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"Canada’s tragically unhip"
June 28, 2010 10:43 AM   Subscribe


 
Damn I thought this was going to be about Anvil.
posted by Mister_A at 10:44 AM on June 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I just have to chime in here and say that I've seen tons of concerts. Literally tons. I work in entertainment, and I even "ushed" at an outdoor venue for a few years. And the single weirdest concert experience I've ever had was at a Rush show. I've never seen so many entranced air guitarists and air drummers in my life. My wife is trying to get me to go see them again soon, and I still shiver a little every time she brings it up.
posted by nevercalm at 10:47 AM on June 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of a magical half year when I was 20.

"We're on the train to Bangkok"
posted by infini at 10:49 AM on June 28, 2010


Going to see them in a month, whoo!
posted by Eideteker at 10:53 AM on June 28, 2010


I caught this documentary yesterday and I thought was quite good. The band comes off as very warm and self-effacing too, addressing among other things, the fact that their fan base consists almost exclusively of male nerds, their universal critical dismissal, and their foray into terrible synth music in the late 80s. The fact that one can easily acknowledge their many obvious faults and still have enormous respect for them says so much about their greatness. Almost 40 fucking years and still in top form.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:57 AM on June 28, 2010


My first concert was Rush, on the "Roll the Bones" tour. I regret nothing.

Seriously, they have made some really really good music over the years. Ironically, some of my favorite moments are when they were at their most unapologetically cheesy. For example: "Rivendell."
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:09 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are two types of Canadians: Those who ADORE Rush and still like the Tragically Hip, and those who ADORE The Tragically Hip and HATE Rush with a passion.

I fall in the second category. Sorry Mr. Lee.
posted by Brodiggitty at 11:10 AM on June 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, by creating a station based on "Rivendell" on Pandora, I recently discovered a band named Silmaril. They're pretty good.

NHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!

posted by drjimmy11 at 11:11 AM on June 28, 2010


I fall in the second category. Sorry Mr. Lee.

Where does the "Life is a Highway" guy fit into this equation?
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:12 AM on June 28, 2010


"Damn I thought this was going to be about Anvil" Triumph.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:14 AM on June 28, 2010


My wife is trying to get me to go see them again soon, and I still shiver a little every time she brings it up.

There's a woman who likes Rush?
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:14 AM on June 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


The "Life is a highway" guy and Cory Hart both factor into the anti-life equation.
posted by benzenedream at 11:16 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't stand the Tragically Hip and am only recently warming up to Rush, does that make mean I can't be Canadian anymore? Anyway my Rush-lovin' pals are going to get a kick out of this documentary, thanks for the link.
posted by Monster_Zero at 11:17 AM on June 28, 2010


Now that someone invoked Triumph, I can throw "Time Canon" in here.
posted by nevercalm at 11:22 AM on June 28, 2010


I have a great deal of respect for Rush because they built up their extremely loyal fanbase the old-fashioned way (one fan/album/concert at a time), they've done their thing for almost 40 years with little regard to constantly changing styles and trends, they come across as three extremely decent guys, they indirectly inspired the name of my old blog, and they're one of the rare Canadian groups who broke out of the Canuck rock ghetto long before it became cool for people outside of Canada to like Canadian bands. They've earned their success, and I'm glad to see them getting their due.

Their actual music I can't stand. They're undeniably talented musicians, but they're not my thing. YM, of course, MV, and that's cool.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:22 AM on June 28, 2010


rush is ok in small doses, but you can put me down in the tragically hip column - great band
posted by pyramid termite at 11:25 AM on June 28, 2010


Rush is one of those bands that would be easier to like if it wasn't for their rabid fan base. See also: Phish.

Every single time that opening chord of Tom Sawyer comes on the radio I crank it up and turn into Rush-Loving Rock and Roll Guy but then some eighth grader, or even worse a 40-something with the bass chops of an Eighth Grader, tells me how awesome Neil Pert is because he can count to seven and I stop liking Rush until the next time Tom Sawyer comes on the radio.

I saw them once in the 90s. They do what it says on the tin. I enjoyed the show. I'll have to check out the documentary.
posted by bondcliff at 11:26 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, they came up with what is probably the greatest song title of all time, Anagram for Mongo, so that makes them awesome no matter what.
posted by bondcliff at 11:28 AM on June 28, 2010


There's a woman who likes Rush?

*waves*
posted by ersatzkat at 11:29 AM on June 28, 2010


I'm sorry, did someone say Great White North?

(Rush was the first real rock concert I went to was on Rush's Moving Picture tour, with a video intro to one of the songs ("Tom Sawyer"?) by Joe Flaherty's SCTV character, Count Floyd.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:31 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see ...




... Rush fronted by Gordon Downey.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:31 AM on June 28, 2010


grr arg preview damnit
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:31 AM on June 28, 2010


For this Canadian, Rush were the greatest band in the world up until the early 80's (Moving Pictures being their last good album), then they dropped of the radar screen forever. I only saw them once at the big Toronto SARS concert, and they were great live. I'd go see them again, but almost exclusively for their old stuff.
posted by rocket88 at 11:33 AM on June 28, 2010


Man, I had no idea people hated Rush so much.
posted by absalom at 11:35 AM on June 28, 2010


Sorry Rushies, as much as I respect them I have to throw myself firmly into the Tragically Hip camp.
posted by Cosine at 11:42 AM on June 28, 2010


> There are two types of Canadians: Those who ADORE Rush and still like the Tragically Hip, and those who ADORE The Tragically Hip and HATE Rush with a passion.

Bit of a derail: I like The Hip just fine, although I'm certainly not a huge fan. When I was going to school in mid-90s Kingston I was drinking at The Toucan (a small Irish pub) one Saturday night. My friends and I noticed that some band we'd never heard of was scheduled to play that night, but we decided to move to another bar. We found out the next day it was The Hip playing under a pseudonym, so we missed our chance to see them play on a tiny stage a couple of feet away from the audience. Dammit.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:44 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, I had no idea people hated Rush so much.

I hate them with the intensity of a thousand pit bulls set upon a bleeding lamb. It's that voice. It sounds like an alien trapped in a mosquito's ass! I remember the day I discovered that Geddy Lee was male. I was floored.
posted by millipede at 11:45 AM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


There's a woman who likes Rush?

Yup, and she digs Steely Dan, too, which almost (almost) wipes out my shock at her unabashed hairband love and the many years she spent happily going to see music that ruined my high school years. She's a keeper.
posted by nevercalm at 11:45 AM on June 28, 2010


Man, I had no idea people hated Rush so much.

It's not that I hate Rush per se. Like The Card Cheat said - I respect them as musicians, but I can't stand their music. They are amazing musicians. But Geddy's voice - It's like the guy is in a helium chamber.

Their lyrics are mostly dorky. And while the individual musicians are talented, their musical compositions are hardly what you could describe as catchy or soulful.

They're a very polarizing group. There's rabid fans, haters, and very few in between. At least in my experience.
posted by Brodiggitty at 11:46 AM on June 28, 2010


My favorite Trailer Park Boys episode is "Closer to the Edge," where the boys try to help Bubbles get into a nearby Rush concert (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), which includes a commendable extended cameo from Alex Lifeson (Alexandar Zivojinovich!).

Been looking forward to seeing this doc-- thanks!
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 11:47 AM on June 28, 2010


There's a woman who likes Rush?

Yeah, me too (holdover from dating a Rush-obsessed fellow in the early 90s). I'm limited to a few albums and lost track over the past fifteen years or so, but I still like what I know.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:50 AM on June 28, 2010


I saw the documentary at tribeca with one of my girlfriends and it was totally awesome. The crowd was literally the dorkiest group I've been in since living in,Manhattan, complete with the guys across the aisle loudly discussing good java interview questions. And the love was intense. I usually hate cultish followings but I make an exception for rush.
posted by ch1x0r at 11:52 AM on June 28, 2010


Don't miss Neil Peart's News, Weather, and Sports.
posted by swift at 11:54 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"There's a woman who likes Rush?"

Who do you think bought me my tickets? SHE'S MINE YOU CAN'T HAVE HER.

No, but seriously, I love the preponderance of Grrl Nrrd fans, esp. in the Rush community I run on LJ. And on TNMS mailing list that was on syrinx.umd.edu (RIP!).
posted by Eideteker at 11:55 AM on June 28, 2010


There's a woman who likes Rush?

Yeah, me too (holdover from dating a Rush-obsessed fellow in the early 90s). I'm limited to a few albums and lost track over the past fifteen years or so, but I still like what I know.


me three, 'cept it was in late 86/early 87
posted by infini at 12:04 PM on June 28, 2010


I like Rush in small doses. But marathon Rush listening on a road trip was where I drew the line. I threatened my then-boyfriend that if he did that to me, I was going to go all Ethno on his ass and make him listen to Indonesian gamelan music.
posted by LN at 12:10 PM on June 28, 2010


But Marathon is one of my favorite songs!
posted by Eideteker at 12:15 PM on June 28, 2010


Two words I regret from my youth: Laser Rush.
posted by maxwelton at 12:16 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rush is the path to the dark side. Rush leads to Dream Theather. Dream Theater leads to Dragonforce. Dragonforce leads to suff-er-ing. I sense much Rush in you.
posted by charred husk at 12:21 PM on June 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can't let a Rush thread pass without chiming in. I caught part of this documentary on VH1 last weekend and enjoyed the hell out of what I saw. It was nice to see a bunch of really old footage of them playing high school gyms and shit like that. And like other people said, they come across pretty self-effacing and as basically decent guys.

I was big time into Rush in the late '70s early '80s. They would come to Detroit for a three night stand and we would go to two of the nights. One time we paid a scalper the ungodly price of $40 for second row seats. I saw them twice on the Permanent Waves tour, twice on the Moving Pictures tour, and twice on the Signals tour. Didn't care for the album Signals that much but it was a hell of a show. The first night I saw them on the Moving Pictures tour is still one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

After that, I got too cool for them and ignored them for years. But there is nothing like getting an 8gb ipod to make you start dredging up some of that old stuff from high school. Fly By Night through Moving Pictures has since been in heavy rotation. I'm 47 years old and really don't give a shit about what's cool anymore.

Yay for Rush.
posted by marxchivist at 12:24 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't miss Neil Peart's News, Weather, and Sports.

The documentary talked a fair amount about how the death of Neil Peart's daughter and then his wife in short succession affected the band. I'm so happy to read about his remarriage and new baby.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:24 PM on June 28, 2010


Where does the "Life is a Highway" guy fit into this equation?

Tom Cochrane's "Life is a Highway" - along with the aforementioned Corey Hart, Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Nickelback, Avril Lavigne, and many more - are part of a very elaborate waste treatment program we've built along the 49th parallel. As the worst American bilge comes sliming and sloshing and seeping north over the airwaves, it gets trapped in a vast funnel-shaped web made from the overpriced suits of executives at the Canadian branches of US-based record companies. It gets heavily processed, refined to its most banal essence, and then reinjected into the US through the same funnel that brought it here.

It's messy, and most of us Canucks are a little ashamed of it, but national cultural defence shields are just part of the survival kit when you're this close to the great global bilge pump. Also, we partially return the favour by nurturing gems like Neko Case that sometimes wash over with the filth.

And for the record, I'm firmly in the Tragically Hip camp. "You held my hand and we walked home the long way / You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr" - if there's a better, more thoroughly but not Heritage-Minute-cringeingly Canadian way to say I'm falling for you, I haven't heard it.

Whereas Rush? Like Card Cheat said, I respect the hell out of 'em as people, musicians and ambassadors of the best things about Canadian culture (including the bookish dorkiness). But the music just doesn't do it for me. I went to high school in northern Ontario. I heard a lot of Rush. It's a less-than-the-sum-of-its-parts thing for me. Doesn't reach all the way to my gut, ever. Feels more like being lectured in mathematics by a reasonably hip prof. More power to you, though, if it does it for you.
posted by gompa at 12:33 PM on June 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I really can't stand to listen to Rush. It's a shame really, because all three of them are fantastic musicians. If only their lyrics weren't so very geeky and arch, and Geddy Lee didn't sound the way he does, I'd love them. The Tragically Hip are alright though.
posted by wabbittwax at 12:39 PM on June 28, 2010


In our house, Rush rules (for Kid #2, age 14), alongside Metallica (for Kid #1, age 17). We didn't know how rabid the Rush fan was when the band played in our home town a couple of years ago, so we didn't take him. His godparents have donated frequent flyer points to fly him across the country to see Rush in Ottawa in a couple of weeks. He's a nerd, but then again, the whole family is quite nerdish so we don't notice much.
posted by angiep at 12:42 PM on June 28, 2010


I loooooove their prog stuff. As for "Power Windows" ... if MeFi had existed back in 1985, my review would have been:

.

But I'm still elated to see them get recognized. It's interesting that among Yes, Genesis, ELP, etc, it turns out to be Rush where fandom == nerddom, as if Rush were carrying the early math-rock banner alone.

SLC Punk (1998): The two lead buddies are fans ("Rush is a very good band. Their music is very complex..."); then one of them has the epiphany that joining the punk scene gets you better access to girls.

Fanboys (2008): "Rule number one: In my van, it's Rush. All Rush, all the time. No exceptions."

... and "Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer"

(Also: must look for this)
posted by kurumi at 12:50 PM on June 28, 2010


I'd go see them again, but almost exclusively for their old stuff.

Then you should go see them this summer while they play their Time Machine tour, in which they will be performing Moving Pictures in its entirety.

(Seriously? I'm not a huge fan of a lot of 80s Rush, but if you haven't heard Snakes & Arrows yet, you haven't heard one of the best Rush albums in their history.

Oh, and Geddy's voice has mellowed significantly over the years. It's not nearly as shrieky as it used to be. I promise.)
posted by hippybear at 12:51 PM on June 28, 2010


I've always felt that Rush exemplifies the difference between the concepts of musical ability and musical talent.

They're certainly ABLE players, but to say that they possess raw talent would be a stretch. The music they make is a reflection of their physical ability, not a talent to create new and unusual sounds or challenge the medium.

To me Rush sounds like one of those band in a box programs or AI song writing machines come to life, barely.

Able, but hardly genius. Geniuses challenge the status quo, not reinforce it.
posted by reklus at 12:54 PM on June 28, 2010


My enjoyment of Rush was ruined by a drummer who wouldn't shut up about paradiddles, who needed to believe Rush was the best band ever because of their skill so he married himself to the idea that the emptiest musical wankery blah blah blah Queensryche.

Admire Rush's talent but only a handful of their songs are worth listening to. On the bright side, that's how I feel about most bands.
posted by fleacircus at 12:56 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not a Rush fan (also not Canadian, have no opinion on the Tragically Hip, but love Steely Dan) but I went to see this documentary with my husband. I do love good documentaries, especially musical ones, and this one was top-notch.

And thanks for telling me that Rush is playing Moving Pictures in full on the new tour; I think my husband wants to go seekritly but is saying he doesn't because I'm meh on them. This may push him to admit that he wants to go. I may not love Rush, but I love him enough to see them again.
posted by immlass at 1:12 PM on June 28, 2010


I feel bad for you, fleacircus.

For you the blind who once could see...
posted by cucumber at 1:13 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just had a coffee at Lakeside Park. Yes, that one.
posted by davebush at 1:24 PM on June 28, 2010


Their lyrics are mostly dorky.

It's not a bug, it's a feature.
posted by Daily Alice at 1:25 PM on June 28, 2010


nice remix: Tom Sawyer (Z-Trip Remix)
posted by jammy at 1:31 PM on June 28, 2010


If you are going to mention Triumph, even in passing, I must post Fight The Good Fight.
posted by wittgenstein at 1:31 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I may not love Rush, but I love him enough to see them again.

DO IT! I saw them on both legs of their S&A tour, and was really happy that I did. Totally fun band (still), completely aware of the ridiculousness of their continued existence, but full of a new lease on life after Peart's terrible personal tragedies and recovery therefrom. S&A is one of their best albums all around, with a cohesive message across the album, 3 killer instrumental tracks, and some of the best lyrics ever. The new single they have out on iTunes right now is pretty excellent, too. I'm looking forward to the new album next year.

You should just buy your husband tickets, actually. Surprise him. You'll both be happy with the show, I'm certain of it.
posted by hippybear at 1:56 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


what about the voice of Geddy Lee? how did it get so high? i wonder, does he speak like an ordinary guy?
posted by radiosilents at 2:07 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


what about the voice of Geddy Lee? how did it get so high?

Geddy has pulled his voice down into a more natural singing register over the past 20 years or so. I think he was emulating Plant and other heavy rock singers of his era when he first started out. The shrieking edge has gone away, and he has a very nice melodic singing voice these days. He has for several albums now, actually.

Yes, he talks like a normal person.
posted by hippybear at 2:10 PM on June 28, 2010


I fancied my wanna-be-new-wave high school self to be too cool for Rush, but now as a 42 year old woman, they make me scream like like a teenage girl. I. love. them.
posted by suki at 2:17 PM on June 28, 2010


what about the voice of Geddy Lee? how did it get so high? i wonder, does he speak like an ordinary guy?

I know him, and he does.
posted by harmfulray at 2:53 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Canada is the world's leading exporter of power trios.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:14 PM on June 28, 2010


I know him, and he does.

There's no "fact-checkin' cuz" option on the contacts page.
posted by fleacircus at 3:26 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]




Tom Cochrane and Bryan Adams are under-appreciated. The Hip haven't made a good album since - maybe - Trouble at the Henhouse, definitely Day For Night, and Downie seems to be a prat/pill much of the time.

I don't listen to Rush, but they seem like nice people, and I liked the one guy's moustache.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:07 PM on June 28, 2010


And on TNMS mailing list that was on syrinx.umd.edu (RIP!).

Damn, I was on this list for years. RIP indeed.
posted by cucumber at 7:12 PM on June 28, 2010


Some of my most vivid memories of childhood summers involve, in no particular order, a public swimming pool, a Walkman cassette player, and a tape of "2112" that I played to a literal death.
posted by bardic at 7:48 PM on June 28, 2010


Rush at Radio City Music Hall on the Signals tour was the first live rock concert I went to. My high school cover band played Limelight, Temples of Syrinx, and Grand Finale in our set (keyboard/ backup vocals).

I am SO going to see this documentary.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:43 PM on June 28, 2010


BTW, Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and Iron Maiden: Flight 666 are both awesome documentaries by the same film makers. I can feel the old neck injuries coming back...
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:48 PM on June 28, 2010


I read an interview with Rush once where, asked who they thought their audience was, one of them replied "18 year old male musicians". They had my undying respect ever after-- it's a rare band that knows its core audience quite so well and is honest about it.

A friend's jazz band recently performed a show in which they played 2112 in its entirety. It was awesome.
posted by jokeefe at 11:50 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the band finally fleshed out their ideal sound once they permanently added Bubbles on vocal harmonies/kittens/shopping carts...
posted by hell toupee at 6:16 AM on June 29, 2010


We know Rush because of Canadian Content laws for radio. I don't know what you Americans use for an excuse.

I've been sitting here trying to think of a Canadian act I like. None of those mentioned. Probably David Wilcox.

I used to wear jeans...
posted by Trochanter at 7:50 AM on June 29, 2010


My favorite cover of Rush.
posted by COBRA! at 8:06 AM on June 29, 2010


I read an interview with Rush once where, asked who they thought their audience was, one of them replied "18 year old male musicians". They had my undying respect ever after-- it's a rare band that knows its core audience quite so well and is honest about it.

this is true. my then boyfriend was the 17 y o lead singer of his college/high school band and was obsessed with 2112 before its release (tl;dw) must say though he ended up opening for Deep Purple when they played in New Delhi ten years later. I went to see them all though it'd been a decade *misty smile of misspent youth*
posted by infini at 12:50 PM on June 29, 2010


I went to see it last night and I really enjoyed it, but I'm a stereotypical Rush fan: white, male, guitar player in his 4th decade.

The short segment about their fans was right on target: white, male, air-drumming/guitar/bassing, heavier around the waist but lighter on the scalp. I had to close my eyes until that part was over.

Favorite bit: being ridiculed and pranks by tour-mates UFO about their lyrics and kimonos on stage. Rush ditched the kimonos PDQ and mostly ditched the long-form concept album from then on.
posted by turbodog at 1:15 PM on June 29, 2010


TW, Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and Iron Maiden: Flight 666 are both awesome documentaries by the same film makers

Interesting. The docu is very kind to the band and depends heavily on the viewer already being familiar with the band's albums and history. As the bands and their fans have aged, there must be a long tail market for DVDs like this. I assume the film was relatively inexpensive to make and a decent way for them to get a little publicity while visiting their jr. high school in Toronto.

I wonder what band is next? Gene Simmons appeared a few times. Maybe it will be Kiss.
posted by turbodog at 1:26 PM on June 29, 2010


Heh, the Tragically Hip are so bland. Rush 4 evar.
posted by adamdschneider at 5:08 PM on July 14, 2010


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