Canadian rockers RUSH received a prestigious honour in their home country over the weekend (05-06May12) as they picked up the Governor General's Performing Arts Award.
The musicians were the guests of honour at the ceremony, held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Saturday (05May12), as they were handed special commemorative medals and a $25,000 (£15,625) cash prize from the Canada Council for the Arts.
The rockers received a tribute from South Park co-creator Matt Stone, who revealed he idolised the band as he was growing up, saying, "I remember buying their cassettes, tearing home on my BMX, running inside and throwing them into my Walkman, and sitting down to my drum set and just destroying my mom's afternoon. Rush was definitely the first band I ever loved."
Rush vocalist Geddy Lee added, "Being a Canadian and seeing how our country treats artists, I think this is a great program to inspire young artists and I'm very proud to be a part of it... I'm so proud of Canada for doing such a thing. To value artists and to celebrate art is a real pat on the back for artists."
Comedian Mary Walsh and filmmaker Deepa Mehta were also feted at the event, and The Who star Pete Townshend attended the ceremony to honour another recipient, Des McAnuff, who directed the Broadway version of the band's 1992 movie musical Tommy.
Townshend took to the stage with McAnuff on guitar to play hits including Pinball Wizard.