Archive: Blog Entries from November, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

Updates and other random Rush stuff
11:43AM EST | link | comments (35) |

It's been a quiet post-holiday week for Rush news. There was finally an update on the DarkStar project and Richard Chycki posted in his blog about how he was working on the upcoming Rush live DVD... but that's about it.

This coming Thursday the 2007 Grammy Award nominees will be announced. Do you think Rush will be nominated? Take the poll and let us know. If Rush is nominated it'll most likely be for best instrumental or possibly best rock album/performance. Last week I asked you what your favorite Rush instrumental was. The overwhelming winner was La Villa Strangiato with 50% of the vote. In second was YYZ with 21% and rounding out the top 5 was The Main Monkey Business (13%), Leave That Thing Alone (5%) and Malignant Narcissism (5%).

After a 3-month hiatus, MitA has dug up a few more Rush oddities for our collective enjoyment. They include several short audio clips and a couple of goofy pictures. The first picture is of Neil wrapped in a scarf at his drumkit, and the other is a closeup of Alex's Angels from the Snakes & Arrows tour. You can access the audio clips directly via MitA's website or use the player below.

Thanks MitA!

The Rock Band video game - which features Rush's Tom Sawyer - was released last week to rave reviews. Unfortunately the version with the game is a cover. Reader pinkfloyd2000 pointed me to this video capture of Tom Sawyer from the game so you can hear how the cover version sounds. The song was also featured in a story on NPR from a couple of days ago where Carrie Brownstein - former guitarist for Sleater-Kinney - discusses her review of the game for slate.com (thanks to EvieJoy for the heads up).

Neil Peart is featured on the cover of the November/December issue of Dutch drum magazine Slagwerkkrant for their 25th Anniversary issue, which also includes an exclusive interview. Thanks to Power Windows for the heads up and the scan.

The December 2007 issue of the UK's Rhythm Magazine contains a 3-page review of the R30 drumkit, a 3-page drum transcript of Tom Sawyer and a separate booklet on drum layouts which has a center spread poster of Neil with the R30 kit. Thanks to Welshexile for the heads up.

Playboy magazine is running their annual music poll over at their website and unfortunately have excluded Rush from all of the categories. A travesty! They do have a spot for you to write-in your vote though. So head on over to Playboy's site and write in Rush and Snakes & Arrows. Thanks to John over at Cygnus-x1.net for the heads up.

The Counterparts message board is running a Name That Rush Tune charity drive for the 3rd year in a row. Just visit the Rush Games forum to play. How well do you know Rush's catalog? Can you name a Rush song from a one-second sound clip? Every Counterparts member is welcome to give it their best shot. When you play Name That Rush Tune, you're playing in the name of your favorite charity. Donations are being taken, and the final Name That Rush Tune champion will have everything donated in their name to the charity of their choosing! For more on the charity drive, go here.

I was recently contacted by reader Matthew C regarding a cause that many Rush fans may be interested in. Matthew represents an organization called SaveTheDDO.org. I'll let him explain what it's all about:

In the 1970's Tom Bolton, professor of astronomy from the University of Toronto, was doing research at a place called the David Dunlap Observatory north of Toronto. This is one of the oldest observatories in North America and at the time of its construction in 1935 it was the second largest in the world. While working at the Dunlap Prof. Bolton discovered the first observable scientific evidence of a black hole. The name of the star within which he made this discovery was called Cygnus X-1. Sound Familiar?

This discovery was the inspiration for the Rush song of the same name.

Recently, the University of Toronto decided to sell the Observatory property to the highest bidder and a number of people, Prof.Bolton among them, are working against the clock to have this historic landmark preserved. Basically, we need people to care and we need people to show it! ...

So if you're interested in saving the David Dunlap Observatory, visit SaveTheDDO.org.

Reader John H let me know that the new live DVD from Canadian rockers The Barenaked Ladies (Talk to the Hand: Live in Michigan) features guitarist/vocalist Ed Robertson wearing a custom Rush t-shirt. You can see it pretty well in the opening song of the DVD (One Week) which can be viewed at YouTube.

I came across a couple of old video interviews via krlowe over at The Rush Forum. The first is a short feature on Rush from MuchMusic back in the early 80s. It contains footage from the Permanent Waves era including an interview with Ray Daniels and a short clip of a Geddy Lee interview along with concert and video footage. You can check it out here. The second is a short soundcheck interview with Alex and Geddy on MuchMusic from the Toronto Rocks SARS benefit concert. It can be seen here.

And I'll end with a bit of news from the rumor mill. Please take this with a big grain of salt. :) One of my readers emailed me earlier this week to say that he spotted Snakes & Arrows producer Nick Raskulinecz coming out of customs on Monday at LAX. He approached Nick and told him how great he thought the album was. Nick graciously shook his hand and said thanks, wait 'til you hear the next one. He then offered up that he (Nick) would be producing the next album and that they were already working on it! I'm not really surprised that Nick would be working on the next album seeing that both parties have enthusiastically expressed interest in doing so in several interviews. What does surprise me - if true - is the fact that they're already working on it. This is the second such rumor to this effect that I've heard, so maybe it is true. If I had to speculate, I'd say that Alex and Geddy have been writing a bit between gigs and on breaks and probably have some rough cuts of a few songs that Nick is helping with. Again - this is a complete rumor at this point. I don't have any solid word on whether this is true or not. But ... if it is it's great news. Let the speculation begin! ;) Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Snakes & Arrows makes Amazon's 2007 Top 100 Customer Favorites list
5:02PM EST | link | comments (38) |

Every year around this time online megastore Amazon.com compiles lists of the Best Music from the previous year. This year Rush's Snakes & Arrows made their list of the Top 100 Customers' Favorites coming in at #37. This came about despite the album not making the Top 100 Editor's Picks list at all. It just proves that the customers are smarter than those stinkin' editors. :) Thanks to DC Rush Fan for the heads up.

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Richard Chycki working on the new Rush live DVD
10:34AM EST | link | comments (23) |

Richard Chycki with the DVD crew in RotterdamIn a recent interview at BW&BK (see this post), Snakes & Arrows sound engineer Richard Chycki remarked that he was working on the upcoming Rush live DVD that was filmed in Rotterdam. He also mentions this in a post on his blog yesterday:

As mentioned by Neil Peart and reiterated by countless Rush-fan blogs, a new Rush DVD is in the works chronicling the latest Snakes & Arrows tour. I'm excited to be part of the team once again and hope you all enjoy the final result! ...

Countless Rush-fan blogs?! I thought this was the only one!! :)

He also includes a cool pic of the audio crew aboard the mobile studio in Rotterdam earlier this fall. Thanks to John over at Cygnus-x1.net for the heads up.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanking the shit out of Snakes & Arrows
4:21PM EST | link | comments (20) |

Bob Cesca is a writer, director and producer (he is the founder of Camp Chaos) who's been a featured blogger at the Huffington Post since August, 2005. For the past 3 years at Thanksgiving he's put together a Thanking The Shit Out Of Stuff post. In this year's installment Rush's Snakes & Arrows made the cut:

The music industry is on life support. But Rush continues to record original, thought-provoking music without the help of radio, Rolling Stone magazine or the mainstream music press (say nothing of the exclusionary R&R Hall of Fame). Their new album, "Snakes & Arrows," guided by Foo Fighters producer Nick Raskulinecz, is energetic, heavy, poignant and inspired. I've listened to the lead track, "Far Cry," maybe a thousand times this year and I'm still not sick of it.

Well said!

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Moving Pictures: a life-changing album
4:11PM EST | link | comments (43) |

Robert of the Radish is a prominent music fanatic and historian with a degree in music business who runs a series of music-related blogs. Robert was recently challenged by a fellow blogger to create a list of 10 albums that changed his life; not necessarily his all time favorites, but those that have had the biggest impact on him. At the very top of his list is Rush's 1981 classic Moving Pictures. Here's what he said about it.

The first album on my list is probably the most critically divisive selection. However, I still stand by it's brilliance. But it makes my list not so much for the music it contains, but because this is the album that got me hooked on rock and roll. Before this time I had heard my parents Frankie Valli, Carpenters and Elvis records, and I enjoyed them, but when a friend gave me his Sony Walkman on a walk to school in 1981 with Rush's Moving Pictures inside, it was an epiphany. I was stunned by the music pouring into my brain. This record is the one that kicked off a lifelong obsession with music, and will always hold a special place in my heart, no matter how cheesy Neil Peart's lyrics sound to me now. From here I discovered Queen, Van Halen, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, other classic rock legends and heavy metal.

I can definitely identify with him, although for me it was 2112.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

DarkStar update
2:07PM EST | link | comments (10) |

DarkStarDarkStar is a first-person role-playing video game that's been in development for over 7 years. It's usually described as more of an interactive movie than a video game because the characters in the game are live actors. The game is of interest to Rush fans because it will feature the music of Rush; over 20 songs spanning 12 albums. Back in July of 2004 they released a teaser trailer online that featured One Little Victory. It's also interesting to note that a number of people who worked on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 TV show - which included many Rush references - are involved with this project. Unfortunately, development of DarkStar has been very slow going although there have recently (November 5th, 20th) been a couple of promising updates posted on the game's official website; the game may actually see the light of day sometime next year. In the meantime here's what the website says about using the music of Rush along with the complete song list:

We're still not sure why these legendary fellows said yes. Not because Darkstar isn't a perfect match for their music, but after we made merciless fun of them on a cable show some of us worked on (Comedy Central/Sci-Fi Channel's Mystery Science Theater 3000), we thought they might be steamed at us. Much to the delight of the MST-3K folks, they instead said yes. We found out later that they even credited the show in the credits of their "Counterparts" album, and Alex was said to have even displayed an MST lunchbox atop his amp that tour. Even after making jokes about them while Joel, Trace, Josh and others riffed cheezy movies (once pointing at an ematiated woman and saying "hey, it's Geddy Lee"), and even going so far as to mock their entire home country in Tom Servo's song about Canada. But it was all in fun, and we never stooped lower than that or really got "personal"...for example, telling everybody that Neil's middle name is Ellwood. Ooooops.

For over 30 years, these Canadian Rock Legends have continued to produce cutting-edge progressive music, and have toured nearly non-stop, culminating in a spectacular live in Rio concert and an incredible DVD of that concert. There are at least 20 songs from the RUSH repertoire in Darkstar, spanning music from their earliest albums from the 70's to some of their newest on Vapor Trails. Talks are ongoing with ANTHEM Records, Inc. in Toronto about cross marketing opportunities, including possibly utilizing some of Darkstar's scenes in the band's live visual presentation in concert.

Song List
FLY BY NIGHT - Anthem
CARESS OF STEEL - Bastille Day
2112 - The Twilight Zone
A FAREWELL TO KINGS - Cygnus X-1
HEMISPHERES - Cygnus X-1 Book II
MOVING PICTURES- Tom Sawyer- YYZ- The Camera Eye- Witch Hunt- Vital Signs
SIGNALS - Subdivisions
GRACE UNDER PRESSURE- Red Sector A- The Enemy Within- Red Lenses
POWER WINDOWS- Mystic Rhythms- Manhattan Project
HOLD YOUR FIRE- Time Stand Still
TEST FOR ECHO- Test For Echo- Time and Motion- Limbo
VAPOR TRAILS- One Little Victory- Nocturne

Thanks to dbguy for giving me the heads up that the game's website had been updated.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Updates and other random Rush stuff
4:05PM EST | link | comments (49) |

UPDATE - 11/24@10:17AM: Oops! brindle just reminded me that I'd forgotten MalNar and Hope in the poll on instrumentals! Very sorry about that - too much Thanksgiving turkey. I added them in - if anyone wants to change their vote, send me an email.

I hope everybody in the States had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. As Rush fans, we all had a lot to be thankful for this past year ... and it looks like 2008 won't be any different.

As the members of Rush take a break from the grind of touring for a few months, behind the scenes planning for the 2008 tour leg is underway. We learned this week that dates in Argentina, Chile and Puerto Rico are being finalized and I heard a recent rumor (take with a grain of salt) that the Honda Center in Anaheim may be one of the west coast dates.

Earlier this week saw the release of the much-anticipated sequel to the Guitar Hero 2 video game - Rock Band - which includes a cover of Tom Sawyer as one of the featured tracks. We also learned that Mobile Fidelity Labs is planning on re-releasing (perhaps re-remastering?) their versions of 2112, Moving Pictures and Signals. And unfortunately the MoFi release of Permanent Waves has been delayed yet again; it's now slated for a January 8th release (thanks Chad for the heads up).

There's a feature on Alex Lifeson in the December issue of Guitarist magazine and a Rush interview in the December Classic Rock. In addition, Power Windows pointed out a couple of magazine Rush features from October that I had missed. The October issue (#92) of the UK's Powerplay Magazine features Rush on the cover and an interview with Alex Lifeson. The October issue of the UK's Rhythm Magazine includes a small photo of Neil Peart in the top left corner along with an interview. Rhythm is also offering a free copy of Anatomy of a Drum Solo with the purchase of a subscription.

The 2007 Grammy Award nominees will be announced in less than 2 weeks (8:30AM on December 6th). Although I doubt Rush will win anything it's possible they'll get a nomination in one of the Rock categories; most likely for Rock Instrumental as they have in years past. Of all of Rush's instrumental songs over the years, what's your favorite? Take the poll and let us know. Thanks to naturalscientist for the poll idea.

Last week's poll where I asked you if you thought Neil Peart was the greatest rock drummer was kind of a no-brainer. Over 80% of you - rightly so in my opinion - agreed with that statement. Another 15% put him in the top 3, and the rest at least had him in the top 10 ... except for the one lone Neil Sucks vote. :)

In addition to the Rush playing cards - as expected - the Rush Backstage Club is now offering a 1000-piece Moving Pictures puzzle. They're also running a promo where they're giving away a free Snakes & Arrows flash drive on orders of over $200.

The UK's Guardian recently ran a series where they counted down 1000 albums to hear before you die. Making the list for Rush was their 1976 classic 2112. Here's what they said about it:

Of course it's preposterous. What album featuring a 20-minute sci-fi "suite" somehow inspired by Ayn Rand couldn't be. But who could hate Rush? You can't make this sort of thing without knowing you'll be mocked for it. And there's real grandeur amid the pomposity. Think of it as a rock stately home.

Thanks to Joe O for the heads up.

NBC Nightly News did a story last Friday night on former hockey star Joe Juneau. In the story Joe is wearing a Rush hat in several clips and a Rush Snakes & Arrows shirt in one clip. You can watch the full story online here. Thanks to Chris in Cincinnati for the heads up.

As I'd mentioned last week, the new Coheed and Cambria album was recently released. The album was produced by Snakes & Arrows producer Nick Raskulinecz and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins played drums on it. The CD comes with a making of video and when they introduce Taylor, there is clearly a copy of the debut Rush album shown in the foreground. Here's a screenshot. Thanks to YtseRob2112 for the heads up and the screenshot.

Reader Steve pointed me to this smackdown by Wall Street Journal music critic Jim Fusilli of Blender magazine and their ridiculous lists including their worst lyricist list - the one that said Neil Peart was the 2nd worst lyricist behind Sting. Give it a read; he really puts that rag in its place.

Cold Fire alerted me to this article in the Washington Post about Paul Green's School of Rock. One of the songs on the curriculum is Rush's Tom Sawyer:

At the Silver Spring School of Rock, a charmingly disheveled space across from the AFI Silver Theatre, a teenage drummer, guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and vocalist are playing on a makeshift stage under fluorescent black light, rocking a muscular version of "Tom Sawyer," the 1981 anthem by Canadian math-rock trio Rush.

The song, like many in the Rush catalogue, is among the harder songs a rock band can attempt. There is no three-chord simplicity here. "Tom Sawyer" showcases Neil Peart's uncanny polyrhythmic percussion.

Drummer Andrew Cohn, 17, is giving it his all on Peart's lightning-fast riffs but, halfway through the song, School of Rock music director Steve Kilgallon stops the music and addresses Cohn.

"Your one hand is, you know," he admonishes, without having to finish the sentence.

"Uh huh," nods Cohn, folding his sticks.

"You gotta go with the flow and give up on the sixteenths," Kilgallon says, referring to the quick-note drum fills, which Cohn is slurring.

"Right," Cohn says. ...

There's also a really cool video accompanying the article.

I typically don't pay much attention to air-guitar and/or air-drumming videos that folks send me these days. But this air-drumming performance of YYZ by Lance the Rush Fan impressed me enough to include it here. It's no doubt the best air-drumming to Rush I've ever seen. Check it out here. Lance is quite a character too... :)

Those guys at iLounge are at it again. They've included yet another Rush reference in one of their articles. It seems like there's a new one every week. Just check out this article on managing your iTunes , scroll down to the Moving Your Content: The Wrong Way section and check out the screenshots used. Thanks to rosmakloma for the heads up.

Reader NashVegas noticed something interesting while searching for road sign images for a project. He noticed this stock photo that Rush fans might recognize. :)

Have a great weekend everybody!

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

New Alex Lifeson interview in Guitarist
10:20AM EST | link | comments (15) |

Guitarist December 2007The December 2007 issue of Guitarist magazine (issue #297) features an interview with Alex Lifeson. It also includes a backstage video of Alex and the band from the Birmingham show last month. Alex shows off all his gear and talks about the tour. Thanks to Simon B for the heads up and the cover shot.

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Interview with Snakes & Arrows engineer Rich Chycki
10:09AM EST | link | comments (6) |

[RICHARD CHYCKI: Sound Decisions]

UPDATE - 11/22@11:32AM: Oops.. missed this before; Rich is also working on the new Rush live DVD! Thanks to MalNar for pointing this out.

Carl Begai of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles recently spoke with Snakes & Arrows sound engineer Rich Chycki. Rich touched on several subjects including working with Rush and Nick Raskulinecz on Snakes & Arrows:

... "I recorded and mixed Snakes & Arrows, Nick Raskulinecz produced it," Chycki says of his latest Rush experience. "We both had a common goal to make a modern yet more vintage sounding Rush CD so it was a very complementary relationship. Nick's an accomplished engineer in his own right having worked with the Foo Fighters, so I very much respect the trust he put in me. Regardless of which band I'm working with, I never feel like my gig is just a job. I'm not the weekend nightshift boy at 7-11 so I'm very grateful. But I will say that in between all the listening and meter watching, once in a while you look up and see Geddy riffing out and the thought crosses your mind - 'Holy Fuck! I'm recording Rush!'" ...

It's also interesting to note that Rich was in a band called Winter Rose with Dream Theater frontman James LaBrie back in the late 80s. You can read the entire article and interview at this link.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rush 2008 South American tour news
1:50PM EST | link | comments (25) |

In my last update on the 2008 tour I mentioned that Rush would be spending around 2 weeks in South America - covering Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Chile. Now it looks like 2 newspapers in Chile have essentially confirmed that Rush will be playing there although the final location and date are still being determined. In an article titled Santiago Rush Concert In The Works, Chile's La Tercera newspaper states (rough translation):

... This is about one of the most expected visits lately. Because of this, local production agencies have been working on the Ontario-based Canadian prog rock trio's first appearance on national stages, expected to be in May 2008. The organizers even have the Estadio Nacional (Chile's biggest stadium, 72.000 seats) established as the first option for the band to play in. The band fronted by Geddy Lee would arrive to the country after the Argentina show. The only occasion Rush has been in South America was in 2002, specifically Rio de Janeiro. ...

So not only does this confirm a Chile show, it also indirectly confirms an Argentina show too.

From another Chilean paper - El Mercurio - in an article titled Rush Date Is Reserved And Estadio Nacional Is Probable (again, loose translation):

In Chile, Rush is an underground-propagating creed. Santiago was the first South American capital where in 2003, the Rush In Rio DVD (in which the band registered their Maracaná Stasium show a year before) was premiered. A kind of "wink" to the nearly 1000 fans that traveled to that city to applaud the band's continental debut.

Because of this, the visit from the men that created legendary tunes such as "Tom Sawyer", for years has been the confessed dream for an enormous community of devotees that have grown around hard and prog rock. A debt that could be settled in 2008: the band is one step away from closing a LatAm tour, and the date has been made official with a regional production company. The concert would be in late April or early May, being May 1st a tentative date.

The only arena that could receive them is the Estadio Nacional and the petition has already been sent to the venue's administration, but just like with The Police and Soda Stereo, Chiledeportes (the state's organization that supervises sporting issues) hasn't given an answer. It's not all bad news, since after the Soda Stereo concerts the playing field ended in optimum conditions and has recieved the thumbs-up from the government and the ANFP (National Pro-Soccer Association).

The plan coincides with guitarist Alex Lifeson's late October declarations, to the Finnish newspaper "Helsingin Sanomat": "We'll take a break after Finland and continue the tour in April 2008 in North and South America".

So it sounds like Rush will be touring South America around the end of April or beginning of May, and will likely play the Estadio Nacional in Chile at some point. Fantastic news for our friends to the south. On a related note, I'd also mentioned in my last update that Rush is rumored to be playing the Colise de Puerto Rico on April 11 in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Reader Steve spoke with Howard Ungerleider after the Helsinki show and - according to him - Howard confirmed that Rush will be playing Puerto Rico. So it sounds like this is a done deal too - although I wouldn't be surprised if that April 11th date shifted . Many thanks to reader Julio for the heads up and Jonathan L for providing the translations and the scans.

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New pics up on Neil Peart's MySpace page
12:51PM EST | link | comments (17) |

Neil Peart has added a few pictures from the road to his MySpace page photo album. The first pic is of Michael and Neil with John Wesley (aka Wes) of Porcupine Tree; the second is of Michael, Geddy, Neil and Poolie backstage at a show; the last is of Michael and Neil backstage. I've included the pics here for those of you without MySpace accounts. Thanks to Jess T for the heads up.

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Snakes & Arrows flash drive promo at Rush Backstage Club
9:37AM EST | link | comments (13) |

S&A flash driveThe Rush Backstage Club is running a promotion where you will receive a free Snakes & Arrows 2Gig flash drive with any purchase of over $200. You can also purchase the flash drive on its own for $69.99 USD. For details go here. Thanks to nposter for the heads up.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rock Band featuring Tom Sawyer released today
9:39AM EST | link | comments (5) |

As I've mentioned several times already on this site, the new video game from Harmonix Music Systems - Rock Band - releases today. The game builds on the success of its Guitar Hero predecessors, adding vocals and drums to the mix thus allowing players to create a virtual rock band. While the Guitar Hero 2 game included Rush's YYZ, Rock Band will allow you to play along with the classic Tom Sawyer along with dozens of other rock songs from the 60s on up through the present day.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

NeilPeart.net gets a makeover
4:04PM EST | link | comments (19) |

NeilPeart.netNeil Peart's official website recently underwent a major design makeover. The new design theme is based on Neil's red Snakes & Arrows drumkit. The flash intro now has a drumhead image that gets run over by a motorcycle when you click to enter the site. Once inside, if you close the News section on the home page you are presented with a cool picture of Neil sitting onstage at the Hollywood Bowl with his BMW motorcycle in front of his Snakes & Arrows kit (there's even a mic set up next to the bike's engine). Although the design has changed, there's no new content other than the onstage picture. Thanks to Nettie for the heads up.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

2112, Moving Pictures, Signals MoFi re-releases coming
11:10AM EST | link | comments (23) |

As I mentioned on Friday the Mobile Fidelity Labs release of the 24 KT Gold Ultradisc II version of the 1980 Rush classic Permanent Waves has been pushed to December 6th. According to cavesoficeman over at Counterparts, in an ad for this product in the most recent MusicDirect catalog they mention that re-releases of the MoFi versions of 2112 and Moving Pictures are slated for 2008 and Signals for 2009. These have been out of print for well over a decade, so this is good news for those of us who don't have copies. No word on any other Rush releases that they plan on giving the MoFi treatment though.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Updates and other random Rush stuff
10:00AM EST | link | comments (58) |

Things are fairly quiet on the Rush-ian front lately. No doubt they will remain so until after the holidays when the official '08 tour announcment comes. A few minor news items were reported this week though. The upcoming Rush documentary is planning for a late '08 release and the filmmakers are looking for old and rare video footage from fans. Rush's Available Light will be included as one of the songs on a new jazz covers project. The new Rock Band video game will be released next week and VH1 Classic has been running a promo all week based around a fictional Rock Band Band. Each night this week they've been counting down the greatest drummers, guitarists and bassists. Neil Peart was named the #2 drummer and Geddy the #3 bassist; Alex didn't make the cut on the guitarist list. Rush friend and photographer Andrew MacNaughtan has made some new prints available on his website. There's also a feature on Rush in December's Classic Rock magazine.

So Neil Peart only came in 2nd in VH1 Classic's Greatest Drummers Countdown. Do you agree with this? Where would you place Neil on the list? Take the poll and let us know.

The results of the last poll where I asked you what you're most looking forward to from Rush in 2008 are in. The winner - not surprisingly - with over half the votes was the 2008 Rush tour. Next was the Rush Documentary with 28% and the Rush live DVD got 22%.

Speaking of the 2008 tour, the latest rumor I've heard (via the Rush Tour Forum) is that Rush will be playing the Colise de Puerto Rico on April 11 in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Good news for Puerto Rican Rush fans if true. Again, this is a rumor - nothing official has been announced.

Rush.com has added galleries from the European leg of the tour to the Rush on the Road feature in the Multimedia section.

In its 14th week of release The Larger Bowl continues to hang in the top 30 on rock radio. It's been bubbling around the #25 spot on both the Mediabase Mainstream Rock chart (currently #26) and the Radio and Records Rock chart (currently #27) for the last several weeks.

Bidding on Alex Lifeson's painting for the Kidney Foundation of Canada's A Brush of Hope project ended this past Monday and it sold for $5700!

The Permanent Waves Gold Ultradisc release date has been pushed yet again. It will now be released on December 4th rather than November 20th. You can preorder it here.

A couple of months ago it was announced that Rush would be interviewed on Bruce Dickinson's BBC6 Friday Rock Show on October 12th. The interview didn't happen and was then rescheduled for November 9th. It didn't happen then either - and that's the last I've heard of it. I have no idea what happened. If anyone else does, let me know.

The 2007 Rush TabCon will take place all this weekend at St. Francis High School in St. Francis, WI. It's the 10th anniversary of the event so it should be a good time. For more information be sure to visit the Rush TabCon website and to view videos of past performances, check out the Rush TabCon page on YouTube.

Rush playing cards - first mentioned back in June in this post - are now available at the Rush Backstage Club. I wonder when they'll start selling this 1000-piece 2112 puzzle? Thanks to nposter for the heads up.

The Foo Fighters - all big Rush fans - are featured in the November 2007 issue of Spin Magazine. The band was interviewed and drummer Taylor Hawkins said:

... When I joined the band, we sucked live," Hawkins recalls. "And we're still not Rush. We're sloppy, rough around the edges. And that's part of our charm. But we've gotten really good, and I think on our best nights, we can take anybody. ...

Thanks to Scott for the heads up.

Reader Pearles let me know that on the Boston based WBCN afternoon radio show (Toucher and Rich) this past Wednesday Rush took the #1 spot in their weekly segment The List. This week's topic was Band with the Nerdiest Lyrics. Despite this, the hosts made it clear that they are big Rush fans.

Reader jaytee578 alerted me to this Rolling Stone review of the new Coheed and Cambria album (which was produced by Snakes & Arrows producer Nick Raskulinecz). If you've never heard of Coheed and Cambria, they are a often compared to Rush. Indeed, it's hard to read an article or review about the band that doesn't mention Rush. From the review:

Like the Mars Volta, progressive-metal suite freaks Coheed and Cambria are almost too smart and ambitious for their own good --not enough, however, to cancel out the instrumental highs and car-radio-chorus charge of the best songs on their fourth album. No World for Tomorrow is reportedly the concluding episode in a tortuous, apocalyptic libretto by singer-guitarist Claudio Sanchez that connects all of the band's records. (Coheed and Cambria are named after the lead characters.) But there is more immediate, impressive resolution in the decisive pop arc of the mutating riffs and slippery time signatures Sanchez bundles into "The Hound (of Blood and Rank)" and "The Running Free." His classic-rock aspirations are all over the razor-guitar hum of "Feathers" (note the shards of Uriah Heep's 1972 hit single "Easy Livin' " rattling around inside) and the harmonized Thin Lizzy-style luster of the guitars and Sanchez's vocals, like a choir of Geddy Lees, in "Justice in Murder." Sanchez's rabbit-hole saga may be over --the album finishes with a five-part, twenty-five-minute exclamation point, "The End Complete" --but there is plenty here that is worthy of rewind.

I really like the choir of Geddy Lees line. :) Not to be outdone, Blender also reviews the album and can't help but diss Rush in the process:

... He [Sanchez] sings with the whine of a teenager - if that teenager were Alvin the Chipmunk. And, more than ever, his band indulges in grandiose, classic-rock, flaunting chops that could shame the showoffs in Rush. ...

Both mags give the album 3 and a half stars.

Reader Don B was recently in Toronto working on a commercial illustration project and managed to snap this great photo in Queens Park in front of the Ontario Legislative Building - where the cover of Moving Pictures was photographed. He just happened to catch the moment when a construction worker was walking a building window frame out to a van. It's a true case of life imitating art.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rush feature in December Classic Rock
1:17PM EST | link | comments (13) |

Classic RockThe December issue of the UK's Classic Rock magazine (Led Zeppelin special edition) contains an interview with Rush along with photos and show reviews. Geddy and Alex are interviewed by Welsh rockers the Manic Street Preachers (aka The Manics) - who are huge Rush fans. Both the Wembley and Birmingham shows are reviewed and several onstage and offstage photos from Wembley are included. I got this info and the pic via photographer Ross Halfin's site. Ross mentioned it in his November 8th diary entry.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Andrew MacNaughtan prints available
10:01AM EST | link | comments (11) |

Just in time for the holidays, Rush friend and photographer Andrew MacNaughtan has made some new prints available on his website. One is another Snakes & Arrows studio print and the other is a very cool print from the Red Rocks show. There's also a new Rush in forest print and a couple more signed Neil Peart prints. Thanks to Thomas P for the heads up.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

VH1's Rock Band countdown series will feature Rush
10:14AM EST | link | comments (47) |

UPDATE - 11/13@10:27PM: They counted down the top 10 Greatest Bassists tonight. Geddy Lee made the top 3 just behind Chris Squire (Yes) and the winner John Entwistle (The Who). The complete list: 10) Steve Harris, 9) Geezer Butler, 8) Les Claypool, 7) John Paul Jones, 6) Jack Bruce, 5) Flea, 4) Paul McCartney, 3) Geddy Lee, 2) Chris Squire, 1) John Entwistle.

UPDATE - 11/13@7:05AM: Mark Goodman with the help of Rock Band Band counted down the 10 Greatest Drummers last night on VH1 Classic. I'm not sure exactly how they determined their list - but Neil Peart came at #2, losing out to John Bonham. Keith Moon came in at #3. I question the order, but I'd say they got the top 3 right at least. They played the Tom Sawyer video from Exit... Stage Left and had some fun with the pronunciation of Neil's last name. Tonight they'll be counting down the Greatest Bassists. My guess is that Geddy will be on this list somewhere - probably in the top 5.

As reported previously on this site, the upcoming Rock Band video game - the successor to the popular Guitar Hero series - will include a cover of Rush's Tom Sawyer as one of the featured tracks. To mark the November 20th release of the game, VH1 has created a Behind the Music-style mockumentary called Rock Band Commeth: The Rock Band Band Story which chronicles the ups and downs of the fictional Rock Band Band. The special - narrated by Kurt Loder - aired last night and can be viewed online at this location. VH1 Classic will also be airing five Rock Band-themed countdown shows all this week. Each show will air at 8PM EST and focus on one of the following: Greatest Front Men, Greatest Guitarists, Greatest Bassists, Greatest Drummers and Greatest Rock Band. Rumor has it that Rush will be featured on at least two of these countdown shows.

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Rush's Available Light included in new jazz covers project
9:46AM EST | link | comments (29) |

Rush's Available Light will be included in a new jazz covers project to be released later next year. The project is the brainchild of composers Ryan Fraley and Ralph Johnson with vocalist Lydia McAdams and aims to reimagine several classic progressive rock tracks as orchestral jazz pieces. Four tracks have already been recorded for the project; Rush's Available Light, Yes's Heart of the Sunrise, Queen's Killer Queen and Led Zeppelin's The Rain Song. Samples of these 4 tracks are available on the project's website and 8 more tracks are in the works. Thanks to Power Windows for the news.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rush documentary update: late '08 release, looking for rare video footage
11:34AM EST | link | comments (18) |

I got this via Draconator over at Counterparts. It gives some more details regarding the upcoming Rush documentary and puts out a request to fans for rare video footage of the band.

RUSH: THE DOCUMENTARY will be the first in-depth look at the history and influence of Rush. It will trace the band's fascinating musical evolution, from their science fiction-inspired progressive rock of the 70s to their current heavy rock style. Combining new exclusive interviews and performance footage from the 2007 Snakes and Arrows tour as well as material from the band's massive visual archive, the film will offer Geddy, Alex and Neil's own perspective on their spectacular achievements. It will also present interviews with musicians influenced by Rush's music, including members of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Tool, Nirvana, and many others. The documentary is in pre-production with an anticipated release in late 2008.

The documentary will be directed and produced by Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn, creators of Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, which featured interviews with metal icons including Geddy Lee. "Metal" premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2005 and has been released in over 25 countries with DVD sales reaching 200,000 copies. "Metal" has received widespread praise from metal fans and musicians and has garnered rave reviews from press and film festival audiences around the world. Sam and Scot's follow-up film "Global Metal" will be released in Spring 2008 and explores the globalization of metal music in Japan, China, Indonesia, Israel, Dubai, India and Brazil.

We are reaching out to Rush fans around the world to collect rare, good quality video/film footage of:

(A) the band performing live (concerts, TV shows etc.)
(B) rare interviews with TV stations etc.

We are especially looking for stuff from the early period of the band's career (70s and early 80s), and from outside of North America. At this time, we are NOT looking for photographs, ticket stubs, tour books, audio recordings etc. ONLY footage and interviews. Do you have anything that could help us? You can be part of telling the definitive Rush story!

If you have any of this material, please contact researcher Liisa at rush@metalhistory.com. Of course, any material that we request will be safely stored and returned. Let's see a show of hands!

So it looks like they are aiming for a late 2008 release. We might be seeing a Rush documentary and a live DVD next year - not to mention the 2008 tour. Wow.

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Updates and other random Rush stuff
10:33AM EST | link | comments (32) |

It's been another great week for Rush news. Early in the week we learned that Rush won Band of the Year in the Classic Rock Roll of Honour. A couple days ago Neil Peart gave us his latest (and last one from the 2007 leg) update from the road on his website and amused us all with his new MySpace avatar. Just yesterday I revealed that Rush will be featured in a special Legends issue of Guitar World magazine due out December 4th. And the really big news were the new details regarding the 2008 tour. The latest as-yet-unofficial news is that Rush will kick off the '08 leg in Atlantic Canada and work their way South playing a total of 48 dates. These will include a dozen dates in the Western US and a 2-week run of South American dates. The official tour announcement will come in early January with tickets on sale late January and early February. The band will be releasing the Workin' Them Angels single to coincide with the tour announcement. A video using live footage from Rotterdam is also planned.

Andrew Olson has made a few notable updates to his Neil Peart fansite recently. He's added a couple new postcards to his Postcards from Neil page, and added a new entry to his Replica Drum Kit page. Andy's also added a few pages of Snakes & Arrows tour content. He's created several Snakes & Arrows news feeds utilizing de.licio.us, and there's now an Afterimage page containing links to stories by fans about the concerts they attended on the tour. Andy also visited a Guitar Center last weekend and was able to check out and play one of the Neil Peart signature snare drums. He took this great pic too. And check out Andy's auction page - there's some cool new stuff up there for sale.

Rush really closed out the tour in Helsinki with a bang ... literally. Several folks emailed me this bootleg video of Far Cry from the Helsinki gig where Alex's amp was taken out by the pyro explosion in the middle of the song. It's definitely worth checking out.

The current bid on Alex's painting for the Kidney Foundation of Canada's A Brush of Hope project is over $3000!! And there are still 3 days of bidding left. To check out the auction and make your own bid go here.

Several folks emailed me about an apparent Rush reference in the recently released Guitar Hero 3 video game. One of the guitars you can purchase comes with a faceplate modeled after the king on a deck of playing cards. The guitar is called Farewell To Kings and the description on it says It's time to play your hand, but don't rush into it. There were no Rush songs included on Guitar Hero 3, but the soon-to-be-released Rock Band game (releases November 20th) will contain Tom Sawyer.

Just before the tour started I'd mentioned a website called the Rush Fan Film Project - the brainchild of Rush fan Ray. His goal was to collect fan-filmed footage of Rush fans throughout the tour. Now that the tour is over he's gathering the footage folks have sent him and is in the process of putting it all together. He's just one man, so he could use some help. If you have footage of your own, or have experience in this area go visit the website and help Ray out.

Speaking of fan films, reader Andy N followed Rush around the UK for 4 shows in October and filmed the experience. He edited the film into a nicely-put-together package and posted them to YouTube. Here are the vids:

Rushin' around Newcastle - 5th October 2007
Rushin' around Sheffield - 6th October 2007
Rushin' around Birmingham - 12th October 2007
Rushin' around Manchester - 14th October 2007

He did a really good job with these - check them out if you get a chance.

The Weekly Dig recently interviewed standup comedian Lisa Lampanelli and they asked her the following compelling question:

Q: Which member of Rush would you need to be paid the most money to fuck?

A: Oh, Geddy! Geddy Lee is the ugliest motherfucker, but I'll tell you what, I don't judge on the basis of looks anymore, now that I have inner peace. I totally would fuck Geddy Lee, because he's ugly cute. He's like Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex & The City -- ugly cute.

Thanks to RushFan82 for the heads up.

Shane pointed me to a poll at misterpoll.com where they are voting for the best progressive rock album of 2007. Snakes & Arrows and a lot of other albums are up for voting.

Reader missionman just let me know that St. Louis local rock station KSHE95 just opened their real rock museum. Included are several photos and videos of the boys and a spot in the local Hall of Fame. Included is a cool video interview with Geddy and Alex talking about their first live radio interview in St. louis back in 1974. You have to take a minute to register in order to view the museum, but it's free and well worth it. Just go here, sign up and when you're in the Rock Museum go to the Hall of Fame and look for Rush's spot on the wall.

And I'll end with this recent Fark.com Photoshop contest where they asked folks to mashup their favorite album covers. There are a few Rush albums thrown in here and there; it's fun to try and spot them. Thanks to kshmr1 for the heads up.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Guitar World special Legends edition will feature Rush
1:05PM EST | link | comments (25) |

Rush Guitar Legends issueGuitar World Magazine will be releasing a special Guitar Legends edition on December 4th that will be entirely devoted to Rush. The tagline reads The Definitive History of Rock's Legendary Prog-Rock Power Trio. The issue will include stories behind the band's biggest hits, an interview with Neil Peart, private lessons from Alex Lifeson, transcriptions of 5 Rush hits and more. To view a high-res image of the cover go here. Thanks to RushFan20 for the heads up.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

New Neil Peart news update
10:36PM EST | link | comments (25) |

Neil Peart riding in the Bavarian snow[NEWS, WEATHER, and SPORTS - November, 2007: Haste Ye Back]

UPDATE - 11/8@12:01PM: I had completely forgotten to mention that Neil remarked on the Rotterdam shows that were filmed and had good things to say:

... we had a day off before a pair of shows at the Ahoy arena in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. Those performances would be filmed and recorded for an upcoming concert DVD, and having seventeen cameras and a recording truck present is always a little unsettling. You just never know if the added pressure is going to be inspiring, or nerve-racking. On that occasion, Alex and Geddy and I were fairly ecstatic to feel that we played really well on those two nights. All things considered, they may have represented the true climax of the tour. Sure, there were many satisfying shows among those sixty-four performances, I am glad to report, but those two are permanent. ...

Thanks to the Power Windows site for reminding me of this.

----- snip -----

Right on cue, Neil Peart has updated the News page on his website - just as he has been doing on every break in the tour thus far. This break will be a long one, so hopefully we'll squeeze one or two more updates out of The Professor before the 2008 leg begins. In this update Neil spends most of the time recounting his various motorcycle travels with Brutus on the highways and byways of Europe; describing the landscape, weather and local attractions. He also includes a lot of great photos to accompany his prose. In one passage Neil remarks on being named the 2nd worst lyricist by Blender magazine:

... Later that day, at the venue, I was checking my e-mails, and saw a story on AOL titled "Worst Rock Lyricists." Curious, I opened it and read that some "hip" magazine had declared Sting the all-time worst rock lyricist, which seemed kind of dumb. Then, in second place, I was startled to see-gulp-my name. Ouch!

I felt my face burning with shame and anger, to be so publicly declared "the second worst rock lyricist of all time," and to read my work described in words like "an awful mix of science and fantasy." Though obviously written about songs from thirty years ago, and by someone whose choice for "great" lyricists would probably be, oh, Joey Ramone or Morrissey, it still stung. ...

Neil also reminds us that if your girlfriend hates Rush, don't bring her to the show. And if you absolutely have to bring her, buy her earplugs. Well said. :)

He recounts a particularly moving experience while visiting the Vimy Ridge War Memorial in France and describes the enchanting vision of a snow-covered Mad King Ludwig's castle in Germany.

Toward the end of his essay Neil lists off all of his various aches and pains and mentions how toward the end of the tour everyone in the band and crew was a bit worn down. Interestingly enough he doesn't even mention the 2008 leg. Let's hope the band and crew are able to rest up over the next few months so they can get a fresh start this upcoming Spring and Summer.

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Neil Peart's new MySpace avatar
11:04AM EST | link | comments (20) |

Neil Peart's alter egoIt looks like Neil has altered his MySpace avatar to be his evil baby genius alter ego, Stewie Griffin from Family Guy. There's an interesting story behind this regarding a RIAB reader - JP from Finland. Just after attending the Helsinki show JP relayed this story to me:

... I had made a poster at work with Photoshop, where Stewie is sitting behind Neil's drumkit (as you might remember, Neil has said that the evil genius baby Stewie from "Family Guy" is his alter ego.)

Anyhow, I was holding the poster for Neil to see, when I realized that Neil's riding partner (I guess he was, "the praetorian", the head of security.) was crouching right in front of me. He looked at the poster, nodded in approvement and reached his hand.

I gave it to him, and he disappeared. After a couple of songs, he came back with a pair of drumsticks for me!

Wow! Needless to say, I was blown away (and my friends after the concert were pretty envious!)

Then, after "The way the wind blows" he was back, with a piece of paper. He had written an email address there, and wanted me to send the original digital picture. No worries, when I get back to work tomorrow, I'll send the pic for him. ...

So JP sent the pic ... and Neil's putting it to use. Very cool. :)

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Rush.com video updates
4:37PM EST | link | comments (17) |

Rush CrewRush.com has added a couple more video interviews to their Multimedia section on the site. In the first video we get to watch riggers Chris and John rig up the XCel Center in Detroit and explain to us all that is involved; it looks like a tough job. The second video interview is with pyrotechnician John Arrowsmith (who is featured in an earlier video) and Garreth (spelling?) - the UK pyrotech safety guy. They talk pyro safety from the gig in Sheffield. Thanks to texanmgm for the heads up.

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Rush 2008 tour news update
9:41AM EST | link | comments (58) |

Rush Snakes & Arrows TourUPDATE - 12/13@9:36AM: The official tour announcement is out! The San Juan date is confirmed and it's also revealed that they'll be kicking off the tour there - contrary to the rumor that they'd start in Atlantic Canada. They also confirm that the full itinerary will be announced in mid-January and they'll play over 40 more dates. Nothing is mentioned about South America.

UPDATE - 11/21@1:53PM: Dates in Chile, Argentina and Puerto Rico are close to being confirmed. Details in this post.

I have some exciting new updates regarding the 2008 leg of the Snakes & Arrows tour. Before getting to these I thought I'd recap what we already know.

A couple months ago I reported that Rush would be playing several indoor dates in the US and Canada in the Spring of 2008, kicking off in March with a two or three night stand in Atlantic City. The tour would then move up the east coast to Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, and Atlantic Canada to wrap up the first set of dates before heading south for a handful of dates in late March through early April including New Orleans, New Mexico, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi.

A few days later I reported that the band would end the 2008 leg in July with a headlining performance on the closing day of a concert commemorating the 400th anniversary of Quebec City.

Then early last month Alex Lifeson confirmed in an interview that the band would indeed be touring in 2008, playing another 46 or so shows.

Now I've just obtained new information which corroborates most of the above and adds to it.

First off, some very good news for Atlantic Canada; that seems to be where the tour will likely kickoff. They'll then work their way south with the band playing the new Prudential Center in Newark for a metro-NYC date, replacing the Atlantic City dates. As far as I know they will still be hitting New Orleans, New Mexico, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and points in between - and also will be playing about a dozen dates in the Western US.

There's also some very good news for our friends south of the equator; Rush will be playing several dates in South America. Indeed, they'll be down their for nearly 2 weeks which likely means around 8 shows give or take. Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Chile are about 80% confirmed at this point. The band also plans on recording one of these shows, but I'm unsure of the details or how this recording would be utilized.

All in all the tour has 48 open slots that may or may not all be filled. And it still looks like the tour will end with the band playing at the 400th anniversary celebration in Quebec City on July 4th - which would be Rush's biggest full-length show ever as a crowd of nearly half a million fans are expected.

The official tour date announcement will occur in the 2nd week of January with tickets going on sale at the end of January and early February. They will be releasing the Workin' Them Angels single to coincide with the tour announcement, and plan to release a video for the song which will use portions of the video recordings for the live DVD that was filmed in Rotterdam. They had originally meant to release the single a week or two ago but decided to go this route instead to better market the tour.

That's all for now. I'll end with this disclaimer: the above information is not yet official and could change. That said, my source has been very reliable in the past and I have no reason not to believe them on any of this information. Also, before you start shooting off emails asking me for more details, I can assure you that I'm not holding anything back; what you see above is exactly what I know too - no more, no less. I'll be sure to post any further updates as soon as I hear them.

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Rush wins Band of the Year in Classic Rock Roll of Honour
11:18PM EST | link | comments (11) |

A few months back the UK's Class Rock Magazine opened up voting for its 2007 Roll of Honour. The Roll of Honour ceremony took place last night in London and Rush won Band of the Year! Snakes & Arrows was also up for Album of the Year but lost out to Porcupine Tree's Fear of a Blank Planet, on which Alex Lifeson makes a guest appearance. To read more about the event and find out who else won, go here. Thanks to cinderellamanr30 for the heads up.

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Friday, November 2, 2007

Updates and other random Rush stuff
11:41AM EST | link | comments (46) |

Although the 2007 tour is over, there's a lot on tap for Rush fans in 2008 and beyond. A new Rush documenatary with a 1.5 million dollar budget is in the works, a live DVD of the Rotterdam shows is planned, and Rush will be touring for another 3 or 4 months next Spring/Summer! So which of these are you looking most forward to? Take the poll and let us know.

I've received a lot of kind emails from folks lately thanking me and the site for the tour coverage. I just wanted to say a big You're Welcome! and that I couldn't have done it without the great support of all my readers sending me links and providing information. I've really enjoyed it ... and the best thing is that the coverage will continue this Spring! Folks have also asked about different ways they can help out the site. Just visiting, spreading the word and sending me cool links/info is enough for me. But if you want to do more you can click on the Google ads, purchase items through the Amazon links or donate directly via PayPal. And if you donate, you'll get a RUSH IS A BAND bumper sticker as a Thank You.

In the last poll I asked which was your favorite of Rush's 5 live DVDs/Videos. The overwhelming winner with over half the votes was Rush in Rio. R30 received a quarter of the votes while the rest were split among the older 3 offerings.

The Rush tribute band documentary aired on E! in Canada last Sunday. Several readers who saw it had positive things to say. In addition to following a couple of Rush tribute bands around, Alex and Geddy were both interviewed and feel that tribute bands are the ultimate compliment to a band. The special can be viewed online in most countries (unfortunately not the US) at this link.

Ross Halfin teased us all month with his diary updates from the European leg of the tour. If he's to be believed, Rush played a lot of interesting stuff during their soundchecks. In his latest update Ross gave up on the soundcheck reports since nobody believed him. :)

Just in time for Christmas, Guitar Center is selling a Neil Peart Signature Snakes & Arrows snare drum. Details in this post.

Speaking of Neil, I recently came across video of Neil's interview with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien from 1993. You can check it out here. And tomorrow marks the 13th anniversary of Neil's appearance on Politically Incorrect. If you've never seen that video you can check that out here.

Rushfest 8 will take place at the Blackmore Rock Bar in São Paulo, Brazil tomorrow. Details in this post.

Bidding is now open for the Kidney Foundation of Canada's A Brush of Hope charity project. The auction will run through November 12th. Just as he did last year, Alex Lifeson is participating in the project. You can bid on Alex's painting at this link. Thanks to july141789 for the heads up.

In last Sunday's Washington Post Magazine there was a feature on Bobby Standridge - creator of the now famous A Digital Man Neil Peart YYZ video. Bobby talks about his background and how the popularity of the Digital Man video gave his career a boost. Thanks to JayBird for providing the link.

Reader Tony A let me know that the Permanent Waves Gold Ultradisc release date has been pushed from November 6th to the 20th. You can preorder it here.

There's a new contest up at the Rush Backstage Club. This time you could win a limited edition, hand-numbered poster from the Snakes & Arrows tour autographed by all three members. The contest closes on November 15th and you can enter at this link.

Music columnist and long-time arts reporter for CBC Television, Bob Mersereau, recently released a book on The Top 100 Canadian Albums which included Rush's 2112, Moving Pictures, and A Farewell to Kings. The book also included a list of the top 10 Canadian drummers as compiled by Neil Peart. Reader Paul D purchased the book and has provided us with Neil's list:

1) Gary Peterson - The Guess Who
2) Jerry Mercer - Mashmakhan / April Wine (Lorne Wheaton once worked with Jerry)
3) Whitey Glan - Mandala
4) Skip Prokop - Lighthouse
5) Graham Lear - Georges Olivers Natural Gas and later doing Gino
Vanelli recordings
6) Dave Cairns - Leigh Ashford
7) Danny Taylor - Nucleus
8) Martin Deller - FM
9) Gary McCracken - Max Webster
10) Johnny Fay - The Tragically Hip

1 through 7 are from the 60s, 8 through 10 the 70s. Neil Peart also is quoted saying Really, there were so many great drummers around Southern Ontario in those days that I am surprised I didn't just give up. Good thing he didn't!

Ted K let me know that Guitar Edge Magazine released a special Fall issue highlighting their list of the 100 greatest guitarists. Alex Lifeson made the cut at # 96.

Jess of the Rush to Fight AIDs project wanted to thank everyone for all their help with her little charity project which was a HUGE success. She left a message on her blog which I'll relay here:

Hello everyone--

As all you Rush fans already know, the last show of the 2007 Snakes and Arrows tour was today. I think we can all agree that it was amazing in every way, and this break for the band is WELL deserved.

I've updated the text on the site to reflect the end of the tour, so please check it out. The Rush to Fight AIDS has a big future, and I want all of you to be part of it.

Now, more than ever, I encourage you to spread the word to your friends. For one thing, the holidays are here, which is a time of need for millions of people around the world. Secondly, the Rush tour will be starting back up at some point (hopefully sooner rather than later), and I think it would be great to have a huge, unified effort to greet the beginning of the tour.

I'm thrilled at what we have all been able to do for S-CAP--just think about what we can do for the entire continent... or world... if we spread the word.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support and inspiration...

Thanks Jess!!

Several readers emailed me about this sad bit of news about how the pilot of Enola Gay - immortalized in the Rush song Manhatten Project - has passed away.

For Halloween Jason Lymangrover over at the AllMusic blog penned a humorous post about backmasking and Satanic messages in songs. Rush's 2112: Grand Finale is featured:

Originally: "We have assumed control/We have assumed control/We have assumed control."

Backmasked Message: "Rush is with Satan/Rush is with Satan/Rush is with Satan."

Rush is with Satan... hee hee. :) Thanks to fenderjazz over at Counterparts for the heads up.

Reader marathonman noticed that Rush is mentioned in this article on the merging of mp3 players and cellphones.

Dirk pointed me to this feature on the Discovery Channel's website where Mike Rowe - host of the show Dirty Jobs - presents his top ten artists featured in his iPod. Rush comes at #2!

Guitarist Magazine UK interviewed Alex Lifeson for their December issue at the Birmingham show earlier this month. The magazine had also run a Meet Alex Lifeson competition in the September issue and took the time to introduce Lerxst to the winner Terry Stanners - who also received a Hughes & Kettner Switchblade 100 combo. You can read the story at the Hughes & Kettner website. Thanks to RedSectorA for the link.

Here's one from the archives: back in 2000 Canadian comedian Friendly Rich taped a documentary for CBC Radio's Outfront. It analyses Rush fans and Friendly's own obsession with Geddy and the boys. You can listen to it at this link. Thanks to Fiat for digging this up.

And here's an interesting Rush-related eBay item that was recently up for auction. It's an old hunting license from 1921 with the license number ... 2112. It went for $65! Rush fans will buy anything. :) Thanks to 1-2-bucklemyshoe for the link.

That's all folks - have a great weekend!

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More updates from Ross Halfin
9:19AM EST | link | comments (11) |

Ross Halfin shooting GeddyRock photographer Ross Halfin travelled to Helsinki with Rush to shoot their final show of the tour. As he's been doing throughout the European tour, he tells us all about it in his online diary. Here are some excerpts:

October 30

... As I have a coffee I see a smiling Neil Peart on his way to Los Angeles - it's 6am. We say goodbye. I sit and wait to board when an American (whose name was Pete, not Ian as I originally thought) tells me he's been to all the Rush shows in Europe, mainly driving. He's very proud of this and is heading home to Cleveland after flying to Stockholm then driving for fifteen hours to Amsterdam. 'You can never get enough Rush' he says. ...

October 29

... Arrive late afternoon to darkness and cold, winter is here. I don't mind, it suits the Baltics. Get there in time to shoot soundcheck. I'm not saying what they played as nobody believes me anyway. Shoot Geddy warming up, his voice is powerful in a room, unamplifed singing old Rush anthems. I give Neil a copy of Tom Wright's book, Roadwork, and my second Who book, Maximum Who. The band all sign my tour itinerary with amusing asides. And I get a photo taken (which I'm proud of) with Geddy and Neil waiting in the corridor to go on. Completely sold out in the Hartwall Areena with a good pit. Get good pictures which I'm VERY HAPPY with...

After the show say goodbye - Geddy says 'Next time you're wandering all over the stage, wear black shorts.' Mine were light grey. Had a good time touring with Rush. I appreciated them and they appreciated what I could do. And Canadians have a much better sense of humour than Americans.

So no setlist clues this time; Ross seems a bit annoyed that nobody believes his soundcheck reports. :)

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New Rush.com video interview
7:57AM EST | link | comments (3) |

David the video directorRush.com has updated its Multimedia section with yet another video interview with a crew member. This time it's David the video director's turn to explain to us all what he does on the Rush tour. Basically he's in charge of all that cool stuff that we see on the video screens during the show. Thanks to AFarCryfromFBN for the heads up.

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Neil Peart Signature Snakes & Arrows snare drum
7:22AM EST | link | comments (3) |

Neil Peart signature snare drumUPDATE - 11/8@10:48PM: Andy O has a great pic of the drum up on his website; he was able to see and play one of the drums at Guitar Center over the weekend.

Power Windows reported yesterday that the November Guitar Center catalog includes a Neil Peart Signature Snakes & Arrows snare drum. Select Guitar Center stores will be selling the snare for $899.99, with no payments until 2009. Here are the details:

This stunning 6"x14" snare features an Aztec Red finish with handpainted gold leaf and metallic gray Snakes and Arrows graphics. The finish is done by DW master craftsman Louie Garcia, who paints Neil Peart's own drums. DW's unique Black Diamond hardware is made of nickle, but it's as hard and durable as chrome. The all-maple shell utilized DW's propietary VLT (Vertical Low Timbre) design, with a verticl grain pattern that allows for a lower overall tone without sacrificing resonance and attack. The special batter head features a printed Neil Peart signature. Everything about this drum was designed in accordance with Neil Peart. This is the same snare Neil is currently using on the Snakes and Arrows tour. See it first at Guitar Center.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

New Video: Neil Peart interviews Jean Chretien in 1993
10:30PM EST | link | comments (11) |

Neil Peart interviews Jean ChretienJust over 14 years ago on October 30, 1993 Neil Peart had the privilege of interviewing Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien for MuchMusic. I'd seen the transcript of the interview before and even heard the audio - but had never seen the video. People ask me about it all the time so I'm glad to say that I finally got a hold of the video. You can check it out here.

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Brazilian Rush gathering: Rush Fest 8
10:00PM EST | link | comments (2) |

Rush Fest 8The largest gathering of Rush fans in Latin America will take place this weekend in Brazil. Rush Fest 8: Good Friends First will be held this Saturday night, November 3rd, at the Blackmore Rock Bar in São Paulo. There will be more than four hours of pure Rush music with Rush tribute bands Force Ten from Brasilia, Rush Project from São Paulo, and a new edition of the T4E All Star Band project with musicians from different Rush Tribute Bands from all over the country. For details go here. Thanks to Marcelo of Brazilian fansite Test For Echo for the heads up.

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