Rush is a Band

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

Tue, Jul 23, 2024

Updates and other random Rush stuff

Fri, Jul 5, 2024@12:54PM | comments

Former Rush producer Peter Collins passed away this past week at the age of 73. Collins produced more Rush albums than any other producer outside of Terry Brown, starting with Power Windows and Hold Your Fire, and then another stint producing Counterparts and Test for Echo. Both Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee posted Instagram tributes to Collins, whom they affectionately referred to as Mr. Big. Here's what Alex had to say:

Peter Collins will forever live in my memory as Mr. Big, sitting at his control centre beside a recording console with his ubiquitous tools: a legal pad, an ashtray and a Monte Cristo No. 2.
Love you B. Farewell.
~ Lerxst

Geddy Lee added these comments:

So sad to hear of the passing of Peter Collins. A dear, dear friend and producer of 4 different RUSH albums. During periods in the 80's and 90's we had some incredible musical adventures together, in various studios across the globe. He truly was our Mr. Big...with his ever present cigar and constant good humour. After hitting the record button, I can still hear him say " OK boys, from the topping ... no stopping!"

We love ya B, rest in peace and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

The August, 2024 edition of Guitar World magazine includes a special feature celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Fender Stratocaster. The feature includes interviews with several former Guitar World cover artists talking about the guitar they were holding in their own past cover photo. One of the featured artists is Alex Lifeson, who discusses the Hentor Sportscaster he was brandishing on the November, 1981 Guitar World cover:

The story begins in 1978 when I modified a Fender Stratocaster that I purchased new I replaced the bridge single coil [pickup] with a Gibson humbucker, reversed the input jack for easier access and added a Floyd Rose tremolo to replace the Fender tremolo. I used this guitar as a spare primarily and started using it increasingly for the Floyd Rose. It was renamed "the Hentor Porkflapsocaster." Shortly after, I commissioned Veneman Music to build a replica incorporating a shark neck, Floyd Rose and Bill Lawrence L500 pickup. This was the Hentor Sports-caster. This became the model for the Lerxst Limelight [Lifeson's new signature guitar with Godin]. ...

You can check out the entire feature in the August, 2024 edition of Guitar World magazine.

A tribute concert celebrating the legacy of late Canadian music icon Gordon Lightfoot, who passed away last May, took place back in May at Massey Hall in Toronto and Rush's Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson made a surprise guest appearance:

... Lee and Lifeson, billed on the private performer rundown and setlist only as "L+L," were backed by Canadian Music Hall of Famers (and the evening's house band) Blue Rodeo on Lightfoot's song "The Way I Feel," complete with an acoustic guitar solo from Lifeson. ... "It was important for us to pay tribute to Gordon," Lee told Variety. "Not being folk or pop artists, Alex and I were looking for one of Gordon's songs that might better suit our style of play and we found that in 'The Way I Feel.' Its structure was loose and more open to interpretation than many of his more popular tunes." ... "After the gig, Gordon's daughter Meredith [Moon] said to us, 'Leave it to Rush to make 'The Way I Feel' sound prog,' so I think we succeeded," Lee added. Lee and Lifeson also came out for the ensemble finale, "Summerside of Life," featuring all of the evening's performers ...

The concert was recorded for a future CBC special which was made available for streaming earlier this week in celebration of Canada Day. Celebrating Gordon Lightfoot is currently available to stream on CBC Gem and CBC Music's YouTube channel. You can get all the details in the press release, and watch the special below or on YouTube with Geddy and Alex coming in around the 1:12:24 mark.

Rush beer makers Henderson Brewing Company have announced the release of a new book titled Toronto In 100 Beers featuring a foreword from Rush's Alex Lifeson. From the website:

When we launched the Ides beer series way back in 2016 celebrating Toronto people, places, and stories, it was intended mainly as a fun way to inspire creative beers. 100 unique Ides beers later, we have two big announcements:

First, we've decided that Ides #100 will be the last. Second, we have a book coming out to celebrate these 100 beers and the often-amazing stories behind them!

Our neighbours at Anansi Press have worked with us to create 'Toronto in 100 Beers', a fun book that showcases the art, stories and anecdotes behind each beer. Featuring a foreword by Alex Lifeson of Rush.

The book is due out sometime next month, with pre-orders available on the website or at and other retailers.

Revival 69: The Concert That Rocked the World is a 2022 documentary from filmmaker Ron Chapman that chronicles the events behind the Toronto Rock & Roll Revival - an iconic Toronto music festival that took place at the University of Toronto back in 1969 that both Geddy Lee and John Rutsey attended. From the film's synopsis:

In 1969, there were three music festivals that changed the world. "The second most important event in rock & roll history" was a one-day event held at the University of Toronto's 20,000 seat Varsity Stadium called the Toronto Rock & Roll Revival. An incredible back-door story of how - against all odds - a life-changing concert came together. Director Ron Chapman reveals a series of colourful characters, murky deals and broken promises, culminating in John Brower, a young struggling promoter, putting his life on the line (literally) in order to achieve his goal. Included in the lineup were Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Gene Vincent, The Doors, Alice Cooper, and John Lennon with The Plastic Ono Band.

Geddy Lee makes an appearance in the documentary and can be seen in the film's trailer at about the 40-second mark. The film was recently released to streaming services, and you can find out where to watch it here. Geddy pumped up the release in an IG post earlier this week, saying the following:

This was one of the legendary concerts in rock history - I was there with John Rutsey - I was 16 - and we were totally tripping on acid - Nancy Young was also there - she is shown in the audience during Chuck Berrys performance - although we barely knew each other and did not see each other - if you look at the lineup - every rock and roll great from the 50s plus Alice Cooper, CTA, The Doors and John Lennon's first post Beatle appearance on a stage. ...

The Something for Nothing Rush FanCast is back for a short summer season, and their latest episode features an interview with Neil Peart Memorial sculptor Morgan MacDonald. MacDonald was chosen back in November of 2022 by the Neil Peart Memorial Task Force in Peart's hometown of St. Catharines to create the memorial, which will depict two bronze statues of Peart - one as a young artist and the other in his later years. MacDonald talks extensively about his involvement with the project, his artistic process, and more. You can listen in at this location or wherever you get your podcasts. MacDonald was also recently interviewed for a TV news story on the memorial which you can check out on YouTube (thanks RushFanForever).

Jazz musician Ronnie Littlejohn (Planet Earth, Funk Embassy, etc.), who used to perform weekly at Alex Lifeson's former Toronto club The Orbit Room, now hosts a program on Jazz.Fm in Toronto called The Gumbo Kitchen. The show runs Friday evenings from 9PM pm to 1AM, and Ron will be playing Cyril Neville's 2013 bluesy cover of Rush's Working Man on tonight's show. Find out how to tune in at Jazz.FM.

Rush's 2004 covers EP Feedback celebrated the 20th anniversary of its release last week, and the tinnitist marked the occasion with this posthumous album review.

On the latest episode of Rush Roundtable (#234) on the Rushfans YouTube channel, the panel continues their discussion of Vapor Trails with The Stars Look Down:

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