Clockwork Angels and Beyond: Current Issues and Future Plans
By John Cleese, Host of Talking Cheese with John Cleese
On Assignment from Codpiece Theatre Magazine
Canada’s favored sons are now in the stretch run of the much-vaunted Clockwork Angels tour. With awards piling up in manager Ray Danniel’s office, there’s not much left to accomplish for the power trio from Willowdale and St. Catherines. Playing to packed houses across North America, Europe, and now venturing into Australasian territories, Rush continues to amaze the music world with incredible chops, a light show that makes Fantasia look old, and relevant sonic creations. Per usual, the Yukon Blade Grinder is on top of all the whispers and rumors circling the band while on the road, known in some circles, as “the Vortex”. Complete with an orchestra of hot women, and post-pubescent (we think) males, the band continues to blaze a path hitherto unduplicated in the history of rock music.
Getting Old and Getting Help
While playing music this technically complex, physical stamina is at a premium. No secret here, the members of Rush are approaching, or have landed in sexagenarian land. Dealing with issues that only afflict “old” people, some members of the band have dealt with aging in an unexpected and lucrative way. Drum legend, Neil Peart, has taken to endorsing products that help deal with his elbow and hemorrhoid ailments. Once vicious rumors, now common knowledge, there is now an appearance of Preparation H and Ben-Gay stickers on his bass drum, and the professor is not ashamed to share his infirmities.
He believes the advertisements gives the audience product knowledge and assurance they aren’t alone as they deal with the realities of life. In a recent interview with the Yukon Blade Grinder, Peart admitted that he had a special seat designed to help with what he calls his “asteroids”. He said, “As we age these things pop up. I saw the proverbial fork in the road: quite drumming or get help—I went with getting help”. With some assistance from his legendary drum tech Lorne “Gump” Wheaton, the seat is pumped with liquid nitrogen to soothe the heat and itch of the embarrassing ailment during shows. “Neil’s temperment completely changes once we implement Operation: Ass Blast”, Gump said “in fact, the audience can tell when we do it because Neil launches into an impromptu drum solo—you know he’s feeling good when he does that!” Apparently he needs the treatment 3-4 times a night—Good luck with that Monsieur Pratt!
Getting More Help
Internet message forums supporting the band have been erupting with questions about the elderly black gentleman who’s been helping Gump maintain the master’s drum kit. Seen sweeping around the kit, plus shucking and jiving with the orchestra, there have been many questions regarding this figure. Once under a strict confidentiality agreement, now free to explain away the mystery, Gump shares why the addition to fold has been of benefit to Mr. Peart. The addition is none other than Pratt’s new drum instructor—Chitlin’ circuit legend Leophus “Hambone” Jones, AKA—Father Time.
“Before his death, Freddy Gruber, Neil’s former drum teacher (may the deity of the cosmos bless his soul) instructed him that elbow problems would eventually arise. And when they did, Neil needed to seek out help.” Gump continues, “Freddy didn’t make it so easy on Neil to attain this level of instruction. In his will, Freddy left a map of the United States with arrows indicating where his help could be found during certain times of the year, kind of a migratory map if you will. He wrote the names of songs he wrote and famous people he dated. In our journey we went to New Orleans, Birmingham, Milwaukee, and Minot, South Dakota. As clues gelled in Neil’s psyche, we knew that Hambone would be living under a bridge in Memphis last summer, panhandling to cars as they pass. Man, Freddy was quite vague about that in his instructions. He didn’t tell us he lives under bridges.” Armed with only a 5 gallon bucket and two hands when he performs, Father Time serenades and astounds passers by with his “circular motion technique” that Freddy shared with none other than the Canadian Drummer Boy.
Hambone, now 95 years young, and a hit with the ladies of the Clockwork Angels orchestra, had this to share with the Yukon Blade Grinder. “Neil’s just a young pup. Always cryin’ bout his elbow. I told him to buck up and act like man—I guess Freddy didn’t tell ‘em that! That’s all he needed. I appreciate the job though…good food from Frenchie and I love dem massages from the ladies—if ya know what I mean”. Yes we do Hambone—you are indeed the man!
What Happens after the Vortex? Space—The Final Frontier
When the Clockwork Angels tour finally winds down, and the boys from the band get sick of droning home life routines, they have an opportunity that few have ever received—an experimental ride on the International Space Station. Inspiration has been a moving target for music material for the band, and they figure this is the best way to get the most out of their talents. With the advent of the band getting nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and whispers of Grammy nominations, Rush is in rarified air. However, the honors just don’t stop in this earthly realm.
On the ISS, 2112 and Cygnus X1 Books 1 & 2 have replaced the standard music that greets the astronauts every morning when the wake up. “Thus Spake Zarathustra” and “Blue Danube Waltz” were the staples of morning rituals according to NASA, but they felt it was time to modernize this modern machinery. Buzz Aldrin, famed moonwalker and pilot, had this to say, “When you’re up in space music is so important. It keeps you connected with life down on planet earth. However, in this new era, astronauts want something a little more current than the classical staples of yesteryear. Good luck with that, that bands music just sounds like static to me”
So, naturally Rush was the perfect fit. In response to reports that the band will be traveling in space, underrated and under appreciated guitarist Alex Lifeson, offered these tidbits on what the band will be doing on ISS. “Canada participates in the ISS program and we’re all big sci-fi nerds. As part of our honors from the Canadian government we’ve been selected to participate in the ISS program. In the past, Canada has contributed the space ARM of the shuttle and ISS missions. Now they want to find out the implications of sounds waves in space. So, they’ve designed a special module on the ISS that is a music laboratory. It’s got a drum set, stationary bass and guitar stands. Amplifiers are located outside of the module projecting our music directly at certain galaxies.” When asked what things from Earth the band expects to take into space with them, Alex said, “NASA is quite prepared for our needs. The only stuff we really want to take up with us are guitars and other musical equipment and the “special” brownies Geddy likes to make at home—so tasty! We all glad the space agency is obliging, because if they didn’t help with the brownies, it was a no go. We want to get as high as we can…literally and figuratively.”
Ok…and Jacob’s Ladder is on set list this tour right? Continue smoking your breakfast, Sir Lerxt, we love it when you do!!!
Edited by Tombstone Mountain, 29 November 2012 - 02:31 PM.