If you happen to stumble across the myspace page for the local band, Limelight, and select a track, you’ll have a pretty difficult time distinguishing the Rush Tribute band from the actual thing. 35 year career musician and lead guitar, Eric Strom can speak for the band as to why they’ve chosen this outlet for their musical talents. “We were all inspired as young musicians by the band and their music and they influenced our own careers,” he says.
So with the proficiency and expertise that they possess today, they are able to do justice to the sound that most moves them. “I think it really comes down to practice and paying attention to detail and making sure that what we are doing is accurately representing what has been written/recorded by the band,” says the 45 year old rocker.
Of course, without a Getty Lee-like lead, all the nuanced rifts wouldn’t leave Limelight in the same illumination as the real Rush. “Rob is a chameleon,” he says of lead singer Rob Jackson, as he praises the way he diligently works on inflection and timing to deliver it right out front.
But how many times can you be a “New World Man” without it getting old. “It doesn’t get boring performing them, but it can be boring and repetitious rehearsing and practicing,” he says.
That repetition, though, is alleviated by the challenge of continuing to sift through the music in search of things they might have missed. “I know I go back and listen to the recordings and I still pick up things that I could be doing to help make it more accurate,” he says.
Looking back, Mr. Strom has been associated professionally with music for at least 25 years. He played in a series of bands early on until he came to a career conclusion that left dreams of stardom to the next generation. “I decided I was just another guitar player,” he says, and got himself behind the scenes to make his living.
He went to work as a roady, touring for many years before becoming a sound engineer and running his own sound reinforcement company. So, he says, “I always kept my finger in the pie.”
About 15 years ago, he hooked on with a hard rock band called Scud Bunch, which led to an eventual introduction to the musicians who put together Limelight. The band officially opened for business in 2002 and currently plays about once a month.
Currently, he daylights as the general manager of a print shop because, he says, “We’re certainly not getting rich doing this once a month.” On the other hand, the response they receive from audiences serves as a pretty nice form of payment between special fonts and italicized print.
In a large sense, their most significant payment has come in Toronto, where they’ve played several times at an annual food benefit called RushCon. The organization puts out a worldwide call to find the best Rush Band available, but Limelight’s frequent flyer mileage goes unaffected due to the ground-based transport that their finances dictate. “It’s a pain getting there, it’s a pain getting back, but it’s definitely worth it,” he says of the long drive to Canada.
As for the real Rush, they recently put out, “Snacks and Arrows,” of which Limelight has added several songs to their own catalogue, but they mostly stick to the familiar songs with good reason. “We don’t spend a lot of time on a certain segment of their music because it’s not recognizable and it doesn’t receive the same kind of response,” he says.
He’s got good reason to believe, though, that Rush is aware of their existence, and he hopes someday for an introduction – despite how ga-ga he will be if it ever happens. “I will be like a little school girl,” he says, but for now Limelight is the best way for all of them to say Thank You.