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Friday, August 29, 2014

Billy Corgan Talks About Rush's Ongoing Inspiration

Billy Corgan on Rush
The Chicago Sun-Times has posted a new interview with Smashing Pumpkin's frontman Billy Corgan titled Billy Corgan at home and at peace with making rock and roll. In the interview, Corgan speaks of his continued respect and inspiration for Rush:
His inspirations are now bands that continue to make music but without artistic pretense, such as Neil Young, Iggy Pop, and particularly Rush. He says the Canadian rock giants have taught him that “the right way to get older is no apologies, do your thing, and when you get out there, you can still walk off the stage feeling you’re one of the best at what you do.”

“You don’t feel they’re leaving anything on the table or phoning it in,” he says. “That’s the spirit that made you love them in the first place.”
As most fans know, Corgan not only introduced the band when they received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame but he also had a large part in the band's multi-award winning documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage.

Thanks to Eric from Power Windows for the news.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rush Lands at the #2 Spot on VH-1's 25 Biggest Hit Making Trios List

Rush Lands at the #2 Spot on VH-1's 25 Biggest Hit Making Trios List
Utilizing both the number of Billboard chart entries along with RIAA sales certifications, VH-1 has come up with a list of the 25 Biggest Hit Making Trios of all time:
Measuring the success rates of rock stars is never an easy thing, but by calculating the number of Billboard chart entries along with RIAA sales certifications, we’ve come up with a pretty good scorecard for these threesomes who’ve made sweet sweet love to your ears over the years. We’ve got classics like the Bee Gees, Green Day, ZZ Top and the Goo Goo Dolls, who’ve spent decades assaulting the charts with hit after hit. And then we’ve also got some (relative) newbies like Lady Antebellum, who are already making a bid for the record books with just a few MONSTER sellers under their belt. Head to the gallery above and check out our list of the 25 most successful musical trios in rock history, balancing longevity and sales. Enjoy!
The decidedly pop-oriented list had a few surprising entries including Rush landing in the #2 spot. Rush was listed as having an impressive 42 songs that entered the Top 40 singles list while also having 11 Top 10 albums. Interestingly, the Bee Gees, who were ranked #1 on the list, only had 30 Top 40 songs and 6 Top 10 albums. Hmm.

You can check out the entire photo-gallery style list via this LINK.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Alex Lifeson Turns 61 - Happy Birthday!

Alex Lifeson
Alex Lifeson, one of the founding members of Rush and the band's seminal guitarist, is celebrating his 61st birthday today. It was on this date back in 1953 that Rush Guitarist Alex Lifeson (born Aleksandar Zivojinovich) came into the world in Fernie, British Columbia. As Rush fans know, Lifeson co-founded the band in the summer of 1968 along with John Rutsey, the band's original drummer. Alex was also responsible for bringing front-man Geddy Lee into the mix.

While Alex is obviously best known for being the guitarist for Rush, he's also the part owner of the Toronto restaurant The Orbit Room, is a licensed aircraft pilot, motorcycle rider, a gourmet cook, an artist and has also dabbled with a little acting now and again.

Gibson Guitar has posted a nice retrospective article on Alex titled Alex Lifeson in His Own Words where they celebrate the guitarist's 61st birthday:
Alex Lifeson of Rush turns 61 on August 27 2014. Why celebrate Alex's 61st? Well, Rush are planning a 41st Anniversary Tour for 2015, so thought we'd stay as kookily contrary as the legendary Toronto trio.

There's little need to reiterate Lifeson's standing in rock guitar's pantheon. He's hugely talented and unique, you already know that. And like Rush the band, he's grown into being “cool” as a third of what was once the most “uncool” band ever.
Happy Birthday, Alex and many happy returns!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Kevin J. Anderson Announces Two New Writing Projects: "2113" and "Clockwork Lives"

Kevin J. Anderson Announces Two New Writing Projects: '2113' and 'Clockwork Lives'
As most fans know, RushCon 14 took place over the weekend in Toronto. One of the special guests during the convention was Kevin J. Anderson, co-author of the novelization of Clockwork Angels. Kevin made two exciting announcements during his presentation at RushCon.

His first announcement centers around an anthology of Rush-based stories:
For those of you NOT lucky enough to be at Rushcon, I made an announcement this afternoon about an anthology of Rush-based stories I'll be coediting with John McFetridge for ECW (publishers of Clockwork Angels). We have a gang of award-winning and bestselling authors already lined up to contribute stories based on Rush songs. And I'll be doing a novella called "2113".
His second announcement was that he and Neil Peart are writing somewhat of a sequel to the Clockwork Angels novel titled Clockwork Lives. You can watch the announcement via this LINK.

We'll have more news as it becomes available.

Thanks to Kelly D for passing along the news direct from RushCon.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Neil Peart News, Weather, and Sports Update - August 2014 - "Magnetic Mirages"

Neil Peart News, Weather, and Sports Update - August 2014 - Magnetic Mirages
It has been several months since Neil Peart has posted a new update to his "News, Weather, and Sports" website blog, but the four-month long drought ended today with his August 2014 update titled Magnetic Mirages.

In this lengthy entry, Neil discusses numerous trips he has taken to the Channel Islands (and its National Park) in California. The park encompasses five remarkable islands and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was.

From Neil's entry:
This may seem like gratuitous autoporn, or a sly reference to espionage fantasies, but the Channel Islands are there, I promise—just the way I first saw them. After I moved to Southern California in 2000, whenever I rode my motorcycle or drove a car on the Pacific Coast Highway north of Malibu—the wildest, prettiest stretch in Southern California—I would see their distant shadows way out to the northwest. Anacapa, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa, as I know them now.

Around that time Carrie and I lived in a townhouse in Santa Monica, and its roofdeck had a fantastic view to the west, out through the shoreline of fan palms to the Pacific’s distant horizon. On clear days, I liked to see the jagged spine of Catalina in sharp relief, rippling green against the sparkling blue sea and sky. Even more rarely, maybe four or five times a year, often in winter’s clearer skies, I spied a tiny dot north of Catalina. If I stretched out my arm toward it, it was the size of the tip of my thumb. It seemed to float above the ocean, like a pale mirage, and I wasn’t even sure it was real.
You can read the entire entry via this LINK.

And to check out every News, Weather, and Sports entry Neil has made dating back to 2005, they are all available at the News, Weather, and Sports Archives.

"From First to Last" - The Spirit of Rush Fanzine Archive

Michael 'Mick' Burnett - The Spirit of Rush FanzineThe Spirit of Rush Fanzine
Last September, I launched the "Spirit of Rush Fanzine" archive; an exclusive feature of Cygnus-X1.Net that brought back to life the longest-running Rush fanzine ever published.

The Spirit of Rush was launched back in 1987 and ran for over fifteen years. In over sixty published issues, the fanzine brought Rush news, articles, reviews, concert updates, fan art, exclusive band interviews and so much more to fans around the globe.

Over the past year, I've been publishing a "new" issue of the fanzine each week and now, at long last, we've arrived at the final, closing issue. Sadly, the fanzine ended its impressive run due to the untimely passing of its founder and editor Michael "Mick" Burnett. From the archive's introduction:
"In late July of 2002, after publishing over 60 issues since that fateful summer in 1987, tragedy struck the fanzine. The editor and founder of the Spirit of Rush, Mick Burnett, passed away suddenly after suffering a heart attack. Just a month later, Mick was celebrated and remembered during a Rush convention in England - one that was essentially sponsored by the fanzine. Following the 63rd issue of the fanzine, one that was dedicated to Mick, a final issue was released after which the Spirit of Rush closed its doors forever."
Issue #64 (#69), which was originally published during the Spring of 2003, is now online and includes some very moving tributes to Mick, along with some additional Rush items of the day including several interviews with Geddy Lee and news on Vapor Trails.

Personally, it has been a joy to bring these fanzines back to life. I had a great time reading through them all as I prepared each issue for re-publication on this site. Once again I would like to thank both Monica Zimmerman, a former contributor to the Spirit of Rush, and Janet Balmer, one of the co-editors of the fanzine for the help and permission to reprint the fanzines online.

To access the complete archive, please click HERE.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Neil Peart Drum Expo 2014 Interview: "The Pursuit of Excellence"

Neil Peart Drum Expo 2014 Interview:
MusicRadar and Rhythm Magazine's annual Drum Expo is currently underway and, as reported earlier, Neil Peart is among the artist line-up this year.

In connection with his participation with the online show for drummers, Neil was interviewed where he discussed his "Pursuit of Excellence" when it comes to growing as a drummer. From the interview:
"It's been my life's tangent," says Neil Peart on the subject of the pursuit of excellence. Since he joined Rush back in 1975, Neil has been the poster boy for prog - a disciplined, metronomic and powerful player. More than 35 years since he joined the world's foremost power trio, Rush are still breaking new ground.

eil's mastery of his trade has made him the toast of his peers in the rock community. His career is littered with classic performances and brilliantly crafted drum parts that are vital to Rush's musical identity. Yet despite his success, Neil remains a student of his art, reinventing his playing virtually from scratch in the 90s with drum guru Freddie Gruber and recently undertaking another course of study with Peter Erskine. The continuing evolution of Neil's abilities speaks to the truth of the maxim that success is not an act, but a habit. The pursuit of excellence is a journey, not a destination.
You can read the entire interview at this LINK.

Thanks to Ed from RushIsABand for the news.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Go Back to School in Style with the Rush Lunchbox

Rush Lunchbox
Over the years, NMR Distribution has offered up a nice variety of Rush related merchandise, including the annual Rush Wall Calendars. Recently, they added a few new items to their lineup including a Rush Starman tin lunchbox, a Rush "Chunky" Starman magnet and a new set of vintage playing cards.

The officially merchandised lunchbox is made of tin, measures 7.75" x 6.75" x 4" and includes "Classic Rush imagery".

The lunchbox is available for sale via Amazon.Com, though it is currently out of stock. The 2015 Rush Wall Calendar should be released soon and can be purchased via this LINK.

The remainder of the items can be purchased directly from the NMR Website at this location.

Thanks to Joe P. for the information on the new items.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Rush: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellence Book Now Available

Rush: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellence Book Now Available
Over the last four years, Robert Freedman, who is the webmaster of the fantastic Rush fan site Rush Vault, has been writing a book about the band. As Robert states, his goal was to develop a book that focused on " overarching narrative that put everything the band has done under a single, unifying theme. It was my intention to do that in my book by showing how all of the band’s music can be understood as an expression of classical liberalism rooted in Aristotelian individualism..."

The result is Rush: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellence from Algora Publishing which is now available. From the book's listing on Amazon:
Rush is often referred to as a libertarian rock band, but really what the band is channeling is an Aristotelian individualism, a philosophy that strongly resonates with today's 40-somethings. This helps explain the band's resurgence in popularity, culminating in its 2013 induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 'Rush: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Excellence' brings together the excitement of the band's progressive music, performed by three musicians whose mastery of their instruments has won them the admiration of their peers, and the surprising philosophical sophistication of their music's lyrics.
The book is a systematic look at the Aristotelian philosophy embedded in the band's lyrics over its 40-year recording career.

Although the topic of the book is academic, the writing is sharp, down-to-earth, and leavened with a dry wit. Anyone interested in the band's music, popular culture, and philosophical ideas simply explained will enjoy this entertaining and thought-provoking work.
Robert enlisted the help of RushIsABand's Ed Stenger to pen the foreword and he also utilizes some concert photos from your's truly in the book.

The book can be purchased at Amazon or directly through the publisher.

Congratulations to Robert for developing this book!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tiffin University to Offer "Rush: Progressive Rock and Modern Society" Course This Fall

The History of John Rutsey and Rush
Tiffin University, a private coeducational university in Tiffin, Ohio, will be offering a unique 15 week course this fall that focuses on the musical and cultural issues of the 1970s and '80s.

An article posted in the Tiffin, Ohio, Advertiser-Tribune explains:
This fall, Canadian rock band Rush is coming to town in the form of a new class to be offered at Tiffin University.

The course, "Rush: Progressive Rock and Modern Society," is to explore the musical and cultural issues of the 1970s and '80s, according to course instructor and adjunct professor Nathan Santos.
Santos proposed the course and is designing the curriculum for the 2014-15 academic year.

He said students in the special topics course are to analyze progressive rock, along with its musical elements, lyrical themes, historical, social and cultural content and its significance within the development of popular music styles.

The 15-week course, for three credit hours, already is filling up, he said.

The course is centered on the music and styles of Rush, which was inducted this spring into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Santos said students are to look at the style changes the band went through over the years and how bands withstand changes to continue to create music.

"It is a good lesson for our students who are pursuing a career in the music field," he said. "The band played an important part in our culture and heritage and the commercial music industry."

Rush is the focus of the course, but also a starting point, he said.

Other topics include literature, philosophy, politics, technology, songwriting, biographies, life on the road and album covers.

Santos has been teaching at TU since 1998, mostly music history.

"I love integrating the historic moments in music history, but making them relevant to serve the students," Santos said. "I want to take the information students already know and bring out a connection. I want them to still remain passionate about history and not dismiss it."

Santos said he was given the chance to come up with a culture class.

"I had always thought a course focused on (Rush) would be a neat idea, (but) never had the chance to do it," he said. "There is a constant need to provide newer courses."

Santos said he hopes to draw new students to the department and program.

"People can get a better idea on what we do and what is offered," Santos said. "Our department is continuing to grow. It is exciting to be able to offer a course like this. It is a good place to be."

Santos said he tries to teach music is communication.

"Rush is trying to communicate a message," he said. "We want to take that and look at where we are today and how we got there."
Thanks to reader Carl Schafer for the news.

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