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Rich "Rock" Priske
One Day, back when I was in high school, I was hanging out at my friend Sonny's house. He grabbed this album from his brother's collection and passed it over to me. "You ever hear of these guys?" he asked. "They're wicked." I looked at the cover, saw what appeared to be some sort of pentagram-type thing, and thought, "What the hell, these guys might be cool." Well, he put the record on, dropped the needle, and the moment changed my life. The year was 1982, the album was 2112 and the band was Rush.
Canadian Musician called me up one day to ask if I was a fan, and would I be interested in talking to Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee, in order to find out what the guys have been up to, I, of course, said "Hell yeah." So, what follows is a 'fly by night' attempt to pay homage to one of Canada's s most influential groups.
For close to 30 years Rush has been among the world's most popular bands. The trio's 22 albums have all been certified RIAA gold or better, CRIA platinum or better, with cumulative worldwide sales of over 35 million. Their most recent Atlantic/Anthem releases are 1996's gold-certified Test For Echo, which hit No. 5 on The Billboard 200, followed by 1998's gold-certified multi-disc live set, Different Stages. "Tom Sawyer" from 1981's Moving Pictures routinely shows up on "best of all time" lists, and is a classic rock staple. While "YYZ" from the same album drove aspiring young drummers, guitarists and bass players (yours truly included) to grab their headphones and log countless hours trying to duplicate the frenetic riffing. They have received three Grammy nominations, eight Juno awards and were inducted into the Juno Awards Hall of Fame in 1994. Revered as the Holy Trinity among music purists and metal heads alike, Rush have a devoted fan base that approaches an almost 'trekkie'-like fanaticism, coming tog ether at RushCon, held annually in downtown Toronto. Not bad when you consider that Rush has accomplished all of this with little to no support from the mainstream music industry.
The band has been out of the limelight since its last performance, July 4, 1997 at Ottawa's Corel Centre, the final date in support of their Test For Echo Album.
So what have they been up to?
In 1997, Rush received the esteemed Order of Canada. The honour was created in 1967 to recognize "significant achievement in important fields of human endeavour." This award is usually associated with business leaders, philanthropists, scientists and the like, however, 1997's nod to Rush marks the first time the honour was bestowed upon a rock hand. The award was given as much for their community service as for their contribution to the arts. Over the years, they have raised over $1 million for food banks and the United Way, as well as contributing to many other charities.
* Eight Juno awards and were inducted to the Juno Awards Hall of Fame in 1994.
* Order of Canada in 1997.
* Star on the Canadian Walk of Fame in 1999.
* 3 Grammy nominations.
* 1990 - named Canadian Artists of the Decade.
* 1992 - received Lifetime Achievement Award from the Musician's Institute in Hollywood, California.
* 1993 - received the 7th Annual Musicians Of The Millennium Award from Harvard Lampoon.
In 1998 the classic anthem "Tom Sawyer" was remixed by DJ Z-Trip for the film Small …