RIP Mary Weinrib

Geddy Lee’s mother, Mary Weinrib, passed away on July 2 at the age of 95. Many of you probably already know this, but she was a Holocaust survivor who met her husband, Morris, at Auschwitz. She gave her total support to Geddy and his bandmates when they started Rush, and obviously without her we wouldn’t have been blessed with Rush’s music.

From her obituary:

Manya (Malka) Rubinstein was born in 1925 in Warsaw and grew up in Wierzbnik, a Jewish shtetl that was part of Starachowice, Poland, which was occupied by the Germans beginning in 1939. Mary endured the labor camp at the munition’s factory in Starachowice and the concentration camps at Auschwitz, where she met and fell in love with her husband Morris Weinrib, and at Bergen-Belsen, where she was finally liberated in April 1945. Reunited and married in 1946, Mary and Morris emigrated to Canada. After her husband Morris’s sudden death in 1965, Mary was left with three young children and a variety store that her husband had owned and managed. Mary was determined to learn the business; and, against the advice of well-meaning friends, she took over managing their store in Newmarket, and she successfully ran the business until she retired. People were drawn to her zest for life, her sense of humor, and her compassion and generous spirit. There’s a customer for everything, Mary would say, and if you couldn’t find it at Times Square Discount, you didn’t need it. Preparing family meals at Rosh Hashanah and Passover was a large-scale labor of love for Mary, who cherished her family above all; and after full days running the store, Mary would cook and bake over several nights, making everybody’s favorite dishes and desserts. The mother of Rush bass player and lead singer Geddy Lee, Mary was an early supporter and a fixture at Rush concerts. When the first Rush album was released, Mary plastered the windows of her store with Rush posters and gave albums away to any kids who wanted them but didn’t have the money to buy them. Among the longest living Holocaust survivors, Mary lived to see her family grow and prosper. 

We offer our sincerest condolences to Geddy Lee and the rest of his family, including Alex Lifeson, who I’m sure was close with Geddy’s mother as well, since they were childhood friends.

Read more at Rush is a Band: https://www.rushisaband.com/blog/2021/07/05/5630/Geddy-Lees-mother-and-Holocaust-survivor-Mary-Weinrib-has-passed-away-at-the-age-of-95

https://youtu.be/qehYgK_IsWs

In Praise of The Professor

Suddenly, you were gone
From all the lives you left your mark upon

Neil Peart, Afterimage

A natural byproduct of having a deep and abiding passion for music is that you collect musical heroes: individuals encountered on your musical journey who leave their mark on you. These individuals stand out from the crowd, whether it be for their skill as players, their talent as creators, their personality or their life choices. You didn’t need to spend long on social media these past two days to learn that, for a great many people, Neil Peart was one such individual.

Continue reading “In Praise of The Professor”

Neil Peart: A Misfit’s Hero

I’m still reeling from the news that Neil Peart is dead. I’m sure you all are too. None of us expected this. I think we all held out a glimmer of hope that Rush would play another show now and then or come out with another album without a tour. I certainly never imagined in 2015 that Peart would be dead within five years. My heart truly goes out to his wife, daughter, Geddy, and Alex.

This isn’t an obituary. Many others know the details of Peart’s life far more than I do, and I’ll direct you towards them for those kinds of remembrances. Instead, my thoughts on Peart and Rush are deeply personal. There is nothing unique about my experiences with Rush. I know for a fact that others, possibly thousands or millions, have had similar experiences. But this is mine.

Continue reading “Neil Peart: A Misfit’s Hero”

In Memory of Neil Peart (1952-2020)

Unlike so many writing about him in the wake of his passing, Neil Peart didn’t change my life.  By the time I first seriously listened to Rush in college, when I reviewed Permanent Waves for the student newspaper, my tastes were pretty set, and they didn’t lean toward heavy rock.  (Truth to tell, I looked down on “that stuff” back then.)  So while Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures and Exit Stage Left got me into a band my best buddies from high school still raved about — they were using keyboards now! — I basically thought, “hmm … noted and logged.  Buy their stuff from now on”, and kept moving.

So I bought and enjoyed Rush’s albums through A Show of Hands; picked them up again with Roll the Bones (probably my favorite, which I know makes me a schismatic or a heretic); lost track again following Peart’s family tragedies, retirement and comeback.  All the while I dug deeper and wider musically — into classical, jazz, country, folk — and finally embraced the heavy stuff.  (This happens when your stepson digs Led Zeppelin.)

But for me and Rush, 2007’s Snakes and Arrows finally sealed the deal.  An album this good after this many years of active service didn’t just catch my ears; it commanded my respect.  I knew I had to see them live, and my high school buddy Keith obliged with tickets to their 2008 Joe Louis Arena show.  And I saw something like this:

And I was gone.  And I saw Rush four more times before they retired from live performance (usually with those high school buddies); bought Clockwork Angels, all the concert videos and everything else Rush-related I could get my hands on; exulted at their elevation to the heights of Noughties celebrity by the movers and shakers of geek culture; cheered when they made the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (and took over the induction ceremony), then finally made the cover of Rolling Stone; even grew to appreciate the over-the-top virtues of “By-Tor and the Snow Dog,” 2112 and A Farewell to Kings.

So yes, Neil Peart’s loss moves me.  But what ultimately drew me to him as a musician, a man, an artist, an exemplar?  Some attempts to unpack the mystery follow.

Continue reading “In Memory of Neil Peart (1952-2020)”

Erik Heter Remembers Neil Peart: “Exit The Warrior: Neil Peart, 1952-2020”

Erik Heter has written a beautiful piece on Neil Peart over at Spirit of Cecilia.

There are drummers, and then there are really good drummers.  And then there is Neil Peart.  It’s almost fitting of Peart that his death was not announced until today, January 10th, three days after his actual death on January 7th.  Whereas others did things in simple time and merely kept the beat, Peart’s timing – in drums and in life – was never conventional.  Hence the announcement of his death not on the day he died, but three days later.  The beats never fell quite where they were expected.

Read the rest – https://spiritofcecilia.com/2020/01/11/exit-the-warrior-neil-peart-1952-2020/

Pan Rocks Steel Drum Orchestra + @MikePortnoy Cover Rush’s “Spirit of Radio”

This is a fun one. Mike Portnoy’s latest collab finds him drumming with the Pan Rocks Steel Drum Orchestra on an instrumental cover of Rush’s classic “Spirit of Radio.” It pretty much sounds like Rush on a Caribbean vacation, and it is super fun. Check it out!

Lightning Round Reviews: November 10-19, 2018

Capsule reviews of what I’ve listened to since the last installment follow the jump.  Albums are reviewed in descending order on my Personal Proggyness Perception (PPP) scale, scored from 0 to 10.

Continue reading “Lightning Round Reviews: November 10-19, 2018”

Live music prog extravaganza tonight at Vancouver’s Space Centre!

44305581_301424893783976_1512316207498264576_oDaniel James’ Brass Camel honours progressive rock legends tonight, underneath the unreal visuals of the HR MacMillan Space Centre’s 360 degree Star Theatre: Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis, Yes, Rush, and more!

Video from the rehearsals is viewable here and here.

Buy tickets here.

Get the DJBC band’s new album here and also on iTunes.

Rush: A Farewell to Kings at 41

af2kpurpletourbook

A Farewell to Kings was released on Mercury/Polygram on August 29, 1977.

Neil Peart wrote in the Tourbook:

The musical entity that is Rush is not an easy thing to define. Where many have foundered, there is no reason to assume that I will fare any better, except perhaps that I have access to the actual facts, and some inside information on the motivations. We have always done our utmost to elude any convenient classifications, in spite of those who must affix a label and assign a function to everything in sight, whether they really fit or not.

It may be that the only term loose enough to encompass anything of the concept of Rush, is simply “progressive rock”, for it is to this ideal of enjoyment, integrity, and freedom of expression that we have dedicated ourselves. Our music is aimed at the head, at the heart, and at the abdomen. We can only hope that it finds its mark in yours.

Prog on!