Archive: Blog Entries from January, 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rush 2112 reference on latest episode of Fox's Alcatraz
9:30PM EST | link | comments (8) |

There was a Rush 2112 reference on the latest episode (season 1, episode 4 - Cal Sweeney) of the new Fox TV series Alcatraz which aired last night. The focus of the episode is a bank robber named Calvin Sweeney who has a prison id number of 2112. You can check out a couple of screenshots by clicking on the thumbnails. Thanks to keysean45 for the heads up and John at Cygnus-X1.net for the screenshots.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Neil Peart tribute to Andrew MacNaughtan at NeilPeart.net
8:22AM EST | link | comments (23) |

Andrew MacNaughtan - NeilPeart.netNeil Peart has penned a tribute to his late friend Andrew MacNaughtan at NeilPeart.net. MacNaughtan passed away suddenly this past week of a heart attack in Los Angeles.

... apart from the personal memories, it is his own art that will endure. Not long before his untimely passing, Andrew published a book of fine-art photographs titled Grace, based on his travels in East Africa. (Like a fair portion of his work in recent years, it was done to benefit others-Andrew contributed generously to worthy causes like the Casey House hospice and Art Gives Hope.)

In addition, his portraits and live shots of nearly every major Canadian performer of the past twenty-five years will be viewed forever-a rich national archive of our arts and entertainment history.

Many will feel fortunate to have known Andrew, and perhaps myself more than most-introducing me to Carrie was a life-changing gift. But even long after all of us who knew Andrew are gone, his name, his unique creative "eye," and his beautiful and perceptive images will live on.

You can read the entire thing at this location.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rush featured in Progressive Metal episode of Metal Evolution
9:32AM EST | link | comments (17) |

UPDATE - 2/7@10:06AM: The full episode is now online at the VH1 website:

----- snip -----

UPDATE - 1/30@12:17PM: The Rush portion of the show has been uploaded to YouTube (thanks Sean). They spend close to 10 minutes talking Rush.

They also show up a good bit in the final segment at around the 5-minute mark.

----- snip -----

The final episode of the heavy metal documentary show Metal Evolution aired this weekend in Canada on MuchMoreMusic (it can be viewed online from Canada) and will air next weekend on VH1 Classic in the US. The show is the brainchild of Rush documentary and Time Machine video filmmakers Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen and builds on the mission first put forth in his groundbreaking Metal: A Headbanger's Journey documentary - in which Geddy Lee had appeared. The final episode in the series (episode 11) focuses on the Progressive Metal genre of heavy metal and heavily featured Rush, including interview segments with all 3 members along with former producer Terry Brown. The band interview segments were conducted when Rush was in Cleveland last year for their April 15th show that was filmed for the Time Machine video. Geddy had also appeared in episode 2 of the series to discuss the contributions of American garage rock band Blue Cheer to the origins of heavy metal. Geddy's brother Allan Weinrib is the production manager for the show and has been the Executive Producer and Head of Production and Development at Banger Films (Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen's film production company) since December of last year. Thanks to RushFanForever for the screenshots.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Updates and other random Rush stuff
10:45AM EST | link | comments (27) |

UPDATE - 1/28@10:42AM: Here's a CBC video news story on Andrew MacNaughtan's death (thanks RushFanForever). And photographer John Vinson sent me a couple of photographs he took of Andrew at work at the Red Rocks show in 2010 which you can check out by clicking on the thumbnails.

Andrew MacNaughtan - photo courtesy Paul BeaulieuIt was a very sad week for the Rush community, as longtime Rush friend and photographer Andrew MacNaughtan passed away Wednesday of a heart attack in Los Angeles at age 47 where he was shooting photos of the band for their upcoming Clockwork Angels album. The news was confirmed yesterday afternoon via the Rush Facebook page:

We're deeply shocked and heartbroken to learn of the sudden passing of our close friend and long-time photographer, Andrew MacNaughtan. He was a sweet person and a very talented artist. Words cannot describe how much he will be missed. - Geddy, Alex & Neil

There was also this report in yesterday's Toronto Star:

Toronto photographer Andrew MacNaughtan, longtime documenter of Rush's exploits and the man behind dozens of iconic portraits of Canadian celebrities, passed away suddenly in Los Angeles on Wednesday. MacNaughtan, in his mid-40s, reportedly suffered a heart attack while in California shooting his old friends, Rush. A member of the band's local management staff told the Star the office was "heartbroken over here," ...

Andrew had worked with Rush as a photographer and videographer for several of the band's projects since the 1980s. The Power Windows website has a great 1991 interview with Andrew from The Spirit of Rush newsletter where he talks at length about how he became involved with the band. It all started in 1980 when a 16-year-old Andrew started the Rush Backstage Club of Toronto:

... I tried to do something like you guys, I was your typical Rush fan, fanatic, but I always tried to apply a positive thing. Instead of just being a fan that would hang out at hotel doors. It is fine to be fanatical about a band believe me, everyone wants an idol, everyone wants things to look up to and follow but, I put it to a more practical use, ... I had these photo's of Rush, I called up Howard (Ungerleider), I knew him through the fan club and met him occasionally, he got me tickets and things. I gave him a whole bunch of my photo's, just to take down to Anthem to give to the person in charge of photo's and stuff. I said that I hadn't a use of them can you use them? It was at this point that they were doing their tour book for Power Windows. The band loved the photos and they had nothing for the tour book, as they had used them up, they bought about 12 shots of mine, and used them in the Power Windows tour book. Which was really great. a great honor. That led me to shoot on the Power Windows tour. They sent me down to Binghampton, Troy and Syracuse in New York, I shot all that and then onto Buffalo and some in Toronto. They used a lot of those photos as well, they were used for magazine articles as well as the Hold Your Fire tour book, which was great. I started to get my way in there, working with Rush in a different way, other than the now folded fan club. It was getting too large. So, I passed it all onto the Las Vegas fan club. ...

His latest endeavor was a unique art book showcasing the beauty of Africa through a series of stunning black and white photographs called GRACE: Africa in Photographs. Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee contributed captions for two of the photos in the book, and Andrew had been selling copies via his website along with prints of the photographs to help support his charity ArtGivesHope. Andrew spoke about the project in this November interview with Global News which you can view at here. Andrew was an integral part of the Rush family and will be sorely missed. Our heartfelt condolences go out to all of Andrew's friends and family.

Clockwork AngelsOn Wednesday I'd reported the rumor that Rush had abruptly changed their 2012 tour plans and now plan on touring in the Fall rather than the Spring. Since then I've had these rumors corroborated by a few other reliable sources so I definitely believe it to be true, although it has yet to be officially announced. Note that these plans had been made sometime last month and can in no way be related to Andrew MacNaughtan's untimely death on Wednesday as has been inferred by some. The reasoning behind the change in plans remains unclear as of now. It's also not clear if or how Andrew's passing will affect progress on the upcoming album. Knowing Rush, there's no doubt that their priority right now is to support eachother and Andrew's family/friends through this difficult time; completing the album is likely the furthest thing from their minds at the moment - just as it should be. That said, the latest rumors had placed the Clockwork Angels release at the end of April, with the possibility of seeing a single by later next month. More information as I learn it.

Speaking of the new album, Eric over at Power Windows dug up this article at about.com from around the time of the release of Caravan which discusses the obvious occult symbols in the Caravan artwork:

The band Rush is releasing a new single today called Caravan, and the album cover consists of a clock face with 12 blatant occult symbols. My question is... were they being clever in their choice, or are they random selections (or at least selections based on appearance rather than meaning)?

2112 listening partyWe learned earlier this week that the folks at RushCon are teaming up with the Rush Radio website to sponsor a 2112 listening party this coming Wednesday, February 1st at 9:12PM - 2/1/12 21:12. From the RushCon newsletter:

SYNC UP. ROCK OUT. THE 2112 LISTENING PARTY.

Tune into RushRadio.org on Wednesday February 1, 2012, at 9:12pm (in your time zone) for the world's largest streaming Rush listening party! Simultaneously, join fans across the world in an online chat (tinychat.com/rushcon) as we crank this epic album and fill the world with our music. This is the closest we will get to the year 2112 in our lifetime, so celebrate and assume control!

The party will repeat 4 times, starting at 9:12pm EST, then at 9:12pm Central, Mountain, and Pacific timezones. So everyone will have a chance to join! Or heck, come for all 4 hours! The more Rush fans the better!

Autographed Snakes & Arrows TourbookThe Rush Backstage Club is running a new contest where you could win an autographed Snakes & Arrows Tourbook:

Here is another chance to win autographed RUSH swag from Rush Backstage. This time we are giving away this pristine autographed RUSH Snakes and Arrows tourbook. Enter today for your chance to win!

For all the details and to enter just go to this link.

For this past week's RollingStone.com's reader's poll they posed the question of what singer has the most unique voice. Geddy Lee made the final cut at #10:

Stephen Malkmus said it best: "What about the voice of Geddy Lee? How did it get so high? I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy?" I'll answer the last question first: Yes, Geddy speaks with an ordinary voice. In fact, his speaking voice is, if anything, a little on the deep side. You'd never know from talking to him that he's capable of hitting such amazing high notes. Lee's unconventional voice sometimes makes it tougher for Rush to appeal to a first-time listener, but it's hard to imagine the group with any other singer at the helm.

Gregorian Masters of Chant Volume VIIIGregorian is a German band headed by Frank Peterson that performs Gregorian chant-inspired versions of modern pop and rock songs. The band features both vocal harmony and instrumental accompaniment. Their most recent album in their Masters of Chant series - Masters of Chant Chapter VIII - was released this past September 30th and contains a cover of Rush's Bravado which you can listen to on YouTube at this link. The album can be purchased as an import at this link.

The Canadian Music blog recently compiled a list of which Canadian artists had the most Facebook likes and Twitter followers. As of December 31st of last month Rush was #13 on their list with 43,962 Twitter followers and 1,320,909 Facebook likes.

The winners of the Sabian Player's Choice contest were announced at the Winter NAMM show earlier this month. Back in October Sabian launched a website at www.cymbalvote.com and invited people to pick from 12 new cymbal models. The site featured videos of Neil Peart, Terry Bozzio, Mike Portnoy and several other well-known drummers playing the cymbals and giving their opinions on what they liked about them. One cymbal was then eliminated each week until only four remained.

Members of Swedish heavy metal band Meshuggah were recently interviewed for the Nuclear Blast Records website to discuss their upcoming album KOLOSS. At one point drummer Tomas Haake was asked about his favorite prog drummers and went on to talk about Neil Peart and Rush. You can listen to what he had to say in this YouTube video at about the 1:45 mark. Thanks to Marco V for the heads up.

Here's Andrew MacNaughtan's November interview with Global News where he discusses his GRACE: Africa in Photographs book and charity project.

Rest in peace Andrew.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Longtime Rush friend and photographer Andrew MacNaughtan passes away from a heart attack
4:12PM EST | link | comments (49) |

UPDATE - 3/19@3:34PM: Here's a video news story covering Andrew's Grace: Africa in Photographs project (thanks Lex Rushon). It includes interview segments with Andrew along with Geddy and Alex from the art exhibit's opening gala.

UPDATE - 1/30@10:16AM: Here's Andrew's obituary in the Toronto Globe and Mail (thanks RushFanForever). And Neil Peart wrote a tribute to Andrew that he posted over at NeilPeart.net.

UPDATE - 1/28@10:42AM: Here's a CBC video news story on Andrew MacNaughtan's death (thanks RushFanForever). And photographer John Vinson sent me a couple of photographs he took of Andrew at work at the Red Rocks show in 2010 which you can check out by clicking on the thumbnails.

UPDATE - 1/27@9:27AM: Here's a CBC report on Andrew's passing that mentions his age as 47. And here's a great 1991 interview with Andrew where he talks at length about how he first got involved with Rush. 47 is way too young to die...

UPDATE - 1/26@7:40PM: Here's a report on MacNaughtan's death from the Toronto Star (thanks RushFanForever):

Toronto photographer Andrew MacNaughtan, longtime documenter of Rush's exploits and the man behind dozens of iconic portraits of Canadian celebrities, passed away suddenly in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

MacNaughtan, in his mid-40s, reportedly suffered a heart attack while in California shooting his old friends, Rush.

A member of the band's local management staff told the Star the office was "heartbroken over here," ...

----- snip -----

Andrew MacNaughtan - photo courtesy Paul BeaulieuI'm very sad to report that Rush's longtime friend and photographer Andrew MacNaughtan has passed away. From the Rush Facebook page:

We're deeply shocked and heartbroken to learn of the sudden passing of our close friend and long-time photographer, Andrew MacNaughtan. He was a sweet person and a very talented artist. Words cannot describe how much he will be missed. - Geddy, Alex & Neil

Apparently Andrew died of a heart attack while on assignment with the band in Los Angeles. Andrew had worked with Rush as a photographer and videographer for many of the band's projects since back in the '80s. His latest project was a unique art book showcasing the beauty of Africa through a series of stunning black and white photographs called GRACE: Africa in Photographs. Proceeds from sales of the book and prints of the photographs go to support Andrew's charity ArtGivesHope. Andrew spoke about the project in this November interview with Global News which you can view below or at this link (thanks RushFanForever). Thanks to Paul Beaulieu for the great photo of Andrew. Andrew was an integral part of the Rush family and will be sorely missed. Our heartfelt condolences go out to all of Andrew's friends and family.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rush Clockwork Angels, 2012 tour rumor update
4:33PM EST | link | comments (53) |

Clockwork AngelsRush finished up recording their upcoming Clockwork Angels album late last year and are currently in the process of mixing the album as described by Neil Peart in his most recent news update at NeilPeart.net:

... While Alex and Geddy were finishing the writing and arranging in one smaller room of the studio, over in the big room I was working with The Mighty Booujzhe, recording my drum parts. As we prepare to start mixing in the New Year, it is too early to say anything about the results. (I once described mixing as "the end of waiting," while Geddy calls it, "the death of hope.") About the process, though, I can't resist spilling a little. ...

It looks as if the band is working on the mixing in Los Angeles as several Twitter users have reported spotting the band there recently. In interviews over the last year or so the band has consistently mentioned that they were shooting for a Spring release for the album with a tour to follow. Alex Lifeson said as much in his Planet Rock interview back in November along with saying that the band hopes to be out on tour in May or June. Since before the Holidays the band has not given any new interviews, so we've been relying solely on rumors for information ever since. In my latest Friday updates post I relayed the latest credible rumors I had heard regarding both the album and tour. These rumors came from a source close to their record label and jibed with what the band had been saying up until late last year; namely that they are aiming to release Clockwork Angels in late April and kick-off the tour shortly after in May/June. But it turns out that this information may have been a little outdated. In just the past few days I'd heard that in the last month or so the band's plans have switched direction and they have now pushed the tour to September. Indeed, Rush Forum member yyzyy had reported late last month that he ran into Rush lighting director Howard Ungerleider at a Trans-siberian Orchestra show and was told by him that the tour would start in September. I didn't put much stock in that report until just recently when this was corroborated by another source who let me know that up until last month the band had been on track for a May/June tour start, but then abruptly changed plans and will instead tour in the Fall. I haven't heard anything regarding the reasoning behind this decision or whether it would affect the release of the album, but there you have it. As always with rumors, take this all with a big grain of salt. My policy is and always has been to report any credible rumor I hear and let my readers make of it what they will. Hopefully we'll get some official information from interviews or a press release in the near future. More as I learn it.

Related Posts:
[Geddy Lee talks Moog Taurus pedals in new in-studio interview]
[Geddy Lee talks Clockwork Angels in new Classic Rock interview]
[Rush's Clockwork Angels album/tour most-anticipated of 2012]
[Rush wraps up Clockwork Angels recording]
[Alex Lifeson talks Clockwork Angels in new Guitar World interview]
[Guitar World readers vote Rush's Clockwork Angels as the most anticipated album of 2012]
[New Billboard interview with Geddy Lee]
[Alex Lifeson Planet Rock interview now online]
[Rush Clockwork Angels feature in latest issue of Rolling Stone]
[Clockwork Angels update: writing completed, recording underway]
[Alex Lifeson Humble and Fred podcast interview now online]
[Geddy Lee talks Clockwork Angels, 2012 tour in new Rolling Stone interview]

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

RushCon and Rush Radio to sponsor 2112 listening party on 2/1/12
1:01PM EST | link | comments (15) |

2112 listening partyUPDATE - 1/31@3:24PM: RTTNews is reporting (thanks John at Cygnus-X1.net) that February 1st has been named National Rush Day - although they incorrectly used February 12th in the article title.

The folks at RushCon are teaming up with the Rush Radio website to sponsor a 2112 listening party next Wednesday, February 1st at 9:12PM - 2/1/12 21:12. From the RushCon newsletter:

SYNC UP. ROCK OUT. THE 2112 LISTENING PARTY.

Tune into RushRadio.org on Wednesday February 1, 2012, at 9:12pm (in your time zone) for the world's largest streaming Rush listening party! Simultaneously, join fans across the world in an online chat (tinychat.com/rushcon) as we crank this epic album and fill the world with our music. This is the closest we will get to the year 2112 in our lifetime, so celebrate and assume control!

The party will repeat 4 times, starting at 9:12pm EST, then at 9:12pm Central, Mountain, and Pacific timezones. So everyone will have a chance to join! Or heck, come for all 4 hours! The more Rush fans the better!

Sounds like a blast!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

New contest at the Rush Backstage Club
11:08AM EST | link | comments (6) |

Autographed Snakes & Arrows Tourbook[Win An Autographed Snakes And Arrows Tourbook!]

The Rush Backstage Club is running a new contest where you could win an autographed Snakes & Arrows Tourbook:

Here is another chance to win autographed RUSH swag from Rush Backstage. This time we are giving away this pristine autographed RUSH Snakes and Arrows tourbook. Enter today for your chance to win!

For all the details and to enter just go to this link.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gregorian Masters of Chant cover of Rush's Bravado
9:47PM EST | link | comments (44) |

Gregorian Masters of Chant Volume VIIIGregorian is a German band headed by Frank Peterson that performs Gregorian chant-inspired versions of modern pop and rock songs. The band features both vocal harmony and instrumental accompaniment. Their most recent album in their Masters of Chant series - Masters of Chant Chapter VIII - was released this past September 30th and contains a cover of Rush's Bravado which you can listen to on YouTube below or at this link. The album can be purchased as an import at this link. Thanks to Power Windows for the heads up.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Updates and other random Rush stuff
12:57PM EST | link | comments (25) |

Clockwork AngelsThis past week was severely lacking in the way of any solid Rush news; no new interviews, product releases or any kind of official album/tour update. That said, the rumor mill is starting to crank up as I've started to here some rumblings about release dates and such. From what my sources are telling me, it sounds as if the band is aiming to release Clockwork Angels in late April and kick-off the tour in late May somewhere in the Southwest. We can also expect a single to be released as early as late February. Hopefully more information will be forthcoming in the next several weeks. So the big official news of late remains Neil Peart's news update at NeilPeart.net from last Wednesday, which received a lot of coverage in the music press over the past week. Blabbermouth.net, Ultimate-Guitar.com, BW&BK, UltimateClassicRock.com and Examiner.com were just a few of the sites to pick up the story which contained some updates from Neil on the progress being made on the new Clockwork Angels album:

... While Alex and Geddy were finishing the writing and arranging in one smaller room of the studio, over in the big room I was working with The Mighty Booujzhe [producer Nick Raskulinecz], recording my drum parts. As we prepare to start mixing in the New Year, it is too early to say anything about the results. (I once described mixing as "the end of waiting," while Geddy calls it, "the death of hope.") About the process, though, I can't resist spilling a little. ...

Neil also went into great detail about how he worked with producer Nick Raskulinecz to compose the drum parts, and tried out some new methods of recording and learning his parts. He even includes a three-line snippet of the lyrics from one of the new songs which was inspired by something his late friend and mentor Freddie Gruber had said:

... Over the years Freddie had become a close friend to Carrie [Neil's wife] as well ... When Carrie visited Freddie for the last time, she heard him say something I had heard, too. After telling one story or another from his long and active life, Freddie would nod and smile, and say, "I had quite a ride. I wish I could do it all again."

I was struck by that statement, because I had never felt that way myself. To the contrary-as much as I enjoy my life, I remain glad I don't have to do it all again. But I still appreciated that sentiment of Freddie's, and as a tribute, wove it into one of our new songs, with one character reflecting on his life in that fashion.

Some days were dark
Some nights were bright
I wish that I could live it all again

Another philosopher named Fred-Nietzsche-said something similar, "Was that life?" will I say to death. "Well! Once more!". ...

As is typical of Neil's writings, it's a great read chock full of beautiful photos and interesting stories, so make sure to read the whole thing if you haven't already.

MP mover Mike DixonVideographer and Rush fan Greg Nosek recently launched his website at GregNosek.com and included some great Rush-related video on his Video Clips page. Of particular note is a video interview Greg conducted a few years ago with Mike Dixon - one of the movers on the cover of Rush's Moving Pictures album. Mike appears in his mover overalls holding the Moving Pictures album and describes several details about the video shoot for the cover along with all the people involved. You can check out the nearly 3-minute interview at this link. Also included are a couple of experimental promo videos for RushCon 6 featuring Dixon at this link.

The BBC ran an article this past week where they counted down their top twenty predictions for what life will look like 100 years from now in the year 2112. You can check out their predictions at this link (thanks Andrew S). Surprisingly there is no mention of the Solar Federation or Megadon. Hmmm ... And along those same lines but with a satirical twist, this past weekend Saturday Night Live ran a sketch that took place 100 years in the future and involved a play which looked back on life in the year 2012. Although it's implied that the year is 2112 in the sketch, they never actually come out and say it, but they did title it 2112 when they posted it online. Thanks to your_pal_chris and chrxtopher for the heads up.

Last night was the mid-season premiere of FX's Archer and the show contained a Rush reference that was a follow-up of sorts to a Rush reference that occurred on the Season 2 finale (episode 23 - Double Trouble) last year on April 21st. In that episode Dr. Krieger is trying to impress Katya and mentions listening to Rush's Red Barchetta through his awesome van's stereo system and says to Katya, Please tell me you like Rush. Later in the episode we get a look at the actual van when the ISIS group pulls up in it. The van has a huge mural painted on the side which says Exit ... Van Left and depicts Doctor Kreiger peeking behind the curtain to a stage, mimicking the cover of Rush's Exit ... Stage Left (see the screenshot here). In last night's episode Dr. Krieger had updated the mural on his van to a Rush Hemispheres theme; the mural depicts Krieger as both the naked man and the man-in-the-hat from the Hemispheres cover with the text Krieger: Vanispheres on it (see the screenshot here).

Neil Peart Drums Volume 2: The GroovesSonic Reality's Dave Kerzner is currently working with a number of artists on a prog-rock project called Sonic Elements which utilizes the drum samples from Neil Peart Drums Volume 1: The Kit to create cover versions of several Rush tracks and tracks from other prog-rock artists. Sonic Elements will be releasing an entire album's worth of Rush covers sometime in the next few months. You can check out a sample of Red Barchetta featuring Triumph's Rik Emmett along with several other Rush cover samples at the Sonic Elements page on SoundCloud. The newest edition to the project's SoundCloud page is a rendition of Digital Man featuring Billy Sherwood on vocals, guitar and bass, and Fernando Perdomo on guitars.

Last week Sonic Reality made available a pre-release version of Neil Peart Drums Volume 2: The Grooves - the follow-up to their Neil Peart Drums Volume 1: The Kit which they released a couple years back. The Volume 2: The Grooves release includes 500 groove patterns from Neil Peart for use on your own songs. You can check out all the details and purchase the pre-release version at the esoundz.com website.

Andrew Olson recently created a survey on Facebook and asked people to vote on their favorite from among 10 of Neil Peart's most well-known drum fills. After 102 votes, he posted the results over on his Neil Peart fan page at this link. The big winner with 30% of the vote was not surprisingly the Tom Sawyer fill although Natural Science came in a close second.

Rush: A Brief History of TimeJohn at Cygnus-X1.net recently posted the eighth installment of his Rush: A Brief History of Time series where he compiles scans and transcriptions of old Rush articles. You can check this latest batch out at this link. Also be sure to check out his chronological listing of all the collected articles from the series at the bottom of the page. This batch contains 46 new articles; one from the 70's, thirty-one from the 80's, three from the 90's, two from the 2000's and seven from the current decade. The majority of the articles focus around the release of Moving Pictures and Rush's tour in support of that album. Thanks John!

The A.V. Club has opened up voting to determine the 25 songs to be featured in this year's Undercover 2012. From the A.V. Club website:

You wanted the best, you got the best: Undercover 2012 starts now, and we need your help. The series will once again launch in March, timed with our SXSW day party (details soon!), and will feature 25 bands covering 25 songs in our round room. You know the drill. We're looking for your help in picking which songs will make the master list, and to that end you'll find 12 categories below. ...

Nominated in the And Now You Find Yourself in '82 category is Rush's Subdivisions. You can vote for Subdivisions and all of your other favorites at this link (thanks Jake). Voting closes on January 25th.

Voices - Tom Cochrane, Andrew Cole, Alex LifesonBack in September we learned that legendary Canadian musician Tom Cochrane would be releasing a 4-song EP called Voices At 4 AM with the title track being a collaboration with several other artists including Alex Lifeson and Andrew Cole. Last month a limited run of the EPs were released online and you can purchase your copy at voicesat4am.com. You can also listen to a teaser of the title track on Cole's Facebook page. Cole was interviewed for the John Emms Music Review blog (thanks RushFanForever) last month and talked about how Alex Lifeson became involved with the project:

... [Alex] is friends with Tom but of course he is super busy. I honestly have to say I really pursued him to play because I thought his huge guitar sound along with Ken Greer's work would propel the track once we started to get it down. And my persistence paid off. ... It's funny [Chris Potter-mixing engineer] was a huge Alex Lifeson fan but I really had not got Lifeson to find the time. I was bummed out. But I did bring the bed tracks to England. Chris changed the whole vibe of the song, and it blew Tom Cochrane's mind. When we got the whole vocal thing about to go, I asked Tom to sing it, but he said no it's yours now. But once I got Alex to play and sing Tom went with the chorus and for me it was like watching two old friends create magic. That is basically the story of Voices at 4 AM. ...

Speaking of Alex, last year Alex Lifeson appeared in Toronto filmmaker Rob Heydon's indie film Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy playing the role of psychiatrist Dr. Michael Figg. The film is an adaptation of Scottish author Irvine Welsh's book Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance, and made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival last September. It has been making the film festival rounds since then and will be shown at the NXNE Film Festival (thanks RushFanForever) on June 14th. You can watch a short clip of Alex Lifeson as Dr. Figg at the film's YouTube channel here. The clip runs about 1 minute and features respected psychiatrist Dr. Michael Figg discussing his radical new treatment.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place last week in Las Vegas and every year DTS creates a Blu-ray demo disc to distribute at the show. This year's disc has already begun to pop up on eBay and the tracklisting indicates that Rush's Tom Sawyer - presumably from the Time Machine Blu-ray - is one of the selections contained on the disc. You can check out the eBay listing here (thanks rosmakloma).

Old Grey Whistle TestThe influential BBC television show The Old Grey Whistle Test - which ran from 1971 to 1987 - celebrated its 40th anniversary last year and commemorated the occasion with a special show at the Sage Hall in Gateshead, UK this past weekend. They had originally claimed that the highlight of the show would be some rare footage of Rush playing Xanadu. However, the rare footage in question that was aired on the show originally back in 1977 was the same in-studio video that was included as an extra on the R30 DVD and has been available online and to bootleggers in various forms for years. Rush actually never appeared live on the show itself. Reader Russell T attended the anniversary show last weekend and reports that no Rush footage was shown at all, so they must have dropped their plans altogether once they learned that the footage wasn't as rare as they'd originally thought.

Reader Paul from Eastern Township, Quebec sent me some scans from an old French-language black and white journal publication he dug up from 1982 called Rush Document Spécial. It contains some old photos of the band from shows they played in Montreal in the late '70s and early '80s. You can check it out by clicking on the scans above.

This past week's edition of the ProgScape Radio podcast featured Geddy Lee's one and only solo album My Favorite Headache. You can listen to the podcast at the ProgScape Radio website or on iTunes. ProgScape Radio's Michael Ostrich wrote a piece profiling the album for examiner.com in the lead-up to the show which you can check out at this link. My Favorite Headache released on November 14, 2000 and peaked at #52 on the Billboard 200. It featured Geddy's friend Ben Mink and Soundgarden's Matt Cameron. You can check out a grainy video of the album's electronic press kit at this link, and a 2000 talk show interview with Geddy where he discusses the album below or at this link.

That's all for this week. Have a great weekend and happy 1/21/12 tomorrow!

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Rush reference on latest episode of FX's Archer
10:44AM EST | link | comments (3) |

Last night was the mid-season premiere of FX's Archer and the show contained a Rush reference that was a follow-up of sorts to a Rush reference that occurred on the Season 2 finale (episode 23 - Double Trouble) last year on April 21st. In that episode Dr. Krieger is trying to impress Katya and mentions listening to Rush's Red Barchetta through his awesome van's stereo system and says to Katya, Please tell me you like Rush. Later in the episode we get a look at the actual van when the ISIS group pulls up in it. The van has a huge mural painted on the side which says Exit ... Van Left and depicts Doctor Kreiger peeking behind the curtain to a stage, mimicking the cover of Rush's Exit ... Stage Left (see the screenshot here). In last night's episode Dr. Krieger had updated the mural on his van to a Rush Hemispheres theme; the mural depicts Krieger as both the naked man and the man-in-the-hat from the Hemispheres cover with the text Krieger: Vanispheres on it (see the screenshot here). Thanks to Sweet Miracle Whip for the heads up and Patrick for the screenshot.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rush: A Brief History of Time, Part VIII
10:03AM EST | link | comments (12) |

Rush: A Brief History of TimeJohn at Cygnus-X1.net recently posted the eighth installment of his Rush: A Brief History of Time series where he compiles scans and transcriptions of old Rush articles. You can check this latest batch out at this link. Also be sure to check out his chronological listing of all the collected articles from the series at the bottom of the page. This batch contains 46 new articles; one from the 70's, thirty-one from the 80's, three from the 90's, two from the 2000's and seven from the current decade. The majority of the articles focus around the release of Moving Pictures and Rush's tour in support of that album. Thanks John!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interview with Moving Pictures cover mover Mike Dixon at GregNosek.com
4:29PM EST | link | comments (19) |

Moving Pictures coverVideographer and Rush fan Greg Nosek recently launched his website at GregNosek.com and included some great Rush-related video on his Video Clips page. Of particular note is a video interview Greg conducted a few years ago with Mike Dixon - one of the movers on the cover of Rush's Moving Pictures album. Mike appears in his mover overalls holding the Moving Pictures album and describes several details about the video shoot for the cover along with all the people involved. You can check out the nearly 3-minute interview at this link. Also included are a couple of experimental promo videos for RushCon 6 featuring Dixon at this link.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tonight's ProgScape Radio podcast will feature Geddy Lee's My Favorite Headache
10:16AM EST | link | comments (34) |

This week's edition of the ProgScape Radio podcast will feature Geddy Lee's one and only solo album My Favorite Headache. You can listen in to the podcast this evening at the ProgScape Radio website or on iTunes. ProgScape Radio's Michael Ostrich wrote a piece for examiner.com profiling the album which you can check out at this link. My Favorite Headache released on November 14, 2000 and peaked at #52 on the Billboard 200. It featured Geddy's friend Ben Mink and Soundgarden's Matt Cameron. You can check out a video of the album's electronic press kit at this link.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Updates and other random Rush stuff
12:02PM EST | link | comments (47) |

Nick Raskulinecz in the studio with Neil PeartThe big Rush news of this past week came in the form of a news update from Neil Peart at his website NeilPeart.net. After taking a 6-month hiatus from posting updates, Neil finally updated us all on what he's been up to the last several months in a post earlier this week entitled At the Gate of the Year. In this latest installment Neil touches on a number of subjects including a late December jaunt in his old Aston Martin DB5 down the Pacific Coast Highway, celebrating the Pagan Winter Festival with family, mourning the passing of his friend and mentor Freddie Gruber, and - of particular interest to us Rush fans - recording the new Clockwork Angels album:

... While Alex and Geddy were finishing the writing and arranging in one smaller room of the studio, over in the big room I was working with The Mighty Booujzhe [producer Nick Raskulinecz], recording my drum parts. As we prepare to start mixing in the New Year, it is too early to say anything about the results. (I once described mixing as "the end of waiting," while Geddy calls it, "the death of hope.") About the process, though, I can't resist spilling a little. ...

He then goes on in great detail about how he worked with producer Nick Raskulinecz to compose the drum parts, and tried out some new methods of recording and learning his parts. He even includes a three-line snippet of the lyrics from one of the new songs which was inspired by something Freddie Gruber had said:

... Over the years Freddie had become a close friend to Carrie [Neil's wife] as well ... When Carrie visited Freddie for the last time, she heard him say something I had heard, too. After telling one story or another from his long and active life, Freddie would nod and smile, and say, "I had quite a ride. I wish I could do it all again."

I was struck by that statement, because I had never felt that way myself. To the contrary-as much as I enjoy my life, I remain glad I don't have to do it all again. But I still appreciated that sentiment of Freddie's, and as a tribute, wove it into one of our new songs, with one character reflecting on his life in that fashion.

Some days were dark
Some nights were bright
I wish that I could live it all again

Another philosopher named Fred-Nietzsche-said something similar, "Was that life?" will I say to death. "Well! Once more!". ...

As is typical of Neil's writings, it's a great read chock full of beautiful photos and interesting stories, so make sure to read the whole thing.

Clockwork AngelsAs mentioned above in Neil's update, work on the upcoming Clockwork Angels album is progressing along nicely, with mixing underway and plans for a Spring release still on track with a tour to follow. Hopefully we'll get more details trickling in regarding both the album and tour in the upcoming weeks. Speaking of which, last weekend RollingStone.com asked readers to let them know what bands they are most excited to see in concert in 2012. A few days ago they released the results of the poll and Rush landed in the top 10 at #6. Here's what they had to say:

Rush are putting the finishing touches on their new LP Clockwork Angels at the moment and hope to have it in stores this spring. We spoke with Rush frontman Geddy Lee in October about their plans beyond that. "There will be a tour," he said. "I can't tell you exactly when. Maybe the summer or maybe the fall. We need some time to organize all that, but we have started to do that. But yes, there will be a follow-up tour to support the record." The group did their 1981 classic Moving Pictures on the last tour, so we suggested to Lee that they bust out 2112 next time out. "I think that's something that would be fun to try," he said. "It's definitely possible."

You can check out the complete results of the poll at this link and read the October interview with Geddy that they refer to at this link. On a related note, Pollstar recently released their list of the 200 top-grossing North American concert tours of 2011 and Rush's Time Machine Tour made the list at #51. Rush played 26 North American shows on the 2011 tour, grossing a total of $18.3 million or about $732,000 per show. U2 was way up at the top of the pack with $156 million; the #2 spot went to Taylor Swift with $97.7 million and #3 went to Kenny Chesney with $84.6 million. You can see the entire list online as a pdf at this link. To see individual show attendance and sales numbers, just check out the tour section.

In another bit of tour-related Rush news, Billboard.biz reported last week (thanks BW&BK) that leading independent music booking agency Artist Group International (AGI), whose clients include Rush, was acquired by the Yucaipa Companies' newly formed music and entertainment vehicle, Y Entertainment Group LLC. From Billboard.biz:

AGI was founded 25 years ago by Dennis Arfa, who will continue to lead the agency as CEO. AGI is perennially ranked among the top five music agencies in the business, based on numbers reported to Billboard Boxscore, and has been a finalist for the Top Agency award at the Billboard Touring Awards several times.

Arfa tells Billboard.biz that the entire New York-based AGI staff will remain intact, and the company will continue to operate autonomously under its new ownership. "We're all looking forward to the next several years together," he says. While he declined to divulge the sale price, Arfa did say he was "very happy, and any agent in the music business would be, too." ...

Neil Peart Drums Volume 2: The GroovesEarlier this week Sonic Reality made available a pre-release version of Neil Peart Drums Volume 2: The Grooves - the follow-up to their Neil Peart Drums Volume 1: The Kit which they
released a couple years back. The Volume 2: The Grooves release includes 500 groove patterns from Neil Peart for use on your own songs. You can check out all the details and purchase the pre-release version at the esoundz.com website. Sonic Reality's Dave Kerzner is currently working with a number of artists on a prog-rock project called Sonic Elements which utilizes the drum samples from Neil Peart Drums Volume 1 to create cover versions of several Rush tracks and tracks from other prog-rock artists. Sonic Elements will be releasing an entire album's worth of Rush covers sometime in the next few months. You can check out a sample of Red Barchetta featuring Triumph's Rik Emmett along with several other Rush cover samples at the Sonic Elements page on SoundCloud.

Gibson.com posted their list of the top 10 Great Rock Rhythm Sections earlier this week and the Rush rhythm section of Neil Peart and Geddy Lee came in at #2 behind John Paul Jones and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. Here's what they had to say:

Canadian power trio Rush gained a following thanks to their virtuoso instrumentals and radio-friendly progressive rock style. Geddy Lee proved the quintessential hard rock frontman, with his oh-so distinct tenor - and a bass player, to boot! It's Lee's attention to bass grooves and vocal melodies and his perfect fit with drummer Neil Peart - who, consequently, is to praise for much of Rush's songwriter - that makes this ranking a no-brainer.

You can check out the entire list at this link. And San Francisco Chronicle pop culture critic Peter Hartlaub posted his list of the greatest rock and blues guitarists of all time this past Tuesday as a sort of rebuke of Rolling Stone's recently published list of their 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time:

I enjoyed reading the last month's Rolling Stone magazine list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time. Yes, I was completely outraged by some of the rankings. Rush's Alex Lifeson behind Andy Summers and Joni Mitchell? James Hetfield but no Kirk Hammett? Muddy Waters at No. 49?!? Joe Satriani doesn't make the list at all?!?!? ...

Alex faired much better on Hartlaub's list, coming in at #9 rather than the #98 ranking given him by Rolling Stone:

9. ALEX LIFESON (RS: 98) The least well-known member of Rush is indispensable to the band's success. His versatility and technical excellence are unrivaled in the genre -- and at age 58 he's still pushing forward.

Voting for Modern Drummer magazine's 2012 Readers' Poll is now underway and Neil Peart is nominated in two of the categories: Best Prog Drummer and Best Instructional DVD for Taking Center Stage. Just go to the Modern Drummer website to cast your vote.

Rush - The First American Broadcast: ABC 1974According to a catalog entry at UK online music store Plastichead.com, the Rock Classics label will be releasing a double vinyl edition of Rush's live WMMS radio broadcast of their August 26th, 1974 show at the Cleveland Agora. The CD version had been released in the UK via Left Field Media on October 24th of last year and on November 1st as an import in the US. The vinyl edition will be titled The First American Broadcast: ABC 1974 and release on March 12th in the UK. You can check out the cover art and track listing in this post. This was Rush's first recorded performance in the US as well as the band's first recorded performance with Neil Peart on drums, and a young Donna Halper - who was the music director at WMMS at the time - introduced the band. It contains the early, unreleased tracks Fancy Dancer, Bad Boy (cover) and Garden Road.

Actor/writer and Rush fan Wil Wheaton made a couple of Rush-related tweets last weekend (thanks Hentor the Barbarian):

#homebrewing beer and listening to Rush turned up to 11, while the @LAKings game is on. It's not ALL bad when the wife is out of town...
5 Jan

Tonight's #homebrewing playlist: 2112, Moving Pictures, Fly By Night. Thanks, @RushTheBand!
6 Jan

It sounds like Wil had himself a good time. :)

Rush made RollingStone.com's Week in Rock History this past week (thanks John at Cygnus-X1.net):

January 8, 1979: Rush are named Canada's official ambassadors of music
A decade after Rush formed in Toronto, Canada, the power trio were the toast of the country. Their 1974 self-titled record was one of the top-selling debuts by any Canadian act, and their brainy lyrics and interwoven fretwork earned them hordes of fans in the international rock community. By the end of the decade they'd grown in leaps and bounds, in both success and musical style, from their debut single, a 1973 cover of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away."

The Canadian government was impressed, and then some. In 1979, they bestowed the group with the title of official Ambassadors of Music for the country. The honor would prove fruitful in getting members Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart out of their parking tickets - as well as selling approximately 40 million albums worldwide.

Speaking of Rush history, this past week was the 23rd anniversary of the release of Rush's 1989 live album A Show of Hands. Also celebrating an anniversary was Alex Lifeson's one and only solo album Victor, which released on January 9th, 1996.

Geddy Lee gets mentioned in this Broward-Palm Peach New Times article (thanks RushFanForever) discussing REM's Michael Stipe and other singers who boast more swagger than skill:

With his high-pitched yelp, Geddy often sounds like he's got his nuts in a vice and has yet to find a way to free them. Still, Rush has its legions of fans, so who's to argue with the squeal of success?

Speaking of Geddy, resourceful YouTuber oddjob102 decided to take a bootleg clip of Geddy Lee and add a clever cartoon visual resulting in this clip titled Geddytoons Episode 1: The Big Bummer (thanks RushFanForever). The sound clip is of Geddy getting a little angry with the crowd at a November 20, 1978 show in Tucson, Arizona at a venue called the Community Center. You can check out the clip below or at this link:

That's all for this week. Try to avoid any bad luck on this Friday the 13th and have a fantastic weekend everyone!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Vinyl edition of Rush: ABC 1974 live radio broadcast coming in March
5:28PM EST | link | comments (14) |

Rush - The First American Broadcast: ABC 1974According to a catalog entry at UK online music store Plastichead.com, the Rock Classics label will be releasing a double vinyl edition of Rush's live WMMS radio broadcast of their August 26th, 1974 show at the Cleveland Agora. The CD version had been released in the UK via Left Field Media on October 24th of last year and on November 1st as an import in the US. The vinyl edition will be titled The First American Broadcast: ABC 1974 and release on March 12th in the UK. The cover art can be seen here and the tracklist is as follows:

SIDE A
1. Finding My Way
2. The Best I Can
3. Need Some Love
4. In The End
SIDE B
5. Fancy Dancer
6. In The Mood
7. Bad Boy
8. Here Again

SIDE C
9. Working Man
10. Drum Solo
11. What You're Doing
SIDE D
12. Garden Road
13. Anthem
14. Beneath, Between & Behind
15. Fly By Night

This was Rush's first recorded performance in the US as well as the band's first recorded performance with Neil Peart on drums, and a young Donna Halper - who was the music director at WMMS at the time - introduced the band. It contains the early, unreleased tracks Fancy Dancer, Bad Boy (cover) and Garden Road. Thanks to BW&BK for the heads up and cover art.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Neil Peart news update at NeilPeart.net
8:44PM EST | link | comments (182) |

[NEWS, WEATHER, and SPORTS: January, 2012 - At the Gate of the Year]

Nick Raskulinecz in the studio with Neil PeartIt's been a while, but Neil Peart finally updated the News page on his website this evening with a story titled At the Gate of the Year. In this latest installment Neil updates us on what he's been up to since his last update including a late December jaunt in his old Aston Martin DB5 down the Pacific Coast Highway, celebrating the Pagan Winter Festival with family, mourning the passing of his friend and mentor Freddie Gruber, and - of course - recording the new album:

... While Alex and Geddy were finishing the writing and arranging in one smaller room of the studio, over in the big room I was working with The Mighty Booujzhe, recording my drum parts. As we prepare to start mixing in the New Year, it is too early to say anything about the results. (I once described mixing as "the end of waiting," while Geddy calls it, "the death of hope.") About the process, though, I can't resist spilling a little. ...

He then goes on in great detail about how he worked with Nick Raskulinecz to compose the drum parts, and tried out some new methods of recording and learning his parts. He even includes a three-line snippet of the lyrics from one of the new songs. It's a great update chock full of great photos and interesting stories - as usual. Be sure to read the whole thing.

Related Posts:
[Geddy Lee talks Moog Taurus pedals in new in-studio interview]
[Geddy Lee talks Clockwork Angels in new Classic Rock interview]
[Rush's Clockwork Angels album/tour most-anticipated of 2012]
[Rush wraps up Clockwork Angels recording]
[Alex Lifeson talks Clockwork Angels in new Guitar World interview]
[Guitar World readers vote Rush's Clockwork Angels as the most anticipated album of 2012]
[New Billboard interview with Geddy Lee]
[Alex Lifeson Planet Rock interview now online]
[Rush Clockwork Angels feature in latest issue of Rolling Stone]
[Clockwork Angels update: writing completed, recording underway]
[Alex Lifeson Humble and Fred podcast interview now online]
[Geddy Lee talks Clockwork Angels, 2012 tour in new Rolling Stone interview]

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Rush makes Rolling Stone's 10 Most Anticipated Tours of 2012
5:45PM EST | link | comments (9) |

Clockwork AngelsOver the weekend RollingStone.com asked readers to let them know what bands they are most excited to see in concert in 2012. Today they released the results of the poll and Rush landed in the top 10 at #6 (thanks RushFanForever). Here's what they had to say:

Rush are putting the finishing touches on their new LP Clockwork Angels at the moment and hope to have it in stores this spring. We spoke with Rush frontman Geddy Lee in October about their plans beyond that. "There will be a tour," he said. "I can't tell you exactly when. Maybe the summer or maybe the fall. We need some time to organize all that, but we have started to do that. But yes, there will be a follow-up tour to support the record." The group did their 1981 classic Moving Pictures on the last tour, so we suggested to Lee that they bust out 2112 next time out. "I think that's something that would be fun to try," he said. "It's definitely possible."

You can check out the complete results of the poll at this link and read the October interview with Geddy that they refer to at this link.

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Sonic Reality's Neil Peart Drums Volume 2: The Grooves pre-release now available
10:23AM EST | link | comments (6) |

Neil Peart Drums Volume 2: The GroovesA couple of years back Sonic Reality released their Neil Peart series drum sample instrument library Neil Peart Drums Volume 1: The Kit. It features drum samples from Neil Peart himself and was produced with the help of Rush producer Nick Raskulinecz. Sonic Reality has now released the follow-up - Neil Peart Drums: Vol. 2 The Grooves. This release include 500 groove patterns from Neil Peart for use on your own songs. You can check out all the details and purchase a pre-release version at the esoundz.com website (thanks Andrew Olson):

R.A.W. Artist Pack: Neil Peart Drums Vol. 2 The Grooves.
Pre-Release Version
MSRP: $79.00
Your Price: $49.00

As a follow up to Sonic Reality's Neil Peart Drums Vol. 1 The Kit, in 2012 Vol. 2 The Groove series is about to begin. Here is an opportunity to get a pre-release version of the the Neil Peart Drums R.A.W. Artist Pack featuring Rex, Apple Loops and Wave drum grooves performed by Neil Peart, the legendary drummer of the band Rush, which was recorded by producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, Foo Fighters, Alice In Chains). This title focuses on the hard rock grooves of Rush in the style of songs from Rush's "Roll The Bones" album up through "Snakes and Arrows". Over 500 groove patterns to work with in any combination with flexible tempos so they can fit into any style of music you re working on. It's like having Neil Peart play drums on your songs! Don t miss this chance to get a preliminary introductory price on an incredible new drum groove library from Sonic Reality! Neil Peart Drums R.A.W. Artist Pack is the ultimate collection of album quality stereo mixed drums for your music!

* Rex 597 Loops, 487MB (unzipped)
* Apple 597 Loops, 642MB (unzipped)
* Wave 597 Loops, 641MB (unzipped)

Included Grooves

* Armor Grooves
* Cry Grooves
* Dream Grooves
* Ghost Grooves
* MagNarc Grooves
* Main Monkey Beats
* Spind Grooves
* The Larger Beats
* Victory Grooves
* Way The Wind

Sonic Reality's Dave Kerzner is currently working with a number of artists on a prog-rock project called Sonic Elements which utilizes the drum samples from Neil Peart Drums Volume 1 to create cover versions of several Rush tracks and tracks from other prog-rock artists. Sonic Elements will be releasing an entire album's worth of Rush covers sometime in the next few months. You can check out a sample of Red Barchetta featuring Triumph's Rik Emmett along with several other Rush cover samples at the Sonic Elements page on SoundCloud.

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Rush makes Gibson's list of 10 Great Rock Rhythm Sections
10:01AM EST | link | comments (5) |

Gibson.com has posted their list of the top 10 Great Rock Rhythm Sections and the Rush rhythm section of Neil Peart and Geddy Lee came in at #2 behind John Paul Jones and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. Here's what they had to say:

Canadian power trio Rush gained a following thanks to their virtuoso instrumentals and radio-friendly progressive rock style. Geddy Lee proved the quintessential hard rock frontman, with his oh-so distinct tenor - and a bass player, to boot! It's Lee's attention to bass grooves and vocal melodies and his perfect fit with drummer Neil Peart - who, consequently, is to praise for much of Rush's songwriter - that makes this ranking a no-brainer.

You can check out the entire list at this link. Thanks to John at Cygnus-X1.net for the heads up.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Alex Lifeson makes San Francisco Chronicle's list of the greatest rock/blues guitarists of all time
10:59AM EST | link | comments (21) |

[Today's Special: Greatest rock/blues guitarists of all time]

San Francisco Chronicle pop culture critic Peter Hartlaub posted his list of the greatest rock and blues guitarists of all time today as a sort of rebuke of Rolling Stone's recently published list of their 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time:

I enjoyed reading the last month's Rolling Stone magazine list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time. Yes, I was completely outraged by some of the rankings. Rush's Alex Lifeson behind Andy Summers and Joni Mitchell? James Hetfield but no Kirk Hammett? Muddy Waters at No. 49?!? Joe Satriani doesn't make the list at all?!?!? ...

Alex faired much better on Hartlaub's list, coming in at #9 rather than the #98 ranking given him by Rolling Stone:

9. ALEX LIFESON (RS: 98) The least well-known member of Rush is indispensable to the band's success. His versatility and technical excellence are unrivaled in the genre -- and at age 58 he's still pushing forward.

Thanks to Power Windows for the heads up.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Vote for Neil Peart in 2012 Modern Drummer Readers' Poll
11:38AM EST | link | comments (16) |

Modern Drummer 2012 Readers' PollModern Drummer magazine has opened up voting for its 2012 Readers' Poll and Neil Peart is nominated in two of the categories: Best Prog Drummer and Best Instructional DVD for Taking Center Stage. Just go to the Modern Drummer website to cast your vote. Thanks to Power Windows for the heads up.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rush's Time Machine Tour makes 51 on Pollstar's list of the top-grossing North American tours of 2011
8:25PM EST | link | comments (28) |

Rush Time Machine Tour 2011Pollstar recently released their list of the 200 top-grossing North American concert tours of 2011 and Rush's Time Machine Tour made the list at #51. Rush played 26 North American shows on the 2011 tour, grossing a total of $18.3 million or about $732,000 per show. U2 was way up at the top of the pack with $156 million; the #2 spot went to Taylor Swift with $97.7 million and #3 went to Kenny Chesney with $84.6 million. You can see the entire list online as a pdf at this link. To check out individual show attendance and sales numbers, just check out the tour section. Thanks to Sean for the heads up.

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Updates and other random Rush stuff
12:23PM EST | link | comments (33) |

Clockwork AngelsWelcome to 2012 everyone! Things are already off to a great start in Rush-land this year as more news regarding the band's upcoming Clockwork Angels album starts to trickle in. Geddy Lee was interviewed for a 2012 album preview feature in the latest issue of Classic Rock magazine and spoke a little about the album. Geddy confirms that the band recorded the album at Revolution Recording and Noble Street Studios in Toronto, and had the following to say regarding the title track along with the steampunk theme of Clockwork Angels:

... the title track is shaping up to be a classic Rush epic. "That song is a longer piece, and I think if anything it'll only get longer when we've finished with it," he says. "I don't think it's double digits yet in terms of minutes, but we're pushing all the songs as long as we can." ... "There's a story going on," confirms Lee. "When we had discussions about themes for the album it was connected to the idea of a different kind of future and the whole aesthetic of steampunk, which is so cool. It's a futuristic point of view that's rooted in the past, which makes it so interesting. When you look at the steampunk designs they all look Victorian yet fast-forwarded in some magical way to the future. The idea of building a story around that world appealed to us. The Time Machine tour really was a preview of that. We jumped the gun a bit and got too excited and couldn't hold it back." ...

You can read the whole interview by clicking on the scans. Moog Music also caught up with Geddy in the studio recently to talk about Moog Taurus pedals. They posted the first installment of a 3-part interview to their website yesterday in which Geddy talks about his first introduction to the Taurus sound, how it influenced Rush's song construction back in the '70s, and the new Moog Minitaur. Geddy also mentions how much of a fan of the Taurus pedals their producer Nick Raskulinecz is and reveals that they've already used them on a few of the tracks on the new album. You can check out the video at this link. According to Darryl Sterdan of Canada's Sun Media, Rush's upcoming album and tour are among the most-anticipated of 2012. Earlier this week he revealed his list of the 12 most-anticipated albums of 2012 and Rush was #8:

#8 - Rush, Clockwork Angels: Tick tock, dudes. Way back in the summer of 2010, the long-running Canadian power trio teased us with two tracks -- Caravan and BU2B -- from this 19th studio album. Word is they'll finally unveil the rest this June.

Rush's upcoming tour in support of the album also made his top 12 most-anticipated tours of 2012. Clockwork Angels was also one of the featured upcoming albums of 2012 in MSN.com's 2012 New Music Guide (thanks Red Comet):

As Rush are a musical religion that doesn't evangelize, there's no point in this writer singing their praises to the crossed arms and rolled eyes of the haters. But to those of us who worship at their melodic math-rock altar, "Clockwork Angels" is one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Due out in March, this, the band's 19th studio album, has been in process for close to three years. In fact, the first single, "Caravan," was released way back in June 2010. When it drops, look for a rush to the record store (no pun intended).

So Sterdan says the album is coming in June and MSN says March. I don't think they have any inside information and are just speculating. June seems too late and March too early. I'm guessing it'll be more like April/May, but we'll see soon enough. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some kind of official album/tour announcement by early next month. Methinks 2/1/12 would be an appropriate date for an announcement. :)

Old Grey Whistle TestThe influential BBC television show The Old Grey Whistle Test - which ran from 1971 to 1987 - celebrated its 40th anniversary last year and will commemorate the occasion with a special show at the Sage Hall in Gateshead, UK on January 15th that will unveil rare footage from BBC Worldwide archive recording. What they are claiming will be the highlight of the show is some rare footage of Rush playing Xanadu. However, the rare footage in question that was aired on the show originally back in 1977 was the same in-studio video that was included as an extra on the R30 DVD and has been available online and to bootleggers in various forms for years. Rush actually never appeared live on the show itself, so it looks like they'll just be showing this same video, although we are still awaiting clarification.

A Show of Hands autographed vinylThe Rush Backstage Club is running a new contest where you could win an autographed, vinyl copy of A Show of Hands:

This coveted RUSH "A Show Of Hands Vinyl" was signed by Geddy, Alex and Neil many years ago. Found in the vaults, we are willing to give this rare item away to one lucky winner!

For all the details and to enter just go to this link.

The Village Voice ran an article on New Year's Day which focused on mnemonic devices to help you remember that the year is now 2012. In the article they have a series of 3 pictures - one of which is Geddy Lee - along with the following instructions:

... On the left is Geddy Lee, the lead singer of Rush. Rush's most famous album is, of course, "2112." The middle picture is of a woman sneezing. Sneezing occurs when your sinuses are irritated. Sinus sounds like minus. On the right is novelist Gabriel García Márquez, who wrote 100 Years of Solitude. So: 2112-100 (years of solitude)= 2012. It's 2012! ...

Bass Player - Feb 2012The February, 2012 issue of Bass Player magazine features a cover story and interview with Fishbone's Norwood Fisher. When asked about his favorite live rhythm sections he mentions Neil Peart and Geddy Lee:

... Neil Peart's musicianship has always set the bar high, but the way he and Geddy Lee lock-dude! ...

He also mentions Geddy as an early influence:

... We cut our teeth playing a lot of Rush-I learned all those Geddy Lee bass lines from Permanent Waves [1980] and Moving Pictures [1981] ...

Thanks to Marc C for the heads up.

Sonic Reality's Neil Peart Drums Volume 1Pro Sound Network recently posted an article (thanks RushFanForever) on the Sonic Reality Sonic Elements project which I'd first mentioned back in November. They talk with Triumph's Rik Emmett about his recording of Red Barchetta which he did with the help of Sonic Reality's Neil Peart Drums sample software:

..."It was such a great day in the studio, jamming out to Neil's incredible tracks, getting to play virtual 'basement band' and laying down my versions of Geddy and Alex's parts. I felt like I had been transported back to 1980 for an afternoon. 'Red Barchetta' is one of my absolute favorite Rush songs-like an exciting, Ray Bradbury-esque short story, told by a progressive rock band-so to get a crack at it, with the actual drum takes that Neil performed, was an 'artistic' challenge, almost like accepting a dare." ... "This is like Rock Band for the seriously, deeply committed." ...

The Sonic Elements project will be releasing an entire album's worth of Rush covers sometime in the next few months. You can check out a sample of Red Barchetta along with several other Rush cover samples at the Sonic Elements page on SoundCloud.

Reader RushFanForever located this short CBC radio interview with Le Studio founder Andre Perry which was posted to the Raised on Radio blog back in October. Perry owned Le Studio back in its heyday and talks about what it was like to be witness to the recording of 7 classic Rush albums. He also mentions how much of a class act Rush was to work with. You can listen to the interview at this link.

Reader Road Map of Jupiter let me know that on Dec. 26th Sirius XM aired their Artist Confidential series featuring American rock band Evanescence. Rush producer Nick Raskulinecz produced the band's 2011 self-titled album and they gush over Nick in the interview. When asked to tell a good Nick story, the band's guitarist mentions how Nick took the band to see Rush's show in Nashville last year where they got to meet Alex and Geddy. You can listen to the interview on YouTube at this link; the Rush part comes in at about the 28-minute mark.

Andrew Olson recently created a survey on Facebook and asked people to vote on their favorite from among 10 of Neil Peart's most well-known drum kits. After 129 votes, he posted the results over on his Neil Peart fan page at this link. The overwhelming winner with 43% of the vote was Neil's Time Machine DW kit.

Speaking of Neil, apparently he was a student at the Ontario College of Percussion at some point in his early career according to the school's website. My guess is he attended some low-profile clinic at one point and the school decided to flaunt it. :) Thanks to RushFanForever for the heads up.

Author Evan Manderly released a book this past September titled Q: A Novel and was interviewed for the Book Club Girl podcast shortly after the release. In the course of discussing the book he reveals that he was a big Rush fan, and particularly a fan of Neil Peart. He goes on to describe how reading Neil's Ghost Rider book gave him the idea and inspiration for the story told in Q. You can listen to the interview at this link; the Rush part comes in at about the 7-minute mark. Thanks to AmyBrink for the heads up.

Cultural Transmogrifier Magazine recently posted an article on Neil Peart, Rush and politics titled The Political Importance of Rush. The article mentions the influence of Ayn Rand on Peart's lyrics and philosophy, but also makes the argument that Peart's philosophy is closer to French philosopher Michel Foucault than to Rand. You can check out the article at this link.

Neil Peart also gets a quick mention in this Vancouver Sun article on the BMW 1200 GS:

... Ewan McGregor and Charly Boorman introduced the motorcycling world to the possibilities of adventure travel and lifted any preconceived inhibitions of their viewers by travelling the globe in 2004 on BMW R1150 GS, also the bike of choice of Rush drummer Neil Peart, who upgraded to the BMW R1200 GS after logging over 160,000 kilometres for his epic journeys. ...

The No Treble website for bass players has put together a mini-site calling for Rush's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The site is called Before 2112 and features this snazzy little video along with a petition that already has over 800 signatures. To check out the site and sign the petition just go to this link (thanks Druphis).

Classic Rock's Prog magazine is conducting its annual readers poll and Rush needs your vote. You can take the poll at this link (thanks RushFanForever).

Here's part 1 of Geddy Lee's 3-part video interview with Moog Music:

That's all for the first week of 2012. Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Geddy Lee talks Moog Taurus pedals in new in-studio interview
1:14PM EST | link | comments (28) |

Clockwork AngelsUPDATE - 2/16@1:57PM: Parts 2 and 3 of the interview are now online (part 2, part 3).

Geddy Lee was quoted in this MusicRadar.com article from earlier today pimping the new Moog Minitaur monophonic tabletop bass synthesizer which will be unveiled at the 2012 Winter NAMM show. To celebrate the release, the Moog Music YouTube channel posted the first of a series of 3 videos where they interview Geddy Lee from the recording studio where the band was working on Clockwork Angels. In this first installment Geddy talks about his first introduction to the Taurus sound, how it influenced Rush's song construction back in the '70s, and the Moog Minitaur. Geddy also mentions how much of a fan of the Taurus pedals their producer Nick Raskulinecz is and reveals that they've already used them on a few of the tracks on the new album. You can check out the video below or at this link (thanks Eric).

Related Posts:
[Geddy Lee talks Clockwork Angels in new Classic Rock interview]
[Rush's Clockwork Angels album/tour most-anticipated of 2012]
[Rush wraps up Clockwork Angels recording]
[Alex Lifeson talks Clockwork Angels in new Guitar World interview]
[Guitar World readers vote Rush's Clockwork Angels as the most anticipated album of 2012]
[New Billboard interview with Geddy Lee]
[Alex Lifeson Planet Rock interview now online]
[Rush Clockwork Angels feature in latest issue of Rolling Stone]
[Clockwork Angels update: writing completed, recording underway]
[Alex Lifeson Humble and Fred podcast interview now online]
[Geddy Lee talks Clockwork Angels, 2012 tour in new Rolling Stone interview]
[Rush sound engineer Rich Chycki on Clockwork Angels recording, Sector box sets]
[Rush producer Nick Raskulinecz: Clockwork Angels in pre-production; start recording mid-October]
[Rush signs with Roadrunner Records]

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New contest at the Rush Backstage Club
3:37PM EST | link | comments (19) |

A Show of Hands autographed vinyl[Win an autographed A Show of Hands vinyl!]

The Rush Backstage Club is running a new contest where you could win an autographed, vinyl copy of A Show of Hands:

This coveted RUSH "A Show Of Hands Vinyl" was signed by Geddy, Alex and Neil many years ago. Found in the vaults, we are willing to give this rare item away to one lucky winner!

For all the details and to enter just go to this link.

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Geddy Lee talks Clockwork Angels in new Classic Rock interview
12:57PM EST | link | comments (17) |

The latest issue of Classic Rock magazine hit store shelves today and contains a large feature previewing all of the most-anticipated albums of 2012 including Rush's Clockwork Angels. The feature contains a short, 2-page interview with Geddy Lee where he talks about the upcoming album. The interview was conducted late last year just as Neil Peart was getting into town for the recording, so it doesn't contain much in the way of new information. Geddy confirms that the band recorded the album at Revolution Recording and Noble Street Studios in Toronto, and has the following to say regarding the title track along with the steampunk theme of the album:

... the title track is shaping up to be a classic Rush epic. "That song is a longer piece, and I think if anything it'll only get longer when we've finished with it," he says. "I don't think it's double digits yet in terms of minutes, but we're pushing all the songs as long as we can." ... "There's a story going on," confirms Lee. "When we had discussions about themes for the album it was connected to the idea of a different kind of future and the whole aesthetic of steampunk, which is so cool. It's a futuristic point of view that's rooted in the past, which makes it so interesting. When you look at the steampunk designs they all look Victorian yet fast-forwarded in some magical way to the future. The idea of building a story around that world appealed to us. The Time Machine tour really was a preview of that. We jumped the gun a bit and got too excited and couldn't hold it back." ...

You can read the whole interview by clicking on the scans above. Thanks to ReedLover for the scans and RushFanForever for the heads up.

Related Posts:
[Rush's Clockwork Angels album/tour most-anticipated of 2012]
[Rush wraps up Clockwork Angels recording]
[Alex Lifeson talks Clockwork Angels in new Guitar World interview]
[Guitar World readers vote Rush's Clockwork Angels as the most anticipated album of 2012]
[New Billboard interview with Geddy Lee]
[Alex Lifeson Planet Rock interview now online]
[Rush Clockwork Angels feature in latest issue of Rolling Stone]
[Clockwork Angels update: writing completed, recording underway]
[Alex Lifeson Humble and Fred podcast interview now online]
[Geddy Lee talks Clockwork Angels, 2012 tour in new Rolling Stone interview]
[Rush sound engineer Rich Chycki on Clockwork Angels recording, Sector box sets]
[Rush producer Nick Raskulinecz: Clockwork Angels in pre-production; start recording mid-October]
[Rush signs with Roadrunner Records]

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Rare Rush 1977 performance of Xanadu to be shown at Old Grey Whistle Test 40th anniversary show
11:41AM EST | link | comments (21) |

Old Grey Whistle Test[Rare RUSH Performance On OGWT Anniversary Show!]

UPDATE - 1/17@4:52PM: According to reader Russell T who attended the event, no Rush at all was shown - not even the Xanadu clip. :(

UPDATE - 1/4@2:58PM: From several reader comments and other Rush forum comments I've been reading, it looks like it's very likely that this rare footage they are talking about is just the Xanadu in-studio video that's an extra on the R30 DVD and was filmed at Seneca College Theatre in Toronto in 1977. That is the footage that was originally shown on the show back in 1977 according to several accounts from folks who watched the show. Unless there's some other, unknown live in-studio footage that we don't know about, this footage they are talking about is probably not new. Nothing's been confirmed yet, but that's the way it's looking.

The influential BBC television show The Old Grey Whistle Test - which ran from 1971 to 1987 - celebrated its 40th anniversary last year and will commemorate the occasion with a special show at the Sage Hall in Gateshead, UK on January 15th that will unveil rare footage from BBC Worldwide archive recording. One of the recordings is of special interest to Rush fans. From the MusicPro website:

... The highlight of the show and the clip which is causing the most interest for UK progressive rock fans is an extremely rare recording of Canadian progressive rockers, RUSH, performing Xanadu in it's entirety during a performance that Phipps regards as one of the main peaks of the Old Grey Whistle Test shows. Phipps says of RUSH at the time, "I knew about them but I'd never seen them and that set literally blew me away." ...

This footage originally aired on the show back in 1977. The Old Grey Whistle Test 40th Anniversary show starts at 8pm on Sunday, January 15th in The Sage, Hall Two and tickets are available online at this link. Thanks to RushFanForever for the heads up.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Rush's Clockwork Angels album/tour most-anticipated of 2012
11:10AM EST | link | comments (26) |

Clockwork AngelsAccording to Darryl Sterdan of Canada's Sun Media, Rush's upcoming Clockwork Angels album and tour are among the most-anticipated of 2012. A couple of days ago he revealed his list of the 12 most-anticipated albums of 2012 and Rush was #8:

#8 - Rush, Clockwork Angels: Tick tock, dudes. Way back in the summer of 2010, the long-running Canadian power trio teased us with two tracks -- Caravan and BU2B -- from this 19th studio album. Word is they'll finally unveil the rest this June.

I'm guessing more like April/May since recording has already wrapped up, but we'll see soon enough. And Rush's upcoming tour in support of the album also made his top 12 most-anticipated tours of 2012:

#12 - Rush: Yes, their new album Clockwork Angels should be ready. But if the Toronto prog trio's 2011 Time Machine: Moving Pictures tour wasn't a precursor to a 2112 trek in 2012, then I'm high priest of the temple of Syrinx -- and these guys aren't nearly as sharp as I've always thought.

He might be right about them playing 2112 in its entirety. Geddy didn't rule out the possibility in this recent Billboard interview:

... We really enjoyed that whole experience. We played for three hours -- you can tuck a 45-minute album in there and still play lots of new things and lots of other things. If we were really out of our minds, we would attempt something like [1978's] "Hemispheres." If Rush has a cult following, within that cult following there's a following for "Hemispheres" [laughs]. I'm not sure we're up for that one, but I could see us doing "2112." ...

Thanks to RushFanForever for the heads up.

Related Posts:
[Rush wraps up Clockwork Angels recording]
[Alex Lifeson talks Clockwork Angels in new Guitar World interview]
[Guitar World readers vote Rush's Clockwork Angels as the most anticipated album of 2012]
[New Billboard interview with Geddy Lee]
[Alex Lifeson Planet Rock interview now online]
[Rush Clockwork Angels feature in latest issue of Rolling Stone]
[Clockwork Angels update: writing completed, recording underway]
[Alex Lifeson Humble and Fred podcast interview now online]
[Geddy Lee talks Clockwork Angels, 2012 tour in new Rolling Stone interview]
[Rush sound engineer Rich Chycki on Clockwork Angels recording, Sector box sets]
[Rush producer Nick Raskulinecz: Clockwork Angels in pre-production; start recording mid-October]
[Rush signs with Roadrunner Records]

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Geddy Lee to appear in the Grunge episode of Metal Evolution
10:31AM EST | link | comments (5) |

UPDATE - 1/5@12:36PM: This may have been a mistake on the part of Audio Ink Radio since the MuchMoreMusic website has already posted the full episode online at this link (Canada only) and it doesn't look like Geddy shows up anywhere.

Metal EvolutionThe new VH1 Classic show Metal Evolution premiered back in November and now has 6 episodes under its belt. The show is the brainchild of Rush documentary and Time Machine video director Sam Dunn and builds on the mission first put forth in his groundbreaking Metal: A Headbanger's Journey documentary - in which Geddy Lee had appeared. Episode 7 of the show premieres this weekend and will focus on the early 1990s upsurge of grunge and alternative music and subsequent demise of hair metal and glam. According to Audio Ink Radio, Geddy Lee will be making an appearance on the show to discuss Rush's respect for the Seattle scene and how they assimilated elements of grunge into their own music. Geddy has already made an appearance on the show, appearing in episode 2 to discuss the contributions of American garage rock band Blue Cheer to the origins of heavy metal. There will also be an upcoming episode focusing specifically on progressive metal which promises to make heavy mention of Rush as Sam Dunn states in this recent interview with Spinner Magazine. Geddy's brother Allan Weinrib is the production manager for the show and has been the Executive Producer and Head of Production and Development at Banger Films (Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen's film production company) since December of last year. For more information visit the Metal Evolution website.

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