The passive-aggressive fight between Rush and Aerosmith

rush vs aerosmith

To this day, few rock and roll bands could still match Rush in terms of musical talent. Even in prog-rock, this Canadian power trio stood out as some of the most skilled players in the business. They were known for performing lengthy, epic songs that could be challenging for your average musician.

But this extraordinary skill came with its challenges when they hit the road.

In their early days as an opening act, Rush found themselves playing to huge crowds while opening for the likes of Kiss. Despite having vastly different musical styles, Geddy Lee acknowledged the showmanship of Kiss. He mentioned in “Beyond the Lighted Stage,” “Say what you want about Kiss, but when it came to putting on a spectacular show and giving people their money’s worth, no one else like them.”

However, when Rush headlined alongside these shock rockers, their music was still fairly straightforward, reminiscent of Led Zeppelin. It was during these tours that things began to change.

Looking back at the band’s evolution, avid fan and Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde noticed how their music became progressively more complex. He recalled, “If you listen to their early records, the guitar riffs were simpler. Then, their songs became more intricate. There were moments when the band members would wonder, ‘Did we actually write this? What part of the song are we in?'”

Despite their musical prowess on tour, Rush’s superior musicianship sometimes sat poorly with the members of Aerosmith. When Rush opened for Aerosmith in the late ’70s, Lee remembered they weren’t treated well. They never received a soundcheck, and their performance volume was often reduced to mask their skill.

But Rush’s days as an opening act didn’t last long. With the release of albums like “Permanent Waves” and “Moving Pictures,” they began performing in massive venues, and their progressive rock masterpieces found their way onto the radio, with songs like “Tom Sawyer” becoming rock classics.

Rush brought a special guest on tour during their headlining days: The Joe Perry Project. Joe Perry, the former Aerosmith guitarist, had recently left the band and was performing on the lower-tier circuit with Rush as the headliner.

While Geddy Lee maintained a polite atmosphere by giving Perry a soundcheck, he also delivered a subtle message. He asked Perry backstage if he was being treated well, to which Perry responded affirmatively. Lee said, “Good, because I wouldn’t want anyone to feel the way I felt when we opened for you.”

Later, Perry publicly apologized to Rush, expressing his gratitude for their hospitality and admitting, “I hope I had the presence of mind back then to apologize.”

Fairness is rare in rock and roll, but Rush knew how to handle their competition with grace.

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