August 25, 2008
Today's Friday Flashback is brought to you by vinegar, wine, and yeast. Because they're better if you let 'em sit a while.
The Rush story began August 1968 in Toronto. Alex Lifeson played guitars, Jeff Jones was the front man and John Rutsey played drums. After a few months with Jones as the singer, Alex Lifeson decided to replace Jones with superhuman bassist and wailing vocalist Geddy Lee. The reason for the replacement is unknown, but you have to admit that Rush without the crooning uniqueness of Lee's vocals would cease to be Rush right? And the bass? Outstanding. There'd be no Les Calypool without Geddy Lee. I'm sure of it.
Rush would perform covers at random establishments and school dances. They had some original material, but nothing substantial enough to make a breakthrough. In 1974, drummer John Rutsey had some health trouble - mostly diabetes - and resigned. The remaining Rush members held auditions for a drummer and found the grandly talented and mostly immortal Neil Peart. Do you think Peart is a vampire? Look at his stone smooth skin, his piercing eyes and strength shown while banging on his bongos like a chimpanzee! A vampire fer sure.
Neil Peart's official employment date with Rush was July 29, 1974 - just a few weeks before Rush would embark on their first U.S. Tour as an opening act for Uriah Heep and Manfred Mann. Because Peart had a way with words (yet more proof of his vampiredom), he would become the bands primary song writer and lyricist.
The addition of Peart changed the direction of Rush dramatically. Peart had a thing for science fiction and literature. Rush songs would henceforth and forever become engrossed in fantasy, depth and symbolism. But most of us are in the music for the music not the words right? Which is a good thing 'cause if I were a lyric listener, my religious orientation would require that I junk most of what I frequent.
The Rush sound has layered musical themes amidst rock infused blues and a dash of synthesizer. The synthesizer era came in handy during the Laser Show fad of the late 80s and early 90s. Remember that? Laser Rush at the Planetarium? Great stuff. It was better if you entered with blood-shot eyes.
Rush Albums include: Rush (1974), Fly by Night (1975), Caress of Steel (1975), 2112 (1976), A Farewell to Kings (1977), Hemispheres (1978), Permanent Waves (1980), Moving Pictures (1981), Signals (1982), Grace Under Pressure (1984), Power Windows (1985), Hold Your Fire (1987), Presto (1989), Roll the Bones (1991), Counterparts (1993), Test For Echo (1996), Vapor Trails (2002), Snakes & Arrows (2007).
Call me strange and/or musically retarded, but one of my favorites is Roll The Bones. Their rock/blues foundation and musical maturity is displayed nicely on this one. Listen to: Roll The Bones - Dreamline - Ghost of a Chance. More of My Favorites: Xanadu Live - Farewell To Kings - Anthem - Working Man - Tom Sawyer (his mind is not for rent you know) - and my all time favorite with the all time best lyrics in the biz: Spirit of Radio (Emotional feedback On a timeless wavelength Bearing a gift beyond price).
I've purposely left out loads of info so as you - my generous reader - can contribute.