued trickling in this past week, with the latest being this one from Velvet Thunder:

... Ultimately, the book ends on an uplifting note, and despite all the sadness there are welcome moments of glittering triumph and laugh-out-loud silliness (and that includes the drawings, especially Alex's). The 500-odd pages are well written and engrossing, and any technical errors are exceedingly minor. Geddy writes with humour, intelligence, wisdom, and a sense of pride in his life's accomplishments. He pokes fun at those close to him - and those not - but just as much at himself (his 'big schnoz' gets a few mentions), and the peaks and valleys of his life's journey make for quite a ride. Reading it feels as cathartic as it surely must have been for him to write. Well done, Gershon Eliezer Weinrib. You've done those around you - and those you've lost - proud.

Geddy has been promoting the book with an In Conversation spoken word book tour, which he's brought to 7 cities across the US and Canada thus far, with another dozen dates to come over the next few weeks. Geddy kicked off the tour in New York City back on Monday, November 13th. He then headed to Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Boston, Cleveland, Montreal, and Vancouver. Tonight he'll continue his west coast swing in Seattle, then it's off to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver over the next week. Ged will then head back east for shows in Chicago and Detroit before wrapping the North American leg up at Massey Hall in Toronto on December 7th. Then it's off across the pond to the UK for 5 dates from December 10-18.You can get all the details and learn how to get tickets at Rush.com (North America, UK). Rush has set up an online form where attendees can submit questions for Geddy prior to the show at this link. Each show thus far has featured a wide variety of surprise guest interviewers, ranging from famous actors and musicians, to not-so-famous music writers, to radio DJs, and more. Paul Rudd helped to get things off the ground in NYC, while fellow actor Eric McCormack was featured at both the Washington D.C. and Boston appearances, and Jay Baruchel ran the show in Montreal. Other interviewers included showrunner/producer Brian Koppelman (Philly), DJ Pierre Robert (Philly), singer/songwriter Jann Arden, journalist Geoff Edgers (Boston), journalist Rob Tannenbaum (Cleveland), and - last but not least - Rush discoverer and unofficial big sister Donna Halper! Donna led the fan Q&A in Cleveland, where she was instrumental in getting Rush their big US break almost 50 years ago as music director at WMMS. It was an emotional reunion for both Donna and Geddy (and all the fans), as she describes in this blog post:

... [Geddy] announced that the person reading the fan questions would be me, and I came out on stage. Geddy and I hugged, and I waved at the fans, many of whom were on their feet applauding and cheering us both. It was almost magical, and yes, I know that's a cliché, but that's how it felt-- like some kind of magic was happening. I had tears in my eyes, and I don't think I was the only one. After all, Cleveland was where it all began, and now, 49 years later, we were all re-united, brought together to celebrate Geddy and to celebrate how much Rush meant to our lives. I showed Geddy my old (1975) pass for the Agora Ballroom, and asked him what he remembered of playing there while I was at WMMS. And before we got into the questions, I thanked the fans for being loyal to this band, and I also thanked Geddy. He could easily have forgotten about me years ago, but Geddy (and Rush) always took friendship seriously; the guys in Rush were always loyal to those who had been good to them. ...

Fans in attendance all received a hardback edition of My Effin' Life along with a 16-page program. There was also a merch table set up where fans could purchase souvenirs t-shirts, posters and more. All the shows have followed essentially the same format, where the show begins with a 15-minute slideshow before the secret guest interviewer is revealed. Ged is then interviewed for about 40 minutes, before closing out the 1st part by reading a book excerpt. The trailer for Geddy's upcoming docu-series on Paramount Plus Geddy Lee Asks: Are Bass Players Human Too? is then shown before the intermission. Ged returns after intermission and reads another book excerpt before the fan Q&A. Several of the shows thus far have featured another, different guest running the Q&A session. Otherwise, the original interviewer also runs this portion. After the Q&A, Ged has been taking audience selfies that are then made available for download after the show at Rush.com. The entire program lasts about 2 hours. Also of note, the 2 new, unreleased tracks from the My Favorite Headache sessions that Geddy released with the audiobook (Gone and I Am ... You Are) were played during the intermission and at the end of the show. Geddy spoke a bit about the 2 songs and how they came about beforehand as seen in this video. The tracks are being released to radio this week, and will eventually be available for streaming.

Geddy continued hitting the interview circuit this past week to promote the book, his spoken word tour, and all his other many projects. Included among these was an extensive interview with Rolling Stone's Music Now podcast, which is available for listening here or wherever you get your podcasts. Portions of the interview transcript were released as articles over the last week here and here. Here he recalls an encounter with Paul McCartney during the Taylor Hawkins tribute show in London last year:

... Dave [Grohl] was so sweet. He comes up to us at rehearsal and he goes, "Paul McCartney's up next to rehearse, and he's outside, and he said to me, 'Dave, I've never met anyone from Rush before.'" And I said, "I've never met him! Bring him in, please." And he came in. He's just a very lovely man. A very positive person. ... I got the sense he knew who we were and had heard about us. He had never listened to us. So at the show, he was there. He watched the set. I think he was really curious because people probably had mentioned us to him. But after the show, he was incredible. He was so warm and embracing and positive. He came and sat and drank with us. We all got plastered together. And he was very emphatic, talking about, "You know what Ringo always says: 'It's what we do.'" And I said, "Talk to Al, because he's the stubborn one." And so he was lecturing Al about how great it is to tour. "You have to do it, man. You have to get back out there, man." And Alex said something like, "I'll do it, if you'll be our manager." "I'll manage you, mate!" It was really fun, really funny, but he had a point. That's the way he looks at life. He's ageless because he really, truly believes he was born to do this. That's what you do. And you just do it. You don't question it. And I think we all sometimes forget that. ...

Geddy also did interviews with BBC6, Mojo magazine (full transcript here), the Winnipeg Free Press, and the Illinois Entertainer among others.

Earlier this month, Christie's and Hunt Auctions announced that Geddy Lee would be auctioning off some of his extensive baseball memorabilia collection as part of an online auction which began earlier this week, and a live auction next month. Selections from the Geddy Lee Collection and Important Baseball Memorabilia auction is currently underway and will run through December 7th, along with a live auction on December 6th. From the announcement:

... From baseballs signed by some of the most famous (and infamous) players, including the White Sox's "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and the Negro Leagues' Josh Gibson, to baseballs that boast signatures from epoch-defining leaders like JFK and FDR-this collection sits right at the intersection of the history of America and its national pastime. The Gladstone Collection, which holds iconic works like the 'The Base Ball Player' bronze sculpture, will complement the Geddy Lee Collection, in addition to never-before-seen items from the personal collection of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. Other items brought to market for the first time include uniforms and caps worn by the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. ...

As if Geddy didn't have enough on his plate already, he'll also be launching a new docu-series on Paramount Plus titled Geddy Lee Asks: Are Bass Players Human Too? which will premiere a week from this coming Tuesday on December 5th. The four-part series will feature in-depth conversations between Geddy Lee and Nirvana's Krist Novoselic, Metallica's Rob Trujillo, Primus' Les Claypool, and Hole/Smashing Pumpkins bassist Melissa Auf der Maur, as seen in the show's trailer. Geddy has been showing the trailer prior to the intermission on his spoken word book tour.

In Geddy Lee's recent Rolling Stone interview mentioned above, he talks about Alex Lifeson and his health issues, where he recently had to undergo stomach surgery:

... [Alex] has some health issues, he has arthritis as well. It's harder for him to reproduce those solos in the way that he wants to. But he was also never super happy in the last few tours on the road. I think that's why he played so much golf, because he gets bored so quickly. For me, I would hole up in my room and I would work on photo albums, like I would play with my bird photography. So I was occupied. I'm quite happy because I knew that I had to stay quiet. I couldn't talk. So all day long I would work on my photo books and my photography. And in the evening I would meet Al after he's played 14 rounds of golf. And we would have dinner and drink too much wine. And then the next day was gig day. But I think being away and touring is more difficult for him to be happy. So that's a stumbling block and at this stage of his life, considering that he has some concerns about his health, it's very hard for him to get his head around the idea of doing a tour, you know. So I just keep working on him. ...

These comments seemed to point to Geddy having some doubts about whether Alex would be healthy enough to consider reuniting to make some new music and possibly perform some live shows. So fans were very relieved this past week when Alex showed up on stage with TOOL for their recent show at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Alex looked and sounded great as he joined the band at the end of their first set for their performance of Jambi. They led into the song with a little snippet of Rush's A Passage to Bangkok, then inserted a bit of 2112: Overture in the middle. Alex also did some soloing towards the end. Not only did he sit in with the band, but he also gifted guitarist Adam Jones one of his signature Epihphone guitars as seen in this Instagram post:

What an honour and delight it was playing with one of my favourite bands last night. I've loved @toolmusic since the first time I listened to them. They are such a great band and I am lucky to call them friends. One of the many high points of the evening was gifting my @epiphone Les Paul to @adamjones_tv. His playing is inspirational and speaks to my soul like no other guitarist. Respecto, brother. ~Lerxst

As if to reinforce the fact that Alex is back and healthy, he'll also be participating in the 19th annual Andy Kim Christmas show in support of CAMH Gifts Of Light on Wednesday, December 6th at Massey Hall in Toronto - one day before Geddy's spoken word tour appearance at the very same venue. So this bodes well for the possibility of Alex sitting in as the guest interviewer for Ged's Toronto appearance. Other guest performers will include the Sadies, Maestro Fresh Wes, Men Without Hats, Tom Wilson, Ron Sexsmith and the Good Brothers, with more yet to be announced. You can get more information and purchase tickets at this location. Alex has participated in the Andy Kim Christmas Show several times in the past, with his most recent appearance being in 2021.

This past week's episode of the Something for Nothing podcast featured an interview with former Rush producer Terry Brown. You can listen to the show below or wherever you get your podcasts:

On the latest episode of Rush Roundtable (#207) on the Rushfans YouTube channel, the panel plays Most Valuable, Least Valuable, where they spin The Big Wheel, get an album, live album, or other topic, and state what they think is most valuable and least valuable about it.

I hope all of my US readers had a happy Thanksgiving yesterday and are surviving the madness of Black Friday. Have a great weekend everyone!!

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