Influences - Rush
I am not sure if there is anyone in world who has not heard of Rush. They have been a group of gentalmenly musicians that have pushed the boundaries of the rock genre since their inception.
Rush, the band born in 1963. The brain child of hockey buddies, drummer John Rutsey, Alex Lifeson and early bass player, Jeff Jones. Jeff being replaced later by Geddy Lee. They became a rock trio that entertained crowds in the golden horseshoe area of Ontario Canada with influences of the time showing in their performances. Hard hitting drummer John Rutsey driving the rhythm, Geddy Lee's melodic bass playing, chirpy singing bringing the groups show added sharpness, Alex Lifeson's hard hitting jazzy guitar bringing a Page'ish, Steve Howe influenced "rush" to the over all sound.
Donna Halper was the first to spin the single "Working Man" on Cleveland's WMMS. This was a historical moment for the rock music genre. It was a virtual instant hit with the blue collared listeners of Cleveland. Understanding the hard hitting music, they immediately requesting the song over the airways.
Working Man performed in 1974;
Unfortunately John had become ill and didn't seem too enthused about becoming a traveling musician as told in a 2003 interview with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, he could not fill the roll as the drummer of Rush. Enter, Neil Peart. Growing up in St. Catherines and playing the local grind with many bands in the area, he had known of Rush through radio and their proliferate performances in high schools, pubs and small hockey arenas in the area. Peart decided to answer the call for a drummer for Rush. He would sit and have a handshake session with the duo, Alex and Geddy. They were really not impressed at first saying "he is kind of nerdy". They finally began the jam portion of the audition. The first portion of the song "Anthem", off of "Fly By Night". Would be the chosen music to test the drummers ability to mesh with the band. The opening portion was written long before with John Rutsey. John never enjoyed playing along with it. He was a Bohnham-ish drummer, straight up beats that drove the music hard. When the duo played it with Peart, it was instant chemistry! They knew they had their drummer.
As the tour for "Fly by Night" progressed through the United States, Alex and Geddy realized that Peart read a lot! He would delve into his books and scribble poems on paper while on the bus from city to city. They discussed amongst themselves the possibility of Neil writing lyrics. Neil acknowledges, "Yeh, I'll give it a try.". Again making rock history. With the poetic lyrics Neil handed Alex and Geddy, they would sit in the basement drinking coffee and constructing the music to epic poems with a couple of acoustics and a tape recorder. Later bringing the music to Peart. After they decided what would work, they took to a studio in Toronto to record.
Rush would go on to record 18 studio albums with Neil Peart. These recordings would influence millions of listeners all over the world. It is amazing when you go to another part of the world and listen to a street musician play "Closer the the Heart" on an old beat up acoustic guitar with three strings, singing it with pride and love. Love of Rush, for bringing their music to the world in a gentamenly fashion. Only as a group of proud Canadians can!