There was suddenly a BUZZ across the internet one day and RUSH fans from all over were talking about this incredible video that some guy made! I immediately downloaded it and watched it with my mouth wide open and a BIG smile on my face. It was as if a new RUSH album was just released and I was listening for the first time. I was completely amazed by this video and sent the link to EVERY RUSH NUT I knew. I even sent a link directly to Neil himself. Come to find out a bunch of others were sending this same link to Neil's contact link on his new site www.neilpeart.net. It didn't take long before a link appeared on Neil's site! This guy is now a STAR! He will go down in history as a legendary RUSH fan as well as a VERY good graphical GURU! Now lets get a little closer to this guy. Who is this guy? Read below to get a closer look at who he is.
A few of the questions are from some other rushtour.com members. Their rushtour.com names are noted after the question.
I am curious to know when/how you got into Rush? What made you choose YYZ? - Vaportours from rushtour.com
1981. Moving Pictures changed my life. I had always been a music fan, and had the standard tastes for a 15 year old of the day (Van Halen, The Police, etc.), but when my next door bud innocently came over one afternoon to turn me on to this "new" band he had discovered, I was hardly prepared to find religion (None of the organized ones had ever/nor have ever worked for me). I became an instant convert.
From that moment forward, I wanted to play drums like that dude right there! In quick succession, all their previous releases became a part of my fast growing vinyl collection. It was a lot to digest, but I gobbled it up like I was just rescued from a desert island.
I chose YYZ to begin my animation journey because I needed a challenging starter project - but not a mission impossible. Of course, like everything I imagine to be doable, it was several orders of magnitude more daunting than I expected. But, I was determined and so I pushed forward.
Also, YYZ, as everybody knows, kicks all kinds of ass!! It screamed out for video accompaniment (which is funny because there's no vocals on it). :-)
Has Neil seen the 3D video and if so what did he think? - Sharkpedal - Pennsylvania from rushtour.com
I originally rendered out the video in widescreen format suitable for DVD and had offered it to any and all gratis over a year before my website came out. I even managed to hand some copies to Geddy and Alex personally at the XM Radio event last August in D.C. Apparently Neil had seen it some time shortly afterward and was impressed, though (understandably) a little weirded-out according to his on-tour pal Michael.
I release the site to showcase all my creative junk in early July of this year and emailed the same people (50 or so) who had received a DVD from me to let them know. Things kinda took off from there. Within a week, I get an email from Neil's guy (Michael again) asking permission to use a Quicktime version of the video on Neil's site. I didn't know at the time, but Neil had already considered putting the video there prior to the publishing of my site, but expedited the process due to the crush of emails he was receiving.
When was your first time to see the boys in action?
I went to every damn concert by everybody in the 80's, but for some reason, it wasn't until the Counterparts tour that I finally went to see the boys live. Thinking back, I can't for the life of me, figure out why that's so. Oh well. But I haven't missed a beat since. I even try to catch them in both D.C. and Virginia Beach now. My kid brother lives down in southern Virginia and is a Rush freak also (he looks up to his big bro'), and he has a Rush freak friend whom we team up with on concert day.
How many times have you seen RUSH Live?
Let's see...(1) Counterparts (2) Test for Echo (3)(4) Vapor Trails (5)(6) R30. 6 times.
Have you ever met Geddy, Alex or Neil?
I think I mentioned the XM thing before. Yes, I met the two who have to stand to play. I tried to get in through the normal route offered - a futile internet contest to no avail. But I had an ace in the hole. My ex-girlfriend's brother worked there and was a Rush fan, and he remembered what a fan I was. He called to say, 'Would you like to see these guys'?
Uh, yeh, can I get back to you on that...
It was on the same day of Rush's concert in D.C. that Geddy and Alex made their appearance at XM. It's 10:30 am and I'm running late due to my overestimation of public transportation efficiency and luck into a reckless cabby willing to sacrifice innocent bystanders to get me to my destination on time. After a final desperate jog I'm there. The ex's brother awaits and ushers me in. We travel up and around and through and I snake down a hallway lined with cubicle style radio stations on both sides. He opens a random door, and I spot a studio console manned by an engineer along with a few people scattered about. I'm told to sit down and that he'd be right back. Okay. I sit. I look around a bit nervously then I look up and... there they are! On the other side of the glass panel... just Geddy and Alex sitting there. Strumming. Joshing. Clearing throats. Getting ready for the audience who awaits in another area unawares. Geddy is playfully bemoaning how early it is for him to be stretching his vocal chords. The kinship between these two is immediately apparent. God, what a history they've experienced together. I sit enthralled. They warm up for 10 minutes or so and then leave the studio to make way for the eager throng. I smile smugly, knowing that I have already gotten my money's worth.
After an hour of rib-tickling anecdotes and unplugged heaven, Geddy and Alex retire to a lobby area to sign autographs. My turn arrives, and I hand them copies of the DVD, and when asked by Geddy how long the video took, I respond with my most confident, "hhh hhu. 'Bout a year. Hhh hhu."
What is your favorite RUSH Album? (I know it is a tough question! Ok, top 3?)
Damn. There's an album for every mood isn't there? Okay, cliché first: (1) Moving Pictures, then in the order of the day (a different order tomorrow I'm sure) (2) Permanent Waves (3) Signals (4) Power Windows (5) Hold Your Fire (6) Hemispheres (7) A Farewell to Kings (8) 2112 (9) Test for Echo (10) Roll the Bones (11) Presto (12) Fly By Night (13) Grace Under Pressure (14) Vapor Trails (15) Caress of Steel (16) Rush (17) Counterparts (never really liked that one much) I think that covers it. Oh, honorable mention for Feedback.
What RUSH cd has been in your cd player lately?
I've been fluctuating between Signals, Power Windows and Hold Your Fire lately.
Do you listen to RUSHRADIO.org? (if not, you should be!)
No. But you're right, I need to start.
When did you first get into computer graphics?
I dabbled in the late 80's early 90's with MacDraw and Macs at a defense contractor I "worked" for. I dove in a little more in the mid 90's by teaching myself CorelDraw. As a matter of fact, that was the program I used to design my soup-can tribute drumkit featured on my site (shameless plug time - www.BobbysBrane.com). Later on, I taught myself Autocad and used that skill to get a job that subsequently bored me to tears. I decided, after the glut of animated features flooded the market in the late 90's, that that was the way to go for me. I proceeded to teach (and am continuously teaching) myself to a reasonable degree the art of self restraint from throwing my monitor out the window.
What software did you use to create that incredible piece? - Dr. Nobraino from rushtour.com
Unfortunately, I used an older rickety version of a great piece of software - 3D Studio Max R3. It was not very conducive to character animation at the time. Several issues plaguing it then have been resolved, so now all future creations by me should be indistinguishable from PIXAR!
Would you be into doing something with The Necromancer or Hemispheres to animate the story a little? It is probably a lot of work - bytor from rushtour.com
Naaah. I could bust out 20 minutes of high quality character animation with one eye closed in no time. Time is relative though. If we are talking geological timescales, it would be about 3 inches on that super long graph they put on the wall in museums to show Earth's evolution. No time at all really.
Actually I do have a fanciful notion of doing about 45 minutes of high quality character animation in the near future. As long as immortality is ironed out in the next 40 years, It should be a realistic goal.
Did you expect such an impact on RUSH fans regarding your YYZ video?
Well... When I made it, I thought it was pretty cool. I liked it. I showed it to my girlfriend. She said, "That's nice." Okay. Thank you. I showed it to her girlfriends. Again, "That's nice." S... I guess it was... nice. I figured it must've been a niche thing - not suited to mass consumption. So when I published it, I'm thinking, "Allright, now maybe I'll get at least a few hits (I hope)..."
Are you a MAC guy or a PC guy?
PC's all the way. I love the ubiquity! Parts and software always readily available. Microsoft is great (heresy!). They have made my life infinitely more enjoyable. No complaints here. It's just fashionable to hate whoever does it best I guess. Bill Gates is accomplishing some remarkable things in the third world right now.
Are you planning to do any other RUSH related material in the future?
Well, the epic I mentioned earlier involves a boy who lives only to play the drums. I've planned a dream sequence in which he plays "Spirit of the Radio" on Neil's kit. It should be a hoot!
Thanks for allowing us to ask you these questions and remember to come drop by RUSHTOUR.com and meet some of the craziest RUSH NUTZ on the planet! See you on the next RUSH TOUR coming soon!