Terry Brown: Never Got the Zeppelin Connection

Rush producer Terry Brown says he never understood the common comparison between Rush and Led Zeppelin during their early years. Speaking with Canadian Music Scene’s Paul Beaulieu, who’s been conducting a series of interviews with the people who’ve worked with Rush over the years, Brown says the band’s music didn’t strike him as particularly heavy early on. To him, the music was more like “pop metal” than heavy metal. “And I never really got that Led Zeppelin connection to be honest with you. At the time, I couldn’t figure it out.”

Brown, who was sometimes referred to as the fourth member of Rush because of his close working relationship with them on their first 10 albums, says he had never heard the band’s music before co-manager Vic Wilson asked him to take over the producer’s job on their debut album, Rush, but that he took to them immediately. “There was just something about them that appealed to me,” he said.

He says he was struck by how accomplished they were. Alex had an uncanny ability to double his guitar work in the studio and to this day he can’t get over how accurate he is. “I was blown away,” he said. “We did a guitar track and I said, ‘Why don’t we double it,’ and he played it so accurately I said, ‘Are we listening to the double?’ It was unbelievably good.”

Geddy was not only a great bass player but his voice was “the key to the whole thing,” he said. “I just loved the way he sang. I had never heard anybody sing like that. It wasn’t even human.”

Brown says he and the band loved Caress of Steel but he recognized it was “a little outside.

“The reception we got back at the record label was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. What the hell’s this?’ And it wasn’t as if it was just a few record company executives who didn’t feel it was appropriate. It was universal.”

“2112” had a totally different reaction. Even though it was “a hybrid version of Caress of Steel,” it hit home with everybody. “It had the magic,” he said.

Beaulieu asked him if he and the band thought at the time they had something special on their hands with “2112” and Brown said he did, but they were uncertain whether it would go over the right way. “When you’re making a record of that caliber you have a pretty good idea you’re doing something good . . . but you don’t really know it’s going to be a success because there are so many things that come into play.”
—Rob Freedman, Rush Vault

Brown talks about his split with the band, recording Exit . . . Stage Left, and other topics in more excerpts from this interview.

Watch selected excerpts from the interview in the player above. To access the entire interview, which is the second of a two-part interview with Brown, go to the Canadian Music Scene’s website.

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~ by rvkeeper on December 23, 2011.

 
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