Archive: Blog Entries from February, 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

Alex Lifeson The Double film score project update
7:19PM EST | link | comments (33) |

UPDATE - 3/1@4:19PM: Rush engineer Richard Chycki is apparently doing the mixing for the score as demonstrated by this post to his Twitter feed on Friday:

Soundtrack for Richard Gere movie 'Double' done and in the can, including the groovy out credit piece. Well, our part any way ...
25 Feb via web

And Sylvya NuVynska tweeted the following on Sunday:

Sang and wrote lyrics for the outro song for the new Richard Gere movie #TheDouble coming out soon...
27 Feb via Twitter for iPhone

Thanks to Eric at Power Windows for the heads up.

----- snip -----

UPDATE - 2/28@8:39PM: I should point out that although Sylvya NuVynska worked specifically on the outro piece with Alex, it's certainly possible that Alex also worked on other portions of the score. Hopefully we'll find out more details in the coming weeks/months.

One of the many side projects that Alex Lifeson has been working on recently is a score for a film starring Martin Sheen and Richard Gere titled The Double. The movie features original music by film composer John Debney and last week we learned that Skinny Puppy founding member cEvin Key was also involved with the score, as he posted to his Facebook page:

collaboration is cool, who would ever guess John Debney, cEvin Key
w Alex Lifeson from Rush and Martin Sheen.

BW&BK revealed some further information on this collaboration earlier today reporting that the particular piece in question is the film's outro music and that former Scarlet Sins vocalist Sylvya NuVynska added vocals and lyrics to the track. The film is written and directed by Michael Brandt and centers around a retired CIA operative who is paired with a young FBI agent to unravel the mystery of a senator's murder. It's due out later this year but no specific release date has been given yet. Alex Lifeson first mentioned his involvement with the film in his VH1 Classic Rock Nights interview a few weeks ago.

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Canadian heavy metal band 3 Inches of Blood cover Rush's Anthem
6:55PM EST | link | comments (13) |

According to RockStarWeekly.com (thanks Power Windows), Vancouver-based heavy metal band 3 Inches of Blood have recorded a cover version of Rush's Anthem for their as-yet-unnamed forthcoming album:

... The band was recently in town recording new material at Shostroud Productions studio, which is co-owned by Terry "Sho" Murray (of Shocore/City Of Fire) and Fear Factory/Strapping Young Lad bassist Byron Stroud. There are no firm details on a new album title or release date yet, but as Shane reveals, they have recorded two new Clark-penned originals and a cover of Rush's 'Anthem'.

"For the last five years, I've had this compulsive Rush disorder," he laughs, explaining that his Rush obsession began when he saw their documentary Beyond The Lighted Stage.

"When that documentary came out, it just kicked that into high gear. It's just such a great movie. You get to know the whole band a little bit better. Alex Lifeson is one of my favourite guitar players. The way he plays, no one else sounds like him. That's very influential for me."

As Shane explains, it was Rush drummer Neil Peart's relationship with fans that really struck a chord with him.

"When I was young, going to shows, if I ever met one of my heroes and caught them on a bad day, my impression of the music would change. When you're young, you don't realize that these guys are on the road and could have been having a bad day. I just think about that when I meet younger fans who are really into guitar playing. I just make sure that I just answer their questions, if they have any, and just be nice." ...

Canadian thrash metal band Sacrifice also recorded a cover of Anthem on the Canadian release of their 2009 album The Ones I Condemn. The track was included on a recent limited release 7" vinyl split with Canadian thrash punk band Propagandhi who covers Corrosion of Conformity's Technocracy on the flip side. The first pressing of the 7" vinyl had sold out quickly but due to overwhelming demand, War On Music Records announced a second and final pressing last month and copies are still available. You can listen to the Sacrifice cover on YouTube at this link.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Moving Pictures 5.1 surround sound remix details from Rush.com
8:14PM EST | link | comments (37) |

UPDATE - 2/26@11:20AM: It is now also available for pre-order in the US via Amazon (CD plus DVD, CD plus Blu-ray).

Rush.com posted several details regarding the Moving Pictures 5.1 surround sound remix earlier today. From Rush.com:

30th ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION of MOVING PICTURES 
features audiophile surround sound mix, music videos, rare photos, liner notes & more -- available April 5th

Rush's Moving Pictures celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with a spectacular Moving Pictures - Deluxe Edition via Mercury/UMe. The reissue of this seminal album on April 5, 2011, will be available in two formats: (1) a digitally remastered CD plus DVD and (2) a digitally remastered CD plus Blu-ray. For this Deluxe Edition, the DVD & Blu-ray discs will feature the album and three bonus music videos, "Tom Sawyer," "Limelight" and the previously unreleased clip "Vital Signs," in both a stunning 5.1 surround sound mix supervised by the band's Alex Lifeson using the original multi-tracks and in newly remastered stereo from the original analog master tapes.

Both DVD & Blu-ray formats will boast the 5.1 surround sound and stereo audio in 96kHz/24-bit high-resolution audiophile playback which offers 256 times more resolution than CD audio, providing the listener with the closest experience you can have to what the artists hear in the studio. The DVD is playable on both DVD-Audio and DVD-Video players, the latter players will include Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and PCM stereo playback. Blu-ray discs will also feature DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound in addition to 96kHz/24-bit PCM 5.1 surround sound and stereo.

The Moving Pictures experience has never sounded better or been more moving. Also included in the package is an extensive gallery with previously unreleased photos from the original recording sessions, new liner notes by renowned music journalist David Fricke and 30th anniversary artwork by original album designer Hugh Syme. ...

You can check out the entire tracklist at this link ... although any self-respecting Rush fan should already know the tracklist! :) Although not yet available for pre-order in the US It is now available for pre-order via Amazon in the US (CD plus DVD, CD plus Blu-ray), Canada (CD+DVD, CD+BD) and the UK (CD+DVD, CD+BD). Thanks to Stephen J E for the heads up.

Related Posts:
[Moving Pictures 5.1 surround sound remix available for pre-order]
[Moving Pictures 5.1 surround sound remix to be released April 5th]
[Richard Chycki on the Moving Pictures 5.1 surround sound remix]
[Alex Lifeson on UK digital radio station Planet Rock today]

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Updates and other random Rush stuff
10:35AM EST | link | comments (20) |

Rush Time Machine Tour 2011Sometime in the next couple of weeks Rush will be getting together to begin rehearsals for the 2011 leg of their Time Machine Tour which kicks off on March 30th in Florida. Much to the chagrin of many fans (although most seem ok with it), the band has decided to keep the set identical to the 2010 tour which Alex Lifeson first revealed in his Planet Rock interview earlier this month and recently elaborated on in a Gibson.com interview:

... We're going to do another 38 or 40 shows on this [tour], made up of three runs, kind of East and West Coasts, and then Europe and the U.K. in May. So it was kind of important that we continue the set just as it is - particularly in Europe and the U.K., 'cause they're kind of expecting what Time Machine was over here. So we've been tempted to change out a few songs, but we decided that we would keep everything intact. And we're really not hitting a lot of the markets that we've already played on the last tour. We're really picking up a lot of other places and certainly that whole month that we're spending in Europe is new. ...

The centerpiece of the tour is the band's performance of their entire Moving Pictures album, which recently celebrated the 30th anniversary since its release on February 12, 1981. In celebration of this anniversary the band will also be releasing a 5.1 surround sound remix of the album on April 5th. We learned earlier this week that the remix will be a 2-disc set available on either DVD or Blu-ray containing the 5.1 mix along with a CD containing the stereo mix. As an added bonus the DVD/Blu-ray will also contain 5.1 mixes of the music videos for Tom Sawyer, Limelight and Vital Signs. Although not yet available for pre-order in the US, it can be pre-ordered through both Amazon Canada (CD+DVD, CD+BD) and Amazon UK (CD+DVD, CD+BD) although it's listed as an import in both cases.

One person who should be very happy to see Moving Pictures get the 5.1 treatment is Porcupine Tree front-man Steven Wilson. He'd included the album in his list of 20 Albums That Deserve To Be In Surround Sound in a December, 2009 article for Sound & Vision:

One of my favorite bands at its very peak. Moving Pictures is that rare thing: a 40-minute album without a wasted note or even a weak moment. It was made with relative economy compared with some of the other albums on this list, yet the interplay between the three extraordinary musicians (and the tasteful integration of synthesizers) would be a blast in 5.1.

Speaking of Porcupine Tree, reader random_guy23 recently started an excellent Porcupine Tree blog at StarsDie.com that any Porcupine Tree fan simply must check out. And if you're a Rush fan (obviously) who hasn't heard of Porcupine Tree yet, what are you waiting for? :)

Gibson Guitars unveiled their new Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess at the 2011 Winter NAMM show last month and recently launched a detailed website highlighting the guitar complete with detailed specs, a bunch of closeup photos, and purchase information. You can check out the website at this link. Alex also spoke a good bit about the Axcess in his Gibson interview from last week:

... we've been working on this for quite some time - a few years, really. The Axcess is a great platform, I think, because it has certain things that the traditional Les Paul doesn't. You know, the light weight, getting the vibrato arm on there, the changes that we made with the piezo pickups, the separate outputs - you know, it's a great utility guitar. I looked at it in terms of, "What do I need? Instead of switching through 14 or 15 guitars during a show, how can I pare that down, like, where I can get everything - as much as I can - into one guitar?" And this is really what it is. ...

As part of their continuing celebration of the launch of the Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess, Gibson.com posted their Top 10 Alex Lifeson Guitar Moments this morning. Here's what they said about the number 1 song on their list - La Villa Strangiato:

Epic. From the first few delicate notes of Lifeson's classical guitar, notes that quickly cascade into a frenetic and blistering pace - and that's in just the first 20 seconds - "La Villa Strangiato" is at times beautiful, other times haunting and sinister. However you define Rush, this is the penultimate Rush song. Operatic and dazzling, this is Lifeson's greatest and most dynamic guitar moment.

You can check out the entire list at this link.

In addition to launching a new signature guitar and appearing in independent films, Alex has also been involved with scoring a film. He briefly mentioned in his VH1 Classic Rock Nights interview 2 weeks ago that one of the side projects that he had been working on recently was a score for a film starring Martin Sheen and Richard Gere. We later learned that the title of the film is The Double and features original music by film composer John Debney. Apparently Skinny Puppy founding member cEvin Key was also involved with the score as demonstrated by this recent post to his Facebook page:

collaboration is cool, who would ever guess John Debney, cEvin Key
w Alex Lifeson from Rush and Martin Sheen.

The film is written and directed by Michael Brandt and centers around a retired CIA operative who is paired with a young FBI agent to unravel the mystery of a senator's murder. It's due out later this year but no specific release date has been given yet.

The UK's Record Store Day will take place on Saturday, April 16th and we learned earlier this week that one of the featured special vinyl releases will be a 7-inch limited edition vinyl release of Rush's BU2B. For details visit the Record Store Day website and to learn more about Record Store Day check out this link.

The Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) presented their annual MPSE Golden Reel Awards this past Sunday night in Los Angeles, in which they acknowledge the year's best work in the various areas of sound editing. The Rush documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage ended up winning an award in the Documentary Feature Film Category. The film had also been nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Long Form Music Video category but ended up losing last weekend to The Doors documentary When You're Strange. The film has also been nominated for a Juno Award for Music DVD of the Year. Winners will be announced at the Juno Awards Ceremony at the Air Canada Centre on March 27th which will air on CTV.

This past September, Bob Mersereau's book The Top 100 Canadian Singles was released. The book compiles a list of the best Canadian songs as chosen by around 800 musicians, broadcasters, members of the music industry and fans. A few Rush songs made the cut including Tom Sawyer at #12, The Spirit of Radio at #25, and Closer to the Heart at #35. Reader RushFanForever picked up the book recently and scanned the relative Rush excerpts for us. You can check them out in this post.

An old photo of Geddy Lee being surprised on stage by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS was recently posted to a KISS forum. The photo is from Rush's last show opening for KISS on the Fly By Night tour on June 7, 1975 at the Civic Center in San Diego. You can check it out at this link (thanks Greg Prato).

Reader Trip E pointed me to a post on the political blog Blue Virginia titled Federal Judge (and Rock Group Rush?) Refute Cooch on Health Insurance "Choice" where the author makes use of the lyrics to Rush's Freewill to make his point.

Reader Ernie let me know about a Rush mention on G4's Attack of the Show this past Tuesday. Canadian-American radio host, actor, rock musician and former professional wrestler Chris Jericho was being interviewed on the program by host Kevin Pereira when the subject of Justin Bieber was brought up. Here's what Jericho said:

I'm from Canada and he's like a DemiGod there. Justin Bieber and Geddy Lee are like running the country now.

You can watch the clip at this link at about the 5-minute mark.

Reader Louis B alerted me to the fact that Toronto restaurant Caplanskys Delicatessen has an item on their menu called The Geddy:

Lox, salami and eggs all scrambled together with onions and served with rye toast, latkes and apple sauce just the way he likes it. Closer to the heart? You betcha.

Sounds yummy! Geddy is known to frequent Caplansky's quite often so it's no surprise they named a meal after him. :)

In the latest installment of his music discovery podcast and blog Bands Like Rush, Ben Sommer talks to Simon James White - bassist, front-man and namesake of UK-based prog-pop band SjW. Ben describes their sound:

Simon's greatest asset is his voice - a pure but meaty tenor that sounds like a hybrid of Jon Anderson and Jack Bruce. He's a good bass player too, though unlike many bass-fronted bands his songs are balanced and guitar-driven rockers. The Rush similarity here is obviously to early and late era albums.

You can listen to the podcast and read a transcript at this link. To find out more about SjW check out their website here. Ben has also recently video-enabled all of his past podcasts (including SjW) from the site and thrown them up on YouTube and is embedding them back onto bandslikerush.com too. The video-enabled podcasts contain lots of interesting footage of the bands, background narratives and more.

Reader BrewersRush Fan let me know that Milwaukee Brewers closing pitcher John Axford has posted a poll on his Facebook page to let fans choose his entrance music for 2011. Rush's Working Man is one of the selections, so go vote for Rush!.

Reader Mitch K recently obtained a radio show on 92.1 WPTS in Pittsburgh called the Mind of Mitch. The show focuses on progressive rock and Rush is prominently featured - typically more towards their B-side material. It runs every Monday from 5-7AM, so all you early-rising Rush fans have something to listen to get your work week off to a good start. You can listen live online at this link.

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of Rush receiving the Order of Canada back on February 26th, 1997. Here's the presentation of the award:

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

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Alex Lifeson The Double film score side project
9:27AM EST | link | comments (16) |

Alex Lifeson briefly mentioned in his VH1 Classic Rock Nights interview 2 weeks ago that one of the side projects that he had been working on recently was a score for a film starring Martin Sheen and Richard Gere. We later learned that the title of the film is The Double and features original music by film composer John Debney. Apparently Skinny Puppy founding member cEvin Key was also involved with the score as demonstrated by this recent post to his Facebook page (thanks bobcat):

collaboration is cool, who would ever guess John Debney, cEvin Key
w Alex Lifeson from Rush and Martin Sheen.

The film is written and directed by Michael Brandt and centers around a retired CIA operative who is paired with a young FBI agent to unravel the mystery of a senator's murder. It's due out later this year but no specific release date has been given yet.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rush BU2B 7" vinyl to be available at UK Record Store Day April 16
9:09AM EST | link | comments (31) |

Rush BU2BThe UK's Record Store Day will take place on Saturday, April 16th and one of the featured special vinyl releases will be a 7-inch limited edition vinyl release of Rush's BU2B. For details visit the Record Store Day website. What is Record Store Day? From the website:

Record Store Day came into being in 2007 when over 700 independent stores in the USA came together to celebrate their unique culture. The UK followed suit and 2011 will see the third celebration of the UK's unique independent sector.

This is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, meet & greets with artists, DJ's, in store quizzes and many other events.

Thanks to Don M for the heads up.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage honored at Golden Reel Awards
2:11PM EST | link | comments (10) |

The Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) presented their annual MPSE Golden Reel Awards Sunday night in Los Angeles, in which they acknowledge the year's best work in the various areas of sound editing. The Rush documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage ended up winning an award in the Documentary Feature Film Category. The film had also been nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Long Form Music Video category but ended up losing last weekend to The Doors documentary When You're Strange. The film has also been nominated for a Juno Award for Music DVD of the Year. Winners will be announced at the Juno Awards Ceremony at the Air Canada Centre on March 27th which will air on CTV. Thanks to John at Cygnus-X1.net for the heads up.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Moving Pictures 5.1 surround sound remix available for pre-order
4:51PM EST | link | comments (12) |

UPDATE - 2/20@8:51PM: As a few of you have pointed out, it doesn't look like you can actually pre-order yet through Amazon US, but you can sign up to be notified when it's available. What's odd is that you can pre-order it through Amazon Canada (CD+DVD, CD+BD) and Amazon UK (CD+DVD, CD+BD) although it's listed as an import in both cases.

We learned last week via MusicTap that the 5.1 surround sound remix of Moving Pictures will be released on April 5th and it is now available for pre-order as a 2-disc set via Amazon in a CD plus DVD format or CD plus Blu-ray format. The CD looks to contain the stereo mix while the DVD/Blu-ray contains the Audiophile 5.1 Surround and Stereo mix. As an added bonus the DVD/Blu-ray also contains 5.1 mixes of the music videos for Tom Sawyer, Limelight and Vital Signs. You can pre-order the CD+DVD at this link and the CD+Blu-ray at this link. Alex Lifeson had first mentioned that Rush would be releasing a 5.1 surround sound remix of Moving Pictures in a Planet Rock interview a few weeks ago and elaborated on it in his VH1 Classic Rock Nights interview the following week saying how pleased he was with the results. Rush engineer Richard Chycki gave some more insight into the remix in a recent blog post on his website. Moving Pictures celebrated its 30th anniversary since its release on February 12, 1981 last Saturday. Thanks to Gisabun for the heads up.

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Rush excerpts from Top 100 Canadian Singles book
9:43AM EST | link | comments (19) |

This past September, Bob Mersereau's book The Top 100 Canadian Singles was released. The book compiles a list of the best Canadian songs as chosen by around 800 musicians, broadcasters, members of the music industry and fans. A few Rush songs made the cut including Tom Sawyer at #12, The Spirit of Radio at #25, and Closer to the Heart at #35. Reader RushFanForever picked up the book recently and scanned the relative Rush excerpts for us. You can check them out by clicking on the thumbnails below and you can purchase the book at this link.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gibson Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess website launched
9:47AM EST | link | comments (21) |

Gibson Guitars unveiled their new Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess at the 2011 Winter NAMM show last month and recently launched a detailed website highlighting the guitar complete with detailed specs, a bunch of closeup photos, and purchase information. You can check out the website at this link. Alex spoke a little about the Axcess in his Gibson interview from yesterday:

... we've been working on this for quite some time - a few years, really. The Axcess is a great platform, I think, because it has certain things that the traditional Les Paul doesn't. You know, the light weight, getting the vibrato arm on there, the changes that we made with the piezo pickups, the separate outputs - you know, it's a great utility guitar.

I looked at it in terms of, "What do I need? Instead of switching through 14 or 15 guitars during a show, how can I pare that down, like, where I can get everything - as much as I can - into one guitar?" And this is really what it is.

It's very playable. It's a little heavier, I think, than the traditional Axcess model is. The sustain is great. The tonality's great. We've gone through, I think, three generations of pickups to find the kind of windings that really suit the guitar. The vibrato system - the Floyd Rose - is obviously very solid.

The piezo sounds terrific. You can use it in different modes. You can use it off the main jack and just do a blend of both magnetic and piezo. Or you can do separate, which I would do with two radio packs - one for the magnetic pickups and one for the piezo.

It feels great and I think the finish is beautiful. We've got a nice, dark kind of tobacco sunburst and then this beautiful royal crimson that just looks so hot. So we're really, really excited about it. ...

Thanks to Eric at Power Windows for the heads up.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Updates and other random Rush stuff
1:05PM EST | link | comments (21) |

UPDATE - 2/20@8:54AM: Gibson also posted this extra excerpt from their chat with Alex Lifeson where Alex remarks on the recent passing of legendary guitarist Gary Moore:

... in the early '80s, he came on tour with us. And I think... I want to say we probably did two runs together. And my recollection of him is that he was a very sweet, gentle guy - quick to smile and really a lot of fun to be with, but so absolutely passionate about the instrument and about playing. "And it's really sad to see somebody like him go at a young age - it really is a young age. You know, he was the type of guy that [you thought] would be around forever and ever, playing like Les Paul, for example. You would always be able to go see Gary play in some little club or something, you know, in downtown New York or London, Soho... Ronnie [Scott's] or something like that. It's really a shame."

----- snip -----

UPDATE - 2/18@2:18PM: Eric at Power Windows points out in the comments that the DVD/BD that comes with the Moving Pictures 5.1 surround sound release will likely be the 5.1 mix, and the CD will be the stereo mix. This is based off the fact that the Porcupine Tree 5.1 mixes are on DVD-A disks.

The 53rd Grammy Awards ceremony took place this past Sunday in Los Angeles. The Rush documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage had been nominated in the Best Long Form Music Video category but ended up losing to The Doors documentary When You're Strange. This was Rush's first nomination in the Long Form Music Video category although they've been nominated 6 times in the past in the Rock Instrumental category, losing each time. None of the band members were in attendance at the ceremony but filmmakers Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen were. Although Rush didn't fare well at the Awards, another Canadian band did. Montreal-based indie rock band Arcade Fire picked up Album of the Year for their album The Suburbs. In the aftermath of the ceremony, io9.com posted an article on Monday (thanks Tim) comparing the album to Rush's Signals:

... These are the very same suburbs that another Canadian rock band, Rush, sang about in 1982 in their single "Subdivisions," on hit album Signals. Except those suburbs were brand-new in the early 80s. While they were still dystopian, Rush attributed a very different kind of dark future to them. Instead of decay, Rush's suburbs represented consumerist conformity. People in them had futures that were, in one "Subdivisions" lyric, "predecided, in the mass production zone." Still, Rush's portrait of the suburbs' damaging role in our future feels positively innocent compared to what Arcade Fire explores in its song. ...

Juno Awards 40thSpeaking of Signals, in celebration of 40 years of the Juno Awards, the Juno Awards Facebook page is conducting a poll to select the Top 40 Canadian songs of the past 40 years and New World Man from 1982's Signals is one of the songs up for voting. The song was nominated for Single of the Year at the 1983 Juno Awards. So go vote for Rush! And while on the subject, although the Rush documentary did not win a Grammy, it still has a chance to win a Juno Award as it is nominated for Music DVD of the Year. Winners will be announced at the Juno Awards Ceremony at the Air Canada Centre on March 27th which will air on CTV. Rush won a Juno award in this category for Rush in Rio back in 2004.

Gibson.com posted their complete interview with Alex Lifeson online earlier this morning. They had posted a short excerpt from it earlier this week where Alex picked his top guitar riffs. In the full interview Alex touches on a number of subjects including the band's upcoming Clockwork Angels album:

... we had six songs written. [Caravan, BU2B] were the two we decided to record ... Geddy and I have been writing. We've been writing for the last couple of weeks and I think we've got the makings of another song. Pretty close. Some other snippets of ideas. Once we get back into the writing full-steam in the next week or so, with all those bits and pieces, I'm sure we'll be able to get at least another song or maybe two. In which case, I think we're looking at eight or nine songs as the magic number. ... we're back from this tour in July. We'll take a short break in the summer, start recording in September and hopefully have the new album out for the start of the next tour, which would be in the spring of 2012. ...

So Alex essentially confirmed the band's plan for a tour in 2012 after the album release. Not unexpected but nice to hear. He also elaborates on the band's reasoning behind keeping the setlist the same for the 2011 tour:

... it was kind of important that we continue the set just as it is - particularly in Europe and the U.K., 'cause they're kind of expecting what Time Machine was over here. So we've been tempted to change out a few songs, but we decided that we would keep everything intact. And we're really not hitting a lot of the markets that we've already played on the last tour. We're really picking up a lot of other places and certainly that whole month that we're spending in Europe is new. ...

Alex then provides some more background on the Vapor Trails remix, speaking about how special that album is to the band and how they came to the decision to remix it. You can read the entire interview at this link.

Earlier this week we learned that MusicTap had reported a release date of April 5th for the 5.1 surround sound remix of Moving Pictures:

Previously, we had mentioned the remastering (and remix) of Moving Pictures, the 1981 best-selling Rush album classic, which contains "Tom Sawyer". The schedule now lists it for April 5 with two available packages including a CD/DVD set, and a CD/BD set.

It's not yet clear what the contents of the DVD will be. Alex Lifeson had first mentioned that Rush would be releasing a 5.1 surround sound remix of Moving Pictures in a Planet Rock interview a few weeks ago and elaborated on it in his VH1 Classic Rock Nights interview the following week saying how pleased he was with the results. Rush engineer Richard Chycki gave some more insight into the remix in a recent blog post on his website. This past Saturday Moving Pictures celebrated its 30th anniversary since its release on February 12, 1981.

Back on December 15th Alex Lifeson participated in the 6th annual Andy Kim Christmas Show at The Mod Club in Toronto, ON. Along with Lerxst, several other prominent Canadian bands/musicians performed including Ron Sexsmith, Divine Brown and Platinum Blonde. All proceeds went to the Regent Park School of Music. After the show MSN Entertainment's Steve McLean wrote a series of articles where the participants share some of their Christmas memories. Here's what Alex had to say:

"I remember one time in particular when we lived on Glencairn Avenue by the Allen Expressway. We were not a very well-off family and I remember walking with my mom on a blustery winter night when it was snowing like crazy, and we walked to Bathurst, which was about a two-mile walk, to get a Christmas tree. We dragged it all the way back. I must have been seven years old when we did that together. It's imprinted in my memory like a photograph and I've never forgotten that. It made it that much more special when we got home and set up the tree.

"The last seven Christmases have been my favourite Christmases. I have a grandson who's seven years old and another grandson who's three, and the last few in particular have been very special and we're really looking forward to this one. This will be the first year that the three-year-old really gets Christmas, and he's so excited and freaked out and can't wait. He's already opened a couple of gifts and it's just halfway through the month. For me, Christmas is all about being with family and enjoying each other's company and really cementing that bond."

Earlier this week an interview with Neil Peart's Time Machine cymbals designer Wendy Cosman Parlee was posted in The Daily Gleaner. You can read the article at this link.

The Rush Backstage Club is running a new contest where entrants could win one of 4 Feedback dryer t-shirts from the R30 tour:

Fresh outta Geddy's dryer, win a RUSH DRYER T-SHIRT circa the Feedback tour! If you weren't lucky enough to catch a dryer shirt at a concert, you still have a chance to win one through the Rush Backstage Club. We have 4 of these psychedelic inspired tye-die tee's up for grabs. Enter today! * note that each t-shirt has unique tye-dye and coloring. The shirt that you win may not look exactly like the one seen in the photo.

The contest runs until February 22nd and you can sign up to enter at this link.

According to Alan Cross of ExploreMusic.com, the new Foo Fighters single Rope sounds a lot like old Rush:

I had a chance to hear the studio version of the still-as-yet-untitled Foo Fighters album. The track is "Rope" and will be delivered to radio stations at 7am ET on February 23rd.

So what does it sound like? In a word, Rush. The interplay between guitars, bass and drums could be an instrumental bit from A Farewell to Kings or bits of "La Villa Strangiato" from Hemispheres, complete with multi-park drum breaks and quick shifts in time signature. (YFI: Taylor Hawkins is a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGEEEE Rush fan. Dave is, too.)

It's certainly a very bold move for a first single. This is Dave's call, too. Sure, they could have gone with a "Learn to Fly"-style radio-friendly first single, but Dave overruled that, insisting that they go with "Rope" because it better captures the vibe of the recording sessions. (But don't worry; there are plenty of radio-friendly quintessential Foos on the the CD.) ...

As Cross mentions, the single is due to hit radio stations on February 23rd. But you can get an idea of how the track sounds by checking out this bootleg live version of the song. Cross also remarks that the live version doesn't do the studio version justice.

A few weeks ago Adventures of Power was released to DVD. Adventures of Power chronicles the adventures of air-drummer extraordinaire Power (played by filmmaker Ari Gold) and contains a cameo from Neil Peart along with a slew of Rush references including a Tom Sawyer air drum-off. It first hit the film festival circuit back in early 2008 and made its theatrical debut last fall. Back in 2009 Neil Peart and Ari Gold paid a visit to the Drum Channel studios to film an air drum-off video which you can check out here. The DVD contains over 60 minutes of bonus material including deleted scenes with Jane Lynch, a rare music video with Adrian Grenier, and the 25-minute Drum Channel interview and air drum-off with Neil Peart. There's a charity auction currently underway supporting music education via VH1 Save the Music which runs through March 16th. It features drums from Ringo Starr, Neil Peart, Lars Ulrich, Marky Ramone, Ween, Weezer, Judas Priest, Dresden Dolls, and many more. For more info visit adventuresofpower.com. Here's the film's official trailer. Ari Gold and Adrian Grenier were guests on the Adam Corolla show a few weeks ago to promote the DVD. Reader George listened to the podcast and made note of the parts where Rush and Neil Peart are discussed. At 30:50 Ari talks about some advice he received from Neil Peart on how to graciously accept both praise and criticism from the internet. At 42:20 Ari mentions Rush when talking about the charity auction. Beginning at about the 46:25 mark Ari instucts Adam on how to correctly pronounce Neil Peart's name. You can listen to the podcast at this link.

Mojo Neil YoungReader RushFanForever picked up the latest issue of Mojo Magazine with Neil Young on the cover. There is a feature called the 50 Greatest Neil Young Songs which includes comments from other musicians on the songs selected. Number 8 on the list is Mr. Soul which Rush had covered on 2004's Feedback album. Here are Geddy Lee's comments:

"When we were growing up in Toronto, we were all big Buffalo Springfield fans and Neil Young was one of our first heroes. We used to play Mr. Soul when we were a struggling bar band. Neil Young is someone I really respect. At a tribute back in 1985 we did a Bryan Adams song with Joni Mitchell, Neil & other artists. David Foster was producing and after Neil Young sang his line, Foster said, 'Can you do it again? I think there's a bit out of pitch." But Neil said, "Hey man, that's my style!" And that was that!! That really summed up Neil Young for me. The guy's got big balls."

Reader turbinefright let me know of a Rush reference on last night's episode of ABC reality TV show Winter Wipeout. One of the contestants was named Tyler Rush Pechak. When the host asked where he got his name, Tyler said that it was his father's favorite band. The one host then says, hey! Pechak's my favorite band! and the co-host comes back with, I think he means Rush. You can check it out online at this link towards the beginning of the second segment (about at the 11:30 mark). There was also a Rush reference on Wednesday night's episode of the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds (Season 6, Episode 15 - Today I Do). In one scene the killer (Jane) is trying to seduce the boyfriend (Lyle) of the woman she has abducted (Molly). So she slips in a Rush bootleg of a live version of Closer to the Heart (although it sounds more like the version on A Show of Hands). Lyle, who is drinking a beer on the couch, perks up when he here's the song:

... Turn that up ... this is the best damn bootleg that Rush ever did! How did you know this was my favorite? ...

Rush had announced that the reference would occur in a Facebook post Wednesday evening stating that, If you watch tonight's episode of Criminal Minds, you'll hear Rush's "Closer To The Heart". You can check out the clip which contains the scene below or at this link. It occurs at around the 3:58 mark.

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

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New interview with Alex Lifeson at Gibson.com
7:36AM EST | link | comments (27) |

[The Gibson Interview: Alex Lifeson]

UPDATE - 2/20@8:50AM: Gibson also posted this extra excerpt from their chat with Alex Lifeson where Alex remarks on the recent passing of legendary guitarist Gary Moore:

... in the early '80s, he came on tour with us. And I think... I want to say we probably did two runs together. And my recollection of him is that he was a very sweet, gentle guy - quick to smile and really a lot of fun to be with, but so absolutely passionate about the instrument and about playing. "And it's really sad to see somebody like him go at a young age - it really is a young age. You know, he was the type of guy that [you thought] would be around forever and ever, playing like Les Paul, for example. You would always be able to go see Gary play in some little club or something, you know, in downtown New York or London, Soho... Ronnie [Scott's] or something like that. It's really a shame."

----- snip -----

Gibson.com just posted their complete interview with Alex Lifeson online earlier this morning. They had posted a short excerpt from it earlier this week where Alex picked his top guitar riffs. In the full interview Alex touches on a number of subjects including the band's upcoming Clockwork Angels album:

... we had six songs written. [Caravan, BU2B] were the two we decided to record just prior to the tour start, around this time last year. Since then, Geddy and I have been writing. We've been writing for the last couple of weeks and I think we've got the makings of another song. Pretty close. Some other snippets of ideas. Once we get back into the writing full-steam in the next week or so, with all those bits and pieces, I'm sure we'll be able to get at least another song or maybe two. In which case, I think we're looking at eight or nine songs as the magic number. ... We finished the last tour and there was such a movement to keep us out there. (laughs) And we gave in to that. You know, our intention was to get into the studio and record as soon as that brief tour ended, but that didn't quite happen. So we're back from this tour in July. We'll take a short break in the summer, start recording in September and hopefully have the new album out for the start of the next tour, which would be in the spring of 2012. ...

It's nice to hear Alex already talking about a 2012 tour! He also discusses their reasoning behind keeping the setlist the same for the 2011 tour:

... it was kind of important that we continue the set just as it is - particularly in Europe and the U.K., 'cause they're kind of expecting what Time Machine was over here. So we've been tempted to change out a few songs, but we decided that we would keep everything intact. And we're really not hitting a lot of the markets that we've already played on the last tour. We're really picking up a lot of other places and certainly that whole month that we're spending in Europe is new. ...

Alex then provides some more background on the Vapor Trails remix, speaking about how special that album is to the band and how they came to the decision to remix it:

... we've been toying with that idea for quite a few years now. And there was initially no interest from the record company in rereleasing it. ... That album's almost ten years old. It's a very, very important record for us. There's a lot of emotion on that. We were coming back after a very difficult period in the band's history and certainly in Neil's life. So for us, there's a great deal invested in that record and it's very, very special. And in a lot of ways, I wouldn't want to change anything, because it was recorded in such a way that we captured the very essence of what we were doing at that time. You know, you could say that that album is sixty percent demos, because really that's kind of what it was. Most of that record was what we wrote. We didn't rerecord it. It was the most basic essence of the idea. And that's what was really special. But sometimes when you do that, you're not really aware or conscious of production merits, sounds, spending time creating sounds and, you know, developing that end of it. So consequently, the record suffered a little bit from production or lack of production. And when it went to mastering, it was mastered very hot and all we hear is the little bits of distortion here and there, and these compromises that were made on production.

It's always bothered us, so we thought [we would consider it after hearing] a couple of songs that Rich Chycki remixed. They were really a lot closer to the way we always would have liked to have heard that record, you know? And we talked about it and so we decided, "Let's just - you know what, if it's just for the three of us - let's just remix the record so we're happy with it. At least we know that we've done it, that we've got that out of our system. We'll pay for it. It's no big deal. Let's just do it."

You could say that of any record. Go back and remix Caress of Steel or something, but I don't know. Something about Vapor Trails... We just don't feel like we serviced the record properly and we want to give it another breath. And I know it upsets a lot of fans. It goes both ways: I hear from a lot of fans who think it's just a great a idea and they can't wait to hear it, and others who say, "Why are you touching this record? You should not touch this record." ...

You can read the entire interview at this link. Thanks to Eric at Power Windows for the heads up.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vote For Rush in Juno Awards' Canadian Top 40 Songs of 40 Years
9:52PM EST | link | comments (7) |

Juno Awards 40thRush.com just sent out the following newsletter:

Rush fans unite: As part of Canada's JUNO Awards' 40th Anniversary celebration, Rush song "New World Man", previously nominated for 'Single Of The Year' at Juno Awards in 1983, has been put in an online vote for the Top 40 Canadian Songs over the history of the Awards. We know Rush fans want to see Rush on top of that list! Go here: http://tinyurl.com/48ckxok and vote on YOUR Top 10 playlist!

Vote for Rush!

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Rush reference on last night's episode of Criminal Minds
12:50PM EST | link | comments (25) |

I received a ton of emails regarding a Rush reference that occurred on last night's episode of the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds (Season 6, Episode 15 - Today I Do). In one scene the killer (Jane) is trying to seduce the boyfriend (Lyle) of the woman she has abducted (Molly). So she slips in a Rush bootleg of a live version of Closer to the Heart (although it sounds more like the version on A Show of Hands). Lyle, who is drinking a beer on the couch, perks up when he here's the song:

... Turn that up ... this is the best damn bootleg that Rush ever did! How did you know this was my favorite? ...

Rush had announced that the reference would occur in a Facebook post last night stating that, If you watch tonight's episode of Criminal Minds, you'll hear Rush's "Closer To The Heart". You can check out the clip which contains the scene below or at this link (thanks weekley64). It occurs at around the 3:58 mark.

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Moving Pictures 5.1 surround sound remix to be released April 5th
7:35AM EST | link | comments (16) |

UPDATE - 2/18@2:18PM: Eric at Power Windows points out that the DVD/BD that comes with the Moving Pictures 5.1 surround sound release will likely be the 5.1 mix, and the CD will be the stereo mix. This is based off the fact that the Porcupine Tree 5.1 mixes are on DVD-A disks.

Alex Lifeson first mentioned that Rush would be releasing a 5.1 surround sound remix of Moving Pictures in a Planet Rock interview a few weeks ago and elaborated on it in his VH1 Classic Rock Nights interview last Wednesday night saying that it's finished and that he was very impressed with the results. Rush engineer Richard Chycki gave some more insight into the remix in a recent blog post on his website and MusicTap is now reporting a release date of April 5th:

Previously, we had mentioned the remastering (and remix) of Moving Pictures, the 1981 best-selling Rush album classic, which contains "Tom Sawyer". The schedule now lists it for April 5 with two available packages including a CD/DVD set, and a CD/BD set.

Thanks to rtrushfan for the heads up.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New contest at the Rush Backstage Club
4:17PM EST | link | comments (6) |

Feedback dryer t-shirt[Win a Feedback Dryer T-Shirt!]

The Rush Backstage Club is running a new contest where entrants could win one of 4 Feedback dryer t-shirts from the R30 tour:

Fresh outta Geddy's dryer, win a RUSH DRYER T-SHIRT circa the Feedback tour! If you weren't lucky enough to catch a dryer shirt at a concert, you still have a chance to win one through the Rush Backstage Club. We have 4 of these psychedelic inspired tye-die tee's up for grabs. Enter today! * note that each t-shirt has unique tye-dye and coloring. The shirt that you win may not look exactly like the one seen in the photo.

The contest runs until February 22nd and you can sign up to enter at this link. Thanks to LovLee for the heads up.

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Christmas memories with Alex Lifeson
2:23PM EST | link | comments (14) |

Alex Lifeson at the Andy Kim Christmas show 2010Back on December 15th Alex Lifeson participated in the 6th annual Andy Kim Christmas Show at The Mod Club in Toronto, ON. Along with Lerxst, several other prominent Canadian bands/musicians performed including Ron Sexsmith, Divine Brown and Platinum Blonde. All proceeds went to the Regent Park School of Music. It's a little outdated now, but after the show MSN Entertainment's Steve McLean wrote a series of articles where the participants share some of their Christmas memories. Here's what Alex had to say:

"I remember one time in particular when we lived on Glencairn Avenue by the Allen Expressway. We were not a very well-off family and I remember walking with my mom on a blustery winter night when it was snowing like crazy, and we walked to Bathurst, which was about a two-mile walk, to get a Christmas tree. We dragged it all the way back. I must have been seven years old when we did that together. It's imprinted in my memory like a photograph and I've never forgotten that. It made it that much more special when we got home and set up the tree.

"The last seven Christmases have been my favourite Christmases. I have a grandson who's seven years old and another grandson who's three, and the last few in particular have been very special and we're really looking forward to this one. This will be the first year that the three-year-old really gets Christmas, and he's so excited and freaked out and can't wait. He's already opened a couple of gifts and it's just halfway through the month. For me, Christmas is all about being with family and enjoying each other's company and really cementing that bond."

Thanks to RushFanForever for the heads up.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Interview with Time Machine steampunk cymbals designer
11:32AM EST | link | comments (22) |

[Project promises to be one of the most unique]

There's a new interview with Neil Peart's Time Machine cymbals designer Wendy Cosman Parlee in today's The Daily Gleaner. From the article:

Wendy Cosman Parlee has designed thousands of signs, logos, banners, and murals she started her custom graphics company Creative Advertising 24 years ago. But a recent project for Sabian endorser and Rush drummer Neil Peart has to be one of the most unique.

Parlee designed Peart's steampunk-style cymbals for Rush's 2010/2011 Time Machine tour. 'This is probably a once in a lifetime kind of deal,' Parlee admitted. 'I do my magic here, Sabian does their magic in the vault, then Neil does his magic on stage.'... Parlee had previously customized a gong for Slipknot and one for Alice Cooper drummer Jimmy DeGrasso, but they were much smaller projects.

... Once she had received emails from Peart detailing what kind of artwork he was looking for, Parlee went to Sabian's website for an overview of his kit and started superimposing designs on the images. The drummer also sent her the Time Machine Tour's logo for inspiration. 'He was so descriptive, I could grasp what he wanted,' she explained. 'He knew what he wanted right from the very beginning. He knew he was going with this alchemy idea, alchemy symbols.'

'It was quite an evolution,' said Love. 'We started with these really funky cog-like designs, but they took away from the sound. The ink we applied was too thick.' The first designs were in black, but were changed to copper to match with the copper hardware on Peart's custom-designed drum kit. The cymbals each have an alchemical symbol on them with the exception of the Paragon Ride 22, which has a clock face design. Adjustments continued to be made as the prototypes' sound quality still didn't meet Peart's expectations. 'They still weren't passing the sound test,' said Parlee. 'The challenge was to try to get something on the cymbals that would not impede the sound.'

Parlee created design stencils that were placed on the cymbals then filled in using a pad printing process. Pad printing is a manual process that involves taking each cymbal in hand and sliding it into place under the pad-printing machine. The ink from a plate is transferred by a pad that moves down to touch the surface of the cymbal. 'It keeps the ink really thin,' explained Love. 'It took two days for employees to apply the ink but keeps the integrity of the sound.'

The process is time consuming, so Sabian is not yet able to offer custom graphics commercially. 'Custom sounds we do every day. People call up and say they want a certain sound, but with graphics its a different story,' Love explained. 'This is the first step into that, but we can't go to market with it yet.'

Sabian made 50 Steampunk cymbals for the first leg of the Time Machine tour, then another 32 for the European leg of the tour.

You can also read Neil Peart's story of the creation of these cymbals at the Sabian website here. Thanks to John at Cygnus-X1.net and Eric at Power Windows for the heads up.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Explore Music: New Foo Fighters song Rope sounds like Rush
10:45AM EST | link | comments (26) |

The Foo Fighters with Alex and Geddy back in 2008UPDATE - 2/23@2:34PM: The studio version of the track has been posted online (thanks vikJBtor).

According to Alan Cross of ExploreMusic.com, the new Foo Fighters single Rope sounds a lot like old Rush:

I had a chance to hear the studio version of the still-as-yet-untitled Foo Fighters album. The track is "Rope" and will be delivered to radio stations at 7am ET on February 23rd.

So what does it sound like? In a word, Rush. The interplay between guitars, bass and drums could be an instrumental bit from A Farewell to Kings or bits of "La Villa Strangiato" from Hemispheres, complete with multi-park drum breaks and quick shifts in time signature. (YFI: Taylor Hawkins is a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGEEEE Rush fan. Dave is, too.)

It's certainly a very bold move for a first single. This is Dave's call, too. Sure, they could have gone with a "Learn to Fly"-style radio-friendly first single, but Dave overruled that, insisting that they go with "Rope" because it better captures the vibe of the recording sessions. (But don't worry; there are plenty of radio-friendly quintessential Foos on the the CD.) ...

As Cross mentions, the single is due to hit radio stations on February 23rd. But you can get an idea of how the track sounds by checking out this bootleg live version of the song. Cross also remarks that the live version doesn't do the studio version justice.

As the author points out, both Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl are huge Rush fans. Hawkins appears in both the Rush documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage and the Classic Albums 2112 Moving Pictures documentary. Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee even made a guest appearance at a Foo Fighters show in Toronto back in 2008.

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Alex Lifeson picks his top guitar riffs in new Gibson.com interview
9:20AM EST | link | comments (11) |

[Alex Lifeson Picks Top Riffs of All Time]

Gibson.com recently conducted a poll to determine the top guitar riffs of all time and published the results to their website last week. They also asked Alex Lifeson for his opinion on the subject:

In a new, soon-to-be-published interview with Gibson.com, we asked Rush guitarist extraordinaire Alex Lifeson what he thought was the greatest guitar riff of all time. Having just published a brand new poll on the subject, we were curious to hear what topped the list of the fretboard genius behind such monster riffs as "Limelight," "Working Man" and "Passage to Bangkok."

"Well, I would say there are two that are enduring," said Lifeson. "One would be 'Satisfaction,' 'cause that was the first time I heard anything on a guitar that just blew me away. You know, the distorted sound and a simple riff, but it had so much power and it was slick and it was sexy and it had all that stuff. And even when I hear it now, maybe it's because I make that connection to my youth, it still does that to me."

"And 'Smoke on the Water,'" he continued. "My God, everybody in the world recognizes and knows that riff and knows how to play it. So, I'd have to say those two would be at the top of that list."

It turns out Lifeson's picks were spot-on with the final poll, which had The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" at #1 and Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" at #2.

"Is it really?" he laughed. "OK, well, yeah, there you go! Ha ha!"

In a cruel twist of irony, Lifeson somehow just missed the cut, with several of his masterpieces canceling each other out in the voting - an oversight one of our editors took to task ...

Thanks to BW&BK for the heads up.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage Grammy Awards open thread ... Rush loses again
4:11PM EST | link | comments (65) |

UPDATE - 2/14@8:00AM: Here's the video (thanks RushFanForever):

----- snip -----

UPDATE - 2/13@4:20PM: ... and Rush loses again. :( Instead of announcing this category towards the end as they usually do, it ended up being the 2nd award announced. The Rush documentary ended up losing to The Doors documentary.

The 53rd Grammy Awards ceremony takes place today in Los Angeles and the Rush documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage is nominated in the Best Long Form Music Video category. The winner in this category will be announced during the pre-telecast ceremony today at the Los Angeles Convention Center which just began about 10 minutes ago and will run through 3:15PM PST (6:15PM EST) . The pre-telecast is being streamed live at Grammy.com and the winner in the Long Form Music Video category is traditionally one of the last to be announced. Rush has been nominated 6 times in the past in the Rock Instrumental category, losing each time. This is their first nomination in the Long Form Music Video category. In a Winnipeg Free Press article Thursday it was confirmed that none of the members of the band will appear at the ceremony although filmmakers Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen are in attendance. From the article:

... We tried to bring the band and (drummer) Neil (Peart) said the last time he came to the Grammys - he's only been once - it was the worst day of his life," McFadyen said during a party at the Canadian consul general's residence on Thursday. "So he said he's never coming again."...

..."We're proud to be category 109 of 109 categories," Dunn joked.

The directors of "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey" and "Iron Maiden: Flight 666" were dressed casually for the swanky soiree, pairing sport coats with T-shirts and sneakers on a balmy L.A. evening. They acknowledged that they stood out a bit.

"This event's a little more formal than what we're used to dealing with," Dunn said.

Added McFadyen: "The invite said 'business attire,' and we were like: 'Should we just wear our sweat pants - like what we wear to work?'"

The duo will square off against some other highly regarded films at the Grammys, including movies about the White Stripes, Blur and the Doors, so they weren't necessarily optimistic about their chances of winning.

"We're not holding our breath," McFadyen said.

But they can't deny the allure of helping Rush secure its first Grammy.

"If we could bring it home for those guys, that would be amazing," Dunn said. "It would be amazing for us and I think for the band as well."

Let's all keep our fingers crossed!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy 30th anniversary Moving Pictures!
8:42AM EST | link | comments (41) |

30 years ago today on February 12, 1981 Rush released their 8th and most commercially successful studio album, Moving Pictures. The album was recorded and mixed at Le Studio in Morin Heights, Quebec and was certified quadruple-platinum on January 27, 1995. The album peaked at #3 on the US Billboard charts and produced some of Rush's best-known singles including their signature track Tom Sawyer. This track along with Limelight, Red Barchetta and the Grammy-nominated instrumental YYZ are a regular staple of rock radio to this day. In celebration of the album's anniversary the band decided to play it front to back as part of their setlist for the 2010 Time Machine Tour and will continue doing so for their 2011 tour. Also in celebration of the anniversary, we recently learned that the band will be releasing a 5.1 surround sound version of the album. Moving Pictures was also the subject of a recent Classic Albums documentary special which covered the making of the album and included commentary from all three members of Rush along with producer Terry Brown, Taylor Hawkins of The Foo Fighters, Rolling Stone journalist David Fricke and many others. Here's a short minute-and-a-half preview video which shows Neil Peart, David Fricke, Alex Lifeson and Terry Brown discussing Limelight.

Happy Anniversary Moving Pictures!

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Updates and other random Rush stuff
12:09PM EST | link | comments (37) |

The 53rd Grammy Awards ceremony takes place this coming Sunday in Los Angeles and the Rush documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage is nominated in the Best Long Form Music Video category. The winner in this category will be announced during the pre-telecast ceremony which takes place Sunday from 1-4PM PST at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The pre-telecast will be streamed live at Grammy.com and the winner in the Long Form Music Video category is traditionally one of the last to be announced. Rush has been nominated 6 times in the past in the Rock Instrumental category, losing each time. This is their first nomination in the Long Form Music Video category. In a Winnipeg Free Press article yesterday it was confirmed that none of the members of the band will appear at the ceremony although filmmakers Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen will be in attendance. From the article:

... We tried to bring the band and (drummer) Neil (Peart) said the last time he came to the Grammys - he's only been once - it was the worst day of his life," McFadyen said during a party at the Canadian consul general's residence on Thursday. "So he said he's never coming again."...

..."We're proud to be category 109 of 109 categories," Dunn joked.

The directors of "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey" and "Iron Maiden: Flight 666" were dressed casually for the swanky soiree, pairing sport coats with T-shirts and sneakers on a balmy L.A. evening. They acknowledged that they stood out a bit.

"This event's a little more formal than what we're used to dealing with," Dunn said.

Added McFadyen: "The invite said 'business attire,' and we were like: 'Should we just wear our sweat pants - like what we wear to work?'"

The duo will square off against some other highly regarded films at the Grammys, including movies about the White Stripes, Blur and the Doors, so they weren't necessarily optimistic about their chances of winning.

"We're not holding our breath," McFadyen said.

But they can't deny the allure of helping Rush secure its first Grammy.

"If we could bring it home for those guys, that would be amazing," Dunn said. "It would be amazing for us and I think for the band as well."

Alex Lifeson was a guest on the VH1 Classic Rock Nights syndicated radio show Wednesday night as part of their celebration of Grammys Week. Alex talked a good deal about the documentary along with all the usual subjects including the 5.1 surround sound re-release of Moving Pictures, the I Still Love You Man video, and the upcoming tour. He also mentioned a few new side projects he's working on but didn't provide many details.

Alex had first mentioned the 5.1 surround sound remix of Moving Pictures in his Planet Rock interview a couple weeks ago and elaborated on it in his VH1 Classic Rock Nights interview Wednesday night saying that it's finished and that he was very impressed with the results. Rush engineer Richard Chycki gave some more insight into the remix in a blog post on his website from last week:

Ok, so the word is out. I've been in the studio for last month remixing the original Moving Pictures CD in 5.1 surround. I finished tweaks on Red Barchetta yesterday. It really was an amazing experience to spread the original tracks of such a classic CD into the 3D word of surround. (The car speeds off, goes behind and banks a sharp right in rear BTW). The listening experience is drastically enveloping and coupled with songs and performances that epitomize this band, it's definitely a great time to re-discover Rush.

After discussion with the band, the goal here was to pay serious homage to the production of the era so a considerable amount of time was spent researching and working through effects etc. that matched the original but would fare well in the 5.1 world. And of course, placement was also a critical issue. I'm pleased with the results and Alex Lifeson was pretty blown away when he came in to listen to the finals.

So enjoy and more to come shortly!

There had been some question as to whether Rush would be remixing their entire catalog in 5.1 or just Moving Pictures since they are due to re-release their entire Universal-era back catalog later this year. But it sounded like Alex implied in his interview Wednesday night that this was a one-off project done in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of Moving Pictures, which occurs tomorrow on February 12th.

A couple of weeks ago Alex Lifeson revealed in a Classic Rock interview that Rush has been working on remixing their 2002 album Vapor Trails with the assistance of Rush engineer Rich Chycki, who had been responsible for re-mixing 2 tracks from the album - One Little Victory and Earthshine - for Rush's 2009 compilation album Retrospective 3. Chycki then posted some more details regarding the album re-mix at his website last week. Chycki was also recently profiled at the Sonnox Oxford Plugins website in an article titled Rich Chycki Sculpting Sounds With Sonnox For Rush. The article is very technical and obviously focused on Sonnox equipment, but Chycki mentions Rush a few times including this excerpt where he remarks on the Rush tracks he mixed for Guitar Hero:

... For surround work, all bussing is done in the box and I'm pretty happy with the results, so I'm experimenting with some all-in-the box configurations now. The Rush tracks for Guitar Hero are remixes done that way, and they hold up pretty well to the originals....

He then had the following interesting tidbit to say when asked about how he used the Sonnox Oxford Inflator:

Across the mix, as a touch of it goes a long way to add size without smashing it. In fact, Inflator was one of my 'secret weapons' to wrap up the remix of Rush's One Little Victory on Retrospective 3.

He ends the interview by summing up what's on his plate for the near future... lots of Rush work!

I will be completing the recording and mixing of the rest of Rush's Clockwork Angels CD in 2011, recording and mixing a new live DVD of Rush's current tour as well as doing some recording for Dream Theater.

Last week Neil Peart updated the News page on his website with a story titled Talking Drums in Death Valley. In this latest installment Neil reveals that - in addition to his new book Far and Away - he'll soon be releasing his third instructional DVD which will focus on live performance. The working title for the DVD is Taking Center Stage: A Lifetime of Live Performance and a website has been set up at this link although there's no content as of yet. From the update:

... The theme for our next collaboration seemed obvious: live performance, preparing for it and surviving it. In early 2010 we began collecting material ... In April, 2010, the Hudson Music crew joined me at Drum Channel in Oxnard, California, and filmed several days of my rehearsals for the Time Machine tour. In July they filmed an entire Rush show, in Saratoga Springs, New York, with supplementary "drum-cams" on me. They also captured the soundcheck and pre-show warmup, when I did a bit of talking to the camera, as I had during the Drum Channel filming in April. However, we would need to shoot some more "talkie bits" to go before each of the songs from the live show, explaining about special problems or challenges in a particular song, and technical highlights. ...

Neil then described how he decided to film these talkie bits in one of his favorite locations - Death Valley:

... It seemed to me that if we could combine such splendid natural backgrounds with the existing rehearsal and stage footage, it would elevate the show enormously. I was glad when the Hudson Music guys agreed, and set about getting the necessary permits (filming in a national park has certain "conditions"), and making the arrangements. ...

Neil also spoke about his other big project; his 5th full-length book - Far and Away: A Prize Every Time - where much of the content is taken from the many road stories he has written for his website over the past few years:

... I have long wanted the stories I write for this department to be "dignified" and made permanent by appearing in print, and at last I made it happen. ... I needed a title and subtitle, which would help direct the design of a cover, which I would develop with Hugh Syme, as usual. ... All in all, it was a solid two months of work, but I was delighted to see it truly coming together-a collection of stories that had been written and published independently now took on a unity, a single narrative span, that covered almost four years of my life. At first I had been daunted by having to write the "Intro" and "Outro," but they proved to be the keystones in framing the twenty-two individual stories, to make it feel like one. ...

The Rush Backstage Club started taking pre-orders for a special limited edition hardcover version of the book last week and managed to sell out all 500 copies already.

Gibson Guitars unveiled their new Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess at the 2011 Winter NAMM show last month. We learned earlier this week that the guitar is now available for purchase with either a Viceroy Brown or Royal Crimson finish at Chuck Levins and other retailers for a suggested retail price of around $4,000 ($6,115 for the limited edition autographed models). From the specifications sheet:

Created through extensive work with Alex, this new model incorporates the Graphtech Ghost-equipped Floyd Rose licensed tremolo and newly designed output circuitry that offers unprecedented signal routing (via "Regular" output jack and/or "Life-OSound" output jack) and tonal shaping flexibility (via push/pull pots) that takes full use of the guitar's complete pickup arsenal. Available in Viceroy Brown and Royal Crimson finishes, both of which were specified and approved by the artist. ...

Alex spoke a little about the guitar in an interview from late last summer:

... I've been working with Gibson on putting together a Les Paul Axcess model, which would be an Alex Lifeson signature guitar. It'll have the Floyd Rose, the piezo pickup in the bridge and single-coil taps in the volume pots. Basically, we've taken everything you could want in a guitar and we're putting it into a really true utility instrument in a fantastic platform. ...

Guitar legend Gary Moore passed away from a heart attack while vacationing in Spain this past Sunday at the age of 58. Moore is best known for his work with Thin Lizzy but was also an accomplished blues rock solo artist. Rush had a lot of respect for Moore and had him as an opening act for several dates on the Grace Under Pressure tour. He also is credited with introducing Rush to Peter Collins; the producer behind Power Windows, Hold Your Fire, Counterparts and Test for Echo. Alex Lifeson remembers the legendary guitarist in this Classic Rock Revisited article:

"I was very saddened to hear the news of Gary 's death. We toured together in the 80s and I remember him as a soft spoken, gentle man with a quick smile. His influence as a guitarist is undeniable and his purity of playing and passion will live on in all of us who love the instrument he so cherished.

Jay Leno's drumming catOnto lighter subjects, there was a funny Rush reference in Jay Leno's monologue on last Thursday night's Tonight Show. Toward the end of the monologue Jay says the following:

CNN did a story the other day about a dog who could keep a beat. Did you see this? Take a look, I'll show you... (shows news clip of dog keeping beat with his paw). I admit - that's pretty good. But you know my cat Bedalius? My cat is so much more talented. ...

Jay then shows a concert clip of his cat playing drums to Rush's Limelight. You can check it out at NBC.com at this link at about the 10:35 mark.

Last weekend RollingStone.com asked their readers who they thought were the best drummers of all time. Earlier this week they published the results and Neil Peart came in at #3 behind John Bonham and Keith Moon (thanks Jeffrey C):

To Rush's army of fans any name at the top of this list other than Neil Peart is surely sacrilegious, though it's likely that Peart himself would be more than happy to see his name at Number Three - right beneath Bonham and Moon. Of course, no Rush concert is complete without a Peart drum solo. Here's one from Frankfurt Germany in 2004.

Boston Herald writer Jed Gotleib doesn't think Neil Peart should be on this list at all (thanks tragedy32) .... what!?

ChartAttack.com published their list of 13 Great Songs About Space Travel and Rush's Countdown came in at #4 (thanks Power Windows):

Turn it up a little. A little more. Just crank it. You wouldn't think that Geddy Lee narrating a 1980s NASA launch would be this exciting, but there it is.

Reader Phill M pointed me to this well-written article at Goldmine titled For the Rock Hall, no Rush to get it right which argues for Rush's inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. From the article:

... The Hall of Fame seems to go out of its way to recognize the obscure, including some who can barely sing or play their instruments, while rejecting many who demonstrate the highest proficiency in their recordings and stage performance. Rush consists of three virtuosos who have dazzled - and continue to dazzle - fans in the studio and on stage for close to 40 years, proving even those ridiculously proficient on their instruments can rock....

Speaking of the Rock Hall, Power Windows reported the following this morning:

The Colin Cowherd Show, "The Herd" on ESPN radio, one of the most listened to sports radio show in the U.S., is having a contest to determine the greatest rock 'n roll band of all time. Colin has been pushing for RUSH and he talked yesterday about how RUSH should be in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. They are going to do a field of 64 similar to the NCAA tournament, all seeds have to be in by Monday morning February 14th. It will strictly be fan voting, so do your part RUSH fans and overwhelm his email box. Let's light him up with some emails to theherd@espnradio.com to push RUSH over the top; put RE: Rush in the subject, and tell him why you like RUSH!

The Super Bowl took place last weekend where the Green Bay Packers were victorious over the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was a great game too although the same can't be said for the halftime show featuring the Black Eyed Peas. The Bleacher Report put together a list of their Top 10 Choices to Play the 2012 Super Bowl Halftime Show (thanks pariahdog) and Rush made the cut at #6:

Now, this one seems like it could be a real possibility. I mean, if the Who played last year, then it is just a matter of time before we get Rush playing on Super Bowl Sunday.

Again, I am not sure they are a New York-style artist, but I think they would be awesome on the big stage.

Headline song: Tom Sawyer

Reader Peart#1 alerted me to a recent article on stereophile.com which lists the 2010 Records To Die For as selected by their writing staff. Brian Damkroger chose Rush's Caress of Steel and had this to say about it:

Caress of Steel, Rush's third album, narrowly edges out their fourth, 2112, as my R2D4. The sparse arrangements showcase their playing; in particular, Alec Leifsen's chord-based guitar style is shown off far better here than on their later, more complex albums. With Caress and 2112, Rush exploited the album format with longer, more developed operettas than were possible with their later focus on radio-friendly singles. Yes, "I Think I'm Going Bald" is woefully out of place, the lyrics are a little pretentious, and Geddy Lee's vocals are an acquired taste, but the music and sound are incredible. Rush at their very best.

Caress of Steel also gets referenced in this recent article at golfing site Secret In The Dirt (thanks su2112).

Every Friday the UK's Guardian newspaper publishes a playlist of the songs or albums, old or new, they (their music team) just can't turn off. Reader grazza let me know that in today's edition Rush's 2112 was featured:

Rush 2112: There's nothing better than spending a fiver in Fopp on an album with a 20-minute title track about individual liberty (in space) inspired by Ayn Rand, which ends with a mock broadcast intoning: "Calling all planets of the Solar Federation! We have assumed control!" Crazy and magnificent stuff that surely must feature in Matt Bellamy's record collection.

Reader nephronic let me know of a new Rush book/dvd (it's listed as a book plus 4 DVDs) due out in the UK this April 25th. Very little is known about it at this point except that the title is Changing Hemispheres and I was able to verify with Rush's management that it is not authorized by the band.

Reader krlowe was recently browsing through a bookstore and came across a book by Michael Heatley simply titled Guitar. When he looked up Rush in the index and flipped to the cited page, he was surprised to see this photo of Geddy Lee in a section showcasing the Fender Jazz bass. Despite the sunglasses, long hair and Fender bass, the photo is most certainly not Geddy Lee. FAIL!

A few weeks ago Adventures of Power was released to DVD. Adventures of Power chronicles the adventures of air-drummer extraordinaire Power (played by filmmaker Ari Gold) and contains a cameo from Neil Peart along with a slew of Rush references including a Tom Sawyer air drum-off. It first hit the film festival circuit back in early 2008 and made its theatrical debut last fall. Back in 2009 Neil Peart and Ari Gold paid a visit to the Drum Channel studios to film an air drum-off video which you can check out here. The DVD contains over 60 minutes of bonus material including deleted scenes with Jane Lynch, a rare music video with Adrian Grenier, and the 25-minute Drum Channel interview and air drum-off with Neil Peart. There's a charity auction currently underway supporting music education via VH1 Save the Music which runs through March 16th. It features drums from Ringo Starr, Neil Peart, Lars Ulrich, Marky Ramone, Ween, Weezer, Judas Priest, Dresden Dolls, and many more. For more info visit adventuresofpower.com. Here's the film's official trailer and here's a recent Artisan News Service story on the DVD release (thanks BW&BK). The story contains clips of Neil Peart's cameo in the film along with a short interview with filmmaker Ari Gold talking about how Peart became involved:

That's all for this week. Have a great weekend and a happy Valentine's Day!

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Alex Lifeson remarks on the passing of guitarist Gary Moore
7:20AM EST | link | comments (13) |

UPDATE - 2/20@8:52AM: Gibson also posted this extra excerpt from their chat with Alex Lifeson where Alex remarks on remarks on Moore:

... in the early '80s, he came on tour with us. And I think... I want to say we probably did two runs together. And my recollection of him is that he was a very sweet, gentle guy - quick to smile and really a lot of fun to be with, but so absolutely passionate about the instrument and about playing. "And it's really sad to see somebody like him go at a young age - it really is a young age. You know, he was the type of guy that [you thought] would be around forever and ever, playing like Les Paul, for example. You would always be able to go see Gary play in some little club or something, you know, in downtown New York or London, Soho... Ronnie [Scott's] or something like that. It's really a shame."

----- snip -----

UPDATE - 2/11@10:06AM: RushFanForever also points out that Gary Moore is credited with introducing Rush to Peter Collins; the producer behind Power Windows, Hold Your Fire, Counterparts and Test for Echo.

Guitar legend Gary Moore passed away from a heart attack while vacationing in Spain this past Sunday at the age of 58. Moore is best known for his work with Thin Lizzy but was also an accomplished blues rock solo artist. Rush had a lot of respect for Moore and had him as an opening act for several dates on the Grace Under Pressure tour. Alex Lifeson remembers the legendary guitarist in this Classic Rock Revisited article:

"I was very saddened to hear the news of Gary's death. We toured together in the 80s and I remember him as a soft spoken, gentle man with a quick smile. His influence as a guitarist is undeniable and his purity of playing and passion will live on in all of us who love the instrument he so cherished.

Thanks to Power Windows for the heads up.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Richard Chycki talks Rush in Sonnox Oxford plug-ins interview
9:31PM EST | link | comments (23) |

A couple of weeks ago Alex Lifeson revealed in a Classic Rock interview that Rush has been working on remixing their 2002 album Vapor Trails with the assistance of Rush engineer Rich Chycki, who had been responsible for re-mixing 2 tracks from the album - One Little Victory and Earthshine - for Rush's 2009 compilation album Retrospective 3. Chycki then posted some more details regarding the album re-mix at his website last week. Reader Scott_PA located a recent article/interview profiling Chycki at the Sonnox Oxford Plugins website titled Rich Chycki Sculpting Sounds With Sonnox For Rush. The article is very technical and obviously focused on Sonnox equipment, but Chycki mentions Rush a few times including this excerpt where he remarks on the Rush tracks he mixed for Guitar Hero:

... For surround work, all bussing is done in the box and I'm pretty happy with the results, so I'm experimenting with some all-in-the box configurations now. The Rush tracks for Guitar Hero are remixes done that way, and they hold up pretty well to the originals....

He then had the following interesting tidbit to say when asked about how he used the Sonnox Oxford Inflator:

Across the mix, as a touch of it goes a long way to add size without smashing it. In fact, Inflator was one of my 'secret weapons' to wrap up the remix of Rush's One Little Victory on Retrospective 3.

He ends the interview by summing up what's on his plate for the near future... lots of Rush work!

I will be completing the recording and mixing of the rest of Rush's Clockwork Angels CD in 2011, recording and mixing a new live DVD of Rush's current tour as well as doing some recording for Dream Theater.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Alex Lifeson to appear on VH1 Classic Rock Nights tonight
7:51AM EST | link | comments (57) |

UPDATE - 2/13@7:41PM: In the interview, Alex mentions one of his recent side projects as being some work on the score for a movie starring Martin Sheen and Richard Gere. This film is titled The Double and features original music by John Debney. Alex is not currently listed in the film's credits so my guess is that he's just performing on the soundtrack and isn't necessarily writing any of the music. Thanks to Sniglets at Counterparts and RushFanForever for the heads up.

UPDATE - 2/9@10:18PM: The interview is over. Nothing much new although Alex mentioned a few side projects he's working on such as scoring some music for a film.

UPDATE - 2/9@10:06PM: Alex is on! You can listen in right now at this link (thanks evilsugar25).

UPDATE - 2/9@5:59PM: Tonight's show will be broadcast live from Los Angeles and will focus on the Grammys which take place this weekend where the Rush documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage is up for an award. The nationally-syndicated show runs from 7PM to midnight (EST) and you can listen live by tuning into one of the stations listed on their website, either via your radio or online for those stations with online streaming.

Rush.com sent out a newsletter earlier this morning announcing that Alex Lifeson would be appearing on VH1 Classic Rock Nights this evening. From the announcement:

VH1 Classic Rock Nights is doing a special broadcast from the West Coast this week and host Eddie Webb will be chatting with Alex Lifeson on Wednesday, February 9th. They'll be chatting about the upcoming tour, the Grammy nomination for Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage (Grammy's are this Sunday) and other exciting things the band is working on. Tune in!

Visit: www.vh1classicrocknights.com or on facebook at VH1 Classic Rock Nights.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Neil Peart Far and Away limited edition hardcover
12:57PM EST | link | comments (37) |

UPDATE - 2/9@9:38AM: Wow. They sold out all 500 copies already (thanks VapourTrail).

The Limited Edition Hardcover version of Neil Peart's new book "Far and Away: A Prize Every Time" (exclusive to the Rush Backstage Club) is now sold out and is unavailable for pre-order.

----- snip -----

We learned a few weeks ago that Neil Peart's 5th full-length book is titled Far and Away: A Prize Every Time and is due to be released via ECW Press this coming May 1st. The Rush Backstage Club is now taking pre-orders for an exclusive limited edition hardcover edition of the book priced at $74.99. From the product description:

This limited edition version of "Far and Away" has its own charcoal grey cloth slipcase adorned with a copper stamping of Neil's drumhead logo. Inside the book there will be a special edition bookplate that is hand-numbered and signed by Neil himself! Note that only 500 copies of the limited edition hardcover will be manufactured and this item is exclusive to the Rush Backstage Club (meaning, the only place you can get it is here!) ...

They also mention that this limited edition hardcover is scheduled to release in early April. Thanks to RammsteinSkins for the heads up.

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Gibson Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess now available for purchase
12:32PM EST | link | comments (11) |

UPDATE - 2/10@4:06PM: Reader therockstar30 comments that the $6115.00 price tag is for the limited edition autograph models but the regular models are going for around $4000.00.

Gibson Guitars unveiled their new Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess at the 2011 Winter NAMM show last month. The guitar is now available for purchase with either a Viceroy Brown or Royal Crimson finish at Chuck Levins and other retailers for a suggested retail price of $6,115. From the specifications sheet:

Created through extensive work with Alex, this new model incorporates the Graphtech Ghost-equipped Floyd Rose licensed tremolo and newly designed output circuitry that offers unprecedented signal routing (via "Regular" output jack and/or "Life-OSound" output jack) and tonal shaping flexibility (via push/pull pots) that takes full use of the guitar's complete pickup arsenal. Available in Viceroy Brown and Royal Crimson finishes, both of which were specified and approved by the artist. ...

Alex spoke a little about the guitar in an interview from late last summer:

... I've been working with Gibson on putting together a Les Paul Axcess model, which would be an Alex Lifeson signature guitar. It'll have the Floyd Rose, the piezo pickup in the bridge and single-coil taps in the volume pots. Basically, we've taken everything you could want in a guitar and we're putting it into a really true utility instrument in a fantastic platform. ...

Thanks to Power Windows for the heads up and the specifications sheet.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Rush reference on Thursday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno
9:08AM EST | link | comments (30) |

Jay Leno's drumming catThere was a funny Rush reference in Jay Leno's monologue on Thursday night's Tonight Show. Toward the end of the monologue Jay says the following:

CNN did a story the other day about a dog who could keep a beat. Did you see this? Take a look, I'll show you... (shows news clip of dog keeping beat with his paw). I admit - that's pretty good. But you know my cat Bedalius? My cat is so much more talented. ...

Jay then shows a concert clip of his cat playing drums to Rush's Limelight. You can check it out at NBC.com at this link at about the 10:35 mark. Thanks to Power Windows for the heads up and the screenshot.

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Richard Chycki on the Moving Pictures 5.1 surround sound remix
2:06PM EST | link | comments (34) |

In Alex Lifeson's Planet Rock interview last week he made reference to a 5.1 surround sound remix of Moving Pictures that was in the works. Rush engineer Richard Chycki gives some more details regarding this remix in a blog post on his website yesterday (thanks gornhay):

Ok, so the word is out. I've been in the studio for last month remixing the original Moving Pictures CD in 5.1 surround. I finished tweaks on Red Barchetta yesterday. It really was an amazing experience to spread the original tracks of such a classic CD into the 3D word of surround. (The car speeds off, goes behind and banks a sharp right in rear BTW). The listening experience is drastically enveloping and coupled with songs and performances that epitomize this band, it's definitely a great time to re-discover Rush.

After discussion with the band, the goal here was to pay serious homage to the production of the era so a considerable amount of time was spent researching and working through effects etc. that matched the original but would fare well in the 5.1 world. And of course, placement was also a critical issue. I'm pleased with the results and Alex Lifeson was pretty blown away when he came in to listen to the finals.

So enjoy and more to come shortly!

It's still not clear whether Rush will be remixing their entire catalog in 5.1 or just selected albums. They are due to re-release their entire Universal-era back catalog later this year. Chycki also confirmed in a separate blog post yesterday that he's working on remixing Rush's 2002 album Vapor Trails - which Alex Lifeson had mentioned in his Classic Rock interview last week.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

New Neil Peart news update: new instructional DVD, new book
9:48PM EST | link | comments (25) |

[[NEWS, WEATHER, and SPORTS: February, 2011 - Talking Drums in Death Valley]]

UPDATE - 2/7@9:11AM: There's a website set up for the instructional DVD at TakingCenterStage.net although there's no content there yet (thanks Power Windows).

Neil Peart - Dante's ViewNeil Peart has updated the News page on his website with a story titled Talking Drums in Death Valley. In this latest installment Neil reveals that - in addition to his new book Far and Away - he'll soon be releasing his third instructional DVD which will focus on live performance. The working title for the DVD is Taking Center Stage: A Lifetime of Live Performance. From the update:

... The theme for our next collaboration seemed obvious: live performance, preparing for it and surviving it. In early 2010 we began collecting material ... In April, 2010, the Hudson Music crew joined me at Drum Channel in Oxnard, California, and filmed several days of my rehearsals for the Time Machine tour. In July they filmed an entire Rush show, in Saratoga Springs, New York, with supplementary "drum-cams" on me. They also captured the soundcheck and pre-show warmup, when I did a bit of talking to the camera, as I had during the Drum Channel filming in April. However, we would need to shoot some more "talkie bits" to go before each of the songs from the live show, explaining about special problems or challenges in a particular song, and technical highlights. ...

Neil then describes how he decided to film these talkie bits in one of his favorite locations - Death Valley:

... It seemed to me that if we could combine such splendid natural backgrounds with the existing rehearsal and stage footage, it would elevate the show enormously. I was glad when the Hudson Music guys agreed, and set about getting the necessary permits (filming in a national park has certain "conditions"), and making the arrangements. ...

Neil also talks about his other big project; his 5th full-length book - Far and Away: A Prize Every Time - where much of the content would be taken from the many road stories he has written for his website over the past few years:

... I have long wanted the stories I write for this department to be "dignified" and made permanent by appearing in print, and at last I made it happen. ... I needed a title and subtitle, which would help direct the design of a cover, which I would develop with Hugh Syme, as usual. ... All in all, it was a solid two months of work, but I was delighted to see it truly coming together-a collection of stories that had been written and published independently now took on a unity, a single narrative span, that covered almost four years of my life. At first I had been daunted by having to write the "Intro" and "Outro," but they proved to be the keystones in framing the twenty-two individual stories, to make it feel like one. ...

He gives some background on the cover photograph in this passage:

... The cover photograph I chose was taken by our Master of All Things Creative, Greg Russell, while he and I were riding together in Central California in 2008, on the Snakes and Arrows tour. The setting is the Westgard Pass, between Nevada and California, and at the time of using the photograph in a story called "South by Southwest," I remarked that it was the kind of spacious photo you didn't often see in motorcycling magazines. (They tend to focus on the hardware.) However, this panorama certainly captured an element of what I love about motorcycling, and nicely exemplified the title, and the subtitle. ...

He ends by talking a bit about the recent charitable endeavor involving his site where he and his readers raised $10,000 for the Red Cross. You can read the entire update at this link.

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Updates and other random Rush stuff
10:33AM EST | link | comments (42) |

Rush Time Machine Tour 2011Pre-sales for the June 30th Rush show at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver ended yesterday and general ticket sales will kick off today at 10AM PST. The Rush 2011 Time Machine Tour itinerary now looks to be set at 38 dates. They'll play 13 shows in the Eastern US/Canada, head to Europe for 12 shows, then back to the US/Canada for another 13 shows in the South/West. There's always an outside chance they might add a date, but I haven't heard any news or rumors along those lines. Several ticket broker sites have been mistakenly listing a few August dates that correspond with shows that Rush had played last August. These listings are a mistake - Rush does not have any dates scheduled for this August.

With pre-sales now over, the focus shifts to questions regarding the setlist and stage show. Many of us were hoping that the band would change things up at a little bit for the 2011 leg, but we learned earlier this week from Alex Lifeson that this will likely not be the case. From Alex's Wednesday interview with UK digital radio station Planet Rock:

... We've decided to do exactly the same set that we were doing last year. We talked about changing out some stuff. Certainly we wouldn't add any other new stuff because we haven't really developed it yet beyond sort of that first stage of writing and arranging. But we thought it best to keep the show as it is. ....

In light of this news I thought I'd run a poll asking everyone what they think about it. Are you upset, happy, indifferent? Will you not see any shows because the setlist isn't changing? Are you giving up Rush for good to become a Justin Beiber fan? Take the poll and let us know. You can listen to the entire Alex Lifeson interview in this post.

In his Planet Rock interview Alex also made reference to the upcoming re-release of their back catalog that we've been hearing about since last year. He specifically mentioned that the Moving Pictures re-release would be in 5.1. And in some seemingly related news, Classic Rock magazine reported yesterday that Alex relayed some good news to them regarding the much-anticipated re-mix of Rush's 2002 album Vapor Trails:

Rush are planning to totally remix their 2002 album Vapor Trails. Talking exclusively to Classic Rock, guitarist Alex Lifeson revealed: "We were never happy with the production. Perhaps we should have taken more time over the record. But now we've got the chance to improve things. There will be no re-recording, just a remix". ...

This is welcome news to many Rush fans who have been widely critical of Vapor Trails over the years for its production and sound quality issues. Re-mixes of 2 tracks from the album - One Little Victory and Earthshine - were included on Rush's 2009 compilation album Retrospective 3 and were generally well-received by fans. Richard Chycki assisted in the remix these 2 tracks and it's assumed he would also be involved with the remixing of the entire album.

The list of 2011 Juno Award nominees (the Canadian equivalent of the US Grammy Awards) was announced Tuesday morning. The Rush documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage was nominated for Music DVD of the Year. Winners will be announced at the Juno Awards Ceremony at the Air Canada Centre on March 27th which will air on CTV. Rush won a Juno award in this category for Rush in Rio back in 2004. The documentary has also been nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Long Form Music Video category; the Grammy Awards ceremony will take place on February 13th at 8PM and air on CBS.

Rush on Jeopardy!One of the categories on this past Monday night's episode of the American quiz show Jeopardy! was Music From Canada, and Rush was the subject of the $1000 question:

This "Fly By Night" power trio formed in Toronto in 1968; Neil Peart joined in '74 (cue the drum solo)

The contestant answered the question correctly although the host Alex Trebek mispronounced Peart. :) You can watch the video at this link.

Last week we learned the exciting news that Neil Peart's 5th full-length book is titled Far and Away: A Prize Every Time and is due to be released via ECW Press this coming May 1st. In celebration of this news, for last week's poll I asked everyone which of Neil Peart's 4 full-length books was their favorite. The winner with nearly half the vote was Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road. You can view the complete results at this link.

The new book from former Metal Maniacs editor Jeff Wagner - Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal - was finally released this past December. Rush is prominently featured in the book as one of the early pioneers of the progressive metal genre. There's even a chapter titled By Tor and The Gates Of Delirium. You can read some reviews of the book here and here, and learn more about the book at the publisher's website. Wagner was a guest on internet talk show Used Bin Radio this past Tuesday. The podcast of the show should be posted online at this link within the next few weeks. Speaking of past Used Bin shows, Vertical Horizon frontman and friend of Neil Peart (F.O.P for short) - Matt Scannell - was a guest on the show earlier last month and the podcast was finally posted earlier this week. Matt has a great conversation with hosts Brad and Joe and talks a good bit about his collaboration and friendship with Neil Peart. You can listen to the podcast at this link.

We learned last week that the 2012 Rush wall calendar will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of Rush's Signals on September 9th, 1982. Along with this official wall calendar, Mead Calendars will be releasing their own version of a Rush 2012 calendar. There aren't many details yet outside of an advertisement that was listed in their most recent catalog which you can check out in this screenshot. It's also listed on their website but is not yet available for sale. Thanks to plunge for the scan and the heads up.

Several of you sent me this link from The Poop blog at the San Francisco Chronicle. It's titled An open letter to my wife, who hates Rush and describes in humorous fashion author Peter Hautlaub's attempts to convince his wife of the awesomeness of Rush.

The 2011 Winter NAMM show took place a few weekends ago at the Anaheim Convention Center and Neil Peart's Time Machine Tour kit was on display. Reader sjwdrummer let me know that DW Drums is now selling a collectible reproduction of the snare drum from this kit. For details check out this link at the DW Drums site.

Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story is a 2010 documentary film narrated by Dustin Hoffman, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Ira Berkow, and directed by Peter Miller. It is about the connection and history between American Jews and baseball. Reader Kelly let me know that Rush's Hope from Snakes & Arrows is included on the soundtrack.

The popular 2009 comedy bromance I Love You Man starring Jason Segel & Paul Rudd featured Rush as an integral part of the storyline and even included a concert performance cameo from the band. It was one of the major factors in Rush being propelled into pop culture prominence over the last couple of years. As an ode to the band's appearance in the movie, Segel & Rudd along with Geddy, Alex and Neil filmed a short 5-minute-plus sequel to the film called I Still Love You Man which was shown at the end of Rush's live shows on the 2010 Time Machine Tour. The short film features a backstage encounter with Rush and the 2 friends from I Love You Man - Sydney Fife and Peter Klaven played respectively by Segel and Rudd. Actor Jason Segel uploaded the full 5-minute-plus movie to Funny or Die earlier this week and you can check it out below or at this link.

That's all for this week. Many thanks to everyone for all of the birthday wishes! Have a great weekend.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Alex Lifeson confirms Vapor Trails re-mix in Classic Rock interview
12:22PM EST | link | comments (108) |

UPDATE - 2/4@9:59PM: Richard Chycki posted the following to his blog, confirming his involvement in the re-mix (thanks RushFanForever):

A while back, I re-mixed One Little Victory and Earthshine from Rush's 2002 release 'Vapor Trails' to be included on their 2009 release 'Retrospective 3′. The re-mixes were very well-received so the band has decided to let me move ahead and re-mix the remainder of the CD.

To put rumors to rest, there was no re-recording or performance correction done on the first two tracks and that will continue for the remainder of the CD. The reason 'new' details may seem to have appeared in those songs is due to the fact that I listened to the multitracks and interpreted the mix structure without first analysing the original [deliberately] - so tracks either muted or turned down in the original mixes may shine through differently (the acoustic guitars in Earthshine might be a good example of this). As well, the same technical tweaks will continue for the remaining songs and I still will not have a buss limiter on the mix set to stun.

In any case, both the band and I are really excited to re-visit Vapor Trails and hope you'll all enjoy the re-mix. ...

----- snip -----

The UK's Classic Rock magazine recently spoke with Alex Lifeson and were told the following regarding a re-mix of Rush's 2002 album Vapor Trails:

Rush are planning to totally remix their 2002 album Vapor Trails.

Talking exclusively to Classic Rock, guitarist Alex Lifeson revealed: "We were never happy with the production. Perhaps we should have taken more time over the record. But now we've got the chance to improve things. There will be no re-recording, just a remix". ...

Vapor Trails has been widely criticized by fans over the years for its production and sound quality. Re-mixes of 2 tracks from the album - One Little Victory and Earthshine - were included on Rush's 2009 compilation album Retrospective 3 and were generally well-received by fans. Richard Chycki assisted in the remix these 2 tracks and it's assumed he would also be involved with the remixing of the entire album. Thanks to dhigh for the heads up.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Alex Lifeson on UK digital radio station Planet Rock today
10:52AM EST | link | comments (78) |

UPDATE - 2/2@12:40PM: Here's some rough audio of the interview (thanks hermy). It will also be available via the Planet Rock website On Demand later today:

----- snip -----

UPDATE - 2/2@11:39AM: The interview is now over, the big revelation being that Alex stated that the 2011 setlist will be identical to the 2010 tour:

... We've decided to do exactly the same set that we were doing last year. We talked about changing out some stuff. Certainly we wouldn't add any other new stuff because we haven't really developed it yet beyond sort of that first stage of writing and arranging. But we thought it best to keep the show as it is. ....

Alex also made reference to the upcoming re-release of their back catalog that we've been hearing about since last year. He specifically mentioned that the Moving Pictures re-release would be in 5.1.

----- snip -----

Alex Lifeson will be a guest on UK digital radio station Planet Rock today at 4PM (11AM EST) - about 10 minutes from the time of this post. From the Planet Rock website:

Rush's Alex Lifeson will be on the phone with Darren at about 4pm today.

Alex will be speaking about the forthcoming tour, and about what you can expect from the shows.

The band return to the UK after nearly four years for their Time Machine Tour. Each show on the tour will see the band perform their Moving Pictures in its entirety as well as some other new and classic material.

You can listen live to the interview at the Planet Rock website by clicking on the Listen Live link. The interview should also be posted online later today. Thanks to oldprogrockfan for the heads up.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage nominated for Juno Award
4:26PM EST | link | comments (22) |

The list of 2011 Juno Award nominees (the Canadian equivalent of the US Grammy Awards) was announced this morning. The Rush documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage was nominated for Music DVD of the Year. Winners will be announced at the Juno Awards Ceremony at the Air Canada Centre on March 27th which will air on CTV. Rush won a Juno award in this category for Rush in Rio back in 2004. The documentary has also been nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Long Form Music Video category; the Grammy Awards ceremony will take place on February 13th at 8PM and air on CBS. Thanks to Fuzzy for the heads up.

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Mean Deviation author Jeff Wagner on Used Bin Radio tonight
3:09PM EST | link | comments (7) |

A new book on the history of progressive heavy metal which I had first told you about way back in 2008 was finally released this past December. It's titled Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal and was written by former Metal Maniacs editor Jeff Wagner with a foreword by Steven Wilson. Wagner will be a guest on internet talk show Used Bin Radio tonight:

This week we're exploring the roots, history and impact of Progressive Metal as we welcome author JEFF WAGNER. His new book, MEAN DEVIATION: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal delves deep into the long tradition of sticking your heavy metal chocolate into my prog rock peanut butter to produce a tasty new hybrid. We'll discuss the forefathers (Rush, King Crimson, Iron Maiden), the architects (Queensryche, Fates Warning, Megadeth), the innovators (Dream Theater, Savatage, Opeth) and all the sub-genres and minutia we can wrap our heads around. If you're a regular Used Bin listener or just a rock fanatic tuning in for your first time, you're gonna eat this up. Check out more details about Jeff Wagner's book at www.bazillionpoints.com ...

Rush is prominently featured in the book as one of the early pioneers of the progressive metal genre. There's even a chapter titled By Tor and The Gates Of Delirium. You can read some reviews of the book here and here, and learn more about the book at the publisher's website. You can listen live to Used Bin Radio on purerockradio.net or progrock.com tonight from 7PM to 10PM PST (10-1 EST). Past shows can be listened to via podcast at this link. Speaking of past Used Bin shows, Vertical Horizon frontman and friend of Neil Peart (F.O.P for short) - Matt Scannell - was a guest on the show earlier last month and the podcast was finally posted earlier today (thanks hermy). Matt has a great conversation with hosts Brad and Joe and talks a good bit about his collaboration and friendship with Neil Peart. You can listen to the podcast at this link.

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Rush 2011 Time Machine Tour Vancouver pre-sale open thread
10:01AM EST | link | comments (28) |

Rush Time Machine Tour 2011Multiple pre-sales for Rush's June 30th show at Rogers Arena in Vancover begin this morning at 10AM PST (about 3 hours from now). Music Today now has the fan pre-sale listed on their website at this link, and Ticketmaster will be running the Rush VIP and AMEX Front of the Line pre-sales which are accessible at this link. Other various pre-sales will begin tomorrow at 10AM PST and general ticket sales kick off this Friday at 10AM PST. Check out the ticket sales and pre-sales guide for general information on how all the pre-sales work.

Related Posts:
[Rush June 30th Vancouver date at Rogers Arena now confirmed]
[Rush 2011 Time Machine Tour pre-sale info and open thread]
[Rush 2011 Time Machine Tour pre-sale info and open thread]
[More North American dates for Rush's Time Machine Tour 2011]
[Rush 2011 Time Machine Tour pre-sale info and open thread]
[Rush 2011 Time Machine Tour MSG pre-sale open thread]
[Rush to film April 15th show at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland]
[Rush 2011 Time Machine Tour ticket sale and pre-sale info]
[Rush 2011 Time Machine Tour pre-sale info and open thread]
[Rush 2011 Time Machine Tour North American dates announced]
[Rush Time Machine Tour Dublin pre-sale; Helsinki & Sweden added]
[Rush Time Machine Tour 2011 UK/Ireland pre-sales open thread]
[Rush Time Machine Tour 2011 official announcement!]

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Rush question on Jeopardy! last night
7:20AM EST | link | comments (23) |

UPDATE - 2/1@9:09AM: And here's the video (thanks RushFanForever). The only downside is that Alex Trebek mispronounced Peart. :)

Rush on Jeopardy!One of the categories on last night's episode of the American quiz show Jeopardy! was Music From Canada, and Rush was the subject of the $1000 question:

This "Fly By Night" power trio formed in Toronto in 1968; Neil Peart joined in '74 (cue the drum solo)

The contestant - a paralegal housewife in her 40s - answered the question correctly. Thanks to TSawyer for the heads up and Dave for the screenshot.

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