'Clearly, we're too young and good looking': Rush's Geddy Lee dismisses Rock and Roll Hall of Fame snub

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As Rush prepares for the June 12, 2012, release of its long-awaited studio project Clockwork Angels, questions about the band’s continuing absence in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were bound to come up. Frontman Geddy Lee had a classic comeback in his recent talk with the UK’s Real Radio XS.

“Clearly, we’re too young and good looking to be in the Hall of Fame,” Lee says, laughing. “It’s not something we have control over, so it’s not really worth pondering for very long. … Our time will come.”

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Join us at the SER watercooler for first impressions on the 2012 single “Headlong Flight,” from Rush’s upcoming studio release ‘Clockwork Angels.’]

The band has been the subject of a series of commentary pieces, hilarious drunken YouTube videos (see below), fan rallies, weblog tirades and online petitions over the years — a credit to Rush’s deeply dedicated supporters. Asked if they could be compared to Trekkies, Lee agrees, though he’s quick to point out that it’s no insult.

“That’s great — I love it,” Lee says, in the two-part Real Radio XS interview. “I will take all the fanboys I can get. That’s awesome. Those people are really into the stuff they are into, whatever it is — no matter how nerdy they are. We were all nerds at one point — maybe still are — and we all are fanboys of stuff ourselves. I’m totally down with that.”

Yet, for all of these protests — not to mention 40 million in album sales, as 24 of their 37 records have been certified gold while 14 reached platinum status — Rush remains firmly ensconced outside of the shiny glass walls of the Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Rather than focus on that ongoing injustice, however, Lee says the trio threw itself into constructing Clockwork Angels, Rush’s first album in five years.

“Despite our many years together,” Lee says, “we are still really interested in making our music more interesting — and we keep pushing towards that.”

Rush’s candidacy for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, by the way, has a proponent in none other than the organization’s president and CEO: “They simply haven’t gotten enough votes to make the ballot,” Terry Stewart told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer earlier this year. “I can’t tell you why. Based on impact, influence, innovation, and excellence, they’re worthy. I think it’s just a matter of time before it happens.”

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Here’s a look back at our previous thoughts on Rush. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

RUSH – TIME MACHINE 2011: LIVE IN CLEVELAND (2011): Rush used this opportunity to, as they really have been doing each tour lately, rifle through catalog and pull out some dusty old gems (“Time Stand Still,” reggae “Working Man,” “Marathon,” “Subdivisions,” “Stick It Out” and “Leave That Thing Alone”) and even one bonafide “never been played before” fan favorite (“Presto”) but, most importantly, a run-through of their entire classic Moving Pictures album for its 30th anniversary. Some of those tunes have been played a lot (“Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight,” I’m looking at you) but others have disappeared for far, far too long. Welcome back to the stage “The Camera Eye” and “Witch Hunt.” Maybe you’ll stick around for a couple tours?

NEIL PEART – ANATOMY OF A DRUM SOLO (2005): On this two-disc set, we are treated to a complete deconstruction of the solo, recorded during the Rush 30th anniversary tour. Now, maybe this stuff is for drum wonks only, but I found it fascinating. Not just for the crazy amount of technique the man possesses. No, what makes this different is the sheer musicality woven through the solo. Neil is well-versed in the history of music and drops little bits of it into his work. There is plenty of bonus material to go around here, including some extended improvisations, full in-concert Rush tunes presented from the drums-only camera, the “O Baterista” solo from Rush In Rio, and a previously unreleased solo from the Counterparts tour.

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: RUSH: When most think of Rush, it’s their instrumental virtuosity (especially drummer Neil Peart) that comes to mind first. Or the love or hatred of Geddy Lee’s vocals. Other times it’s Peart’s second role as lyricist for the band that garners attention, and it’s another love or hate area of focus: Ayn Rand, sci-fi, songs about balding, fights between dogs and, well, whatever a Bytor is, these are all common targets for those who want to throw stones. We’re here to present an argument for the defense.

RUSH – ROLL THE BONES (1991; 2011 reissue): Listeners will hear immediately that the sound is indeed lighter and quieter, and the soundstage is thinner than either previous version. But it’s all to better show off the album’s immaculate recording, which does get a bit muffled in the Atlantic pressings. This is where you can revel in the tone of Geddy’s maturing voice, or the textures of Alex Lifeson’s guitar, or the layers of keyboard washes that are now magically so much more discernible from one another. With regard to those keyboard washes, what’s funny is that once you hear them here, you can’t help but notice them in the other versions, too. It just took this delicate audiophile edition to separate them out.

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