Test for Echo

Background and Commentary

Lyrics for the piece were written by Neil and Pye Dubois of Max Webster.

“The lyrics give a video-view of this wacky world of ours and offers this tacit response: ‘Excuse me, does anybody else think this is weird? Am I weird?’ While the answer to those questions might be ‘Yes!’ it’s good to know that you’re not the only one, that you’re not alone.” (Canadian Musician, 1996)—Neil in Merely Players

“It’s like a view of things that are happening in our culture through the eyes of the instant media that we get and the things that we see that are not right. And yet it’s still going on, still exploited. It’s an out-of-control media thing.”—Geddy in Contents Under Pressure

“Musically, the track is a wonderful jumble of disparate parts, pop next to dervish-like windup, next to laid-back, near-cavernous and quite soulful verse, and then back again.”—Martin Popoff, Contents Under Pressure

“I like the fact that there’s some nice melody and some confusion and a manic nature, and yet there is a lot of space.” (Canadian Musician, 1996)—Geddy in Merely Players

“I feel like we arrived with this record.There’s a particular feel that I don’t think we had before—a nice groove and a lot of really good Rush songs. I feel like we were all really together on this album. Although we strive for that all the time, it’s not always achievable. The mood was so good in the studio, and we were so unified in direction. [On this piece,] there’s a lot of different stuff. I tuned the entire guitar down a whole step to a D standard tuning. I got a new Les Paul Custom with beautiful sustain, a heavy tone and a compact, but not too small, sound. In the choruses I used a Godin Acousticaster, which has a really interesting sound that is at the same time almost acoustic but definitely electric. I used primarily Marshalls—50-watt and 100-watt JCM800 heads and two 30th Anniversary models—with four cabinets: two vintage 4x12s and two 1950 cabinets with Celestion 25-watt speakers. I used a DigiTech 2101 to knit everything together. The important thing with that is to use it through a good speaker simulator, like the Palmer. The compensated outputs on the 2101 don’t quite do it for me, but through the Palmer it has nice body and width.”—Alex in a 1996 Guitar World interview

“I was up in Yellowknife on a motorcycle trip across the country, and there’s one of those Inukashuk above the town overlooking it, and I was quite taken with it. I bought a postcard almost exactly the image you see on the cover . . . I just came back with this postcard and I thought of ‘test for echo.’ I thought, ‘That’s exactly what these men mean when you’re out in the wilderness.’ When you’ve been hiking for a few days and you come across one of these things, it’s such an affirmation that there’s life out there. Again, the same thing: it’s an echo . . . and that’s the feeling a traveler in the Arctic would get, that it was a sign of life. The same with the satellite dishes. I was kind of referring to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and the test for echo going out that way.” (Jam! 1996)—Neil in Songfacts


Here we go . . . vertigo
Video vertigo
Test for echo

Here we go . . . in slo-mo
Video vertigo
Test for echo

Some kind of trouble on the sensory screen
Camera curves over caved-in cop cars
Bleacher-creatures, would-be desperadoes
Clutch at plausible deniability
Don’t touch that dial
We’re in denial
Until the showcase trial on TV

Here we go . . . vertigo
Video . . . vertigo
Test for echo

Some kind of pictures on the sense o’clock news
Miles of yellow tape, silhouetted chalk lines
Tough-talking hood boys in pro-team logo knock-offs
Conform to uniforms of some corporate entity
Don’t change that station
It’s a Gangsta Nation
Now crime’s in syndication on TV

What a show
Video vertigo
Test for echo

Touch and go in slo-mo
Video vertigo
Test for echo

Some kind of drama live on satellite
Hidden camera coverage from the crime scene to the courtroom
Nail-biting hood boys in borrowed ties and jackets
Clutching at the straws of respectability

Can’t do the time?
Don’t do the crime
And wind up in the perp walk on TV


By SG-boy

Excerpted from Ultimate Guitar.

Chord diagrams are as follows:

E5 Asus2 Bsus4 Cmaj7
0 2 x x x x x 0 2 2 0 0 x 2 4 4 0 0 x 3 5 5 0 0

C#m7 D6sus2 Fsus2 A#sus4
x 4 6 6 0 0 x 5 7 7 0 0 x 8 10 10 8 8 x 1 3 3 0 0

Moderately Q=136
E5 Cmaj7 D6sus2 A7 Bb°
Gtr I
E E E E +E Q. E E E E +E Q. E E E E +E Q E E E E E +E Q E

E5 Cmaj7 D6sus2 A7 Bb°
E E E E +E Q. E E E E +E Q. E E E E +E Q E E E E E +E Q E

E5 Cmaj7 D6sus2
E E E E +E Q. E E E E +E Q. E E E E +E Q E

E5 Cmaj7
E E E E +E Q. E E E E +E Q.

For complete tab, go to Ultimate Guitar.


“Test for Echo” bass cover

“Test for Echo” drum cover

Back to Rush Vault

~ by rvkeeper on February 13, 2011.

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