The Yukon Blade Grinder
Rush’s Victory Lap Starts Here
By Peter Jennings
Proud Canadian & ABC anchorman
On Assignment from Dirt Nap News
It’s high times in the Great White North. A patina of pride and can-do spirit has made all Canadians feel super these days, what with the selection of Rush to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The world is their stage. At no other time in the nation’s history, save putting a canuck in space, or perhaps the 1991 Blue Jays, has it been so proud. I’ve been humming O’ Canada for days.
The band is supposed to be enjoying a break between the North American and European tour legs, but with the Hall of Fame ceremony approaching demand is high. Rush is now mainstream. Slogans abound in the offices of manager Ray Danniels but the placard on his desk says it all: “Quit whining and strike while the iron’s HOT”. Guess what the band’s doing?
They’re considering expanding their global footprint. Recent tours sent the band to South America—Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. Because of fan pressure, the band is now considering filling the calendar even more with dates to Australia, China, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates. However, finding their chi is a challenge. It’s quite difficult to balance healthy family lives and business with so many pulling at their affections. The questions from caring fans are: How are they adjusting? What have they been doing? Can they help recharge the batteries in some way (by waving money)?
Well, as a new correspondent for the Yukon Blade Grinder, and enjoying every moment of being brought back from the dead, I’m going deep to centerfield grabbing the story for you, the rabid fan.
Prime Time Calls the Name of Canada’s Finest
American television came calling again, this time, a short satellite appearance on Good Morning America. Being elected to the Hall of Fame has its perks and GMA isn’t Jim Ladd in LA you know. All the country wants to know the story about Rush. Happy to accommodate, the band’s appearance offered great insight to what they’ve been up to since the announcement of this year’s RRHOF class. Needless to say after touring a while, Alex, Geddy and Neil were ready to recline and recuperate from the road. For that occasion, exceptions can be made. Turns out, after the 1st leg of the tour the boys haven’t really stopped working at all.
Geddy disclosed to Kathy Gifford the band has just completed filming Iron Chef: God’s of Rock for Food Network. A charity driven version of the cooking show that’s different in format. Four teams are each assigned an Iron Chef to help them navigate kitchen stadium. Produce three dishes in one hour and possibly win a ton of money for their respective charity. Things didn’t go so well, and the band couldn’t elaborate about it on network TV. Otherwise the interview was practically meaningless.
Getting the real story is the trick. So, like body odor at a Black Crowe’s concert, and as regular as prunes for the elderly, the Yukon Blade Grinder has a polydactyl hand on the pulse of Rush world.
When you reach for the stars, you can fall in the mud
In order to find out what happened, I didn’t go to the source, the source came to me. Reaching out was kind of Alton Brown. Honorary Canadian is a title he should soon wear. As for the show, “It was a feast for the ears”, recalls Brown before showing me a copy of the episode. “More F-bombs than Goodfellas…the show proved one for the ages.” There were plenty twists. Disqualifications were handed out. According to one network source legal action from post-filming altercations are being mulled. Women calling women bitch. Regional pride stirring hate and discontent. It just begged the question as the great Lombardi put it, “what the hell’s going on around here?”
The judging panel was comprised of cooking legend Paula Dean, Rolling Stone columnist David Fricke, and celebrated Rush Forum icon “Treeduck”. Bringing light to a lifeless screen, and the need for civility in all things, the panel endured snarky, harsh, and constant innuendos from some of the contestants, save Rush. However, the judges themselves egged it on, and gave ammunition to the competitors. Symbiotic would be a good word here. Rush didn’t go for the bait.
The host laments the show will never air, “too bad for Rush, they won convincingly. Those guys can cook.” It had such promise in the infancy stages. To have legends of music in kitchen stadium like NWA, Rush, Heart, and U2 was an opportunity for television greatness. “You know, when you develop TV shows, some things look good on a dry erase board. Then you bring those ideas to life…inevitably they become complicated.” Profound and intriguing, makes sense like all Yukon Blade Grinder reporting.
Bad? How bad was it? It was so bad that…
Not good loyal readers, not good! When pressed for an example of what transpired Alton says, “We weren’t expecting this kind of behavior. Here’s my favorite. To a southerner manners are important…I never thought I’d hear Ann and Nancy Wilson sink so low as to insult Paula Dean, saying she probably eats sticks of butter like bananas at snack time. Just not becoming.” He chuckles and adds, “but to be fair, Paula did start off by confessing their songs Crazy on you and Magic Man were playing when she got pregnant at 14—like it was their fault. I mean, how do you take that? They packed camp, gave her the finger on the way out. Oh…never thought I’d see a Frito Pie nor gin and juice in kitchen stadium, that was a new one,” reflecting on NWA’s rendition of cultural classics from Compton. Gin and Juice proved so strong a potion Paul Dean wondered out loud how it would impact her meds.
Of note, NWA was disqualified because of a rule violation. You know, the one requiring all food be made and prepared in kitchen stadium? During filming, the group was observed taking cans of chili, a bag of skittles, and vienna sausages out of their trousers, then using the contents. When presentation time arrived, the chairman confronted the quartet. They admitted to using the products, only because they refused to taste the mystery ingredient based on appearance.
“We thought it was so cool meeting the chairman before the it started. You really do hear air whippin’ around when he moves his head.” Ice Cube, a person never to mince words, had this to say to the Yukon Blade Grinder about the mystery ingredient: Geoduck, “We was like, WTF is that shit? You know what it looks like. Those fools at corporate must’ve been high. I told Snoop to taste it, and see what we’re working with. That wasn’t gonna happen.” Cube, with his trademark scowl changing to that of a puppy dog, “Ya know, I do need to apologize to Miss Dean. I shouldn’t have put the geoduck on top of the Frito Pie and asked her if she ever had one that big. I was raised better than that. For my momma back home—sorry momma.” As they say in Canada, bad show my man! You know if momma isn’t happy…
It’s magically delicious—not!
U2—The celebrated natives of the Emerald Isle. Formidable opponents with their first offerings, but the entrée dish hurt their chances. Issue’s with the judges ran deep and looked to have a history to them. Treeduck deemed the play on the classic English dish Bangers and Mash “tasteless and unimaginative…like most Irish food,” and followed it by calling Bono “a diminutive leprechaun.” At that point you could cut the tension with a knife. In a touching way Bono questioned why he could be so mean while celebrating great human causes. Treeduck dismissed that notion and was ever on the offense. He reminded Bono he “hails from an island of 2 million trapped alcoholics producing the planet’s dirtiest football players.” Fricke added, “Well, this is how the judges are supposed to treat the contestants. Seriously, I expected nothing less from the band that gave the world The Joshua Tree. I’m surprised you didn’t just sprinkle beans around the plate to make this dish of lameness complete. A different TV show would’ve been a better fit for a group of your talents…Spongebob maybe?” The silence lasted about one second.
Verbal jousting then elevated to a battle scene right out of Braveheart. Bono minded his tone, but by saying that both Fricke and Treeduck were incestuous pedophiles coming from backwater towns where even the streets have no names, he sank to their level. “You both lack the credentials to judge music, food, or anything of artistic value,” he calmly said, “we’ll see you both in the parking garage.” As they say in the hood—Dammmmmmnnnnnnn!!!
Enter the Champion:
Rush cruising under their radar
Iron Chef is supposed to be a celebration of cooking and food. This story does have a redemptive end of sorts. I not only saw crude behavior, but also witnessed outstanding culinary magic. Real talent was there. The members of Rush worked the kitchen with preternatural ability, intuitively knowing each other’s move. Geddy is a gifted sausage maker. Neil reached for a spoon out of his grasp and it obeyed his hand, quickly darting to its master. The Japanese interpreter had a hard time keeping up when Morimoto saw that. And Alex, give Alex credit. He correctly understood the qualities of geoduck and knew which direction would make the band champion’s of kitchen stadium.
What they made with this obscene ingredient was incredible: kosher sausages, clams casino, Peking geoduck, and even turkey bacon ice cream with geoduck urine—who knew the possibilities! However, the band’s presentation to the panel was not without controversy. Apparently axes needed grinding. Treeduck demanded more live 70’s tracks, and complained the heralded Canadians haven’t done anything of merit since Power Windows. “Is Clockwork Angels the best you can do at this point?” he said as he shoved a clean plate to the side.
Paula Dean blamed the Neil for her son’s experimentation with marijuana during their teen years while thoughtfully eating her ice cream. At one point in her diatribe she just blurted non-sequitar “We’re on the train to Bangkok huh? Wreathed in smoke in Lebanon? How about wreathed in smoke in Savannah F’n Georgia at 4 o’clock in the damn morning! Lemme tell yaa’lll something…great ice cream…the nutty finish makes it superb.”
Enter David Fricke, the man with an agenda. While eating clams casino by the handful and trying to speak, it occurred to him to right perceived past wrongs by addressing his former employers…that’s right, former employers—Who knew? David was a struggling actor before his lofty writing career damaged so many artists. His first and last big league stab at acting? Rush’s video ode to suburbia—Subdivisions. Fricke nailed the lead and the band was happy with his performance, even got a Juno award.
“Excellent clam dish guys. You know, now is the time to talk about this. It’s been on my mind for years.” The band started to blush. “Encapsulating the disenfranchised, the loner, wasn’t easy work. I did it and deserved to be compensated beyond the stipulated contractual obligation. It’s only fair right? Yes, I agreed to do the part for the Tempest arcade game used in the video, but c’mon I didn’t even get back stage passes when you played MSG that year.” At which point Alex spoke up. “You mean Terry didn’t leave you the tickets like we told him? That’s surprising…I’ll talk to him about that. Well, tell you what. Next time you’re in Toronto come to the Orbit Room, I’ll buy you a drink.”
Interesting note, during that conversation, this Yukon Blade Grinder reporter could almost see a thought bubble emerge from the band’s collective conscience, as if they’ve figured out a long mystery, “That’s why Rolling Stone’s been f***ing us for so long!”
Next installment we will dig a little deeper into where the world of Rush is going. For now, the cooking show will remain on a lonely shelf in vaults of Food Network, waiting for the opportunity to show Rush’s greatness in the fullness of time.
See ya next time, if there is a next time…
Edited by Tombstone Mountain, 09 January 2013 - 01:54 PM.