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Excerpts from Neil Peart's Privately Published Books Now Available

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During the 1980's, a full decade before he released his first novel, The Masked Rider, Neil Peart authored and privately published five other books/travelogues, many of which dealt with his cycling adventures across the globe.

Each book was reportedly produced in very limited quantities, and only gifted to friends and family. As such, these books have rarely seen the light of day beyond Neil's inner circle. Fortunately, I've come across several of these books thanks to sheer luck (and the help of fellow Rush fans). As such, I've transcribed excerpts from some of Neil's early works including, most recently, his 1988 book Raindance Over the Rockies: Across the Rocky Mountains by Bicycle.

From the excerpt:The hours and miles went by smoothly on the flat highway, spokes shining in the sun as we followed the course of the Bow River, aquamarine and foaming white as it tumbled over its rocky bed. Heavy evergreen forest lined the banks, and the air carried the scent o…

Alex Lifeson and his Harper Marilyn Custom Guitar

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Jacob Harper, owner of Booneville, Indiana's Harper Guitars, was recently tasked with creating a custom guitar for Alex Lifeson. From a TriStateHomePage article:A recent request from a rock and roll god tops almost all the other builds. Thanks to his work, an icon has a piece of Boonville, Indiana.

If you know your music legends, you have probably heard of the band 'Rush.'

They have a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and now guitarist Alex Lifeson has a spot for one Harper masterpiece. A mutual friend in the music industry hooked the two up.

In a grainy Facebook video, Lifeson gives the Harper a test drive.

“Hey Jacob, thank you so much, this guitar is mind-blowing, I’m speechless, I can't believe how beautiful it is,” he said.

“Very cool,” said Harper. “I don't think I'll ever get over the fact that I'm building for some of my heroes.”

The attention to detail is unmatched. The fret inlays are interpretations of ‘Rush’ albums. The pick guard, adorne…

Neil Peart's Drum Kit Featured in New Book - CRASH: The World's Greatest Drum Kits

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Modern Drummer Magazine and author David Frangioni have just released a new coffee table book titled CRASH: The World's Greatest Drum Kits From Appice to Peart to Van Halen. As the title suggests, one of Neil Peart's drum kit, presumably from Rush's R40 tour, is featured in the book.

From the Amazon.Com listing:From snares to cymbals, drums are taking over the stage in this first-ever collected look into some of the most famous drum kits of rock and roll history.

Crash is the definitive Illustrated history of the drum kits of rock ’n’ roll legends. Featuring images from live concerts, outdoor festivals, and private recording sessions, this spectacular volume captures the personal connection between artist and instrument. Along with the makes and models, each kit is accompanied by commentary about the history of the kit, its special characteristics, as well as its significance to rock history. Including photographs of Neil Peart, Carl Palmer, Ginger Baker, Keith Moon, Ri…

Rush's R40 Live Concert Video Certified GOLD by the RIAA

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Rush's concert film from their 40th Anniversary Tour R40 Live has just been certified Gold in the category of Video Longform by the The Recording Industry Association of America® (RIAA). The Gold status indicates sales of at least 50,000 units. Platinum status in the Video category is awarded after sales of 100,000 units.

R40 Live: All roads have led to this. Forty-one years in the making, the R40 Live tour took a very real journey back through time. Beginning with the grand design: a state-of-the-art stage set that pivots, rolls and dives, and brings Clockwork Angels in to bombastic, colorful life before marching stridently back in time (through theatre stages, a panoply of band and fan shots, the accrued memories of a life spent playing live) to a mocked-up school gym and the band playing there; a solitary bass amp set on the chair behind Geddy Lee, a mirror ball spiraling crazily above, casting thin rods of light like a light rain across the crowd, "Working Man" co…

Rush Immortalized as Limited-Edition Funko Pop! Figures

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The members of Rush will be the next rock stars to get their own figures in the popular Funko Pop! toy line.

Funko released a list on its website of limited-edition figures that will be made available exclusively at the upcoming FAN EXPO Canada event, which takes place at the Metro Toronto Convention Center from August 30th through September 2nd. Among the new releases on the lists were Funko Pop! likenesses of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart in a three-pack.

The figure of Geddy appears to be wearing a dragon-covered kimono, a la his stage outfit from Rush’s many tours in the ‘70s, while holding a bass guitar. Alex's figure is wearing a printed shirt and holding a guitar fashioned after a Gibson Les Paul. Peart’s counterpart (mustachioed, as the great drummer was through most of the ‘70s) wears a red kimono and holds drumsticks, and appears to be twirling one in his right hand.

While the Funko Pop! website lists no price for the set, reports have indicated that it will reta…

First Incarnation of Rush Formed 50 Years Ago This Month

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While the exact date of the formation of Rush is not known, it is a generally accepted fact that the band's first incarnation occurred fifty years ago this month; in August of 1968. As the story goes, after Alex Lifeson's family moved to Toronto, into one of its many ethnic neighbourhoods, the budding guitarist would become fast friends with John Rutsey, who lived across the street. It wasn't long before the two began playing together.

Soon after, kids from the neighborhood joined in on the fun as basement bands were formed and, just as quickly, dissolved. Throughout it all, Alex and John continued to play and practice together, until they formed their first 'official' band in the Spring of 1968. They called themselves The Projection, yet by the end of the summer of 1968, the band had broken up.

Some time in August, bass player and lead singer Jeff Jones joined John and Alex, forming a new band which would become the first true incarnation of Rush.

On the band…

Geddy Lee Celebrates His 65th Birthday Today!

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Geddy Lee (born Gary Lee Weinrib) is celebrating his 65th birthday today!

Happy Birthday, Geddy -- and many happy returns! "Gary" was born in the small Toronto village of Willowdale. As many fans know, his given first name "Gary" transformed into "Geddy" during his high school days thanks to his mother's heavily-accented pronunciation of his name.

In addition to his musical aspirations, some of Geddy's other interests include collecting fine wines and, of course, baseball. His wine collection is rumored to include some 5,000 bottles and his love of baseball is well documented. In fact back in 2013, Geddy threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the home opener for the Toronto Blue Jays - something he admittedly dreamed of doing for years.

Geddy has recently been working on his upcoming book - Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book of Bass - which is expected out later this year.

In addition to today being Geddy's birthday, it is also the 44th a…

Neil Peart's R40 Drum Kit on Display at the Rhythm! Discovery Center

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Neil Peart's long-time drum technician Lorne "Gump" Wheaton recently spent some time at the Rhythm! Discovery Center in Indianapolis where he set up Neil's drum kit from Rush recent R40 40th Anniversary tour.

According to tweets from Lorne, the drum kit will be on display at the Rhythm! Discovery Center for the next two years starting on August 6th.

About the Discovery center:The Rhythm! Discovery Center is the world’s foremost drum and percussion museum; founded by the Percussive Arts Society in 2009. Rhythm! features unique, interactive exhibits highlighting a rich collection of historic artifacts and hands-on percussion instruments. Drawing upon cultures from around the world, Rhythm! offers an incomparable experience in exploring the universality of rhythm and percussion, and its role in shaping communication, music, art, performance and society.For more information about the center, including directions, exhibit hours, ticket pricess, and more, please visit the…

Alex Lifeson Reveals the Acoustic's Vital Role in Rush's History in New Guitar Player Magazine Interview

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The September 2018 issue of Guitar Player magazine includes a lengthy interview with Alex Lifeson in the magazine's special acoustics section called Frets. The interview, titled Progression: Alex Lifeson's Acoustic Chronicles, has Alex discussing the many roles acoustic guitars have played on numerous Rush albums throughout the years.

From the interview:What did you use to cut the acoustic tracks "Making Memories," "Rivendell," and "In the End"?
We were really broke back then. I had two electric guitars, and I'd borrow acoustic guitars from friends when we went into the studio. Oscar Peterson Jr. [son of the legendary Canadian jazz pianist] lent me a Gibson J-45 for the Fly by Night sessions.

When did you got your first good steel-string?
That wasn't until 1976 when I went to Gibson and did some shopping. I got my white ES-335 and a double-neck electric, but I also got a beautiful Gibson Dove, which I used for years. I still have that gui…

Fantoons Brings New Rush Merchandise to ComicCon

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Fantoons, the creators of numerous, official Rush books, artwork, apparel, and other merchandise, have descended on San Diego's ComicCon this week, bringing with them a plethora of Rush merchandise, including some new album prints and an exclusive ComicCon shirt.

An exciting new addition to their ever-growing collection of merchandise are some very unique album cover "blueprint" prints, including versions of A Farewell to Kings (Sold Out!), Signals, and Moving Pictures. These 12" x 12" prints, available in very limited quantities, are sure to sell out in short order.

As mentioned above, Fantoons are offering up a ComicCon exclusive Rush Starman 'Arcade' t-shirt at their booth. The 8-bit pixelated Starman image is certain to turn heads! Again, this shirt is currently only available at Fantoon's ComicCon booth during this weekend (Booth 0-07).

Fantoons have also released another new Rush logo shirt with a very cool maze design. And for those who…

Rush: A Brief History of Time - The Ohio Files Now Online

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The fifteenth installment of the ongoing series Rush: A Brief History of Time, an ever-growing archive of articles, interviews, reviews, and advertisements about Rush that span every decade from the 70's onward, and collected from the world over, is now online.

This fifteenth installment, dubbed The Ohio Files, is unique in that the entire collection of articles and advertisements came from newspapers situated in the Ohio Valley of the United States. As most fans know, Rush's early rise to fame in the United States began in the Cleveland, Ohio area where then-DJ Donna Halper first starting spinning the band's debut album on Cleveland's WMMS radio station. Since that time, and throughout their career, the Ohio area remained an important part of Rush's history. So much so that the band recorded their 2010-11 Time Machine Live Album in Cleveland, Ohio.

Not only does this installment focus on articles from the Ohio area, but nearly half of the 69 totals entries com…

The 2019 Rush Grace Under Pressure 35th Anniversary Wall Calendar Now Available

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Ever since their 30th anniversary in 2004, Rush has officially released at least one wall calendar each year; many of which celebrated a milestone anniversary of one of their albums. For 2019, Rush decided to celebrate the 35th anniversary of their 10th studio album Grace Under Pressure.

The 16-month calendar, which is now available at Amazon.Com for $14.99, includes 13 images from the p/g era, many of which are from live performances.

Interested in Rush's older wall calendars? They may be difficult to locate these days, however high-resolution scans of each can be found on the main site HERE.

To order your copy of the Rush 2019 Grace Under Pressure 35th Anniversary Wall Calendar, please click HERE.

Thanks to Ed from RushIsABand for passing along the news.