Geddy: Rush Never Stopped Doing Concept Albums
Caress of Steel, 2112, Hemispheres . . . these were concept albums, but so were Grace Under Pressure, Power Money, Roll the Bones . . .
Geddy in an interview with the Halifax Chronicle-Herald says Rush kept doing concept albums long after it appeared to stop them in the 1980s, but no one seemed to notice. “I guess they didn’t put two and two together,” he says of fans and music critics in the July 10 piece. “We continued to make concept records; we just didn’t tell anyone. So, nobody commented on that. . . . It is quite different when we go out there and say, ‘Yes, it’s a concept record.’”
Neil has been mentioning for years in intervews that Rush’s albums typically have a theme, some more obvious than others. Roll the Bones, for example, is about chance, and Power Windows, about the hubris of power.
In his Halifax interview, Geddy says Clockwork Angels in his mind was originally going to be just one big song amidst a collection of songs, like on many of their earlier albums. But as Neil developed the concept, they decided to build the entire album around it.
“At first I thought it would just be one 15-minute crazy tune,” Geddy says, but “as we started to talk about this conceptual idea, it became apparent that it was going to become a bit of a journey, more of a story, and we wondered how we could approach that in a way that feels fresh. It was quite a job, making sure that it had the right tone. We wanted it to be progressive, but we didn’t want to sound too ‘proggy.’ We wanted it to rock, but it still has to follow a storyline and have its more contemplative moments. It was really a difficult job to deal with the concept in the right light, but the music came quite easily, quite naturally, and that was a blessing for the record.”
As he has in other interviews, Geddy talks about the stringent routine he follows while on tour to maintain his strength and preserve his voice, a routine that has the effect of draining much of the fun out of touring, but in the end it works, because it enables him to have his fun while on stage, even now that he’s almost 60.
“For the most part it’s like I’m paying some sort of penance,” he says. “It’s a bit of a tease to be in a town you love and yet not have the ability to go out and do it properly. So I have to live for, and love, those three hours I’m on stage, basically. Everything else has to serve that.”
Rush has a few more tour dates in Canada during July and then heads back down to the U.S. for a final four shows, in Portland, Salt lake City, Denver, and then, for its final show, Kansas City. After that, it’s rest and relaxation. Geddy has said in previous interviews that the band doesn’t know what it’ll do next but that it’s unlikely it’ll do anything for at least a year, having been on the road for Clockwork Angels for the past 12 months. He’s also said talk of Clockwork Angels being the band’s swan song is way premature; it’s in a groove now and just wants to play things by ear, which is how it’s always done things.
The band’s most recent show was the Ottowa Blues Fest. For great pictures of that show, like this one, go to John Paluto’s terrific site, Cygnus-x1.
Read the Halifax article, “Carrying the Torch for Rush,” in its entirety.
Thanks to RushIsABand for the head’s up on the Halifax interview.
Aaaand . . . speaking of Caress of Steel, I think the image on the album cover, when looked at from afar, looks a lot like an Indian head penny. Take a look. —Rob Freedman, Rush Vault
More This and That.