Rush has been a band since 1968, or for Neil Peart fans, July 1974 when he replaced original drummer John Rutsey. Other than bassist Jeff Jones who lasted one performance and overall less than a month, Rush has been Alex Lifeson on guitar; Geddy Lee on bass, keyboards, and vocals; and Peart on drums and lyricist.
"It’s been a little over two years since Rush last toured. We have no plans to tour or record any more. We’re basically done. After 41 years, we felt it was enough." — Alex Lifeson
Rock and roll bands quit all the time and a lot of them get back together (Eagles, the Who). But Rush has never been one of those bands.
Health has been a concern with Peart's chronic tendinitis and Lifeson's psoriatic arthritis. The band is retiring in part because they don't want to sound less than their best.
Can you name a favourite Rush song? For those who don't know the band well, you might name Tom Sawyer or Working Man. Subdivisions, even with the heavy synthesizer work from Lee, is a sentimental favourite. Limelight and Spirit of Radio are high on the list. 2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx off 2112 is a beautiful pairing.
I even like Dreamline, Roll the Bones, and Ghost of a Chance from 1991's Roll the Bones. That isn't even a full list of favourites.
Rush has often been seen as an unapproachable band whose music is so complex, especially fans who think Caress of Steel is Rush's best album. Honestly, you can start with the late 70s-early 80s songs such as Limelight, Tom Sawyer, Spirit of Radio, and Subdivisions. Then try Red Barchetta, New World Man, Fly by Night, Freewill, Distant Early Warning, Time Stand Still, and Closer to the Heart. You get the idea.
Neil Peart's lyrics are full of beautiful and sometime serious imagery. Red Sector A dealt with prison camps. Suburban angst fills Subdivisions.
Rush is a thoughtful band in lyrics and music. That somehow feels Canadian.
Clockwork Angels from 2012 stands as the last album. The last tour ended August 1, 2015. Their music and stories live on.
Lifeson says he's "writing on four or five different little projects." There may be a show or two or some kind of creative output involving Lifeson, Lee, and Peart. But there is plenty to enjoy, especially if you are new to the band.
video credit: YouTube/RushVEVO
photo credit: Rolling Stone