ffej-headshot-1

Name:
Ffej Herb

Instrument:
Drums, cymbals, percussion

Hometown:
Shamokin, PA

Resides in:
Annville, PA

Favorite Rush album:
“Moving Pictures aside (although it IS a perfect album, it goes without saying), probably Power Windows. But they are ALL great to me in different ways.”

Favorite Live Rush Album:
“Very hard question. Probably overall I’d have to say Exit… Stage Left, although Different Stages is a very close second. As for DVDs, you gotta love Rush in Rio for the pure excitement and energy of the crowd!”

Favorite Rush song:
“Impossible! Maybe one per decade. I’ll give it a shot… 70s – Xanadu; 80s – AAAGGHHH!!! I’ll go with Subdivisions, only because I feel it is the quintessential Rush song; 90s – Animate or Driven (tie); 00s – Far Cry; 10s – the Garden. Whew! That was hard!”

First Rush Concert:
Philadelphia Spectrum, April 24, 1990 (Presto Tour)

Rush Concerts Attended:
27. (Notable shows include Hollywood Bowl on Snakes & Arrows Tour, Red Rocks on Time Machine Tour, and Irvine, CA on R40 Tour (second-to-last show ever).

BIOGRAPHY

By way of my older brother, I was fortunate to get into music at a very early age. Before I dove headfirst into heavy metal around 1983, I used to sneak into my brother’s bedroom and dig through his vast record collection, despite the fact his room was “off limits” to me. I was mesmerized by the band names and album titles, and I listened intently with headphones while sitting on his bed and getting lost in the music. I remember albums by Boston, ELO, Kansas, Queen, Styx, and Billy Joel, to name a few. One day, a black album cover with red lettering jumped out at me. My barely-8-year-old mind couldn’t comprehend the sophistication of the album cover art; at that age, it looked like a scene from a weird movie with guys in red jumpsuits carrying huge paintings into an ornate building. Nevertheless, I dropped the needle on the turntable and sat mesmerized by the opening strains of the first track – named after some old Mark Twain book I’m sure I was supposed to read in school but never got around to reading – with its intricate drumming and droning, low-end synthesizer. The album carried on with amazing tales of cars, green lights, cameras, and witches (again, 8 years old, people). Although I wouldn’t become obsessed with this band for another eight years, the groundwork was laid by a little album called Moving Pictures.

During my metal phase of my early teenage years, my brother used to try and get me to really listen to Rush (especially their drummer), but I was always like, “Lars Ulrich blah blah blah… Nicko McBrain, Dave Holland, yada yada yada!” I hate to admit it, but he was obviously right. No drummer has influenced or inspired me more in my life than Neil Peart. But it was a prolonged evolution for me. Don’t get me wrong, I STILL love metal to this day and identify with it more than any other genre of music. But back then, I was more of a casual Rush fan who knew a few of the “hits.”

Around the time of Christmas 1989, my brother told me Rush had a new album coming out, so I bought it for him as a gift. That album was Presto. He reciprocated by getting us tickets the following April to see Rush at the Spectrum in Philadelphia – my first Rush concert. Although the show clearly left a mark on me and enticed me to pick up my own copy of Presto and the previous live album, A Show of Hands, I am still embarrassed to say that I thought the Kiss show I saw a few weeks later was better. (Hangs head in shame.) Give me a break, OK! I was going through a metamorphosis, which wouldn’t be complete until I purchased the Chronicles retrospective double album later that year.

Chronicles was a great introduction to Rush’s back catalog and offered the perfect gateway for me into the band. At the time, I only had the two aforementioned CDs, plus Moving Pictures, Permanent Waves, Caress of Steel, and Fly By Night (the latter two I barely ever listened to). I specifically remember hearing “La Villa Strangiato” for the first time. I was lying on my bed listening through everything and this song came on. I was like, “Wow, this is pretty cool!” Then the “Ghost of the Aragon” section of the song kicked in (you know, the “jazz” section with that rippin’ bass solo from Geddy). I think that was the precise moment in time when I transformed from a casual Rush fan into the obsessed freak I am to this day.

Since then, I’ve never missed a tour, and I somehow managed to foster (NOTE: not FORCE) an (almost) equally huge fan in my wife, Brandi (although I’ll admit she probably knows more lyrics than me). There is no band on planet Earth that means more to me than Rush. I can go on and on until I’m blue in the face as to why I feel they are the greatest band there ever has been or ever will be, but this bio is already long enough, so I’ll spare you all the geekery and digress.

With that said, I am proud of our band and very thankful to have found four other amazing musicians and people who share my vision for Solar Federation. I hope you all enjoy our humble interpretation of the soundtrack to my life!

“All this machinery
Making modern music
Can still be open-hearted
Not so coldly charted
It’s really just a question
Of your honesty…
YEAH, your honesty!”
You know who