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How Rush got their name



How Rush got their name

Formed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1968, Rush had many line-up changes in the early days but in 1974 as a trio formed by Geddy Lee (Vocals, keyboards, bass), Alex Lifeson (Guitar) and John Rutsey (Drums) had the chance to release their self-titled debut album.


But after they decided to fire the drummer, the band replaced him with Neil Peart, who not only became their main lyricist, but also was elected many times one of the best drummers of all time. They released 19 studio albums over the decades and sold an estimated amount of more than 42 million records worldwide.

But going back to the beginning of the band, how did they get the name Rush?

How Rush got their name

As the guitarist Alex Lifeson recalled in an interview with Prog magazine in 2013, there were only 20 people at the first Rush show at a Toronto venue called “The Coff-In”. Curiously, Geddy Lee wasn’t part of the band yet and besides Lifeson, the line-up had John Rutsey on drums and Jeff Jones on bass and vocals.

Lifeson and Rutsey had been playing together for a few years already in a little basement and used to call themselves The Projection. But they didn’t have a bass player back then. So when the opportunity to do this gig appeared, Alex called Jones, who was someone he already knew. John Rutsey’s brother Bill, was who suggested the name Rush, because he thought that their name should be short and have something to do with energy.

“John and I had been playing together for three years in a little basement band called The Projection. We were as psychedelic as 15-year-old kids could be. In our paisley shirts! And we played covers: ‘The House Of The Rising Sun’, ‘I’m A Man’, stuff like that. But we also jammed with other people. When we got the offer to do this gig at The Coff-Inn, I called up a bass player I knew, Jeff Jones. Jeff had his own band. But I said, ‘Do you want to do this gig for $10? You can make three dollars. It’ll be fun.’

He continued:

“It was actually John’s brother Bill who suggested we use the name Rush for that gig. We thought The Projection was a pretty cool name. But Bill said: ‘You need something shorter and to-the-point, something with energy to it. How about Rush?’ And we were like, ‘Okay, that sounds good.’ And it stuck,” Alex Lifeson said.

As the guitarist recalled, they performed many covers doing that first show. Some of them were Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” and “Foxy Lady”, Cream’s “Spoonful” and John Mayall’s “Snowy Wood”.

At that time, Jeff Jone was already part of another band and he couldn’t make it to their second gig. So that was when Lifeson decided to call Geddy Lee and invite him to do the show. That was the first show of the line-up that would end up recording their debut album.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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