The RUSH fan is unlike any other music fan I’ve ever encountered. It’s almost like they live in a musical vacuum. They love this band and there is no other band that compares. Most arena shows I go to fans will wear a t-shirt that relates to the band they’re going to see. You’re going to see Mumford & Sons, you might wear a Bob Dylan shirt. You go to a Springsteen show you might wear an Elvis Presley shirt. You go see Muse you might wear a RUSH shirt. You get the idea. When you go to a RUSH show, you wear a RUSH t-shirt. No exceptions. You can also play RUSH music at your tailgate party before the show. A taboo in my music fandom world.
It’s like supporting your favorite sports team. You might admire the way the San Francisco Giants play baseball and win World Series championships but you would never under any circumstances wear a Giants shirt at Dodger Stadium. I feel like that’s the way RUSH fans feel. There might be other bands out there making good music but you support your band by wearing their shirts.
And after attending their final concert this weekend, I totally get it. There is no other band out there today playing intensely complex music, that still has creative melodic touches and still seems to be having fun doing it. RUSH shows are a celebration. We may be playing music that needs intense concentration but let’s have fun doing it.
The R40 show celebrated the career of the band by slowly going back to the beginning from their latest album in 2014 to their first in 1974. It is a very brave decision for a band with this much history to play 5 (relatively) new songs to start off the show. I don’t think in the past ten years Springsteen, U2, Aerosmith or The Rolling Stones would ever consider starting off their show with this much new material without sprinkling in some loved classic songs. RUSH fans don’t care. If it’s RUSH music, they want to hear it. They know the classics are coming. They’re not going to go on beer runs when a lesser known song is played. That’s for intermission. Like their favorite sports team, they believe in their boys and that they will take them to new levels of thrills. I truly have to admire that trait.
It’s been almost 36 years since Led Zeppelin released their final studio album, In Through The Out Door (August 15, 1979, to be exact). The bands legend continues to loom large. That album is also a “what if” album, as in what if drummer John Bonham did not die in 1980. In Through The Out Door pushed the band in a new direction. It wasn’t exactly Hard Rock but there was “In The Evening”, it wasn’t prog rock but there was the 10 minute “Carouselambra” nor was it New Wave but there was “South Bound Saurez” and there was the rockabilly track “Hot Dog”. Jimmy Page has said he wasn’t happy with the record and didn’t like the ballad and single from the album “All My Love”. In fact, Jimmy Page had no part in the composing of the song. Robert Plant and John Paul Jones were pushing the band in new directions. Jimmy Page and John Bonham wanted to still rock out like the 70s. Even if Bonham were still alive to record their next album, Led Zeppelin might not have survived. It does make for an interesting album and makes one wonder about what might have been.
Since the 1979 Knebworth concert was one of their last epic shows, here is “Achilles Last Stand” off of Prescence and “Hot Dog” in which Plant and Jones seem to be enjoying themselves whilst Page and Bonham are simply tolerating the song.
Geddy Lee turns a very nimble 62 today. In honor of Geddy’s birthday and the fact that I’m going to see RUSH this week and I am PUMPED, let’s look at some Geddy Lee fun facts.
1) Most people know that Geddy’s real first name is Gary. His Yiddish-accented grandma always pronounced his name with the D sound. But did you know his actual last name is Weinrib? That’s right, the bassist for Rush is Gary Weinrib.
2) Geddy put out a pretty good solo record in 2000. Who was up to the task to sit in for drummer Neil Peart? It was Soundgarden/Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron. It reminds me of the band Primus.
3) Speaking of Primus, in 2014 Geddy accepted Les Claypool’s ice bucket challenge. Wa wa we wah!
4) In that last video, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Geddy Lee challenged newly inducted baseball Hall Of Famer, Randy Johnson to the ice bucket challenge. They have been fast friends for 20 years. Geddy is an avid baseball fan. Randy is an avid Rush fan and shoots photos at Rush shows. Randy used to take the mound to Rush’s “Working Man”
5) Here’s Geddy Lee’s isolated bass track for “Tom Sawyer”. Keep in mind he’s also playing keyboards and singing too.
6) At the 4:30 mark of this amazing geeked out Rush short, Alex Lifeson calls Geddy, Dirk. In 1974 after Neil Peart joined, the band gave each other the nicknames Dirk (Lee), Lerxst (Lifeson) and Pratt (Peart).
Happy Birthday, Geddy! Keep slappin’ dat bass, mahn.
I finally attended the Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution exhibit at The Skirball and as an extra benefit there was a panel remembering the work of legendary San Francisco free (freak) form radio station KSAN. At the panel were Raechel Donahue, Ben Fong-Torres, and Bonnie Simmons. They all recalled fondly the time in the late 60s to early 70s when the freaks ran the asylum, and they hired people they believed in (despite any experience in the field) played the records they wanted to play and talked about what the wanted to talk about. As you are probably aware, corporations smelled money and bought out stations, music got formatted, jocks were told to limit their talking and an era ended. As Bonnie correctly stated it was a moment in time that was not meant to last. But oh, what a moment! Fortunately, there are still air checks available to check out. Here are a few I found on YouTube. Sleazy radio! Far out, man!
If you’re fortunate enough to live in Los Angeles, you are hopefully aware of Largo at the Cornonet. An insanely amount of talented musicians, comedians, actors and film makers have stepped onto the stage to try out new ideas and are free to challenge the audience. Audiences are respectful and even though they are aware they are sometimes less than 25 feet away from Steve Martin or Louis CK testing out their work in a new environment, they do not record audio or take pictures during the performance. It’s refreshing and LA is lucky to have such a venue.
One of the many highlights at Largo is when The Watkins Family Hour performs. It’s headed up by the sibling part of Nickel Creek, Sara and Sean. They run the show and you never know who might visit to do a cover or two. It’s brilliant musicians getting together for the love of creating music and now we have an actual studio album with The Watkins Family Hour. The album features Fiona Apple, Benmont Tench (of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers), Don Heffington (Lone Justice), Greg Leisz (steel guitarist extraordinaire) and Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing).
Two amazing FREE shows and unfortunately both on Saturday night.
Downtown at Pershing Square is the LA’s own Coolsville girl, Rickie Lee Jones. Rickie’s got a new album called The Other Side Of Desire. It’s centers around her new hometown of New Orleans but LA will surely welcome her home with open arms. Extra incentive to go is opening act Joseph Arthur, like Rickie Lee he follows his own muse as he jumps from singer to artist to designer for his own music projects. His last project was called Days Of Surrender is available on cassette. Yes, I said cassette. Expect the unexpected when he plays.
The insanely crowded show will be the KCRW event Sound In Focus featuring TV On The Radio and Boxed In. The event will be at the Annenberg Space For Photography. The Annenberg is currently hosting Emerging Experience an engaging multimedia installation featuring work by artists who are challenging photographic boundaries and embracing new social media movements.
Both TV On The Radio and Boxed In are artists that could fit into that description. Only they challenge with their music experimentations. Seeds by TVOTR was one of my favorites from the past year and Boxed In’s song has been in high rotation in my home for a very long time. If you can brave the crowds, it should be a memorable night.
Her son posted the message on her Facebook page but when I read it I thought it was referring to Shana’s mother’s death, surely it couldn’t have been one of my favorite DJs.
She was still vital and active and had recently been posting a lot about her upcoming book regarding her career in radio. Now that is something I would like to read.
I’ve read Jim Ladd’s Us against the World book “Radio Waves“. Whereby Jim rallies against the corporation that holds him back but what if the Us is holding you back because you are not exactly one of us? Shana was the first female jock hired at KFRC in San Francisco. I’m sure she built up a tough skin from all the jokey asides that were just meant in playful fun.
Her career really took off when she moved down to LA and I got to hear her playful and yet musically educated manner on the air. And like all icons like Cher or Madonna, she just went by her first name, Shana. As I discovered radio, Shana worked all the stations that mattered to me KHJ, KLOS and KROQ.
When she moved to the other side of the business and started working records, I got a small thrill when she called me and I got to know her a little bit. She called me “Dot” because there was a dot in my email address which she found amusing.
As we moved onto other projects we kind of lost track and I just followed her through her Facebook posts and wished her a happy birthday every April 10. I loved it whenever she posted a picture from back in the day so I’ll do that here as well as post an air check from her time in KFRC in 1976.
You will be missed, Shana.
Shana Aircheck KFRC (San Francisco) September 22, 1976
Sounds like: The big drum sound from Florence & The Machine mixed with the noirish vocals of Lana Del Rey and electronica. It’s a recipe that works well when the hook kicks into the middle of the song.
Memorable lyric: “If it feels right it’s probably wrong”. I’m sure Movie Supervisors are already ready to match this song with the perfect movie.
The story: After playing drums for various bands, Jot Green decides to make like Dave Grohl or Phil Collins and strike out on his own
Sounds like: Someone that loved The Libertines and the debut album from The Arctic Monkeys. The energy is infectious. The vocals are spit out like a true rocker and yet there’s a melody that still hooks you in. I forgot this type of music existed. I’m glad someone is still inspired to make some punk rock grit.