If there was a band for music nerds, geeks, losers, and underdogs of all kinds throughout the past 40 years, it would be Canada’s favourite prog-rock sons Rush. For nearly their first few decades, Rush were the critical punching back of popular music – hated by most music critics, only briefly touching mainstream popularity with Moving Pictures and largely defined by the sci-fi epics of their early years. For esoteric metalheads and the discerning rock fan, they were incomparable, but for the general public, they were just too weird to be anything but the world’s biggest cult band.
And then something strange began to happen in the new millennium. Rush were beginning to be referenced in shows like Freaks and Geeks and films like I Love You Man. Their catalogue began to be reevaluated. The number of fans who saw them continued to grow, and older fans began to turn their kids onto the band. As the Rush faithful grew, they became more welcome on classic rock radio, and then in mainstream as nerd culture became more popular than ever. Calls for their inclusion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame actually had an effect, and they were inducted in 2013. All the while, Rush themselves never changed: it was the rest of the world who came to them.
Now, Rush is officially offering themselves back into the realm of geek heaven by sponsoring three new pinball machines featuring their iconography. We’ve already discussed the original plans, but now we have more information regarding the machines: The Pro, Plus, and Limited Edition models of the machine will be available to the public courtesy of the good people at Stern Pinball.
The machines will all feature 16 classic Rush tracks from across their catalogue, including songs from the first (‘Working Man’ from Rush) and final (‘Headlong Flight’ from Clockwork Angels) Rush LPs. The other 14 song on the machine are ‘Far Cry’, ‘One Little Victory’, ‘2112’, ‘Tom Sawyer’, ‘The Spirit of Radio’, ‘Freewill’, ‘Cygnus X-1 (‘Book One: The Voyage’ + ‘Book Two: Hemispheres’)’, ‘The Big Money’, ‘Subdivisions’, ‘Limelight’, ‘Fly By Night’, ‘La Villa Strangiato’, ‘Bastille Day’, and ‘Red Barchetta’.
The machines will also feature dialogue from band members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. The experience is helmed by Ed Robertson, lead singer of the Barenaked Ladies, a major Rush fan and pinball fanatic. All machines will also feature exclusive footage from recent Rush concert tours.
“Partnering with Rush, we created a musical pinball experience that every fan will want to explore,” explains Gary Stern, Chairman and CEO of Stern Pinball. “Incredible music, memorable toys, unique mechanical pinball action, and custom speech will make players feel like they are on tour with the band. In memory of Neil Peart, we have also decided to support the Neil Peart Research Award sponsored by the Glioblastoma Foundation as it researches cures for this deadly brain cancer”.
The standard Rush pinball Pro cabinet retails for $6,899. The upgraded Premium goes for $8,999, and the Limited Edition is all the way up at $11,099, with the latter two models featuring distinct artwork and additional components. The Limited Edition models are being capped at 1,000 machines, but I have a feeling that’s not going to stop some of the band’s biggest fans from grabbing their own.
Check out the features of the new pinball machines, plus some in-studio dialogue from Lee and Lifeson, down below.