March 31, 2011
Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn’s documentary featuring Canada’s progressive rock group Rush is in the headlines again after picking up the “Best Music DVD” at the Juno Award ceremony Saturday night. The Juno Awards, which I suppose is more-or-less Canada’s version of the U.S. Grammy Awards, even featured Rush bassist and lead vocalist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson as presenters during the ceremony.
Being hailed as an effort that helped Rush fans emerge from the “Rush Closet,” Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage was praised – not surprisingly – by Rush fans, but also by many non-fans as well. The film was also honored at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival by being awarded with the “Audience Award.”
Although Rush ranks third behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band and have been rocking fans (in the band’s current form) since 1974, it’s only been within the last few years that the group has become more mainstream here in the United States.
In a recent article in the U.K. Guardian, the Canadian trio is featured as a group whose popularity in the U.K. seems to be on the rise, quoting the band members themselves who state that their fans “feel vindicated.” I suppose that may actually be true at this point, given the attention the group seems to have finally earned from the likes of Rolling Stone magazine and other music industry gatekeepers who seem to have shunned the group for decades.
Rush fans, much like the three guys who make up the band, don’t appear to care all that much if the mainstream approves of their music, wardrobe or hairstyles. Rush is a group that worked their way to the top by doing it their way. Well-known for rejecting the external pressure of those that sought to influence the kind of music they recorded, Lee, Lifeson and Peart risked it all by staying true to themselves and making music firstly because they wanted it to be good music, and not because they wanted to be millionaires. Luckily for them, it all worked out!
Admittedly, the number of fellow Rush fan I know personally is limited to somewhat less than the sum of my fingers and toes, but perhaps U.S. Rush fans are a different breed when sized up to their British counterparts who the Guardian describes as, “nerdy, computer-club, Dungeons and Dragons-playing, comic-reading, sci-fi geeks.” Myself nor any of the Rush fans I know have ever been a member of a computer club or played Dungeons and Dragons.
I’m less certain about the comics and sci-fi stuff, but speaking for myself, I’ve never purchased a comic book in my life and seriously doubt that I’ve ever read more than a page or two of any comic book. I will admit to having seen every episode of the original Star Trek and Star Trek The Next Generation, but whether or not I deserve to be dubbed a “sci-fi geek” is not something I’m going to be losing any sleep over.
Heck, I’ve got no problem with guys that spend a lot of time playing with computers or reading comic books, it’s just that the stereotype just doesn’t hold up among the Rush fans I know.
I suppose in the grand scheme of things, the question about whether or not the majority of Rush fans are nerds or not is not terribly important. What’s notable is that Rush is now considered more “cool,” than ever, and perhaps that actually does make a few Rush fans a little more convinced that they were right the whole time. Yeah, Rush really is cool, and as many fans already know, has always been cool.