Cowed by the recent success and outpouring of affection for the Canadian rock trio Rush, music critics have largely refrained from laying a glove on the band, which first hit the music scene in 1974 and today is enjoying something of a renaissance as it basks in the success of its most recent album Clockwork Angels.
But several music critics, including most prominently Adam Carter of Rolling Stone, are bucking the trend and slamming the band for its pretentious lyrics, over-wrought drumming, and, most of all, the screeching vocals of bass player and lead singer Geddy Lee.
“I know it’s fashionable for one to pay one’s respects to ‘legendary’ progressive rockers Rush, but I just can’t hop onto this bandwagon,” Carter says in his blog, Rock in/Site. “No one can tell me Geddy Lee has somehow learned how to sing. In fact, I would venture to say his singing has gone from sounding like the dead howling in Hades to inmates in a pentacostal prison for the deaf talking in tongues. Did I mention that it’s bad?”
Carter, who has been one of Rolling Stone’s most popular critics in the last few years, says Rush’s Clockwork Angels album, which many rock critics have hailed as a masterpiece, is a clownish work of unrelenting tedium. “A concept album about a comic book character who joins the circus, meets a girl, is accused of being an anarchist, runs away and has some adventures, then ends up in a garden all weepy-eyed with happiness. Okay, it’s an adolescent fantasy, but it’s three 60-year-old men singing about this.”
Nigel Porter of the U.K. rock publication New Music Express (NME) says he feels comfortable carrying on his publication’s tradition of hating Rush. “I’m proud to say NME has never wavered in its hatred of Rush and you will certainly never hear an admiring word from me about these so-called fathers of progressive metal,” Porter says in a rock documentary released earlier this year by Bong Video called “Metal Through the Mania.”
Porter says he tried to have a fresh, unbiased take on Rush’s last two albums, Clockwork Angels, released in 2012, and Snakes and Arrows, released in 2007, but everything critics hated about the band in the 1970s and 1980s, when Rush was churning out familiar pieces like “Closer to the Heart,” “Tom Sawyer,” and “Limelight,” still seem on target today. “Are the concepts ridiculous? Check. Is the drumming as innovative as paint cans being dumped in a recycling vat? Check. Does the singing make you want to crush your skull with a sledgehammer? Check.”
Rush manager Ray Danniels of Anthem Entertainment in Toronto says he couldn’t care less what critics think of the band. “Some critics have liked the band, some haven’t. It’s all the same to me,” he says. “I think Rush knows what it’s about and its worldwide fan base knows what it’s about, so the fact that some frustrated musician who writes for a publication has a chance to slam the band doesn’t warrant attention from me and I’m sure from the band either.”
The band certainly has a long history of enduring snarky write-ups about its music. In one of the most legendary pieces, NME writer Barry Miles blistered the band in a 1978 piece for what he saw as a right-wing conservatism masking as hard rock. Other writers of the era picked up on the right-wing label, typecasting the band as a conservative outpost in a sea of left-wing liberalism. But the band has always rejected that label.
Neil Peart, the band’s drummer and lyricist, says that conservative label stems from his interest in uber-free-marketer Ayn Rand when he was a young man, but he’s long since moved beyond that and today he decribes himself as a left-leaning libertarian.
All this criticism seemed to fade away, though, starting about 10 years ago, when Rush jumped back into recording and touring after a five-year hiatus. In quick succession the band put out four studio albums, including an extended play (EP) album of covers of such rock classics as “Crossroads,” “The Seeker,” “Mr. Soul,” and “For What It’s Worth.” The albums did well on the charts, with Clockwork Angels hitting No. 1 for a few weeks on several charts, and reviews were good. Joe Bosso of MusicRadar pronounced Clockwork Angels a masterpiece, saying several of its tracks were destined to be classics. One reviewer, Mike Hsu of WAAF in Boston, said “Headlong Flight,” the first single released off Clockwork Angels, was so good he was afraid of “losing my bladder.”
The love affair with Rush reached its pinnacle last year when the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Even long-time Rush nemesis Jann Wenner, founder of Rolling Stone and one of the founders of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, had seemed to come around, calling them the “high priests of high concept” on the night they were inducted.
But the earth still spins on its axis, day still follows night, and there are still music critics in the world that hate Rush, so all remains right in the world.
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: rb (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
Saying their favorite band has become too commercial since it was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last April, fans of Canadian power trio Rush say it’s time to make a push for their removal. “We were instrumental in getting the band inducted into the Hall of Fame in the first place, thanks to our years of persistence, but now we see we made a mistake,” says Randy Powers, a fan from Pittsburgh who has launched a petition drive calling for Rush’s removal from the Cleveland institution. “Bobbleheads, T-shirts, refrigerators—it’s just all too much. We don’t mind the band trying to make a buck. It’s hard to do that now with people so easily downloading or streaming music on the Internet. But enough is enough.” Rush was eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame in 1999 but despite their global popularity among a core group of fans that have bought tens of millions of albums and CDs since the band released its debut album in 1974, the Rock Hall induction committee steadfastly refused to take them seriously. More.
Russian hacking of Democratic and Republican campaign emails have led to upheaval this election year, analysts say, not the least of which is the presidential victory of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. But in the latest bizarre twist, the hacked email of Republican elector Christopher Suprun of Texas indicates this “faithless” elector is a big fan of Neil Peart of the aging Canadian prog-rock group Rush. In an email made public by WikiLeaks, Suprun, who made news weeks ago by saying he could not in good conscious cast his vote as an elector for Donald Trump, was quoting Neil Peart’s lyrics from the Rush song “Faithless” as he mulled what to do. More.
Ayn Rand, Back from the Dead, Calls Americans Ninnies for Threatening Election Violence Rather Than Going Away to Build Utopia in the Rockies
Ayn Rand, the objectivist guru who helped launch the Libertarian movement and serves as inspiration for those in the tea party and others who believe Americans should be self reliant rather than live under the yoke of a paternalistic government, came back from the dead today to tell Americans supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that they’re “ninnies” for questioning the legitimacy of the election. “If you read Atlas Shrugged all the way through, you know objectivism isn’t about violence and questioning the vote; it’s about withdrawing from the hopeless liberal society and building a utopia in Colorado,” said Rand, who spoke to reporters and a small crowd of people outside Trump Tower in New York City. More.
The Republican party establishment, desperate to prevent Donald Trump from walking away with the presidential nomination, has repeatedly asked Ohio Gov. John Kasich to leave the race. But Kasich, despite his mostly lackluster performance, says he has a stash of secret support from a large and important constituency and he doesn’t want to see that bloc of voters left without a champion. “I owe it to Rush fans all over the United States to stay in the race and make sure their values are represented on the campaign trail and reflected in the party platform when the Republicans meet in July for the convention—which, by the way, is in my home state,” says Kasich. More.
Just when they thought it was safe to go to presidential campaign events without having to listen to the Canadian band Rush, voters have learned that Rand Paul, the libertarian candidate who recently dropped out of the race, isn’t the only fan of the band. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is also a fan, which means the piercing screech of Geddy Lee and the tin-can thumping of Neil Peart once again threaten to send property values down around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington. “Please, tell me this isn’t true,” says Jim Robinson, 40, an attorney in Carson City, Nev., who was interested in voting for Rand Paul but decided he could never vote for anyone who quoted Rush lyrics at campaign events. More.
Poll numbers have been slipping for U.S. Republican presidential aspirant Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) since he announced he candidacy in April and one of his top advisors is pointing the finger at Rush, the Canadian progressive rock trio whose libertarian-themed lyrics have made them a long-time favorite of Paul’s. “As an individual, Rand Paul can listen to any music he wants,” says Chip Englander, the candidate’s campaign manager and one of his top strategists. “It’s not for me to weigh in on someone’s taste in music, no matter how horrible. But as a candidate trying to build a base of support, Rand Paul is doing himself no favors playing music that causes his base of support to run away, screaming ‘Make it stop!’ We’re telling him he can’t go on listening to this music.” More.
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Ultra hard-righter Ayn Rand, one of the most influential voices in American politics in the last 50 years, was a nobody until a cabal of Canadian expatriates made her a star in a quest to destablize the United States so that Canada could gain a geo-political edge over its southern neighbor, according to a blockbuster book released yesterday. “People think of Canada as this quiet, do-gooder country that goes the extra mile to get along with its much bigger neighbor,” says Samuel Harper, a political science professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Harper is author of Ayn Rand Conspiracy: How Canada Unleashed the World’s Kookiest Political Philosopher on an Unsuspecting United States (Basic Books: 2014), which landed on the New York Times bestseller list upon its debut. More.
An explosive book by former Ayn Rand intimate Barbara Branden says the founder of the ultra-free market philosophy of objectivism was actually a heavy user of federal assistance and regularly sought meetings with federal officials to squelch competition to her free-market manifestos Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. “No one was more enthralled with the brilliance and charisma of Ayn Rand than I and my husband, Nathaniel Branden, were, but in the end, the great seer of free-market economics was no different than anyone else, taking government handouts whenever she could and using the coercive power of the federal government to make life miserable for true free-marketers whose work posed a threat to her bestselling books,” writes Branden in her book, Ayn Rand: Welfare Queen, just released from Pythagoras Publications. More.
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Acknowledging some of his tattoos are a bit rough and edgy, Greg Stent of Hell’s Vapors says he’s increasingly concerned he’ll have trouble getting a job once his music career winds down and he’s ready to get on with the work-a-day world. “I always thought I would play my music and nothing else, but that never stopped me from getting my B.A. in accounting in case things fell through in the music scene,” says Stent, who launched Hell’s Vapors with his Canton, Ohio, neighborhood buddy Alex Greel six years ago. Today, their band has a strong following in much of northwest Ohio, Iowa, and has even played shows in Michigan and Wisconsin. The band last year self-produced a CD, When Death Awaits You, which it makes available at its shows. More.
Jason Creel of Deth Knell says he had an epiphany three years ago in a Little Rock motel and since then his relationship with Satan, the embodiment of all evil in the world, has never been the same. “Let me put it this way,” he said while sitting down for a coffee outside the Orbit Room in Toronto, where his band will be shaking the rafters tonight. “Whereas before Satan was just kind of an idea to me, an abstraction, maybe a bit of a marketing ploy, now he’s quite real and, frankly, gunning for me. I’m in His sights.” Creel says his awakening to the torments of Hell that await him after this life came after he and some fans trashed his motel room. Police were called, but luckily one of the two officers that showed up was familiar with the band and the other was a big Metallica fan, although he hadn’t heard of Creel’s band. But, in any case, they told the motel manager to work it out among themselves. More.
The pot’s legal in Colorado but they’re smoking crack in Kansas. Embarrassed by its state’s awkward turn to the right in recent years, beloved 1970s rock band Kansas changed its name to Colorado and announced the release of its newest studio album, Thematterwithkansas, and the opening of its 2015 tour. “As much as we love our state and have always been proud to bear its name,” the band said in a statement, “we had to ask ourselves, ‘What’s the matter with Kansas?’ and our answer was, ‘Who the hell knows?!” So we moved to Colorado and now we’re a bit to the left of our old state, geographically and politically, but we think our fans will understand.” In its mid-1970s heyday, Kansas was on the top of the charts with its mix of progressive rock and virtuosic violin playing. More.
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Robert Plant, the golden haired and golden voiced singer for the legendary hard rock band Led Zeppelin, says in an interview on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” that he should have listened to his dad and become an accountant rather than leave home when he was 16 to live the rock-and-roll lifestyle. “If I were to live my life again, would I have that nasty break with my family and sing for various bands before finally joining Pagey and the others to form Led Zeppelin? I think on balance what I did was a mistake and, in retrospect, I should have listened to my dad.” More.