Rush: Classic or Dud?

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Bach looked awful.

Bill Magill will now be sad and cry about vampires life ruining his rock experience.

― Filmmaker, Author, Radio Host Stephen Baldwin (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, June 28, 2010 11:20 AM (3 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

I dont even know what this means. If you dont like 80s Rush, you dont like life? Guilty as charged, I guess.

Chicago to Philadelphia: "Suck It" (Bill Magill), Monday, 28 June 2010 15:25 (eight years ago) Permalink

bill don't hardman my naive love of canadian rock!!!!!!!!!!! okay???? not today man, i'm feeling all warm and fuzz abt rush!!!!!

it's detlef season, you schremps (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 28 June 2010 15:26 (eight years ago) Permalink

Man, I love Rush, and I loved the movie. you guys have my take, no need for me to beat it into the ground.

Chicago to Philadelphia: "Suck It" (Bill Magill), Monday, 28 June 2010 15:36 (eight years ago) Permalink

I guess I'm just trying to point out that there is a difference between you not liking anything they've done since Moving Pictures and Rush not liking anything they've done since then.

What I got from the movie was that Alex Lifeson was unhappy with how much the synths were taking over their records around Power Windows and that he wanted the records to become more guitar focused, which is exactly what happened. I did not get the impression that he was saying all these albums he created suck and should be erased from everyone's memories.

Moodles, Monday, 28 June 2010 16:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

He did not like those records. That's my interpretation of what he said. I didnt like them either. If you like them, that's cool.

Chicago to Philadelphia: "Suck It" (Bill Magill), Monday, 28 June 2010 16:38 (eight years ago) Permalink

Well, the band likes the period enough to still perform quite a few songs.

Filmmaker, Author, Radio Host Stephen Baldwin (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 28 June 2010 16:41 (eight years ago) Permalink

yeah they did between the wheels off grace under pressure last i saw them and the crowd was loving it

and that's like a weird album cut too, not like some huge single or something that people would expect or that the band would somehow feel obligated to play

it's detlef season, you schremps (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 28 June 2010 16:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

Alex was just as guilty of diluting his guitar potency with fx pedals as Geddy was with introducing keyboards into the band, so for him to complain around the time of Power Windows is kind of like pot meet kettle. Anyway, it seems like around the time of Hold Your Fire they brought the guitar back to the forefront (though to say that they'd done away with synths at that point is kind of ridiculous). That whole part of the doc was kind of muddy with its intent, but I can put the pieces together of how things went down just by listening to the records.

Johnny Fever, Monday, 28 June 2010 16:49 (eight years ago) Permalink

see, i sorta love that era of alex's playing...very weird and fractured type of the only OG classic rock dudes that seemed to take anything valuable from new wave/post punk....

they were using synths well before the that era anyway, this idea that using synths or efx is "diluting" Rush seems very odd to me, as if ppl think of Rush as some primal rock dudes like Motorhead or AC/DC or something

it's detlef season, you schremps (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 28 June 2010 16:52 (eight years ago) Permalink

Oh no, you misread me (probably because I didn't elaborate). I love fx-heavy guitar, always have. I appreciate that he was all about textures for the Signals/Grace/Windows era. I just meant "diluted" in the traditional rock sense.

Johnny Fever, Monday, 28 June 2010 16:56 (eight years ago) Permalink

oh okay yeah cuz i have friends that play kinda weird rock now that cite the lifeson of that era as being sorta influential, because we all grew up in nowheresville midwest and that was as close to like "arty" guitar playing as we had heard in comparison to all the metal and classic rock dudes we knew growing up

textural is the perfect word for it

lots of his playing in that era reminds me of the comsat angels

it's detlef season, you schremps (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 28 June 2010 17:00 (eight years ago) Permalink

This guitars vs synths polarity is weird. After borrowing a copy of Power Windows last month from a friend, I heard just as much RAWK moments on stuff like "Emotion Detector" and "Manhattan Project" as I would have pre-Moving Pictures. The songs are shorter, though, but denser, more muscular; lots of stuff going on in them.

Filmmaker, Author, Radio Host Stephen Baldwin (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 28 June 2010 17:00 (eight years ago) Permalink

listening to "Distant Early Warning" right now! this song rules...

it's detlef season, you schremps (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 28 June 2010 17:05 (eight years ago) Permalink

Definitely Power Windows has lots of amazing high energy moments form all three of them, including some of Alex's greatest guitar work. I do think though that the synths on that record get a bit too busy and gitzy sounding at times to the point where they draw attention away from the guitar parts, so I can see why it would be a point of contention.

Moodles, Monday, 28 June 2010 17:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

yeah "mystic rhythms" is a little overboard on the 80s production

it's detlef season, you schremps (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 28 June 2010 17:30 (eight years ago) Permalink

I've seen this film 3 times now since I had a screener copy for reviews, and finally saw it in a theater last night and I have to sincerely agree with Moodles' take on this Bill.

Alex does make it clear that he was unhappy with the synths backing the guitars into the corner throughout the 80s. And he does imply that Hold Your Fire was the straw the broke the camel's back. Otherwise, I wouldn't say he really disowned anything and the do represent all of their albums live.

Nate Carson, Monday, 28 June 2010 19:02 (eight years ago) Permalink

they not the.

Nate Carson, Monday, 28 June 2010 19:03 (eight years ago) Permalink

then you learn the weapons and the ways of hard knock school
put on your kid gloves put on your kid gloves
then you learn the lesson that it's tough to be so cool

it's detlef season, you schremps (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 28 June 2010 20:12 (eight years ago) Permalink


i swear to god that was like a christopher guest thing

it's detlef season, you schremps (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 29 June 2010 14:09 (eight years ago) Permalink

OK, I managed to solve the mystery of Why Was Alex Lifeson's Argument With His Parents Filmed?:

Come On Children was a documentary about Canadian youth directed by Allan King. And here I thought some of Lifeson's pals just wandered into his house with a Super-8.

Tarfumes The Escape Goat, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 21:27 (eight years ago) Permalink

The original reality tv!

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 21:44 (eight years ago) Permalink

Yeah, what a bizarre and useful bit of archival footage to have. Only in Canada!

Nate Carson, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 22:47 (eight years ago) Permalink

i'm starting a religion based on the teachings of freddy "the yoda of drums" gruber and you are all invited:

it's detlef season, you schrempfs (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 29 June 2010 22:52 (eight years ago) Permalink

Freddy obviously likes to hear himself talk, but as a drummer, I can absolutely see what he's getting at.

Nate Carson, Wednesday, 30 June 2010 09:44 (eight years ago) Permalink

i'm sure that he's great, and yeah it makes sense it's just his delivery is soooooooo much like a christopher guest movie

hey does anyone know anything about max webster?

Q and Not Gucci (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 1 July 2010 15:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

There's a gigantic Canada Day Rush celebration over at today:

It turned out really well. Thanks to Nate for chipping in!

A. Begrand, Thursday, 1 July 2010 18:13 (eight years ago) Permalink

Great feature! Thanks for including me.

On another note, there's a Mini-RUSHCON in Las Vegas this August. Aaaaaaaaand, it's at Hooters :(

Nate Carson, Thursday, 1 July 2010 19:07 (eight years ago) Permalink

can you imagine the patience it would take to sit thru a lesson w/freddy gruber? I think I like neil peart more now after that

Dominique, Thursday, 1 July 2010 22:42 (eight years ago) Permalink

"Grace," "Power" and "Fire" ironically feature some of Lifeson's best guitar playing, IMO, a nice showcase for his lead rhythm player duties with some awesome solos tossed in. But yeah, when you combine synth washes with guitar designed to sound like synth washes, you're bound to get lost in the mix a little.

Saw this interview online:

In recent years, your albums have gotten a lot more guitar-oriented. The ’80s got a little synthy.


The transition, if you want to call it that, to more guitar-oriented albums — where does that come from?

It’s probably a reaction to what we were doing in the ’80s, when we started incorporating keyboards into our sound. It was still a very new thing, and that’s what really connected to us. But I think, once we got though the ’80s, we realized we went as far as we could with that. The real core part of the band is really in the three pieces — and really in the guitar. And in looking back, strictly for scheduling purposes, we put the keyboard down before we put the guitar down. So that made things a lot more restrictive for me and I had to work around a sound spectrum that was already occupied by keyboards. And I think, as a reaction to that, in the ’80s I went for a much wirier, thinner, clear trebly active pickup sound. In that period, I think that was just a response to the density of what the keyboard was doing.

Around the early ’90s, though, we all made this conscious effort to step away from keyboards, especially Geddy, which you would think would be unusual. But I think he’d had it and felt very confined in his area of the stage with keys and stuff. I mean, even with stuff we’re writing now, I have been the one kind of introducing some keyboard lines. Part of that reaction was replacing keyboard stuff with guitar parts — Vapor Trails, for example, has so much layered guitar stuff and it’s fun to do. And even Snakes and Arrows has a lot of layering and it’s great fun to do, and I love listening to it and I love doing it. But it makes it harder to really not depend on a lot of triggers and samples and stuff like that playing it live. But as I was saying, even now, where I want to bring some more keyboard back in, I am getting a lot of resistance from Geddy.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 2 July 2010 02:38 (eight years ago) Permalink

hey does anyone know anything about max webster?

― Q and Not Gucci (upper mississippi sh@kedown)

I saw Max Webster open for Rush in '79, but sadly I can't remember a single thing about them.

Lostandfound, Friday, 2 July 2010 05:02 (eight years ago) Permalink

"The real core part of the band is really in the three pieces — and really in the guitar."

Thank you.

Chicago to Philadelphia: "Suck It" (Bill Magill), Friday, 2 July 2010 14:03 (eight years ago) Permalink

Total agreement. I wasn't a big fan until I saw them live and realized that Alex Lifeson is the secret weapon.

Nate Carson, Friday, 2 July 2010 19:12 (eight years ago) Permalink


the reverend dr. william wiggins (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 2 July 2010 19:15 (eight years ago) Permalink

I'm kind of surprised that Alex wanted to bring the synths back and Geddy shut him down.

Moodles, Friday, 2 July 2010 19:42 (eight years ago) Permalink

Well there's plenty of synth on the new singles. So obviously this has worked itself out.

Nate Carson, Friday, 2 July 2010 20:30 (eight years ago) Permalink

Finally got round to seeing this, glad I was watching it at home on my own so I could air-drum to my heart's content. Dunno why people on this thread are saying they come across as weirdos, a bit standoff-ish maybe but watching the RushCon footage who can blame them? Anyway, what a great film, I really can't think of another megaband where none of the members have drug issues / mental health issues / hate each other, it's nice to see a rock band doc that isn't essentially a Behind The Music horror show. Shame they didn't mention the Alex Lifeson new years eve arrest from a couple of years ago though.

A prog venn diagram for you to think about (Matt #2), Sunday, 4 July 2010 16:46 (eight years ago) Permalink

For a band currently touring for no good reason, I really wish they weren't playing "Moving Pictures" in its entirety and instead dusted off even more stuff they've rarely if ever played before. But nice to see "Marathon" back in rotation, even if I was hoping for a deep '80s cut like "The Enemy Within."

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 4 July 2010 20:00 (eight years ago) Permalink

I've never seen them live, but this looks like a fabulous sample of many of my favorites. Set List from June 29 show in Albuqurque:

Set One
The Spirit Of Radio
Time Stand Still
Stick It Out
Workin' Them Angels
Leave That Thing Alone

Set Two
Tom Sawyer
Red Barchetta
The Camera Eye
Witch Hunt
Vital Signs
Drum Solo
Closer To The Heart
2112 Part I: Overture
2112 Part II: The Temples Of Syrinx
Far Cry

La Villa Strangiato
Working Man

Fastnbulbous, Sunday, 4 July 2010 20:08 (eight years ago) Permalink

Oh, it's a great setlist, a mix of old and new. I guess I'll see how it plays tomorrow night.

BTW, the shift in guitar sound through the '80s no doubt had a lot to do with Alex's switch to Strat (like every other effects monster in the '80s). These days he's back to Gibsons and a thicker sound. Same with Geddy, for that matter, who is using good ol' Fenders rather than those sci-fi basses he favored in that decade.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 4 July 2010 20:45 (eight years ago) Permalink

Not to be gear dude, but "those sci-fi basses" were Wals, which were fantastic-sounding (in a Fenderish vein) instruments and not fusion toys, and Geddy only switched 'cause Mr. Wallace died.

Three Word Username, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 12:23 (eight years ago) Permalink

I liked the Wals at the time, but I far prefer the rich, growly tones he gets from his Fender basses, and I love his classic Rickenbacker as well. The Wals and Steinbergers, in retrospect, were a bit too punchy and thin for my taste.

Moodles, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 12:40 (eight years ago) Permalink

The show last night was incredible. I think I need to find a way to go back on Wednesday

Stormy Davis, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 18:10 (eight years ago) Permalink

Finally bought the movie this weekend, will be digging in on my day off tomorrow.

Certainly have to offer a big "fuck off" to B3st Buy over this, btw. That was the only local place that had it (other than B@rnes & Nobl3 where it was thirty bucks!) and it was to be on sale for like 15 bucks first week of release. Stopped by on the day of release, said they'd only got one copy in and it sold right away. Since it was right next door to where I was working, I stopped by several times to see if it was in yet. Never showed up, until the day AFTER the sale price ended and suddenly they had 30+ copies. I hate when places pull stuff like that.

[end rant, back to Rush talk]

he's always been a bit of an anti-climb Max (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 6 July 2010 18:35 (eight years ago) Permalink

Plus those superstores buy product at a discount so the filmmakers get an even smaller cut when you buy that way. Amazon is the same deal. Buy direct whenever you can.

Anyway, yes I studied the set list from opening night and have to say I could not be much more excited. I don't care about seeing Moving Pictures particularly but the rest of the set is an outstanding selection.

Nate Carson, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 20:09 (eight years ago) Permalink

Alex Lifeson talks about his new amp and the "steampunk" look of the Time Machine stage show.

Nate Carson, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 20:12 (eight years ago) Permalink

I'm loving the Steampunk look. I can't believe I have to wait until September to see this show! Too long!!!

Moodles, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 21:58 (eight years ago) Permalink

Show last night was pretty good! Alex was a tad sloppy, but I was shocked by how many more fills and licks Neil and Geddy were fitting into the arrangements. Geddy in particular has gotten better than ever. Neil is so rudiment oriented now that he's super-efficient around the kit, which in turn makes all his extra kit seem that much sillier. Only time he used the electric half was for the solo, and my attitude is: if you have pieces that you just need for the solo, then you don't need it.

End of the show "I Love You, Man" sequel short is really funny, too.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 22:15 (eight years ago) Permalink

I wish they'd come to the Canadian prairies, but they rarely if ever do. Maybe it's because we don't have sheds.

And wow, are those amps ever cool.

A. Begrand, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 22:38 (eight years ago) Permalink

Seems like they slavishly tour the US and hit a few Canadian mega-markets and that's about it. Like, UK every 8 years, Brazil once ever. Japan once, ever. How weird.

Lucky for me anyway! :)

Nate Carson, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 23:36 (eight years ago) Permalink

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