10 Years Ago: Rush Release ‘Feedback’
As part of the celebration of their 30th anniversary, Rush did a little crate-digging to pay tribute to some of their early influences. They released the ‘Feedback’ EP on June 29, 2004.
Rush had cut their teeth on mid-to-late ’60s rock and roll, drawing not only on the loud and proud sounds of bands like Blue Cheer, the Who, the Yardbirds, and Cream, but also on the styles of Buffalo Springfield and Love. On ‘Feedback,’ Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart tipped their collective hat to all those bands.
Kicking off the EP is a rousing rendition of Eddie Cochran’s all-time classic ‘Summertime Blues.’ It’s been covered countless times, most famously by Blue Cheer (No. 14 in 1968) and the Who (No. 27 in 1970), but never more successfully than the original, which shot to No. 8 in 1958. Rush’s version takes equally from the Who and Blue Cheer, melding the styles of both those bands together, while putting the Rush stamp proudly on it.
Two Buffalo Springfield songs are tackled here. The Top 10 hit from 1967, ‘For What It’s Worth,’ as well as the early Neil Young signature song, ‘Mr. Soul’ are both done up Rush-style here, with ‘Mr. Soul’ coming out the better of the two. The Yardbirds’ ‘Heart Full of Soul’ keeps things rolling as Alex Lifeson pays back a bit to Jeff Beck. As with all the songs done up here, Rush keep faithful to the original, but not without adding their own colors.
Another nod to the Who is given via a nice take on ‘The Seeker.’ The Who record was released as a single in the spring of 1970, and though it failed to make the Top 40, it has long been a favorite of Who diehards.
It’s pretty safe to say that Rush have never truly dipped their musical toes into the genuine blues. Hence it’s no surprise that their take on Robert Johnson’s blues standard ‘Crossroads’ owes more to Cream’s version. The guys rock it out, no doubt, but ultimately it’s a bit lackluster compared to Cream’s take. Perhaps the most obscure song included here is Love’s ‘Seven And Seven Is,’ which first appeared as a single in the summer of ’66, when it sailed up to No. 33 nationally, though it was a No. 1 hit in their native Los Angeles. While Rush don’t come anywhere near the fire and drama of Arthur Lee and company, you gotta give ‘em credit for trying.
‘Feedback’ was released to coincide with Rush’s ‘R30,’ tour and was a good way to acknowledge where they came from musically, and possibly, giving their fans a little education along the way. One other significant thing to note about ‘Feedback’ is that this is the closest Rush has ever gotten to returning to the no-frills, straight-ahead rock of their 1974 debut album, with no odd time changes, book smart lyrics or planets of the solar federation circling anywhere. While all that stuff, and more, became signatures of Rush, it was, and is, exciting to hear them just plug in and crank it up.