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Timely Recognition for Time-Honored Band

  07/08/10 01:22, by , Categories: Music News, Bands, Featured Artist, Steven Rask , Tags: alex lifeson, donna halper, geddy lee, neil peart, rush, steven rask, walk of fame

by Steven Rask

If you study the history of rock bands, words like Devotion, Ethics, and Loyalty are rarely used in a positive sense, especially in Hollywood. Yet these words were the thesis of Donna Halper’s introduction speech at the Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony on June 25, 2010.

Donna Halper is credited as the catalyst to the inductee’s recognition in Hollywood, and also as the DJ who gave them their first radio airplay on WMMS in 1974. The inductees were none other than Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart of RUSH, and if you ask any one of their millions of fans, it’s about time.

My longtime friend Scot, my son Zach and I excitedly arrived at the long-awaited shindig around 10:00 am (after a 2-1/2 hour drive from San Diego), to see a swarm of fans already gathered around the platform outside the appropriately chosen site, The Musician’s Institute.

By induction time, 11:30 am, there were approximately 1500 people lining the streets, discussing their favorite band and eagerly awaiting the inductees. As I looked around and talked with a few folks around me, I wasn’t surprised to see the diversity of Rush’s loyal fan base, who speak of the band as if they are family. “I’m so proud of them,” remarked one lady who said seeing them receive the star was “like seeing my boys getting an award at school.”

Standing next to me was another father and son, ages 34 and 12 respectively, a husband and wife in their mid-40s, and a family of four from Portland, Oregon. There were also fans from Canada, many different parts of the U.S., and even one from Finland who came out to celebrate. “My first concert was last year,” said one fan. “Seen ‘em 23 times,” said another.

Aside from the induction, they also started their suitably named Time Machine tour on June 29. (Incidentally, the show August 13 in Irvine will mark the 8th time I’ve seen them live, Scot’s 12th and Zach’s third. Man, I love this band!)

RUSH’s list of “musical contributions” took about five minutes for Leron Gubler, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President, to recite. Included in the list was their latest accomplishment of becoming the band to sell the third-most consecutive platinum albums in rock history (behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones). Gubler not only affirmed the fact that RUSH is one of the world’s most popular bands, but he also stated, “Consistently respected and celebrated world-wide, RUSH is the most successful Canadian band of all time.” Gubler also declared June 29 “RUSH DAY” in the city of Hollywood.

Donna Halper then conveyed a story of devotion, endurance, ethics, and loyalty about a band whose perseverance got them to this point. “RUSH always stayed true to themselves and true to their music, and never lost their integrity,” said Ms. Halper, endearingly. There were smiles, tears, laughs, cheers, and thank-yous from the crowd as Ms. Halper read her speech, and an absolute uproar as co-presenter, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins gave his account of how RUSH had influenced him. “These guys are the best of the best,” said Corgan.

Guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist Geddy Lee were humble and visibly flattered as they gave their heartfelt and humorous acceptance speeches.

“Wow,” said Lee. “There are some times in life where you have a beautiful and surreal moment; this is one of those moments.”

The ever-goofy Lifeson thanked everyone in a feigned Arabic accent, “I’d like to thank Zeus, the Keebler Donut people (laughs), our families, and (at the risk of sounding clichĂ©), you, our enduring fans.”

The acutely diffident Drummer, Neil Peart was expectantly absent from the festivities. An avid motorcyclist, Peart was said to have been on his way to Albuquerque, where the band would start their 40-date tour just four days after the ceremony, but sent his kindest thanks and gratitude.

“The boys” stuck around to sign a few autographs and speak to reporters, then graciously disappeared into the confines of Musician’s Institute. Zach, Scot, and I waited for the crowd to disperse, took some shots of the star and drove home, proud to be witnesses to the celebration of the accomplishments of a constantly underrated, but consistently celebrated band.

If ever you’re in Hollywood (even if you’re not a fan), stop in front of MI and pay respect to a band who has survived over 36 years of rock and roll hardship, though a mixture of devotion, ethics, and loyalty. I’ll say it again: “Man, I love this band.”

Fan and star photos by Scot Evans

This entry was posted by and is filed under Music News, Bands, Featured Artist, Steven Rask. Tags: alex lifeson, donna halper, geddy lee, neil peart, rush, steven rask, walk of fame

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