Monday, August 25, 2008


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.

Rock on!


Winder said...

Hey, I have the Roll the Bones
t-shirt. If your nice I'll let you borrow it. It was the dear hubbies.

Don't forget as previously mentioned the excellent album "Exit Stage Leftr" (live)

A few other facts: Neil Peart lost his wife to cancer and his daughter in a car wreck. He rode his bike to most of the stops on one of their tours. Geddy Lee (and possibly the other two) have masters degrees in music.

If the hubby were here the facts could go on and on. But alas, I am alone with the child and have nothing further to add.

rabidrunner said...

Geddy Lee's real name is Gary Lee Weinrib. He acquired the name "Geddy" due to the heavily accented way in which his mother said "Gary". His parents are Jewis refugees from Poland and survived the horrors of Dachau (Nazi concentration camp of World War II).

tom lindsey said...

If I had to choose a favorite song it would be Natural Science.

Rush's popularity now spans two household generations: My son has Subdivisions as a ring tone (Signals). Yes, he is that old now-- and still talks about your "creepy" cat :) Though, when you folks come up in conversation he mostly wonders why someone would ski in shorts.

A question for the runner in you: Have you ever run this course? I am thinking that I may try this but am unsure-- I have been battling a persistent knee problem and am concerned about the amount/grade of the downhill.

What does this have to do with Rush? iTunes tells me that I have over 20 hours of Rush songs and I think that should be just enough to get me to the finish.

Winder said...

I forgot to mention my favorite Rush song: "Freewill"

rabidrunner said...

Tom - I'm so sad to inform you that we no longer have the creepy cat. I haven't don't the rimrock run, but know the course record holder (he ran in college with Spouse) and a handful of others who have done it. They say it's outstanding and difficult. The aid stations compete for the best station (based on runner vote), so I hear the aid stations are great (music, stuff, entertainment).

I'll bet you'll only need 3 or 4 of those Rush hours, so you might want to be picky about which of those 20 hours o' Rush make it in your rimrockrun playlist. Just a suggestion.

Nigel said...

The combination lock on our community recycling bin is "2112" because my neighbor is also a Rush geek.

During a rough patch at a job I disliked, I tended to be there before everyone else and/or after everyone else. My therapy was playing "Working Man" at ear-shattering volume.

Michael Quispe said...

I've run the Rimrock Run last year and had a great time. It had perfect weather, but was a little difficult during the last few steep miles. I think a few more longer runs would have been beneficial.