Music History

Published on May 19th, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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The time Rush opened for the New York Dolls

Stone Temple Pilots once opened for a Toronto band called Hhead. The Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam both opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And Rush once started the evening for headliners the New York Dolls.

Alex Lifeson recounts the story in the West End Phoenix.

The date was October 27, 1973, and Rush was opening for the New York Dolls. They were a pleasant enough group of fellows who spoke to us not at all, but enthusiastically enjoyed the vibrant conversation and company of their “friends” (I think they were), who also dressed like New York Dolls, but drunker.

The venue for the gig was the Victory Theatre, built in 1921 and home to burlesque in Toronto until it closed in 1975. We were honoured to have worked the same stage as strip artistes Knackers Knock, Ineda Man and Cupcakes Cassidy, whose PR photos still graced the grimy, grey walls of the lounge. The dressing rooms were more Tower of London chic and gaiety.

The Victory, in its waning days, was faded. Whatever charm it had in 1922 or 1962 had long disappeared and it had become just another dark and dusty haunted building, its plumbing rusty and sweating, its aroma musty and dank. The single light bulbs in the hallways and dressing rooms created the perfect setting for a horror film. But the catering was good!

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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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