The music business and merchandising go hand-in-hand. This is no less true for Canadian rock trio Rush. Accompanying them on their Time Machine tour this year will be a selection of Rush-themed merchandise, including Starman water bottles and new T-shirts.
Despite the varying logos and branding efforts that have been introduced in concert with the group’s albums and tours through the decades, some are more enduring than others. The Starman logo is one that every Rush fan is likely to recognize, and not surprisingly, it is the one Geddy Lee describes as “synonymous with Rush.”
In fact, after just a little digging around in the top drawer of my desk, I have managed to locate a couple of Starman buttons that are about the size of a 50-cent piece, and a Yes button that’s slightly larger. Unfortunately, I have no recollection regarding their origin, or when I acquired them, but I’m guessing I picked them up at concerts sometime back in the early years of the 1980’s. I do remember that I’ve had them for quite a long time.
It does not surprise me to discover that Rush sells a lot of merchandise. With a fan base that’s dedication is ranked among the most loyal, a successful merchandising business is an expected bonus.
Lee, who spoke recently with Canada’s National Post, confirms that the band is very involved in the business aspect of their merchandising efforts. “We try to make sure that the things that we’re selling are of high quality and that the prices are reasonable,” he says.
Despite some who have used the Starman logo in a less-than-serious way, the renowned sense of humor that the members of Rush are known for allows them to take it in stride. One version of the logo features a naked Homer Simpson in place of the naked and oppressed individual of 2112 fame, while another has someone described as a “famous guy” holding a hockey stick.
“As a Canadian, I’m fond of the hockey man. … We’ve got some ideas about that, so we’ll see what happens in the future. I think the most important thing is that every once in a while you have to have fun with the material,” Lee reveals.
How can anyone argue with that?