Posts Tagged ‘RUSH’

Thoughts on a Rush cover album

Back in September 2010, after leaving the PNC Bank Arts Center following a Rush concert, my friend Randy shared with me a curious idea he’d been mulling: an album of Rush songs reinterpreted, rearranged, and performed by various female recording artists.

We both were intrigued by this notion, and though we had a few vague ideas about how it might play out, we never really worked out the details.

The idea has stayed with me ever since however, and today I sat down for a few minutes and brainstormed twelve Rush songs — a number of the band’s better-known hits plus a few “deeper” cuts from various albums — and a dozen female artists who I think would bring something new or interesting to them:

“The Spirit of Radio” — The Donnas
“New World Man” — Shakira
“Nobody’s Hero” — Sheryl Crow
“Entre Nous” (acoustic) — KT Tunstall
“The Pass” — Adele
“Dog Years” — Liz Phair
“Bravado” — Fiona Apple
“Presto” — Beyoncé
“Fly by Night” — Dixie Chicks
“Closer to the Heart” (acoustic) — Indigo Girls
“Limelight” — Katy Perry
“Tom Sawyer” — Lady GaGa

Part of what I like about this lineup is that it has artists who represent a broad range of music styles.

The Donnas and Liz Phair have the hard-rock chops to deliver kick-ass guitar-driven tracks; Sheryl Crow, Fiona Apple, Adele, and KT Tunstall all have soulful qualities that I think could evoke some profound pathos from their tracks; Dixie Chicks and Indigo Girls could bring fresh country and indie-rock aesthetics to two classic Rush songs; and pop artists like Shakira, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, and Lady GaGa would challenge perceptions of three well-known Rush hits plus one “deep” track (and help drive sales, no doubt).

What do you think, readers? Great idea? Terrible idea? Would you choose different tracks and/or artists for such an album? If so, which ones?

ETA: Great suggestion from my friend Brandy Hauman for a bonus track:

“Working Man” — Halestorm

Yes, a touch of metal was just what this lineup needed.

ETA II: Russ Colchamiro suggested this great artist; I added my choice of music:

“Overture/The Temples of Syrinx” — Joan Jett

Upon further reflection, it became clear to me that I had the last two recommendations backward. Listening to Lizzy Hale’s mighty wail, I realized the bonus tracks ought to be:

“Working Man” — Joan Jett
“The Temples of Syrinx” — Halestorm

Yes, much better, I think.

Revisiting old opinions: RUSH

Yesterday, I read an interesting article on in which its author re-evaluated long-held opinions about the oft-maligned television series Star Trek Voyager, Andromeda, and Farscape. It didn’t much change my opinion of any of those three shows for better or for worse, but this sentence got me thinking:

This holiday season and on through til the End of Times, we’re giving each of you the opportunity to ignore a petty prejudice and embrace something new.

It led me to ponder my long-held opinions about three middle-period albums by my favorite band, RUSH. Specifically, Hold Your Fire (1987), Presto (1989), and Test for Echo (1996).


My dream setlist for a RUSH concert

Last night on the drive home from the RUSH concert, my friend Randy and I discussed what we had liked about the evening’s setlist and what we hadn’t.  In my case, there were a few songs that I especially missed hearing, and a few I would not have missed had they been excluded.

That got me thinking — what would be my dream setlist for a RUSH concert?  (more…)

Another evening with RUSH

Had an awesome day and evening yesterday with my good friend, Randy. I’d bought us tickets to see RUSH (aka, “The Holy Triumvirate”) at the PNC Bank Arts Center. Good seats, too — 7th row center. Randy used his contacts to wrangle us and his brother a pre-show meet-and-greet photo op with lead vocalist and bassist Geddy Lee and axe-man Alex Lifeson.


Playing by the Rules

A few months ago, an online discussion between other professional writers in a forum I visit alerted me to the fact that I didn’t understand “fair use” law at all. Basically, when it comes to song lyrics or poems (or any other work still under copyright), there is no such thing as “fair use” if the work in which you wish to reproduce the quote is even remotely commercial.

For instance, if I were a music critic writing a review of the latest Rush album, and I wanted to quote a few lines of its lyrics to underscore a critical point about my opinion of the album, that would be protected as “fair use,” which is intended to protect academic and critical writings. The same would hold true if I were writing a college thesis about, for instance, lyrical themes in progressive rock music between 1990 and 2009.

But I wanted to quote a few lines from the Rush song “Workin’ Them Angels” as the epigraph for my new novel, The Calling. And there is absolutely nothing “fair use” about that. My novel is a commercial venture. So if I want to reproduce, even only in small part, someone else’s copyrighted content as part of that work, I have to get written permission and pay for the privilege.

So I did. I contacted the management company of Rush back in December and submitted via e-mail my written request to use four lines of lyrics as my novel’s epigraph. I followed up with their office this afternoon.

Tonight I have my license agreement. Its terms are simple and fair, and the fee was reasonable. And I have the peace of mind that comes with knowing I can include a nod to Neil Peart and Rush, long a creative inspiration to me as a writer, without violating their intellectual-property rights.

This pleases me.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

I just received an e-mail from Neil Peart of RUSH thanking me for the inscribed and autographed copies of A Time to Kill and A Time to Heal that I gave to him (via Geddy and Alex) on the band’s Snakes & Arrows tour back in July.

You think the Pacific Ocean is wide? You should see my grin right now.

Naturally, I’m trying to think of what brief message I might write back, without gushing like a twit. This will be a matter that requires serious consideration. Until then, I will continue grinning. (Not that I could stop right now, even if I wished to.)

The Best Day Ever

I’ve been holding this news for a couple of weeks now, for a few reasons. First, I wanted to surprise fellow Rush fan Dayton Ward with this news when I saw him last weekend at Shore Leave in Hunt Valley, Md. Second, I wanted to be sure it was okay to post these images before I made them semi-public.

Now let me tell you about the best day ever.

On Sunday, July 8, 2007, I met up with my friends Randy Giudice and Alex Terapane, and Randy’s brother Chris. We had a cool afternoon eating cheese steaks and cheese-fries, then we went to the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J. There we took part in the pre-show “Meet & Greet” with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush:

From left: David Mack (me), Alex Lifeson, Randy Giudice, Geddy Lee, Chris Giudice, and Alex Terapane.

I was able to give Alex and Geddy copies of my novel Wolverine: Road of Bones, which includes characters named in their honor. And although Rush percussionist extraordinaire Neil Peart does not attend Meet & Greet sessions or meet strangers, they had one of their “Praetorians” bring to Neil my Star Trek novels A Time to Kill and A Time to Heal, which feature the character Jim Peart, named in his honor.

After the Meet & Greet, we went to our seats: second row, dead center. Absolutely perfect seats. The set list was awesome, a great mix of classic tunes they haven’t played in years and a lot of songs off of the new (and mind-blowingly great) album “Snakes & Arrows”.

During the encore, the band tosses special “you can’t just buy these” T-shirts from the stage. A few years ago, on the Vapor Trails tour, I caught one that Alex had pitched into my hand like a fastball. On this occasion, he all but lobbed a shirt right to me in the second row. Frickin’ amazing! (I came home with a beaming grin and said to my wife, “I caught a shirt!”)

Wait, it gets better.

After the show, we got to hang around for a backstage visit. While we waited for the band to be ready to see us, we watched the roadies break down the stage gear while Praetorians brought us tasty, ice-cold beers. Then we were led backstage to our hang-out with Geddy and Alex. (Neil, being Neil, was already a dozen miles away on his motorcycle, a ghost rider in the night.)

We spent an hour hanging out with Alex and Geddy. I chatted with Geddy about wine, his travels in Europe, and restaurants. Talked with Alex about comic books, his work, that night’s set.

Basically, this was an experience I have imagined and dreamed of since my first time at a Rush concert, on the Signals tour in 1982. After 25 years it came true…and it didn’t cost me a thing, because the whole evening was a gift from Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns). He bought the tickets, arranged the backstage passes, everything, for his friend Randy, and I got to tag along. Bryan is a god among men, and I can only hope that one day I have the means and the opportunity to repay this once-in-a-lifetime beau geste in kind.

Now if only there was a way that I could meet Neil… Well, it’s good to have something left to shoot for. 🙂

(Post edited to steal the starman icon from Dayton.)