It was a few Sundays ago that I was privileged to spend an afternoon at a storage facility turned rehearsal space with the newest thing in the Willamette music scene. It is a band called Why Why Zed, and they play the music of Rush. As anyone born before 1980 can tell you, that is no mean feat. The Canadian super-group born in 1968 (the trio unchanged since before their 1974 American debut tour) is third in the world for album sales behind only The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. It’s members, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neal Peart, are considered gods of their particular instruments and were just recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Who’s got the kind of balls to tackle such a monolith of musical mastery? We got yer balls right here, in the sleepy little college town of Corvallis, Oregon. There is one other Rush tribute band currently active in the state of Oregon, Moving Pictures, based in Portland. But our own group of local performers are veterans and virtuosos in their own right.

Paul Kincaid, a luthier and self-professed “math rock” geek, found himself challenged by the “strange Canadian math code” for which Rush is well known. He first contacted J.D. Monroe, also known as The Turntable Enabler, who’s prodigious prowess on the drum kit is undisputed. J.D. was a natural, being that he learned how to play drums listening to Neal Peart’s work on the Rush albums. Keyboardist, Dave Trenkel, another local music legend, who’s credits are too long for discussion here, remembers being over Rush after high school as he continued in his personal discovery of progressive rock. Today, however, he enjoys the sense of nostalgia coupled with the chance to further stretch himself musically. Tyler Nitske, guitarist, joins the ensemble in the Alex Lifeson role and takes to it naturally, himself an aficionado of progressive rock, as evidenced by the inspirations of his Portland band Keel Over.

The name Why Why Zed is a play on the Rush song YYZ which relates to the fact that those letters in Morse Code are the designation for the Toronto international airport. Toronto being Rush’s home city. They will be performing the entire live album, Exit Stage Left. This Friday, April 1st, will be their debut performance, and they will be accompanied by another unsung Corvallis sensation, The Fake Police, who have played the Calapooia before and were outstanding. Don’t miss this phenomenal double-header. Showtime is 8pm, cover is $5 and you must be 21 or over. This show will be in our spacious warehouse, so there’s plenty of room.

We’ll see you there!