Moving Pictures: Tour Book

A Rush Newsreel

Byline: Neil Peart

. . . Dateline: New York City, May 9, 1980
In the midst of a crowded and chaotic backstage scene, following the second of our four nights at the Palladium, a few quiet words of agreement became the unlikely conception for this album. Prior to this, it had been our announced intention to record and release a second live album, but an unlooked-for charge of ambition and enthusiasm caused a last-minute resolution to throw caution out the window! (onto 52nd St.), and dive headlong into the making of a studio elpee instead. The reasons for this are difficult to put on paper, being somewhat instinctive, but all of us had been feeling very positive, and our Research and Development Dept. (sound check jams) had been very spirited and interesting, so it was felt that the creative hiatus provided by a live album was not really necessary at present, and it would be more timely and more satisfying to embark on the adventure of a new studio album. Right!

. . . Dateline: London, June 4, 1980
It is never too late to change plans, but not so with arrangements! Thus we went ahead with the live tapings we had planned, recording our five shows at the Hammersmith Odeon, as well as dates from Glasgow, Manchester, and Newcastle. Then we would record some shows in this upcoming tour, and put together a live set that would represent a wider scope of our concerts, musically, temporally, and geographically. This is no bad thing, and should prove to be a good move, unless we change our minds again, in which case we could combine three tours, or four, or . . .

. . . Dateline: Toronto, July 28, 1980
An intense thunderstorm raged outside all day long, while indoors a storm of a different kind was brewing. In the studios of Phase One, two complete sets of equipment crammed the room, and two complete bands filled the air with a Wagnerian tumult, as Max Webster and ourselves united to record a song for their album, called Battlescar. This could only be a very unique and enjoyable experience, attempting something on such a scale as this, and I think the result will testify to its success. This day also afforded Pye Dubois (Max’s lyricist) the opportunity to present us with a song of his, humbly suggesting that it might be suitable for us, if we were interested. Having been long-time admirers of Pye’s work, we were indeed interested, and it eventually became “Tom Sawyer,” and it is interesting that an identifiable Max influence crept into the music, by way of Pye’s lyrical input.

. . . Dateline: Stony Lake, Ontario, August, 1980
The address and time of year will probably best describe the setting, as the creative work begins in earnest. For those interested in Alex’s adventures in aviation, it may be reported that a large pile of wreckage, and a rather sizeable hole in the top of a truck, bear witness to his prowess in the field of radio-controlled airplanes. (There’s a man outstanding in—Never mind!) Happily, he was somewhat more fortunate in his dealings with the genuine article, (and on many an afternoon) could be seen buzzing and strafing the house.

These exciting distractions aside, we were banished to the barn, and began the process of assembling ideas, both musical and lyrical. “The Camera Eye” was the first to be written, soon followed by “Tom Sawyer,” “Red Barchetta,” “YYZ,” and “Limelight.” Things were taking shape.

It is interesting sometimes to retrace the sources of some of the musical ideas; for instance, the instrumental section of “Tom Sawyer” grew from a little melody that Geddy had been using to set up his synthesizers at sound checks, then was forgotten until we were searching for a part in that song, when it emerged as very strong theme. “YYZ” is the identity code used by Toronto International Airport, and the intro is taken from the Morse code which is sent out by the beacon there. It is always a happy day when “YYZ” appears on our luggage tags!

On the other end of those tags, though, it becomes increasingly apparent to us just how valuable touring is, primarily in our development as individual musicians, which in turn directs the progression of our music. Sometimes in the dark days of a mid-tour depression, brought on by fatigue, homesickness, and hence frustration, the stresses of touring would seem to outweigh the benefits, but when we reach the “Final Exams” of writing and recording, the evidence of change and improvement is very rewarding.

. . . Dateline: Toronto, August 31, 1980
We return to Phase One, together with our long-suffering old standby, Terry Brown (Broon), our co-producer and Chief Objective Ear, fouling the air with “Gitanes,” and offering criticisms and suggestions where necessary. We put together some rough demos of the aforementioned five songs, as well as a rough (to say the least), and riotous (to say the most), version of “Witch Hunt.” This was the winner of the most re-written song award, being very difficult to get a handle on, but our intention had always been to use it as the “production number” of the album, in the tradition of such pieces as “Different Strings,” “Madrigal,” and “Tears.” This frees us from our usual practice of writing as we would play live, maintaining the discipline of a three-piece band. It would serve as a sort of vehicle for experimentation and indulgence. For instance, we would be using Hugh Syme’s talents on the keyboards, and my entire drum part was recorded twice (as two drummers) in one verse, while in another, a percussion section was created by recording each sound differently. The introduction was a very strange endeavour, as we assembled a “Vigilante Choir” out in the snow, and the sound of the “haunted child” at the beginning. Although the main thrust of our work has always been directed towards its live presentation, it is nice to take a small dose of studio indulgence!

. . . Dateline: Portland, Maine, October 1, 1980
It was here that we concluded a short tour, mainly the eastern seaboard of the United States, in which we rehearsed the five completed songs whenever possible, and introduced “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” into our shows, although both would undergo some changes before being committed to tape.

. . . Dateline: Morin Heights, Quebec, October through December, 1980
Once again we returned to the beautiful Laurentian Mountains, and to the amiable ambiance of Le Studio. We had been very much looking forward to our return here, and were not disappointed, it proving to be every bit as great as our memories. A very friendly place.

We were soon made painfully aware (literally) of the ambitious nature of our project, as we had to work long and hard to capture the right sounds and performances for each track. The only exception to this, for no apparent reason, was “Red Barchetta.” With only a few runs to get the sounds together, it was to be that rarest of all animals (for ourselves, anyway!), a one-take wonder. No one could have been more surprised than we, especially after the relentless grinding it had taken to capture “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight,” and “YYZ.” (Are you sure, Broon?)

We had purposefully left one song still unwritten, with a view to writing it directly in the studio, as we have had such good results from this previously. Songs such as “Natural Science” and “The Twilight Zone” have benefitted from the pressure and spontaneity of this situation, although then it happened by force of circumstances, where now our planning includes a space for “no-plan.”

“Vital Signs” was the ultimate result, eclectic in the extreme, it embraces a wide variety of stylistic influences, ranging from the sixties to the present. Lyrically, it derives from my response to the terminology of ‘Technospeak,’ the language of electronics and computers, which often seems to parallel the human machine, in the functions and interrelationships they employ. It is interesting, if irrelevant, to speculate as to whether we impose our nature on the machines that we build, or whether they are merely governed by the same inscrutable laws of Nature as we are. (Perhaps Murphy’s Laws?) Never mind!

ANYWAY!! The tracks were eventually finished, albeit a few days behind schedule, when the mixing and the disasters began. In a massive electronic freak-out revolution, the digital mastering machine, the mixdown computer, and one of the multi-track machines, gave up their collective ghosts one after the other, driving poor Broon to distraction, and setting us two weeks behind in the end. After much technical tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth, the machine maladies were finally put right, and Geddy returned to perch on Broon’s shoulder, and the Skiers of the Woods were seen no more on the Wilderness Trails.

As with anything that drags on too long, we were glad to finally finish, but even more glad to hear what it was we had finished! It is a curious sensation, when listening back to a completed album for the first time, how quickly all those months and all of those difficulties go racing by. How can a mere forty minutes of music contain and express all of the thoughts, feelings, and energy that goes into it?

Then suddenly you’re listening without analyzing, transformed from the performer to the audience, feeling the responses that you hope the listener at home will feel.

Perhaps it is true that in a synergistic way the output does add up to all of that input, perhaps it is all in there for the discerning listener to experience, maybe Time travels backward at the speed of light, maybe Alex Lifeson is “Gub,” maybe . . .

Why are you asking me all these questions?

Management by: Ray Danniels, SRO Productions, Toronto, Canada.
Road Manager and Lighting Director: Howard Ungerleider.
Stage Manager: Michael Hirsh.
Concert Sound Engineer: Jon Erickson.
Stage Right Technician and Crew Cheif: Liam Birt.
Stage Left Technician: Skip Gildersleeve.
Centre Stage Technician: Larry Allen.
Guitar and Synthesizer Technician: Tony Geranios.
Stage Monitor Mixer: Greg Connolly.
Security cheif: Ian Grandy.
Personal Shreve: Kevin Flewitt.
Concert Sound by National Sound; Tom Linthicum, Fuzzy Frazer, and Dave Berman.
Concert Lighting by See Factor International; Nick Kotos, Head Technician, possily Mike Weiss, and who knows?
Concert Visuals created by Nick Prince, Al Kamajian, and Nelvana Ltd.
Bus and Truck-Faces: Tom Whittaker, Billy Barlow, Mac MacLear, Pat Lynes, Richard Owens.
Concert Projectionist: Lee Tenner.
Concert Rigging: Bill Collins.
U.K. Transportation by Edwin Shirley Trucking, Len Wright Travel, and Bill Churchman (the Red Flash).
Program design: Hugh Syme.
Photography by Fin Costello, except where indicated.
Booking Agencies: United States—American Talent International, NYC; United Kingdom—Bron Agency, London; Canada—The Agency, Toronto.

The Rush Crossword Puzzle No. 1

Click Puzzle For Answers

1. Seventh L.P.
6. ” . . . the Maples formed a union”
7. ” . . . in my hair”
11. God of Balance
12. River in “The Necromancer”
13. Foot operated cymbals—“Hi- . . . ”
15. Name of Cygnus” craft
17. ” . . . Signs”
19. “Of hatred and . . . -will”
21. “The Camera . . . ”
22. “Those who wish to . . . ”
23. “What you . . . is your own story”
24. ” . . . Villa Strangiato”
25. “In the . . . ”
26. “Tom . . . ”

1. Closing greeting in “Permanent Waves” credits—” . . . -Hoo!”
2. “A . . . immortal man”
3. “To . . . a new mentality”
4. “Witch . . . ”
5. “Natural . . . ”
6. Our management company
8. Prince of Darkness
9. ” . . . to telescopic eye”
10. ” . . . Park”
11. “That hides the shining . . . ”
14. “For their Hearts were so . . . ”
16. “Trouble with the . . . ”
18. “A smile for every . . . ”
20. “Playing a . . . hand”

Neil Peart

I am still releasing my hostilities on Tama drums, all with wooden shells, and the inner side “Vibra-Fibed.” The bass drums are 24″, the toms are 6, 8, 10, 12″ concerts, and 12, 13, 15, and 18″ closed toms. I am still using my “old faithful” wood-shell snare, a 5 1/2 x 14 Slingerland, and have recently made a switch to wooden timbales, and retired my tympani and gong in favour of a pair of Tama “gong bass drums,” which are open-ended bass drums on a stand, utilizing oversize heads to give a very deep, resonant sound.

My cymbals are Avedis Zildjians, with the exception of one genuine Chinese China type. The Zildjians are 8″ and 10″ splash, 13″ high-hats, two 16″, and one each 18″ and 20″ crash cymbals, a 22″ ride, an 18″ pang, and a 20″ China type.

In the Percussion Department are orchestra bells, tubular bells, wind chimes, temple blocks, cowbells, triangles, bell tree, crotales, and Burma bell.

I use Remo clear dots on my snare and bass drums, Ludwig silver dots on the concert toms, and Evans Looking Glass (top), and Blue Hydraulic (bottom) on the closed toms. Clear Remos are used on the timbales and gong bass drums. Ludwig pedals, Slingerland high-hat, Tama hardware, and Pro-Mark 747 drumsticks are the final details.

Geddy Lee

Equipment I will be using on the Moving Pictures tour:

Oberheim– OB-1, OB-X, and OB-8, two sets of Taurus pedals, interfaced with the OB-8, Mini-Moog, Roland Digital Sequencer, assorted effects.

Two Rickenbacker 4001’s, Fender Jazz Bass, Rickenbacker 4002, double-neck Rickenbacker, incorporating 4001 with twelve-string guitar, double-neck Rickenbacker, incorporating 4001 with six-string guitar, Ovation acoustic.

Two BGW 750B power amps, two Ashley preamps, two 2 x 15 Thiele-design cabinets fitted with EVM speakers, two V4B Ampeg cabinets with JBL speakers, Yamaha solid state guitar amp.

Electrovoice DS-35.

Alex Lifeson

Gibson ES355, 345, SG Standard, 1175 double-neck, Fender Stratocaster, Ovation Classic & Adanis, for acoustic guitars, 2 Ashley SC-40 preamps, 1 Ashley SC-66 Stereo Parametric Equalizer.

2 Marshall Combos, 2 Hiwatt 100’s with 2- 4 x 12 cabinets & 1 Leslie cabinet.

Roland 301 Echo Unit, Advanced Audio Digital Delay, Electric Misstress [sic], 1 Roland Chorus, 1 MXR Micro-amp, MXR Distortion, Morley Volume Pedal, 1 ELL-BEE (L.B.) 30-7965 Model ‘C’ Type R (Series XL-3427) Remote Floormount Advanced Relay Effects Switching Configuration.

~ by rvkeeper on March 12, 2011.

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