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

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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!

Rush’s Clockwork Angels (It Can Get None More Prog!)

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Rush’s 19th Studio Album.  Six years old today.  Art by Hugh Syme.

Today is the sixth anniversary of the release of the final Rush studio album, CLOCKWORK ANGELS.  It can get “nun more” prog.  

[This piece is dedicated to my great and brave friend, Steve Horwitz, fellow Rush-ian]

Rush’s nineteenth studio album, Clockwork Angels, came out on June 12, 2012.  It was the first album to be distributed by heavy-metal label, Roadrunner, and the second to be produced by Nick Raskulinecz.  As mentioned at this beginning of this book, the story of Clockwork Angelsis such an artistic success—as a story, a concert, a novel, a sequel to the novel, a graphic novel, an audio book, and a series of comic books—that it really overshadows not only the actual album but much of Rush’s other art.  It is, of course, the culmination of forty years of care, of love, and of purpose.  However much the Clockwork universe has dwarfed the album itself, it is very much worth considering the original source material.

Clockwork Angelscame out a full six years after Snakes and Arrows, a break between albums even greater than that between Test for Echoand Vapor Trails.  Still, few worried as hints came out frequently about the forthcoming Rush album during that time, and Rush even released versions of the two opening songs as singles, performing them on the Time Machine Tourof 2011.  As few would disagree, the wait for the final product was well worth it.  While Moving Pictures—because of its time and place in history—might always remain the iconic Rush album, Clockwork Angelsis arguably the best, cohesive piece of art the band has ever made. It reveals a maturity in lyrics and music understandably absent in the first few Rush albums, but it also possesses every explosion of energy those albums expressed.

Continue reading “Rush’s Clockwork Angels (It Can Get None More Prog!)”

Neil Peart’s Painful Victory: Vapor Trails

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Happy 16th birthday to Vapor Trails

It would not be an exaggeration to argue that meeting Carrie Nuttall served as one of the most important moments in Peart’s life and in precipitating Rush 3.0.  In her, Peart found a reason to live fully, a reason to rediscover excellence, and a reason to return to his life in Rush.  It was through their mutual friend, Andrew McNaughton (now deceased), that the two met.

In those days, Andrew and I often talked on the phone from wherever I wandered, and shared our sorrows and anxieties. Typically, Andrew was determined to find a “match” for this crusty old widower. When my motorcycle had carried me back across the continent yet again, to pause in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Andrew sent me a few test Polaroids of a photo assistant he had been working with-a pretty dark-haired girl named Carrie. Again, I was reluctant, gruffly telling him, “not interested”—but finally I made my meandering way west again, and stopped for a while in Los Angeles.[i]

When she met Peart, she knew next to nothing about the band.[ii]  She told him, however, that she would love to see him perform again, especially considering his reputation as a drummer and his own love of music.  For Peart, all of this proved almost Faerie-like.

Andrew introduced me to Carrie, my real angel of redemption; in less than a month we were deeply in love, and in less than a year we were married in a fairy-tale wedding near Santa Barbara. Carrie: Beautiful, smart, cultivated, artistic, affectionate; Deep green eyes, long dark hair, radiant smile; Tall, slender, shapely, nicely put together; Half English, half Swedish, all American, all mine. The answer to a prayer I hadn’t dared to voice, or even dream. Carrie.  Soulmate, a lover, a wife, a new journey to embark upon, the greatest adventure. [iii]

Though still in pain—a pain that would (and will) never fully cease—when he met her, he found her instantly attractive intellectually as well as personally.  They bonded almost immediately in friendship.  She considered him a modern-day Conquistador, armed in black leather and mounted on a powerful red horse, forever seeking the road and adventure.  But, his days of restless exploration had come to an end, and the Ghost Rider faded into memory.  On September 9, 2000, just three days short of his forty-eighth birthday, Peart married Nuttall in Montecito, California.[iv]

Continue reading “Neil Peart’s Painful Victory: Vapor Trails”