Tuesday, July 19, 2005


The greatest band in the history of the world, no contest, is of course Rush.

I don't just say this because they're a great band, I say it 'cause they're the greatest band, in the history of the world, ever, no contest.

Supporting evidence?

- What other band has maintained such a fanatical core fan base for as many years, despite being considered uncool for stretches of up to a decade or more? Don't say the Stones, who's fan base has changed consistently in the last 40 years. The Dead's fan base was pretty consistent, but most of 'em didn't care about anything except the grilled cheese sandwiches and the chronic, and anyhow that whole dream is over.

- What other band has written such consistently good songs? Sure, I know you don't listen to anything after "Power Windows," but I do, and there are great songs those Canadians have written in the last 10 years. Rush's bad records have had more good songs than most bands entire recorded output.

- Who else has rocked so consistently? Check out "Rush in Rio" and you'll know what I mean. After 30 years these guys play as hard and intensely as ever. Every note has meaning. The Stones are the only comparable band, and they've had almost as many extra people on stage as the Floyd - and they never had to play as many notes as Geddy.

- Speaking of which, who has never resorted to adding additional members to "fill out" the live sound? They got midi pedals, synthesisers, samplers, more pedals, double necked guitars and basses, and a marimba for Neil, and never so much as put a backup singer on stage with them (well, there was that sample of Aimee Mann...). Geddy practically walks around with cymbals between his knees to recreate the sounds of the records live. Name one other band that kept this kind purity in their lineup for as long. One band. Any band.

- Who has been snubbed by every major avenue of music marketing and sold as many records to as many fans? How often did we see Rush on MTV? Sure, the "Time Stand Still" video is burned into our neural networks, but it only took one viewing for that to happen. Rush on the cover of Rolling Stone? Ha! Rush in Spin? Ha ha! Rush in an iTunes commercial? Ha ha ha ha ha!

- Of couse, in terms of the playing, each member has won so many reader's polls that Guitar and Bass magazines now reguarly make them ineligible for contests. Does this make them a great band? Of course not. But it doesn't hurt.

- Who else went through more bad looks and came out looking OK? From feathered to mulletted, from "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" to "Canadian Space Odyssey," they still rocked, even in platform shoes.

- They've never resorted to cheap publicity, public displays of annoyingness, barely legal girlfriends, drug busts, or general mayhem to move product. No, instead they toured... and recorded... and toured... and recorded... and toured... and recorded... and toured... Yes, Alex Lifeson got into it with some cops after a party, but it's a little late to consider this "any publicity is good publicity." Besides, most people didn't even notice.

- Who has inspired as many musicians to practice, practice, practice? The Velvets probably inspired as many musicians, but certainly not to practice.

- Who probably still lights on up whilst jamming on "A Passage to Bangkok"?

So that's it, now you know.


At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Tony Alva said...

I like the new duds much improved...

You make a compelling argument for Rush. There has never been a time in my listening history that I haven't had a Rush album starting with Caress Of Steel in 1977. I didn't really like the whole record, but held onto it and continued to purchase their stuff up to the current records. I was never a diehard, but never missed a concert. I've probably seen Rush more times than any other band despite my arms length appreciation. Every band I played in had a Rush freak, so we listened to them a lot. I like the more vocally melodic Rush stuff vs. the Geddy screeching of the early years. It made the dissidence of their music more approachable. Of course, the playing was and is always good and their shows were exactly how you describe: 3 guys sounding like 20.

It is worth mentioning that the Iron Maiden Rio shows featured the same 200,000 screaming fans singing “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. Kids in Rio just love to rock.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Chrispy said...

Rock and Roll will never die because people like those kids in Rio keep rediscovering it. It's like the whole sex thing - every generation thinks they invented it.

On the Rio DVD - it was amazing to see shots of dozens of beautiful young women dancing along to Rush - THAT certainly never happened at any of the shows I saw in the New Haven Coliseum.

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous PaulyD said...

If i've said it once i've said it a thousand times. The only thing that stops rush from being a great band is the fucking annoying vocals. i even think that alvin sounds better than geddy.

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well you have to understand something about Brazil. Hardly anyone gets down there on tours, so when they do, people REALLY appreciate it and become huge there. Plus, unlike US radio stations, Brazilian ones play a huge variety of stuff. Plus they do love music.


At 12:45 PM, Blogger Jackson said...

I love Geddy's vocals. There has never been a better vocal performance that 2112, ever. Having said that, I don't think they arte the greatest band ever. They only have two masterpeices, 2112, and Moving Pictures, the Stones have five, Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile, and Some Girls. They are gods of rock to be sure, but the best is the best, and it's not Rush. They are nearly the best. IMNVHO.
Rush may be the only band who's sum is equal to it's parts. There are no better musicians working today, that is for certain.

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Chrispy said...

Geddy Lee is the greatest singer in the history of the human voice, ever.

He is much better than Pavarotti.

I've always been a fan of the unusual vocal stylings. Some of my favorite singers have weird voices. Geddy has a weird voice.

Alvin, on the other hand, sucks.

Every record Rush has ever made is of course a materpiece, except maybe for "Counterparts." Well, "Permanent Waves" is a masterpiece, so there's at least three.

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Jackson said...

Although I would love to say that not only "Permanenet Waves', but 'Hemisphere's', and 'A Fairwell To Kings' were fully realised masterpeices, I feel, however, that each falls ever so slightly shy of the mark. Had they mixed it in Dubley, well then that would be another story.


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