Why Rush and Terry Brown Will Reunite for Another Album
With the understanding that speculation is a currency of little value, I offer up 10 reasons why we’ll soon see Alex, Geddy, and Neil in the recording studio with Terry Brown, their once and future musical collaborator, for the first time since 1982, when they parted company over differences in musical direction.
1. Thanks, Doc, the therapy has been successful. Yes, at the core of their split after 10 successful albums was a difference in musical direction. But it wasn’t just that. Alex, Geddy, and Neil have also said they just wanted to undergo shock therapy to ward off complacency. Well, they certainly did that, first by producing Grace Under Pressure on their own, then by working with what can only be described as two of the industry’s most pop-oriented producers, Rupert Hine (right), who oversaw Presto and Roll the Bones, and Peter Collins (left), who produced Power Windows, Hold Your Fire, Counterparts, and Test for Echo. Rush has since made a musical 360 and have come back to their hard-rock roots with Nick Raskulinecz (below), who worked with them on Snakes and Arrows and Clockwork Angels, so it makes sense for them to now complete that circle.
2. Even Geddy’s sick of the keyboard. Part of their musical differences was Geddy’s increasing use of the keyboard. Well, Geddy has effectively said he’s just not that into it anymore. That’s made Alex happy and it’s certainly made a lot of the band’s fans happy. And it would make Terry Brown happy, too. So, you can see the makings of one big happy family should they host a reunion in a recording studio.
3. They still have Toronto. Neil lives in Southern California but Toronto is a lovely motorcycle ride away from his getaway in the Laurentian Mountains, so he can easily join Alex, Geddy, and Terry, who’ve all kept Toronto as their home base, for a recording session. But, more than that, Alex, Geddy, and Terry each have their own studio. Neil is the only one who has to leave his home to record this album, and since he likes commuting to work as long as the ride is nice, this is a no-brainer.
4. What other tricks are left in their hat? When you’ve been given your country’s highest civilian honor (Order of Canada) and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, what mountain is there left to climb? Sure, they can work with charities and do lots of good things for people, which is a good lesson for other aging rockers to learn, and they can make cameo appearances on How I Met Your Mother and other shows. But when their extracurricular activities start to crowd out their core business, you know it’s time for another round of shock therapy, and if getting back together with Terry wouldn’t be shock therapy, what would be?
5. Like Rush, Terry is an elder statesman of his profession. Although he hasn’t updated his website since 2007, it’s clear Terry has stayed busy without Rush, producing some pretty big acts, including Voivod, Cutting Crew, Fates Warning, and Tiles. Today he’s focusing on little-known Indie bands, so he’s kept up on the musical trends and the latest technical innovations in recording, so he’s shovel ready. He can step into the studio and be manning the board on Day One, no getting up to speed needed. He can book time in his own studio, on the East side of Toronto, which he says has a nice kitchen and a stately boardroom table, or he can drive to Alex’s fancy new house in the suburbs, which has its own studio (right), or he can use the studio in Geddy’s house.
6. Rush needs to hear a British accent again. Let’s face it, Nick Raskulinecz is a great producer and has worked with some notable bands, including Foo Fighters, Defttones, and Trivium, not to mention Marilyn Manson. What’s more, he’s worked with Amy Lee and her band, Evanescence, which has to score him some points. But for so much of its career, Rush has worked with guys who learned how to talk across the pond, and that includes Terry. Sure, he’s been in Toronto so long he could order from a menu in Minnesota and not draw anyone’s notice, but he can pull out his Queen’s English when he needs to, we’re betting. Rush needs to hear that again in the studio.
7. “Broon’s Bane” needs a satisfactory conclusion. In Rush’s 1981 live album, Exit…Stage Left, sandwiched between “Jacob’s Ladder” and “The Trees” is “Broon’s Bane,” a soulful acoustic interlude by Alex. You’re left wanting more, and Alex and company can provide that by once again finding their inspiration in Terry. In fact, if Rush wanted to save Geddy’s voice, they could make their album with Terry all instrumental, because arguably they composed their two best instrumentals under Terry’s ear: “La Villa Strangiato” and “YYZ.” I know Geddy has a soft spot for “Where’s My Thing?” but it just doesn’t have the street cred of the other two.
8. “Tai’ Shan” and other errors would be a thing of the past. Alex and Geddy have both wished “Tai’ Shan” from Hold Your Fire would go away but of course it will hang around like a kindergarten drawing on Mom’s refrigerator for the rest of their days. The question you have to ask yourself is, if Terry was in the producer’s chair, would the song have been allowed to leave the room unsupervised? Maybe not, although Terry did allow “Countdown” to leave the studio, so he’s clearly not infallible. But note that “Countdown” is the last song on the last album that he did with Rush, so you have to wonder: is it the straw that broke the camel’s back? Just asking.
9. What Rush fans want, Rush fans get. Ask Jann Wenner. Even he had to cave to the pressure eventually. Sure, it took years and it didn’t hurt that old-time Rush co-manager Cliff Burnstein joined the Rock Hall selection committee in 2012. But, remember, the year Rush was selected was the first year the Rock Hall allowed fans to vote, and Rush was the top vote getter.
10. A decisive poll. Tens of thousands of fans signed the petition for the Rock Hall to nominate Rush. Below is a poll on whether you think Rush and Terry Brown should get together again and, as a capstone to both of their careers, make a last album as musical collaborators. Take the poll and let’s get the train rolling toward Rush’s 22nd studio album with Terry Brown in the producer’s chair.—Rob Freedman, Rush Vault