If there was an all-star team (like that cartoon about Bo Jackson, Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan solving crimes) of individual musical brilliance, that would be the gentlemen of RUSH. Over the course of their 40-year career, Geddy Lee (bass, vocals), Alex Lifeson (guitar) and Neil Peart (drums) almost constantly graced the magazine covers of their respective instruments. When musicians cite their influences, these three gents usually come up at some point in the conversation.
But these Great White North (born and raised in Toronto) boys were A BAND. One of the most popular (over 40 million albums sold does the trick) and most influential (The Foo Fighters inducting them into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame takes care of that) Canadian artists EVER. Time to get to the heart of these prog-rock deities and their story.
The band started in Toronto's Willowdale neighbourhood with Alex, bassist/vocalist Jeff Jones and drummer John Rutsey. The "RUSH" handle was suggested by Rutsey's brother Bill, who came up with the name while the band was - wait for it - 'rushing' (HAH!) around to get ready for their first gig at a local coffee shop call The Coff-In, located in the basement of an Anglican church (?). That lineup was short-lived, however, and within a couple of weeks, and just before their second performance, Jeff Jones left the band and was replaced by Geddy, who had gone to school with Alex.
It was only when John Rutsey left and Neil Peart came into the fold, that RUSH became the three-headed prog-rock monster of Rock. Yes, Neil knows his way around a drum kit, but his mind-expanding lyrics were the glue that truly made this trio tick. In many ways, they were the jumping-off point for everything else the band did. Whether it was fantasy worlds, political issues or the human condition, prog-rock's Holy Trinity made it work, and sometimes it even may or may not have involved moustaches, double-necked guitars and double-necked basses...
For awhile, RUSH recorded almost an album a year, but quite possibly their true strength was playing live. Their tours seemed to never end at times, which made recording so many albums in their earlier years even more amazing. One of the best-sounding live acts, they released eleven(!!) live albums over the course of their career, and they probably have enough material in the can to put out ten more.
But two things that might have got them over the top into true legend status: 1) An entire Paul Rudd movie based around them. 2) A collaboration with Bob & Doug McKenzie. They've just completed their final major tour, but that doesn't mean they're done for good. The Holy Trinity will get back together again, whether to record, play a few killer shows, or simply to talk about the good times over great food and a case of wine.
The officially unofficial blog of Faux Rawk. Everything you read is true, although some of what you read is 100% false. Whoa... trippy, man.