Book Review: Rush FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Rock's Greatest Power Trio by Max Mobley

No matter what level of Rush fan you are, there is something for everyone in the new Rush FAQ book.
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"When did Rush become cool?" asked Dave Grohl at the induction of Rush into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and it was a great question. In the new Rush FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Rock's Greatest Power Trio, author Max Mobley sets out to answer that, and many other questions.

Early on, Mobley breaks down the Rush audience into four categories. There are the "Original Fans" who were there before the release of their breakthrough Moving Pictures album. "Second Generation Fans" came along right after Moving Pictures, while "Rush Fans The Next Generation" began filling the giant stadium shows Rush began filling in the new millennium. Mobley's fourth group is one I was not really aware of before, which he calls "The New Muso Generation." I will quote his description of them, "Their reverence for Rush stems from studying masters of their craft."

I guess that I would be called an original fan, having gotten in to the band with the live All the World's A Stage. It was your typical late-seventies teenaged basement bong-session, but I loved what I heard. I may qualify as an original fan, but I pretty much lost interest after Signals, for many years. So I don't know what category that really puts me in. It sort of puts me out of the purview of the Rush FAQ though, because there is very little about the early years in it.

Overall, the focus is on the live Rush experience. This provides a handy backbone for a story that is now in its fortieth year, and is an interesting choice. We get chapters devoted to each of the live albums, plus concert DVDs, and some of the tours themselves.

As we have come to expect from the FAQ series, there are also chapters devoted to the lesser known aspects of the group. In "The Ballad of John Rutsey," Mobley delves into the life of the band's first drummer John Rutsey, who manned the skins on their debut album. There are also chapters devoted to Neil Peart's travel writing, Rush's appearances on television, and "What's With All the Keyboards, Man?" which asks the question many Rush fans were asking in the '80s.

The chapter I enjoyed the most was "A Trio of Breakouts: Rush's Three Most Pivotal Albums." I suppose I should do a spoiler alert here, but the first two are pretty obvious, 2112 and Moving Pictures. His third choice is Snakes and Arrows from 2007. There are always fans of a band's latter day albums, so I am not going to say anything negative about this one, but I do have reservations about it being in the same league as 2112 or Moving Pictures.

The Rush FAQ provides a great overview of this band, as well as offering up the lesser-known band trivia that we have come to expect from the FAQ series in general. It is also a fitting counterpoint to the induction of Rush in the RRHOF, in terms of them finally being deemed "cool" by the rest of the world. No matter what level of Rush fan you are though, there is something for everyone in this new FAQ book.