Thursday, May 17, 2007

RUSH vs Iggy Pop: Let The Games Begin

Back in the early seventies, when Iggy and the Pop toured the Raw Power album, there was this rock trio called RUSH. One of the guys in the band, Geddy Lee, went to my Dad's school, Northview Heights (a few years before he went to the same school).

When he first started going to Northview he noticed a poster for a Friday night gig in the school cafeteria. The poster pictured these three rockers with shag hairuts dressed in what looked like skin-tight metalic Sweet outfits. At that time Rush were on their first album and they kind of sounded like a Canadian version of Led Zeppelin.

In those days my Dad and his friend's hated Led Zeppelin but really liked Iggy Pop and the New York Dolls. I reckon they were more into punk before it was really known as punk, although years later, my Dad met Iggy several times in NYC, Toronto and the UK.

Getting back to Rush performing a gig at their high school, well, it was a choice between my Dad seeing Rush in concert at his high school or seeing Iggy Pop at the Victory Burlesque Theatre on the corner of Spadina and Dundas Street (the place has now been converted into a Chinese bank).

My Dad and his friends said - "Who do Rush think they are? We give this band three years and they'll be gone."

Thirty-Three years later Rush have morphed into one of the biggest album rock bands on the planet.

Not only did they pick up a new drummer along the way (Neil Peart), but they've just released one of their best studio albums of their entire career ("Snakes & Arrows"). Gone are the shag haircuts and the tight sequin trousers and platform shoes.

Stranger things have been known to happen (

Jerry Casale of DEVO on David Bowie at the Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio, 1974

Today the UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper published this fascinating Q&A with Jerry Casale of DEVO. The band will embark on a UK tour (their first visit to the UK in 15 years) at the Brighton Dome on June 18th 2007.

Jerry was recently interviewed from LA about his favourite all time gig. Bizarrely, it happened to be David Bowie's Diamond Dogs tour.

I saw the same show, but instead of catching Bowie's show in Cleveland, Ohio, I saw the show in Toronto. My impression of the gig was similar to Jerry's. I thought Bowie was the best thing in rock and was miles ahead of everyone else.

Here's what Jerry had to say to the Daily Telegraph newspaper today (May 17th 2007) -

"The gig was part of David Bowie's Diamond Dogs tour. I'd never seen anything as spectacular before. The tour was choreographed by Toni Basil, and the stage was designed by a New York theatre company. The result was hypnotic, weird and fantastic."

"At the start, an 8ft diamond descended to the floor of the stage. The front opened forward and Bowie jumped out wearing a Kabuki outfit, pulling dance moves reminiscent of Broadway."

"I lost count of the number of set changes and dance routines. It was seamless - an incredible fusion of rock music energy, theatrics and disturbing assexual innuendos."

"The show solidified right then and there what I wanted to do with Devo. We'd spent way too much time smoking pot talking about ideas and doing nothing about it. Here was someone who'd taken the time to do it for real."

Devo tour the UK next month, starting at the Brighton Dome on June18. For tickets call 0870 735 5000, or visit or visit

Interview by Tim Burrows