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A modern-day warrior mean mean stride, today's tom sawyer mean mean pride
October 15, 2007 9:34 PM   Subscribe

Rush Rush is a Canadian rock band comprising bassist, keyboardist, and lead vocalist Gary Lee Weinrib, guitarist Alexander Zivojinovich, and drummer and lyricist Neil Ellwood Peart. Bewitched by Ayn Rand, obsessed by nuclear war and enraptured by cheap science fiction, Rush were role models to geeks everywhere, yearning to be cool, but failing. Still, they rocked, in their own way.

Finding Their Way (past Led Zeppelin):
Finding My Way
Working Man
Anthem
Fly By Night
Bastille Day

More progressive than Yes or ELP:
2112
Cygnus X-1
Xanadu
Closer to the Heart
The Trees
Tom Sawyer
Witch Hunt
Spirit of the Radio

Science!!!!:
New World Man
Subdivisions
Red Sector A
Distant Early Warning

And if I wave my magic wand... I'll get the big money (well, not really):
The Big Money
Show Don't Tell
Presto

... And, back to basics:
Working Man
By-Tor and the Snow Dog
Spirit of the Radio
YYZ
La Villa Strangiato
The Trees
posted by psmealey (135 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
As a dork, an early 80's music buff, and a hindbrain Rand fan, I think it's high time. I will finally look into this "Rush" I've heard so much about, and thoroughly, thanks to you psmealey.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:41 PM on October 15, 2007


from the "Ayn Rand" link:

deeply crooning singer/bass & keyboard player Geddy Lee

LAWLZ
posted by sklero at 9:44 PM on October 15, 2007


What about the voice of geddy lee
How did it get so high?
I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy?
(I know him and he does!)

And youre my fact-checkin cuz
(aww...)

-Pavement

But I wish you had a real video from "Take Off," instead of that anime shit. That album was a PHENOMENON on the streets of Toronto in the winter of whatever-the-fuck-it-was, '81 or '82.
I got the album for Christmas. "Shhh, don't talk...this is where the DJ talks...." Golden.
posted by chococat at 9:47 PM on October 15, 2007


My first concert? One word.

RushMovingPictures.
posted by humannaire at 9:47 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


wait... what? rush are objectivists? well i'll be dipped in shit.

[walter]
say what you will about objectivism, dude, at least its an ethos!
[/walter]
posted by joeblough at 9:53 PM on October 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


A buddy of mine,...

DJ ZTRIP vs. "TOM SAWYER" [weird interface but it played for me]
posted by humannaire at 9:53 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fuck you, psmealey, you magnificent son of a bitch.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 9:58 PM on October 15, 2007


Are Rush seen as a geek band in Canada? I think they're a lot more mainstream there, from what I've seen.
Shoot, I've seen Hells Angels in Canada wearing Rush shirts.
posted by Kellydamnit at 9:58 PM on October 15, 2007


Oh man, I love some Rush, but I was really hoping to see this clip linked in there.
posted by sharkweek at 10:02 PM on October 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


And here's Mike masterly mixing "Tom Sawyer" live.
posted by humannaire at 10:07 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


See also.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:07 PM on October 15, 2007


Is this something I'd have to be a guy to understand?
posted by padraigin at 10:08 PM on October 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is this something I'd have to be a guy to understand?

Only if you're not a guy Think about it
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 10:11 PM on October 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


I like the music of Rush, just can't stand Geddy Lee's singing voice.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:11 PM on October 15, 2007


Ah Rush, I can smell the incense in the half-furnished basement hideaway of my best friend's older brother sitting next to the drum set watching the plasma globe and being fantastically bored hearing a pot-fueled discussion of 2112 and various comparison's to Queensryche: Operation Mindcrime.
posted by fleacircus at 10:12 PM on October 15, 2007


I LOVE RUSH!!! Thanks so much for this post! I still think Subdivisions might be one of the best songs of all time. yay!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:20 PM on October 15, 2007


Urgh.

I'm a guy who had lots of friends who were Rush fans. I've always hated 'em. My wife, on the other hand, saw them in concert 3 or 4 times.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:23 PM on October 15, 2007


As a teen, I had a choice during one summer vacation to choose to see Rush or Asia in concert.

I chose ... unwisely.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:25 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


<>Nick's drum set.
posted by ageispolis at 10:26 PM on October 15, 2007


The bands that really reach serious phenomenon status in Canada, at least in the old days, have the strangest lyricists. Gordon Downie is the most unlikely unofficial poet laureate a country ever had, I'm sure. The guys of Rush seem to fall into the same sort of category.

That being said, I never really got the whole Rush thing, though I will more often than not turn "Tom Sawyer" up when it's on the radio. It's hard not to.

Random Rush trivia: "The Spirit of Radio" was inspired by CFNY-FM Toronto. All this machinery / Making modern music / Can still be open-hearted / Not so coldly charted
posted by blacklite at 10:28 PM on October 15, 2007


And by <> I mean <>, silly.
posted by ageispolis at 10:28 PM on October 15, 2007


The one thing I'll credit Rush with (and the only thing I can think of offhand) is coming up with a band name in the late 60's that still doesn't sound anachronistic.
posted by abcde at 10:28 PM on October 15, 2007


Apparently I should be fucking your wife Artifice_Eternity. Heh.
posted by Eekacat at 10:33 PM on October 15, 2007


You know what other trippy band is from Canada? That's right.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:34 PM on October 15, 2007


No love for 'Red Barchetta'?
posted by PenDevil at 10:38 PM on October 15, 2007


Compare:

Live for yourself -- theres no one else
More worth living for
Begging hands and bleeding hearts will
Only cry out for more


with:


Swingin in the living room
Swingin' in the kitchen
Most folks don't
Cause they're too busy bitchin'
Swingin' in there
Cause she wanted me to feed her
So I mixed up the batter
And she licked the beater

I scream, you scream,
We all scream for her
Don't even try
Cause you can't ignore her

CHORUS
She's my cherry pie
Cool drink of water
Such a sweet surprise
Tastes so good make a grown man cry
Sweet cherry pie
Oh yeah


Now I know why I didn't get laid in high school. Damn you, Neil Peart...
posted by KokuRyu at 10:43 PM on October 15, 2007


At last, a thread where I can be cool. Alex 'Lifeson' Zivojinovich was my grandparents' next-door-neighbour on Stouffville Road in Richmond Hill, Ontario, (and mine until I was 4). Later I moved around the corner but played road hockey from time-to-time with his kids. The Anthem Records studio was close by, at the NE corner of Stouffville Road and Yonge Street, pretty much in the middle of nowhere in those days. My next door neighbour was 3 years older than me and idolized Rush. He'd hang out at the studio and once brought home a copy of Great White North for me. That record made quite an impression on my 12-year-old self, although I never quite managed to embrace Rush.

Take off, eh!
posted by simra at 10:46 PM on October 15, 2007


See also.

Thanks, monju_bosatsu!!!11!!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:47 PM on October 15, 2007


Heh
posted by KokuRyu at 10:48 PM on October 15, 2007


Phillip J Fry: All right…it's Saturday night. I have no date, a two liter bottle of Shasta and my all-Rush mix tape. Let's rock!
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:55 PM on October 15, 2007


Rush is great. Thanks to this thread, I'm going to spend the next two hours listening to Rush instead of studying for midterms.

Favourite Rush remix: Tom Shizzo - Rush vs. Jay-Z (not a direct link, it's near the bottom of the page).
posted by threetoed at 10:56 PM on October 15, 2007


Neil's kit from above and behind
posted by Tenuki at 10:57 PM on October 15, 2007


Threat Level: cover of Rush's seminal album Moving Pictures > Black Watch Plaid.
posted by Mrs. Buck Turgidson at 10:57 PM on October 15, 2007


Rate My Mullet
posted by pracowity at 11:10 PM on October 15, 2007


note: the adequacy article is not serious, adequacy.org was a tongue in cheek troll site from a few years ago.
posted by mulligan at 11:22 PM on October 15, 2007


two types of people in the world: people who like rush and liars.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:33 PM on October 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


I can make almost anybody laugh by singing a few bars of "Flight by Night." And all I do is sing the song doing my best Geddy Lee impression. So I thank them for that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:39 PM on October 15, 2007


I pretty much outgrew my obsession for Rush when I discovered the Ramones and started getting laid, but I'll always find Neil Peart to be the most amazing drummer to watch. The guy makes everything he does look so effortless.

This clip of Neil's awesome solo at the Buddy Rich memorial concert, playing a simple 4-piece kit (there's a neat reference to the cowbell solo from the Exit: Stage Left version of YYZ), should quiet the haters who say that he wouldn't be a great drummer without his ridiculous concert kit setup.
posted by melorama at 11:43 PM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


i blame "closer to the heart" for my irredeemably nihilistic view of the world..
posted by CitizenD at 11:47 PM on October 15, 2007


oh, and a little help:

what song features the lyric:

"a boy lies in the grass with one blade stuck between his teeth

a vague and restless spirit [something something something] his heart"


it appeared in a dream a few nights ago, and my addled mind can't place the song.
posted by CitizenD at 11:51 PM on October 15, 2007


I always thought it was "a vague sensation quicken's in his young and restless heart"

I'm too lazy to Google for the real answer, though...ahem
posted by melorama at 11:54 PM on October 15, 2007


Oh...the song is "The Analog Kid", from Signals.

One of their most underrated albums, imo.
posted by melorama at 11:55 PM on October 15, 2007


And of course (tip of the hat to Matthowie's ham radio post from earlier), YYZ's opening rhythm is YYZ in Morse code. Which is Pearson airport in Toronto's ID...
73 de N9XS
posted by OneOliveShort at 12:12 AM on October 16, 2007


Must include the Trailer Park Boys episode where Alex Lifeson appeared, and Bubbles got to to play backup to Rush onstage in concert.
"Closer To The Heart" (season 3, episode 5, aired May 18th, 2003): "Bubbles is so devastated about not getting tickets to the RUSH concert that Ricky decides to bring Alex Lifeson (played by Alex Lifeson) to the park to perform a private concert." One scene of the episode was filmed during the October 22nd, 2002, Vapor Trails concert at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, as actor Mike Smith, who portrays Bubbles on the Nova Scotia, Canada, based comedy series, was filmed playing the part of a Rush roadie. As he walked on stage to hand Alex a new guitar, Geddy told the crowd "he is a new guy." The final scene of the episode features Alex and Bubbles playing "Closer To The Heart" on dual acoustic guitars.
Sadly, it's not on Youtube any more. Bubbles and Alex playing 'Closer To The Heart' damn near brought tears of joy to my eyes.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:23 AM on October 16, 2007


Bubbles and Alex playing 'Closer To The Heart' damn near brought tears of joy to my eyes.

Yeah, that was a very sweet moment in the series.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:32 AM on October 16, 2007


The Camera Eye

Red Barchetta

O Baterista
posted by Duncan at 12:48 AM on October 16, 2007


Aw, Rush. I am decidedly not a fan, but they did inspire the title of my Canadian music history audioblog. A bunch of my mates and I were listening to "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" one night and during the bass vs. guitar duel that's supposed to represent the battle between the two mythological creatures, one guy yelled out "Five bucks on By-Tor!" No-one took him up on the bet, although if they had he would have (spoilers!) lost ("Snow Dog...IS VICTORIOUS!!!!!").
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:09 AM on October 16, 2007


Prog music with Ayn Rand inspired lyrics? No thanks!
posted by oh pollo! at 1:36 AM on October 16, 2007


Love how Rush (and Alex Lifeson in particular) are fans of the Trailer Park Boys, and visa-versa.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:44 AM on October 16, 2007


Gordon Downie is the most unlikely unofficial poet laureate a country ever had ...

He's a freaking lyrical genius. Killerwhaletank!
posted by bwg at 1:45 AM on October 16, 2007


bwg: That's my point! But try to get an American to understand.
posted by blacklite at 2:06 AM on October 16, 2007


Neil Peart is a shitty lyricist (see #2) :

http://www.blender.com/guide/articles.aspx?ID=2885
posted by newfers at 2:09 AM on October 16, 2007


[Gord Downie's] a freaking lyrical genius.

Maybe a prostitute
could teach you
how to take a compliment

--my favourite (from Trouble at the Henhouse)
posted by Turtles all the way down at 2:22 AM on October 16, 2007


I always wondered whether my high school Rush-fan experience was a common thing - the hardcore fans were a particular kind of dork. An arrogant, especially uncool kind of dork - on the cusp of dorkdom, totally arrogant and defensive. I remember someone saying "I can't stand people who just listen to Chronicles and think they know something about Rush. Idiots."
A few weeks ago I was out running, listening to the local college radio station (a polytechnic institute, natch), and they played several Rush "deep cuts," and I was reminded of the fact that nobody sucks the way Rush sucks. God damn.
posted by ghastlyfop at 4:23 AM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh, YYZ. I heard about that song.
posted by darkripper at 4:34 AM on October 16, 2007


Not all of their lyrics are about Ayn Rand and objectivism, and not all of their music is proggy. Snakes and Arrows (the new album) just straight-out rocks. I saw them twice this summer and they've never sounded better. My only regret where Rush is concerned is that I wasn't introduced to them until Counterparts in 1994.

Also, one of the most satisfying parts of being a female Rush fan is seeing the looong lines for the men's rooms at concerts while I sail right into the ladies' with the other 10 gals. ^_^
posted by chihiro at 4:38 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Aw man! I will always associate RUSH with the other two most important facets of my adolescence: 12-sided dice and acne.

Most RUSH fans feel the band went downhill after a certain album, but that album varies from RUSH fan to RUSH fan. For me it was Grace Under Pressure.
posted by Cookiebastard at 4:39 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


My dad always refers to Geddy Lee as "the tiny man" who sings for Rush.
posted by nonmerci at 4:40 AM on October 16, 2007


Nice post psmealey. Rush's first record came out around the time I was born, and I bought my only quarter-length tee at a Gardens show (on the Power Windows tour, I'm sad to say). I should probably be embarassed by how much I know about the band, but I'm pretty shameless at this point.

Speaking of the first record, whatever happened to John Rutsey? Competitive bodybuilding?

Has anyone posted the Rush Fan's Guide To Toronto here yet? I had a good laugh reading that once. And speaking of laughs...

PS - I thought Grace Under Pressure was still pretty good Rush. For me, Roll The Bones was the start of The Records Of Which We Shall Not Speak.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:51 AM on October 16, 2007


Rush's fun with the Trailer Park Boys is also a little more subtly placed here.
posted by Mike D at 4:54 AM on October 16, 2007


This Rush you speak of, they are a rock and roll band like the kids are all going on about these days?
posted by Pollomacho at 4:54 AM on October 16, 2007


A Farewell To Kings is an album I can listen over and over. That was the album that really broke them out of the crowd in my memory.
posted by Doohickie at 4:55 AM on October 16, 2007


I enjoy annoying my sister, a huge Rush fan, with random outbursts of "SALESMAN!"

I wonder what a Venn diagram comparing Rush fans and people who are excited about Guitar Hero 3 would look like.
posted by emelenjr at 4:56 AM on October 16, 2007


chihiro: I too enjoyed that phenomenon. :) I saw them a few weeks back in Ottawa and they were absolutely fantastic. We were about 9 rows back from Geddy and I couldn't hear for three days.
posted by pookzilla at 5:35 AM on October 16, 2007


One of their most underrated albums, imo.

And one of their worst recorded -- Terry Brown had apparently destroyed his hearing during the last couple of tours.

It's amusing to note that Rush has had some of the best and worst recordings made. Grace Under Pressure is one of the best recording ever made to vinyl or CD, but Signals is a muddle mess, and Vapor Trails is a *loud* muddled mess.

Snakes & Arrows isn't as bad, but it's still almost unlistenable. There is no dynamic range, everything is just loud, which is a damn shame, because Rush is a bad that actually knows what dynamics are and how to use them. It's not clipping every two seconds like Vapor Trails did, true, but that's damning by faint praise. The mix means they had to process the hell out of Lee's vocals to get them on top of the mix, and it shows -- badly. Geddy Lee's vocals were never the strongest point of the band, but sheesh.

Having said that, the middle portion of "The Main Monkey Business" shows that they haven't forgotten how to rock.
posted by eriko at 5:36 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Rush was my favorite band growing up.
posted by rockhopper at 5:39 AM on October 16, 2007


Fair enough, eriko. Reportedly Vapor Trails is being remastered and re-released sometime in the not to distant future. Of course the live experience is different, and it seems people either love Geddy Lee's vocals or hate them, but his voice has been like unto the proverbial "buttah" this tour. (All IMO, of course!)
posted by chihiro at 5:43 AM on October 16, 2007


I chose ... unwisely.

... by leaving the house at all. Rush has vision, musical talent, energy, and STILL sucks. In the great shopping mall of rock 'n roll, Rush is the poster section at Spencer Gifts.
posted by chinese_fashion at 5:54 AM on October 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


I loves me some Rush - between Geddy Lee, Steve Harris, and Gene Simmons you have pretty much all the reasons I first picked up the bass guitar as a teenager. To this day, I still play a jetglo Rickenbacker.

However.

Rush took a musical turn in the mid 80's that lost me. I think P/G or Power Windows was probably their last album that really captivated me. I used to think it was just my musical tastes evolving away from them, but I've heard from far too many people who felt the same at the same time to think it was just me.

Classic Rush still has a heavy presence in my day-to-day playlist, but when they went Big Money, their new material stopped being relevant. To me, anyway.

Excellent post, psmealy. Kudos.
posted by davelog at 6:07 AM on October 16, 2007


* not too distant future.

(hiding head in shame)
posted by chihiro at 6:10 AM on October 16, 2007


Most RUSH fans feel the band went downhill after a certain album, but that album varies from RUSH fan to RUSH fan. For me it was Grace Under Pressure.

I started listening at Hold Your Fire but could not stand Roll the Bones (I was into the Pixies and My Bloody Valentine by then).

I always wondered whether my high school Rush-fan experience was a common thing - the hardcore fans were a particular kind of dork. An arrogant, especially uncool kind of dork - on the cusp of dorkdom, totally arrogant and defensive.

That would have been me. How about this common, yet totally outlandlish statement:

Neil Peart is the best drummer in the world!

posted by KokuRyu at 6:23 AM on October 16, 2007


oh pollo!: "Prog music with Ayn Rand inspired lyrics? No thanks!"

I always wondered about that. My older brother was a huge Rush fan in the eighties. He also became a Randian jerk around the same time. Fortunately for him, real life beat it outta him before someone else did.

I completely forgot about this connection.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:32 AM on October 16, 2007


Wow. I didn't know this:
"On New Year's Eve 2003, Lifeson, his son, and his daughter-in-law were arrested at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Naples, Florida. Lifeson, after intervening in an altercation between his son and police, was accused of assaulting a sheriff's deputy in what was described as a drunken brawl. In addition to suffering a broken nose at the hands of the officers, Lifeson was tasered six times. His son was also tasered repeatedly."
Don't tase the Lerxst, bro!

I can make almost anybody laugh by singing a few bars of "Flight by Night."

Yeah. I haven't heard any new Rush since the late '80s, but there's something so geekily adorable about a lot of their stuff, that it's hard to hate them, in spite of how awful the notion of "Objectivist-inspired prog rock" should be.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:41 AM on October 16, 2007


I've been playing Rush on my ipod non-stop for the last few days. How serendipitous.

Tickets were well over $200 when they came around here a few months ago. It was the first time my dad had ever missed one of their concerts. It was a dark day.
posted by lilac girl at 6:44 AM on October 16, 2007


There's a radio station in my town that will occasionally play a track or two by RUSH. Considering the rest of the playlist it's either the caprice of the DJ or Clear Channel trying to break up the screaming noise.

That particular radio station is a "modern rock" radio station. Strangely... plays both old and new Metallica, Led Zepplin (occasionally), Queen, and et cetera.. not really modern rock-y.

I don't get it.

It being, RUSH and this radio station.
posted by Sam.Burdick at 6:45 AM on October 16, 2007


It's true! I hate on Rush, but it's a hate borne of love for shit like "Lakeside Park" and "Closer to the Heart."

And I also have a hard time even thinking about Rush without being reminded of that Pavement lyric. And what about the voice of Geddy Lee?
posted by ghastlyfop at 6:45 AM on October 16, 2007


One of the highlights of seeing Rush is seeing an entire row of boys doing perfectly synchronized air drums.

CGI drummer doing "YYZ" (previously).

Time Stand Still, with Aimee Mann doing backup vocals.
[Caution: may induce motion sickness.]

I wonder what a Venn diagram comparing Rush fans and people who are excited about Guitar Hero 3 would look like.

It would include Ed Robertson, from Barenaked Ladies, who's a big fan of both. Barenaked Ladies break into Rush during their goofy Grade 9 (cheesy fan video).
posted by kirkaracha at 6:51 AM on October 16, 2007


My music comic isn't usually very autobiographical, but this one is pretty much straight out of my life.
posted by COBRA! at 6:51 AM on October 16, 2007


Rush hasn't been "Ayn Rand inspired" for at least 30 years.

Neil Peart was a young, curious, and bright high school dropout.

He found and was inspired by Rand.

Some songs were written.

He grew out of it.
posted by psmith at 6:51 AM on October 16, 2007


I had the impression that Neil went through the Objectivist phase at a young(er) age, but that it was long, long since a thing of the past. But yeah, that's why their copyright was Anthem for one thing.

Supposedly the red star on the cover of "2112" (which the naked man is shielding himself from) also, "represented Communism". Though a listen to the record doesn't support that slant whatsoever IMO. Communists as totalitarians, sure - but enemies of musical instruments?

I also heard "Red Sector A" was writ along these lines too (Communist prison camp), and that was a lot later, but still twenty years ago now.

/rumourmill
posted by stinkycheese at 6:52 AM on October 16, 2007



Rush hasn't been "Ayn Rand inspired" for at least 30 years.


Damnit. I meant 25 years. Fucking mornings.
posted by psmith at 6:57 AM on October 16, 2007


For those interested in following this tangent, Understanding Ayn Rand through the music of Rush. FWIW I always hated Rand, and I've never met anyone into her ideas who didn't seem like a major prick.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:02 AM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I love that that page is called Adequacy too. Ha ha.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:03 AM on October 16, 2007


*ahem*

NEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDDDDDSSSSSSSSS

...Thank you.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:03 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah crap, that last link was in the original post. Sorry!
posted by stinkycheese at 7:05 AM on October 16, 2007


I'll forgive you for that.
posted by ghastlyfop at 7:07 AM on October 16, 2007


For a start. the extent of my influence by the writings of Ayn Rand should not be overestimated -- I am no one's disciple. Yes, I believe the individual is paramount in matters of justice and liberty, but in philosophy, as Aristotle said long ago, the paramount good is happiness. My self-determination as an individual is part of the pursuit of happiness, of course, but there's more to it than that.
from '93 interview with Peart here.

Doesn't sound like he grew out of it to me.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:08 AM on October 16, 2007


Well, since then his wife and daughter both died within, what, six months of each other? I'd imagine that would shake up anyone's ideals.

I'd probably know more about the man's thinking if I could've gotten more than a few chapters into his book Ghost Rider, but, as much of a fan as I am (perhaps because of that in fact), I just could not stomach that read. At all.

I guess when I really think about it, it's been over ten years since I really cared what Neil Peart thought about things. So whatever really.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:14 AM on October 16, 2007


I couldn't help notice that "The Trees" is in their twice. That song makes me cringe. I like Rush, esp. the brawny stuff like "Working Man" but "The Trees" just makes me feel a deep and abiding shame. Because "The Trees" is full of sap.
posted by Mister_A at 7:16 AM on October 16, 2007


Even the version on "Exit Stage Left", Mister_A?

I need to walk away from this thread obviously.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:18 AM on October 16, 2007


There are worse bands, but no band has reliably made me laugh as much as Rush has. They are consistently funny year after year. When I need to smile all I have to do is think about "there is unrest in the forrest/there is trouble with the trees...." and I'm all good. Of course, I don't like any Hobbit Rock bands.

For a long time I said they were my least favorite band, but how I can I hate a band that makes me laugh so damn much? Journey has long since replaced Rush as the band at the bottom of the rock list here at the Slack house (although for some reason Mrs. Slack enjoys Journey, but I think it may be to only taunt me).
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:21 AM on October 16, 2007


chihiro: I too enjoyed that phenomenon. :) I saw them a few weeks back in Ottawa and they were absolutely fantastic. We were about 9 rows back from Geddy and I couldn't hear for three days.

I also attended a Snakes and Arrows tour stop and had a great time. That was my first Rush show despite being a fan for 25+ years and I wish I had gone to see them sooner. I even found myself drunkenly singing along to songs I had completely forgotten existed like Entre Nous and Witch Hunt (much to the chagrin of the taper sitting by me I'm sure). And I must say S&A is probably the best disc they've released in a long, long time.
posted by MikeMc at 7:25 AM on October 16, 2007


I'm breaking out just watching this.
posted by Skygazer at 7:30 AM on October 16, 2007


Prog music with Ayn Rand inspired lyrics? No thanks!
posted by oh pollo! at 1:36 AM on October 16


As mentioned a bit up-thread, that Rand connection is over-played. It seems to me that rabid Rand-fans will claim a connection to anything with the word "I" in it.

"Closer to the Heart" ain't exactly The Fountainhead...

I don't like everything they did, but I respect Rush for always being original, and for high standards of musicianship.

Time to dig out those albums.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:32 AM on October 16, 2007


Thanks, Artful Codger. I was just going to make that point. Seems to me, after 14 years of "coming out" to various people as a Rush fan, frequent arguments of people who say they hate Rush include the Rand angle, or the sci-fi angle, or the "Hobbit rock" angle. Trouble is, none of that stuff defines Rush, and none of it is particularly relevant to what they're doing right now. In their 30+ years as a band, Rush has explored lots of different themes and styles, which to this fan makes them still worth listening to -- and I've found something to like in every one of their albums. You can always recognize a Rush song, sure, but that doesn't mean they're all the same.
posted by chihiro at 7:54 AM on October 16, 2007


Moving Pictures was a good album!
posted by Skygazer at 7:56 AM on October 16, 2007


Rush hasn't been "Ayn Rand inspired" for at least 25 years.

How hardcore a Rush geek do you have to be to bother pointing that out?

I have to admit that my most serious Rush period was in the 6th grade, when I wore out vinyl copies of both Hemispheres and Farewell to Kings. I had moved on by the next year (1979) when I discovered Black Sabbath, the Ramones and the Sex Pistols, but I have always had a soft spot for them. But where I had found some harder stuff to hold onto, some of my friends just couldn't. A lot of my friends in high school were those kids in "Freaks and Geeks". They were embarassingly devoted fans and there were no less than two tribute bands there: "No not, 'Sickness', Cygnus X-1" and "By-Tor". I remember cringing through many a sloppy version of 2112 in support.

All these years later, even watching these clips again, Alex Lifeson is a stunningly inventive and fluid guitar player. I can't think of anyone who sounded like that back in the day, or even does today (maybe that guy from Dream Theater, but that's a different deal altogether). Also, oddly enough, Geddy Lee looks much better today than he did back then. He always looked like Witchy Poo from HR Pufnstuf to me. Today, he almost looks normal.
posted by psmealey at 8:10 AM on October 16, 2007


I couldn't help notice that "The Trees" is in their twice. That song makes me cringe.

All the stuff at the bottom is from the 30th anniversary tour. The version up top is one from back in the old days. Yeah, those lyrics are pretty embarrassing, but the guitar work still holds up. As for the brawnier stuff, yeah, the heavier songs off of the first record (with the somewhat underrated John Rutsey on drums), and from Caress of Steel are still pretty good.
posted by psmealey at 8:15 AM on October 16, 2007


Caress of Steel would be my fave 'old' album, and Signals would be my fave 'Rush with synths' album. If you like heavy 70s guitar and long songs, you should really give CoS a try.

That's awesome they're still playing Working Man live nowadays. Even if they'd never met Neil Peart, and never put out a second record, that debut LP would still be a stone classic. Heavy on the Led Zeppelin influence for sure, but that's not such a bad thing - there's some real winners here. Even the album cover is great*.

*Rush admittedly has some really baaaaaaaad album art.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:45 AM on October 16, 2007


Rush and Rand are the intellectual pinnacle for many of my friends. If only both could fit on one T shirt...
posted by surplus at 8:47 AM on October 16, 2007


re: Lifeson, I completely agree. Everyone always prattled on about Neil Peart, but I was always amazed with what Alex Lifeson came up with. He was an under-rated guitar hero to be sure.
posted by Mister_A at 8:56 AM on October 16, 2007


Rush hasn't been "Ayn Rand inspired" for at least 25 years.

How hardcore a Rush geek do you have to be to bother pointing that out?


Take it from one who knows, psmealy, psmith is seriously hardcore. psmith is a viking.
posted by chihiro at 8:57 AM on October 16, 2007


Metafilter: Quick to judge, quick to anger, slow to understand.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:11 AM on October 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


I believe it was about Rush that someone said one of my favorite music quotes: "Not only is it hard to rock out in 7/8 time, it's impossible."
posted by pasici at 9:12 AM on October 16, 2007


Metafilter: How many times do we hear it? It goes on all day long. Everyone knows everything, and no one's ever wrong...until later.

;)
posted by chihiro at 9:14 AM on October 16, 2007


I really liked the Family Guy and Futurama Rush references. (Sorry, couldn't find a shorter Futurama link.)

"It's Saturday night, I have no date, a 2-liter bottle of Shasta, and my all-Rush mix tape."
posted by fings at 10:09 AM on October 16, 2007


I also heard "Red Sector A" was writ along these lines too (Communist prison camp), and that was a lot later, but still twenty years ago now.


Geddy Lee's parents were both in Nazi concentration camps. That's what Red Sector A is about.
posted by dr. fresh at 10:09 AM on October 16, 2007


Thanks for this awesome post.

By the way, it's important to point out quickly that Rush clearly transcended Ayn Rand, even if they were inspired at some points by her. Anybody who's ever paid attention to The Spirit of Radio knows that this is the case.
posted by koeselitz at 10:16 AM on October 16, 2007


I haven't liked Rush ever since they made that crack about the phony soldiers.
posted by found missing at 10:32 AM on October 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


This post warms my big geek heart. Rush was always in my top 5 and any Rush release is still an automatic buy for me. They've changed directions many times but wherever they go they always make the journey interesting.

I've probably seen them a half dozen times over the years. First time was in Minot, North Dakota when they were a warmup act for Blue Oyster Cult in 1976 (this is side one from our latest album, this is 2112!) and the last time was a few weeks ago in St Paul. I have never seen them phone it in and never seen them not enjoying themselves out there.

As others have noted above, my wife has noticed that at a Rush concert, even during the drum solo, the women's bathroom is never crowded. However, keen observers of the Rush in Rio DVD will tell you that one of the amazing things about that concert was the number of attractive young Brazilian women. There is even footage of a total babe losing it at the airport because she actually got to meet Geddy Lee.

The Ayn Rand stuff hasn't been evident in Neal's lyrics for a couple decades now, his lyrics have grown far more personal since the late 80s. If you read between the lines to the lyrics on Vapor Trails, he's dealing with the loss of his wife and daughter. Snakes & Arrows was somewhat a return to the philosophical, he came up with most of those lyrics after biking through America and seeing all the religious billboards, especially in the South.

No one has noted that this band has a sense of humor, which is a shame. Because Geddy no longer uses a bass cabinet on stage, he's rotated a variety of appliances on his side on the drum kit to fill in the space: a refrigerator, three clothes driers, a vending machine, and this tour: three rotisserie chicken ovens. Roadies periodically come out to baste the chickens during the show. Rush has used the Three Stooges theme as an intro - complete with video, an introduction from Doug & Bob McKenzie, the R30 tour had Jerry Stiller, and this year marked the return of Doug & Bob, and an appearance by the kids from South Park.
posted by Ber at 10:36 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Rand, Rush, and Rock
posted by stinkycheese at 10:43 AM on October 16, 2007


Ber: "rotated a variety of appliances on his side ... three rotisserie chicken ovens. Roadies periodically come out to baste the chickens during the show."

you're joking, right?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 10:48 AM on October 16, 2007


On the Presto tour, there were two IMMENSE balloons onstage in the shape of rabbits coming out of magician hats (I mean, these were also to the roof of Maple Leaf Gardens). The roadies would stand behind these during the set and shake the rabbits so that they appeared to be headbanging in time with the music!
posted by stinkycheese at 10:55 AM on October 16, 2007


also = up
posted by stinkycheese at 10:56 AM on October 16, 2007


you're joking, right?

He's not. At the Milwaukee show a roadie wearing a foam "cheesehead" came out and basted the chickens.
posted by MikeMc at 11:02 AM on October 16, 2007


Well, they're fake chickens of course but yeah, the roadies do come out to baste the chickens. When they had the vending machine a roadie would come out and buy a sandwich or something. The clothes driers had t-shirts that were changed at least once during the show and then tossed out to the crowd during the encore. Alex tends to decorate his guitar amps with toys: this time around it was plastic dinosaurs.
posted by Ber at 11:03 AM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


And let's not forget SCTV's Count Floyd appearing onscreen & getting the entire audience to put on their 3-D glasses before The Weapon (on the 1984 Grace Under Pressure tour).
posted by stinkycheese at 11:16 AM on October 16, 2007


Ah, Rush. The band that spawned a million shitty prog rock bands. Half of them mine.

I'm still a fan, I guess, but progressive rock has, well, progressed so far that Rush sounds like easy-listening adult contemporary to me now. Dream Theater, Tool, Symphony X... they've taken prog to incredible new levels. (Wanna see a drummer out-play Peart WHILE singing WHILE interacting with the crowd? Check out Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater.)

And that guy that said, "Not only is it hard to rock out in 7/8 time, it's impossible."? Moran.
posted by LordSludge at 11:45 AM on October 16, 2007


I remember a guy in some MMOG I played who had the name "Rush Isnotagoodband".

I laughed every time I saw that bastard.

Rush is a group of talented musicians who make music I don't enjoy very much.

That's really all I have to say.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:43 PM on October 16, 2007


I can't hear about the band Rush without thinking of the end scene in SLC Punk and laughing my ass off.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:50 PM on October 16, 2007


Have we all forgotten that each of those three guys has an O.C. after his name?

Ber: "rotated a variety of appliances on his side ... three rotisserie chicken ovens. Roadies periodically come out to baste the chickens during the show."

True! Aside from the appliance schtick, Rush are bloody amazing live. (Granted, Geddy's singing a few keys lower than he used to.)

Also of interest to Canuckophiles: Geedy Lee attended elementary school with Dave Thomas, who would go on to appear in a comedy sketch called "Great White North" and later a terrible sitcom called "Grace Under Pressure Fire." Coincidence?
posted by Reggie Digest at 1:02 PM on October 16, 2007


(P.S. This proghead prefers Brits and Italians, but Rush were certainly the best prog North America and post-1975 had to offer, and Signals is one of the best-sounding albums ever made.)
posted by Reggie Digest at 1:11 PM on October 16, 2007


(P.P.S. Still waiting for the Kim Mitchell FPP.)
posted by Reggie Digest at 1:13 PM on October 16, 2007


Along the same lines, SCTV alumi Catherine O'Hara's sister? None other than Mary Margaret O'Hara. I've known that one for years and it still seems bizarre to me.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:13 PM on October 16, 2007


they're fake chickens of course

damn. I had this image of the post show chicken pigout and roadies getting greasy handprints on all of the equipment at loadout.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:13 PM on October 16, 2007


There's nothing worse than good musicians making bad music.
See also: Phish
posted by brevator at 2:16 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the post. It's good to see Rush get (mostly) love from MetaFilter.

If you've ever liked them, do go see them live. They are excellent in their own geeky way on stage. Best of all, the aren't afraid to face up to their goofy past (kimonos, Rand, Epic Battles Between Good and Evil, their age, etc.) and just play the songs with glee.

Evidence: the last tour's intermission video and By-Tor and the Snowdog animation.
posted by turbodog at 2:58 PM on October 16, 2007


When I was in high school, Rush was quite the rage. I though they were ok but never got into them. Also, at the time, Saga and Journey as well as Glam-Metal bands were also all the rage. I wasn't into any of them but I remember a good friend of mine selling all his Rush vinyl to other students. It was an easy sell.

There was quite a lot of excitement over them playing Ivor Wynn Stadium (or as we called, Ivor Winless Stadium) in Hamilton.

I was surprised by Pavement's reference to Rush but then some say Malkmus is the new prog rock. I disagree. Not surprised that Malkmus or anyone else might like Rush or any other band (such things are of course, very subjective) but surprised that Rush was known at all outside Canada. My surprise continues!
posted by juiceCake at 3:22 PM on October 16, 2007


*sigh*

I remember when the kids were saying Primus was the new prog rock.

Old. I'm so, so old.

Prog rock was so hot where I went to high school that I lost a girl to a guy who had Rush 2112 concert tickets.
posted by tkchrist at 5:15 PM on October 16, 2007


Metafilter: Rush was my favorite band growing up.

[One word: Hellyes!]
posted by humannaire at 6:00 PM on October 16, 2007


But try to get an American to understand.

Me debunk an american myth?
And take my life in my hands?
Where the Great Plains begin
at the hundredth meridian.
At the hundredth meridian,
Where the Great Plains begin


On topic, growing up I didn't like everything Rush put out, but over time I grew to appreciate them.

Limelight: one of the greatest opening riffs ever.
posted by bwg at 8:07 PM on October 16, 2007


gotta chime in on this one... simra mentioned that Alex was his (or her?) grandparents' neighbor in Stouffville... well, my dad bought that house from him. being a huge Rush fan growing up (Neil's solo in the middle of YYZ on Exit Stage Left was the reason I became a drummer), this was a dream come true. i got to play on one of Neil's kits that was in the studio there. i could have died a happy boy at that moment. Tom Sawyer and Limelight are still part of my practice regimen.

simra: Alex moved East down Stoufville Rd -- built a new house there, just East of Bayview from what I recall.
posted by spish at 8:51 PM on October 16, 2007


Thanks, psmealy. Now I'm gonna have to dig up a copy of 2112 just to see if it's as heavy as I remember. (And Ber, I am so jealous of your 1976 concert experience!)
posted by whuppy at 6:26 AM on October 17, 2007


A little late here, but I just found this - Willy Wonka's 2112 (a la synching Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon & The Wizard Of Oz). Haven't tried it yet myself, let me know if it works.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:12 PM on October 20, 2007


I'd like to see you Rush hating boners ad lib a solo to that tune in 5/4.
posted by psmith at 7:07 PM on October 26, 2007


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