WHAT IS RUSHCON? RushCon 16: November 3-5, 2016, Toronto

RushCon is the largest North American gathering of fans celebrating the music of Canadian rock band, Rush.

Once a year, fans from all over the world gather for several days of activities such as games, a charity auction featuring rare and collectible band memorabilia, a tribute band concert, important guest speakers from inside the band's inner circle and much, much more!

RushCon is a by-the-fans, for-the-fans event where folks have an opportunity to raise money for an important charity whilst having an amazing time learning more about the band, getting to know each other and connecting with other fans from around the world. Over the past 15 years, RushCon members have formed life-long friendships and bonded over their fondness of this band.

It's a tremendously fun, informative and exciting series of events where fans are able to spend a weekend experiencing all the sites and sounds of Rush and simultaneously catch up with old friends who'll make you feel like you're not the only kid in the room who can recognize an odd time signature.

See Past Events

Archives: Tribute to Rush

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Band Members

Paul Joannis
guitars/acoustics, pedal synthesizers

Vince Langlois
bass, vocals, synthesizers and pedal synthesizers

David Schneider
drums/electronic percussion

Archives: Beyond the Lighted Stage

Mary Jo, RushCon staff: Give us a little history of the band; how did you meet and discover your shared love of Rush?

Paul (guitars): : Dave (drums) and I started playing together in Rush tribute band "Limelight" in Ottawa, Canada back in 1997. The band developed quite a following and even opened for acts like Kim Mitchell and the Headstones. In 2002, I went on to play in "Permanent Waves", and that's where I met Vince (bass) in 2010. He came strongly recommended by another teacher at the music school where he taught, even though he was only 19 at the time. In 2015, with Rush's announced intent to retire from active touring, we decided to team up with David Schneider (drummer) as a trio with a renewed focus on accuracy, authenticity and performance. David Schneider also has a Facebook tribute page to Neil Peart which contains his videos and articles dedicated to the man who influenced him from the time he was 10 years old.

Mary Jo: How did you pick the name? How many names did you go thru before you landed on Archives?

Paul (guitars): After nearly 20 years of history in the Ottawa scene, we wanted a fresh start with a new name. Though we play songs from all eras, our focus has mainly been on the "classic" 76-81 period. There's so many tribute bands out there, it's hard to pick a name that is not already used, but it seemed to us that "Archives" seemed to be distinctive and reflect the band's focus on Rush's seminal era. It also helps that the name works in both French and English when we play in the Montreal area, and both Vince and I are bilingual.

Mary Jo: Tell us about your gear and set up. Any special items you'd like to mention?

Paul (guitars): We're pretty fussy about using the right gear to reproduce the look and sound as closely as possible, but with the practical limitations of what we can fit in our vans, on the stage and on our credit cards! I primarily use a PRS CE24, a Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion, an Ibanez doubleneck as well as 12-string acoustic and classical guitars, both on walk-up stands. Occasionally I use a Gibson ES-335 and a white Signature Oracle. Vince uses a custom Geddy Lee Jazz Bass, as well as a 12/4 doubleneck and a 6/4 Rickenbacker-styled doubleneck. We use Roland D50 and JP8000 keyboards, as well as Roland SPD-S samplers and multi-timbral D550 with sequencers and 2 sets of bass pedals. Dave uses Tama Starclassic drums with an array of acoustic (chimes, cowbells) and electric (SPD-20) percussion.



Mary Jo: What's your Rush preshow ritual?

Paul (guitars): Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse some more! For us, there's no magic formula to doing a good show other than rehearsing until the entire performance is tight. The set list is usually agreed-upon months in advance and rehearsed in order to ensure flowing and seamless instrument changes. Rehearsals are done with the same gear used on-stage right down to the cables. We once introduced a new wireless transmitter right before a show which made some channel interference after the guitar change in "Xanadu" so since then we make sure every piece of gear is used in rehearsal before any performance! Our drummer on the other hand warms up for 20 minutes before every performance.

Mary Jo: How do you develop the set list for your shows?

Paul (guitars): Our repertoire spans over 4 hours (and growing!), and shows run about two and a half. We tend to have a core of unavoidable classics, and we rotate other songs based on the expected audience or special requests. We generally add about 15 minutes of new, unplayed material at every show. We sometimes go for a certain theme like playing an entire album, like Moving Pictures and Hemispheres, or a full album side, like 2112 or A Farewell To Kings.

Mary Jo: Are there any songs you have decided to not try to play? Are there songs you always mess up?

Paul (guitars): There's always been one simple rule in this band: if we can't make it sound like the record, we won't do it. We refuse to compromise, and that means if we can't do a song at the pitch it was recorded, or if we can't get each and every sample or keyboard sound right, we won't play the song. The most challenging songs for us are from the heavy synth era in the mid-late eighties. Some of the sampling synths used on Power Windows and Hold Your Fire like the Emulator or the PPG Wave have sounds that are difficult to reproduce without the originating technology, but we still managed "Marathon" and "Open Secrets".

Mary Jo: Tell us about any Rush memorabilia you have and the story behind it?

Paul (guitars): Although I am primarily a guitar player, I dabble in bass, drums and keyboards, and do all the synth, sequencer and sampler programming for the band. I'm an avid drum collector and have built up a reasonably accurate replica of the Moving Pictures drum kit with money I saved from quitting smoking over 10 years ago. I don't have any memorabilia other than a lithograph of the Chronicles CD cover signed by all three members, which I first saw in a local record store in 1991. I had enquired about buying it but they had already promised it to a store employee. Turns out the employee was a local guitar virtuoso I met when we were teenagers in 1984 who had quite an impact on me. We reconnected through our respective bands' activities in 2015 and he gave me the lithograph as a gift.


Mary Jo: Who's traveled the farthest to see the guys? Who has seen Rush the most number of times?

Paul (guitars): Luckily, in eastern Canada, we didn't have to travel too far to see Rush when they were touring. I think I've seen them the most times (16), and the farthest was five hours away in Toronto for the Test For Echo show featured on the R40 extras, but my fondest memory was being present at their Order of Canada Induction Ceremony in February 1997 in Ottawa. I took this picture then:


Mary Jo: How is playing to an audience of Rush fans different than a general audience?

Paul (guitars): Rush fans are a demanding, attentive and engaged audience (as we are!), and we love to interact with them. It is very stimulating and challenging to play for people who hang on your every note. It is very satisfying at the end of the night to have people come up and tell us the show surpassed their expectations. It gives us great satisfaction to have other discerning Rush fans appreciate the effort we put into every performance, and we take their comments and criticisms to heart for the next show.

Mary Jo: Tell us about any interesting Rush-related coincidences or experiences you've had?

Paul (guitars): As part of Limelight in 1999, Dave and I opened for Kim Mitchell, himself an opener for Rush with Max Webster in the 80's. It was a bit intimidating to see such an accomplished musician walk around and listen to us during our soundcheck. He later complimented us on our performance. During his set, he said "It's funny after all these years opening for Rush, now we have Rush opening for us!" right before tearing into "Battlescar", a classic track from the Universal Juveniles album which Max Webster recorded with Rush in 1980. We were all smiling ear-to-ear for the whole night.

David (Drums): I was blown away when I watched Beyond the Lighted Stage DVD when Neil was telling the story of his childhood. From the time I was a teenager people would say my demeanor and expression on the kit as I played was so much like Neil Peart...even though I don't believe in imitating anyone. My style is my style. I found it so funny that as a kid I also was teased and made fun of. I could not excel at sports. Drums were the one thing that I could do well and it was my source of identity and confidence. Almost all my friends were made through music. Drumming was the one thing I was admired for and it was such a coincidence that Neil had similar experiences with finding his identity. His drumming philosophy and music and lyrics have been such an influence on me, and my approach to the drums!

Mary Jo: Anything else you want to share?

Paul (guitars): I think ultimately, we're just die-hard Rush fans dedicated to presenting the most authentic and respectful performance of the music that has had such a tremendous impact on our lives, and share it with other fans. We've been doing it for over 20 years and still enjoy it, and probably will continue as long as we're able.


The Analog Kid

Promo Video

David's favorite drum parts





All Contents 2013 Rushcon. RushCon is a by-the-fans, for-the-fans event where folks have an opportunity to raise money for an important charity whilst having an amazing time learning more about the band, getting to know each other and connecting with other fans from around the world. RushCon has no official affiliation with Rush or Anthem Entertainment. As much as we wish we could, we have no way of getting anyone concert tickets or ways to meet the band.