Rush is a Band

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

Thu, Apr 25, 2024

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Mar 29, 2024@10:29AM | comments

UPDATE - 4/2@2:49PM: Billboard Canada has published Pegi Cecconi's obituary here (thanks RushFanForever).

It's a sad week for Rush and their fans, as yesterday we learned that longtime Rush "family" member and SRO/Anthem VP Pegi Cecconi has passed away. From Celebrity Access:

Canada's musical heart is beating slower this weekend after news surfaced on the (Thurs.) March 28th passing of Pegi Cecconi, dubbed "The Queen of F**king Everything," (which was on her business cards) in Toronto after a long illness.

A commanding executive gifted with a peerless combination of business savvy and steadying grace, Cecconi was a true powerhouse of the Canadian music industry, and one of its chief architects with nearly five decades of service.

As she said herself at an award ceremony, "You're looking at someone who rips through business contracts like a Harlequin Romance novel."

She survived cancer twice, but in 2022 she was diagnosed with PSP (Progressive Supernuclear Palsey) which turned out to be a battle too great. Never one for self-pity, according to close friends, she met her diagnoses, and eventual fate with courage and humor.

"A profoundly sad and heartbreaking day," says Geddy Lee, late of Rush. "We've lost a remarkable person, a beloved friend and one of the most brilliant, sassiest people the music industry has ever seen. Irreplaceable and thoroughly unique. We were blessed to have her working behind the scenes on behalf of Rush for almost 50 years."...

The tragic news broke yesterday afternoon via social media posts from some of Cecconi's close friends and colleagues, including this one from Anthem Entertainment Group on Facebook:

With great sadness, we say goodbye to our friend and colleague Pegi Cecconi. With her passionate advocacy, straight-shooting directness, and legendary wit and humour, Pegi made an indelible mark on all of us at ole/Anthem and across the music industry. Pegi was a true trailblazer in the industry and leaves behind an extraordinary legacy. Our world will not be the same without her. Rest in peace, Pegi. We will miss you very much.

Cecconi got her start in the music business as a teenager in the 1970s, working alongside Rush manager Ray Danniels in Toronto, as VP of SRO Management Inc. and indie label Anthem Entertainment Group, where she spent much of the remainder of her career. Rush owned their publishing from 1974 to 2014, after which they were sold to ole (now Anthem Entertainment), and Cecconi remained on as a consultant. Back in 2021, she was the recipient of the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award as part of the 50th JUNO Awards. In her multiple roles as part of Rush's management company and record label over the past 50 years, Cecconi played a pivotal role in the band's development and success. The award ceremony included a biographical video and short acceptance speech with interview segments from Rush's Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee, Rush manager Ray Danniels and many others. You can watch the video below or at this location, and read Pegi's full, un-edited acceptance speech at The Canadian Music Scene website. Both Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson published tributes to Pegi on IG. Alex included a photo of himself with Pegi and Geddy, and had the following to say:

"I'm going to get the fuck outta here." - Pegi Cecconi, QOFE

On her chosen date and time, because she was the Queen Of Fucking Everthing, Pegi got the fuck outta here.

Bless you EC and RR - incredible ladies-in-waiting for her Royal Fucking Highness.

On behalf of all RIAB readers, our thoughts and prayers go out to Pegi's family and friends. You will be missed.

Back in the summer of 2021, Neil Peart's extensive classic car collection - dubbed the Silver Surfers by Neil himself - was sold at Gooding & Company's 17th annual Pebble Beach Auctions. Just before the auction, it was revealed via an announcement at that this collection of classic cars was the subject of a coffee table book that Neil Peart was working on prior to his untimely passing 4 years ago. Since that initial announcement very little additional information had surfaced, until this past January when the book's May 2024 release date and cover were revealed. However, it looks like fans will need to wait a little longer for the release, as both Amazon and the Rush Backstage Club are now saying the book won't arrive until early September. From the official Rush newsletter's January announcement:

For Neil Peart, cars were a lifelong passion, and in his final literary creation, he writes about his beloved Silver Surfers collection; the joy of collecting these exquisite, rare, and important sports cars, and the myriad ways that they brought him great joy. Silver Surfers is an homage to these cars that meant so much to him, and to the passion of the road that fueled his life.

He first traces the roots of his auto obsession, taking us back to where it all began, with a 1969 Lotus Europa; through the cars he bought when the band first made it big, and even his first "family car," before taking us on a tour of the Silver Surfers themselves-a rare collection of some of the most iconic sports cars from the 1960s. From a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 to a classic 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, each is a gorgeous silver (with the exception of one: a black 1964 Shelby Cobra whose patina Neil loved so much that he wrote, "I am not going to paint it").

"The title Silver Surfers for my collection of cars occurred to me while driving my DB5 up and down the Pacific Coast Highway. Because it felt right to me, I guess - the idea that I was just one of the wave riders... In search of natural peace, I often drove out that way and up in to the Santa Monica Mountains. Out past Malibu to Ventura County, I'd weave along barren ridges of rock and vegetation, the ocean always on one big side... The waves were slow and gentle, or churned out a powerful, rolling rhythm..." - Neil Peart

Silver Surfers is a stunning coffee table book which is a departure from Neil's previous literary works. As with his previous writings, it contains a compelling, detailed and at times, humorous narrative, yet the images take center stage. These beautiful images, many of which Neil personally curated, accompany his warm, personal story of how he built the collection, the joy he felt when driving them, and the many friends he made along the way.

The foreword, written by Neil's wife, Carrie Nuttall-Peart, provides an additional, personal perspective in to Neil's passion for cars, and the extraordinary influence they had on his life.

Silver Surfers is the final work of Neil Peart's prolific, legendary career, and is sure to become a cherished collector's item for decades to come. It is Neil's parting gift to those who loved him, but also for those who share a passion for automobiles. ...

The book comes in at 96 pages and is slated for release on September 3rd with pre-orders available here. You can check out an image of the cover here.

Former Toronto record promoter Bob Roper was recently interviewed for the Toronto Mike'd podcast, and spoke a bit about his role in helping to break Rush in the US; Roper was the man who sent Rush's first album to WMMS music director Donna Halper. The Rush discussion begins around the 1:12:21 mark, and you can listen to the podcast here (thanks RushFanForever). posted an article this past week where they feature some of the unusual cheap guitars that rock stars have started their careers with. One of the featured artists is Rush's Alex Lifeson, and his 1967 Canora Hollowbody:

When Alex Lifeson was 13, he received a Christmas gift from his parents that would spark a prolific career in the music business - a guitar. Specifically, a red 1967 Canora hollowbody. Canora guitars were manufactured in Japan and imported to Vancouver, Canada. They were short-scale, entry-level guitars that were almost exclusively marketed to Canadian conservatories. In fact, when Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee first started jamming, Lee was also using a Canora bass! The catalogs from that year put the price of the Canora guitars at $59. Both Lifeson and Lee painted their instruments to resemble the psychedelic guitars used by their heroes in Cream. While Lee's bass has seemingly been lost to the sand of time, Lifeson's guitar was recently brought back from its condition as a crudely painted basket case to its former glory by a brilliant Canadian luthier named Garren Dakessian at Oakville, Ontario-based Loucin Guitars. Even as Lifeson auctioned off many of his prized guitars, his first guitar remains in his possession. ...

You can check out the restored guitar along with some old photos of Alex with it in this post.

BraveWords recently sat down with Dark Tranquillity and The Halo Effect vocalist Mikael Stanne for an interview to discuss all things metal and his incredible history in the Swedish death metal scene dating back to the early '90s. At one point he is asked the question, Who is your rock star?, and his answer is Rush's Geddy Lee:

... BraveWords: Who is your rock star?
Stanne: "Geddy Lee."
BraveWords: I don't think I've ever read a book [My Effin' Life] in my life that actually put me to tears. And I listened to the audiobook version.
Stanne: "Yeah me too. And he has an amazing voice of course. Oh I loved it. And I saw him in Wolverhampton (UK) two months ago. Fucking amazing. Everyone was crying. It was incredible." ...

Author Kevin J. Anderson was the guest on the most recent episode of the RushRash podcast to talk about his love of Rush and friendship with Neil Peart. From the episode description:

... [KJA's] Rushian credentials date back more than 30 years in the form of his mutual fandom and appreciation club co-conspirator Neil Peart, with whom Kevin had an endearing friendship and creative partnership, from the first night Neil crashed on his couch in 1989, to their collaboration on the Clockwork Angels album and novelization, up through and until the time of Neil's untimely passing in January 2020.

In what is surely a conversation Kevin could never have had with his good friend, he discusses his fanboy journey with Rush, from being a farm boy with a penchant for annoying music and pictures of Cannuks in Kimonos on his bedroom wall to the personal letters from Neil describing in "Peartian detail" the wilds of Africa. Kevin's love and friendship for Neil are genuine and heartfelt. He shares freely with the Rush community the recollections of his friend, sharing stories closer to his heart:

- The first correspondence of kindred spirits (and other-nerdly connections)

- The time Neil had to play Red Rocks Amphitheater in Kevin's Father-in-law's trousers

- The publisher that refused to believe Kevin knew "the drummer of Rush", and how Neil helped Kevin prove he did

- The journey from farmboy-fanboy to the guy who could tell the greatest drummer in the world not to "harsh his mellow" with his drumming self-critique after an excellent Rush show

Kevin's gush of love for all things Rush extends to his appreciation for excellent tribute bands that maintain the band's high standard of performance, having been to both the Bubba Bashes, and traveling to see some of the nation's premiere Rush Tribute bands, such as Rush Archives, Rash, and others! ...

You can listen to the show below of wherever you get your podcasts:

That's all for this week. Happy Easter to those who celebrate, and have a great weekend everyone!!