UPDATE - 6/1@10:32AM:RushFanForever dug up some more info on the Iranian band mentioned in the interview. The CBC story on underground rebels in Iran can be seen here and the name of the band is Ballgard. The portion of the story on Ballgard begins at about the 3:45 mark and runs for about 4 minutes. The band has a very Zappa-like funky sound reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
CBC News: Sunday is a weekly television newsmagazine series in Canada, which airs on Sunday mornings on both CBC Newsworld and CBC Television. It is going off the air after 8 seasons and today aired its final episode. To help celebrate the occasion Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee paid a quick visit to the set. The show had done a piece from Iran back in 2008 (although it only aired recently) about underground rebels and spoke to an underground rock band who named Rush as their heroes. The show sent Geddy an email about this and asked if Rush could somehow contact these guys. The band did one better than that and shipped them a huge box of Rush Swag. You can watch video of their appearance where they talk about this at this link. The interview begins at about the 3-minute mark and runs for about 4 minutes. Thanks to guitarlb and RushFanForever for the heads up.
Yesterday I let you know about a new rock-and-roll-themed amusement park that is being be built in Eloy, Arizona starting in 2010 called Decades Music Theme Park. It's currently still in the planning stages and their target date to open is in the Fall of 2013. The park will feature interconnected Lands and Districts that represent each decade of rock music with interactive thrill rides, live music and other attractions. One of the planned attractions is the Rush-themed Spirit of the Radio Concert Hall.
Several folks emailed me regarding the death of former Toronto Maple Leafs hockey star Peter Zezel. He died earlier this week at the age of 44 from complications due to a rare blood disorder. Zezel was a cousin and good friend of Alex Lifeson. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Alex and all of Peter's family.
Reader grazza let me know of a Rush reference on the bonus DVD that accompanies progressive metal band Mastodon's new CD Crack The Skye. At about the 24:30 mark bassist Troy Sanders talks about how excited he is to use his his new 1979 Moog synthesizer. He remarks It is totally badass. Geddy Lee uses one. So there you go...
... Rush draw heavily on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's opium-induced dream of Kubla Kahn in their promise to "find the sacred river Alph, to walk the caves of ice". Once there, Geddy Lee promises: "I will dine on honeydew, and drink the milk of Paradise." ...
In another era, I would've said say "Yes" or "ELP" but those bands haven't stuck it out like RUSH who have more dedicated readers of this blog than those other bands combined.
Reader Priest_ofSyrinx let me know that Rush was well represented in 97.9 The Loop's Rock-n-Roll 500 over the past holiday weekend where they played 500 top rock songs including 16 from Rush:
#473 - Time Stands Still #408 - Freewill #394 - Red Barchetta #332 - New World Man #311 - Entre Nous #293 - YYZ #264 - The Trees #227 - 2112 (Temples of Syrinx) #194 - In The Mood #189 - Closer to the Heart #166 - Working Man #116 - Fly By Night #113 - Subdivisions #103 - Limelight #48 - Tom Sawyer #9 - The Spirit of Radio
Reader Mike D has a colleague who is an amateur maker of cakes and cupcakes and was looking through her portfolio recently when he came across this image which bears a striking resemblance to a certain album cover you may be familiar with. :)
That's all for this week. Have a great weekend everybody!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Rock-and-roll amusement park to have Rush-themed concert hall
Decades Music Theme Park is a new rock-and-roll-themed amusement park that is being built in Eloy, Arizona starting in 2010. It's currently still in the planning stages and their target date to open is in the Fall of 2013. The park will feature interconnected Lands and Districts that represent each decade of rock music with interactive thrill rides, live music and other attractions. One of the planned attractions is the Spirit of the Radio Concert Hall. From the website:
Modeled from the Rush album cover art "Spirit of the Radio", this venue will be a more intimate indoor music theater. It will include 2,000 seats and serve as a regular space for tribute band performances, battle of the band competitions, a "New Artists' Exposure Series" and bands with smaller audience draws. We also hope to lure the VH1 Music Awards to host their annual event at this site on a rotating basis.
Very cool. Hopefully they'll figure out that the song is actually titled The Spirit of Radio and not Spirit of the Radio before they start building it. :) Thanks to reader 7/8 for the heads up.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Neil Peart in Modern Drummer 2009 reader's poll results
The July 2009 issue of Modern Drummer magazine contains the results of their 2009 reader's poll. Neil Peart came in second in the Best Rock Drummer category and third in the Best Progressive Rock Drummer category. The issue will hit newsstands on June 2nd. Thanks to Power Windows for the heads up.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Alex Lifeson describes playing with The Tragically Hip
Last Tuesday evening Canadian rockers The Tragically Hip closed out a 6 night stand at Massey Hall in Toronto and celebrated by bringing out Alex Lifeson as a guest guitarist for their 2-song encore. You can check out a great video of the appearance along with all the details in this post. For those of you signed up for Rush Mobile, a link was sent out to members today which points to a page on Rush.com where you can read a short article written by Alex Lifeson which describes the experience from his perspective as well as detailing how it came to be. You can check it out here. Thanks to Sean for the heads up.
2008 Buddy Rich Memorial Concert DVD now available
The Rush Backstage Club is running a new contest where you could win an autographed Roll The Bones tourbook signed by all three members of Rush. The contest ends on June 8th and you can sign up to enter at this link.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Alex Lifeson out on the town with Sammy Hagar and Chad Smith
... in attendance seemed to be Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson who had taken Hagar and Smith out on the town on Saturday night and was still paying for it on Sunday night according to Sammy who kept addressing him offstage.
It sounds like Lerxst is having a fun-filled weekend. Reader Andrew W backs up this story as he reports sighting Alex in the Yorkville area of Toronto Saturday night having dinner on the patio of the Hazelton Hotel with Hagar and Smith. Here's a bootleg video of Chickenfoot's opening number last night.
UPDATE - 5/23@12:17AM: The RushCon 9 tribute band has been announced - as I'd mentioned below. Limelight will perform at their 3rd RushCon (they also played at RushCon 4 and 7) on Saturday, July 25th at C'est What in downtown Toronto. The show is free for RushCon attendees and open to the public for a $10 CND cover charge.
I also had meant to mention that 2112, the UK's premier Rush tribute band will play at The Moses Gate in Bolton this coming Sunday the 24th of May. Check out their website for details.
Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee were guests on CBC Radio's Q with Jian Ghomeshi Wednesday morning. The hour-long interview was very loose and entertaining, but we didn't really get any new information or hints at any future plans for Rush. You can download the entire interview at this link or listen to it using the player below.
Michael at NeilPeartDrumsticks.com posted photos of the new Neil Peart Drumsticks for 2009 earlier this week. You can check them out here.
Registration for RatCon 2009 has been extended to next Tuesday, May 26th and the organizers have now given attendees the option for a special Saturday-only admission price of $75. You can check out all the details on the RatCon website.
A big hit by maybe my favorite band of all time. It's off the Hemispheres LP, of which I'm a huge fan. Rush is one of the first bands I actually started following as a band, like when I was 10 or 11. My older brother turned me on to them, and it might be the only band I just liked right away. Upon hearing them for the first time, I thought they were amazing. I know there's kind of a resurgence now; a lot of hipsters pretend to like Rush. I'm a diehard fan. I've seen them 14 times in concert. I don't f**k around when it comes to Rush. ...
Cool. To read everything he had to say, check out the article at this link.
I have a few more old Rush magazine scans to share with you. This batch is from a July 1981 issue of Circus magazine. Thanks to RushFanForever for locating these.
UPDATE - 5/26@7:01PM: For those of you signed up for Rush Mobile, a link was sent out to users recently which directs you to a page on Rush.com where you can read a little write-up by Alex Lifeson detailing his experience playing with The Tragically Hip. For those of you not signed up you the link is here. Thanks to Sean for the heads up.
UPDATE - 5/20@2:41PM: ... and here's the podcast link (thanks ShrimpCot_1). You can also listen using the player below:
----- snip -----
UPDATE - 5/20@1:30PM: You can listen to the entire interview online at this link (thanks AFarCryfromFBN).
UPDATE - 5/20@10:31AM: It looks like this interview was pre-taped. Depending on where/how you listen to it it may have aired already or it may be airing right now. You can listen in live to CBC Radio 1 at this link; just click on one of the location links on the right of the page (thanks ghostrider_vapor). If you click on the Toronto link, the interview began at 10AM and you can listen to it in progress. Reader Ricbass4003 already heard the entire interview and reported that it was a good/funny interview but no new information was revealed.
Rock journalist and author Greg Prato has just released a new book titled No Schlock...Just Rock! which collects his various magazine writings from 2003-2008. From the publisher's description:
Before he was the author of such books as A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon, Touched By Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story, and Grunge is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, Greg Prato was a writer for such respected UK-based publications as Classic Rock, Guitarist, Metal Hammer, and Record Collector. 'No Schlock...Just Rock!' collects most of Greg's writing for these mags between a five-year span (2003-2008), with the focus on the crème de la crème of classic rock, heavy metal, and punk/alt-rock. Included are features that explore the entire careers of Faith No More, Soundgarden, Bad Brains, Meat Puppets, The Cars, The Raspberries, and GG Allin, as well as additional interviews/articles on the Ramones, Cheap Trick, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Jethro Tull, Rush, King Crimson, Steely Dan, William Shatner, and Run-DMC (among many others), plus the 3 articles that later led to Greg's Melon, Bolin, and Grunge books.
Included in the Classic Rock section of the book is an article titled The Stories Behind the Song: The Spirit of Radio, Rush. To find out more about the book and to order a copy go to this link. Alex Lifeson is one of the three artists pictured on the cover. You may remember Greg Prato from his December interview with Alex Lifeson at UGO.com. Thanks to Blabbermouth for the heads up.
We are definitely in a quiet period for Rush news. Hopefully the band's upcoming May 20th interview on CBC Radio's Q next week will give us some insight into Rush's plans for the remainder of the year, and a better idea of when to expect another album/tour.
While on the subject of transcriptions, one thing about Rush fans that has always amazed me is the fact that so many of them are musicians themselves. Now since there's not much else going on in Rush-land of late, I thought for my next poll I'd ask everyone what - if any - instrument they play. Take the Poll and let us know; check all that apply. In my last poll I asked everyone for their favorite song off of Grace Under Pressure and the resounding winner with over 31% was Between The Wheels. Red Sector A came in second with 15%. You can see the complete results here.
Jared Max is the sportscaster and sports director at WCBS NewsRadio 880 in New York who also happens to be a huge Rush fan and RIAB reader. Jared noticed yesterday morning that the New York Daily News had printed two editions with the same photo on its back page. The Sports Final edition had the headline Kid Gloves and the City Final edition Take Off, Eh?. He worked this into his newscast yesterday and provided us with an mp3 which you can listen to using the player below.
While on the subject of sports, it's the time of the baseball season when most MLB teams have played at least 33 games. See where I'm going with this? As many of you pointed out, as of this past weekend Geddy Lee's Toronto Blue Jays had a record of 21-12 (they're now at 23-14) and the Boston Red Sox are close on their heels; as of Wednesday their record was 21-12 as well (it's 21-14 now).
Which is more awesome? Neil Peart's drumkit or a ... bookmobile? Yes - you read that right. Neil Peart's drumkit is currently in an Awesome-Off over at Awesome-Off.com against a bookmobile. To vote for Neil's kit go to this link. Thanks to Ivana for the heads up. WTF? :)
Readers starman.2112 and dadof4 both informed me of a Rush reference on this past Sunday's episode of America's Funniest Home Vidoes. They did a segment called Main Street Canada and one of the segments depicted a man being pulled on a practice dog sled. While playing the video the over-dubbed voice said This hoser's in a hurry to get to the Rush concert or words to that effect.
Reader Karl S stumbled across the video for Dead End Countdown from the Quebec-based band The New Cities and noted that the guitarist Christian Bergeron was playing an Alex Lifeson signature Gibson ES-355. You can check out a screenshot by clicking on the thumbnail. Good eye!
Reader Rocinante located this cool YYZ Toronto cap which you can order from Red Canoe National Heritage Brands.
Entre Nous sent me this image of a Rush Lane street sign in Rose Lodge, Oregon on Highway 18.
In the DRUM! Magazine feature Neil answers questions from 12 lucky fans including THREERIAB members; Spindrifter, barboy2112 and DrummerDad2112. How cool is that!? You can check out the complete list of participants along with their questions in this post.
The 2008 Buddy Rich Memorial Concert DVD is a 3-DVD set that will retail for $39.95 and include over two hours of concert footage plus nearly two hours of rehearsal and backstage footage. According to a mailing sent out by the Drum Channel it will released by the end of the month although Neil Peart's website is advertising it as coming out May 15th. Neil's site also has his rendition of Love For Sale from the concert available for listening (thanks mr soul).
While on the subject of the Drum Channel, reader RushFanForever pointed me to episode 6 of the Chad Smith Show that ran on the channel back in January. In this episode Chad Smith, Taylor Hawkins, Terry Bozzio, Stephen Perkins, and Gary Novak watch clips of drumming greats while discussing their lasting influence on the world of drumming. The program runs about 17 minutes and from the 10:30 point on the discussion focuses on Neil Peart. You can watch it at this link.
Speaking of Neil Peart, here are some scans of an old Modern Drummer interview with Neil from January of 1986 courtesy reader Kevin B. You can check out the scans by clicking on the thumbnails above.
... I still go back and revisit a lot of that stuff," he explains of his fondness for '70s rock. "The Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush records, the early Rush stuff like Hemispheres-Alex Lifeson's amazing on that. ...
The long-anticipated Kyle Newman film Fanboys finally released last month and will be available on DVD May 19th. The film follows a group of Star Wars-loving geeks in 1998 who travel cross country so that their dying friend's dream of watching Star Wars: The Phantom Menace at Skywalker Ranch before its release can come true (trailer here). One of the main characters - Hutch - is a huge Rush fan and spends most of the film in a Rush t-shirt as depicted in this photo. He also only allows Rush music to be played in his van. Tom Sawyer and Limelight are included in the film's soundtrack. Thanks to Brett M for the heads up.
RatCon 2009 is only 5 weeks away! There's still time to register if you haven't already; the deadline is May 22nd. The organizers have posted a new introductory video from LanceTheShred on the RatCon website.
Singer/songwriter Juliana Hatfield recently posted an old setlist from her highschool cover band The Squids to her MySpace page. Included on the setlist are Rush's Spirit of Radio (#12) and Broon's Bane (#40). You can check it out by clicking on the thumbnails. Thanks to Echoes at The Rush Forum for the heads up.
I'll leave you this week with this YouTube audio of Audioslave performing a cover of Rush's Working Man from a few years back (thanks to jess for the link). It's from the bootleg album Covers & Rare.
Have a great weekend everybody!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Neil Peart June 2009 DRUM! Magazine cover feature details
Back in February I mentioned that Neil Peart had agreed to answer questions from DRUM! Magazine readers for a cover feature in their June 2009 issue. The email campaign ended on March 15th and the magazine ended up receiving over 1000 responses! Several subscribers started receiving their copies in the mail today and thanks to Michael at NeilPeartDrumsticks.com and Echo at the Counterparts messageboard we have a list of the questions Neil answered along with the fans who posted them - no answers though (you'll have to buy the magazine for those). Two Three of the lucky 12 fans who had their questions answered are RIAB members Spindrifter, DrummerDad2112, and barboy2112; and one of them is Jason Bittner, drummer for metal band Shadows Fall. Here's the list:
1) What is your favorite live solo
Michael S. Conley of Sugar Hill, Georgia
2) I have read a number of interviews where you mention that when you get new cymbals you don't use them on stage. You have your drum tech put them on your practice set until they are "broken in." I'm not sure I have ever really understood this.
Jeff Kolln of Yelm, Washington
3) How often do you practice and for how long? Is it simply just the "warm up" sd we've seen on [the DVD] A Work In Progress, or do you warm up and move on to something else?
Kalman Kopcsandy of Oreland, Pennsylvania
4) As diverse a drummer as you have become, are there still techniques that other drummers employ that continue to elude your abilities? Or can you master anything you've heard or seen within ten minutes of attempting it yourself?
David Gostin of New Woodstock, New York
5) After watching Rush's latest video Snakes and Aarows live, I've become aware more than ever your use of electronic triggering on stage. Do you ever feel like a slave to technology?
Mike Douglas of Dallas, Texas
6) During the Grace Under Pressure tour, back in 1984, I heard you say that "Tom Sawyer will always be the hardest song for me to play." Twenty five years later is it still the hardest song for you to play?
Gary Boothe of Keller, Texas
7) You're known for changing your drum kit prior to each album tour. Have you ever made an attempt to go back to a much earlier setup just to see what might be the result in your playing style?
Ed Dobbins of Baltimore, Maryland
8) What do you do with your drum kits that you used during past tours?
Mike Fisher of St. Johns, Canada
9) My question is in regards to your rationale behind lowering your throne height over the last five years. Have you noticed greater ease playing, or any accompanying back problems commonly associated with lower throne height?
Jason Jecman of Lisle, Illinois
10) Why is the second solo missing from Natural Science when played live?
Will Holt pf Hampton, Virginia
11) Had you been given the chance to meet Buddy Rich or Gene Krupa, what would you have talked to them about?
Douglas Whelan of Puyallup, Washington
12) When I saw the Test For Echo tour multiple times, there was a point on one leg where I saw you playing with an elbow brace on. What was going on exactly at that time? How did you overcome injury while still managing to kick serious butt for more than three hours a night?
Jason Bittner drummer for Shadows Fall
The issue is due to hit newsstands on May 18th.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
2008 Buddy Rich Memorial Concert DVD available by end of May
UPDATE - 5/8@10:57AM: Reader waldo666 tells me that Jian mentioned on the show today that Rush will be on May 20th.
UPDATE - 5/5@8:00AM: Reader edgy now reports that the interview will take place sometime later this month on May 21st or thereabouts.
UPDATE - 5/4@9:26AM: FYI: The show just released their schedule for this week and Rush is not on it, so they may not be appearing until next week.
Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee will be guests on CBC Radio's Q with Jian Ghomeshi sometime next week. The program airs weekdays at 10AM on CBC Radio One (Channel 137 on Sirius Satellite Radio). It's not clear exactly which day they'll appear but the host Jian has been mentioning it regularly and they are listed on their website on the list of guests Coming Up. The band has never appeared on the show so it is assumed that this will be a new interview. I should also mention that the show has a YouTube channel where they post videos of their interviews a week or so after they air. More info as I learn it. Many thanks to waldo666 for the heads up.
A couple of months ago I let you know that the first episode of the Rush road crew documentary Backstage Secrets had been uploaded to YouTube in 6 parts. I'd first mentioned that Whistlestop Productions was putting this 5-part documentary together back in December of 2007. The series follows various members of the Rush road crew during a typical day out on the road with the band. It was shot in High Definition and Dolby 5.1 surround audio during the 2007 Canadian leg of the Snakes & Arrows tour and first aired on RUSH HD in Canada last May. Reader RushFanForever recently alerted me to this news item related to the documentary that was posted on Classic Rock Revisited last week.
GEDDY LEE GAVE CREW CARTE BLANCHE FOR DOC
From VH1 Radio's Dave Basner:
When Rush was out on their 2007 Snakes & Arrows tour, some members of their crew decided to film aspects of the trek. That footage has since been edited together into a documentary called Backstage Secrets. Singer Geddy Lee told us once the band approved the film, it was all in the hands of their techs to do as they wanted with the project.
"I left it totally up to the crew. When they approached us about it, I said, 'It's not about me, it's about my guys.' So I said to the guys, 'Look, these guys want to do this kind of show, here's what they've done in the past, totally, 100 percent your decision, yes or no.' And I just left them to it and they decided to go ahead with it. I look at it like their movie, not mine, it had nothing to do with me."
You can see clips from the five-part, five-hour long film on YouTube by searching for "Rush Concert Tech Documentary."
I mentioned a couple weeks ago the sad news that Geddy's father-in-law John McCowan Young passed away recently at the age of 90. Mr. Young was the father of both Geddy's wife Nancy and former Rush member Lindy Young. You can now read the obituary online at this link. Thanks to RushFanForever for the link.
The Philadelphia Spectrum has been a major concert stadium since the late 60's and has played host to Rush a total of 17 times. The venue is being torn down next month and they have just released a commemorative book detailing its history titled God Bless the Spectrum: America's Showplace in Philadelphia, 1967-2009. On page 125 of the book is a picture of Geddy Lee with the caption, Geddy Lee of the band Rush who has played the Spectrum 17 times. Thanks to Doug B - who has seen every one of those 17 shows - for the heads up.
... Although he's had considerable success with singer-songwriters such as [Marti] Pellow, [Nanci] Griffith and Jewel, Peter Collins' track record is such that he is perhaps most in demand as a producer of rock music. His American career was built on the highly technical, sophisticated prog-rock nouveau of Rush and Queensryche, and despite his enthusiasm for working with 'real musicians', it was for his expertise in the technological side of production that Rush picked him: "When I first worked with them, they wanted to be involved with the technological breakthroughs that were happening in England at the time, the Trevor Horn sound that he'd achieved with Yes and Frankie and those sort of bands. So I was able to help them move into that area, and be a foil, a sounding-board for Neil Peart on the drums and push him into different areas. When I first got involved, Alex Lifeson had this horrible mismatched guitar pedalboard, which needed a lot of work -- or, rather, lot of work had been done to it, and that was the problem. It was just a question of coming in fresh, and getting them to change some things they'd always done. If there's somebody to say to them 'Guys, I think that section could be better, it could be more exciting, or it could be more laid-back,' or whatever, they like that. They like to be challenged.
"In the case of Rush, they strive to be better with every record, they strive to progress with every record. AC/DC strive to sound exactly as they did on their first record on their 14th record, and that's their strength, but Rush want to be different on every record and to progress. As human beings, that's the way they are, they're very interesting people, and they need continual intellectual and musical stimulation." ...
Reader afansince74 let me know of a Rush reference on a recent episode of The Bob and Tom show on WGN America. They had comedian Jimmy Pardo on as a guest and he was doing some "air bass" - a bit he often does for the show. He usually plays along to the 70s band Redbone, but this time they played the opening to Bastille Day to trip him up. He of course had trouble playing along, citing that it was to complex. :)
The Grand is an improvisational comedy film released in 2007 that used a handful of actors playing characters competing in an actual poker tournament. In one scene Chris Parnell's character goes into a deep philosophical speech about his intellectual approach to playing poker and the guy next to him (played by David Cross) simply says, Is that Rush?. You can check out a video clip of this scene at this link (thanks Sean A).
In the old Rush article department I have a July 1984 interview with Alex Lifeson from Guitar for the Practicing Musician. You can check it out by clicking on the thumbnails. Thanks to Kevin B for the scans.
I also have a scan of a 1980 Rush article from Circus magazine. The scans are a bit small and hard to read so you might need your magnifying glass. Thanks to MCM at The Rush Forum for the scans and RushFanForever for the heads up. Just click on the thumbnails to view the scans.
I've known about virtual Rush tribute band Virtually Rush for a while now but had kept forgetting to mention them until reader Liverpool 78 gave me a nudge recently. The band consists of 4 musicians from different countries who come together virtually to play Rush songs and post the videos to YouTube. Here's their very impressive version of Between the Wheels. You can check out all their vids at this link.