The Story Of The Hidden Rush and Aerosmith’s “Feud”
Aerosmith for Sweet Emotion's music video, 1975 - Justin Duarte / Youtube
Few bands could match the musical prowess of Rush. The Canadian power trio stood out even among prog-rock giants, with their exceptional musicianship and epic songs. However, their talent sometimes sparked tensions, especially during their early days as an opening act for legendary bands like Kiss and Aerosmith. Despite facing challenges and enduring hazing on the road, Rush eventually rose to headlining status, earning the respect of their peers and leaving a lasting impact on the rock scene.
Climbing the Ladder: Opening for Kiss and Aerosmith
As an opening act, Rush played to massive crowds while supporting bands like Kiss. Despite the stark contrast in musical styles, Geddy Lee of Rush expressed admiration for Kiss’s ability to deliver spectacular shows and give fans their money’s worth. He said:
“Say what you want to about Kiss, musically or otherwise, but there was no one else willing to put on a spectacular show and give people their money’s worth than Kiss”.
However, as Rush incorporated their intricate and complex compositions into their performances, tensions began to arise during their time on tour with Aerosmith. Lee recalled not receiving proper treatment from Aerosmith, including lack of soundchecks and attempts to mask their playing during their set.
Evolution and Respect: From Opening Act to Headliner
As Rush’s musical evolution progressed, their songs became more complex and intricate. They rose to headlining status with the release of albums like “Permanent Waves” and “Moving Pictures,” gaining radio airplay and establishing rock classics like “Tom Sawyer.” Zakk Wylde, an avid fan and Ozzy Osbourne guitarist, noticed the band’s progression, saying:
“If you look back at the early records, the riffs were simpler. Then there were songs where it got more and more complex.”
Despite the past tensions, Rush extended an olive branch to former Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry during their headlining tour. Geddy Lee took a subtle yet powerful stance, giving Joe Perry a soundcheck and expressing his hope that the guitarist was being treated well. Lee said:
“I asked him backstage if he was being treated well. When he said yes, I said, ‘Good because I would never want anyone to feel the way I felt when we opened for you’”.
This gesture served as a reminder of the challenges Rush faced as an opening act and paved the way for reconciliation between the two bands. Joe Perry later publicly apologized to Rush for the past treatment and thanked them for their hospitality during the tour. He said:
“I want to thank them for treating the Project so good and taking the time to ask if everything was okay. I hope I had the presence of mind back then to apologise”.