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The Loop

Rush: Why No Female Fans?

In their 2010 Documentary movie Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, the band, and several known rock icons touch on a comical topic which I am determined to solve…

Why is Rush’s audience largely male?

I decided to compare Rush to two bands who share similarities: Tool and Phish. Yet musically different, all three bands have peculiar lyrics, coupled with baffling song arrangements and complicated time signatures.

Most importantly, all three bands are known for excellent musicianship and not known for anything superficial like their sex appeal, or stage presence.

If Rush can’t get any female fans, how can Tool and Phish? I explored the bands lyrics, and stage persona to see if I could get any answers.

Tool has morbidly dark lyrics; Phish’s lyrics run the gamut from mythical stories, to goofy lyrics about an ugly pig.

Rush’s lyrics have J.R.R Tolkien references, anagrams in songs and stories of futuristic societies.

I think that Rush overly dorked themselves in the lyric department attracting the D&D playing, male fan-base. Phish came close but squeaked by and got placed in the quirky and witty lyric category.

Tool’s lyrics are downright scary. Perhaps females are drawn to Tool like the guy in high school who your dad didn’t want you to date.

Maybe it has to do with the onstage presence of the band. If females see bands live because of their looks and onstage sex appeal then obviously Rush is out. I say obviously because as great as Rush sounds live, there’s not much else going on besides exceptionally well played music. When Geddy and Alex do decide to do more than the occasionally leg kick or toe tap, they usually do some syncopated head nod that’s quite cringe-worthy.

But it’s not like Tool and Phish are running around on a walkway in the middle of the crowd like Mick Jagger or Bono.

Fishman wears a dress onstage and plays the vacuum. Phish geeks it up big time jumping around on trampolines and singing versions of songs as a barbershop quartet.

The look of Tool onstage is nothing special either. Lead singer Maynard James Keenan threw away the wigs and codpiece after the Aenima tour and now opts to be perched next to drummer Danny Carey in the background. Maynard went even further attempting to stay out of the spotlight on the Lateralus tour gyrating behind a dimly lit sheet in the back of the stage throughout the concert.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge fan of gyrating behind a dimly lit sheet, but there’s a time and a place.

Realizing I wasn’t getting anywhere and starting to come off as a sexist, I decided to go right to the source.

I interviewed three female friends who have a strong knowledge of music and all three of them said the same thing. They couldn’t get past Geddy’s sopranoish, banshee-wail. One female friend described his voice as “the sound of a starving baby bird waiting for mommy to come to feed him.” Which I felt was a bit harsh, but amusing and certainly worth adding to this article.

Another friend made a good point when she said that her first Rush experience was watching the concert film, Rush: Exit Stage Left. Her first image was Geddy Lee, with his mane of hair and hook nose belting out some awkwardly high pitched lyrics about different Trees (The Trees) getting into a war and thinking to herself, “I can’t get past this dudes voice, but the story in the song isn’t helping sell the band either.”

All three female friends could care less about the sex appeal of the band that they are going to see. One girl even called me a ‘chauvinistic knucklehead,’ for thinking that played a role in why a female adult would see a band live.

So there you have it. It’s boils down to Geddy’s high octave crooning.

I guess the male; Comicon-esque crowd (before the movie industry took it over) is going to stand strong at Rush concerts. And that’s fine with me. I’d rather go see a Rush concert with buddies than play golf or go fishing.

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