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Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

Wed, Feb 28, 2024

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Jan 12, 2024@11:19AM | comments

Alex Lifeson was a guest SiriusXM's Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk earlier this week for a new interview where he spoke about his struggles with psoriatic arthritis, the possibility of bringing back Rush, and more. Here's what he had to say about his arthritis, and how it affects his playing:

... I would say that's slowly getting worse, as to be expected. I have psoriatic arthritis, and I've been dealing with it for quite a while - for almost 20 years. I'm on two biologics [biologic drugs for the treatment of arthritis], so sort of like a double whammy in dealing with it. And it's been very, very effective. Despite the side effects and all of that, it's been a really effective regimen for me, and it's really helped my hands. I have times where the inflammation has its own mind, and that's when you'll see me shaking my hands [while I am playing]. But it is what it is, and I can still get by, and I'm so used to it, I don't really even think about it that much anymore. ...

When asked about the possibility of touring again, either as Rush or another project, Alex made it clear that he's not interested in embarking on any more extensive concert tours:

... [After] 40 years of touring, I'm not interested in touring anymore. I enjoyed it when we did it. There were lots of ups and downs. The gig is great, the show is great, and for the other 21 hours in a day, you're just waiting for those three hours. And it gets tiring, especially when you have a family and you have loved ones at home that you're estranged from for months and months and months at a time. I don't miss that aspect of it. Do I like playing in front of people? Yeah. I still like that - maybe not to the point where I have to do it. But when [Geddy and I] did the Taylor Hawkins benefits and we did the 'South Park' thing in Denver, and I do these Christmas shows with Andy Kim and lots of great musicians that I get to play with, then it's fun. I really enjoy that, and it's controlled, and it's great. To make a big deal and do a tour and get back into that thing, I don't really have an interest in that. I know Ged would like to play again and he would like to spend some time writing. But beyond that, honestly, we haven't talked about anything beyond just getting together and having a coffee and just bashing out a few notes. ... [Geddy] has a lot of stuff in his life. He's a very busy person. He's really enjoying this phase of being [a book] author. He's on the go, go, go, go all the time. And I'm here, and I'm playing on all these different projects. So, in a way, I've continued being that musician, and he's gone off to do other things. So, whenever he's ready, like usual, I only live five minutes away from him, like we have all our lives. I go over and hang out and we'll turn the recorder on and do some stuff, but there's no plan for a tour. There's no plan for anything. And I know rumors get started and people have their desires and lots of people would love to see us get back and play again. Well, I don't know. I don't know. Who knows? Maybe if we're together, we're messing around and we get excited... Certainly after we did those gigs, it was quite heady and very exciting. But I really love my life right now, and I don't know if I'm gonna disrupt it by being away from the things that I'm really enjoying, for any reason." ...

The entire interview is available for listening below or on YouTube here. Despite nixing the idea of an extensive tour, Alex does sound like he'd be open to do a few one-off shows here and there, and is definitely open to making new music with Geddy. Although he also made it clear that nothing has been decided or planned as of yet, despite any online rumors to the contrary. And he'll certainly continue with all his various side projects, including his Envy of None project with Andy Curran, guitarist Alfio Annibalini and vocalist Maiah Wynne.
Curran revealed in a recent interview with Blabbermouth.net that Envy of None will be releasing another album in 2024:

... "It's going to be a busy one. ENVY OF NONE has about six or seven songs that are quite far along; almost, I would say, getting close to three-quarters. In early February, Maiah is flying into Toronto, and we're going to try to wrap up those tracks. Our goal is to get something out in the middle of the year or fall." ...

Lifeson's arthritis did not stop him from spending an afternoon earlier this week volunteering at Toronto's Daily Bread Food Bank where he helped to pack up boxes of food for those in need as seen in this Instagram post:

I had the privilege of spending an afternoon at the Daily Bread Food Bank volunteering along with several other generous souls who gave their time to make the world a better place. Thanks to Neil Hetherington, Rebecca, Claudia and our team captain Donna for making me feel welcome and putting me to work! Volunteering is good for the soul and certainly, with record-breaking community needs, the food bank is a great place to help. Way too many people in our city in desperate need of aid.
~Lerxst

Four years ago this past Sunday, on January 7, 2020, Neil Peart passed away at the age of 67 after a three-year battle with brain cancer. The general public did not become aware of this shocking news until three days later on the afternoon of Friday, January 10, as reported in this CBC article and by other news outlets. Neil and his family managed to keep his illness private, so fans were completely blindsided by the tragic news. To commemorate the occasion, Rush tribute band YYNOT hosted their 2nd annual Bubba Bash in celebration of The Professor at the Keswick Theatre outside Philly (Glenside, PA) this past Saturday evening. The show was "In Celebration of Neil Peart", 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), Seven Antonopoulos (Opiate for the Masses), and more. Here's the full setlist from the show:

"The Spirit of Radio"
"The Body Electric"
"Weight of the World"
"YYZ"
"The Trees"
"Bully"
"Bastille Day"
"What You're Doing"
"Chemical Burn"
"Tom Sawyer" (with Frank Bello and John Wesley)
"Limelight" (with Frank Bello, John Wesley and Joe Bergamini)
"Vital Signs" (with Joe Bergamini)
"Freewill" (with Seven Antonopoulos)
"Closer to the Heart" (with Seven Antonopoulos)
"Natural Science" (with Jason Bittner)
"Red Barchetta" (with Jason Bittner)
"Losing It" (with Jonathan Dinklage)
"2112 Part I: Overture" (with Mike Portnoy)
"2112 Part II: The Temples of Syrinx" (with Mike Portnoy)
"La Villa Strangiato" (with Mike Portnoy)
"By-Tor & The Snow Dog / In the Mood / 2112 Part VII: Grand Finale

You can also find several fan-shot videos of the event in this article. All proceeds from the show will go to benefit Cedars Sinai Hospital, and you can send along your donation here. The show was professionally filmed, so we should expect to see some higher quality videos of all the various performances over the coming days/weeks. You can also check out some videos from last year's inaugural event on YYNOT's YouTube channel here, and also be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates. RIP "The Professor".

Speaking of Neil Peart tribute shows, dates and ticket information for the 4th annual Prog for Peart music festival were revealed earlier this week. The 2-day festival will take place at The Northcourt in Oxfordshire, England on Friday, July 12th and Saturday, July 13th, and feature 16 prog rock bands taking the stage to celebrate the life of Neil Peart and raise money for brain cancer research. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the website at progforpeart.com, and check out this video trailer for the event (thanks RushFanForever). There's also a Facebook group for the event set up, where you can interact with other concertgoers and get the latest updates.

Independent Canadian newszine The Line started off the new year with a series of articles where contributors talk about what they were grateful for in 2023. The final article in the series was posted this past week, with writer Matt Gurney talking about he was grateful for Geddy Lee's My Effin' Life. You can check it out online here.

Consequence.net compiled their list of Rush's 10 Best Songs this past week, with Limelight, 2112 and Tom Sawyer in the top 3 spots.

The RushRash podcast is a relatively new weekly podcast where hosts "Chaz" Charles and Alan "Schatz" Schatzberg listen through all 167 of Rush's studio tracks in Rush's catalog, one track at a time. They also have various Rush fan guests come on the show to talk about their Rush Rash and share fun anecdotes and stories with their listeners. Their latest episode features Rush superfan Jim Brunke - OG Rush Rat, co-founder of Overtime Angels and the famed Rush Camps, and a veteran of over 100 Rush shows! You can listen in to the podcast below or wherever you get your podcasts:

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

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