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Subject: RUSH Fans Digest of 10/04/90 (#59)

               RUSH Fans Digest, Number 59

                 Thursday, 4 October 1990
Today's Topics:
                    List status update
                    The Omega Concern
                 The Conversion of By-Tor
                 Info re: Digest of 10/3
                     Omega Concern..
                     More FAQL fodder
               Rush File Archives are Back!
                        Rush Fans
                1978 Article/Story on Rush

Subject: List status update
Date: Wed, 03 Oct 90 14:37:26 EDT
From: RUSH Fans Digest Manager 

As some of you may have noticed, there have been some strange happenings
with the RUSH Fans Digest mailing list these past couple of days.  For
some reason when I returned from vacation Monday (10/1) and tried to send
the Digest out, it died an ignominous death.  I'm not sure why this 
happened, but my first guess that the sheer length of names on the list
(over 400 at this point!) caused my poor Syrinx to choke.  This is why
there was a manual re-send of Monday's Digest on Tuesday.  The 'real'
Digest for Tuesday (10/2) was nothing more than a note from me trying to
explain what had happened, and to see if things were working correctly
again.  They weren't, adn Digest #57 never got off of Syrinx.  So, in
reality, there was NO DIGEST # 57.  Please don't send me mail asking for
a re-send of it; it doesn't exist.

Well, the list is still alive, but I'm not sure how well.  I think
I've gotten the problem ironed out, but as a little less than half
of you found out, things are not going as smoothly as I intended.

What I've done is split the list into two lists by userid, A-M, and
N-Z (plus numbers).  Due to my own impatience and lack of Unix
finese, I think the N-Z people got the mailing twice.  Let's hope
this doesn't mean 4 times!  I had checked the running processes, and
only saw the mail for List 1, so I manually sent mail to List 2,
assuming that the auto process had not done it.  Upon checking the
outgoing queue, I saw that the N-Z folks were listed with two items.


Maybe tomorrow will go better - I've set it up so the mail runs in
the background immediately (for those Unix types out there, I left
off the trailing '&' previously) for both lists, instead of one after
the other, as it seemed to do today.

Maybe I can get things fixed by the anniversary date?  I dunno, it's
just a month away...  :-)

Wanted:  UNIX Guru who loves to hack with Ultrix 4.0, sendmail, Internet/
Bitnet/UUCP networks.  Moderate hours, no pay.  Inquire within...

RUSH Fans Digest

P.S.  In cleaning up this issue I noticed that some of you (who shall remain
      nameless *this time* are still sending things with long record lengths
      (from 82 to >200!).  I have chopped these up for easier reading, but 
      it's a real pain for me to do this.  PLEASE, PLEASE keep your postings
      to around 75 characters/line - this makes it easier for everyone to
      deal with.  Starting next issue, I'll put a note in each offending 
      posting asking the individual to please refrain.  I hope I don't have
      to actually do this, tho...  
      Also, when you submit something, please make it single spaced, and
      with only a single space between words.  DO NOT use a formatter to
      'tidy up' your text; studies have shown that it's easier to read 
      something with a ragged-right margin.  Thank you!


Date: Wed, 3 Oct 90 12:38:00 EDT
Subject: Stuff

>From: Joe Ammond 
>On several of the boyz' last albums, they list in the credits lines such
>as 'thanks to The Omega Concern'..  Does anyone know who/what this is?

The Omega Concern is the company that made Alex's stand for the acoustic that 
he uses during "Closer to the Heart".  In fact, I believe it is Alex's 
company (company may be too large a word here...). 

>From: Hinano Akaka 
>About the real names of Geddy and Alex, I don't know myself what they
>are.  But, 'Zvednvinck' (Lifeson) and 'Gary Lee Weinrib' (Geddy Lee) sound
>right.  Sorry I couldn't be of any more help.

I think Alex's real name is Zinovinojivic, meaning "Lifeson" (Wow! What a 
coincidence! :) )

Work:			 |Better the pride that resides |In a citizen of the world
School: 		 |Than the pride that divides	 |When a colorful rag is unfurled       -Rush


Date: Wed, 3 Oct 90 13:01:21 EDT
From: (David Pakman )
Subject: The Omega Concern

As Alex realized that he had to play acoustic guitar for some Rush tunes
and then quickly switch to his electric (Closer to the Heart, etc.), he
crafted a stand (actually an attatchment to a Tama Titan Cymbal stand)
that holds his acoustic in an adjustable playing position.

He soon began to sell this as a product (1st to Music Emporium) under the
company label "The Omega Concern."  Apparently, Alex's "company" also
made Geddy a light-up lyric stand and Neil got a newspaper/book holder
so he could read while he eats breakfast.

David Pakman


Date: Wed, 3 Oct 90 13:19 EDT
Subject: The Conversion of By-Tor

  I may have some more light to shed on the issue of By-Tor's "conversion"
 from a villian (on Fly By Night) to a hero (on Caress of Steel) that was
 mentioned in the 'frequently-asked-questions' posting.
  An old buddy of mine was once in the Backstage Club, and I recall that in
 a question-and-answer column in one of the old newsletters, Neil makes
 some comments - something to the effect of "Well, in life, all of us are
 sometimes the hero and sometimes the villian."

  A nice philosophy - and perhaps a little reminder that one shouldn't
 "pigeon-hole" people based on first impressions???

				Steve Cranmer

                                " _ . _ _   _ . _ _   _ _ . . "
                                                               - YYZ


Date: Wed, 3 Oct 90 13:50:37 -0400
From: (Jason Rosenberg)
Subject: Stuff

   Well, I'm new here, but I'll jump right in.
   Just a note that no one will probably care about:  Michael Savett mentioned
 Alex working on an album with Tony Levin.  I took Tony's neice to my Prom.  
No kidding.  I know that doesn't impress any more than 3 people who will read 
this, but I jsut got a kick out of seeing his name.

[ Consider me impressed.  Have you met him?  He's one of *my* favs.  
                                                                  :rush-mgr ]

   Re.  The questions of who does what deep voice where:  Alex did the 
"Subdivisions" thing in concert and it sounded perfect, so I assume that is 
him on the album.  I also know that Neil does the speech at the start of 
"Witch Hunt".  The song was mixed so the words can't be heard, but Neil does 
a pretty awesome job of getting a point across with just tone.  I think, 

   Well, for a first mailing, that seems to be rather irrelevant and redundant
(1 of each), but oh well.  I think it should get better from here.

Jason Rosenberg


Date: Wed, 3 Oct 90 13:59:12 -0400
From: Michael S Savett 
Subject: Info re: Digest of 10/3

>From 10/3:

1) The Omega Concern is a non-profit company created by Alex that makes 
products such as Neil's lyric-writing lamp and the Song-Order-Album Sampler, 
among other things.  Basically, it's some creative stuff that Alex puts 
together for the band.  I doubt if it's available to the public.

2) I recall in some music magazine a long time ago seeing Geddy's given name 
as  Gary Leibovitz.  I know the Gary part is correct (from Rockline), and I 
know he shortened his last name to Lee. (I don't think Weinrib is right...)

3) Any word on a new album?  And what's this about a video for _Chronicles_?

That's all for now...

Michael Savett


Date: Wed, 3 Oct 90 12:06 EST
From: Broonsey 

        A little lovely that I ran across in my travels.  It's an article from
a Cincinnatti newspaper (dunno which one) that a friend cut out for me.  Since
it's so long, I'm mailing it to you to post at your leisure.

[ Here it is, folks!                                   :rush-mgr ]

- -------------------------------- (cut here)-----------------------------------

Greetings RUSHans-

        An article that I found one day, that I though might interest the 
list!  Neil fans, here you go!!

                        "KEEPING TIME FOR RUSH"

                           by:  Cliff Radel
                   (reproduced without permission)

        Neil Peart doesn't bleed.  Cut him, and he drips irony.
        As Rush's drummer and lyricist, Peart supplies the tempos and the words
to the melodies of band mates Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee.  His rhythms are like
his rhymes -- with a cutting tone that always rings true.
        "I'm an irony addict, " Peart confesses.  "On this album, from a
lyrical point of view, I'm seriously addicted to irony."
        This album, _Presto_, has Peart blasting his favorite targets:
pretense, self-importance and making a big deal out of nothing.  He even takes
aim at Rush's line of work on "Superconductor."

                  "Packaged like a rebel or a hero
                   Target mass appeal
                   To make an audience feel
                   He really means it...
                   ... SUPERCONDUCTOR"

        "I love pure pop music," Peart declares, "when it doesn't pretend to be
anything else.  But, there is a certain lunacy about pop music when people
adopt the image of pretense.  That's why there's that line in the song about
packaging the image of the rebel.
        "When people like Bon Jovi, Richard Marx, and George Michael pretend to
be rebels and outlaws with their leather jackets, they pretend to symbolize the
rebellion young people naturally feel.  At the same time, they are not fighting
or protesting anything.  They're just these big money-making factories bowing
to the common denominator."
        As if he were anticipating the question.  "So what if these bogus bad
boys are in it for the money?"  Peart adds:
        "A business man being devoted to making money doesn't bother me.
There's nothing immoral in turning a profit.  It's the illusion, the pretense,
and that young people are being fooled by it."
        Following this line of reasoning, Peart is not disturbed by the
financial successes of New Kids on the Block.  Nor is he troubled by their
efforts to imitate the Beatles on the "Tonight" cut from their recently
released album, _Step by Step_.
        "They don't offend me whatsoever," he sayd of the New Kids.  "Their
stuff is pure pop music.  It doesn't pretend to be anything else.  They're just
five young white guys being five young white guys.  The kids listening to their
music aren't being hoodwinked.  They're being given music that's made by people
who basically are their peers."
        It's a good thing Peart doesn't think the New Kids' pure pop is pure
poop.  He has "a 12-year-old daughter.  So, I'm well indoctrinated into New
Kids mania."
        He's also well versed in the intracacies of what Joni Mitchell once
coined "the star-maker machinery."  He he decires packaged rebellion and
freeze-dried images, he is not speaking from the persective of being a
much-decorated veteran (with a chest-full of gold and platinum albums) of the
rock 'n' roll wars.
        Sure, Rush has sold 30 million albums since it's first release in 1974.
Nevertheless, the Canadian trio, which originally had John Rutsey as it's
drummer, has been a bunch ornery cusses ever since Peart signed on just after
the release of the band's first album, _Rush_.
        "In our early days, overtures were made where the record company tried
to pass along what they thought we should be doing.
        "When we were discussing doing a side-long piece on our fourth album,
_2112_, our manager said, 'That's not what the record company wants.'  Even
though our first three albums sold the same 'modest,' (to be generous), amounts
- -- around 100,000 copies each -- and young bands are supposed to be susceptible
to thinking that they have to please the record company, his comment just hit
me like a rock.  I replied:  'Who cares what they want?' "
        That question has guided Rush ever since.  "We're concerned first about
exciting ourselves," Peart notes.  "Then, by extention, the audience."
        What excites Rush most is its new material.  Long before David Bowie
made such things fashionable as headline-grabbers, Rush was retiring old
numbers from its concert repitoire.
        "All of our work prior to 1980 has no emotional attachment to me,"
Peart says.  "It's like an essay you wrote in grade nine or the pictures your
mom used to stick up on the fridge.  You grow out of such things."
        Well, some people do.  Peart recently read an interview withg Paul
McCartney and found it "very ironic.  He said, when you go on tour, don't try
to present your new material.  People don't want to hear that.
        "He was patently acknowledging he was expecting to draw hundreds of
thousands of people and make all that money from VISA on the basis of a
nostalgia tour.
        "That's the antithesis of what I would say," Peart adds.  "If your new
material isn't the focus of what your'e doing and you don't consider it to be
the best thing you've ever done, you better just become an oldies act and send
yourself to Vegas.  The dream is dead."

Adam Dickson            |               "Some will sell their dreams
Wright State University |                   for small desires!"
Dayton, Ohio            |
  orion@wsu.bitnet      |


Date: Wed, 3 Oct 90 14:08:12 PDT
From: (~ Rush Fanatic ~)
Subject: Omega Concern..

If memory serves, The Omega Concern, as thanked by the band in many
of their album credits, is actually a company.  I believe it is a music
store owned by none other - Alex Lifeson - himself!!

It specializes in guitar paraphenia, including stands and special
guitar holders and straps, etc..etc..  Alex himself uses some of the
stuff, like on _Closer_To_The_Heart_  the guitar stand he has is from
The Omega Concern.  I also think they make pedals and stuff but I'm
not too sure on this one.  Supposedly Alex puts a lot of effort into
it and a lot of their stuff as well as other guitarists.  Anyone else
have anything else on this??

A couple of questions I have in mind.  Does anyone know if an ADD
version of Exit...Stage Left exists out there?  I believe it is supposed
to be a Canadian import that they did in ADD, though I've never seen it
or heard about it.  Someone on USENET posted about it a few years back,
and I would love to get my hands on it if anyone knows more details.

Someone was wondering about Digital Man.  I believe I heard once in an
interview it was about one of the band's technician working with them
prior-Signals, and he was something of a workaholic? and never slept
so they started calling him Digital Man and working on the lyrics, sort
of as an "aside-joke".  The interview I think was in Jim Ladd's
Innerview series featuring Rush.  Perhaps Dave, or someone could be a
bit more specific, I think I got the interview from you.

Also, keep sending me those tour dates - and thanks to those that posted
suggestions..I'll try and make it as complete as I can.



Subject: More FAQL fodder
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 90 16:35:35 CDT
From: T.J. Higgins 

In the Frequently Asked Questions List, it is written (btw, kudos to
the originator):

> Who says  in ?
> ----------------------------------------------------------
> From: a!
>     Alex says "That's nice" at the end of "Chain Lightning".
>     Alex says "Subdivisions" in the song of the same name.
>     The deep voice at the beginning of "Cygnus X-1" is none other than
>       Terry Brown.
>     Neil does the "Attention all planets of the Solar Federation - We have
>       assumed control" bit at the end of "2112".
>     Neil does the narrative during "The Necromancer".

Something else you may want to add is the spoken/sung/shouted/screamed
(choose one) word "listen" at the end of "Didacts and Narpets."

MHO is that it is Geddy and Alex who are vocalizing here.  Anyone know
fer sher?
T.J. Higgins		 	uunet!ingr!higgins (UUCP)
Intergraph Corp.  M/S IW17A3   (Internet)
One Madison Industrial Park
Huntsville, AL  35894-0001	"Jack of many opinions, master of none"
(205) 730-7922


Date:    Wed, 3 Oct 90 19:17 EDT

The Lyrics server is down for now because of legal problems(maybe copyright).
If the server resumes, I will be certain to post to the Digest ASAP.

                       Jonathan C. Schon

       P.S. In the future, I will post a review, my own, of RUSH-CHRONICLES.


Date: Thu, 4 Oct 90 04:15:17 -0700
From: Steven Owen 
Subject: Rush File Archives are Back!

I'm back after switching accounts, and am ready to continue with the Rush file
requests.  I was formerly on this list as, but
have since switched to an account I can call more "my own" (though not quite).
It's my brothers, but that's good enough.

One comment before I send a couple files across:

> From: Joe Ammond 
> Subject:      The Omega Concern....
> On several of the boyz' last albums, they list in the credits lines such
> as 'thanks to The Omega Concern'..  Does anyone know who/what this is?

This may be something to add to the "Frequently Asked Questions" list.  The
Omega Concern is a company started by Alex that produces and markets his
inventions; for example, he created the stand he uses on stage to hold up
his classical guitar during the intro to "Closer to the Heart".  He also
made a book stand that holds a book open on a table so you can read it
without using your hands (Alex created this for Neil, so he could read his
books during meals!).

My next two messages will contain files from my Rush Archives.

--Mike Owen


Date: Thu, 4 Oct 90 04:17:29 -0700
From: Steven Owen 
Subject: Rush Fans (Walt Pohl) writes:
> Let's face it.  Rush is great, Tiffany is great, everyone else is great,
> but Rush sucks, Tiffany sucks, and everyone else sucks.  I like Rush, but my
> god, they're not perfect.  It's not my religion.

then you're not a true RUSH fan.  i don't you think you understand the point
of view of the RUSH fan.  we are born into a world of irrational, emotionally-
swayed, crazy people.  little by little, we begin to come to the realization
that we are different from others.  we can think logically, and we can ap-
preciate things for their true aesthetic value.  we realize that the world
is not with us.  so, we band together, and focus our minds on RUSH, who repre-
sent the only proper ideal form of creativity, for their creativity is focused
rationally.  rather than writing songs about such silly, irrational things
such as love and partying as the teenybopper idols do, RUSH uses their lyrics
as a forum to discuss the important issues, and to be the sole voice to rail
against the mindless irrationality which controls our world.  rather than
writing songs designed solely to appeal to primitive urges (such as mating
or dancing) in the listeners, RUSH's songs are structured to appeal to the
mind.  any teenybopper can say that they "like" a particular song, but a
true RUSH fan does not listen to RUSH because he "likes" their songs. "like"
is a word which implies some sort of emotionally-controlled subjectivity on
the part of the agent.  a true RUSH fan makes the choice of his own free
will to listen to RUSH out of a carefully researched appreciation of their
rational message.

[ Ummm, excuse me??  I hope you just forgot to leave off the smileys?
  *This* should generate some discussion!                        :rush-mgr ]


Date: Thu, 4 Oct 90 04:23:12 -0700
From: Steven Owen 
Subject: 1978 Article/Story on Rush

[ This went out in the Digest a few months ago, but since I happen
  to be a bit fond of the story, I'll re-run it.  Moderator's perogative!
                                                                :rush-mgr ]


  Across from the dressing-roam door she stands, a single red rose
keeping time against her plum-blushed cheek. Lips of Iced Espresso,
rippled hair, soft silk winking down to tight jeans and high-lace
boots- she stands apart from all others gathered this night for the
Rush concert in Detroit's Cobo Hall. She has nothing in common with
the actual crowd, mostly pimpled, totally ruffled with a solid month's
anxiety that began when the Detroit police-as familiar with the rumors
of riot as with the crack of wood on skullbone-forced the ticket
offices to open early or else. There is no air of abandonment about
this girl. She will not be like the one with the kung fu grip in
San Diego who stormed the stage and tried to tear out the lead singer's
throat. Nor will she be like the top-heavy girl in Atlanta who come up onto
the stage to show the band her instruments. No: this one will wait. And see.

 Behind the door opposite the girl is a table weighted down by caviar,
shrimp, Courvoisier and Dom Perigion. And around the table sit the
three members of Rush: Neil Peart, the cat-eyed drummer with the
musketeer's mustache. Alex Lifeson, the blond guitarist with the prince
valiant features, and Geddy Lee, the bass player and singer who is
composed to a great extent of nose tissue and thick black hair.
They neither eat nor drink. They read a history of the Russian
Revolution, a philosophy primer, the autobiography of Agatha Christie.
Time measures faintly in turning  pages.

 But the silence is broken by a girl out-flanking the security guards
and pushing through the door. She is not the one with the twirling
rose, much younger, but is herself in full bloom, as evidenced by
some careless buttoning. She  must,absolutely must, speak to Neil Peart
about the song he has written on black holes in outer space. "I
read all about then in Reader's Digest, Neil," she says in a
cranked-up cadence. "I saved the article for you they're so weird, I
mean, aren't they?   like  there's nothing out there.  Nor up
there, judging from Peart's total disinterest. He knows that this
walking-talking blow-up doll who got lost in Reader's Digest could never
comprehend, say, scientist Carl Sagan's theory on Cygnus X-1-the black
hole of Peart's song that what is really out there is a binary star,
two stars revolving about one another with only one being visible.
The other, the black hole, exerts no light but because it does
have gravity it possesses a tremendous amount of pull.

 If she could understand that, then perhaps she could also understand the odd
phenomenon of Rush. All that light, all that is visible in Rush comes
from the three members of the group. The pull, however comes from a
yellow spaniel of a man named Ray Danniels. Not so many months ago
Danniels sat in his North Toronto office surrounded by depressing
dry-walling, tile floors and two $14 chairs, all of which have been
replaced these days with huge plants, plush carpeting, brown corduroy
chesterfields and pecan paneling. Over his expensive desk is nailed
a wood-carved sign of on word: RESULTS! Back then, however, hanging over
his head was a minus sign in front of the $325,000 his company has sunk
into Rush, a heavy third mortgage on his home and a lawsuit demanding
a minimum of $1.3 million in damages. Below all that an ulcer

 But these days the stomach purrs. Six gold albums in Canada and
three in the United States in less than two years, sales of roughly
4.5 million record albums worldwide, perhaps the best recording contract
in the business (a $250,000 advance on each new album and a remarkably
high 16% royalty rate)... Today no one drives rusted-out Camaros. Counting
Danniels and his business partner, Vic Wilson, Rush now travels by
Rolls Royce, several Mercedes, a Jaguar, a Porsche and a Dinky display
full of other play cars. And there are brand-new luxury homes to park
them in front of. As for the big lawsuit brought against them by an
American for breach of contract, (he was supposed to be a full partner,
but the deal went sour) -it has been erased efficiently by a $250,000 out of
court settlement.

 A single red rose costs only a half dollar and in some ways seems a
proper symbol for a far more exquisite time, a time long lost and kidded
these days by lyrics such as the ones Rush has written: "Once we loved
the flowers/Now we ask the price of land." But in the world of pop
music the rose's message persists: do with me what you will. Unfortunately
for the girl with the rippled hair, the band doesn't even see it as
they charge out of the dressing room and up onto the stage, hurrying to
deliver their own word.

  The first chard from Alex Lifeson's guitar bull-dozes up through $100,000 of
electrical connections and Geddy Lee's high falsetto cuts like a dentists
drill through what any well be the loudest sound in rock music.  He stands
front stage left without his glasses, and his vision ends where the sheer
nighty of smoke begins, meaning he can see into the heavy slugging and pushing
of the front few rows, where the hall security guards are taking out life's
small disappointments on 16-year-old heads but he cannot see the Frisbee that
darts out of the dark into his shin, or the marijuana roach that sparks
against his face.  "You can't", he has said just before the show, "tell
whether they do it because they like you or hate you."  About performing he
has also said: "You stand there and you shut your eyes, you lean back and
vhhooooshht there's this great roar, this wave of applause.  And it grows and
grows, and you feel it wash all over you, and you say "Wow! I did that!..."

  And the cheering grows.  Lee launches into the title song to their latest
album A Farewell To Kings, the words rising out of the smoke like steam under
  "When they turn the pages of history When these days have passed long ago
Will they read of us with sadness for the seeds that we let grow?..."

  Ah, but rock music used to be so simple concerned as it was with hand-held
fantasies.  Rush will have none of that; the group even has its own literary
mentor, Ayn Rand, the aging American author (Atlas Shrugged) and philosopher
(The Virtue Of Selfishness) who has vehemently argued for decades that
capitalism is "the only system geared to the life of a rational being." Rush
reads her passionately and passes her philosophy on to a massive, young
audience that otherwise would never hear of her.  For Rand, who was sometimes
seen as the Enemy Incarnate by the campus radicals of the Sixties, it is a
surprising and triumphant comeback.

  The Band philosophy came to the group through 25-year-old Neil Peart, who
writes most of the band's lyrics and who read The Fountainhead when he was
growing up in St.Catharines, Ontario, and decided "For me it was a
confirmation of all the things I'd felt as a teen-ager.  I had thought I was a
socialist like everyone else seemed to- you know, why should anyone have more
than than else? -but now I think socialism is entirely wrong by virtue of man
himself.  It cannot work.  It is simply impossible to say all men are brothers
or that all men are created equal-they are not.  Your basic responsibility is
to yourself."

  "For us, capitalism is a way of life," adds Lee.  "It's an economic system
built on those who can , do, and succeed at it.  For us it is a very material
way out of life.  Your material things should give you pleasure."

  Alex Lifeson, of the three easily the least concerned with the Rand ideas,
possibly puts the group's thinking in its best context when he talks about
their sudden surge of spending money.  "It feels good, " he says.  "It is our
just reward for all the hard work."

  Ten years ago Lee and Lifeson were 14-year-olds trying to find a meaning to
their lives in Willowdale, Ont., shopping plazas.  Lee was, In the words of a
close friend at the time, "the ugliest-looking kid I ever saw," courtesy of a
merciless brushcut that only accentuated his large ears.  Lifeson had his own
troubles: too much weight and a 12-letter last name no one could pronounce.
They were a perfect contrast to their close friend, Steve Shutt, who was then
a promising young hockey player with a cash-register future and fame obviously
waiting for him.  Trouble was, they wanted the same things out of life.

  "You could tell even then," says Shutt now the star left-winger with the
Montreal Canadiens, "even before they were doing anything, that they were
looking for something to pour their energies into.  Then they started their
band and nothing else mattered after that."

  They began in their parents' suburban basement, with another Willowdale
friend John Rutsey, as drummer.  The name "Rush" they took from a Sixties drug
term referring to the small piledriver that races up stoned spines and hammers
out hair an inch or so at a time.  And they were terrible: one of their big
numbers in the early days was Jailhouse Rock sung Yugoslavian, the language of
Lifeson's parents.  Yet they had something so many other basement bands did
not have: un-dying, relentless ambition.

  Rush's first job was in The Coffin, a youth centre in the basement of the
local Anglican church, and it was here that they met Ray Danniels who was then
16, a school dropout since 15-  The son of a dyecasting executive who'd worked
his way up from the bottom, Danniels possessed ambition that went even beyond
the others'.  He hustled then into the competing United Church youth centre
with a better deal and from there into any high-school gym that would take
them. It was a hard sell-Rush was already writing its own material and
refusing to cover the Rolling Stones and Beatles hits of the day but
Danniels thanks to a friendly and charming manner that masks his
obsessive drive, soon had then piling into rented trucks to drive to such
places as Sudbury for a $35 concert (a far, far cry from the roughly
$100,000 they picked up far filling Maple Leaf Gardens two nights straight in
late December). And soon they, had quit school.

  In some ways that turned out to be an essential element in their
success. Their hockey-playing friend, Steve Shutt, had already seen the
darkness at the far end of the entertainment tunnel, and they often
talked about it. "You soon realize you can't bale out because there's
nothing else you can do" says Shutt. "You've got to hang in."

 "I always knew if I didn't succeed with this I didn't even have the
education to be a postman," says Ray Danniels. The key to our success is
very simple: the number of hours we put in."

  At the first it was most fortunate for Danniels that he also booked the
likes of Lighthouse mid Edward Bear-and, at 22, had an income of $60,000 a
year-for Rush couldn't be given away. "Without a doubt they were the hardest
act I had to sell," says Danniels, "sometimes nobody came to see them,
sometimes the gyms were packed. And that's what convinced me they were
the ones who could happen if anybody could."

  It was a conviction he had no one to share with. The critics laughed
aloud at the group. They once went nearly four months with only three
engagements, and all on the same weekend. A girl friend was pregnant.
Alex Lifeson was, in his own words "pretty screwed up." There was little
money and no record company interest. But it was then that Danniels
and his partner Wilson took their big gamble: they booked a Toronto
studio and cut their own record, and $9,OOO later they had an album,
something to take with them while they went knocking on the doors to the
rock'n'roll dream.

  "Every record company in Canada turned us down, every last one of
them," says Danniels, so he created his own label and discovered held been
right, the sullen-faced kids hanging around the gyms wanted to buy Rush.
Sales in Canada were somewhat promising, and the early response in the
States prompted the Chicago-based Mercury Records offer Rush a $ 100,000
recording contract and backing for a tour of America.  Danniels could
barely believe his luck. He moved quickly. The drummer, apparently ill
and not as overtly ambitious as the other two, was replaced with Neil
Peart, the son of a mechanic who had risen to own his own farm machinery
business. Peart was every bit as ambitious as Danniels, Lifeson and Lee,
and Rush soon became probably the hardest-working band in North America,
performing in excess of 200 days a year. But there was no hit record
and few kind reviews, and after the band released their third album,
Caress Of Steel, to savage reviews they came close to packing it all in.
Lifeson hadn't been paid in five weeks, had a wife and child, and was
getting by only on the money from his wedding. Peart's car was sitting in
a garage, waiting for him to raise enough to cover the repair bill. To
make matters worse, the record company was exerting great pressure on
them to become more commercial. But they decided to stick with it, to
not give in. After all, as Danniels says: "They couldn't quit any more
than I could. What would we do-get a job." He was now $325,000 in the hole
with Rush and had only an ulcer to show for it.

  But then suddenly, and seemingly with out explanation, the tide turned
dramatically. Their next album, 2112, came out "with acknowledgment to the
genius of Ayn Rand," as the jacket claimed.

  What had happened was the times were simply catching up to Rush, rather
than being trapped in the past-by paying mediocre and unnecessary homage
to the louder British bands of the late Sixties (Cream, Led Zeppelin), Rush
was, in fact, a whole new generation of rock music. Unlike their
British predecessors, Rush had no musical roots in the blues traditions,
and hence had little empathy for the common folk. And their ages alone meant
that they held no kindred love for the social conscience of a Bob Dylan
or Phil Ochs, for that matter not even the street justice of a Mick
Jagger. Rush was, on the average, a full decade younger than the ruling
class of modern pop music. They found themselves speaking for a large
group of young rockers without spokesmen - a group who, despite their love
of loud, violent music, were themselves non-revolutionary, highly
conservative and certainly self-centred. It was precisely as Ray Danniels
had always known: "Rush isn't meant for people our age."

 In fact, the members are a total enigma to those used to the hard-won
traditions of rock and roll. Their music may be punishing to some ears but
the members themselves are quiet-spoken, polite and considerate. Two years
ago Lee had a traditional Jewish wedding; he and his wife honeymooned in
Hawaii. Peart invests money in his father's business. Lifeson listens to
classical music, not rock in his spare time and dreams one day of performing
with the Toronto Symphony. As their own manager says about the band's
life-style, "These guys are pure boring to most music people."

  Why they survived and became so successful has little to do with instantly
obvious talent and a lot to do with hard, hard work.  "It's like when I phone
up an electrician and he comes and gives me good service," says Neil Peart.
"I'll  call  him back again and maybe recommend him to someone else."  The
road show is superb in visual terms and two hours in length, and their vast
audience is ample evidence  that there are many who love their music.  Nobody
can ignore them anymore.

  It is a satisfaction that translates into such things as the full house at
Detroit's Cobo Hall, where on this cold December night the halls still echo
with the broken fanbelt sound of Geddy Lee's voice in Rush's encore,
Cinderella Man.

  In the hotel room back from the hall Neil Peart sits along the window ledge,
a late freighter moving down St.Clair River and into his left shoulder.  On
the  desk  beside him his briefcase sits open, a hand-printed sign asking WHO
IS JOHN GALT? in bright red lettering.  Galt was Ayn Band's main character in
Atlas Shrugged and it  is  worth noting that at the end of the book John Galt
raised his hand over the earth and traced out the sign of the dollar.

  Peart smiles, turns, and looks dawn over the hall, the river, the Windsor
waterfront, looks down on Canada where they used to laugh at him.  Below, out
of sight behind the hall, a rose lies wilting in the snow.


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