For some of us, the Canadian trio known as Rush has always been cool – there’s no question about that. But fans may be starting to wonder if the group’s newfound coolness may actually make them less cool. Being a Rush fan was kind of like belonging to a secret society, albeit a large one that really wasn’t so secret.
Let’s face it, driving down the street with 2112 cranked to 11 on the car stereo did get a few strange glances from those that just did not “get it” according to us Rush fans. There was a message in a lot of what Rush produced – something that has not changed — and that does not always fall neatly into line with what a lot of rock fans and influential forces in the music industry thought rock and roll was about.
The above was rather starkly demonstrated by Blender magazine’s selection of Neil Peart as the second worst rock lyricist of all time – something that incensed many Rush fans and probably resulted in a tsunami of hate mail directed towards the publishers of Blender.
Although my memory is a bit faded by the decades that have passed since, I believe my first exposure to Rush came in the form of 2112. After the group’s not-so-successful album Caress of Steel, 2112 was the album that really launched the group out of relative obscurity, and perhaps just as importantly, opened the door for them to exercise their independence and create the music they wanted to create and do it they way they wanted to.
With the recent feature in Rolling Stone magazine and an appearance on the popular Comedy Central program The Colbert Report, it’s starting to look like Rush is gathering more mainstream support. It’s taken almost 35 years, but I suppose they might appreciate the additional attention after years of recording and touring for a fiercely loyal collection of fans around the globe.
Some of the group’s music has also made its way into the wildly popular Guitar Hero video game series which is credited with introducing a new generation of fans to their music. This may have a lot to do with the band’s metamorphosis into one that is now considered ‘cool.’
Although certainly not limited to Rush, it seems we have entered a new era when members of some classic groups can gaze out from the stage into a sea of fans who range in age from grade schoolers to folks who may be only 10 or 15 years shy of retirement.
Although I won’t swear to it, I certainly think I would have noticed any middle-aged fans among the attendees at the Rush shows I was at during the early 1980’s. As far as I remember, it just didn’t happen back during that time – it was “our music.”
Whether Rush is actually ‘cool’ or not is obviously a matter of personal taste, but it seems certain that the number of people who agree with that label being associated with Rush is on the increase, and it’s good to see that the group does not appear ready to call it quits just yet.
Look for a review of the recently released Snakes & Arrows Live DVD set coming soon.
For more, including details of the group’s history, visit The Toledo Blade.
Check out some preview video from the new Snakes & Arrows Live DVD set: