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June 17, 2015 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Rock Band Rush Finally Makes the Cover of Rolling Stone | Great interview with Neil Peart.
posted by Nevin (127 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
> Rush have spent 41 years mastering the art of no compromise. They've superserved their superfans while pretty much ignoring everyone else, and it's all worked out pretty well.

I have really tried to "get" Rush and ultimately they're just not my cuppa tea, but I have massive respect for them. They achieved their success the old-fashioned way and deserve every bit of it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:59 AM on June 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I can't believe that neither the title of the article nor the FPP was "Neil Peart Stands Alone."
posted by Captain l'escalier at 8:06 AM on June 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


Actually (now that I have read more of it) the article interviews all three band members. Although I haven't followed the band for 25 years, there are some really great insights here. My 18-year-old self would be pleased.
posted by Nevin at 8:12 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Peart is also an amateur auto racer, and something of an off-ramp connoisseur." I guess he would be, avoiding all those yellow air-cars. I also hear he's also fond of one lane bridges.
posted by Rob Rockets at 8:13 AM on June 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


This is great. Thanks for posting it. I loved Moving Pictures, mainly because nothing else on MTV in those days sounded remotely like it, but I never really "got" Rush until I went to college and hung out with frat boys who were on the nerdy side of the continuum. One of my best friends in college was a drummer (he was a great drummer, by the way) who worshipped the ground Neil Peart walked on. And I've had a slow-burning, secret passion for Rush ever since. Too bad if they're giving up the road, but at the same time, unlike other bands who shall remain nameless, looks like they're realistic and they know when to go out when they're still on top.
posted by blucevalo at 8:18 AM on June 17, 2015


Maybe their last tour?...I'm actually a little sad I never saw them now
posted by thelonius at 8:33 AM on June 17, 2015


I guess he would be, avoiding all those yellow alloy air-cars.

FTFY.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:33 AM on June 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I have really tried to "get" Rush and ultimately they're just not my cuppa tea...

I'm in the same boat - - I can get past the pretentiousness.
posted by fairmettle at 8:46 AM on June 17, 2015


The comments are a hilarious brand of "LEAVE RAND PAUL ALOOOOOOOONNNNNNEEEE!"

When I was a kid, I first heard of Rush from my friend Brad's older (cooler) bother, Dale, who had a Camaro and a job and smoked a lot of weed while listening to Rush while Brad and I played Combat on the Atari. I've been sort of a fan - some of their work is not really my thing, but some of it really does resonate - or did at certain points, anyway.

I can't deny their skill, though. An incredibly talented group.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:49 AM on June 17, 2015


I highly recommend the documentary "Beyond the Lighted Stage," which is currently streaming on Netflix in the US. I was utterly charmed by it - these guys started playing music together as teenagers and it's literally what they've been doing their whole life ever since. They interviewed someone from another band that once toured with Rush (I can't remember now, some rock or metal band) who talked about how they'd get all crazy on tours with groupies and drugs/booze etc, and they'd always invite the guys in Rush to come party with them, but they were always more interested in going back to their hotel rooms to practice.
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:49 AM on June 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hey how come the rapping skeleton never put out a solo album
posted by Hoopo at 8:55 AM on June 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


I always enjoyed reading Rolling Stone when I was a kid and my dad had a subscription, so when a subscription deal for $5/year popped up, I signed up, and figured either me or my teen daughter would enjoy it if it were laying around the house.

I was... wrong. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, Rolling Stone may have been trending increasingly mainstream, but it still had a substantial degree of cultural currency. This year, on the other hand, the cover stories have been almost all hoary nostalgia, where my wife and I have an ongoing over-under bet on how many years it's been since the band or the person on the cover experienced their peak cultural relevancy.

Now, I have nothing against Rush. But we're not even half-way through the year and the covers have been Stevie Nicks, John Belushi, Madonna, Ringo, Kurt, The Hulk (?), David Letterman, The Grateful Dead, and now, yes, Rush. I never thought I'd get a Rolling Stone and think "Oh thank god it's Nicki Minaj" but that actually happened. The formula of the magazine is now simply celebrity sightings, the cover story, a political polemic that doesn't match the tenor of the rest of the magazine at all, and then 3 or 4 reviews of artists everyone knows about and will just listen to on Spotify anyway, and where the number of stars seems to be totally unrelated to the opinion of the reviewer. My daughter looks at the magazine like it's an issue of the AARP newsletter.

Is there a word for the opposite of nostalgia, where every reminder of the past just makes you increasingly sick of it, and fills you with the desire to move on? Rolling Stone fills me with that, whatever it is.
posted by eschatfische at 8:58 AM on June 17, 2015 [23 favorites]


Hey how come the rapping skeleton never put out a solo album

It's mired in a rights dispute with the 2D Boy.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:02 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think Rush is awesome and if Tom Sawyer comes one I will rock the fuck out like it was 1981 all over again.

That said, the scene in Freaks and Geeks where Lindsay's dad hears Nick listening to Peart and is like "Drumming? You want to hear drumming?" and the next thing you know they're all in the living room dancing like crazy to Monster by Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa - that was a great scene.
posted by jammy at 9:05 AM on June 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


Hey Rush fans, help a guy out. I don't know Rush at all, so can anyone post anything that shows off just why Peart is so respected as a drummer? Please, no 20-minute drum solos -- any idiot can (and usually will) solo. Thanks.
posted by Palindromedary at 9:08 AM on June 17, 2015


Peart was totally influence by Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, that's for sure. While I stopped listening to them after Presto back around 1990, my obsession with Rush and Neil Peart back then did lead me into jazz via Krupa, Rich and Max Roach. So I have Neil Peart to thank for that!
posted by Nevin at 9:09 AM on June 17, 2015


It's a drum solo, but the Rhythm Method shows off why Peart is so famous.

While they are technically proficient, sometimes (oftentimes?) Rush is just so over the top.
posted by Nevin at 9:15 AM on June 17, 2015


Disappointed that the writer never asked Geddy Lee how his voice got so high, even though it's been confirmed by a fact-checking cuz that he speaks like an ordinary guy.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:16 AM on June 17, 2015 [20 favorites]


Nevin you totally quit listening at the right time. I hung around for Counterparts and I regret it. Although I did see them on that tour, and I'm glad I saw them, but I remember when I bought that album having the first of those "oh so this band I think is really awesome is really starting to decline in a big way" moments that seemed to happen a lot in the 90s as bands I liked put out worse product and my music tastes began to change and broaden.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:16 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was utterly charmed by it - these guys started playing music together as teenagers

Well, true for Lifeson and Lee. Peart was a latecomer, arriving when the band had been gigging for six years, and he was an old man of 22.

Fans of Canadian one-hit wonders -- and I know you are legion -- might be interested to learn that Ocean of Put Your Hand In The Hand fame had Jeff Jones on bass and vocals. Jones was one of the the three founding members of Rush (along with Lifeson and drummer John Rutsey), but left after a few weeks and one gig. I would love to know what prompted Jones' departure, or how he viewed his old band during the brief dizzying heights of Ocean's million-selling single.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:19 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there a word for the opposite of nostalgia, where every reminder of the past just makes you increasingly sick of it, and fills you with the desire to move on?

"Nostagita"?
posted by the sobsister at 9:25 AM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Fascinating read. And that part about Geddy's parents -- wow.
posted by davidmsc at 9:25 AM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I hung around for Counterparts and I regret it.

I did buy Roll the Bones, but the music was so frigging boring. I think the real turning point for the band was Power Windows, although I do like Mystic Rhythms. Coolest music video ever!
posted by Nevin at 9:25 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not a Rush superfan but they have always given me the impression of being very earnest and positive in their music. Maybe to the point of pretension but they're way less pretentious and wind-baggy than many other "prog rock" bands, e.g. Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis. Moving Pictures is a guilty pleasure of mine. It rocks and there's not a drop of cynicism on it.
posted by Ratio at 9:26 AM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Rush v Miles. NME, March 1978.
posted by Paul Slade at 9:27 AM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Rush is great. I saw them like seven times between 1979-1983. I haven't followed them much since, but it's great to see they're all doing well. I just love them and their attitude.

There's a great line from Geddy in the "Lighted Stage" documentary. The interviewer asks him what the band's target audience is. Geddy answers "Seventeen-year-old male musicians."
posted by marxchivist at 9:36 AM on June 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


My office has a proposal in to do some work on Lakeside Park in St. Catherines, and following up a hunch on Wikipedia yesterday I discovered that it's that Lakeside Park. I wasn't too surprised that nobody in this tiny firm had heard of the song, but downright shocked that there's apparently no acknowledgement of the Rush song at the park, or mention of it in the city council briefing notes for the project.
posted by Flashman at 10:14 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I loved rush from my teenage years into my early 20s. And then I just sort of didn't. I still appreciate who they are and the type of music they make but suddenly started finding old favorites grating. Which makes me said; I definitely remember their music fondly, and stumbling across the right song in the right mood works out sometimes. But most of the time? No rush for me.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:18 AM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel the same way, although Permanent Waves still works for me.
posted by Nevin at 10:20 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


My wife and I went to the 40th (!) anniversary show a few weeks ago, and they are just so, so good live. Like unbelievably virtuosic and also silly (the rapping skeleton in Roll the Bones was replaced with a huge video of rapping by Jason Siegel and a couple of others, most notably PETER DINKLAGE). I'm not a superfan (Hold Your Fire was the last album I bought) but they have a ton of great, hard-rocking proggy stuff with enough song structure to avoid just being wanky. A smart decision they made in the set list was to start with current stuff and go backwards in time, all the way to the beginning. By the end of Subdivisions at the end of the first set I was like "oh yeah this is gonna just get better and better ...".

They played for like 2 1/2 hours I think not including intermission, and just ... how can dudes that old play music that's that physically and mentally demanding for that long? Even if you are meh on them, Beyond the Lighted Stage is a great documentary. They really just did their own thing and outlasted all the cool bands. The are just adorably nerdy. Also I didn't know all the stuff about Neil Peart's family tragedies. Jesus.
posted by freecellwizard at 10:22 AM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is a fantastic article. Thanks for posting.
posted by wittgenstein at 10:22 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I"ve seen them several times being an old ex-bassist (are you really ever an ex musician?) and kind of a nerd, I was a huge fan. I had the chance to take my youngest daughter to see them in 2008? or so. It meant the world to me that she loved the concert and loved Rush. If they're really retiring from touring then I say thanks for the memories and may your retirement be everything you want it to be.
posted by damnitkage at 10:23 AM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


the cover stories have been almost all hoary nostalgia

I bet a large part RS's audience are baby-boomers. My 68-yr-old father still has a subscription and it's the only thing he reads religiously besides Hemmings Auto News.

Also, my sixth-grade self says Rush are rad.
posted by photoslob at 10:23 AM on June 17, 2015


I grew up making fun of Rush, but now I appreciate them as a phenomenon and really like a handful of their songs.

The documentary skycrashesdown mentioned is great, even if you hate their music, as just a tale of three people. The home movie footage of a teenage Alex Lifeson having an argument with his father about how he JUST WANTS TO PLAY GUITAR! is almost too good.

Re: TFA: Sometimes, I believe people will never change, then I read stuff like this:
But Rush's earlier musical take on Rand, 1975's unimaginatively titled "Anthem," is more problematic, railing against the kind of generosity that Peart now routinely practices: "Begging hands and bleeding hearts will/Only cry out for more." And "The Trees," an allegorical power ballad about maples dooming a forest by agitating for "equal rights" with lofty oaks, was strident enough to convince a young Rand Paul that he had finally found a right-wing rock band.

Peart outgrew his Ayn Rand phase years ago, and now describes himself as a "bleeding-heart libertarian," citing his trips to Africa as transformative. He claims to stand by the message of "The Trees," but other than that, his bleeding-heart side seems dominant. Peart just became a U.S. citizen, and he is unlikely to vote for Rand Paul, or any Republican. Peart says that it's "very obvious" that Paul "hates women and brown people" — and Rush sent a cease-and-desist order to get Paul to stop quoting "The Trees" in his speeches.

"For a person of my sensibility, you're only left with the Democratic party," says Peart, who also calls George W. Bush "an instrument of evil." "If you're a compassionate person at all. The whole health-care thing — denying mercy to suffering people? What? This is Christian?"
It gives me hope that, maybe in his dotage, Dave Mustaine's neurons will resettle, and his Art Bell/Tea Party insanity will evaporate.
posted by ignignokt at 10:38 AM on June 17, 2015 [19 favorites]


(anniversary tour spoilers)



Also, I discovered that Rush fans tend to go see them *a lot* and are not a subdued crowd. And the light show and extras, which I normally don't care much about, were sweet. They had a whole crew of little jumpsuited techs (Devo-lookin' dudes) who kept coming out during the songs and doing random stuff. In set 1, they came out and assembled a washing machine with (simulated probably) spinning laundry. A few songs later, they came out again and assembled another one ... "hey there's FOUR washing machines now!". In set 2 they started with huge ridiculous stacks of guitar and bass amps. Then during each song the jumpsuit dudes would come out and take away a couple of amps. By the last couple of songs they were down to one little amp each and the background image was of a high school gym (where they started playing) and they were doing the old jammy-Zeppelin-y riff stuff from the first couple of records.

Oh and they did the "Lil' Rush" South Park video ... and uh I think they switched guitars/bassses *every song*. We enjoyed our own little "name that guitar" contest.
posted by freecellwizard at 10:39 AM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Got tickets for the 40th Anniversary Tour in Seattle next month -- really looking forward to it. I've been a Rush fan all along the way, even if I wasn't buying all their albums.

Those who left off Rush years ago: their next-to-most-recent album, Snakes And Arrows, is a masterpiece. (And is shockingly cheap on Amazon!)
posted by hippybear at 10:53 AM on June 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've never been a big fan, other than the fact that I always crank up the radio if Tom Sawyer comes on. I did see them once in the 90's when a friend had an extra ticket. They were decent.

My favorite Rush story is that when Geddy switched from using amplifiers to plugging in direct he filled the empty space behind him on stage, normally filled with a wall of amps, with washing machines.
posted by bondcliff at 10:59 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


they used rotisserie chicken ovens on one tour
posted by thelonius at 11:02 AM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well who doesn't like roast chicken?
posted by boo_radley at 11:04 AM on June 17, 2015


Is there a word for the opposite of nostalgia, where every reminder of the past just makes you increasingly sick of it, and fills you with the desire to move on?

nausealgia?

As for Rush, saw them three times back in the day (Hemispheres, Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures), owned all the relevant albums, so I was clearly a fan. But I find I can't really listen anymore, even as I can get some genuine joy out of the likes of Yes and Genesis (the 70s versions) and other prog-luminaries of the time. I think it ultimately gets down to Geddy Lee's voice, and the oft-sophomoric lyrical stuff he's spouting.

and yet, as has been commented already, I do salute them for their success. They did it THEIR way and the world's a better place for it.

The one Rush track I can still listen to ...
posted by philip-random at 11:15 AM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]




...I can get past the pretentiousness...

What are the pretending to be that they're not?
posted by Cookiebastard at 11:24 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


First band I saw in concert; had a high school friend who was heavily into them. Of course, if you're not necessarily a fan of their earlier work (I'm not), there probably wasn't a better time to see the band than the Moving Pictures tour; it was pretty great.

Also of note: "Battle Scar" by Max Webster, a Canadian band that used to open for them; even though it's very un-Rush-like, all three of that band's members are in the song, although you wouldn't know it until Geddy Lee starts singing.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:25 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Primus - La Villa Strangiato
posted by Nevin at 11:26 AM on June 17, 2015


Sure Rush is Canadian, but that doesn't make everyone from Canada a huge Rush fan. "(Rush) has lyrics about how trees are talkin' to each other or how different sides of your brain works or outerspace bulls**t" [nsfw]
posted by Zedcaster at 11:30 AM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I know of a certain mad scientist who would be over-joyed at this article. Though he never will learn to play YYZ.

I have a drummer friend who, while not a Rush fan, shakes his head at Peart in disbelief. He claims there's one song (and I forget which) that Neil is playing one time sig with one hand and another with the other.

Been a Rush fan for a long time but then again I am as old as dirt. I was in a small arena in the midwest, watching the trio open for BOC. I clearly remember Geddy saying "This is side one from our latest album. This is 2112!" Now, maybe a quarter of that audience had heard of Rush before that show but it is amazing that back then no one thought anything of a band debuting a piece that is that freaking long. Hell, they got a huge ovation when it was done. Those were the days.
posted by Ber at 11:33 AM on June 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm 48 and I think everyone my age was exposed to Rush via older brothers, their own or somebody else's, who had their rooms in wood paneled basements with loose stacks of LPs on the wall-to-wall carpeted floor. There was also usually a giant wine carafe filled with spare change and smaller wine bottles with wicker bases that had candles in them that were lit to try and cover up pot smells. Oh and black light posters. They might have been good times. I am not sure. It was so long ago I barely remember. That Rush guy was good for smuggled fireworks from Myrtle Beach every March break though.
posted by srboisvert at 11:38 AM on June 17, 2015 [15 favorites]


The Spirit Of Radio has these lyrics:

One likes to believe in the freedom of music
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity


So it was a bitter pill for a lot of Rush fans to see them do a complete turn around and become just another 80s synth rock band. The lyrics were still Rush, but the music was so generic that it could have come from any number of middle aged rock stars trying to wring another decade out of their career. Then came the imitation grunge phase in the early 90s, but let's not go there.

Make no mistake, Rush always wanted to sell records, and more power to them, but they are not the prophets of musical purity that I think they want everyone to believe they are. Just like Heart, Chip Trick, Kansas, Styx, Foreigner, Queen, Genesis, and even the treasured Talking Heads, they all made very calculated decisions to become more radio friendly to 80's teens. Burning down the radio gaga, while time stands still, indeed.
posted by Beholder at 11:56 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


the rapping skeleton in Roll the Bones was replaced with a huge video of rapping by Jason Siegel

GODDAMMIT GODDAMMIT GODDAMMIT GODDAMMIT!!!!!!!!

If I had my way I'd erase Jason Siegel from all media, everywhere. I can choose not to watch I Love You, Man but now I am going to be assaulted by his hideous, smarmy mug at the last fucking Rush show I will ever go to.

GODDAMMIT.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:57 AM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not really a huge Rush fan, although The Body Electric has a geek-tacular place in my heart. But man I just love these guys. They're so Canadian. Subdivisions alone gets them a place in Canadian musical history. They're just all such huge music nerds and their excesses seem so earnest. Plus Geddy Lee sang on Great White North. These guys really do embody everything good that I like to associate with Canada.
posted by GuyZero at 12:04 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Flashman - I agree, there should be some sort of marker or plaque at the park in honor of the song. I'm there 2 or 3 times a week just to sit with a Tim Hortons green tea, and if anyone's interested, the willows are still blowing in the breeze. Only half the pier will accommodate smokers, however - they discovered some structural issues a couple months ago and closed off the north end of it.
posted by davebush at 12:16 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I always feel like high-fiving someone whenever Max Webster gets mentioned here. Max and Teenage Head were the soundtrack of my youth.
posted by davebush at 12:23 PM on June 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


What are the pretending to be that they're not?

Any good?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:35 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love Rush, and still go on listening binges now again. My freshman year roommate was a huge fan, and the Chronicles compilation was the soundtrack of that first semester. Many of Peart's lyrics don't work as well when you're 40 as they did when you were 16 and they did kinda lose me with the cringeworthy rap on Roll the Bones, but I have much, much respect for those three guys; incredible musicians with a long, long career.

As for Rush/prog rock being particularly more pretentious than any other musical act or genre that relies on a certain musical style or image as part of its brand: Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
posted by usonian at 12:38 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Alex Lifeson was the third to speak when they were inducted into the Rest & Relaxation Hall of Fame, 2013.
posted by sylvanshine at 12:59 PM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


What are the pretending to be that they're not?

Any good?


What you say about their ability is what you say about society!
posted by Ratio at 1:07 PM on June 17, 2015 [15 favorites]


My wife and I went to the 40th (!) anniversary show a few weeks ago...

Whoa. A woman attended a Rush concert?
posted by grounded at 1:10 PM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Pure Spinal Tap, gone to Juilliard.
posted by colie at 1:26 PM on June 17, 2015


Sure Rush is Canadian, but that doesn't make everyone from Canada a huge Rush fan

OMFG Helix I totally forgot those guys existed and I'm not sure I'm really all that glad to have remembered
posted by Hoopo at 1:40 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I totally get why other people get upset when a thread comes up about something they like and people who don't like it throw their two cents into the conversation. I've been that person (mostly surrounding a capella threads) and I apologize.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:51 PM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hippybear, sorry if my comment was what you meant, but I didn't actually mean it was a necessarily a bad thing that this band appears to be Spinal Juilliard. It's all fun. It's just that the article is all about a guy who loves awesome BMWs and vintage cars and wiping himself down with towels because he rocks so hard, rather than any illuminating info or ideas about their music.
posted by colie at 2:11 PM on June 17, 2015


It wasn't you, colie. Just the general "Rush sucks" type of comments. There is no denying that they are ridiculous.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:22 PM on June 17, 2015


I've been flagging those because, really, it's pointless shitting up of the thread.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:26 PM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


I can't believe no Canadian Mefites have made reference to or linked this great cultural moment yet.
posted by jokeefe at 2:29 PM on June 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I like how the RS article mentions that Alex Lifeson, in his dotage has a "square head."
posted by Nevin at 2:31 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I agree with the no thread-shitting and I take my comment back totally, but if you have the energy I appreciate it when posters try to inform idle 'haters' as to why a band's music is interesting.

The line between what is 'credible' and 'authentic' and therefore worthy of consideration is so ridiculously messed up when it comes to music and this article was one of the ones that presented a form of music as worthy simply because the people that create it seem to genuinely believe in it, have fans, and have stuck at it a long time. Which I guess is fine. You have debates on here where people swear that Taylor Swift is simply obviously better than Katy Perry or Nikki Minaj better than Iggy Azalea or whatever, and it's got nothing to do with the audio, which often comes out of the same studios and writing teams.
posted by colie at 2:31 PM on June 17, 2015


Nah, come on, Rush haters are part of Rush's whole image. Like the article says, they super-satisfy their superfans. They had this figured out before Seth Godin was even born. And you don't get Rush-level superfans without putting other people off. For all the accusations of them following music trends (Rush had a grunge phase, really?) you can hardly say they're catering to the mainstream.

Bands like Kiss went mainstream, Ozzy got his own reality TV show and as middle-aged dudes even badasses like Metallica look a little silly thrashing on stage when you know they'll be logging on to e-trade the next morning to check the S&P 500 and then email their car detailer about getting some classic car repainted while they're on tour.

Rush's genius is that they made it huge while still being really, really unpopular. Like totally unlistenable. And yet they're massive, a huge stadium-rock machine.

So a Rush thread without haters coming in would be the ultimate cop-out. Hate on, haters.
posted by GuyZero at 2:32 PM on June 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


Rush fan or not, the 6 part backstage documentary that was made during the S&A tour is really cool. Part 1 YT here
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 2:43 PM on June 17, 2015


Also, the all-time best holiday music special has to be when VH1 devotes an entire weekend to Rush as Rush Hashanah.
posted by GuyZero at 2:53 PM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I took my two teenage boys to see Rush last Sunday.

Fun and excitement was had.
posted by bricksNmortar at 3:05 PM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


if you have the energy I appreciate it when posters try to inform idle 'haters' as to why a band's music is interesting

All I can tell you is why it is compelling to me. My first memory of Rush was hearing "Freewill" on the radio when I was between the ages of 6-11. It stuck with me. Years later I was re-introduced to them and found that, as a young musician and aspiring composer, I appreciated the odd time signatures, extended song lengths and weirdo lyrics because they were markedly different than everything else on the radio. They were musically adventurous. Also, they were decidedly un-cool. This made them easy to love because it was kind of like belonging to a secret club that pushed you to be a better player.

So there is an emotional component to growing up with Rush that carries over into adulthood and has not been spoiled by loathsome behavior on the part of the members. On the contrary, they have pretty much just been low-key nice guys for their entire career.

Geddy has described their music as being "for musicians" and it isn't off-base. Because musicians tend to listen to music from a deconstructivist standpoint - hearing the drums, bass, synths, melody etc. as distinct elements - it is easy to ignore (or minimize) things like the tone of Geddy's voice, which lots of people don't like.

They also don't take themselves overly seriously (Neil excepted) which allows a fan to deal with the cognitive dissonance of loving them and thinking they are ludicrous.

Many more people than are willing to admit it are fans. I was at one time a "jukebox terrorist" and would go into bars with internet jukeboxes and play terrible (or wildly unpopular) songs to see the reactions from the patrons. Once I put on "Tom Sawyer" and a guy exclaimed "Rush?! I fucking hate Rush!" but not one minute later was air-drumming.
posted by grumpybear69 at 3:07 PM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Last Xmas eve (afternoon), I saw Geddy standing on a sidewalk near the Summerhill LCBO, next to a busted cardboard box. The box was leaking what looked like champagne. I also think I saw Thomas Haden Church at a What a Bagel! during the TIFF. This is the summation of my celebrity spotting experiences in 52 years on this earth.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:09 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Rush had a grunge phase, really?

Yes, Counterparts. When I say Grunge, I mean heavy dark guitar oriented rock. I admit to loving everything they did prior to Power Windows, but there is no denying the fact that they spent the 80s and 90s chasing musical trends.

Did Geddy really dis everything prior to 2112? That's crazy. Bastille Day rawks!
posted by Beholder at 3:19 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


They also don't take themselves overly seriously (Neil excepted) which allows a fan to deal with the cognitive dissonance of loving them and thinking they are ludicrous.

While looking back I find their musical style pretty goofy, I do have a soft spot in my heart for Rush. They were a big part of my (awkward) late adolescence. I was obsessed with them, and I'll never forget the first time I heard 2112.

Eventually the "alternative" scene broke. I discovered Shoegaze and marijuana, and left Rush behind. But how could you not like the band?
posted by Nevin at 4:04 PM on June 17, 2015


interior: low, fast flying helicopter

A modern day warrior…Mean, mean stride…Today's Tom Sawyer…Mean, mean pride

Buddy: "You know Rush is really into Ayn Rand and

*DUN DUN DA DAH….DUN DUN DA DAH!*

Buddy: "they’re all about Objectivism and..."

*DUN DUN DA DAH….DUN DUN DA DAH!*

Smed: "Yeah, why don’t you just shut up for about four minutes thirty four seconds."

Why do people think politics matters so much when enjoying art?

Man, I just can't listen to La finta giardiniera because of Mozart's subversive views on the Salzburg court. The Marriage of Figaro is not a masterpiece, the man was a Freemason for crying out loud.

I'm not reading The Fountainhead man, I just like the f'ing tune.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:10 PM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't believe no Canadian Mefites have made reference to or linked this great cultural moment yet.

Good call.

Also culturally significant: "Take Off" by Bob and Doug McKenzie feat. Geddy Lee.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:13 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


They peaked with 'Caress of Steel'. It's been a slight, gentle decline ever since.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 4:15 PM on June 17, 2015


I have this playlist in iTunes. It's called "Stuff I Used To Like". It's full of a lot of music from my teens and twenties, when I was a super-depressed kid. A lot of my Skinny Puppy is in there, as is most NIN, all my Negativland, lots of other noise music, pretty much the entire TMBG catalog up to the mid-00s... stuff I once liked, all organized in there so I can look back over it now and then and exclude it from my smart playlists. Because I just can't listen to it any more.

It has no Rush. Every single one of their albums I own (all the studio albums except the pre-Peart eponymous one, and one of the live albums) is in rotation. I'll sing along. I'll dance. I'll air guitar.

I'm forty-five years old. This is probably Old Fart music at this point, and profoundly uncool. I don't care. It never was "cool" to listen to this stuff.

I kinda want to go see them on this tour, but I seem to remember having that thought earlier and finding that the Seattle stop was long since sold out.
posted by egypturnash at 4:31 PM on June 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


They peaked with 'Caress of Steel'. It's been a slight, gentle decline ever since.

THIS. A thousand times, THIS.
posted by KingEdRa at 4:34 PM on June 17, 2015


Ignoring the odd article about Rush Limbaugh, we've had enough FPPs on Rush here that I think we can officially refer to the band as "Mefi Favorite, Rush."

There was a great cover of "Spirit of the Radio" by a kids band that we linked back in 2006, but alas the video is gone.

I seem to recall at one point there was a general consensus that particular song is just crazy hard to play - especially with only three players. Indeed, many of their songs are musically complex and difficult/ That's not necessarily enough to make a person like Rush if they didn't previously like them, but surely that deserves some respect. They might not play music that everyone likes, but they play what they do play very, very well.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:35 PM on June 17, 2015


For some reason, I find this extra from the Rush documentary always makes me feel good when I watch it. 3 guys having dinner, getting drunk and completely enjoying each other's company.
posted by davebush at 4:36 PM on June 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


(Here's a Wisconsin bar band winning over a tough crowd with their cover of "Spirit of the Radio" - the most satisfying cover I could quickly find)
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:41 PM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm 48 and I think everyone my age was exposed to Rush via older brothers, their own or somebody else's, who had their rooms in wood paneled basements with loose stacks of LPs on the wall-to-wall carpeted floor. There was also usually a giant wine carafe filled with spare change and smaller wine bottles with wicker bases that had candles in them that were lit to try and cover up pot smells. Oh and black light posters. They might have been good times.

I'm 44, and yes.

I never got into Rush though, and was only exposed to it through my own encounters with the apparently archetypal Older Brother of a Friend. To this day I have to stop and think about the difference between Rush and Styx. Are they similar? I have always categorized them as the same sort of band, but I know so little about them I may be way off. I think of them both as sort of cheesy high-concept art rock for teens in suburban basements.
posted by jayder at 5:09 PM on June 17, 2015


(Here's a Wisconsin bar band ...

As usual, it takes 5 Americans to do the work of 3 Canadians...
posted by GuyZero at 5:10 PM on June 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think one of the reasons Geddy Lee may have said it didn't like Caress of Steel is because the album cover got screwed up when they printed it. At least that's what I remember reading once in some fanzine.
posted by Nevin at 5:18 PM on June 17, 2015


Two of my best friends are big Rush fans, which pretty much makes me a Rush fan, and I've probably been to more Rush concerts than concerts by anyone else (including bands I like more). My lasting memory is of seeing the entire row of late-teenage boys in front of us air-drumming perfectly in time to all of the songs.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:32 PM on June 17, 2015


Whoa. A woman attended a Rush concert?

I’m a woman and I love Rush (and I am not alone)
posted by kirkaracha at 5:33 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


My office is not far from where Rush is playing in Toronto tonight.

As I was leaving, I took great delight in spotting the guys (it's an overwhelming dude-heavy fan base) who you could just tell by looking at them that they were fans from the early days. They have the weathered now-almost-cheesecloth vintage shirts and the look to prove their bona fides.

I say that with total respect.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:37 PM on June 17, 2015


Oh man! That totally reminds me of my favorite story about seeing Rush when I was in college. My best friend and I were so excited to get tickets that we went and stood in line at the ticket office outside the Spectrum in Philadelphia, back when you actually had to stand in line and get somewhere early before the box office opened to make sure you got decent tickets.

Anyway, we're standing there for at least two hours and there's this kid standing in line right behind us the whole time, and finally the line starts moving, and he asks "Wait, is this the line for Bryan Adams?" Which was kind of amusing as a joke, so I think the two of us kind of laughed a little, and then someone who took his question seriously was like, "No man, this is Rush," and the kid got this panicked WTF look on his face and bolted out of the line because he actually meant to stand in line to buy Bryan Adams tickets, apparently.
posted by MoonOrb at 5:49 PM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


I agree with the no thread-shitting and I take my comment back totally, but if you have the energy I appreciate it when posters try to inform idle 'haters' as to why a band's music is interesting.

I'm not a big fan - my roommate is, and I kinda regret not taking his offer to see them on this tour if they now say it's their last - but:

- Musically they are right at the intersection of prog and big arena guitar rawk, and appeal to fans of both - whether that means nostalgic ex-painted-van-owners or the ever-replenished supply of "young male musicians" as Geddy put it.

- Their unapologetic nerdery and high-concept lyrics can be endearing if you're an big ol' nerd or just tired of rock stars trying so hard to be cool and remain cool into their 70s. Even if those lyrics are sometimes pretty stupid.

- They have a reputation as nice guys who don't take themselves too seriously.

I'm not really the person to sell you on the music. I find them a solid entry in that arena prog genre with a few standout tracks. But I'm not a huge fan of that genre.
posted by atoxyl at 6:15 PM on June 17, 2015


I am 53. True. RUSH is near and dear and if you don't like it or get it....that's fine. To me, as with most things that give me the warm fuzzies...
It is the summer nights when I was 17. In a 67 nova or a 75 chevy van...riding around with some weed and Schlitz baby bulls or Lone Stares or Natty lights...or Boons Farm. Warm air and no air conditioning. 2112 blasting from the 8 track.....meeting at the park or out on the oil field roads...with 20 or 80 of my best friends. No curfrew...pancakes at a diner at 3am.
RUSH was youth for me.
posted by shockingbluamp at 6:26 PM on June 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm forty-five years old. This is probably Old Fart music at this point, and profoundly uncool. I don't care. It never was "cool" to listen to this stuff.

It was kinda cool for a hot minute when "Moving Pictures" peaked. I'm hoping they add more dates on this tour, I saw them twice on the Snakes and Arrows tour and I would like to see them one more time.
posted by MikeMc at 6:30 PM on June 17, 2015


Nah, come on, Rush haters are part of Rush's whole image. Like the article says, they super-satisfy their superfans.

I'm reminded of a thing Jerry Garcia said about the Grateful Dead: "We're like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice really like licorice."

Also, gratuitous self-link to kids (including my son) covering Freewill
posted by Daily Alice at 6:31 PM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


My wife has gone with me to a few Rush shows. We have noted that some of the male fans seem a little freaked out to see a real live girl in the arena. But what really flabbergasts them is when Rush plays "Roll the Bones" my wife gets up to dance. This is unheard of. First of all, the song is NOT a favorite of a lot of fans and second of all, dancing instead of air-drumming?

Vapor Trails tour we were at the Target Center, on the side, looking over the stage. "Roll the Bones" kicks off and my spouse jumps onto this concrete landing just a little ways above the stage and starts dancing. Geddy walks our way and give her the nod of approval. Several fan boys behind us about shat themselves.
posted by Ber at 6:33 PM on June 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Canada is one of the world's leading exporters of power trios. In addition to Rush, Canada's produced Elliott Brood, The Evidence, Nomeansno, Triumph, and more.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:48 PM on June 17, 2015


My wife's maid of honor made me rap the Roll The Bones rap at our wedding. She is a bigger fan than I am.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:57 PM on June 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


They peaked with 'Caress of Steel'. It's been a slight, gentle decline ever since.

Replace Caress of Steel with Signals, and I agree. Grace under Pressure went too far in the synth direction, and Power Windows was almost unrecognizable.

It's funny, though. You can probably guess a prog rock fan's age by asking them when Rush peaked. Is Moving Pictures really their best album, or is it my favorite because I was still in school? If I had been born ten years later, would Time Stand Still be my favorite Rush song? I shudder at the thought.
posted by Beholder at 7:10 PM on June 17, 2015


colie:"You have debates on here where people swear that Taylor Swift is simply obviously better than Katy Perry or Nikki Minaj better than Iggy Azalea or whatever, and it's got nothing to do with the audio, which often comes out of the same studios and writing teams."

Historically, the actual quality of music is much less important than the social role of making and dancing to music, the costumes worn while doing these things, and the role of music in courtship. Arguably the high emphasis on "quality" only comes up in the navel gazing modern case where we remove other usage and meaning for music, and are left with the naked form, the plucked over carcass of music.

If anything, music press that focuses on sex, clothes, attitude, and identity is closer to the authentic place of music in culture.
posted by idiopath at 7:26 PM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thanks, Daily Alice, that was fun. A tough bite to chew :)
posted by wallabear at 7:49 PM on June 17, 2015


Whoa. A woman attended a Rush concert?

Yeah, I know lots of women who love Rush. I have a 15 year old female employee who's seen them live 3 times and a 47 year old ex gf who's seen them dozens.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:01 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is Moving Pictures really their best album

Beholder, if you have to ask that question, and you really care about the answer, you have to do some digging on your own. Preferably, backwards.

From a 40 year fan of a 40 year old band, I will say, yes, it is. Permanent Waves is a wonder. So is 2112. So is A Farewell to Kings. So is, so is....

I was thirteen when I bought the first album. Fly By Night and Caress of Steel disappointed me, 2112 was a fucking revelation. YMMV.
posted by wallabear at 9:13 PM on June 17, 2015


In reference to my earlier comment above, I should amend it to the effect that I did like their big hits prior to Moving Pictures, I just didn't like them enough to get every album and listen to it the entire way through. I mention this because this discussion prompted me to get their greatest hits album, part of my motivation also being that I've been looking for more workout music to supplement those two Rollins Band albums that are my go-to weightlifting soundtrack. And I'm grooving along to the songs that I'd hear all the time back in the day on WMET (RIP) in Chicago, and then it reaches "The Trees", and... geez, Neal:
Now there's no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw
Musically, it's a pretty good song, but I'd never really trust anyone who listens to Rush for the lyrics. No wonder it wasn't one of the songs that WMET kept in rotation.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:13 PM on June 17, 2015


Yeah but have you ever closely examined the cover of Moving Pictures? It's... *moving* pictures.
posted by Nevin at 9:20 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah but have you ever closely examined the cover of Moving Pictures? It's... *moving* pictures.

In the albums I have, Power Windows is of a similar disposition, as well as Roll The Bones to a lesser degree.

I am missing quite a few albums, but of what I do have 2112, Moving Pictures, and Roll The Bones are definite favorites. I also really like their live albums, A Show Of Hands in particular.
posted by inparticularity at 9:28 PM on June 17, 2015


Equate the Oaks with the Kochs, and the message becomes a bit more clear.

"So the Maples formed a Union, and demanded equal rights..."
posted by wallabear at 9:44 PM on June 17, 2015


I really appreciate what you guys have to say about what sounds good, and from which album, and from which era, and what age you are, and when you got into Rush, and when you got fed up, etc. Believe me, I have Opinions.

We can agree that some of it just sucks. Rush has always tended to lose their way. They've always tended to have one really cohesive album in a decade (post '70's), surrounded by a something with a couple shining moments, and some truly argh. You've had to be really patient to be a Rush fan. You've had to hope the next one will be the awesome one. You've been let down a lot. You've been rewarded, maybe not so much. You have CD's that you listen to two or three songs and let the rest lie. I like to think I've tried to grasp those and just gave up. But the songs I like are what keep me going with this weird-ass trio.

Clockwork Angels was not my cup of tea, and no-one else's either as far as I can tell. Snakes and Arrows was golden, as hippybear mentioned above. I have Vapor Trails, a complete waste of time, though the tour was fucking great (see rotisserie chicken ovens above, or was that laundromat dryers?). I thought Counterparts was great, some think it's shite. Roll The Bones is a half-classic, and I think Hold Your Fire is a fine album. It's all just so subjective, after the golden era.

Really looking forward to the show in Seattle. Now that I know it's a backward-chronology set, I'll be dead at the end, from head-banging. And thirteen years old.
posted by wallabear at 10:34 PM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


This makes me want to buy a ticket for that Seattle show.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:46 PM on June 17, 2015


Historically, the actual quality of music is much less important than the social role of making and dancing to music, the costumes worn while doing these things, and the role of music in courtship.

You could say similar things about the role of storytelling or theatre or other arts. But they also have formal characteristics and structures, and social and political aspects, that are considered worthy of articulate and comparative study in universities etc - but pop music is mostly excluded from this, despite the fact that it's been probably the dominant form of art in our culture for the last half century or more.

And of course if you're going to organise sound waves and then distribute them, they will have a life independent of the cultural context that gave rise to them.

If anything, music press that focuses on sex, clothes, attitude, and identity is closer to the authentic place of music in culture.


I agree in terms of the consumption of music, but not its production. Someone still has to make decisions and choices about what note to put where, regardless of what clothes they're wearing and however much sex they are getting. If it's all just music press 'attitude' then you end up with The Strokes.
posted by colie at 12:01 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Give them some credit for having Aimee Mann add vocals to Time Stand Still.
posted by PenDevil at 12:14 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Please, no 20-minute drum solos -- any idiot can (and usually will) solo.

You can actually summon Rush by playing a long enough competent but mostly pointless solo.
posted by effbot at 3:51 AM on June 18, 2015


I'd never really trust anyone who listens to Rush for the lyrics.

That seems legit!
posted by thelonius at 4:23 AM on June 18, 2015


I will now express an opinion on the internet.

Time Stand Still is a great song.
posted by wittgenstein at 6:37 AM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Time Stand Still is a great song.

And an even better video.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:42 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


And since we're discussing the best eras of Rush, I'd say that everything from Fly By Night to Moving Pictures is golden, with a peak from Hemispheres to MP since I love the way they integrated synthesizers without letting them take over.

After that, IMHO, the albums get progressively worse, though there are individual tracks (Force Ten, Subdivisions, New World Man and of course Roll The Bones) that stand out.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:01 AM on June 18, 2015


I don't really care for anything pre-2112. Permanent Waves is probably my favorite. But I really like a lot of the 90s material, especially from Test for Echo.
Driven
Resist
Half the World
posted by Daily Alice at 7:28 AM on June 18, 2015


It pleases me that Geddy and friends will be peering up at folk for the next six months or so, at various medical and dental waiting rooms all across North America.

Makes my Rush-obsessed heat happy - and I'll also be at the Seattle show. Bought my ticket on the first day.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:10 PM on June 18, 2015


Dang, I got all excited about possibly going to see their show, but the tickets are pricey! I guess this is why I haven't been to an arena rock show in a long while. I saw them over twenty years ago on the Presto tour, and it was phenomenal.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:13 PM on June 18, 2015


Beholder, if you have to ask that question, and you really care about the answer, you have to do some digging on your own. Preferably, backwards.

Well, In Through the Out Door is my favorite Led Zeppelin album, and Some Girls is my favorite Stone's album, yet both of those albums are held in disdain by hardcore Zeppelin and Stones' fans, so I admit that I'm partial to the music I heard as a teenager, a happier time in my life, as it is for most people. I guess that means a slightly older version of me would really dig 2112 (never cared for it) and a slightly younger version would prefer Rush's synth period. Oh well, enough chatter about Rush. I'll shut up now. : )
posted by Beholder at 7:32 PM on June 18, 2015


Didn't mean to shut you down, Beholder :) Some Girls is my favorite Stones album. It's like they fucking relaxed for a bit.

I finally got my elderly mother outta the house for a bit, so's I could shred my speakers. Hold Your Fire, Roll The Bones. Might sample some PW if I get a chance.

They are bewildering, for sure. I'd made a mixtape years ago, on cassette, long gone but goddamn that was some choice shit. Too old and impatient to try again.

Geddy is like an octopus -- how does one brain manage so many tentacles? And yeah, Peart is the all-time winner on the kit. IMHO.
posted by wallabear at 12:06 PM on June 20, 2015


Your Rush deep track for today: Here Again, from their first album.

Rutsey wasn't a bad drummer. Certainly no Peart, but give him credit. Immediately after the release of the debut album in 1974, Rutsey was forced to leave the band due to health difficulties (stemming from diabetes) and his general distaste for touring.

Rush is the better for it.
posted by wallabear at 12:34 PM on June 20, 2015


Thanks to this thread (who was the OP anyway?) for whatever reason Open Secrets turned into an earworm for the past few days. Dammit!
posted by Nevin at 9:00 AM on June 21, 2015


22 Things You Learn Hanging Out With Rush (more tidbits from the RS interviews not included in the cover article)
posted by hippybear at 1:57 AM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I highly recommend the documentary "Beyond the Lighted Stage," which is currently streaming on Netflix in the US. I was utterly charmed by it - these guys started playing music together as teenagers and it's literally what they've been doing their whole life ever since.

Absolutely. I've recommended it before in Rush threads. I also highly recommend, if you can find them, the DVD extras from that doco, which include a lot of them sitting around a dinner table getting drunk, or exploring their old teenage neighbourhood together. They come off as really nice, immensely likable ordinary Canadian guys. I've never been an enormous fan of the band, but as the years go by, I find myself liking their stuff more and more.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:14 PM on July 8, 2015




Weirdly, that looks like it's one of the DVD extras that someone has recorded with their phone from a screen playing it. Probably to confuzzle Youtube's copyright infringement detection algorithms -- I've seen a lot of similar video obfuscations of full length movies and so on recently to the same end.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:14 PM on July 9, 2015


I just ran into geddy lee and some short dude with grey hair and thought of this thread. Didn't say anything but I did a double take and they saw and smiled
posted by Hoopo at 6:07 PM on July 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now that I think about it I randomly gave a Buddhist monk $20 right before turning the corner on 8th Ave, then ran into an icon of Canadian rock. Weird man.
posted by Hoopo at 6:32 PM on July 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


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