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American Rambler with Colin Woodward


Jan 23, 2020

New York City writer Adam Bulger returns to American Rambler to discuss the recent death of legendary Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart. He also talks about the band's back catalogue.

Rush has always existed somewhere between contemptuous critics and adoring fans. Robert Christgau once called the Canadian trio "the most obnoxious band currently making a killing on the zonked teen circuit." Rolling Stone has written of Rush's "preconceptual roots as dull, perennially second-billed metal plotzers." Rush did not join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame until 2013, 14 years after the band was first eligible.

Rush, nevertheless, is a staple of classic rock radio with such songs as "Tom Sawyer," "Limelight," "Spirit of the Radio," "Time Stand Still," and "Closer to the Heart." Love them or hate them, they are on the soundtrack of late 20th century American suburban life.

But should you like them? Mr. Bulger takes a deep dive into Rush, learning to appreciate the band as a listener and a guitar player. He recommends the Netflix doc Beyond the Lighted Stage to get a better sense of the band's history and music. Was the nerdy Neil Peart a rock god? Rush might live forever on your FM dial, but can they make Ayn Rand interesting?

Also, in the wake of the recent white supremacy/NRA rally in Richmond, Colin and Adam talk about gun control for 20 minutes. If you want to get to skip to Rush, it starts around the 30 minute mark.