...my hard cover coffee table book in which I have two Rush experts per studio album go off...and off they did! It turned out absolutely top shelf, from the design and image selection, to all the smart talk enclosed. So far, discerning fans—and are there any more discerning than Rush fans?—are loving the novel concept.

As my introduction to the book states...

In the immortal words of Yngwie Malmsteen, “Who says less is more?! More is more!” Or, you know, something to that effect. Six degrees of separation, Yngwie loved Rush, Yngwie covered Rush on record, I’ve interviewed Yngwie many times, Yngwie said this to Sam Dunn in the process of Metal Evolution, a project that I worked on with Banger Films. Banger, of course, produced the award-winning film Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, which I also worked on full-time for like a year.

But I was pondering the bulky Swede’s words of wisdom as I walked to work this morning listening to an old Rush bootleg on my iPod (by the way, Geddy was not a ducker of the notes live—holy crap). A debate amongst me and my music buds, and indeed a point of conjecture in the progressive metal episode of Metal Evolution, is that very concept, “more is more,” which I basked in figuratively like baked beans in a tub as I sprung step to intimate versions of “La Villa Strangiato,” “The Trees” and “Something for Nothing” striding to the office in my yellow and green Soulfly shirt (always a nod-getter).

So yes, where were we? As our cast of characters know all too well, the snobby rock cognoscenti have always put down Rush, because of course, they believe less is more. Punk rock, folkies, music for airports, old blues sides from the ‘30s... we’re supposed to find the art between the spaces, in what is left unsaid, and project our own interpretations onto lyrics because we’re so smart and it’s all about us. Well, the Rush philosophy was, why not just try harder? And guess what, you can still do all that other reflection about the spaces. Why start on the bottom shelf and have to stack everything on top of it until it breaks?

The idea with Rush is, let’s start on the top shelf together, let’s give you a lot of music, some of the chords are a little weird, you might twist an ankle dancing to it and you’ll probably look goofy trying. And if you’ve got any reflecting grey matter left, here’s a bunch of lyrics, which, likely together combust up synergistically to make even more story, because, like, more is more. Oh sure, Rush try to play the game, positing with a witch cackle, our more is more is even more, because we’re even going to include less is more! But alas, it’s not in their nature, and so the point I’m trying to make is, ‘80s and ‘90s records included, Rush and their substantial music and lyrics and productions and album covers made it pretty darn easy to build this book and to have it be recurrently and even relentlessly interesting.

Somewhat to my surprise, for a couple things were happening here. Number one, this is only the second book in this series, the first of which was on frickin’ Bob Dylan. Talk about stacking up a challenge with harmonica dents to the head. I knew we’d have no problem killing Bob Dylan on the music. It would take some sky-high Lower Eastside air of condescension to get most people to believe his version of less is more (T)rumps Rush when it comes to the music. There’s no way I’m buying that. I knew this book would kill Bob Dylan on the music, meaning, logically like Spock, there’s more to talk about here. That’s just a fact. We can talk about good taste and bad taste until we’re blue bloods in the face, but the harder objective surface of craft will always win out in the end. That’s what all those old Vertigo Records albums are so collectible.

I was a little more apprehensive on philosophies, concepts, themes, lyrics, and I soon found out I shouldn’t have been. Because, again, even if you don’t believe more is more, any open-minded person can believe that more can be more, and Neil has always provided more. And he certainly provided more than enough to keep busy and engaged all these smart people you’re about to meet. It’s a fast canon of lyrics, and like with his charted and then replicated fills, well, Neil tries harder. And so bloody ‘ell, halfway through this process I was about ready to concede no ground to Bob Dylan, widely considered rock music’s greatest poet, although, screw it, does he even play rock music?

Second, I was apprehensive of having people from all walks of life expound on Rush, and have it be not only engaging but stacked with enough new concepts and provocative ideas to make this gorgeous book useful. It’s not that I was worried about these people more so than my long bias about having the band themselves be the main speakers in the books I do. Again, my fears were quickly allayed through the pile of completely engaging, fun, thought-provoking conversations I had across this catalogue across a wide swath of humanity parachuting in to breathe life into often ignored corners of the catalogue.

And I think that was the key, that we strived for and built a perfect balance in the cast of people, including those who could technically analyze music (in composite and split between guitar, bass and drums), complementing those who could place Rush smartly within the pop culture and the music industry of each specific album’s launch date, buttressed by those who most deeply felt the lyrics on any number of intellectual and emotional levels.

And I must admit, again, from a base of thinking, “How do we match the quality of the Bob Dylan book?” to “I love this damn book—this is awesome!”... it was bloody effortless in the baking and the making. The long and short of it, I have every confidence in the fact that after reading this book, you will be able to look at each and every one of these at times contentious Rush records in completely new rainbows of refracted light, and you will join me in now, forever, defending the likes of Rush (and yes, I don’t mean just Rush, I mean all of our prog heroes) against the barbs of the Rock Hall tastemakers that think Yngwie is yucky.

Prices including shipping:

US orders
US funds
Int'l orders
(air mail)
$80.00 US
Canadian orders
Cdn. funds

PayPal happily accepted! Ask me if you'd like a PayPal invoice (please indicate what country you are in), or just do yer usual and direct funds to martinp@inforamp.net.

Sweet postage savings to be had for multiple orders (or two of pretty much anything—long story, ask me!). Given new mailing system, works best for US orders.

Or mail payment (personal check in US funds, cash, or INTERNATIONAL money order), to:
Martin Popoff
P.O. Box 65208, 358 Danforth Ave.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M4K 2Z2

Email me at martinp@inforamp.net with any further questions, and see www.martinpopoff.com for descriptions, cover art and ordering info for my other available 30 or so books.