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On the scene: Rush embraces cool factor at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction

Rush — the Canadian prog icons whose fans have passionately decried their lack of inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for years — finally got their (over)due moment Thursday night when they were inducted to wild applause at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

Oprah was chilling with Quincy Jones. Jack Nicholson was wearing red sunglasses. Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith was rocking an orange backwards baseball cap. The Foo Fighters, Don Henley, Jennifer Hudson,  John Mayer, and many more famous faces were all in attendance to celebrate the band and their fellow inductees Public Enemy, Lou Adler, Donna Summer, Randy Newman, Quincy Jones, Albert King, and Heart on Thursday night.

“When did Rush become cool…?” Foo Fighters’ frontman Dave Grohl asked the crowd during his induction speech. “Rush are a band that has balls,” said Grohl. “They’ve always been cool.” He and Taylor Hawkins – who also performed a mock-Rush drum riff while dressed like the band in their ’70s heyday – cheered the trio for building their fame off of fans and fans alone.

(To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, a band must have passed the 25-year milestone since the release of their first album; Rush waited nearly 40 years. For the first time, this year fans were allowed to vote in the induction process, finally clinching the deal for a band powered by fans from the start.) READ FULL STORY

Public Enemy, Rush, Heart, Donna Summer to be inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In a victory for those interested in the teachings of Malcolm X and Ayn Rand (or not!), the new crop of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees includes both hip-hop fire starters Public Enemy and Canadian prog merchants Rush.

The rest of this year’s newcomers include Heart, Donna Summer, Randy Newman, and Albert King, as well as Lou Adler and Quincy Jones in the nonperformers category. The induction ceremony will take place at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre on April 18, 2013, and will undoubtedly feature Flavor Flav embarrassing himself and an extremely long version of “Tom Sawyer.”

It’s hard to argue with any of those inductees, as they all had a great deal of influence over the course of long careers. However, it’s interesting to note the nominees who were left out in the cold: READ FULL STORY

N.W.A, Rush, Donna Summer among new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees

Rush fans, your long-standing tradition of writing angry letters to music magazines may finally be coming to an end.

The Canadian prog icons are among the 15 nominees for the 2013 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They join Donna Summer, Public Enemy, Procol Harum, N.W.A, Randy Newman, the Meters, Kraftwerk, Albert King, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the Marvelettes, Heart, Chic, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Deep Purple on the ballot. The names have been sent out to the mysterious cabal who votes for this thing, and the new class will be inducted at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre on April 18, 2013. For the first time ever, there will also be a fan ballot, which will allow those aforementioned Rush fans to shout about conspiracy theories in case their boys don’t make it in.

All told, that’s a pretty unusual collection of names, as there doesn’t seem to be any one artist who stands out as a slam dunk. Sure, plenty of those names made some great music, but there’s not an obvious legend among them around whom the ceremony can be built. For example, last year’s ballot included Guns N’ Roses and Beastie Boys, two canonical acts who were pretty clear inclusions.

This year’s batch will be an interesting referendum on how the voters feel about two groups who are deeply under-represented within the walls of the Hall of Fame: rappers and women. READ FULL STORY

Album Sales: Usher dances to No. 1; Rush, Ed Sheeran start off strong

Here’s some news sure to make Usher “Scream.”

The R&B/pop crooner’s 7th studio album Looking 4 Myself topped the Billboard 200 in its debut week, shifting 128,000 copies. While that start can’t compare to the first-week sales of his last effort, 2010’s Raymond vs. Raymond, which sold 329,000 copies in its first week, that’s not exactly a surprise. Usher hasn’t produced a “DJ Got Us Falling In Love”-sized smash from Looking 4 Myself yet — the album’s lead single “Climax” only reached number 17, while its follow-up “Scream” has peaked at 13.

In second, Canadian prog-rockers Rush demonstrated remarkable resilience with their latest, Clockwork Angels, which moved 103,000 copies — up from the 93,000 their last album, 2007’s Snakes and Arrows, sold in its first week. In 2002, their Vapor Trails debuted with 110,000 units sold; the fact that their numbers haven’t eroded in the last decade is impressive. READ FULL STORY

Rush documentary director on their latest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame snub: 'It's unfortunate'

rushImage Credit: Andrew MacNaughtanRush was conspicuously absent from the list of 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees released this morning. For fans of the Canadian prog-rockers, it’s deja vu all over again. While Rush has been eligible for the Hall since way back in 1999, somehow they’ve never made the cut.

“It’s unfortunate,” says Scot McFadyen, who co-directed the recent film Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage. “We were hoping a lot more people in the [nominating] room had seen our documentary, and maybe that would have given them a different perspective on the band. But there are just some people that are holding out.”

As disappointing as Rush’s latest snub was, McFadyen wasn’t necessarily surprised. “They’ve never been a critics’ band. The industry people that are involved with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rush has never been cool enough for them.”

Even so, McFadyen says he’s spoken with some Hall insiders who support inducting Rush. “The same people that got Genesis in last year were pitching for Rush this year,” he says. In fact, he predicts Rush could be nominated as soon as next year. “Rush doesn’t need it, you know. But I think it would be nice.”

How do you feel about Rush’s continued exclusion from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Could 2012 be their year at last? Express your outrage in the comments, preferably to the tune of “Tom Sawyer” (after the jump). READ FULL STORY

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Who would you nominate for induction this year?

KISS-Rush-The-SmithsImage Credit: Everett Collection; Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images; Pete Cronin/Redferns/Getty ImagesYes, it’s that time of year again. On September 28, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will announce the list of nominations for 2011 induction, and countless arguments will erupt over who got nominated and didn’t deserve it, who didn’t get nominated and did deserve it, and what this whole thang we call “rock and roll” means anyway.

But why wait until then? Who do you think should be nominated (remembering that an act must have released its first single or album at least 25 years ago)? The list of eligible acts is a long one and includes T.Rex, Bon Jovi, The Smiths, Rush, Joan Jett, Ice-T, Duran Duran, Beastie Boys, Peter Tosh, Alice Cooper, and last year’s unsuccessful nominees KISS, Donna Summer, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Personally, if I had any say in the matter, I’d nominate cult British folkies Fairport Convention. But, hey, maybe that’s one of the reasons I don’t have a say in the matter.

What about you?

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Sirius channel Classic Rewind's bizarro list of the greatest classic-rock guitarists: Huh?

Eddie-Van-HalenImage Credit: Neal Preston/CorbisThis weekend, the SIRIUS and XM channel Classic Rewind is showcasing the best of guitar-driven classic rock. To mark the occasion they’ve released a list of the top five “Guitar Greats” from the ’70s and ’80s. Here it is…

1.    Eddie Van Halen – Van Halen
2.    Alex Lifeson – Rush
3.    Mark Knopfler – Dire Straits
4.    Mike Campbell – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
5.    Joe Perry – Aerosmith

I actually quite like the mix of the predictable—Van Halen, Joe Perry—and the slightly more off the wall. Mike Campbell, in particular, tends to get overlooked when such lists are compiled, probably due to his mostly flash-free style (though maybe compilers are put off by his unsightly penchant for sporting dreads). Mark Knopfler is another often underrated axeman who seems to be operating in slow motion when compared to the Van Halens of this world (and who would probably shudder at being described as an “axeman” at all). Personally, I would have liked the list even more had it the cojones to include British folk legend Richard Thompson, though I appreciate his oeuvre is hardly awash with classic rock standards.

On the other hand, can you really have a credible top five list that doesn’t feature Jimmy Page? Or Keith Richards? What about Neil Young? Or Duane Allman, who arguably contributed as much to classic ’70s rock as anyone, even though he died in 1971? Or, for that matter, Allman’s Layla guitar partner Eric Clapton? Or Angus Young? Or Dave Gilmour? Or Prince? Or Jeff Beck? Or Brian May? Or… Well, we could do this all day. So, let’s do exactly that! Which fretmeisters from the ’70s and ’80s would you have put in the top 5? And which of Messrs. Van Halen, Lifeson, Knopfler, Campbell, and Perry deserve to be there?

After the jump I’ve posted a clip from each of the five to remind you of their credentials—or lack of them.


Rush's Geddy Lee talks about 'I Love You, Man,' 'Colbert,' and their new compilation

Geddyleerush_lRush may be on a "deep holiday" these days, but the legendary rock trio sure seems busy. Their third Retrospective set — a CD and DVD covering the last 19 years -– recently hit stores, and they show up to perform "Limelight" in the highly anticipated upcoming Paul Rudd/Jason Segel comedy I Love You, Man. Frontman Geddy Lee fills us in on what the band has been up to. (Click through the jump for the full Q&A.)

EW: Let’s talk about your new greatest hits collection, Retrospective 3. What did you argue about when putting together the track list?
Geddy Lee: We don’t really have a lot of disagreements. We’re ridiculously sensible, the three of us. We like to joke that we’re one of the few working democracies in the world today. We all sent our opinions around. It was only two or three emails and everyone said, "Sure, that’s good, no problem, thumbs up." And that was that. It was very painless. Unlike when we have to choose the songs for our tour. That’s a long and very difficult process. We play for about three hours, and we have to balance what our fans want to hear and what we want to play, the new songs. We have, like, a hundred million albums. Trying to draw three hours out of all those records…

EW: So how did you settle on the 14 songs on the new collection?
GL: We usually send each other a bunch of emails. Management will make suggestions, and we’ll try to ignore as many of their suggestions as possible. [Laughs] For me it’s all about trying to do something interesting for our fans. Our fans probably have all those songs in one form or another, so if we’re going to put something out there we’d like to try to make it a little different. We tried to include some unusual versions of some of those songs. If I had my druthers it would be a boxed set of three discs. But that’s not very practical. I would like to spend some time at some point doing some creative boxed sets. I think that would be fun.

EW: So there’s a lot of unreleased Rush material sitting in the vaults, then?
GL: There isn’t. None. There’s lots of unreleased live material. Hours. Months. But there’s no [studio] material that we’ve recorded and not released. It’s like this: if we’re working on a song where we don’t love it enough to put it on the record, we throw it away. If we’re disappointed in them, we trash them.

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