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

Visions

← Tribute Band of the Month


visions2

Band Members

Jeff Mitchell
Acoustic and Electronic Drums and Percussion

Steve Zukowsky
Acoustic and electric 6 and 12 string guitars

Rich Dorkin
Lead Vocals, Bass guitars, Keyboards, Midi Pedal Synths

Visions: 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?

Steve (Guitars): Before I was a member, we were playing together on the same bill with a Queen tribute band I was in, and I played Rush songs at soundcheck, just to mess with them, as I was a big Rush fan. Later, I sat in with them on one song when our bands were playing together again. Soon after that, I joined for a year while the guitarist took some time off. When Visions regrouped a few years ago, I joined permanently as the original guitarist had moved to Seattle.

Rich (Vocals/Bass/Keys): The band was formed in January of 1994, by Drummer Robert Coss and Keyboardist Craig Wagner. I was abducted into the band in April of that same year along with our good friend Guitarist, Pano Coromelas. We had only played one show and a few months later, Guitarist, Art Bromage joined us as Pano was very busy with the building and running of a local recording studio. Craig had stepped away early on knowing Rush was a 3 piece and believed that Visions should stay true to that. Robert, Art and myself played together for a few years in Southern California. As a highlight, in 1995, Visions was awarded “Tribute Band of the Year” at the 5th Annual LA Music Awards, now in it’s 27th year. Good friend, and guitar player for a Queen tribute at the time, Steve Zukowsky had sat in for Art Bromage for several months while Art was in studio recording a CD, and later would become a permanent member after Art moved to Seattle. Jeff Mitchell later joined the band after Robert Coss went on to pursue other adventures, playing his first show on New Year’s Eve 1997. While Visions took several years off due to starting families and just life in general, on Nov. 9th 2013, Visions re-formed and came back with a vengeance. Amazingly, we are all still friends and periodically get together for some jamming and remembering the good ole days.

Mary Jo: How did you pick the name? How many names did you go through before you decided on “Visions”?

Rich: We had been rehearsing for a quite a while and couldn’t come up with a name, so we just used Subdivsions as a “working” band name, which evolved to Divisions that lasted about 45 seconds...obviously that doesn’t work at all, so we landed on Visions. Funny story, we had confirmation of the selection of this name, when we came across the Rush Biography by Bill Bansiewicz called “Visions” . . . None of us had seen it before but we all looked at each other and laughed. That same night, after an evening of bowling, we were all hanging out watching Seinfeld, and there’s a scene where George Costanza, says about bowling , “Rush? You want a rush? Drop a ball on your toe my friend! Talk about a rush, you'll be throbbing! You'll see visions!” We all fell over laughing!

Mary Jo: Tell us about your gear and set up. How is it Rush inspired?

Jeff (Drums):My drums are Ludwig Super Classics in Blue Shadow. Aficionados will point out these are the drums Neil used for the “Roll the Bones” and “Counterparts” albums/ tours. The main snare drum is a 14x5” Ludwig Black Magic. (nickel plated brass). The kit does have a full back half which when deployed, uses an acoustic snare and acoustic hi-hats. It’s a lot to lug around so it is typically only used for large shows. ;) The drum kit does have some modifications to accommodate both the oldest and newest material. A timbale is added to the left side for key moments. Two roto toms add to the upper small tom range. Allowing for the longer tom runs of previous albums. An X hat is usually stuffed in near the cowbells for “One Little Victory” and other newer songs. The drums are tuned to the Hold Your Fire tuning scheme. This results in what I believe to be a signature Neil Peart sound that is also unique to Visions. The drum samples are triggered from a Roland Fantom XR as well as utilizing the RolandT-9 and SPD-20 built in sounds.

drums

Steve: I play primarily 2 Les Paul’s, a Standard sunburst, and a Custom Black Beauty. The Custom has a coil splitter on the bridge pickup, which helps me get the 80's era Strat tones. For amps, I use a Marshall JTM-45 reissue, and effects are a TC Electronics Nova Drive, Boss CE2 chorus, Boss Giga delay, Cry Baby Wah and MXR Phase 90.

guitar

Rich: My gear and set up is pretty extensive. In the bass world, I utilize 5 different basses for a Visions show. First, a Black 2012 Fender American Deluxe Jazz Bass. For some odd reason, I chose that over the Geddy Lee signature bass for which I still shake my head. That will soon be rectified!!! In addition to the Fender Jazz, I also use a Fire Red/Orange VRB4 Customized Jazz Bass made for me by my good friends at Regenerate Guitar Works in Seattle. Excellent sounding bass with customized Honey Badger Pickups. Third on the List is my 2010 Rickenbacker 4003 in shiny MapleGlo. A must have for most of the older Rush material. In the fourth spot is the very versatile and easy on the shoulders :), the Double Headed Ricky Dragon AKA the Rickenbacker 4080 - 4 String Bass / 6 String Guitar in Jet Black. For those who don’t know, Geddy used this bass not only for “Xanadu”, but also for “A Passage to Bangkok”, and “A Farewell to Kings”. He switched between this one and the 12 string version several times throughout his career. Lastly but certainly not least, is the Wal MK2 Bass in Clear Coat Red and all gold hardware. I primarily use this bass for any late 80’s material and anything off of Roll the Bones. All basses have Rotosound Swing Bass RS66LD Strings on them.

basses

For amps I use a SWR Working Pro 2x10C 400 Watt Combo Amp and a SWR Working Pro 4x10 400 Watt Extension Cabinet. In my signal chain is the following:

-Sennheiser G3 Series Wireless Guitar System;

-Sans Amp Tech 21 RPM Drivers;

-Sans Amp Tech 21 GED-2112 Signature Preamps;

-Avalon U5 Direct Boxes;

-Line 6 Pod Pro Rack with FB4 Pedal;

-Whirlwind MultiSelector Pro 4x;

-Whirlwind MultiSelector Remote Foot Switch;

-Behringer BTR2000 Rack Tuners;

-Sennheiser EW-300 IEM system.

I use Westtone LM-Pro 30 In-Ear buds. For keyboards I have a Korg Kronos X 61. This is the main board that contains all the samples and digital synth sounds. Then there’s the Moog Little Phatty Analog Synth. The absolute “must have” for getting the old school Rush analog lead sounds like those in “Jacobs Ladder”, “Tom Sawyer”, “Subdivisions”etc. I also use two Roland PK-5 Midi Pedals, one set under the keys and the other at the center stage mic. There is a set of Studiologic Midi Pedals connected to my set up for Steve to play at stage right. All of this equipment is patched via MIDI into the Digital Music Corp. MX-8 Midi Patchbay. Without that one piece of equipment, nothing would work. Visions has quite a large stage production, with lighting, lasers and props. We have giant dice at stage right. Stage left pays homage to Geddy’s Time Machine and Clockwork Angels backline with a pseudo Bighorn, Brainstorm, Tophorn, Popcorn. Soon to possibly have dryers and/or a chicken rotisserie. We also have a Custom Time Machine Tour Steampunk Keyboard Stand that I made myself as well as a Custom Steampunk Teleprompter. Whew!!!

keys

Mary Jo: What's your Rush preshow ritual?

Jeff: It usually involves putting on the show outfit, trying to decompress from setting up and trying to get the hands warmed up and ready.

Rich: 1. I will not eat after breakfast. I despise tasting my meal in the microphone. 2. I always go over the set list, check the keyboard patches and samples, over and over and over again. At this point, I’m considering it a mental condition. 3. The lasers! I MUST make sure the lasers are patched correctly and all working. 4. Asking Jeff if he has his drum sticks :p

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

Jeff: The process for building set lists is based upon a combination of the most popular songs and occasional rarities. We emphasize the flow of energy over any other aesthetic. The set list is constantly in flux and is designed to adapt as the band feels necessary. But we also have some fixed songs that are in every show because they are simply foundational to portraying the music of Rush accurately. Do we ever copy an actual Rush set list? No. But we always strive to give the audience a well-rounded slice of Rush pie. But that’s not the end of the design process. Video clips must be assembled and programmed in a MIDI controlled PC. All of the background sounds must be mastered and mixed. Lighting and lasers must be programmed and prepared for. We are essentially mad scientists.

Rich: Basically, Jeff gives us a list, and then Steve and I change it on him ... ha. Rush has such a large catalog of songs that obviously cannot be played in one show, coupled with the fact that there are certain songs that MUST be played at EVERY show, that does not leave a lot of room to put our own two cents in there. We usually get to pick, MAYBE 1 or 2 songs each that we WANT to tackle. Personally, I like to change things up, because who wants to see the same show over and over? If it were ACTUALLY Rush, that's different, but as a tribute, people come from all over to see us and don’t want to travel for hours to hear the same set we did last time. On a side note, we will NOT do a show that is less than 2 hours plus an Encore. Our set up and production is too large to get out there for a 75 - 90 minute set.

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

Jeff: We have not shied away from anything because of difficulty. We play songs like “Jacob’s Ladder” fairly regularly and take on any musical challenges with excitement. However, we have found that there are many songs that just don’t translate well or simply aren’t as exciting to listen to as they are to perform. We typically do not “mess up” songs but it is always a possibility that technical glitches can occur and brains can, well, fart...

Rich: There are some songs that we just can’t play because of time constraints. For example, we can play part of “2112” or “Hemispheres”, but not the entire song because it would take up 20% of the set or more, and with those songs that MUST be played, it’s just not doable. Unless of course, it's a private event and they request certain songs... that’s a different animal all together. We don’t have issues with songs as far as “messing up” is concerned. As long as everyone does their homework, when we come together for rehearsal, its just fine tuning and working on transitions etc. There are some songs that are more technically challenging and more difficult to pull off. Mostly its the later period songs like “Turn The Page”, “Territories” or “Big Money”. There’s so much going on there, and being perfectionists ourselves, we make sure it’s all in there. ALL of it! Which, I guess, is what Visions is about.

visions3

Mary Jo: Who has the biggest Rush shrine or best piece(s) of Rush memorabilia?

Rich: Shrine? My wife would not allow a shrine (lol), however, I do have some great 20”x30” shots of the guys. I guess my stage set up would be considered my shine. Also, a pair of Neil’s sticks from the Time Machine Tour. There’s a great story there. A long time friend of mine is a lighting tech and for years, I’ve been begging him to get on a Rush tour. He finally calls me one day and says he’s on the Time Machine tour, as the Lighting Crew Chief. When he called to tell me that we have backstage passes to the show at the Gibson Amphitheater in Hollywood, I was ecstatic. So my wife and 2 kids who were 15 and 16 at the time, got to actually get onto the stage before the show and inspect everything, as well as being on the stage for the show itself. On the sidelines of course, but right there. During Neil’s drum solo, Alex came off the stage, stood directly in front of us as his tech brought him a Coke and a wheelchair to sit in. Alex was so funny, we all had a good laugh. I told him that he should roll out there in it as a goof, and he laughed and made a face as though he was considering it. At the end of the show, I was handed Neil’s sticks. What a great time, and unforgettable memories.

Mary Jo: Tell the truth- who has a child, car or pet named after one of the guys or another Rush reference?

Rich: I once had a cat named Geddy and my 1973 Ford Maverick was named Rocinante. On a side note, when my daughter was born, one of my friends liked to call her Geddianna, and still does. She’s 22 now. LOL

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

Steve: I've seen them 15 times, going back to Permanent Waves in 1980.

Rich: I have traveled to Las Vegas which I guess is only about 300 Miles... I live between LA and San Diego, so Rush had always played several times on every tour, within a 100 mile radius. I’ve lost count of how many times I've seen them. I have seen them several times on every tour since Hold Your Fire. During the Roll The Bones Tour alone I saw them 7 times. Before that, apparently, my sisters took me to see them during the Hemispheres tour, only because they couldn’t get a babysitter. I don’t remember ANY of it. They also could be pulling my chain too but they continue to stick to their story.

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

Jeff: Perhaps more than any other band in the world, with Rush there always seems to be an expectation of being a very faithful reproduction. People expect to see a 3 man band, and consist of a drum kit with everything including the kitchen sink, a bass player who can sing and play keyboards and a guitarist who doesn’t just learn parts but captures the essence of Alex Lifeson. That is a TALL order, and I have yet to see any band truly and perfectly recreate every aspect of the original, but we think our approach yields the most musically satisfying results.

Rich: This is a very big question. Rush fans are a different breed of music listeners. We hear everything, we know when something is off, and we know when it’s perfect. Anytime Rush makes a mistake, which is NOT often, as Rush fans, we laugh it off and of course they get grace because... they’re RUSH. As a tribute act, there is NO GRACE at all from Rush fans. We could play, what would be considered a technically perfect show, and someone will come up to us and say, “you missed that one note in 'The Trees' ”. The thing is, they’re probably right. You can’t fool a Rush fan. The pressure to put on a good show, is ALWAYS more intense than being in any other tribute or cover band, in my humble and biased opinion, of course.

Mary Jo: Anything else you want to share?

Jeff: Often people ask how we get such a huge sound at the show. There are many components critical to reproducing the sound of Rush. Despite being a 3 piece ensemble, they have always had a “large” sound. In performing their music, it is not enough to simply learn the parts and play the right notes. Care must be taken in choosing equipment. In addition to having a difficult vocal range, the sound of the instruments themselves need to be tweaked to recreate the original as closely as possible. This includes careful attention to drum tunings, signal processing, accurate synth patches and sometimes adding background sounds and layers. As a young Rush fan I often found myself watching the actual band play a show and longed for the missing “bells and whistles” of the albums. (This is probably more of a personal sickness than a musical standard though.) In reality, a lot of fans don’t necessarily miss these parts, but they also smile bigger when they are present. Painstaking effort is put in to reproducing the original sounds as closely as possible. For example, a lot of the synth and Drum samples are built from scratch in order to mimic as closely as possible the real thing. We relish in the opportunity to make ourselves sound larger than life size. But Rush is just as much a visual feast as it is an auditory one. We create or edit all of our video content, and this content is often timed exactly to music. This is a time consuming process! But as a result, there are some key production moments we are especially proud of: - The “Red Barchetta” video is completely unique. It is a storyboard drawn by an art student that was intended for a live action video. Rush has never had an actual story video for this song. - The second half of “Jacob’s Ladder” features a “cloud painting” visualizer that is reacting to live music. There are several more of these “reactive” visual elements in the show. - The choir in “Marathon” is not a synthesizer, it is real humans sampled. - The space shuttle launch video and audio clips for “Countdown” were assembled from hours of actual NASA footage. Rich (our “Geddy”) builds all of our laser projectors himself. He also fabricates props and other equipment. He’s not just a pretty face!!

Rich:On 09/16/16 at the Longshadow Ranch Winery in Temecula, CA, we had a very special guest. “Jack Secret” attended our show and he said to us, “Very Impressed, you guys are very good”. Coming from him, who has toured with Rush since the 70’s, that’s quite a compliment. He added that he “would enjoy working with us” and also shared cool information about Rush. Lastly, our mission statement for Visions is "A spirit with a vision, is a dream, with a mission..."

Mary Jo: Tell us about any upcoming shows you have.

Thursday, February 15th. at Rock & Brews at the San Manuel Casino in Highland, CA. We will have 2 shows, at 7 pm and 9 pm. Admission is free.

show

Songs/Videos

Xanadu

Tom Sawyer

Interview Promo Video

Links

Website

Facebook

YouTube Channel

Email

management@visionstribute.com

rich.dorkin@visionstribute.com






CONTACT | REGISTER | EVENT INFO | FOLLOW ON FACEBOOK | FOLLOW ON TWITTER

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.