Tour books


And the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx were worried. For long years had they ruled the world from within their massive, imposing, well nigh impenetrable grey-walled Temples; for long years had they encouraged a uniform, equal, ‘contented’ society, regulated and controlled the actions of their subjects; for long years had they presided over a neat, orderly planet, stressing the importance of the Brotherhood of Man while suppressing individual rights, individual flair. But now, in the year 2112, they were worried. In the dull, depressing conference hall in the biggest Temple in the biggest Federation city, head Priests from throughout the globe had gathered to discuss the problem that was preying on their minds.

Around a plain stone table they sat, each garbed in crude, functional, roughly stitched robes, hoods covering their heads, shadowing their faces, their arms folded within vast, flowing sleeves. Father Brown was the first to speak: “So. The prophesy is coming true.” His voice was a slow lifeless monotone. It echoed around the hall’s bare, undecorated, solid granite walls. The others murmured in assent. “What can we do?” A hint of desperation, underlying flat, expressionless phrasing this time around.

“Arm the guards. Order them to shoot the troublemakers,” came a voice. “Too drastic,” “Round up the ringleaders in the dead of night. Make them—well, uh— mysteriously vanish.” “It wouldn’t work. Others would take their places. We’d still have a rebellion on our hands.” “Then consult the computer.”

Silence in the hall. The priests had an inborn distrust of machines, especially ones of such complexity as computers—they, after all, had brought about the downfall of the so-called Doomed Folk, a whole time cycle before. But reluctantly, Father Brown nodded. It was the only thing to do. He rose from his chair and started to walk unhurriedly to a corner of the huge hall, where an old, neglected hulk of machinery lay dormant. The other priests followed. Brushing off the dust of centuries with one sweep of his voluminous sleeve, Father Brown inclined his head to regard a deceptively simple control panel, a scattering of brightly colored buttons and levers, colors that were offensive to his eyes, accustomed as they were to regarding only grey and yet more grey.

Cautiously, his gnarled, bony finger trembling almost imperceptively, Father Brown switched the machine “on.” A brief—albeit, to the priests, unendurable—pause, a metallic click, an electronic hum, and the computer sputtered back to life. It came as no surprise to Father Brown—the machine had been serviced regularly for as long as he could remember, the eventuality of the priests using it once again had been foreseen an age ago.

Deliberately, Father Brown tapped out a question.

Almost immediately—and in a voice even more characterless, undeviating and droning than Father Brown’s—the computer spoke its reply.

“Rush. Formed in Toronto, late 20th Century. Alex Lifeson (guitar), Geddy Lee (bass, vocals), John Rutsey (drums).”

Father Brown cringed at the mention of the guitar. The discovery of such an instrument had started this whole distressing affair—an affair which had since snowballed into a major social crisis.

“First album titled simply Rush,” the machine continued, delving deeply into its memory banks. “Contained straight forward, straight ahead heavy rock numbers. No evidence of the group’s later musical leanings. First released on Rush’s own label, Moon records. Later it was picked up by Mercury and made available worldwide.”

Many of the terms used by the computer were unfamiliar to the priests, but they listened intently nonetheless.

“Release of second album Fly By Night saw arrival of new drummer, Neil Peart, perpetrator of current crisis.” Collectively, the Priests drew in their breaths.

“Peart’s lyrical leanings well exemplified on second album on number “By-Tor and the Snow Dog.” An imaginative science fantasy tale set to music, Lee played the part of By-Tor, Lifeson the part of the Snow Dog. Battles would often ensue. Music on Fly by Night impressive in its depth and commitment.

“Third LP, Caress Of Steel, took ideas further, contained song by name of “The Necromancer,” sword and sorcery oriented. Also contained magnum opus “The Fountain Of Lamneth,” song built around story about quest for fountain of youth.

Both acted as tasters for next album, next tour-de-force, next piece de resistance—”

The Priests knew the relevance of this particular term.


“Stop there,” commanded Father Brown. He turned to his fellow Priests, his face—or what was visible of it within his dark cowl—etched with lines of despair. “2112,” he repeated, “how could they have had the foresight to predict . . . ?” His voice trailed off.

“If you please, Father Brown,” proffered another Priest, “can I respectfully suggest that we cease to worry about how and, more importantly, deal with more urgent matters, matters closer to hand? After all, the mob outside . . . ”

Yes, I can hear them too,” interjected Father Brown impatiently. And then, in calmer tones: “But you’re right, of course. Continue computer.”

“2112. Astonishingly accurate prophecy of present-day society. Details rule of Priests of Temples of Syrinx in unsympathetic terms, claims that Federation ‘crushed’ the spirit of man, asserts need for individualism, mentions desertion of elite of Doomed Folk from Earth to other planets, predicts the discovery of the guitar and subsequent rejection of . . . ”

Father Brown’s mind drifted, back to those events of scant months before. Oh, how he rued the day that he destroyed that instrument, ground it to pieces beneath his feet, at the same time commanding its holder to “think about the average” in no uncertain terms.

Father Brown had thought the man’s spirit broken. The last he had heard, he had retired to the caves beneath the Federation city, retired to while his days away alone while the society that the Priests had created carried on, inexorably, interminably, above him, functioning perfectly, delightful in its complete uniformity.

But no. Somehow, word of the instrument—how it had been able to create long-forgotten, long stifled, long quenched melodious sounds—had reached the teeming populace of the outside world. Father Brown could see it now, with the advantage of hindsight. He could see how that tiny, immaterial event of the smashing of the guitar had acted as a lever that had uprooted the carefully-laid foundations of the Priests’ cheerless, dreary world.

People had re-awakened, had suddenly realised that there was more to life than work and sleep—and chaos had ensued. Around their ears, the Priests’ world had begun to crumble.

Unaware of Father Brown’s thoughts, oblivious to the seriousness of the situation, the computer droned on.

” . . . Priests of Temple of Syrinx have been aware of existence of 2112 for some time. Have, until recently, been blind to its implications, however—”

“Stop, computer.”

Father Brown turned to regard the other Priests grouped around him. All were silent. There was little more that could be said. They realised that the collapse of their carefully structured society was mere moments away. They knew that the destruction of centuries-worth of hard work was imminent. And all because of one moment of folly, the breaking into pieces of a guitar, “a toy that helped destroy the elder race of man.”

Turning the computer off, Father Brown and the rest of the Priests returned to their seats at the stone table to meditate. By now, they had resigned themselves to the fact that nothing—but nothing—could be done.

When the mob finally broke into the conference hall proper, the Priests were still in meditation. The mindless rioters tore into their one-time rulers mercilessly, relentlessly tearing them apart by hand, rending them limb from limb, blood lusting in their new-found freedom. The Priests did not struggle. They had accepted their fate.

Father Brown was the last to die, clubbed lifeless while murmuring his final words:

“Rush. They must have been one hell of a band.”


Fly By Night
Caress of Steel
All The World’s a Stage

All on Mercury

Alex Lifeson
Neil Peart
Geddy Lee

Words: Geoff Barton
Typesetting: Radio Alice

Tour co-ordination: Neil Warnock for Bron Agency Limited
Tour manager: Howard Ungerleider
Stage manager: Mike “Lurch” Hirsch
Sound company: TFA Electrosound Limited
Sound engineer: Ian Grendy
Lighting company: See Factor Inc
Management direction: Ray Daniels/Vic Wilson
SRO Productions Limited
Toronto Canada

A Farewell to Kings

A Condensed Rush Primer
By Neil Peart

The musical entity that is Rush is not an easy thing to define. Where many have foundered, there is no reason to assume that I will fare any better, except perhaps that I have access to the actual facts, and some inside information on the motivations. We have always done our utmost to elude any convenient classifications, in spite of those who must affix a label and assign a function to everything in sight, whether they really fit or not.

It may be that the only term loose enough to encompass anything of the concept of Rush is simply “progressive rock,” for it is to this ideal of enjoyment, integrity, and freedom of expression that we have dedicated ourselves. Our music is aimed at the head, at the heart, and at the abdomen. We can only hope that it finds it’s mark in yours.

The Past—Rush came to be in a basement in suburban North Toronto during the first wave of progressive hard rock in the late sixties. This was the era of the Who, Cream, Jeff Beck, Zeppelin, Hendrix, and the first truly free and creative period of popular music. This was to have a profound effect later on. The origin of the name is now uncertain, but it would seem to express a basic ingredient of the band even then; energy.

It was Alex, Geddy, and the original drummer, John Rutsey, sometimes augmented by a temporary fourth on rhythm guitar, or keyboards, but fundamentally always as a trio, appearing in the endless succession of drop-in centres, parties, dances, high schools, hockey arenas, and finally bars, bars, and more bars, which can prove so frustrating to a young band in Canada, usually spelling disaster in the form of a downward spiral towards security and a “real job.”

(A brief aside) During this period yours truly was engaged in exactly the same endless succession with a variety of small time bands around the Niagara Peninsula, eventually leaving to live in England for a year and a half, playing in more bands and doing a bit of unglamorous session work. It was just as difficult there as it was here to get anywhere, so I returned home the proverbial sadder and wiser man, only to find success unlooked-for in some band I’d never heard of from Toronto, but that’s another story.

(Back to the story) In early 1974, the first album, aptly and simply entitled “Rush,” was recorded, financed, and independently released on Moon Records by the band’s long-time manager Ray Daniels and his partner Vic Wilson. This had to be done because no record company in Canada would take them for free, (No Commercial Potential, you see). The sessions were late at night, often after gigs, and the extreme limitations of time and money were excruciating. The material was raw and immature, some of it in the band’s repertoire for several years, and the production was a patch-up job, rescued at the last minute by the saving grace of Terry Brown (a.k.a. Broon), who remains our co-producer, objective Ear, and fourth member in the studio. Still, a dream had been realized; there was an album!

During that summer of 1974, many important things occurred which were to alter the whole concept of Rush before the year was out. A radio station in Cleveland began playing the album, resulting in the importation and sales of a few boxes of albums. There was interest. An American booking agency, ATI, began discussing the possibility of some American dates for the band, thereby triggering the interest of Mercury Records, who signed them to a lucrative long-term contract. There was an international release.

Next Mercury and ATI got together and came up with a promotional tour which would cover much of the United States, and allow the band to play before many thousands of people. There was a Canadian tour. Then suddenly, after a long period of fragile health and musical frustration, John announced that he was going to leave the band, only weeks before the album was to be released, and the tour to commence. There was no drummer.

It is at this point in the story that I cease to speak in the third person, and “they” becomes “we.” I joined the band on Geddy’s twenty-first birthday, June 29, 1974, with a scant two weeks remaining in which to assemble enough material to hit the road. Somehow we did it, and played our first show together in front of 18,000 people opening for Uriah Heep in Pittsburgh. This was the first night of an endless tour, and first of many spent on the concert stages of America and Canada, refining and developing our skills, and learning to live with a permanently packed suitcase, and a very brief, very occasional sojourn home.

During this time we were putting together much of the material that would form our first album together, pooling our creative resources, and exploring each other’s aptitudes and personalities. Somehow I found myself writing many of the lyrics, probably because neither Alex or Geddy were interested in doing it, and it seemed to me like it would be fun. We were getting to know each other better, and the personal chemistry and unity of purpose began to develop, which has sustained and inspired us against all adversity.

In January of 1975, we went into Toronto Sound to record the album Fly by Night. We set many standards and directions for ourselves with this album, venturing into a broader thematic and dynamic range, concentrating on composition, musicianship, and more interesting arrangements. It was very well received, earning us a gold record in Canada, and very respectable sales in the U.S., as well as the Juno award as the most promising new group in Canada. These things helped to reinforce our belief in what we were trying to accomplish, and we became dedicated to achieving success without compromising our music, for we felt it would be worthless on any other terms.

Suddenly people began to take us seriously, or at least to recognize our existence, except for the radio programmers and the press (for if they had heard of us, they kept it a closely guarded secret). We were still touring intensely, as it was the only means of being heard (also we enjoyed it). There are only two ways open to survival for a band in the music business, one is by a quick capitalization on a manufactured or accidental hit single, the other is a slow steady climb accomplished by long hard touring. So, we toured.

In July of that year, we again entered the familiar other-world of Toronto Sound, to record our third album, to be entitled Caress of Steel. We went in serene and confident, and emerged with an album that we were tremendously proud of, as a major step in our development, and featuring a lot of dynamic variety and some true originality. This was also the first album to display the artistic gifts of Hugh Syme, a man who since has been responsible for all of our covers. Unfortunately, many things conspired against us, and the album sold poorly. The ensuing tour was half jokingly referred to as the “Down the Tubes Tour,” and it was a pretty depressing string of small towns and small clubs, and a lot of unwelcome pressure from certain quarters about making our music more accessible and more salable. It was uncertain for a time whether we would fight or fall, but finally we got mad! We came back with a vengeance with 2112, perhaps our most passionate and powerful album yet. We were talking about freedom from tyranny, and we meant it! This was the first real blend of our diverse and schizophrenic influences, and it was also our first really successful album. We felt at the time that we had achieved something that was really our own sound, and hopefully established ourselves as a definite entity. The side long title piece itself became a featured part of our live shows, as much fun for us as for our audiences, and the trend was all upwards from that point on. It was again recorded at Toronto Sound, in the cold winter of 1976. At last we had learned how to get our sound across on record, and how to strike the balance between what we could do in the studio, and what we could do on stage.

All the World’s a Stage, our double live album, was recorded in Toronto’s venerable Massey Hall from three memorable shows on June 11, 12, and 13. It is made up of our live show at the time, basically an anthology of the high points from our first four albums. To quote from the liner notes, “This album, to us, signifies the end of the beginning, a milestone to mark the close of chapter one, in the annals of Rush.”

The Present—If this was to be the close of chapter one, then we are certainly now embarked on the beginning of chapter two. We have had a year and a half between studio albums, a very welcome creative hiatus, and a chance for the three of us to concentrate on our individual instruments, and the mastery of new ones to keep the music growing. Alex moved onto double necked guitar and the bass pedal synthesizer, Geddy also into double necked guitar and bass, and the bass pedal synthesizer, as well as the mini moog, while I have begun to dabble in keyboard percussion, such as tubular bells, glockenspiel, and various little percussion devices here and there.

All of these factors contribute to the pride with which we present our sixth and latest album, A Farewell to Kings. For the first time we traveled outside of Toronto to record, settling ourselves in the pastoral countryside of Wales, at Rockfield Studios, then to Advision Studios in London for the mixing. We found the seclusion and the mellow atmosphere at Rockfield very conducive to work (there’s little else to do!) and we made good use of the varied facilities, including a huge acoustic room, and the unique opportunity to record outdoors. The birds of Rockfield can be heard out on the Elizabethan-jazz flavoured introduction to the title cut. This song is one of our favourites on the album, as it seems to encapsulate everything that we want Rush to represent. The birds can be heard once again on the introduction to the second piece, which is a fantasy exercise entitled “Xanadu.” Anyone who saw the band on the last part of our most recent American tour, or on the British tour, will perhaps remember this one as having been featured in our show during this time. On the album it forms an eleven minute tour-de-force, and is certainly the most complex and multi-textured piece we have ever attempted. It also contains one of Alex’s most emotive and lyrical guitar solo’s, as well as a very dramatic vocal from Geddy.

Side two opens with a simple and straightforward track called “Closer to the Heart.” Lyrically speaking, if “A Farewell to Kings” looks at the problems, then this one looks at the solution. It is based on a verse by a friend of ours from Seattle, and it has much to say to those who hear. “Cinderella Man” is a strong story written by Geddy with some help from Alex, and it concerns some of his reactions and feelings engendered by the film “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.” This one features a very unusual (for us) middle instrumental section that might even be called (shudder) funky! We mellow out for a moment on a light little ballad entitled “Madrigal,” which is a love song nicely touched with haunting synthesizer melody, and the drums recorded in the echo room. Geddy turns in a nice vocal on this one, too.

A quick change of setting and atmosphere, and we find ourselves in the farthest reaches of outer space, in the middle of the black hole of “Cygnus X-1.” This is the first part of an epic story which is to be continued and concluded on our next album. The music was almost entirely created right in the studio, and it was a very satisfying accomplishment for us all. It has to be one of the most powerful things we have done. If it doesn’t give you goose bumps, you’re not playing it loud enough!

The Future—Our immediate future is, of course, touring. We will be touring the United States and Canada extensively until February of 1978, when we plan to return to Europe for an extensive six week tour, encompassing all of Great Britain and continental Europe as well. Shortly thereafter it will be time to record another album, maybe a holiday, and we would also like to venture into the Far East in the coming year, but as usual there is never time to accomplish all that one would like to.

Many dreams have come true for us, and we have tried to live up to them, and to deserve the respect of those who support us, and of those who don’t. Our only aim is to communicate the things that we enjoy, and the things that are important to us. Our only hope is perhaps to contribute something enjoyable and important to those we meet along the way, and surely there are few things more enjoyable or more important than good music. If that’s all that Rush is, that’s all that we would be.

Alex Lifeson

Before starting, I’d like to tell you it’s not easy writing about oneself. However, I’ll do my best not to bore you.

I was born in the thriving mountain fishing port of Fernie, British Columbia, where many foreign looking gentlemen with large foreheads and thick accents kept their prairie schooners and U-boats moored. When I became old enough to walk, I learned how to walk. I knew even then, that I had to get to Toronto, where I could meet someone into more than “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Later, I grew older.

After a brief stint at not learning how to play the viola, I decided to take up the guitar. That was just about ten years ago. It was around this time, that I met Geddy. Suddenly my life changed. I grew older.

John Rutsey, who was a viking then, Geddy, who wasn’t a viking, and myself formed the band as it isn’t today to patrol war-torn areas of the Middle-East and to incur as many debts as possible. This we did with a passion.

Anyway, the rest isn’t history, but I’m sure you know what we’ve been doing since by what we’ve recorded. And if you do please tell me, because I don’t know and they only let me out on weekends and I hate that silly jacket with the long sleeves and they won’t give me a sharpener for my crayons!

Equipment: Besides my crayons and Batman colouring book, I use two Marshall 100’s spread over three speaker cabinets, two spare Marshall amps, three spare speaker cabinets, one Fender J.B.L. Twin Reverb for primary p.a. miking, one each Gibson ES-335, ES-355, Les Paul Standard, Custom Double-Neck, Custom Pyramid, Dove, J-55, B-45-12, C-40, BG-50 mandolin, two echo-plexes, one Roland Chorus unit, one Morley volume pedal, one Cry Baby Wah Wah, one Electric Mistress, one Custom built Kojima Pedal Board and a one only Lief Bjorn all-night guitar-tuner.

Neil Peart

I first took up playing the drums at the age of 13, when my parents became weary of me beating up the furniture with a pair of chopsticks, and gave me drum lessons for my birthday. Soon I had my first drum kit, a lovely little three-piece outfit in red sparkle. After a period of formal lessons, I spent my evenings playing along with the hits of the day on the radio (up very loud beside my ear, the neighbours loved it!). However, I got to feel the limitations of “These Boots are Made For Walking” in my musical education, and I was looking for something stronger.

It was then that I became emotionally involved with music, when I discovered the great progressive music of the Who, Hendrix, Cream, and others of the era who were innovative, exciting, and inspired with the freedom of expression which was present for the first time in popular music. I was hooked.

Certainly the most important event in my somewhat chequered career was my meeting with Alex and Geddy. Here at last was a band that wanted to achieve something worthwhile. Throughout our time together, Rush has fulfilled all of my musical aspirations and personal ambitions. Our open approach to our music has allowed me to develop in any direction in which I felt an interest, with no boundaries, and no preconceived limitations. Who could ask for more? Not me.

My drums are all by Slingerland, with the shells all treated with a process called VibraFibing, which puts a thin layer of fiberglass on the inner shell. This helps to improve the natural warmth and resonance of the drums, while it sharpens the attack to give greater projection. The kit consists of two 24″ bass drums, 6″, 8″, 10″ and 12″ concert toms, 12″, 13″, 15″, and 18″, tom-toms, and a 5″ x 14″ wooden snare drum. The cymbals are all by Avedis Zildjian, a 6″ and 8″ splash, two 16″, one 18″, and one 20″ crash cymbals, a 22″ ride, an 18″ pang, and a pair of 13″ hi-hats.

My collection of percussion “toys” currently includes tubular bells, glockenspiel, wind chimes, temple blocks, timbales, bell tree, triangles, and a set of melodic cowbells.

I use Remo Black Dot drum heads on my snare and bass drums, Ludwig Silver Dots on the concert toms and timbales, and Evans Looking Glass (top), and Blue Hydraulic (bottom) on the tom-tome. I use Promark 747 drumsticks, with the varnish sanded off of the gripping area.

Geddy Lee


To talk about my history as a musician is really the same as talking about the history of Rush. I guess you could say we grew up together. I joined in the early weeks of the band’s existence, approximately nine years ago. (September 1968) Alex called me up, and in those days when Alex called it was usually to borrow my amp. But this time he wanted to borrow me, to play a local drop-in centre along with John Rutsey that very night. I agreed, so we rehearsed for a couple of hours and did the gig. We enjoyed the music that we made together and decided to make a go of it in the name of Rush. And here I am still.

My goals and aspirations as a musician were and are simply this: To make music that reaches the standards I have set for myself, measured against the standards of those musicians whom I admire and respect. And most important, to continue growing as a musician and never to accept something that is second best. In Rush, I have, and am, finding the fulfillment of these goals.

My Equipment

I use a Rickenbacker bass model 4001 primarily. I use this in stereo with my treble pickup going to an Ampeg SVT and two twin fifteen Sunn Cabinets with S.R.O. speakers placed on both sides of the stage. My bass pickup goes to an Ampeg SVT and two V4B cabinets with J.B. Lansing speakers also placed on both sides of the stage.

I also use a Rickenbacker double-neck guitar-bass. The bass is a model 4001 and the guitar is a standard Rickenbacker twelve string with humbucking pickups. I use a Fender twin Reverb with the twelve string. Other basses include a Rickenbacker model 3001 and a customized Fender Precision with a treble pickup added and wired in stereo and cut down to tear drop shape.

I have a Gibson ES-335, a Martin Nylon string acoustic, and a Gibson Dove acoustic. The synthesizers I use are one Moog Taurus pedals and one Mini Moog.

Rush take approximately eight hours to set up their show for public viewing. It takes sixteen people in total to perform the necessary functions to convert an empty stage into a finely produced performance. Everything from the sound and lighting to the band’s equipment is erected with skill and precision timing. The show is broken down into three groups: lighting company, sound company, and personal band equipment.

National Sound
National Sound is a P.A. company out of Springfield, Va., which provides custom built equipment and skilled technicians. The equipment used is designed to project sound so that it can successfully deliver the group’s dynamics to an audience as vast as 15,000 people, and in some cases as many as 23,000 people. All of the speakers used are J.B.L. speakers, thirty-two twelve inch J.B.L. speakers, plus 24 18″ J.B.L. speakers, twelve banks of radial and high end horns and eight long-throw horns. Rush use a total of thirty-five microphones supplied by Shure, Sennheiser & Electrovoice. In addition to the main system, Rush’s monitors are powered by Crown, with mixing facilities provided by Soundcraft and Apsi. The sixteen channel monitor mixer and the thirty-two channel house mixing consoles are among the equipment provided. All special effects pertaining to sound are provided by Rush through Eventide Clockworks. Amongst the Eventide equipment is an Eventide Digital Delay, Eventide Instant Phaser, and an Eventide Harmonizer with Keyboard attachment.

See Factor Industries, Inc.
See Factor is a company out of New York City which provides custom designed theatrical lighting. The system that Rush is presently using contains over one-hundred and fifty lamps and was built specially for them. Among the equipment used there are custom ordered bulbs called Aircraft Landing lamps and Mole Richardson Fey lamps, both of these are theatrically used to surround the band in a cage of lights. There are also sixty-five 1000 watt par lamps mixed together with some Liko lamps and beam projectors. All of these lights are controlled by a sixty channel, three scene preset master board. In addition to the main sixty channel board, there is an eighteen scene matrix patch panel with independent programming switches to allow scene changes in colour to be set up in advance of its projected use.

The Band: Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, Neil Peart
The next group of people are the most essential to the show’s success primarily because they are the band’s personal crew. This crew totals five professional technical consultants. This crew sets up the band’s instruments and co-ordinates all the staging needed to insure a smooth running and professional performance. Each member of the band utilizes his own technician who helps him obtain the sound and freedom he needs so that he can perform unhindered and to the best of his ability. Most of the crew members work twenty-four hours a day for months on end, and are dedicated to the sole purpose of providing an exciting and innovative production, which they are proud to bring to cities all over the world.

Rush Personal Crew
Roadmaster, Lighting Producer & Director—Howard Ungerleider
Stage Manager—Mike Hirsh
Sound Engineer & Crew Co-ordinatlon—Ian Grandy
Stage Right Technician—Liam Birt
Stage Left Technician—Skip Gildersleeve
Centre Stage Technician—Larry Allen
Guitar Maintenance & Backstage Co-ordination—Tony Geranios
Chauffeur Extraordinaire & Electrical Supervision—George Hoadley

National Sound, Springfield, Va.
Tom Linthicum—Chlef Technician
Steve Brooks,Terry Ward—Technicians

See Factor Industries, Inc.
New York City—Bob See, President—Eliot Krowe, Vice-President
John LeBlanc/Ruke Subourne—Technicians

Special thanks to:
Fanfare Sound Inc.—Chicago
Electrosound P.A.—United Kingdom
Len Wright Travel—United Kingdom
Thrasher Bus Lines—Birmingham, Ala.
See Factor Trucking—New York City
Edwin-Shirley Trucking—United Kingdom
Management—Ray Danniels, Vic Wilson, Toronto, Canada

Booking Agencies
Canada—Music Shoppe International—Toronto, Canada
United States—American Talent International—New York City
United Kingdom—Bron Agency—London, England

P.O. Box 640, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada L3T 4A5


In the beginning, in 1974, there was an album called Rush and a fresh-faced youthful threesome from Toronto, Canada, pounding out heavy rock rhythms in Zeppelin-type style.

Four years and another five discs later, in ’78, there is an album called Hemispheres and a more mature, more experienced band creating music of a personal, highly developed and inarguably unique nature.

First taste of what was to come occurred shortly before the release of Rush’s second album, Fly by Night, when original drummer John Rutsey left the band and new skinsbeater Neil Peart arrived. Immediately Peart took ahold of the lyric reins and Rush’s music, with the full consent of the two remaining founding members Alex Lifeson (Guitar) and Geddy Lee (Bass, Vocals), began to take on a less straight ahead, more mystical flavour. A third platter, Caress of Steel, saw this development taking further shape, with a whole side being devoted to the tale of a soul-searching quest for “The Fountain of Lamneth.” But is wasn’t until their fourth album that Rush truly defined their role as epic music story-tellers, scions of Sci-Fi and sword and sorcery as well as a rock band.

Entitled “2112,” once again an entire side of the album was taken up with the musical relating of a titanic tale. This time around it was a case of futureshock, a story of a society in the 22nd century living under the so-called “Temples of Syrinx” . . . a race of priests who regarded music as a corrupt force and who reckoned that a guitar was “a toy that helped to destroy the elder race of man!” When such an instrument was played in one of their temples, and its joyous music filled its barren halls, the priests reacted with predictable venom . . . . “2112,” lovingly crafted, stunning and stimulating, marked a turning point in Rush’s career, becoming a hugely successful album. In an attempt to acquaint new-found fans with their past recorded work, the next Rush release was a double, retrospective style live album called All the World’s a Stage. And later, in 1977, the band again broke new ground by coming to Britain, encasing themselves in rural Rockfield Studios in Wales and recording an album by the name of A Farewell to Kings.

Away from the bustle of city life, Rush came up with a pastoral yet powerful album, its by now traditional “epic track” present in the form of the space opera “Cygnus X-1,” a story about a spaceship pilot plunging through a black hole in space. And if you thought that Rush might have exhausted all areas of inspiration, then lend an ear to this, their latest album Hemispheres, in which—to borrow a phrase—they boldly go where no band has gone before. Again recorded at Rockfield, the album contains just four tracks, two short, straightforward and sensitively rendered (“The Trees” and “Circumstances”), the other couple high-powered, hot-blooded and often mind-blowing in their complexites (“La Villa Strangiato” and “Hemispheres”). It is these latter two numbers that show just how greatly Rush have developed over the years. The band call “La Villa Strangiato” a “musical reconstruction of some of Alex’s nightmares” (apparently the guitarist is often plagued by the most vividly bad dreams) and appropriately it’s totally unlike anything they’ve ever attempted before. It’s many parted, multi-faceted and definitely deserving of careful scrutiny and many plays. Meanwhile “Hemispheres” itself brings an end to the story of “Cygnus X-1,” which had its beginnings on the previous album A Farewell to KIngs. It had, if you remember, a cliff hanger ending when our hero disappeared through a gaping black hole . . . never to be seen again? The “2112”-length “Hemispheres” number concludes the tale in unexpected, unorthodox fashion—if you expected Rush to cop out and go for usual science fiction stand-by explanations of “other dimensions” or “matter transportation,” think again. “Hemispheres,” through hard-hitting and dynamic, evocative lyrics, tells the tale of a battle between the gods Apollo and Dionysus, of the intervention of the deity Cygnus, and of the “balance” he eventually manages to achieve.

All this, plus no small amount of rock and roll as well. What more could you wish for?

By Geoff Barton

Behind the Scenes

Our Road Manager and Lighting Director is Howard Ungerleider. Weeks in advance of the show, Herns is glued to the telephone, with the promoters, stage managers, caterers, and hotels in each city on the tour. It is his job to arrange all the travel, accommodations, technical requirements, and personal needs for the band and the crew. He also takes care of the band finances. As lighting director, Herns if the man who designs the system itself, and operates the control panel during the show.

Mike Hirsch is our Stage Manager, who arrives each morning with the first truck and the lighting crew, and is the last to leave in the early hours of the following day, with the last truck—and the lighting crew! Michael supervises all aspects of the equipment load-in, set-up, and load-out. He organizes the sound checks, the backstage security, and the set changes during the show, ensuring that the show starts, runs and ends on time.

Our Concert Sound Engineer is Ian Grandy. His job involves the choosing and placing of the individual microphones, and the mixing of the total sound from the sound board in the main house, where he also adds his effects wizardry to enhance the off-stage sound. Also as Crew Co-ordinator, Ian looks after the book-keeping and organizational needs of the crew.

Alex’s personal man is Liam Birt, who, as Stage Right Technician, is responsible for the set-up and maintenance of all his amplification and effects equipment. He also choreographs the tight guitar changes Alex requires, assisted by his look alike cohort Jack Secret (a.k.a. Tony Geranios), who is also the guitar maintenance man, and keeps the instruments in tune during the show. Tony also sets up and maintains the synthesizers for both Alex and Geddy.

Skip Gildersleeve is Geddy’s right hand man, as Stage Left Technician. Better known to friends and fans alike as the Slider, he is the one who sets up and maintains all of Geddy’s guitars and amplifiers, effecting his instrument changes, and on-stage needs.

Larry Allen appears nightly as Centre Stage Technician, setting up and meticulously maintaining the drum kit. He also is responsible for getting the sticks and assorted mallets into Neil’s hands in time for his changes. Larry also serves as the Official Tour Shravis.

Our films are made by a man from New York called Nick Prince, and our projectionist is Harry Dilman.

Those daring drivers are George Hoadley, Pat Lynes, Arthur “Mac” MacLear, and Tom Whittaker.

Concert Sound by National Sound, Springfield, Va.
Technicians—Tom Linthicum, Terry Ward, and Greg Connolly
Lighting by See Factor Industries, Inc., New York City
Thanks also to: Fanfare Sound, Chicago/Electrosound P.A., U.K./Len Wright Travel, U.K./See Factor Trucking, New York City/Edwin Shirley Trucking, U.K.
Management is by Ray Danniels and Vic Wilson, SRO Productions, Toronto, Canada

Booking Agencies

Canada—The Agency, Toronto
United States—American Talent International, New York City
United Kingdom—Bron Agency, London

Correspondence—P.O. Box 640, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada L3T 4A5

Alex LIfeson

My amplifiers are three Hiwatt 100’s spread over four 4×12 Hiwatt cabinets and one Leslie cabinet, with one spare amplifier and two spare cabinets. A Fender J.B.L. Twin Reverb is used for primary p.a. miking.

My guitars are one each Gibson ES335, Gibson ES355, Gibson Les Paul Standard, Gibson Custom Double-Neck, custom built Pyramid, Fender Stratocaster, Roland Guitar Synthesizer, Gibson Dove, Gibson J-55, Gibson B45-12, Gibson C-60 classical, and a Ramirez classical. I also play a set of Moog Taurus pedals.

The effects I use are three Rolands 301 Space Echo’s, one Roland chorus, an Electric Mistress, a Morley volume pedal, a Cry Baby Wah Wah, a Maestro parametric filter, Ashley pre-amps for the acoustic guitars, and a custom build effects board designed by L.B., and built by Steele-Power Supply.

Neil Peart

My drums are all by Slingerland, with the inner surface of the wooden shells treated with a process called Vibra-Fibing. This consists of a thin layer of glass fibre and resin, which cuts of two 24″ bass drums, 6″,8″,10″, and 12″ concert toms, 12″, 13″, 15″, and 18″ tom-toms, and a 5″x14″ wood shell snare drum. All cymbals are by Avedis Zildjian, with the exception of an 18″ Chinese cymbal. The Zildjians are 6″ and 8″ splash, two 16″, one 18″ and one 20″ crash cymbals, and 22″ ride, a pair of 13″ high-hits, and 18″ pang and a 20″ China type.

In the percussion department are orchestra bells, tubular bells, wind chimes, cratoles, timbales, tympani, gong, temple blocks, bell tree, triangle, and melodic cowbells.

For heads I use Remo black dots on the snare and bass drums, Ludwig silver dots on the concert toms and timbales, and Evans Looking Glass (top), and Speed King pedals, and Tama and Pearl stands. I use Pro-Mark 747 drumsticks with the vanish sanded off the gripping area.

Geddy Lee

I use two Rickenbacker 4001 basses, one Rickenbacker 4002 bass, one custom-modified Fender Precision, one custom Rickenbacker double-neck, incorporating a 4001 bass and a twelve-string. All my basses are fitted with Badass bridges and Roto-Sound strings, and a Roland Chorus is used on the guitar.

My amps are two BGW 750-B’s, through two Ashley pre-amps, into two 2×15 Teal design cabinets, and two Ampeg V4B 2×15 cabinets. All cabinets are fitted with JBL K140 speakers. I also use a Fender Twin Reverb for guitar.

My synthesizer set-up consists of a Mini-Moog, Moog Taurus pedals, an Oberheim eight-voice polyphonic, and a Roland Space Echo.

Permanent Waves

On June the fourth 1979, the “Tour of the Hemispheres” was brought to a successful, but relieved close, at the Pink Pop Festival, in The Netherlands. After eight months of touring across Canada, the United States, Great Britain, and Western Europe, it is probably self-evident that we were all very glad to be returning home for our first summer vacation in about four years! One forgets what a stately and serene thing summer can be when subjected to the almost uninterrupted overcast skies which are native to South Wales, where our last two summers were spent. Out of one period of three weeks, two summers ago, the sun only shone for two days! We might get rid of our green suntans!

This also marked the first time that we had ever taken time off prior to recording an album, our usual schedule consisting of tour, tour, tour, write-rehearse-record, and then perhaps a couple of brief weeks of Domestic Therapy in which to attempt to glue yourself back together before going on the road again. The advantages of a rest between touring and writing new songs are probably readily apparent to the discerning reader, and certainly proved themselves to us in the making of this record, however such a liberty had never before been economically possible for us. (Nor this time either, really). Such indulgence!

It was one of those classic, golden days of mid-July, six relaxing and enjoyable weeks later, we all made our way northward, to a small town not far from Georgian Bay, where we were to begin writing and rehearsing some new material. The place was Lakewoods Farm, a rambling and comfortable old farm-house, somewhat modernized, surrounded by a hundred acres of farmland, including a barn containing many interesting and articulate cows, and fascinating fields of dynamic wheat! About a quarter of a mile distant from the house was a rough little cottage, set on a tiny jewel of a lake, which proved to be the perfect setting for a flow of lyric writing.

I arrived in the afternoon to find Alex happily at work in the kitchen preparing his famous lasagna, as he is our willing and able chef at every possible occasion (even on the bus microwave!), and from the basement came the exploratory mewings of the long-awaited Interface, a device which would allow Geddy to trigger all of the voices in his Polyphonic synthesizer by depressing one pedal of his Taurus Bass Pedals. This would give a rich and readily attainable texture to add to our sound, and came in very useful indeed. As did Alex’s cooking.

So here we were, tanned, healthy, and well-rested, fair bursting with new ideas, and our gear crammed wall to wall in the basement. The first night we put together a giant hodge-podge of instrumental mish-mash, which we christened “Uncle Tounouse.” It never became anything itself, but parts of it were plundered bit by bit to form quite a few other things. We soon settled into a schedule which both suited and served us well. After a huge breakfast from Alex, I would gather my things and walk down to the cottage, to spend the afternoon working on lyrics, while Alex and Geddy would descend to the basement to work on musical ideas. Within the first few days we had put together “The Spirit of Radio,” “Freewill,” and “Jacob’s Ladder,” the ideas flowing in such a smooth and painless way that it almost seemed too easy! The only complete lyrics I had brought with me were “Entre Nous,” and neither Alex nor Geddy had brought more than a few incomplete ideas, just having clear and relaxed minds had made all this difference.

I had also been working on making a song out of a medieval epic from King Arthur’s time, called “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” It was a real story written around the 14th century, and I was trying to transform it while retaining its original form and style. Eventually it came to seem too awkwardly out of place with the other material we were working on, so we decided to shelve that project for the time being. (More on that later).

One of the great feature attractions at Lakewoods Farm was Alex’s radio-controlled airplane and it’s dramatic succession of “horrible crashes,” into the trees, the fields, the cows, and finally to meet its end on a combination of chimney and roof. One day, four of us spent about four hours combing the waist-high fields in search of the out-of-control plane, and Alex would spend hours every day re-assembling the pieces with gallons of epoxy, styrofoam cups, elastic bands, toothpicks, bits of plastic, etc. Most entertaining!

These two idyllic weeks in the country were soon over, however, and it was time for the next step, into the Demo studio. We moved into a small studio in North Toronto called the Sound Kitchen, where we would be able to record the songs in a rough fashion, to hear what they really sounded like, and if they were any good or not! (All recording at the farm had been handled by the Slider JVC mobile unit, leaving him without a cassette player!) Also we had to prepare ourselves for an upcoming series of dates, which were to hone ourselves into razor-sharp precision prior to entering the studio proper. We spent our time here refining and rehearsing the arrangements, again aided and edited by the keen perception and critical appraisal of the omniscient Broon, our beloved and belaboured co-producer. We also were to spend the last few days putting together a stage presentation, and polishing up our older material. This we now did.

During this “Semi-tour of Some of the Hemispheres,” we were able to play “The Spirit of Radio,” “Freewill,” and “Jacob’s Ladder” during our soundcheck every day, and the former two we had worked into the new show. This marked another significant historical first, the first time any amount of new material had been performed live prior to being recorded. The last song to receive this valuable advantage had been “Xanadu,” and before that I think you’d have to go way back to the Fly by Night album to find any other examples of that phenomenon. Although it was only a three and a half week tour, we did cover most of the area of the United States, along with two shows each in Canada and England, and by its end we and the songs were certainly ready for the Main Event: Le Studio.

Le Studio is a wonderful place, nestled in a valley of the Laurentian Mountains about sixty miles north of Montreal. It is situated on 250 acres of hilly, wooded land, surrounding a private lake. At one end of the lake is the studio, with the luxurious and comfortable guest house situated at the other, about a mile away. We commuted by bicycle, rowboat, on foot, or in laziness or bad weather, by car. We arrived in the full, ripe glory of autumn, and were there through a genuine Indian Summer, and we heralded the coming of snow and winter, all in our four week stay! The recording facilities are, of course, nothing less than excellent in every way. The room itself features one whole wall of glass, overlooking a spectacular view of the lake and the mountains. This is in direct contrast to most studios, which are more in the way of being isolated, timeless vaults, which in that respect of course, are not necessarily bad. Here, though, we worked in the light of the sun, and one could watch the changing seasons in idle moments, rather than a dimly lit, smoky view of musical and electronic hardware. Our engineer, Paul Northfield, soon proved himself to be a helpful, capable, and congenial member of the project, as did all of the excellent people who were employed there. I don’t think we have ever been so well treated anywhere. Alex’s place in the kitchen was taken over by the wondrous Andre, who would bring the most amazing French food to the house, or we could alternate by going on an “outing” to his restaurant, “La Barratte,” which was in a nearby town. Suffice to say that we were well fed as well!

The great contributions put forth by Daisy, Mr. Broon’s little cocker spaniel, must also be acknowledged. She was with us for the whole session, and her state-of-the-art sleeping and running around were an inspiration to us all!

We began our great labors by working on the individual sounds of the instruments. This consists of the musician banging away at his particular object, while the engineering types experiment with different microphones, mic positionings, and their own arcane world of knob-twiddling, faders, echoes, equalization, etc., refining the sound to a true and/or pleasing reproduction of the original. Once this has been accomplished, the three of us will play together, probably going over the song we plan to record first, and considerably more work is put into the sounds, to make them sit together properly.

By about the second day these complexities have been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, and work begins on the “basic track,” or “bed track,” or “rhythm track,” take your pick! This is accomplished by the three of us performing the song, pretty much as we usually would, except that things such as vocals, acoustic guitars, lead guitar, synthesizers, and percussion are omitted. The reason for this is that better separation, and more control over the eventual balance and quality of sound, is possible when these lead parts, or embellishments, are recorded separately, once a good rhythm track has been captured. Now we will be playing the song again and again until the best performance, both in it’s execution and its overall “feel,” has been put onto the master tape. Here is where our preparation really proved it’s value, as we were able to record basic tracks for “The Spirit of Radio,” “Freewill,” “Jacob’s Ladder,” and “Entre Nous” in an amazingly short time, as well as arrange and record the previously unrehearsed “Different Strings,” which we had been saving for the studio as a sort of production number.

There was still a gaping hole in our plans, however, for with the departure of “Gawain” we had left ourselves nothing with which to replace him! So . . . at this juncture we parted ways, Alex, Geddy, Terry, and Paul to begin work on some of the overdubs, while I would be imprisoned in my room until I could emerge, glowing triumphantly, clutching some wonder of spontaneous genius to my knotted and sweated brow!! Mere fantasy, I fear. Did I perhaps have a title? Ah, no. Did I have a few strong ideas lying around? Well, no. Did I have any ideas at all? Well, maybe, but not exactly. And for two days I stared in frustration and growing unease at blank sheets of paper, and questioning eyes. There is no doubt that working under pressure can be very rewarding, as we have found many times in the studio. It seems as if the creative mind slips into a burst of overdrive, allowing a brief, exhausting, but productive surge in the creative process. On the third day of my confinement this phenomenon arrived at last, and something new began to take shape. It was the product of a whole host of unconnected experiences, books, images, thoughts, feelings, observations, and confirmed principles, that somehow took the form of “Natural Science.” At any rate, there it was, I liked it, and the others liked it too, so we began another brainstorming session to set the monster to music.

It was at this point in out story when the visitors arrived, in the person of Fin Costello, our effervescent and ever-ready Irish photographer, and our equally manic art director, Hugh Syme. This would be the first time that we had ever been photographed while working in the studio, but we have maintained such a long and amicable relationship with these two characters, that there was little self-consciousness on our part. We just carried on working, while Fin went to work at capturing the moments you will see on the cover of the record. There was, of course, much silliness, as when Hugh led the band in an insane and endless version of “Ruff and Reddy,” (!) but we somehow found time to utilize Hugh’s piano artistry, on “Different Strings,” which sounds very good indeed, doesn’t it? (You’re welcome, Hugh.)

To digress for a moment on the subject of the cover, planning and organizing had been going on in the background for the last couple of weeks. The album still had not received a title right up to the time when we were ready to record, every time we came up with something it seemed to be already taken. Even when we did settle on the one, it immediately popped up all over the place too, but by now it was too late, as the artwork was already in progress, and we knew it to have been an original idea, if not the only one. Hugh is the main person involved in putting the cover together, but we also contribute to the general layout, compiling the credits, choosing the photos, correcting and submitting the lyrics, and arguing about all of the things that we want and the record companies don’t. There are always the inevitable last minute crises, such as the Chicago Daily Tribune being still so embarrassed about their “Dewey defeats Truman” error of more than thirty years ago, that they actually refused to let us use it on the cover! These things are sent to try us!

Meanwhile, back in Le Studio, “Natural Science” was becoming a song, forged from some bits from “Gawain,” some instrumental ideas that were still unused, and some parts newly written. This is where we used up some of the time that we had gained earlier, as we had to work a lot on refining and rehearsing something as new and complex as this had grown to be. We were about halfway through our time there, and ready to move into the “Overdub Mode.”

Mention must now be made of the great game of volleyball. At dinnertime, and after the sessions at night, it was our great pleasure to play intensely athletic and competitive volleyball. One of a few games played in the pouring rain starred the members of Max Webster and their crew, while other games would continue despite mud-mires or blinding snow. One particularly warm night kept us playing until six o’clock in the morning! The studio’s video camera also proved to be an interesting source of entertainment, one notable evening when we created the “The Jack Secret Show,” a half hour talk show starring Jack, Punjabi, and many other famous and interesting guests!

Frivolities aside, the work continued as we plowed through a mountain of overdubs. Alex and I splashed oars in the lake with shivering hands to record the “Tide Pool” effects, voices and guitar sounds were sent out over the lake to make use of it’s natural echo, the tympani was recorded outdoors, guitar amps were strung all over the building to take advantage of as many different sounds as possible. The parade of guitars, synthesizers, vocals, percussion, and experiments went on, and the days wore away. But . . . we finished early! We had about three days at the end to spare, in which we could make some rough mixes of the songs to take home and listen to before the real mixing began. As straightforward and logical as this again must sound, it was the first time that such a thing had ever happened. In the past we had always had to begin mixing the day after the recording was finished, giving no opportunity to get away from the material, and return to it with a fresh, objective ear.

One week later, the four of us flew across to England to begin the two weeks of our sojourn at Trident, which is buried in the small streets and lurid night-life of the Soho district of London. This would be the final stage in the album’s history, the mixdown. I think that it is quite an obscure thing to many people, just what is done here, so I’ll take a moment to try and clarify it. The album is actually complete at this point, at least in terms of content, but there are a myriad of small adjustments, individual sounds can be shaped slightly differently, relative balances can be altered, echoes or other effects can be added to certain sounds to make them more interesting or to punctuate them, and the overall sound is made adaptable to different listening conditions or equipment.

Here once again, Alex moves into the kitchen, as Trident is so completely equipped as to possess one, and proceeds to regale us yet again with a series of delicious meals.

This is also the point at which Mr. Broon really comes into his own. Taking over the engineering himself, the console becomes an instrument, as he and his capable assistants orchestrate the faders and switches. The gods once again rule in our favour, and we work ahead of schedule, our two weeks at Trident speeding pleasantly by. Soon it is time for that most satisfying and enjoyable of ceremonies, the Final Playback. This is the climax of the whole project for us, the time when we stop working on the album, and just listen to it. A few friends are invited, a goodly amount of Champagne is consumed, and a relaxed and twisted time is had by all.

This is the moment for which all that has gone before becomes fair value; all has been worth it. The moment when you sit back and think to yourself: “It is good.”

We hope you agree.

Management by: Ray Danniels and Vic Wilson, SRO Productions, Toronto, Canada.
Road Manager and Lighting Director: Howard Ungerleider.
Stage Manager: Michael Hirsh.
Concert Sound Engineer: Ian Grandy.
Stage Right Technician and Crew Chief: Liam Birt.
Stage Left Technician: Skip Gildersleeve.
Centre Stage Technician: Larry Allen.
Guitar and Synthesizer Technician: Tony Geranios.
Stage Monitor Mixer: Greg Connolly.
Concert Sound by National Sound: Tom Linthicum, Dave Berman, Fuzzy Frazer and by Electrosound in the U.K.
Concert Lighting by See Factor International: Nick Kotos, Bob Kniffen, Geo. Guido, Bob Cross.
Concert Visuals designed by Rush and Nick Prince, artwork by Nick Prince and Al Kamajian.
Design: Hugh Syme.
Photography: Fin Costello.
Truck and Bus Drivers: Tom Whittaker, Pat Lynes, Arthur MacLear, Mike Burnham, Kim Varney, Bill Barlow.
Booking Agencies: Canada — The Agency, Toronto; United States — American Talent International, NYC; United Kingdom — Bron Agency, London.
Correspondence: P.O Box 640, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada L3T 4A5
Thanks are also due to Edwin Shirly Trucking (U.K.), Len Wright Travel (U.K.), and See Factor Trucking in the U.S.


I recently became the proud owner of a new set of Tama drums, once again with the inner side of the wooden shells coated with the Vibra-Fibing treatment. Along with the custom finish and the brass-plated metal hardware, this operation was performed by the Percussion centre of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The sizes of the drums remain unchanged, consisting of two 24″ bass drums, 6″, 8″, 10″ and 12″ concert toms, 12″, 13″ 15″ and 18″ closed toms, and a 5 1/2 x 14″ wooden snare drum. I probably need hardly add that both on the road, and most especially on this newest record, I am very pleased with the combination of the thick, wooden shells, and the dependable, modern hardware.

All my cymbals are still by Avedis Zildjian, with the exception of one 18″ chinese cymbal. They are a 6″ and 8″ splash, two 16″, one 18″, and one 20″ crash cymbals, a 22″ ride, a pair of 13″ high-hats, an 18″ pang, and a 20″ China type.

Digging into the toy box we find the usual assortment of effects, including timbales, melodic cowbells, orchestra bells, wind chimes, tubular bells, bell tree, tympani, temple blocks, triangle, gong, and crotales.

On my snare and bass drums I use Remo black-dot heads, Ludwig silver-dots on the concert toms, and Evans Looking Glass (top) and Blue Hydraulic (bottom) on the other toms. Ludwig Speed King Pedals and Tama hardware complete the set- up. My drumsticks are still Pro-Mark 747’s with the varnish removed from the gripping area.


My guitars are: two Rickenbacker 4001 basses, one Rickenbacker 4002 bass, one custom-modified Fender Precision, one Fender Jazz Bass, and one Rickenbacker custom double-neck, which incorporates a 4001 bass with a twelve-string guitar. All basses are equipped with Badass bridges and Roto-Sound strings, and a Roland chorus is used on the guitar.

My amps are two BGW 750-B’s, running through two Ashley pre-amps, into two Thiele-design 2 x 15 cabinets, and two Ampeg V4B 2 x 15 cabinets. All cabinets are fitted with JBL K140 speakers, and I also use a Fender Twin Reverb amp for guitar.

My synthesizer set-up has grown to: Mini-Moog, Oberheim polyphonic, OB-1, an Oberheim digital sequencer, a Roland Space Echo, and Moog Taurus Pedals, which are also interfaced with the Oberheim polyphonic.


My guitars are one each Gibson ES335, Gibson ES355, Gibson Les Paul Standard, Gibson Custom Double-Neck, custom built Pyramid, Fender Stratocaster, Roland Guitar Synthesizer, Gibson Dove, Gibson J-55, Gibson B-45-12, Gibson C-60 classical, and a Ramirez Classical. I also play a set of Moog Taurus Pedals.

My amplifiers are three Hiwatt 100’s spread over four 4 x 12 cabinets and one Leslie cabinet, with one spare amplifier and two spare cabinets. A Fender Twin Reverb with JBL’s is also used.

My effects are: three Roland 301 Space Echo’s, one Roland Chorus, an Electric Mistress, a Morley volume pedal, a Cry Baby wah-wah, a Maestro parametric filter, Ashley pre-amps and parametrics for the acoustic guitars, and a custom built effects board designed by L.B., and built by Steele-Power Supply

Moving Pictures

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.


Stories From Signals
Collected From the Drummer’s Diary

By Neil Peart

Le Studio, September, 1981

We were getting a little bored with inactivity. During the mixing of Exit . . . Stage Left there was really not much for us to do except say “it sounds good” or “it doesn’t sound good.”

I had been working down in the little studio, cleaning and renovating an old set of Hayman drums that were kicking around, and had started working on a “Jack Secret” song with Jack and Skip from the crew. Geddy and Alex soon joined in on keyboards and rhythm guitar, and we later recorded the song (“Tough Break”) up in the studio.

I had also been working on some lyrics for a few days and had come up with “Subdivisions,” an exploration of the background from which all of us (and probably most of our audience) had sprung.

One afternoon as I was idly polishing my car, Alex and Ged returned from working at the little studio, set up a portable cassette player right there in the driveway, and played me the musical ideas they had come up for it.

“It’s kinda weird, but what do you think?”

“Let me hear it again.”

I listened closely, picking up the variations on 7/8 and 3/4, the way the guitar adopts the role of rhythm section while the keyboards take the melody, returning to bass with guitar leading in the chorus, then the mini-moog taking over again for the instrumental bridge.

“I think it’s great.”

They smiled.

Schooner Orianda, British Virgin Islands, January, 1982

We had been tracking up the Sir Francis Drake Channel most of the day, on a leisurely zig-zag course to Virgin Gorda. At the wheel was our stalwart guest helmsman, Geddy, with Captain Mike and myself reclining in the stern and offering directions. We all watched the pennant halfway up the starboard shrouds, gauging our attitude to the wind. Up forward, First Mate Keith and Deck Steward Tom stood by the sheet for the Yankee jib, ready to wrestle it across the deck for the upcoming tack.

Captain Mike decided that we were close enough to land now to make the maneuver, so that if we ran out of wind he could walk to shore! He gave the helmsman his instructions:

“Okay, call out ‘prepare to come about,’ and spin the wheel hard over to starboard.”

“That’s right, right?”


“Prepare to come about.”

Captain Mike laughed his best “dirty old sailor” laugh: “They’ve got to hear you up there. YELL it out!”


“Better . . . ”

Last night Geddy played me some of the things he had been working on at home. He had an electronic instrumental that would become the basis for “The Weapon,” a new extended intro for “Vital Signs” live, and a couple of other ideas that we haven’t yet used.

That night as we lay at anchor in Virgin Gorda, Geddy and I went down below after dinner, and I showed him some of the work that I had been doing. I had written “The Analog Kid” as sort of a companion piece to “Digital Man,” which had been written last fall up at Le Studio. He liked it, and we discussed different ways it could be treated musically. As we often do, we thought it would be interesting to take the opposite approach to what the lyrics would suggest; make it a very up-tempo rocker, with some kind of a dynamic contrast for the choruses. We also looked at a rough version of “The Weapon” that I had put together, and agreed that it would need some more work. He told me what he liked, and what he didn’t like, and gave me some good points to go to work on. We put an end to the “shoptalk” and went back to our holidays.

Sound Check, Somewhere USA, Moving Pictures Tour, 1981

Around 4:15 we all made our way on to the bus. Kevin had checked us out of the hotel, and stowed the luggage in the bay, as that night we would be driving on to “Somewhere-Else USA.” Whitey put the bus in gear and drove off toward the hall.

In “road-time,” this is first thing in the morning, and there was not much to say beyond the perfunctory “good day.” Geddy rustled the local paper, checking the latest baseball scores, Alex flicked disinterestedly through a “Plane and Pilot” that he had read twelve times, and I smoked a cigarette in a sleepy stupor. Curtains closed against the world, we rode away to the gig.

At the hall, we checked out each of the instruments separately: boom-boom-boom, tap-tap-tap, thud-thud-thud, strum-strum-strum, woof-woof-woof, test-test-test, et cetera, and then gradually moved into a little spontaneous creation. This tour for the first time our sound man, Jon, has been taping our soundcheck meanderings, and it had proved very fruitful to us. On this particular day in “Somewhere USA” we will unknowingly write a whole song at once, each of us playing a different part. While Geddy plays what will become the keyboard melody for the bridge section, Alex is playing the guitar riff for the verses, and I’m playing the drum beat for the choruses. Just like that!

When Alex and Geddy get together to sift through the soundcheck tapes they will find a whole song written here, and will arrange it and make a demo that will be very close to the finished song.

Lyrically, this is the first time that all three of us have collaborated on the words to a song. Geddy and Alex together came up with the title and concept for the song, wrote out a few key phrases and words that they wanted to get in, than passed it along to me for organization and a little further development. When all of this is put together, we have what was probably the easiest song to write on the album. Once again, our “Research and Development” department of sound check jams comes through.

The Grange, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, March, 1982

At this time of year there is still no sign of spring up here. The lakes and ground are still blanketed by about four feet of snow, the temperatures are steadily sub-zero, and one is obliged to dress rather like an Arctic explorer to go outdoors.

We are up here for a month to work on new songs. We have a row of chalets to stay in, and the winterized upper room of a barn to work in. An open fire is friendly company for me as I spend the afternoons working on lyrics, while Alex and Ged are over at the barn working on musical ideas. The cold, crisp air and the thick shroud of snow create a very magical atmosphere in which to work, especially walking back at night when the full moon gleams on the diamond-dusted snow. Some people have nothing good to say about winter, but I find it very beautiful. One night Larry and I borrowed a pair of snowshoes, and went out walking on the frozen lake. The moon shone down on the bluish snow almost like daylight, and the dry air was so cold it pinched your nostrils shut. That might sound like a nightmare to you, but to me it was a dream-world!

“Digital Man” had actually been started last fall at Le Studio, when we had put together the lyrics and the music for the verses and the “ska” style bridges, but we had been unable to come up with the right combination for the choruses. After much head scratching, we finally came up with the sequencer pattern, and the guitar and drum patterns to go with it. We were all very pleased wit the dynamic and unusual nature of the part, it was so different for us; but our “objective-ear” co-producer Terry Brown was not so enthused.

Now, this has happened before, when we all get excited about a part, only to have Broon come along and tell us “it sucks.” (He’s a diplomatic guy!) Usually, we either see the error of our ways, or give up and let the “old man” have his way. This time however, we were so sure that we were right that we refused to give in. We talked and talked about why we liked it, how we heard it being recorded, and what it could do for the song as a whole. We wore away at him inch by inch, until he got tired of hearing about it, offered a few half-hearted suggestions, and relented. “After all,” he admits, “I have been wrong before!” Or, as his daughter Victoria put it so well: “I can’t help it if you’re always wrong!” No respect.

Stately Dirk Manor, Somewhere-north-of-Toronto, December, 1981

With a Roland drum machine and assorted synthesizers, Geddy and friend Oscar secret themselves in Ged’s music room to create some music of a highly confidential and experimental nature. Among the Top Secret projects which they produce is the basic foundation for this song, including a highly mysterious and bizarre drum pattern which Oscar coaxes out of the drum machine. (I’m supposed to learn how to play that?)

Well, I do love a challenge, and once we start to tackle this at one of the rehearsals, I discover that if I play totally backwards, and bend my hands a few ways they don’t normally go, I can do it. The shame of being reduced to learning from a machine! However, I must admit, I would never have come up with something like that on my own!

With all this and more to accomplish with my hands, it is no compromise to let my bass drum foot play a steady “four,” which is also something I never thought I could do. This also brings the feel of the song perilously close to a (shudder) d-d-d-dance song, like, you know, disco! Treason! Treason! Kill the traitors! They wrote a song you can dance to! Will you ever forgive us? (No.)

It was fun to do, though. It’s so contrary to the mood suggested by the lyrics, and such a different approach for us, that it is a very satisfying piece of work. It’s an all-out production number that we can play live, so I’m sure all the “disco kids” will soon be coming to our concerts. Ha!

Le Studio, Quebec, May, 1982

At this point the basic tracks for the other seven songs were finished, and we have enough for an album, but we have always wanted to write another song for this one. We want more! There are moral reasons why an album shouldn’t be too short, but there are technological reasons why it shouldn’t be too long. What shall we do?

We decided to write another song, and if it turns out to be too long, we won’t put it on, but if we come up with something short enough, we will have an eighth song.

So, thus was born “Project 3:57!” In order for another song not to cause great inequality between the length of the two sides, and not to cause us trouble in the mastering of the album, it had to be under four minutes. When was the last time we wrote a song under four minutes, you ask? That’s a good question, and one that we asked ourselves too. But we figured we had nothing to lose; if it’s too long we simply put it away and save it for another record. (Actually “Different Strings” and “Circumstances” were both under four minutes, and “Closer to the Heart” and “Madrigal” were both under three. We can do it!) Target—3:57!

I spent a couple of days wringing out my notebook, and tying in a few of the themes from other songs, and came up with a straightforward, concise set of lyrics consisting of the two verses and the two choruses, and then we went to work.

We decided to play this one fast and loose, writing it in one day and recording it the next! We wanted to capture a spontaneous, relaxed feel for this one, not even spending much time getting the sounds together. Thus, it could stand in contrast to the rest of the album, being much more raw and “live” in its affect. Two days is very close to a record for us to write and record a song. The quickest ever was “The Twilight Zone” from our 2112 album. That was written and recorded in one day. But then that whole album was completed in under a month; things are different now!

Le Studio, Quebec, June, 1982

Like the verse sections for “The Analog Kid,” the main theme for this song came from Alex’s holiday exercises (we all did our homework!). We worked out the verses and choruses while we were in rehearsal, and made a skeletal demo of it with just keyboards and drums, then put it away until we got to the studio.

We had talked for a while about getting Ben Mink to play electric violin somewhere on this album, and this seemed like the perfect track. Once we got into the studio, we developed the jazzy solo section, recorded the basic track, and gave Ben a call. Fortunately he was able to get away from his group, FM, for a couple of days, and bring his unique instrument up to play his heart out for us.

Ben’s violin! That’s a story in itself! There a several little cows grazing in there, as well as a “Beach Party” scene, complete with little Frankies and Anettes. All of this illuminated by four green Christmas lights that provide the necessary inspiration for such a piece. Sounds crazy? You bet!

We worked him hard, squeezed him dry, and threw him away. He just stood there in front of the console, taking it and giving it, fueled by occasional sips from a bottle of C.C. Not only the monumentally fantastic solo did we demand, but we had him multiple-tracking an entire string section as well. That’ll teach him to be our friend!

Cape Kennedy, Florida, April, 1982

We were there! It wasn’t easy, but we made it! We had a long-standing invitation to the first launch, and always swore that we would be there no matter what. Little did we know!

On April 9th we flew into Orlando on a day off, checked into a hotel, and slept until about four a.m., when we had to leave for our rendezvous at the Air Force Base near the Cape. There we met our liaison man, who conducted us safely into the “V.I.P.” zone (Red Sector A) in the pre-dawn hours. We stood around, listening to the announcements, as the sun rose higher and hotter in the sky. We were due to play that night in Dallas, so we couldn’t wait much longer. Finally they announced that the launch would be scrubbed for that day. The computers weren’t speaking!

Well, we ran for the car, and our daring driver sped off, around the traffic jams, down the median of the highway, and got us to the airport barely in time.

The next night we had a show in San Antonio, after which we drove off immediately, clambered into a hired jet, and flew straight back to Florida. This time the launch took place on schedule, and it was SOMETHING!! (More about that in the song.) Again we raced backed to the plane, and flew off once more, back to Fort Worth where we had a show that night. Fortunately the day after that was a day off, so we had a chance to catch up on all that sleep!

I remember thinking to myself as we flew back to Fort Worth after a couple days without sleep: “We’ve got to write a song about this!” It was an incredible thing to witness, truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can only hope that the song comes even close to capturing the excitement and awe that we felt that morning.

So, that’s the album. I hope that you will all enjoy it. We put a lot into it, including about a month of our summer holidays—(didn’t quite get finished on time!). We tried to break some new ground for ourselves; explore some different types of songs and sounds; while continuing the directions begun by Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures. I guess it will be like that always; some will love it, some will hate it, and some will say:

“Rush?? Signals?? What the hell is that??”

Management by: Ray Danniels, SRO Productions, Toronto
Road Manager and Lighting Director: Howard Ungerleider
Stage Manager: Nick Kotos
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: Steve Byron
Personal Shreve: Kevin Flewitt
Concert Sound by National Sound; Tom Linthicum, Fuzzy Frazer, Dave Fletcher
Concert Lighting by See Factor; Tom Booth, Mike Weiss, Dave Berman, and maybe Mark Cherry
Concert Visuals created by Nick Prince, Al Kamajian, Gerald Packer and Norman Stangel (Nelvana)
Busheads and Truckfaces: Tom Whittaker, Pat Lynes, Billy Barlow, Arthur MacLear, Harry Smith, Gordon Scott, and Red McBride.
(Belated credit to Rockin’ Al Posner, who was shamefully omitted from the album)
Concert Rigging by Bill Collins’ Southfire Rigging
U.K. Transportation by Edwin Shirley Trucking, Len Wright Travel, and Bill Churchman
Booking Agencies: American Talent International, NYC, The Agency Group, London, and The Agency, Toronto
Program design by Hugh Syme
Photography by Fin Costello, except where indicated
Cover photo Deborah Samuel

The Crossword Puzzle, No. Two

Click Puzzle For Answers


1. The track that is not on any of their studio albums
5. The Glad Rim will give you a Rush song
8. The first track on ATWAS and 16 across
14. This character in “Lessons” knows that his goal is more than this
16. Fondling Iron?
20. The X-Ray is . . . siren song
21. It is lonely, and torchlit
22. Calling all planets of the Federation
23. The Maples demanded them
25. Heaven-like place that Cygnus passed into
27. The unreal is approached for those who do this
28. “Let . . . all make their own music”
29. (Thus consequently) the Maples formed a union
30. “We can run alone and . . . if we pursue a different aim”
31. What time does the Working Man go to work at?
33. The Mob are not loud in conscience (calm in their right)
34. Works of art that don’t stay still?
37. “The fragrance of (74 down) rewards a long day’s . . . ”
39. Dye ledge for a Canadian?
41. (See 26 down)
42. In “Presentation,” the “2112” character nearly has to do this to the Priests
44. The word before “held up his riches” in Cinderella Man
45. “Invisible to telescopic . . . ”
46. Ripples that remain forever, perhaps
48. Excitement shivers up and down mine
49. This and 12 down are alliterative colours in “The Camera Eye”
51. (And 102 across) The last collective track on 7th studio LP
54. How the “Rocinante” got across the Milky Way
55. The initials of Ray and Vic’s surnames, or vanity of the crossword’s designer?
57. The Priests told the “2112” character not to irritate them further (they had their work to do)
59. Although Alex is a sharp guitarist, he doesn’t play one of these stringed instruments
60. The encore on their first live album (ATWAS)
62. They are slandering the sacred halls of truth
64. “Well weathered leather, hot metal and . . . ”
66. For those who wish to do this, it’s the universal dream
68. The person in “The Camera Eye” asks whether the people are oblivious to this quality
69. “It’s really just a question of your honesty . . . your honesty”
70. “They tried to fight . . . just couldn’t beat . . . ”
72. “Let your heart be the anchor and the beat of your . . . ”
73. He set a course just East of Lyra, and North West of here
76. “My ship cannot . . . her long”
79. Rush records tend to be this shape (silly clue)
81. What the gent who found Xanadu did with the milk of Paradise
82. “The genius” science fiction author acknowledged for one of their epic tracks
84. The mysterious Black Thing of Cygnus X-1
86. Because he (Cinderella Man) was a homosapien?
88. Geddy’s guitars and Taurus pedals give deep sounds
90. (And 115 across) “To stand within the Pleasure Dome, decreed by . . . ”
91. Forget about your silly whim, it doesn’t conform with the plan?
93. The only track on their 8th album that Geddy wrote the lyrics for
98. To walk the caves of this substance
99. Apollo says that he will GET you food and shelter
102. (See 51 across)
103. The Priests affirm that they know (it’s nothing new)
105. All the same, we take them
108. 2112 “Overture”
113. It is thick and still
115. (See 90 across)
116. Rive cash?
118. “I noticed emotion and . . . you had cried”
119. Everybody got to deviate from it
120. One likes to believe in the freedom of it
121. The only track that doesn’t have bass or drumming (apart from 1 across, “Discovery” and “The Sphere”) in it.
122. The Royal man comes back in the 4 down track


1. The longest track on their 2nd album
2. 95 down by it
3. In “Oracle: The Dream” (2112) story line—I was overwhelmed by . . . wonder and understanding
4. The track after “Lakeside Park” on their 3rd album
6. I felt the gloom of these empty places (on rainy afternoons)
7. “The blacksmith and the artist reflect it in their . . . ”
9. The penultimate part of “2112?”
10. The “Xanadu” character says he shall eat a type of melon?
11. The Battle of the Heart and Mind
12. (See 49 across) (” . . . washes in a wispy white veil”)
13. What we are merely apart from players and portrayers
14. A keyboard instrument that Geddy hasn’t played, e.g., the Church
17. How the Working Man might consume an ice cold beer
18. Neil’s last drum kit (before he changed to playing Tama)
19. ” . . . sleep, perchance to dream”
21. Who smiles and says he’s pleased to meet you?
22. “They seem oblivious to a . . . spring rain” (like an English rain)
24. The elder race’s power grows with purpose formidable
26. (And 41 across) One of Geddy’s smaller synthesizers
32. My hair seems to be falling out ?!
35. The Oaks ignore them
36. Cygnus passed into the city of these (marble white and purest gold)
38. Initially, their Stage Right technician
40. What his low spirits are in depths of
43. Tom Sawyer gets high on the stuff you trade
44. “On . . . final flight” (the Rocinante)
47. (See 110 down)
50. Aboard the Thailand train
52. Geddy says this a lot, between songs
53. “Not . . . like all my dreams”
54. What my lifeblood does over
56. (See 116 down)
58. The second part of the last track on 7th studio album (see 51 across for help)
61. The author of “A Nice Morning Drive”
63. On ATWAS (bottom of back cover) Rush say that they have tried to . . . a finished work that we might enjoy
65. “Plus c’est . . . meme chose”
67. The part of man that the “2112” character sees arise
71. “I guess that’s why they call me, call me the working”
74. “The fragrance of . . . rewards a long day’s (37 across)”
75. The latter word of “Entre nous,” in English (Not Between)
76. ” . . . like the wind”
77. When the dragons go excessively mighty
78. Never turn your back on them!
79. Make Ern crack bike to get bass guitar?
80. ” . . . matter what your dream might be”
83. Love and life are this
84. The first implement that keeps the trees equal
85. People tend to need at least one of these to listen to Rush (another silly clue)
87. Not an illness, but initially their producer
88. My uncle preserved for me an old machine down in it
89. “I feel the . . . of hard realities” (The focus is sharp in the city)
92. “For those who . . . are (27 across)” (in touch with some reality)
94. The word before the Mood
95. (See 2 down)
96. How many tracks are on the first 3 sides of “Exit . . . Stage Left?”
97. What there are of the Northern Cross (in mourning for their sister’s loss)
100. The sort of energy that pavements may teem with
101. Scheming demons clothed in knightly guise?
104. In “Here Again”—Can’t you . . . I mean, Babe?
106. I will choose a path that’s this, I will choose Freewill
107. Combine a sin with a bog and you get one of Alex’s favourite guitars
109. Amidst the streets of Westminster there is a sort of fog
110. (And 47 down) Last track on 2nd album
111. What Tony Geranios (“Jack Secret”) is for their guitars and keyboards
112. The first part of the hat in Mr. Peart’s drum-kit (tall)
114. “To run the deadly . . . ”
116. (And 56 down) Everyone that dare to cross her course?
117. “A gleaming alloy air . . . shoots toward me, two lanes wide”
120. Your love has shown this person proof

Neil Peart

Well, well! Hello again for another tour! (This is getting to be habit forming!) I’ve got some new drums to tell you about. Once again, they are Tamas, with the custom candy-apple red finish, the brass plated hardware, and the Vibra-Fibing of the inner shells performed by the Percussion Center of Fort Wayne. The sizes remain the same: two 24″ bass drums, 6″, 8″, 10″, and 12″ concert toms, 12″, 13″, 15″, and 18″ closed toms, and 20″ and 22″ gong bass drums. My snare is still the same old wood-shell Slingerland, and I am using the Tama wooden timbales with great satisfaction.

With the exception of the trashy Chinese cymbal, all my cymbals are by Avedis Zildjian. They are: 8″ and 10″ splash, 13″ High Hats, two 16″ crashes, one each 18″ and 20″ crash, a 22″ ride, an 18″ Pang, and a 20″ China Type.

In the Department of Percussion Effects are orchestra bells, tubular bells, wind chimes, temple blocks, numerous semi-melodic cowbells, triangle, bell tree, and crotales.

There are Remo Clear Dot heads on the snare and bass drums, Evans Heavy Duty Rock on all the toms and the gong bass drums,and Evans Tom-Tom models on the bottoms of the closed toms. These are all non-Hydraulic heads. I use clear Remos on the timbales. All of the stands and hardware are by Tama, and I am still using Promark 747 sticks, with the varnish removed from the gripping area by Larry.

And that’s all!

Geddy Lee

Well, Sports Fans, it’s time again to go through this seasons’ starting lineup on Stage Left:

My #1 bass once again is a Rickenbacker 4001, with an occasional appearance by my Fender Jazz. All my basses are loaded by Bad ass bridges and Roto Sound Round Wound strings. Not to mention my Jelinek B-1000 with a deep set pocket and 100% top grain Steerhide throughout.

This section seems to be getting a bit out of hand! On the ‘Signals’ tour I’ll be using the following:

OBXA with a DSX Digital Sequencer, interfaced with two Moog Tarus Pedals. Roland JP 8 Synth, and a Roland 8o8 Compu-Rhythm working in conjunction
Mini-Moog with Yamaha E1010 Delay.

Also featuring the fashionable, new, Jack Secret Keyboard Stand and Switching System! No home should be without one!


Same as it ever was! Same as it ever was!

2 Ashley Preamps powered by 2 BGW 750-B Amplifiers into 1 Thiele design 2 x 15 cabinets and 1 Ampeg V4-B cabinet with JBL K140 speakers.

I run this in stereo for the Rickenbacker, and a Skip Gildersleeve Human Switching Device for the Fender. My Synthesizers are plugged directly into the House P.A. System and on stage I use a custom “Joe Bombase Synth Cabinet”. O.K! That’s it! Enough already! Hope you enjoy the show!!

Alex Lifeson

I’ve broken down the equipment I’m using into three categories: amplification, guitarification and effectification. It is truly an amazing coincidence how similar all three categories are to each other. For instance, through my keen sense of awareness, I’ve noticed all three have a series of knobs! Can you believe it? Also the amps and assorted effects all have glowing lights! Incredible! The amps I’m using are four Marshall Combos which we jokingly refer to as the Marshall Combos. In the guitar department I’m down to four, a black one, a red one, a white one and a brownish one. They all have six strings and a long wooden piece sticking out from the body. I also have two acoustic guitars, both with six strings, one steel string and the other plastic (or something like that). Both the guitars have rounded bodies to make them impossible to play sitting down. They also have holes all over the sound board which is sort of like a diving board, I think. My double neck guitar was recently crushed by an elephant. Too bad.

For effects, I have many. Two Yamaha E1010 Analog Delays, Delta Lab DL-5 Harmonizer, Loft Analog Delays, Advanced Audio Digital Delay, Roland Boss Chorus, Electric Mistress Flanger, Mutron Octave Divider, M.X.R. Distortion Plus, Westinghouse Blender, Cry Baby Wah Wah, two Amana Freezers, Morely Volume Pedal, a gas pedal, a flower pedal, Maestro Parametric Filter, Cigarette Filter, six nozzles, three lungs and a M.X.R. Micro Amp. All of these effects are capable of producing a wide range of sounds. Some are scary while some are awful. I prefer the scary sounds. Also I’d just like to mention that I . . . ah, um, uh . . . I have to go now.

Grace Under Pressure

Pressure Release

By Neil Peart

GRACE NOTE . . . Now let me just think about this. I guess shortly after the release of our Signals album we began to think and talk of the future. In the early part of the tour, our long-time friend and co-producer, Terry Brown, flew down to meet us in Miami. After the show, riding on our bus through the dark and steamy Florida night, we sat back, drinks in hand, to discuss our future course.

Alex, Geddy, and I had been discussing these things for a while now, and had decided that it was time for us to strike out on our own, and try working with someone else. We wanted, no needed to find out if someone, perhaps from a different background, might have different approaches and different techniques to offer to both our music and our sound.

UNDER LINE . . . It was important (and difficult) for us to express to Terry that this in no way signified a dissatisfaction or lack of confidence in him. It was just that after almost ten years and eleven albums together, we had evolved into a comfortable and efficient recording team, the four of us, and we could even pretty well predict each other’s opinions and reactions to different ideas. As positive as this situation may sound, this is exactly what we were worried about.

PRESSURE POINT . . . Still, it’s no easy thing to tell someone that after all this time you want to work with someone else for a change—and still harder to be told it. It was tough for us, and it was tough for Terry. We had been through so much together, and he has contributed so much to our development and refinement—both as people and musicians. It was awkward, difficult, and even a bit painful, but we had to do it or always wonder “what if we had?” While objectively one may recognize the right thing to do, subjectively it’s sometimes too easy to rationalize the easy way out. We had to cut the umbilical cord.

GRACE NOTE . . . At first, “The Great Producer Hunt” was a lot of fun. We searched through the credits of albums we liked, and we made lists. Tried to figure out “who did what to whom.” Was the producer or the artist more responsible for the ideas and textures that we were responding to? Would so-and-so be of more benefit to us in a creative, musical sense, than would so-and-so in an interpretive, production sense? This kind of stuff is fun.

UNDER LINE . . . But it was time to get serious. People were contacted. Who is available? Who is interested? During out European tour of ’83 we met with a number of producers and engineers of the English persuasion. “Well, so-and-so has a really nice manner, but so-and-so really seems to know a lot!” We talked and talked with them about sound, about music, about other people they had worked with, about Method, about Technique, about studios and effects. If nothing else we learned a lot just from all that talking. Then we talked among ourselves, wondering. We made a decision—

We would pick Mr. So-and-so!

PRESSURE POINT . . . And everything seemed pretty nice for a while there. We met again with the illustrious Mr. So-and-so, discussed our mutual ideas, criticisms, habits, and tastes, and we came to an understanding.

Then, only two weeks before we were to start working on new material we got The Call. “Mr. So-and-so has decided that he’s not the right person for the job.” Right. Great.

GRACE NOTE . . . Naturally, we were a bit shaken at first—wind out of the sails etc.—but it turned out to be a very positive time for us. Another list was made, more people were contacted. Who is available? Who is interested? Time was growing shorter, but we were determined to find someone. Some people urged us to go ahead and do it on our own, as we certainly could have done, but our intention was to work with someone new—and we were going to!

All of our unemployed friends began to volunteer.

UNDER LINE . . . The important thing was, we were suddenly totally on our own, responsible to make the decisions and set the wheels in motion. Of course, there were people behind us to help with the organizing and contacting, but the rest was up to us. This really drew us together and gave us a strong resolve and a mutual determination to make a really great record.

Doing well is the best revenge.

So, we contacted Mr. Whosis, yet another English producer of great musical and technical ability. We met with him at our rehearsal place, and he had much to contribute in terms of arrangement and interpretive ideas. He seemed to be very interested in working with us as well, and just had to sort out “a few complex little problems” in order to free himself to do the project.


PRESSURE POINT . . . Not so great. These “complex little problems” are somehow insurmountable, and Mr. Whosis cannot make himself available. For crying out loud!!

Now this began to shake our confidence a little. “What are we—chopped liver?”

Back to the list again. Who is available? Who is interested? Of course, by now we were getting closer and closer to the time booked for the studio, and week by week we are postponing it. And, naturally enough, a lot of people with whom we would have been interested in working, are already committed to other things by now. Yikes!

GRACE NOTE . . . All was not doom and gloom, however. In mid-August we had begun to work on new material, and we poured our determination and angst into that. On the first night, while we were just “banging around,” we put together the three parts to what would become “Between the Wheels.” Within a few days we had written “Kid Gloves” and “Afterimage,” and we, at least, began to feel more confident with ourselves. By the end of three weeks we had written and made rough “demos” of those three, plus “Red Sector A” and “The Body Electric.” We had that to be happy for.

UNDER LINE . . . The fact that we had already booked studio time wasn’t the only deadline hanging over our heads. Anticipating that we would have everything sorted out by then, we had agreed to play a series of shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York in mid-September. Not having played live since summer meant that we would need a week of rehearsals to get toned up for that.

Our usual habit after writing new songs was to go out and play a few small shows, a few big shows, and then go right into the studio. This time we felt it would be suitably dangerous to come right out of hibernation and on to one of the most prestigious stages in the world. (Weren’t we brave!) Since we were definitely not ready for the studio as yet, we returned from New York to the rehearsal place and continued working on material while we were looking for Mr. Good-ear.

PRESSURE POINT . . . And the hunt continued. Phone calls, telegrams and telexes flew around the world. Anyone we could think of whose worked we liked, we contacted, no matter how unlikely they seemed. More people were brought in to see us. Messrs. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Epsilon came over, and we went through a quadruple deja-vu—repeating the same conversations about what we wanted from a producer, what we wanted from our music, what they had done, what they could do, what was important, what wasn’t—etc., etc., etc.

“Just two things we’re looking for in a producer: ideas and enthusiasm.”

GRACE NOTE . . . We adopted “Roger Kneebend” as our mascot producer—a ten inch-tall action doll (formerly owned by Geddy’s son Julian) replete with flippers and wet suit. He was placed prominently atop Alex’s tape machine—so he could stay on top of the recording! (Groan)

Then it became four things we required in a producer: ideas, enthusiasm, flippers—and a wet suit so we can spit at him!

Yep, we were losing it!

UNDER LINE . . . It was a tough thing we were putting these guys through. By this time we had written and recorded “Distant Early Warning” and “The Enemy Within,” and had begun work on “Red Lenses.” Our method was to talk in general ways to each of the “candidates” until we began to feel a bit more comfortable with each other, and then at some point play all of these songs—and expect them to offer intelligent criticism and suggestions. Then, on the second day we would choose a song for which they had some ideas, and work on it together. No question, they were on the spot in a big way—but so were we!

PRESSURE POINT . . . Peter Henderson was a bit of an unknown quantity to us at the time, but perhaps because of that we had high hopes for him. He arrived from England one sunny afternoon, and we greeted each other a bit nervously. We sat on the floor of the rehearsal room, amid all our gear, and, like dogs meeting in the road, we sort of metaphorically sniffed ’round each other. As often happens, friendship and mutual respect began to grow out of a discussion of other peoples’ music. Shared likes and dislikes on such a personal subject can be so important. One of the things that most impressed us about Peter immediately was that he was obviously—like ourselves—a tremendous fan of music. If we spoke of a group or a song that we liked, it was in terms of the second song on side two, or the third track, side one—knowing the titles and the order—the way a fan does. Not as if we were “talking shop” but just talking about a subject that interested us all. This we liked.

GRACE NOTE . . . After dinner that night we played him the songs, and went through the same rap again about the flaws in the songs, what we really wanted it to be like, our feelings about perspectives and possible improvements and what did he think about this or that idea?

Well, he thought the kinds of things we’d hoped he would, and expressed them in a very intelligent and confident way. When he had left the room that night, the three of us turned to look at each other—smiling and nodding. Eureka!

But, we were still pretty insecure from our previous disappointments. Would he feel he was “the right man for the job”? Would he have some “complex little problems” which he had to sort out? Would he disappear and never be heard from again? Probably.

We were determined to ask him first thing in the morning if he would like to commit himself to the project. After breakfast, we told him that we felt he was the man, and asked him if he were interested.

“Well”, he replied with a dry English smile, “I wouldn’t have come all the way over here if I wasn’t interested, would I?”

“Alright!” “Great!” “Let’s Go!” we chorused.

Then someone thought to add: “Oh, by the way—do you have a wet suit?”

UNDER LINE . . . So, away we went, off to Le Studio to finally begin recording. We could hardly believe it! These songs had been demoed, rearranged, and demoed again so many times—we though it would be easy. (Ha!) Of course, we had to get to know each other, to develop a working relationship—and start to have some fun with each other. It was around this time that the title “Grace Under Pressure” was suggested. Not only was it relevant to so many of the songs, but it was also rather fitting to the way this album was going. The fact that we didn’t always exhibit this quality made it none the less a desirable one! It seemed appropriate.

PRESSURE POINT . . . I have mentioned that we had worked with the same co-producer for a long time now, so we had to (and were determined to) start right from the ground up in making things as different as we could. For myself it was a welcome opportunity to try some new approaches. It would be too easy to just do what we had had good results from in the past.

So, I am hitting different things out in the studio, Peter is twiddling different things in the control room, both of us a bit wary of the other. Suggestions and opinions are exchanged, we try some more different things, and a good basic sound is finally achieved. We move on to the bass, then the guitar sounds, and soon we are working away at “Distant Early Warning.”

GRACE NOTE . . . 1983 was a tough year for many people, no question about it—but wasn’t the weather nice? I can’t remember a more glorious summer, nor—and some may disagree—a more glorious winter. Our time off before writing, and the August and September of the writing period, were so hot and incessantly sunny that it was almost tropical. (And as much of a struggle sometimes as in the tropics to get any work done!) Then while we were in the studio from November into March, it was bitter cold and we had tons of snow. Five or six feet of it must have fallen through the winter—heaven for the cross country skier. (Me.)

The crew arrived to load in at the studio with the first big storm of winter, ill-prepared in running shoes and light jackets. Early that first morning they were all off to “Mickey’s” in Morin Heights, to return resplendently clad in giant green hunting boots, and very attractive ski jackets.

Our crew are also very “graceful under pressure.”

UNDER LINE . . . Yes, it was a year of crisis and tragedy—both globally and on the home front. While we were at “Writing camp” the Toronto “Globe & Mail” was delivered to our doors each morning. Since it was there, I found myself reading it over breakfast every day, before I would start working on lyrics. The topics of the day, especially as expressed in the editorials and letters to the editor were necessarily on my mind, and this circumstance affected the lyrics to certain songs profoundly. This was the time of the Korean 747 murders, the on-going cruise missile controversies, acid rain (one of my pet protests) was large in the Canadian news, wars raged everywhere—and we, our families, and our friends were trying to cope with economics, death, illness, stress, romantic problems, unemployment, and depression. (Well, not all at once!) Songs like “Distant Early Warning,” “red lenses,” and “Between the Wheels” were definitely interwoven with these thoughts and feelings. Like the newsman Peter Trueman says: “That’s not news, but that too is reality.”

PRESSURE POINT . . . There is a certain state of mind, not exclusive to musicians, which is called (in medical terms) “The Black Ass.” Things in your life may be whirling just a little beyond your control, it may be “one of those days” when humanity and fate conspire to throw obstacles in your way—or maybe you’re just “too tired.” Everybody gets their share of dark clouds.

You’re working away at a song that you know can be good, but it just won’t be. You sit in the studio with aching hands and heavy heart, unable to deliver the performance that the song demands, after grinding it out for so long. You listen to a playback of something, and when it’s over, no one says anything. Pregnant silences. Avoiding eyes. (Anyone know a good joke?)

A certain tension descends at these times. The room is silent. Everyone knows something is wrong, but no one really wants to be the one to say “it ain’t right.” To criticize is to presuppose an alternative, to suggest an idea is to put your own pride on the line, to expose your vulnerability to possible rejection and disagreement. To listen to someone else’s idea, with which perhaps you do not agree, is a challenge to your objectivity and self control. It’s hard to say what’s right about it before you say what’s wrong about it.

Handle with kid gloves, handle with kid gloves. Indeed.

GRACE NOTE . . . Oh, well, of course we had some fun, too! The “Commons” hotel was sometimes a welcome watering-hole at the end of the day (or night, really). We played volleyball until the snow got too deep, tried to drive the rental car across the lawn after the snow got too deep. (Alex’s idea, naturally) We practiced our “snow diving” off the porch into two or three feet of fresh snow. Skip and Larry decorated the little guest cottage, (“The Little House on the Driveway”) with Christmas lights and a wreath. Peter, Alex, Geddy and Larry got up early to play tennis, I got up early to go skiing, Skip got up early to come home from the “Commons” and Jack got up early to roll over.

And, yes, from time to time we had visitors from “The Outside,” a brief interlude with family or friends made a terrific change from looking at each other all the time. The great people at the studio, Andre’s wonderful food, and the fantastic library of movies (“The Man with Two Brains” was a big hit this time) helped to provide diversion and make us as comfortable as we could be (considering our condition!).

We enjoyed a pleasant day in Ottawa, having ourselves immortalized by the famous portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh. It was an inspiring and elevating experience to sit before the lens of the portrayer of kings, queens, presidents, popes, astronauts, authors, scientists, and film stars. And there he was, taking an album cover photo for bums like us! It was wonderful to see, at his seventy-five years of age, his tremendous energy, creativity and swift changes of mood. He provided us with a memorable and broadly applicable quote when told that the lights in the room were not independently adjustable: “That is not an answer that I can accept. That is not an answer that I can accept!”

I wish I had said that. (I will, I will!)

UNDER LINE . . . By this time we had completed the basic tracks, a couple of months of keyboard, guitar, percussion, and vocal overdubs, and we were beginning the mixing stage. It was all taking a lot of time, but at least things were progressing.

Throughout this period I was in a daily (or twice, or thrice daily) communication with our art director, Hugh Syme, back in Toronto. He was “herniating” (his own word) over the cover painting, and I tried to offer what help I could over the phone, without actually seeing it. (Difficult, you may imagine!) Detail after detail of the artwork was ironed out, the credits painstakingly compiled, the lyrics corrected and typed up for the typesetters, the photograph and typeface chosen, inner sleeve and label designed—until one day a transparency of the painting hangs on the window at the studio, beautifully lit by the sun on the snow behind it—and Hugh can get some sleep.

PRESSURE POINT . . . But not us. By this time we were decidedly late, as our record company and the advancing year were more than eager to remind us. (As if we needed reminding!) The pressure was on. Fourteen hours a day became the norm, with dinner hastily eaten right in the studio lounge. But why, after all, shouldn’t the mixing be as stubborn as everything else? (You expect a break or what?)

Admittedly, in these last few weeks things began to drag on a bit too long. It became more and more difficult to concentrate on life outside the studio, life becomes so cloistered, like some weird monastery. One drifts farther and farther away from the everyday affairs of your family and friends. Mail piles up, neglected business rises even higher, but everything seems somehow remote in the grip of this crazy obsession. Time to go away now!

At this point we had another series of meetings, this time with the video people. We had decided to try and get moving on that end of things as soon as we could. We knew we wanted to use several different directors, and do quite a few songs in different styles, but what songs?—and which directors? All of these songs would make good videos, but we only had so much time—actually so little time.

SAVING GRACE . . . But, yes, finally it is done. Fans and critics have yet to pass their judgments, but we are well pleased. Our records tend to follow in cycles, some of them exploratory and experimental, others more cohesive and definitive. I think that this one, like Moving Pictures, Hemispheres, or 2112 before it, is a definitive one of its type. An indefinable thread, both musical and conceptual, emerges in a natural way, and links the diverse influences and approaches into an overall integrity.

Of course, to arrive at this happy station, all of the experimentation and exploration is shown to be worthwhile. We are glad that most of our fans understand, appreciate and support this fact. As we approach our ten-year milestone, it is more than ever important to remain true to our youthful ideals; to resist the urgings and demands of the shortsighted, the narrow-minded, and all those who are fearful of change.

We think that we can adapt. We are determined to remain—as far as ever we can—graceful under pressure.

Or at least try not to scream out loud.

Management by Ray Danniels, SRO Productions, Toronto
Road Manager and Lighting Director: Howard Ungerleider
Crew Chief, Stage Manager, and President: Liam Birt
Concert Sound Engineer: Jon Erickson
Production Manager: Nick Kotos
Stage Right Technician: Jim Johnson
Centre Stage Technician: Larry Allen
Stage Left Technician: Skip Gildersleeve
Guitar and Synthesizer Technician: Tony Geranios
Stage Monitor Mixer: Steve Byron
Concert Projectionist: Lee Tenner
Personal Assistant: Kevin Flewitt
Concert Sound by See Factor Inc.: Jim Staniforth, Jason MacRie, Bill Fertig
Concert Lighting by See Factor Inc.: J.T. McDonald, Jack Funk, Ray Neindorf, Ed Hyatt
Concert Rigging by Southfire Rigging: Billy Collins, Tim Wendt
Laser Images: Glen Tonsor, Craig Speaderman
Busheads and Truckfaces: Tom Whittaker, Pat Lynes, Bill Barlow, Arthur MacLear, Red McBrine, Steve Conley
Program Design by Hugh Syme
Photography by Dimo Safari, Fin Costello, and Yousuf Karsh
Booking Agencies: American Talent International NYC, The Agency Group, London, and The Agency, Toronto
Our gratitude for patience and understanding to those who share much of the pressure, and little of the grace: our families.

Neil Peart

Hi there folks! I’m the blurry blob in the middle of all those DRUMS! I don’t know where they came from, but every time I turn around there are more of them! When they’re packed away in those dark, warm cases you don’t suppose they . . . ? (Eerie music fades up.)

“You are entering a world of imagination . . . ”

You are entering a world of drums—that’s what! I’ve got drums literally coming and going this year. Everywhere I turn, more of ’em close in around me. More and More of them, getting bigger and bigger—and they’re red!! Red, like blood! “Izzen dat scaddy, kids?” O-O-W-H-O-O-O-o-o-o.

O-kay! . . . Ahem. The main kit remains the same, the prototype for what they’re calling the Tama Arstar these days. Two 24″ bass drums, 6″, 8″, 10″ and 12″ concert toms, 12″, 13″, 15″ and 18″ closed toms, and a 22″ gong bass drum is the basic outfit. The “Old Faithful” 5×14″ Slingerland snare is still number one, and I am again using a metal timbale, a 13″ Tama to be exact.

The symbols are of course by Avedis Zildjian, 8″ and 10″ splash, 13″ hi-hats, two 16″ crashes, one each 18″ and 20″ crash, a 22″ ride (ten years old now!), an 18″ pang, and a 20″ China type. There is also a China type which is really from China. (As opposed to America, Switzerland, Italy or Turkey.) On the rear kit there are more Zildjians — another 22″ ride, 16″ and 18″ crash, 13″ hi-hats, and another of those Chinese jobs.

The rear set consists of a Tama 18″ bass drum, another Slingerland snare, three Simmons tom modules and one snare module, and the Simmons “Clap Trap” with foot switched both fore and aft.

The incidental percussion department is also in a change of state as we speak, but may consist of orchestra bells, wind chimes, crotales, temple blocks, cowbells and/or a bell tree, I’m just not sure.

I’m still using the Remo clear-dot heads on the snare(s) and bass drums, Evans Heavy Duty Rock (top) and Evans Tom Tom (bottom) on the closed toms, Remo black-dots on the concert toms, and plain Remos on the timbale and gong bass drums. All of the hardware (but for a couple of small bits) is by Tama, as are the “Camco” chain-drive pedals, and I’m still chewing up Promark 747 sticks, which have the varnish filed off the shoulder area by Larry. (He’s the blurry black blob in the back tearing his hair and gnashing his teeth over the drums, the monitors, the headphones, the electronics and all of the presets for the Simmons and the Clap Trap!)

AH-HA-HA-HA-ha-ha!! (O-o-o-o-o . . . scaddy!)

Geddy Lee

Hi there, and welcome, sports fans around the world. I’m Geddy Lee, once again bringing you play by play coverage of the 1984, Grace Under Pressure Tour, Equipment List!! (Applause)

Total Basses—Steinberger L2*, Rickenbacker 4001, and Fender Jazz.

Synthesizers—PPG Wave 2.2#, Roland JP-8 and TR 808, Oberheim OBX-A and DSX digital sequencer, Moog Taurus pedals and Minimoog.

Amplifications—BGW 750C power amps, Furman Sound PQ-3’s used as pre-amps, and API 550A equalizers. Special Brother Russell mystery speaker cabinets (built by monks somewhere in Arizona) with two 15″ speakers in each.

Also a Nady wireless unit complete with a “BZZZ Thing.”

Well, now, that’s over with!

Let’s play two!

* Rookie of the Year 1983-84
# M.V.P 1983-84

PS. Contrary to what was said on another page, I do not use a Hentor Barbarian bass—they’re too long . . .

Alex Lifeson

So, another tour, huh? Well, let’s see. I’ve got these great new guitars. You may have heard of them: they’re Hentors. They’re named after Devidip Hentor who was a very interesting character. He was born some years ago and grew to amazing lengths. Instead of body hair he grew a kind of green woolly substance all over his upper torso which resembled a sweater. He was a brilliant man who could sit in a chair all day and think of a million great things to do without actually doing them.

He was an inspiration until his unfortunate accident whilst jogging in three feet of snow wearing cheap snowboots and light summer cottons. Two models were built and I’m lucky enough to have them both. One is a “Sportscaster” and the other is I’m not going to tell you. (Hey, check Geddy’s page and see if he mentions his Hentor Barbarian bass!)

Anyway, these guitars look a lot like the guitars I had on the last 47 tours. So much so that if someone was really stupid they’d think they were different guitars. I also got a new Jimmy Johnson and I haven’t seen one of those in at least eight years.

Otherwise everything’s the same. So, here we go . . . I use amps! And magic guitars that have no long black wires; and talk about strings! I have at least six on all my guitars. I also use expensive boxes with knobs and lights on them and instructions in more than five languages except English. I also have these piano-like things but I’m not sure on how to switch them on. You have to use a special Jack for that. Finally, all the equipment I use is made in factories.

Power Windows

Looking Through Power Windows
By Neil Peart

February 1985: Looking out through the upstairs window of an old Ontario farmhouse you can see a violent blizzard is blowing. The flying snow whips sideways past the window, across the open fields, and into mighty drifts.

We have been here at Elora Sound for about three weeks now, working on a crop of new songs. Out in the barn there is a 24 track studio where my co-workers Alex and Geddy spend their afternoons, working on musical ideas or fitting music to one or another of the lyrics I have been working on here at my little desk. And I mean little. It’s about the right size for a five-year old. It keeps me humble.

Occasionally I might have a listen to a piece of music that the other two have given me to work on, or sheaf through the notes I have collected over the past year or so. See if anything connects. I have been trying to work on “Manhattan Project,” but it’s strange working on a historical piece—you end up having to do so much research to get the facts straight.

Fortunately I came here with some rough outlines for “The Big Money,” “Mystic Rhythms,” and “Marathon,” and had a head start. While Geddy was at home, he sifted through a big pile of sound check jams, looking for worthwhile ideas, and Alex has brought in a tape of his homemade guitar symphonies, so we’ve all done our homework.

We put together those first three songs in a week or so, spending our afternoons separately and getting together in the evenings to play. Then we moved onto “Middletown Dreams” and tonight we’ll probably continue working on “Marathon.” This bit of music that I’m trying to put words to will eventually become “Grand Designs.”

March: Looking down from a hotel room window in Miami you see hundreds of shiny bodies baking in the Florida sun. The heat feels good after the long Canadian winter, but with another show tonight you’re not really relaxed. Putting your coffee cup down, you put on your headphones and have a listen to the five new songs. The pool looks inviting down there and white sails drift across the blue sea.

As ever we are out doing a few shows before going into the studio, to sharpen up our playing skills and give us a chance to play some of the new songs live and at sound checks.

At Lakeland we met up with “Jimbo” Barton for the first time, the irrepressible Australian who will be our engineer on this album. He has been recommended by our new producer, Peter Collins, and is full of high spirits and confidence. He’s sure he can make my drums sound “a hundred percent bettah!” We’ll see. He’s a nice dresser, though.

Later in March: Back behind my little desk in Elora, looking out at the beginnings of spring. Patches of brown grass and plowed earth show through the snow, and that special smell is in the air. Manure.

When we first started here I used to get up from my desk late in the day and go for a ski, but these days I go for a bike ride.

A strange thing happened on our first day back. We had spoken about working on a ballad for the album, so I started working on some suitable lyrics. When I went over to show them to the other guys they were working on a really nice piece of music. Though it wasn’t exactly the ballad we had in mind, Geddy started singing the lyrics to it, and the words and music married perfectly. Et voila! “Emotion Detector” was born.

It had been good for us to get away from it for a couple of weeks. I had been struggling with the lyrics for “Territories” and “Manhattan Project” for weeks, but now they just fell together. The music for “Emotion Detector” and “Territories” was soon written and arranged, and we had some pretty good tapes of our seven songs to play for Peter when he arrived.

This left only “Manhattan Project” to be our trouble child. Every album has one, a song that doesn’t want to get written, or doesn’t want to be recorded, or sometimes mixed. This being the last song we worked on, we were probably a bit burned out, but Peter was able to contribute quite a few helpful ideas, to this and to some of the other songs as well.

It was good that he didn’t try to change our songs, or the way we played them, but just liked to add little touches—“events,” he called them—that we would not otherwise have thought of. And that is just what we were looking for.

April: Out from a tall window overlooking the mossy gardens and ancient churchyard at the Manor, in Oxfordshire, England. Patches of cloud race across a blue sky, as you settle into yet another room, putting up some pictures on the mirror. Make it home.

Somehow you can just feel how old this place is. Ian the gardener tells us that it is
mentioned in the Domesday Book—back in would you believe 1086! Now, that’s old! We have heard stories about a ghost called “The Grey Lady,” but didn’t get to meet her. Maybe next time.

The method of recording which Peter and Jimbo use allows us to record the basic tracks very quickly, and capture a lot of early, more spontaneous performances. We have the basic tracks finished in a couple of weeks, and are ready for a world of overdubs.

At this point we bring on our special guest star for this album, the flamboyant Andy Richards, who will be helping us with synthesizer programming, as well as adding some exciting keyboard moments and textures throughout the album. we enjoyed the chance to sit back and suggest things for someone else to do!

Alex became a little bored during all this, and decided to take up a new hobby—oil painting! Soon he was turning out a string of creditable masterpieces from his upstairs salon. The Tate Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art are engaged in a bidding war over them as we speak.

One morning Larry, who looks after my drums, and I drove into London and loaded up the station wagon with African and Indian drums. We would use these to create the drum sounds for “Mystic Rhythms,” and I was thrilled to make my bongo drum debut in “Territories.” New horizons.

During one late night session at the kitchen table (The Launching Pad) the similarity of stature and air of authority is noted between Peter and Edward G. Robinson, and from now on he becomes “Mr. Big.” “Okay, see . . . ” He even smokes cigars!

May: A big tinted picture window looks out from the control room across the swimming pool and down a wide green valley. On over the stately royal palms down to the hot black volcanic sand, and out to the tropical sun glaring on the blue Caribbean. If you can’t live in a place like this, couldn’t you at least get a nerve transplant with someone who does?

Ah, Montserrat! we have talked and dreamed of working in this place for years—we finally made it. Air Studios, a hilltop retreat on the small friendly “Emerald Isle of the Caribbean.” A real live volcano, real live iguanas, real live cows and goats on the roads, and some of the friendliest people you’ll meet.

Poor Alex. The whole three weeks we are on the island, we work on nothing but guitar overdubs, leaving the rest of us in purely critical roles while he slaves away all day every day. Oh, well, we tell him, remember those days of boredom at The Manor, and just think—you’ll have some days off when we’re back in the rain and cold of London! I think he felt better then.

During the one day off we allowed ourselves, the staff gave us a barbecue at a deserted beach on the north side of the island. There it was decided that Alex should become His Royal Highness King Lerxst, whereupon he changed name of the island to Schmengland (by royal decree). He further proclaimed that the second Monday of every month would be “King Lerxst Day,” with no work and free drinks for everyone.

As we drive back, he stands up in the back of our open jeep, wearing a motorcycle helmet (?), flanked by two other maniacs, led by a motorcycle escort (Jimbo and Peter’s rented motorbikes), and chauffeured by Your Correspondent (specially schooled in terrorist-evasion tactics). As we pass through the small sleepy villages, he waves to his loyal subjects and shouts out his proclamations to the bemused citizenry.

“You don’t have to work tomorrow,” he announces to a woman.

“I haven’t got a job,” she returns. Oh. Nothing’s perfect in paradise.

He also survived two assassination attempts.

June: A bay window looks down on the bustling streets of Mayfair in London. It’s the start of the tourist season, and a convention of American lawyers is in town, so the streets are thronged. After Elora, The Manor, and Montserrat it’s actually kind of nice to be back in a big city. The energy and activity are contagious.

I’d like to talk about the windows at the studio—but there weren’t any! SARM East studio is located in a basement in the east end of London, so even when there was a nice day, we wouldn’t know anything about it!

With almost everything recorded now, we start in on the guitar solos, and then the vocals. We had dared to dream of being home for most of the summer, but we begin to realize that it is not to be. As Jimbo would say: “Dream about it!”

Instead of a hotel we had rented a flat to live in this time, which is a little less impersonal. It contained the view described above, but we usually only saw it late at night, when the streets were dark and deserted. London sleeps early.

It was mildly depressing to watch June and July go by—or not watch them—from a basement in London. After the other studios, and a string of previous albums at Le Studio in Quebec, we were used to more natural surroundings!

July: The glassed-in sunroom of a townhouse in Chelsea. A summer thunderstorm approaches over the Thames. The tide is going out, and the water flows black beneath an angry sky. The rain starts to pelt the window in gusts, like gravel, and you can smell the lightning.

Well, we’re still in London, but to counter our restlessness we have moved to a new home to start our second month here. Geddy has been receiving regular infusions of baseball on videotape, and we have been importing some of our favourite junk foods from home.

We’re about to start the mixing after taking a week away from it. It gets hard to be objective about anything at this point, so it’s good to try and step back from it a bit.

We go through daily changes about the running order of the album, and there are decisions to make about the artwork, the credits, photos, and of course—the songs!

August: Looking through the control room window into the vast Studio 1 at Abbey Road Studios. Rock history has been made here, and history (of a sort) will be made here today. Yet another drenching thunderstorm has flooded the city, and a damp bunch of string players are assembling for a session. A thirty piece string section to play on a Rush album. Imagine!

It was very exciting to stand out int the studio itself and listen to the majestic sound of all those live strings. Especially playing one of our songs! Ha!

We had another excursion out to Angel Studios, this time to record a twenty-five piece choir for the end of “Marathon.” At this session the three of us keep looking at each other and laughing out loud. It’s so weird!

But Mr. Big wanted us to pull out all the stops on this album—really make it something different and special. Well, it’s certainly different!

And now it rains every day for two weeks. Summertime, and the living is—wet.

September: Through my very own upstairs window looking out at the dark rooftops and backyards of my neighbourhood. Through the trees in the distance you can just see the winking strobe of the CN tower.

Well, at last it’s truly finished. Six months this odyssey has taken us, but seemed to pass pretty rapidly (except for the last bit). Geddy has been in New York to oversee the mastering (and catch a ball game or two), we’ve seen and approved the proofs for the cover, and planned out the video.

Now we just kind of wait around and see what everyone else has to say about it. For myself, I’m already starting to think about the next one. Do you suppose that’s good or bad? Oh, well, it’s over!

Like Mr. Big says at the end of the day, “That’s a wrap boys!”

Or as H.R.H. King Lerxst proclaimed: “Free drinks for everybody!”

Management by Ray Danniels and SRO Management, Toronto
Tour Manager and Lighting Director: Howard Ungerleider
Crew Chief, Stage Manager, and President: Liam Birt
Production Manager: Nick Kotos
Cocnert Sound Engineer: Jon Erickson
Stage Left Technician: Skip Gildersleeve
Centre Stage Technician: Larry Allen
Stage Right Technician: Jim Johnson
Guitar and Synthesizer Technician: Tony Geranios
Stage Monitor Mixer: Steve Byron
Cocnert Projectionist: Lee Tenner
Personal Assistant: Kevin Flewitt

Concert Sound and Lighting by See Factor Inc. (Bob See, Elliot Krowe, and Mike Sinclair)
Sound Crew: Jim Staniforth, Bill Fertig, Jason Macrie, Tim Varaday
Light Crew: Frank Scilingo, Jack Funk, Richard Schoenfeld, Ethan Weber
Rear Projectionist Films produced by Norman Stengel and Nelvana Inc.
Concert Rigging by Southfire Rigging: Billy Collins, Don Collins, C.J. Titterington
Carpenter: George Steinert
Lasers by Laser Media: Craig Spredeman, Scott Cunningham, Peter Callahan
Busheads and Truckfaces: Tom Whittaker, Mac MacLear, Pat Lynes, Red McBrine, Tom Hartman,
John Mullins, Tom Mullins, Earl “Pudgy” Charles
Booking Agencies: International Creative Management, NYC; The Agency Group, London; The Agency, Toronto

Program Design and Cover Painting by Hugh Syme
Typography by Moveable Type Inc.

Contributing Photographers:
Andy Earl
Hiro Ito
Andrew MacNaughtan
Linnea Nan
Dimo Safari
Deborah Samuel

Neil Peart

Well the big news this time is in the area of electronics. My experiments last time in combining the Simmons electronic drums with my acoustic setup worked out very well, and having the two separate drum sets back-to-back has allowed me to expand the variety of sounds I can choose from without compromising the feel and voice of natural drums.

With the use of Simmons SDS-7 digital modules and the EPROM unit (Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) I can now reproduce, for example, the African drums which I played on “Mystic Rhythms,” stored on tiny little chips and triggered by the pads. This is a very exciting area of exploration, as you can imagine. Without losing the excitement and energy of real drums at the heart of my playing, I can have an infinite variety of other percussive sounds and effects to call on at the stroke of a pad or the kick of a switch. Larry and I have even invented a little trigger (called “Sidney”) which mounts between my front toms to give me easier access to effects. Fun stuff.

You’d be right in thinking that these machines are complicated, experimental, and sometimes frustrating. In spite of my instinctive distrust and antipathy for things electronic, I find myself unable to resist the limitless variety of sounds I can create and reproduce. I didn’t realize that when I first played with a little Mattel drum synthesizer—I’d get hooked!

Everything else remains pretty constant, the Tama drums are the “Artstar” prototypes, except for the snares which are the old Slingerland “Artist” model. All the cymbals are by Avedis Zildjian, except for the Chinese ones which are from Wuhan in China. Timbale, crotales, wind chimes, glockenspiel, temple blocks, cowbells, “Clap Trap,” and a gong bass drum round out the toy box.

And next Christmas I’d like a train set, a mountain bike, a sailboat, new Telemark skis, a rocket ship, a ferrari GTO, a chemistry set, eternal life . . .

Geddy Lee

Oy! Oy! Headache!!

You wouldn’t believe what I’ve done!

You see, I put all these great keyboard sounds on “Power Windows,” (with the help of Andy Richards and Jim Burgess) and the album sounds wonderful! So what’s wrong? You ask!

Oy! Oy! Headache!!

Well, now I’ve got to have these same wonderful sounds live and in Technicolor for yours (and my) edification. You think that’s easy!

Oy! Oy! Headache!!

So! I had to go and get a bunch of Emulator II Computerized Synthesizers, and a DX 7 (Yamaha) and a QX-1 Sequencer (also Yamaha), along with my regular PPG 2.3 and JP 8 (Roland) Oy!! And, if that wasn’t enough, I have to keep these offstage, so Jack Secret can load the Emulator computer disks during the show while I play them with remote keyboards (two Yamaha KX 76 Remote Midi Controllers!) Get it! But wait!! Who’s going to load Jack Secret!

Oy! Oy! Headache!!

Meanwhile, in the fun, I mean Bass department, I am pleased to announce the addition of one beautifully crafted and great sounding Wal Bass. Custom made in England by a small but “happening” company. The Wal (no pun intended) along with my two trusty Steinbergers are the only Basses I will be using on this tour. My amplifiers remain the same as on the Grace Under Pressure tour. And Oy! I’m getting thirsty!

So! Enough!

Enjoy! Enjoy!

Alex Lifeson


This was supposed to be my equipment list, but I sold all my gear. I just borrow things I need from friends. Some old stuff. A few wires here, a couple guitars there, some machine guns . . . Oh, yeah, the machine guns. Well, the story goes something like this: During our stay in Montserrat we decided to have a dinner picnic on a beautiful deserted beach. It was a lovely day and a great barbecue. There was much laughter until we heard the machine guns and bombs exploding. The sky was a cross-hatch of jet fighter and missile contrails. I had a hunch that something was up.

We immediately headed back to the studio. It was a blazing inferno with temperatures well above 100 degrees C!! We managed to save all our gear and the blender which we used to make daiquiris with. It was there that we learned from one of the locals that a coup had taken place.

“Yeah, mon, dey kill dat monkey ass. Now is da time of da King, mon.”

After I heard his incredible tale I thought to myself—Kingman? Who is Kingman? The accountant? The Calypso group, The Kingman Trio, maybe?

And as if this man had read my thoughts, he said, “No, mon, not Kingman—The KING, Mon!”

Now it was all too clear. I suddenly realized destiny had brought me to this island to do a job. I looked up as the flaming studio sparked a reflection in my eyes and bravely said: “But they have guns! We need something better than guns. We need Gubs!”

We also needed a defence budget, so I sold my equipment that same night, met at a dark lagoon with a Cuban gub runner, quelled the rioting and became King Lerxst by 8:30 the next morning. Boy was I bushed.

I enacted two important laws that Monday morning. The first was the “No Work Today” law, and the second was “Big Al Day,” which fell on the first Monday of each week, when all the drinks on the island were free.

Sure, there were a few unhappy subjects, and I have had my fair share of assassination attempts, but after the third Monday things were pretty well settled down. Yeah that’s what the world needs: more “Big Al Days.”

Hold Your Fire

The Making of Hold Your Fire

By Neil Peart

It really is hard to believe that Hold Your Fire is our twelfth studio album—in thirteen years together. But then it’s also hard to believe in Relativity and TV evangelists.


We began the songwriting in the autumn of 1986, then started recording in England in January of 1987. As we had for Power Windows, we tried to move around for each stage of the project to keep our environment fresh and interesting all the time. Having worked with co-producer Peter Collins and engineer Jimbo Barton on that album as well, we had already established a mutual trust and respect that made the work go very smoothly. In fact, we haven’t enjoyed making a record so much for a long while—and we even finished on time!

But that’s getting ahead of the story . . .

In early September summer is already over in the mountains, and everything is quiet and a pleasant kind of lonely. In a cottage beside a still lake I began working on some lyrics. Next month we would be starting to work on new material and I wanted a little time to prepare some ideas. It’s hard to walk in with a totally blank slate, the way I am anyway.

Having enjoyed writing around the central theme of “Power” last time, I decided to try something like that again, this time working with the theme of “Time.” I set to work first on “Time Stand Still.” I’d been thinking about this for some time now; how so often the richness of a period of time or an experience seems to lie in looking back at it. Or conversely, sometimes you might know that you are enjoying a wonderful time, but just wish you could make it last longer. I’m sure you know how that goes.

But as I set that one aside after a while, and went on to work on other ideas, it was strange to see that what I had thought was my theme suddenly turned itself into something else—without even asking me! With the development of ideas for “Second Nature” and “High Water” the theme suddenly changed to “Instinct,” or perhaps “Temperament”—the idea of primeval or subconscious drives. Well, okay, I thought, if that’s what my brain wants to work on—go ahead!

“Hey, Brain—I don’t care what you get fired up about—as long as you (you guessed it!) Hold Your Fire.”


One bright day later in September, I went over to Geddy’s house and we spent the afternoon catching up on things down in his studio. Over blueberry buns and coffee we discussed our aspirations for the next album. He played me a few things he’d been working on with his new keyboard setup—entirely controlled by a Macintosh computer! It was an amazing thing. After working out what he wanted to play in the conventional way, he could program it all into the Mac and assign different parts to any number of separate keyboards. This proved very valuable to us, both in the songwriting and recording stages of the album. Especially so for Geddy, who considers himself a bass player first, vocalist second, and keyboard player a distant third—now we had a keyboard player we could yell at all the time!

I showed him the work I’d started on so far, and we also discussed a few lyrical ideas that he had been thinking about but had never got around to putting on paper. These ideas would become incorporated into “Mission,” “Open Secrets,” and “Turn the Page,” and fit very well into my overall theme. Of course, being the singer, it’s nice for him to have some involvement in the lyric development, and I’m always glad to have some input from him or Alex to expand on a particular idea.

In the beginning of October, with southern Ontario ablaze in the glory of autumn, the three of us returned once again to the rural setting of Elora Sound. Alex brought along a tape of experimental work he had been doing at home, which would yield some good parts for several songs, and Geddy had been sifting through this year’s batch of “sound check jams,” which have been a rich source of raw material in recent years. He had them all sorted and labeled as potential verses, bridges, choruses or instrumental bits, and thus they served as a reference library of spontaneous ideas that could be drawn upon at will.

As usual I was working alone on lyrics in the afternoons while the other two worked together on musical ideas. Here is where Alex comes into his own as Musical Scientist—creating drum programs for my stand-in, the drum machine, and recording his and Geddy’s work on the portable “Lerxst Sound” recorder. In my own process of writing and refining, I remember one day throwing out eight pages of rewrites for “High Water”—and that’s after three days of rewriting it. So it doesn’t get any easier!

In the evenings we would go over to the barn, share what we had accomplished during the day, and work together on making ideas into songs. This is a very enjoyable part of the process, working so closely together and creating new things. Of course, nothing is ever accomplished without a struggle, and sometimes what you’re working on seems like it will never turn out any good. But when it does come together, and you can record it and hear it immediately, there are few things more satisfying.

We were torn about whether or not to play some live shows before the recording. In the past we have found it worthwhile in some ways, even if just to have a change of scene for a few days. But it’s also frustrating to have to stop working on new material, only to spend a week or so rehearsing old stuff. This year we thought we’d try just going away somewhere for a few days, then returning to the writing fresh. That way we would have the advantage of a change of scene, but wouldn’t have to spend precious writing time working on old songs.

The first snowfall of the year fell overnight in early November, and by then we had worked out eight songs. At this point we were still not satisfied with the overall variety of music we had, so we decided we’d go a bit further this time. We were aware of the fact that only a small percentage of people actually buy records any more, the vast majority choosing cassettes or CDs. Thus, we figured, why should we worry about the time limitations of the old vinyl disc? We thought we’d like to have ten songs, and go for fifty minutes or so of music. So we did.

At the beginning of December Peter Collins (“Mr Big”) joined us in Elora, and contributed his valuable criticisms and suggestions to the songs. Most of the changes were small ones, except for “Mission,” which received new verses, and “Open Secrets,” which underwent some chorus revisions. But even the small changes help to keep our music growing in different ways.

Ironically, the opening song, “Force Ten,” was almost an afterthought. In the tradition of those last-minute, spontaneous songs like “New World Man,” “Vital Signs,” and “Natural Science,” we put it together on the very last two days we had for writing. As I had on “Tom Sawyer,” I worked with some lyrics given to us by Pye Dubois, and Geddy and Alex went to work on the music, trying to explore some musical areas that we hadn’t covered yet. By the end of one day it was fairly complete, the touch of spontaneity and freshness we were looking for to complete the album.

We began the serious recording at The Manor, in Oxfordshire, England, where we had also recorded the basic tracks for Power Windows. The big attraction here is the drum sound in their big stone room. The big attraction is not the weather—especially the January snowstorm that brought England to its knees, and turned that old stone Manor house into a damn and drafty icehouse! Even with the big coal fires that burned in the main rooms of the house all day, without modern heating or insulation, it did not “hold its fire!”

But hey—we work well when we’re shivering! After three weeks we were able to leave there with the drums, bass, basic keyboards, guide guitars and guide vocals all finished. Once again Jimbo did a great job for us behind the console, making things sound great and the maintaining “quality control.”

We had decided before going over there that it would be fun (and funny) to be cowboys in England, and had provided ourselves with the requisite hats, scarves, shirts, music—and most important—accents. Thus the studio was full of cowboy-hatted people saying things like: “Ah reckon that sounds mighty good,” and “much obligated for the vittles, ma’am!”

Thankfully, it didn’t influence the music—but it did give Alex an exciting new theme for his oil paintings.


From there we moved into Ridge Farm Studio, an Elizabethan farm which has been converted into a modern residential studio. It was our first time working there, in the rustic Surrey countryside, and we enjoyed it very much. (Even though it was still winter in England.)

It has to be said—as the man himself might say, Andy Richards did a great job once again, adding dynamic keyboards and exciting “events” to the tracks. For once we were moving along right on schedule, and Alex was even able to finish some guitar overdubs before we left.

On a free day Geddy and I made an overnight trip up to London, treating ourselves to a stay at the prestigious Savoy hotel. We each had our own plans for the afternoon and evening, but met up in the venerable “American Bar” at the hotel for a drink in the late afternoon. We were both so stimulated by being out on the streets of London (and away from work), that our conversation was rich and various—about ourselves, our families, art, movies, our hopes for the future—and not a word about the work in progress! It was really nice how two people who work together every day, and had for so many years, could find fresh areas of stimulating conversation.

Then it was back to—aaah!—Montserrat, a small island in the Caribbean which is notable—apart from its beauty—for turning out doctors in a couple of weeks, and for turning out records in paradise at Air Studios. We had been there for the first time to do the guitar overdubs for Power Windows, and enjoyed it so much we had to go back again.

There is a live volcanic crater on the island, where you stand in a cloud of sulfurous mist and all around you are vents of steaming vapors and bubbling volcanic mud. When you think about the fact that this comes up right from the centre of the earth, it reminds you powerfully just how fragile terra firma really is, and how quickly a place like that could disappear beneath the beautiful Caribbean Sea.

One hopes It will hold its you-know-what too!

We had not worked in Toronto for, oh, about ten years, fearing too many distractions (however enjoyable and well-meant) from family and friends. But it does get harder to be away from home all the time, and for once we thought we’d like to try doing at least a small part of this project at home. So we decided we would record the vocals and the last of the guitars in Toronto.

We worked at McClear Place Studios, right in downtown Toronto, which was nice after all the remote places we’d been. I must admit, as much as I like the country and particularly Montserrat, it was exciting to walk the busy streets and see all those strangers every day.

It was here that Aimee Mann came in to do a great job on some additional vocals for us—yet another new sound for Rush—and also, all of us signed up with the Berlitz school to polish up our French for the next stop on our itinerary—Paris!

We arrived there on a bright sunny day in early May, with the chestnut trees still in bloom along the boulevards, and had our first breakfast at a sidewalk cafe on the Boulevard St. Germain. We were staying right on the Champs Elysees, and working at a good place called Studio Guillaume Tell, about five miles away. Our route to and from work every day led right through the Bois de Boulogne, the biggest park in Paris, so it was a great situation.

Normally we work twelve or thirteen hour days while we’re recording, but “Mr Big” likes to stop by nine o’clock during the mixing, it’s difficult to remain objective after nine hours of listening to the same song over and over again, and you can’t afford to be wrong when you’re making final decisions like that. But that’s okay—we didn’t mind having to go out for late dinners at night with the day’s work done, and the streets of Paris lit up before us!

But of course there is a dark side to the City of Light. Especially after the events of last summer, it was impossible not to think of acts of mindless violence, the kind of thing “Lock and Key” talks about. We even had one or two bombs go off while we were there, though fortunately not on us! And you don’t get used to seeing the soldiers and gendarmes standing around everywhere with automatic weapons and bulletproof vests.

There is no fooling around with situations like that, and I would ride carefully by them on my bicycle, almost as afraid of them as I was of the Parisian traffic—and that’s going some! Cruising by these deadly-serious guys with their deadly-serious weapons. I had to hope their fingers wouldn’t slip, or they wouldn’t mistake me for some vicious bicycle terrorist!

Hold Your Fire indeed.

Okay, okay—no more puns, I promise.

In fact, I’d better start again:

It really is hard to believe that Hold Your Fire is our twelfth studio album—in thirteen years together.

But then it’s also hard to believe in the expanding universe, superconductors, indoor baseball, 3-D movies, artificial sweetener, offensive weapons, objective reality, rock music . . .



Management by Ray Danniels, SRO, Toronto
Tour Manager and Lighting Director: Howard Ungerleider
President and Stage Manager: Liam Birt
Production Manager: Nick Kotos
Concert Sound Engineer: Jon Erickson
Stage Left Technician: Skip Gildersleeve
Centre Stage Technician: Larry Allen
Stage Right Technician: Jim Johnson
Synthesizer Maintenance: Tony Geranios
Stage Monitor Engineer: Steve Byron
Concert Projectionist: Lee Tenner
Personal Shreve: Kevin Flewitt
Carpenter (and Stage Right Assistant): George Steinert
Synthesizer Programming and Keyboard System Design: Jim Burgess, Saved by Technology
Concert Sound by Audio Analysts, Michael Caron, Paul Parker, Dan Schriber
Lighting by See Factor Inc: Bob See, Jonathan Quitt
Lighting Crew: Frank Scilingo, Jack Funk, Conrad Coriz, Roy Niendorf
Varilites: Matthew Druzbik, Daniel Koniar
Rear Screen Projections Created by Keen Pictures: Norm Stangl
Concert Rigging by Myriad/One: Billy Collins, Don Collins, Tim Wendt
Lasers by Laser Media: Craig Spredeman and Laserlite FX: Steve Magyar
Drivers: Tom Whittaker, Mac MacLear, John Davis, Daniel Harmer, Russell Fleming, Tom Hartman, Leonard Southwick and Randy Wolters
Tour Merchandise: Mike McLoughlin
Booking Agencies: International Creative Management, NYC; The Agency Group, London; The Agency, Toronto

Program Design: Hugh Syme
Typesetting: Moveable Type Inc.

Contributing Photographers; Louie DeFilippis, Patrick Harbron, Andrew MacNaughtan, Dimo Safari, Deborah Samuel, Deborah Taylor, Glen Wexler

Alex Lifeson

He looked at me coldly and aksed: “Do you want the equipment or not, my friend?”

I said: “Just the list, if you don’t mind.”

“You are a fool then! Get out and never come back to this place again . . . my late friend!”

I figured it was time to leave but I didn’t know where I was. Last I remember, we were on one of those group tours in Gallien-Kruger National Park. But I . . . can’t . . . seem . . . to . . . remember . . . exactly what . . . Wait! I do remember now! I received a cable from a Mr. Johnson instructing me to put my Signature on some kind of document at an office in Zurich. I flew there on a Ja Maha Air out of Vacici el Barundi and was met at the airport by a Herr Roland from the offices of Cuzle, Cuzle and Shmelecki. Before we got to the office he suggested we have a drink: “Come, we will make drinken” and we stopped at some dark roadside 24-hour bar and hobby shop called the “Dimension D.” We went inside and there at the back by the S.E.C. 12 channel transmitters and the balsa ailerons was the notorious Schatz. I was in big trouble. He has a Mac under one arm and a Backgammon game under the other. Who knows what he had in his pockets. Time to splittez-vous. I looked over at my escort, the walking building, and asked “Hey, Mongo, you hungry?”

He looked at me and said: “Ja, I am making hongry unt mine interior.”

Well, I suggested a knuckle sandwich and then headed for the door just as the drink I ordered, a Tahiti Tingle, took its effect. I’d been drugged and fell to my knees and now looked eye to eye with Schatz. I said: “So yoi gralf kanoff illglit!”

He just looked at me and laughed: “Yeah, that’s right!”

When I awoke I was tied to a table and Schatz was explaining about a new program he’d just developed. He was the only one listening. He was listening to himself so intently he didn’t notice the sword I had taped to the bottom of my shoe. Out the window, down 16 stories, hijack a cab to the airport, steal a Lear Jet, land on the Queen Mary, swim half the North-Atlantic, stop for lunch at Big Al Hernsburgers, and then . . .

“Wait, my friend, I didn’t really mean all that. I lost myself for a moment. Now please, do you want the equipment or not?”

“No,” I said, “It’s just not quite as exciting as I hoped.”

Geddy Lee

“Too bad,” said the Sarge.

“Yep, probably an accident! Yeah, that’s right— probably an accident!” replied Detective Brophy.

“This was no accident. I’ve seen this sort of thing too many times before, and always the same result.”

“How did he do it? How did he do it? Was it—”

“You don’t want to know. All I can tell you is, it wasn’t pretty.”

“Did he leave a message? Some kind of note?”

“Yeah, kind of sad. All it said was: ‘One synth is too much, and a thousand aren’t enough'”

“How depressing! But exactly what did he have?”

“Well, he had about a zillion Akai S900 samplers, two Prophet VS synths, a PPG 2.3, a Roland Super Jupiter and a D-550, two Yamaha KX-76 MIDI controllers, two QX-I sequencers and a DX-7, two MIDI Mappers, Korg MIDI pedals—and believe it or not—Moog Taurus Pedals.”

“That’s sick!!”

“You’re telling me! And get this: he had to have some joker named Jack Secret load floppy disks and switch programs for this stuff offstage during the shows!”

“Oh! Well, it all makes sense now, doesn’t it?”

“Sure does. At least his bass gear was simple. He used a Wal bass, a 5-string Wal bass and a Steinberger.”

“What a relief! But tell me, Sarge, what makes a guy go wrong like this? Digital Stress? Too much herring? What?”

“I don’t know Brophy. I think it’s just one of those things best left unsolved!”

Neil Peart

Well, lots of Big News in the equipment department this year, for those of you who are interested in such things. When I decided last year that I wanted to get a new set of drums, I went about it in a very methodical way. This time I wanted to be absolutely sure that I was using the best sounding drums there were. So I went down to the Percussion Centre in Fort Wayne, and we tried out six different makes of drums, side by side with the same heads and tuning. The result was a new set of Ludwig drums—the ones which sounded the most lively and exciting. A similar “A-B” comparison confirmed the effectiveness of the Vibrafibing treatment, and that process of a thin layer of fibreglass has been applied to the inside of the shells.

When Geddy saw the color I had chosen for them, he asked: “Whatever possessed you?” Well, I’m not sure about that, but it’s another “hot rod” finish like the red ones, this time a combination of white opalescent, with a few “flip-flop” sparkles, and a little hint of pink.

Just different, that’s all.

The hardware, which has been brass-plated, is a combination of Premier, Tama and Pearl fittings, while the cymbals are by Avedis Zildjian, with the exception of the Chinese ones which come from Wuhan province in China. The venerable Slingerland “Artist” snare drums remain, as do the Promark 747 drum sticks.

Big News in the electronics department as well—the Simmons pads now trigger an Akai digital sampler through a Yamaha Midi Controller. This has expanded my range of available percussion sounds enormously, allowing me to have absolutely any sound available at the flick of a stick or the kick of a switch. Nice. I’ve also added a KAT keyboard percussion unit, which again gives me all of the keyboard percussion sounds in a neat little package.

In the “traditional” percussion domain, there are a temple blocks, timbale, crotales, a Tama gong bass drum, cowbells and wind chimes.

What else was I going to say?

I forget.

Oh, well.


Scissors, Paper, Stone

By Neil Peart

Writing a story about making a record is like making a record; you never get it quite right, so you keep trying. In the past I’ve talked about the studios, the people we’ve worked with, the weather, our methods of work—lots about what we do, but nothing about why we do it, and nothing about how the songs themselves develop. So maybe it’s time to try a glass-bottom boat on those murky waters.

One of those French guys, Balzac or Flaubert, said what a novel should be applies to songwriting as well. “Reflecting on life” could certainly be the unifying theme of Rush’s odyssey through the years—though of course we never thought of it at the time. We were too busy moving down the road, as most people are. But at least when you’re moving fast, you have to look ahead; there’s only time for a quick glance in the rear-view [mirror], just to make sure no flashing red lights are gaining. Otherwise it’s no good dwelling on what’s behind you. Just your own tailights.

To belabor the metaphor in a general sense: all of us are moving down that road with different mirrors, and we don’t just reflect life, we respond to it. We filter things through our own lenses, and respond according to our temperaments and moods. As the Zen farmer says: “That’s why they make different-colored neckties.”

That’s why they make different-sounding music, too. To beat another metaphor into submission: in musical terms Rush is not so much a mirror, but a satellite dish moving down the road, soaking up different styles, methods, and designs. When the time comes to work on new songs, you turn on the satellite descrambler, unfilter your lenses, activate the manure detector, check the rear-view mirror, and try desperately to unmix your metaphors.

When the three of us start working on a new record, we have NO idea what we’ll come up with. There is only the desire to do it, and the confidence that we can. The uneasiness of starting from nothing is dissipated by the first song or two, but still the mystery remains—in the truest sense, we don’t know what we’re doing. We know it seems right; we know that it’s what we want to do at that point in time, but we don’t know what it adds up to. And often we won’t know for a long time—until well after the record has been released and everyone else has had their say about it. Then it seems to crystallize in our own minds, and we develop of little objectivity about it—what we’re pleased with, and where it could have been better.

And that’s where progression comes in—where it could have been better. As a band and as individuals, we always have a hidden agenda, a subtext of motivation which is based on dissatisfaction with past work, and desire to improve. That agenda has changed as we have changed; when we started out, we just wanted to learn how to play, and sometimes our songs were just vehicles for technical experiments and the Joy of Indulgence. But still, playing is the foundation for us—the Stone—and rock is our favorite kind of stone. Despite our dabbles in other styles, it is the energy, flexibility, and attitude of rock which remain most compelling for us. We exercised our fingers and exorcized our demons by trying every note we could reach, in every time signature we could count on our fingers. But after we’d played with those toys for awhile, the songs themselves began to attract our interest. Rock is not made of Stone alone, and we wanted to learn more about conveying what we felt as powerfully as we could. Paper wraps stone—the song contains they playing, gives it structure and meaning.

More experiments resulted as we pursued that goal, and those experiments had to lead us into the field of arrangement. Once we felt more satisfied with the pieces of the songs, and how we played them as individuals and as a band, it became more important how we assembled the pieces. Scissors cut paper—the arrangement shapes the songs, gives it focus and balance. So our last few albums have relected that interest, tinkering with melodic and rhythmic structure in pursuit of the best possible interpretation of the song.

All of these qualities—arrangement, composition, and musicianship—add up to one thing: presentation. Beyond the idea, presentation is everything, and must take that spark of possibility, the idea, from inner-ear potential to a realized work. In an ideal song, music conveys the feeling and lyrics the thought. Some overlap is desirable—you want ideas in the music and emotion in the lyrics—but the voice often carries that burden, the job of wedding the thoughts and feelings. Since the goal of those thoughts and feelings is to reach the listener, and hopefully be responded to, success depends on the best possible balance of structure, song, and skill. Scissors, paper, stone. Where once we concentrated on each of them more or less exclusively, now we like to think that each element has been stored in the “tool box,” and we’re trying to learn how to juggle them all at once (though juggling scissors can be damned unpleasant).

At the same time, Rush’s hidden agenda has a wide scope. The presentation of our music has to accomplish several demands: it has to be all the above, plus it must be intersting, and challenging to play, and remain satisfying in the long term—when we play it night after night on the road. The recording must be captured as well as men and machines possibly can, and thus be satisfying to listen to, as well as fit to stand as the “benchmark” performance, the one we’ll try to recreate on each of those stages.

Before making Presto we had left those stages behind for a while. At the end of the Hold Your Fire tour we put together the live album and video, A Show of Glands—I mean Hands. Because we were just about to sign with a different record company, Atlantic, we found ourselves free of deadlines and obligations—for the first time in fifteen years—so we decided to make the most of that. We took some time off, got to know ourselves and our families once again, and generally just backed away from the infectious machinery of Rash—I mean Rush.

This was a good and important thing, although it was one of the few times in our history when the future was in doubt—none of us really knew what would happen next. After that six-month hiatus, when Geddy and Alex came over to my house to discuss our future, there was no sense of compulsion about it—it was simply a question of what we wanted to do. And, we decided, what we wanted to do was make another record. The reasons remain elusive, but the motivation seems obvious: something to do with another chance to express ourselves, to try to communicate what interests us in words and music, and, simplest of all, a chance to play. In both senses. Without any obligations on us, we found we were still excited about making music together, and truly wanted to make something new.

For Presto, like all of our records in recent years, we started with a trip to the country. We rented a house with a small studio at one end, a desk at the other, and all the usual stuff in the middle. During the bright winter afternoons, Geddy and Alex worked in the studio, developing musical ideas on a portable recording setup, while I sat at my desk in the other end, staring out at the snow-covered trees and rewriting lyrics. At the end of the day I might wander into the studio, ice cubes clinking, and listen to what they’d been up to, and if I’d been lucky, show them something new. It was the perfect situation; isolated, yet near enough to Toronto that we could commute home for the weekends, and with the studio and house connected, whenever we had ideas to share we could run from end to end with tapes and bits of paper.

Personally, this is my favorite part of everything we do: just the three of us and a couple of guys to keep the equipment running. We have nothing else to worry about but writing new songs, and making them as good as we can. With few distractions, we can concentrate on the work, and also feel the reward: the excitement of creating things, of responding to each other’s ideas, and the instant gratification of putting brand-new songs down on tape. At this time we get the real feedback from our work; it’s new enough to be as exciting for us as we hope it will be for the listener.

And that is where a coproducer comes into the picture. Peter Collins, who worked with us on Power Windows and Hold Your Fire, told us that he felt his own career needed more variety and scope, and reluctantly bowed out of our next album. By this time we had learned how to make a record ourselves if we wanted to, but we still wanted an Objective Ear, someone whose judgment and ideas we could trust. Once we’d sorted out the paper and stone, we wanted someone to help with the scissors.

Of a few different candidates, Rupert Hine was the one we decided on. Rupert is a songwriter, singer, and keyboard player in his own right, and has made about fifteen albums himself, in addition to producing seventy-odd records, for other people, like Tina Turner, Howard Jones, and The Fixx. All this experience, combined with his ideas and enthusiasm, made Rupert’s input valuable, particularly in the area of keyboard and vocal arrangements. We were a little bemused when we first played the songs for him, and at the end of some of them he actually seemed to be laughing! We looked at each other, eyebrows raised as if to say: “He thinks our songs are funny?” But evidently it was a laugh of pleasure; he stayed ’til the end.

For the past eight years Rupert and engineer Stephen Tayler have worked together as a production team, and at Rupert’s urging, we brought Stephen in to work behind the console. As an engineer Stephen was fast, decisive, enthusiastic, and always able to evoke the desired sound, while his unfailing good humor, like Rupert’s, contributed to making Presto the most relaxed sessions we’ve enjoyed in years. But it was as a volleyball player that Stephen really shone, unanimously voted “rookie of the year” in our midnight games at Le Studio.

A long day’s work behind us, we gathered outside, charged by the cool air of early summer in the Laurentians. We doused ourselves with bug repellant, then gathered on the floodlit grass, took our sides, and preformed a kind of St. Vitus Dance to shake off the mosquitoes. Occasionally one of us hit the ball in the right direction—but not often. Mostly it was punched madly toward the lake, or missed completely, to trickle away into the dark and scary woods. (“That’s okay; I’ll get it.”) We were as amused by Rupert’s efforts at volleyball as he’d been by our songs, but indeed, all of us had our moments—laughter contributed more to the game than skill. And if the double-distilled French refreshments subtracted from our skill, they added to our laughter.

Between games the shout went up: “Drink!” and obediently we ran to the line of brandy glasses on the porch. Richard the Raccoon poked his masked face out from beneath the stairs, wanting to know what all the noise was about. “Richard!” we shouted, and the poor frightened beastie ran back under the steps, and we ran laughing back onto the court. The floodlights silvered the grass, an island of light set apart from the world, like a stage.

On this stage, however, we leave out the drive for excellence; no pressure from within, no expectations from others. Mistakes are not a curse, but cause for laughter, and on this stage, the play’s the thing—we can forget that we also have to work together.

Work together, play together, frighten small mammals together: Are we having fun yet? Yes, we are. And that, now that I think about it, is why we do what we do, and why we keep doing it: We have fun together. How boring it would be if we didn’t. Not only that, but we work well together, too, balancing each other like a three-sided mirror, each reflecting a different view, but all moving down the road together. As the Zen farmer says: “Life is like the scissors-paper-stone game: None of the answers is always right, but each one sometimes is.”

Management by Ray Danniels, SRO, Toronto
Tour Manager and Lighting Director: Howard Ungerleider
President and Stage Manager: Liam Birt
Production Manager: Nick Kotos
Cocnert Sound Engineer: Robert Scovill
Stage Left Technician: Skip Gildersleeve
Centre Stage Technician: Larry Allen
Stage Right Technician: Jim Johnson
Keyboard Technician: Tony Geranios
Stage Monitor Engineer: Bill Chrysler
Personal Assistant: Andrew MacNaughtan

Concert Sound by Electrotec: Ted Leamy, Brad Madix, John Reding, Curtis Springer
Lighting by See Factor: Mike Weiss, Jack Funk, Greg Scott, Steve Kostecke
Varilites: Matt Druzbik, Colin Compton
Lasers by Laserlite F/X: Alan Niebur, Charlie Passarelli
Rear Screen Projections created by BearSpots: Norman Stangl, Clive Smith and John Halfpenny
Projectionist: John Coffield
Concert Rigging by IMC: Billy Collins, Mike McDonald and Stephan Herter
Carpenter (and Stage Right Assistant): George Steinert
Carpenter: Sal Marinello
Drivers: Tom Whittaker, Mac McLear, Randy McDaniel, Jerry Henderson, Tom Hartman, John Davis, Bob Hardison, Dave Cook, Ron Sagnip, Stan Whittaker
Tour Merchandise: Mike McLoughlin
Booking Agencies: International Creative Management, NYC, The Agency Group, London, The Agency, Toronto
A special thank you to Roland and Saved By Technology for their technical supererogation.

Program Design: Hugh Syme
Typesetting: California Phototypography Company, Inc.
Contributing Photographers: Fin Costello, Andrew MacNaughtan, Dimo Safari, Deborah Samuel, Scarpati, Albrecht Durer

Alex Lifeson

After taking a long break from touring, I started thinking about setting up a new system that was different from what I had been using during the last few tours. It occurred to me that perhaps I should consider using equipment manufactured in a country on the leading edge of this technology, and in the spirit of perestroika and glasnost decided that the Soviet Union was just the place. I arrived in Moscow and made my way to the local music shop: “Large Fun Music Store,” and spoke to the sales comrade about the latest in musical equipment.

“First ting, you are coming to right place. Second ting, I give you best deal dis side of Leningrad and I want you to know I’m losing rubles on dis deal. Nobody can ever say Yuri Leestiniki try to rip dem up.”

Feeling assured that I wasn’t getting rubble for my ruble, I asked Yuri to show me what he had in the way of guitars. He returned ten minutes later with the strangest guitar case I’d ever seen. It was quite flat and about a half meter square, made of plywood with a long nail hammered into the top and bent over to use for a carrying handle.

“Dis is last model in whole Soviet Union and was sold to guy from Kiev but he never call me back today, so even because I will to get in trouble, I will sell to you.”

What a deal, I thought.

“Okay, Yuri,” I said, “let’s have a look at it.”

Yuri opened the case by prying with two screw drivers at either end and keeping his foot firmly on the “carrying nail.” When he finally got it opened, there was this . . . this thing. It sort of looked like the shape of a guitar but in place of the pickups were these magnets like we used to have in school with the red-painted ends, and in place of a volume control was an on/off switch that looked as if it had come out of a household fuse panel.

Oh yeah, it didn’t have a neck.

“Oh, you are wanting neck too?” he said, surprised. “Neck is extra but I can order for you one to be here in four to six month. Maybe.”

“Okay,” I said, “forget the guitar for now. What about amplifiers?”

“Best amplifier in world I have in stock right now. Is called a “Khrumy” and it come already wit speaker. Is new modern design and also is good for heavy-metal sound because is made from pure and complete iron. You are first to solder wires into electric plug on wall in house and after to maybe stand back for maybe one minutes. Is good to wear big orange rubber gloves when making amplifier to work. Is good amp but sometimes someting is maybe breaking, and so is good buying one more amplifier for spare part. Is nice green color, don’t you tink?”

Yes, well. I asked about the price anyway, thinking that it could make a decent fridge at least.

“If you have to ask, you are not affording it,” he answered me. “But I am liking you and we are just finish a big sale. Dis is last day as matter of fact. I must to be crazy but I let it go for . . . aah . . . eight tousand rubles.”

“What!?” I screamed.

“Okay, okay. How about two pair of jeans and maybe some sandwich.”

The amp came with wheels and a small thirty-horsepower motor, so after I paid Yuri and we got the motor started, I said goodbye and he reminded me to fill in the warranty card for the ten-day warranty. I drove the amp back to the airport and headed home.

I arrived home and was excited to get the amp plugged in and hear it. I got out the soldering gun, soldered the wires into the receptacle, stood back for one minute . . . and my house burned down.

You know, I kinda liked my old gear.

Geddy Lee

Thurs. Jan 18th—10:25 a.m.
Subject: A Kwipment Lisp

Yes, I’ve just received a fax (what a modrin world) from my Pal Pratt (pardon my French) requesting this year’s equipment list. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? An equipment list. Just rolls off the tongue. Oh boy! Equipment. You mean equipment for performance? Equipment for living on the road? Well, how about things I need. Or things I love. Nope! Too small a space. A list or is it liszt or at least, er, excuse me—I guess I’m wanted back on the planet Earth. Does it sound like I’m stalling? Or trying to shirk my responsibilities? It does? I apologize. Where were we? Lists. Ah yes, what I use. Well, I use a Wal and a Leica R5, some big amps and a Wilson Profile (what a profile!). Some black jeans and shoes. (It’s so hard to find good shoes isn’t it?) I now have a Mizuno Liteflex glove and lots of Roland stuff (especially samplers! . . . love those samplers—need those samplers. Once again I’ve been Saved By Technology).

I also use the sports section of USA Today. I need that daily! I also use Jack Secret, John Irving, W.P. Kinsella, W.C. Fields, Skip G., Pedro Almodovar, Modigliani, Andre Kertesz, Sandy Koufax, Diego Giacometti (sorry, dreaming again) and obviously Woody Allen, M. Joe, B. Mink, sweaters by Loucas (just tell me if this is going too far). Okay—I also have some Fender Basses; that’s equipment!! And one N. Young and Julian W. and some Steinbergers and Snidermans and . . .

Oh . . . have I run out of time? But there’s so much more . . . oh well . . . next time . . . Peace and save the planet!

Neil Peart

Don’t be fooled, these are not new drums. Nope, they’re the same Ludwigs as last time, the ones that used to be pinkish, only now they’re a dark, plummy sort of purplish color. (Beautifully done by Paintworks).

Cymbals are all by Avedis Zildjian, except for the Chinese Wuhans, and the brass-plated hardware is a hybrid of what-have-you: Ludwig, Tama, Pearl, Premier, and some custom-made bits from the Percussion JUSTIFY in Fort Wayne. The gong bass drum comes from Tama, and the cowbells come from Guernsey & Holstein. Sticks are Promark 747, and heads — always subject to change, just like human ones — are some combination or other of Remo and Evans. I just keep changing my mind — and my heads.

Same with snare drums. That remains an open question, but I’m sure to using some combination of my old reliable Slingerland, a Solid Percussion piccolo, an old Camco, and/or a Ludwig 13″ piccolo (cute little thing).

The electronics are triggered by d-drum pads and Shark foot pedals, driving a Yamaha midi controller and an Akai S900 sampler. A KAT midi-marimba drives another Akai for all the keyboard percussion parts and various effects.

You know, I was thinking about what my drum kit would look like if I had all the real instruments up there, rather than a box full of floppy disks and a couple of samplers. Picture a stage which contained (in addition to that little ol’ drumset): temple blocks, orchestra bells, bell tree, glockenspiel, marimba, various African drums (including ones like ‘djembe’ that I don’t even know what it looks like), three tympani, a full symphony orchestra, a ‘beeper,’ a big gong, harp, synthesizer, congas, bongos, another timbale, castanets, voice-drums (recorded drum sounds vocalized by MOI) a big huge sheet of metal, jackhammer, wood block, claves, jingled coins, my old red Tama drumkit, and Count Basie and his band.

Oh sure, it would look great alright, but honestly — where would I put all that stuff? And where would the other two guys stand?

Yeah, you’re right; I don’t need those guys anyway.

Roll the Bones

Row the Boats
By Neil Peart

We’re only immortal for a limited time.
Musicians are sometimes said to be immature. Not us guys, you understand, but some of the other musicians we know. Like them, we spent our adolescent years welded to our instruments, obsessed by music to the exclusion of nearly everything else in “normal life.” And maybe that youthful seriousness, which in a way is growing up too fast, means that the adolescent sense of immortality and irresponsibility stays with us a little longer, into the time when we’re supposed to be adults. This is called the “artistic temperament.” This is also called a good excuse.

The point is, each of us experiences a time when we feel immortal, when time is not passing and we’re never going to die. But it’s a limited-time offer—time does pass, and soon enough the realities of life comes crowding in on us, whether we’re ready for them or not, and we have to get serious. This is called “facing the real world.”

We’re only at home when we’re on the run.

Being mature doesn’t have to mean being dead. You just have to get out there and rock, keep your bones rolling, and stay out of the ruts. That has been true for Rush as well. We have continued to learn and grow and change, but behind all that the important thing was just to keep moving. Rolling bones gather no rust.

Through seventeen years and umpteen albums and tours together, we seldom stopped to look back, but neither did we look ahead much beyond the next album or tour. We just kept doing what seemed right, without worrying about the future—it would take care of itself. That is called being philosophical. That is also called a good excuse.

But suddenly it’s different—all at once it seems obvious that we have a long-time creative partnership ahead of us. Maybe we’re growing up a tiny bit. I’m not sure. But I do know that we are excited about this band in a whole new way. Each of us feels it, and Roll the Bones was the catalyst—this record was so enjoyable to make, and the process was so satisfying through each of its stages that suddenly we feel a new conviction, a sense of rebirth. We cut our holidays short in order to start the record sooner, we finished it in “record” time, and now we’re eager to get it out so people can hear it. We’re even cutting our holidays short again in order to start a tour, then get on to the next record. We are psyched. And still immortal . . .

We will pay the price, but we will not count the cost.

A line from John Barth’s The Tidewater Tales (he said I could use it) which echoed around inside me for a long time after I read that book. To me, it just means go for it.

“There are no failures of talent, only failures of character.” I think that’s often true, too. Sure there a lot of talented people who don’t achieve artistic or worldly success, but I think there’s usually a reason—a failure inside them. The important thing is, if you fail once, or if your luck is bad this time, the dream is still there. A dream is only over if you give it up—or if it comes true. That is called irony.

We have to remember the oracle’s words, from Nike, the Greek goddess of victory and lumpy athletic shoes: Just do it. No excuses.

The night has a thousand saxophones.
And nary a clarinet between us.

Turn it up—or turn that wild card down.

The line that started it all. On a rainy day in late summer, cool enough to draw me close to the fire, I sat on the floor of my cottage with a pile of papers around me—notes from the previous two years, lines and phrases collected on the road or in that dreamlike moment before sleep. I began playing with the phrases, “turn it up” and “turn it down,” thought about turning a card down. I started to think more about the “wild card” idea. I guess that’s called inspiration.

So many wild cards we are dealt in life—where we’re born, the genes we wear, the people we meet along the way, and the circumstances of the world around us. Sometimes we even choose a wild card: Faith is like that, and so is Trust—one of the biggest chances you can take in life is trusting somebody, and yet most of us take that chance, at least once or twice. Some of us pursue ambitions where the odds against success are great (and where we might have to stay adolescents all our lives). That is called bravado.

There is truth in homilies like “the harder I work, the luckier I get” and “luck is when preparation meets opportunity,” but they are only tendencies not laws. The best-laid plans, et cetera. No matter how intelligent, talented, and beautiful we might be, we still don’t know what the hell’s going to happen next. But we can improve the odds by the choices we make.

I am not an existentialist; I am a free man!

Where’s my thing?

Where indeed. No deep meaning here, I’m glad to report—just one of those things people say: “Where’s that . . . um . . . oh, you know . . . where’s my—thing?”

We had a lot of fun with this one, putting so much stuff into it there wasn’t room for a small kitchen sink. And for once, the lyrics are guaranteed politically correct. We’ve been meaning to do another instrumental (exercise in self-indulgence) for a few years, but something always seemed to derail our good intentions—as soon as Geddy and Alex would come up with a good musical part, it would fit some lyrics I’d just written.

This time I outsmarted them; I wouldn’t give them any more words until they finished writing an instrumental. It worked.

Playing the game, but not the way the big boys played.

Yo, D. J.—spin that wheel!

Sorry. You lose. Life is so unfair. I mean, shuffling around this mortal coil, this vale of tears, playing the cosmic game show and waiting for the party-at-the-end-of-the-world, taking commercial breaks and flicking through the channels—then suddenly the show is over? If you played well and gave it all you had, you’re certainly a winner, but sometimes the winner takes nothing. That is called tragedy.

Do we have to be forgiving at last?

I suppose. The deconstruction of the Eastern Bloc made some people happy; it made me mad. For generations those people had to line up for toilet paper, wear bad suits, drive nasty cars, and drink bug spray to get high—and it was all a mistake? A heavy price to pay for somebody else’s misguided ideology, it seems to me, and that waste of life must be the ultimate heresy.

The drum part in this song was inspired by a different part of the world. One hot night I lay under the stars on a rooftop in Togo, and heard the sound of drums from across the valley. Even on the edge of sleep the drumming moved me, the rhythm stayed in my head and while working on this song I used variations of it and other West African influences. Depending on your point of view that is either called cultural cross-pollination, or plundering the Third World . . .

Somehow we find each other through all that masquerade.

The timeless quest—find somebody to love, and make it last. We know the odds are not good, but most of us keep trying. Some of us get lucky. Some of us don’t. C’est la vie.

Some great guitar stuff in this song, I think, but don’t tell him I said so. This is the kind of song that we always think ought to be a massive hit single, but by this time we’ve learned that it won’t be, because we’re too weird.

Life is a diamond you turn into dust.

Some people can’t deal with the world as it is, or themselves as they are, and feel powerless to change things—so they get all crazy. They waste away their lives in delusions, paranoia, aimless rage, and neuroses, and in the process they often make those around them miserable, too. Strained friendships, broken couples, warped children. I think they should all stop it. That is called wishful thinking.

Bebop or a one-drop or a hip-hop lite pop metallist.

Yep, no matter what kind of song you choose to play, you’re betting your life on it, for good or ill, and what you believe is what you are. So there. However you slice it, you’re taking a chance, and you might not be right. (Just this once.) No one can ever be sure, in this best of all possible random universes.

That’s why the essence of these songs is, if there’s a chance, you might as well take it. So what if some parts of life are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap. A random universe doesn’t have to be futile; we can change the odds, load the dice, and roll again.

And there’s no escaping the dice, even if you try to take the sting out of a random universe by embracing the prefab structure of Faith, you still have to gamble that it’s the right one. Say the secret word and win a hundred dollars. For anyone who hasn’t seen Groucho Marx’s game show “You Bet Your Life,” I mean that no one but Groucho knows the secret word, and one guess is as good as another. You might have lived a good long life as an exemplary Christian only to be met at the gates of heaven by Mohammed . . .

Anything can happen. That is called fate.

Why are we here? Because we’re here. Row the boats.

Management by Ray Danniels, SRO, Toronto
Tour Manager: Liam Birt
Production Manager: Nick Kotos
Stage Manager: Skip Gildersleeve
Concert Sound Engineer: Robert Scovill
Lighting Director: Shawn Richardson
Stage Left Technician: Jimmy Joe Rhodes
Centre Stage Technician: Larry Allen
Stage Right Technician: Jim Johnson
Keyboard Technician: Tony Geranios
Stage Monitor Engineer: Bill Chrysler
Personal Assistant and Tour Photographer: Andrew MacNaughtan

Cocnert Sound by Electrotec: Ted Leamy, David Stogner, Larry Vodopivec
Lighting by See Factor: Larry Hovic, Edward Duda, Mike Frantz, Donald Lodico
Varilites: Steve Owens, Dave Larrinaga, Stuart Felix
Lasers by Laserlite F/X: Charlie Passarelli
Rear Screen Projections created by BearSpots: Norman Stangl, Clive Smith and John Halfpenny
Projectionist: Bob Montgomery
Concert Rigging by IMC: Billy Collins, Mike McDonald, Marc Renault
Carpenters: George Steinert, Sal Marinello, Moe Haggadone
Drivers: Tom Whittaker, Mac McLear, Tom Hartman, Stan Whittaker, Ron Sagnip, Danny Shelnut, Jim Dezwarte, Dave Cook
Tour Merchandise: Mike McLoughlin, Shannon McLoughlin
Booking Agencies: International Creative Management, NYC, The Agency Group, London, The Agency, Toronto

Art Direction & Program Design: Hugh Syme
Typesetting: California Phototypography, Inc.
Photography: Andrew MacNaughtan

Location for Mr. Lee’s portrait made available by The Winter Garden Theatre, Toronto
c/o The Ontario Heritage Foundation

Alex Lifeson

Have you ever noticed how fish have scales and you can play scales on a guitar? I wanted to have a guitar made from fish, but I don’t know. I asked my friend Gil about it and he said it would probably cost more than a fin and then gave me some line about only a bass player would use a guitar made from fish. He’s a reel jerk anyway.

I wanted to try some new ideas for guitar picks. I tried a donut first. Then I tried another donut as a pick. That was stupid. Next, I tried an axe. I’ve always wondered why people call guitars axes. Axes make lousy picks but they’re great for cutting wood. I had to get another guitar because axes are great for cutting wood. Axes are also great for cutting fish so there’s another strike against a fish guitar. I tried a plastic bag but the green ones have a dull tone and as far as I’m concerned, they’re garbage.

Well, what about amps? I had a great idea. I wore a hearing aid, turned it up loud and just played and just played and it seemed loud enough. I found that I could hear conversations more clearly when I sat in the back seat of cars or in movie theaters. Sounds of the wild outdoors were amazing. The only problem was the guitar cord plugged into my ear. I almost called my friend Yuri in the Soviet Sort of Union of Kinda Socialist Republics to see if he had any Khrumy amps left but discovered he moved to Florida to become an actor. And I thought I was desperate.

I was totally lost as to what to do. I went to see the Pope and he liked the idea of the fish guitar. I also told him about the donut pick and he said, “My son, that’s stupid.” Big help! So I made a trip to England and talked to my pal Queen Elizabeth. She said, “Al, why don’t you try these Crown amps I use in my rig?” I said; “Hey, great idea, Liz.” So we finished our beers and she took me down to the Royal Rehearsal Studio. She cranked up these amps and smacked the longest E sus chord I’ve ever heard. She looked at me with this great big smile and yelled over the decaying chord, “Six hundred watts! It’s really rather super, don’t you think?” So she sold them to me at cost.

Well, I had the amp scene together and now I just needed to work out the guitar situation. The fish guitar idea was not going to fly, so I gave George Bush a call. He asked me: “What do you know about PRS?” I told him I thought a couple of Tylenol, maybe a few Valium, and avoiding any confrontations was the best way to deal with it. He said “No, you idiot! PRS guitars. You know, Paul Reed Smith? I got mine around the corner at the factory. They stay the line and have a kindler, gentler tone.” So he sold me his at cost plus ten percent. “Cost plus ten?” I asked.

He said, “Yeah, well, we’re in a deficit, you know.”

I’m still working on a donut pick. Maybe a fish-flavored donut. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Neil Peart

On the day we began setting up for the writing stage of Roll the Bones, I stood in the little studio and watched Larry putting my drums together. It occurred to me that I’d been using the same basic setup for years now, and maybe it was time for a rethink—time to make some changes, take some chances. Just putting the drums in different places might alter my approach to them, push me in some new directions.

So we started moving the toms around, putting the floor tom under my left hand, and shifting the others down one position, placing the 15″ where the floor tom used to be, the 13″ where the 15″ used to be, and like that. This gave me some new rhythmic possibilities, new ways to construct fills, and even familiar patterns would sound different.

Also, I wanted to try using a single bass drum, with two pedals—to eliminate a big resonating chamber (the other bass drum) which I hardly ever used. I also decided to try a different size: 22″ rather than 24″. So we did all that, and it was good.

My first set of Ludwigs had survived five years of hard labor: recording Hold Your Fire, Presto, and Roll the Bones, as well as two long tours which included the recording of A Show of Hands. They’d gone from pretty-in-pink to plum-crazy, and still sounded good, but maybe it was time to give them a rest. Time for a new kit.

And here it is: Ludwigs once again, in their “Blue Shadow” finish, with the brass-plating and “Vibrafibing” coordinated by the Percussion Center in Fort Wayne. Other than the above-named changes, the setup remains the same; Zildjian cymbals (but for the two Chinese Wuhans), Slingerland snare, assorted cowbells, and Tama gong bass drum. The In the “back forty,” we find the Ludwig 13″ piccolo snare, 18″ bass drum, plus d-drum pads, Shark pedals, and KAT midi marimba triggering Akai samplers. Remo heads are punished by Promark “Signature” sticks.

And that’s what ‘s new in the toy box—I mean tool box!

Geddy Lee

Questions, questions . . .

This is the space normally dedicated to my equipment list, but from tour to tour my equipment changes so little, I ask myself, Does anyone reading this really want to know what equipment I use? Or would they be interested in something else? If so, what? What would be appropriate? Would they be interested in the same things I am? Especially this time of the year? (Autumn ’91)

Would they care if the Blue Jays won in the pathetic American League East? What is going to happen in Russia? Will Gorbo pull it all together? Can the Democratic party ever find a serious opponent to George Bush? How about that Colin Powell? How about Frank Thomas, first base for the White Sox? Is it true that he is so good that one day he’ll be referred to only as “Big Frank?” What about Canada? (Our home and native land.) Is Canada really rich in resources, poor in policy?” Can the people of Ontario survive the effects of a quasi-socialist government? Maybe I should move to Chicago. After all they have two major league teams, Wrigley Field, a real great Art Institute, and all those magnificent buildings. (Not to mention Big Frank.) And all those great restaurants.

Speaking of food, should I finally stop eating red meat completely? (Is a hot dog technically red meat or what?) And will I really live longer if I get rid of most of the fat in my diet? Or will I just feel better? More important, will it help my tennis game? Do Jimmy Connors or Nolan Ryan watch what they eat? Did Satchel Paige, or Vince van Gogh? How about Big Frank, for that matter?

Can the Jays make it to the Series? Would that really piss off Americans to see the Series played in Canada? Why are the questions always easier to come up with than the answers? I dunno.

Why are we here . . . for the beer?
Roll dem bones.
Call me, we’ll do lunch!

P.S.—2 Wal basses, 2 BGW amps, 2 Furman PQ-3 pre-amps, 2 API eq units, 2 big ugly cabinets with 15″ speakers. In Synthworld; Korg midi pedals, Taurus pedals, Roland D-50, Roland S-770 samplers, Korg Wavestation, Yamaha PF-80.


Reflections in a Wilderness of Mirrors

By Neil Peart

In 1994 Rush will celebrate twenty years together (our rhinestone anniversary, I believe it’s called). But really, can you imagine—the same three guys staying together through a score of years, and finding an audience to keep buying all that racket? I’m not sure which is more amazing, but either way it must be some kind of record, and either way, we’re happy. That’s the secret, if there is one.

“Wilderness of mirrors” is a phrase from T.S.Eliot’s “Gerontion,” and was also applied by former CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton to describe the world of espionage—hence the twist on “Double Agent,” reflecting the clandestine workings of dreams and the subconcious. Disinformation or intelligence? Let the mirror decide.

Reflections in a wilderness of mirrors; a kind of theme. Not reflections in the conventional sense of looking back—certainly one can also reflect upon the present and future—but more in holding a mirror up to our hidden selves, to human nature and its doings in the world, and to the tragedies and inspirations of everyday life. Heavy stuff, I suppose, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with it! That’s the secret, if there is one.

We had outlined a few goals before we began working on this record, but only in the most casual way: conversations in the tuning room, the tour bus, or some hotel bar. Generally, we would continue to aim for a balance between spontaneity and refinement (natural complements and not adversaries, as some would have it), and perhaps work on a more organic approach to the songs—guitar, bass, drums. Our true counterparts.

Other than these vague notions, we began with the usual “clean sheet of paper,” the mindset that we try to bring to every new project. So now we began to ransack the world for producers and engineers to help shape whatever music might emerge when we began writing. We checked out the field of young talent, new people who were doing interesting work, but it soon became apparent that we had nothing to learn from a producer or engineer who had made fewer records than we had. Youthful enthusiasm is all very well, but we needed enthusiasm with some experience!

Enter—or re-enter—Peter Collins, the diminutive, bearded, cigar-smoking Englishman (and true gentleman) who also worked with us as co-producer on Power Windows and Hold Your Fire. Once again, Peter was the ideal “objective ear” for us, another counterpart. Dedicated to the song above everything, he weighs a performance or a part only in regard to the feeling it conveys, its contribution to the whole edifice (like an architect, he has an “edifice complex”). Peter holds himself aloof from the technique and technology, the craftwork—“quality control,” as he terms it—and rightly considers these things to be the domain of the musicians and the engineer. The rest of us can huddle around the mixing console and fuss over the fine details of musicianship and sound, while his job is to keep the project moving, and to ensure that craft is not allowed to interfere with art—the song. That’s his secret, if he has one.

We did discover some new engineers, and Kevin “Caveman” Shirley was our choice for the actual recording. His previous work seemed to capture the instrumenents in a raw, direct fashion, powerful and exciting and as faithful as possible to what drums and guitars really sound like. Our Caveman was somewhat of a purist, using few effects and a minimum of processing. For example, if I asked him to alter the sound of my hi-hat, say for more brightness or more body, instead of simply twiddling a knob on the desk he would come out and move the microphone. As the Caveman’s counterpart, we brought in Michael Letho for the final mixing. Michael’s previous work displayed a refined, architectural style of layering and building a song (another “edifice complex”), and we hoped this would complement the Caveman’s style, and our own, combining rawness and refinement—spit and polish, you might say—gaining both and sacrificing neither. As Peter Collins remarked at the end: “Isn’t it nice when a plan actually works!”

The Concise Oxford defines “counterpart” both as “duplicate” and as “opposite,” in the sense of “forming a natural complement to another.” That’s what I thought was so interesting about the word: considered in this way, contraries are reflections of each other, opposite numbers, and not necessarily contradictions, enemies, The Other. Polarities are not to be resisted, but reconciled. Reaching for the alien shore.

Dualities like gender or race are not opposite but true counterparts, the same and yet different, and not to be seen as some existential competition—we could do without that. Better yet: we could get along without that.

In this light, a listener should not mistake the irony of “Stick It Out” with its plea for both fortitude and forbearance. Or “Animate,” which is not about two individuals, but about one man addressing his anima—his feminine side, as defined by Carl Jung. Within that duality, what ” a man must learn to gently dominate” is himself, his own “submissive trait,” while also learning to “gently dominate” the animus—the male thing—and the other hormone driven “A-words” like aggression and ambition. We dominate by not submitting, whether to brute instinct, violent rage, or ruthless greed.

For the rest of it, we can all dominate or submit as the occasion warrants, try to reconcile the duplicates and opposites, and dream of racing through life at the speed of love (186,000 miles per second, if you believe in love at first sight). Everyone wants the ideal of “forming a natural complement to another.” A counterpart. Friendship, love, and partners in life and work are the rewards for bridging that gap between ‘duplicate’ and ‘opposite.’

Counterparts. Words and music. Guitar, bass, drums. Writing, rehearsing, and recording. Flying and driving and working and laughing. Alex’s flashes of dazzling spontaneity, twisted humor, and emotional fire, Geddy’s melodic instinct, wry wit, and meticulous passion, my own obsessive drive and rhythmic bombast. True synergy, I guess: the whole greater that the parts—which are, after all, just humble old us.

The course of true synergy may not always run smooth, like any “real world” relationship, but even occasional friction, if handled with respect and dignity, can be a grindstone and create its own sparks—no pearl grows without a grain of irritation at its heart. (The trick is to grow a pearl and not an ulcer.) And really, who wants to be around people who agree with you all the time? Differing opinions are part of the chemistry—for example, I still get excited at seeing how much my lyrics are improved by input from the other two—but together we also have to face the maddening complexity of the forces around us: the mechanics of running a large organization, the hassles of business, the erosion of privacy, the absence from home, and sometimes the soul-destroying ennui of too long a tour. (“The only thing worse than touring is not touring,” that’s my motto.)

So we do what must be done, and try to balance it out with the challenges and satisfactions of our private lives. Our job is to pour out as much as we can into the melting pot of Rush, tributaries flowing to the larger river, sparks added to the fire, reflections carried to the mirror. That’s how we can best pursue happiness.

And that is the secret, when all is said and done. “The pursuit of happiness” may be the finest phrase in history, and some people seem to forget that happiness is what we’re supposed to be chasing here. Not short-lived pleasures, not commodities, not good hair or perfect cheekbones, but simply enjoying the mountain while we’re climbing it. The upward paths may be hardest, but they have the best views.

And to our way of thinking, we can continue to move upward—we just have to hold off the rust of laziness, the mold of the marketplace, and the patina of cynicism. Pursuing such a complicated and elusive state is easier said than done, of course, but while we’re chasing it we sometimes learn one thing—that it is a chase, and we may as well cut to it.

That’s the secret, if there is one.

Management by Ray Danniels, Anthem Entertainment Group, Toronto
Tour Manager: Liam Birt
Production & Stage Manager: Dan Braun
Production Assistant: Jimmy Joe Rhodes
Concert Sound Engineer: Robert Scovill
Lighting Director: Howard Ungerleider
Stage Left Technician: Skip Gildersleeve
Center Stage Technician: Larry Allen
Stage Right Technician: Jim Johnson
Keyboard Technician: Tony Geranios
Programming: Paul DeCarli and Jim Burgess
Stage Monitor Engineer: Phil Wilkey
Personal Assistant: Sean Son Hing

Concert Sound by Eletrotec: Ted Leamy, Larry (Kahuna) Vodopivec, David Stogner, Brad Judd
Lighting by See Factor: Jack Funk Mike Weiss, Tony Nackley, Buck Kniffen, Ed Hyatt
ICON automated lighting: Matt Druzbik
Rear Screen Projections created by Spin Productions: Norman Stangl, Alan Weinrib, Roy Pike, Peter Wellington, Chris Van Dyke, Ian Robertson, Rob Jones, Nuno Paulino, John Coldrick, Mark Powers, Ferene Rofusz, Steven Lewis, Paul Cormack
Projectionists: Bob Montgomery, Conrad Coriz
Pyrotechnics: Doug Adams, Reid Schulte-Derne
Concert Rigging by IMC: Mike McDonald, Rick Mooney, Brian Collins
Carpenters: George Steinert, Sal Marinello
Trucks & Buses: Ego Trips, Four Seasons
Drivers: Tom (Whitey) Whittaker, Arthur (Mac) McLear, Red McBrine, Rick Foote, Ken Bosemer, Larry Frazer, Lenny Southwick, Donny Hendrich
Tour Merchandise: The McLoughlin Family
Booking Agencies: International Creative Management, NYC; The Agency Group, London; The Agency, Toronto
Tour Accountants: Drysdale & Drysdale — John Whitehead, Liam Birt
Program Design: Hugh Syme
Typesetting: Central Typesetting, Los Angeles
Contribuing Photographers: Andrew MacNaughtan, Deborah Taylor

Alex Lifeson
Just the other day a long time ago, J. J. and I were talking about what we needed to do to change the look and sound of my equipment rig. We made a list of all the important items that needed to be considered for such a change.

Here are some of these:

1. Get stuff that has a lot of flashing lights.
2. Get stuff that’s bigger than it needs to be.
3. Get stuff that’s really expensive.
4. Get a bunch of extra flashing lights.
5. Make sure you have a total of at least 50 knobs you can turn.
6. Get a tractor to haul all the stuff you’ve got but don’t really need.

(It was this last item that caused all the trouble . . . )

We followed our list closely. We were quite proud of ourselves, having managed to find Marshall amps from the distributor at the highest price allowable and only had to wait months for delivery. They came with the “Tons o’ Knobs” option, a relatively unknown and unused extra. We could only get three lights per stack, so we ordered four for twelve at twelve hundred per one at a quarter after ten on the nineteenth. The equation looks something like this: 3lexE 4120 sine = 12T +lt @ 19 = $$$.

Now, we knew that the Law of Excessive Amplification calls for an even number of amps, but decided to go with three. We set it all up and realized that we’d made a mistake and immediately ordered another stack—for now. We took some time and worked the system out in a field far from human ears, and I have to say, I got really excited with the results. In fact, I was so up that I had one too many glasses of wine—a fine Burgundy from Leroy that was rich and cherry-like without an overbearing fruit, yet delicate and not smelly. Anyway, I demanded to drive the amps around with the tractor, and even though J. J. protested, I had my way. Before I realized it, I’d lost the amps in the tall Fescue while I was pulling donuts, and felt a funny bump under the tractor’s rotating blades as I sped out of control, laughing hysterically.

We just call him J. now. We did manage to find a staple gun, and after administering a whole bottle of wine (a pleasant Rioja from the ’85 vintage that displayed a robust body without the sharpness of the broken shards of glass), we managed to do a decent job of reattachment. At least he had a leg to stand on.

And I got a kick out of that.

Geddy Lee
Tuesday December 14, 1993. Kwiptment List 93 . . .

It is time once again to fill this space, ambiguously referred to as the Equipment List. Here we are in the midst of rehearsals, preparing for the “coming tour.” What does this preparation mean, you ask?

Well, it means reacquainting ourselves with crew members, longstanding and new ones, coffee and donuts (sinkers), blisters, headaches, and other assorted anxiety-related pleasantries.

And (thank goodness) it also brings the increasingly—more—necessary jokes about amps, speakers, ear molds (I said ear molds, not ear moulds!!), keyboards, weight problems, the aging process, g-g-g-golf, baseball, and of course, donuts! (I wonder who invented donuts? I dunno, probably, probably some genius.)

Altogether, it’s an action-packed, fun-filled few weeks, vibing together in a lovely suburban warehouse motif, hidden in a scenic stretch of strip malls in East Toronto!!

It is, indeed, a glamorous life . . .

Oh! Before I forget—for those interested in such things, I actually have some new Equipment on this tour! Gasp! (Did he win a contest?, you ask.) Yes, it’s true, after 200 years of touring, I have new amps. Just call me impetuous!

The are as follows: Trace Elliot Quatra 4VR amplifiers, GP12 SMX preamps, with two single-18″ speaker cabs and two 4×10″ speaker cabs.

Hey, let’s not stop there! I’ll also be using Fender Jazz Basses and a bunch of keyboards!!

That’s it for now! See ya!!

Neil Peart
This photo [not shown] was taken in October ’92, during a Bicycle Africa tour of Mali, Senegal, and The Gambia. Djenne is a medieval town in the inland delta of the Niger River, not far from Timbuktu. The “Great Mosque,” like the rest of Djenne, is built of mud, and every year after the rains they have to climb up and resurface that mud, using the exposed beams as scaffolding. The minarets are topped with ostrich eggs, and altogether it’s about as amazing a thing as this reporter has ever seen. My friend Mendelson Joe says this photo looks like “a retired hockey player visiting another planet.” And that’s about how I felt—except for the “retired hockey player” part.

So anyway . . . what’s new in Drumland? Well, not a lot really. After the big changes I made to the kit for Roll the Bones, this time I just got a new color (Black Cherry, another one of the “hot rod” paint jobs.) The kit was co-ordinated, assembled, and “vibrafibed” (a thin layer of fiberglass on the inner shell) by Neal Graham, Larry Allen, and XL Specialty in Fort Wayne. The drums are still Ludwigs, and the cymbals are Zildjians (except for the two Chinese Wuhans).

Electronically. the aging Akai samplers are driven by d-drum pads, a KAT midi-marimba, Shark pedals, and Sid the amazing mini-trigger, while a Dauz pad also triggers occasional keyboard “events.”

Otherwise, I still use that old Slingerland snare, a Remo “Legato” marching snare, a 13″ Ludwig piccolo on the back kit, Tama gong bass drum, Promark sticks, Remo heads, LP cowbells, some wind chimes, and—probably our most-asked-about piece of hardware—two little squirrel-cage fans to help keep my hands dry.

And those, despite any claims to the contrary, are my biggest fans . . .

Test for Echo

Official Guide Book and User’s Manual

By Neil Peart

Is there anybody out there?

That’s what the title is all about. Everybody needs an “echo,” some affirmation, to know they’re not alone. Sometimes that can be life’s most precious discovery—somebody out there who feels the way you do. You ask yourself “Am I crazy?”, “Am I weird?”, and you need some affirmation: the echo. While the answer to those questions may still be “Yes!” it’s good to know that you’re not the only one. You are not alone . . .

And we’re not, either. During the making of this record, my partners Geddy and Alex posted some goofy “Inspirational Slogans” on the walls of the studio. Like this one:

individually, we are a ass; but together, we are a genius

Like most Inspirational Slogans, it’s hyperbolic (and goofy), but expresses a humble truth. Another previous discovery to make in life: we do our best work together. And have the most fun, too. (That’s the “genius” part.)

We had taken a long break from being “a genius together.” After the “Counterparts” tour ended in May of ’94, we took almost a year and a half away from the band, and during that time Geddy and his wife produced a baby girl, Alex (as “Victor”) produced a solo album, and I produced a tribute to the big-band music of Buddy Rich. We worked; we traveled; we lived our lives; and it was fine.

All of those activities kept us off the streets and out of trouble until October of ’95, when we assembled at Chalet Studio, a country retreat just outside Toronto. From my little writing-room at one end of the house, I looked out over the fields and autumn-tinged treetops all the way down to Lake Ontario. With this pleasant backdrop to my computer’s screen, I began sending a stream of lyrics to the small studio at the other end of the house, where Geddy and Alex hunched over guitars and computers.

In past writing sessions, the two of them often “built” the songs as they went, matching verses and choruses and roughing out the arrangement on a demo tape. At that point we would all listen to the song, and discuss what was good and what might be improved, both musically and lyrically. So much comes clear in that unforgiving form (guitars, vocals, and drum machine) and for me, with my lyricist hat on, the first time I hear the words sung is a revelation. Unsuspected nuances—-and flaws—and thrown into sharp relief.

But this time they chose another method: as the musical ideas emerged, they would go through the lyrics and try to match up a verse or a chorus, record that fragment, then move on to something else. They didn’t want to get bogged down in the “jigsaw puzzle” of assembling whole songs, but rather keep the momentum going with a flow of fresh ideas. Fair enough, of course—whatever works!—but this reporter was growing a little anxious when a couple of weeks went by and he still hadn’t heard anything.

However, I continued “feeding the machine” with more lyrics and when I needed a “left-brain break,” I could go have a bash on the small practice kit in the hall outside my room. During our hiatus, instead of getting away from drumming, it had actually assumed a new importance in my life—after thirty years of playing the “traps” (for “contraption”), I was able to step away from performing and really explore drumming, and it became a revelation to me.

So, as the days went by I was doubly eager to hear something new. The left brain wanted to know if any of the words were working out, and when I switched hemispheres and practiced my drumming, the right brain wanted some songs to work on. Finally the day came when Geddy and Alex were ready to play me some completed music, and called me into the studio. All a little nervous, we glanced around the Lerxst Sound console and played the tape.

Nothing to be nervous about—I loved what I heard. Wearing my lyricist hat, it was gratifying to hear those endlessly fussed-over words come alive in song, and wearing my drummer hat, it was inspiring to hear so many musical directions to explore, and all the possibilities for rhythmic fun and games. This was going to be good.

Now we began the process of refining the arrangements and developing our individual parts. And now it began to snow—in Biblical proportions. An early blizzard struck on the first of November. Artic winds swirling in a deep blanket of snow over the woods and pastures, and that seemed to be the weather forecast until the record was finished—six months later. No coincidence that the Artic theme pervades our cover art, for it certainly pervaded our working environment.

By early December the songs were nearly all written, arranged, and recorded (to varying degrees of refinement), and we were joined by Peter Collins (with his snowboots). In previous years, Peter had been our co-producer on Power Windows, Hold Your Fire, and Counterparts, and once again he came through for us, suggesting many small-but-critical improvements to the arrangements and our individual parts. Perhaps Peter’s greatest contribution is his instinct for pointing us in directions we would never have imagined.

Which, of course, is exactly why you have a co-producer.

As the process continued, Peter kept his ears on the “overview” of the songs and performances and let the three of of us, and recording engineer Clif Norrell (Faith No More, R.E.M., Catherine Wheel, etc. . .) worry over the “inside” stuff—the nuts-and-bolts of equalization, relative balances, and mathematical precision, Clif’s experienced and sensitive cars helped to translate the sounds we imagined into the sounds we heard (no small feat!).

At the beginning of January we started recording at Bearsville Studios, in the Catskill Mountains of New York State, and naturally we arrived there on the very day of the “Blizzard Of ’96.” Back in Toronto, we moved into the cozy little world of Reaction Studio, and still the snow kept falling (for forty days and forty nights). By April, Spring ought to have been sniffing around, but the flurries continued as we moved into McClear Place, ready for the final mix.

Different people have different reactions to this crucial time. For myself, an impatient sort who likes quick gratification, I call it “The End Of Waiting,” while Geddy, still harboring visions of sudden perfection and miraculous transformation, refers to mixing as “The Death of Hope.” For Alex, there are more important concerns: Inventions. Dinner. Louder Guitars.

Mixing engineer Andy Wallace (Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Faith No More, etc. . .) came on board at this point (with his snowboots), all fresh and untainted by the recording process. Working quickly and intuitively, Andy was able to take all of that music we’d lived with for so long and weave it into new and unexpected patterns. When we heard his mix of a song for the first time, invariably we’d say something like, “Wow —I never thought of it like that before!”

Which is exactly why you bring in a mixing engineer.

And that’s our little story: We took a long break. We made a record. It snowed a lot.

Oh, there’s more—a whole cinematic “back-story,” some of which can perhaps be read between these lines: All the years leading up to where we are today, the eager determination we brought to this project, the dedicated time and effort that went into making it (and not just when it was snowing, either —two summers went into it as surely as did two winters. Or twenty years. Or thirty years).

And, of course, there are all the songs, too, and what’s “between the lines” in them. How the lyrics to “Test For Echo” (a collaboration between this reporter and Pye Dubois, like “Tom Sawyer,” “Force Ten,” and “Between Sun And Moon” before it) give a video-view of this wacky world of ours, and offer this tacit response: “Excuse me—does anybody else think this weird?”

HALLO-O-O-o-o! Test . . . for . . . echo . . . Is anybody out there?

“Virtuality” takes a similarly ironic view of modern life—after all, what the heck is a “virtual song?” And who would want to dance to it? Same in “Resist,” with the adaptation of the Oscar Wilde quote: “I can resist anything except temptation.” Well, really—what else is there to resist?

Like the way I resist the temptation to talk about the music itself, just out of the “group modesty” (although a great baseball philosopher once said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you actually done it!”). I probably shouldn’t even mention all the fine guitar solos and vocal performances, and how my colleagues shine on songs like “Totem,” “Resist,” “Time and Motion,” “The Color of Right”—hell, all of them.

“Individually, we are a ass . . . ” Yes, that part’s true enough, but still—after so many years of apprenticeship, I believe we’re finally starting to get somewhere. Together.

Whenever we get there, and wherever there is, I sure hope we’ll look out from that stage and find an audience waiting. Otherwise it will be like Gertrude Stein’s comment on a certain midwestern city: “We went there—but there was no there there.”


Test . . . for . . . echo . . .

Is there anybody out there?

Management by Ray Danniels, SRO Management Inc., Toronto
Tour Manager: Liam Birt
Production & Stage Manager: Craig (C.B) Blazier
Production Assistant: Skip Gildersleeve
Concert Sound Engineer: Robert Scovill
Lighting Director: Howard Ungerleider
Stage Left Technician: Steve Cohen
Centre Stage Technician: Larry Allen
Stage Right Technician: Jim Johnson
Keyboard Technician: Tony Geranios
Programming: Carl Petzelt
Stage Monitor Engineer: Brain Keeffe
Personal Assistant: Peter Rollo

Concert Sound by Electrotec: George Barnes, Charlie Lawson, Mike Humble, Jason Alt
Lighting by See Factor: Ethan Weber, Ed Duda, Phil Karatz
Moving lights: Matt Druzbik
Pyrotechnics: Reid Schulte-Derne, Doug Adams, Randy Bast
Rear Screen Projectionists created by Spin Productions: Norman Stangl
BBC video crew: Jeff Claire, Keithe Marrero, Richard Speicher
Lasers: John Popowycz, Charles Passarelli
Concert Rigging by IMC: Billy Collins, Brian Collins, Richard Farr
Carpenters: George Steinert, Lorne Wheaton
Trucks & Buses: Ego Trips, Hemphill Brothers
Drivers: Arthur (Mac) MacLear, John Mallen, Dave Cook, Don Johnson, Ian Fergusson, David Burnette, Glyn “English” Morris, Keith Kaminski, Paul Hortop
Chief Pilot: Mike McLean
Captain: Douglas Vaillant
Navigator: Phil MacMullin Tour Merchandise: The McLoughlin family, Steve Siket
Booking Agencies: International Creative Management, NYC, The Agency Group, London, The Agency, Toronto
Tour Accountants: Drysdale & Drysdale–John Whitehead, Liam Birt
Program Design and Digital Illustrations: Hugh Syme
Photography: Andrew MacNaughtan
Additional Photography: Dimo Safari, Tony Frederick, Richard C. Negus, Justin Zivojinovich

Alex LIfeson

The old days. Yep, I remember them days. Why, we was so poor we thought “grammar” was my Mom’s Mom! My old Dad got a third part-time job washing trees in the park so’s he could afford to buy me a $50 Conora guitar. Made in Japan when that mean’t somthin’—Cheap!! No fancy-shmancy bells and whistles on that beaut, no sir. Just pure, no sustain, dull, crappy sound—but that was the style at the time.

Yep, I remember them days.

We was so poor we couldn’t afford to think about owning a amp, let alone talk about owning one. I had to borra this one from Very Old Doc Cooper next door, who was born older than his parents. They say he went plum crazy one day and died after eatin’ a whole bushel of ’em. Anyway, back then he used to loan me his Paul amp, which had the same crappy sound that was the style at the time.

My old Dad got even another job as an electrician so’s he could legally get electrical tape so’s I could illegally tape “VOX” on the front of it. Them Vox amps was for rich guys like the Beatles, which was the group I was hoping to join ’cause I heard from some guy that they was good. I never got that job ’cause I also heard that you had to have your own stuff to get in that group. Also, I was only thirteen.

I didn’t have no kind of equipment ’cause there wan’t no other to have. In them days, you had a guitar, a amp, and maybe a real pick. And you always carried your stuff to the gig, which was for free. Why, in them days a “roadie” was when that little kid next door pooped in the middle of the street! You had to be real careful when you walked to the gig, let me tell you.

And, we was so poor we couldn’t afford to have good enough friends at them gigs who would like our sound only because they were our friends. Instead, we had the kind of friends who went “Shut up, you stupid sound too loud, man!”

“Yeah? You shut up, stupid lousy friends!”

Anyhoo, I remember them days. And what days they was.

Neil Peart

The Drums? Well, they’re Stewarts, of course, with an 18″ Capri bass drum I got in a trade from my friend, and featuring the finest Ajax cymbals from Japan. (As my colleague Lerxst pointed out, those were the days when “Made In Japan” really meant something—none of your quality materials and meticulous workmanship then, boy!)

Nowadays, although my drums are red sparkle once again (in the spirit of my “starting over” drumming-wise), there are a few more of them, and they are American-made DWs, right down to the pedals, stands, and even (shock, horror!) the snare drum. “Old Number One,” the Slingerland wood-shell snare I’ve used since forever, has been retired from the field after a glorious career, and a couple of fine DW snares have taken it’s place.

The toms are 8″, 10″, 12″, 13″, 15″ (two), 16″, and 18″, the bass drum is a 22″ (with a pair of 18″ “cannons” on the back setup), mixed in with two 13″ piccolo snares, Akai samplers driven by d-drum pads, Kat midi-marimba, and Shark pedals, and the usual selection of cowbells and windchimes.

The heads are Remo white-coated Ambassadors (just for a change), and the cymbals are by Zildjian, except for one Chinese Wuhan. My sticks are the Promark 747 “Signature” model, in Japanese white oak.

My teacher for the past couple of years has been Freddie Gruber, and I would like to thank him for leading me down the paths of righteousness.

Geddy Lee

What I did on my summer vacation (or, “A Guy’s Gotta Do What a Guy’s Probably Gotta Do!”)

Hey there! Hi there! Ho there! But first, let me point out how difficult it is these days to find shoes like I’m wearing in the above photo—real Beatle boots!

Anyway, it’s time once again for me to ramble on for a few paragraphs. So let me say “welcome to the show,” and also, “thanks.” Why thanks? Well—to be perfectly frank—when you’ve taken a couple of years away from touring and recording, you’re really not quite sure if anyone will still be interested when you decide to come back to it! So, for your continued interest and support, I would like to offer you a laurel, and hardy handshake, and sincerely say thank you.

Yuccch!! Enough warmth! Now—what I did on my two-year “summer” vacation? Oh . . . a lot of domestic-type stuff that is really only of interest to other people that are living a domestic-type model of life. You know the scene: have kids, watch “Pingu,” learn how to feed the family without ordering in, play Fantasy League Baseball, build a house, and of course the obligatory experiments with facial hair. Stuff, I suppose, that doesn’t make for very “copy.” But, you know, a guy’s gotta do . . . blah, blah!

And so it goes that after the calm must sooner-or-later come the storm. And not a minute too soon! Alright, already—I confess! I was ready to write and ready to roll. So here we go!!

Peace, Geddy

P.S. For Those of you who find this stuff interesting, here is my Kwipment List for the Test For Echo tour: Basses: Fender Jazz. Amplification: Trace Elliot Quadra 4 amplifiers, Trace Elliot Gp-12 smx pre-amplifiers, Trace Elliot 1 x 18″ and 4 x 10″ speaker cabinets, Palmer PDI-03 speaker simulator, SansAmp model PSA-1. Keyboards: a whole big bunch! Effects: Commodore Deluxe Skake Maker Trio, Osterizer Deluxe 2-Speed Blender, Proctor-Silex Deluxe Juicit Oscillating Strainer, Frigidaire Deluxe Refrigerator, Beatrice Deluxe #2 Manual Meat Grinder, Morphy-Richards Deluxe Automatic Toaster.

Vapor Trails

Behind the Fire
The Making of Vapor Trails

By Neil Peart

“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion; you must set yourself on fire.”

I found those words on the wall of a bar in Montana, attributed to somebody named Reggie Leach. It seemed an unlikely place to find inspiration, but I carried it away with me, and thought of it more than once during the making of this latest Rush album.

On a cold Monday morning in January of 2001, Geddy, Alex, and I gathered at a small studio in Toronto to start work again. It had been almost five years since Test For Echo, but after twenty-seven years and sixteen studio albums together, we were hopeful that the chemistry among us could be awakened once more, the fire rekindled. Deep down we were a little apprehensive—would we really be able to put together enough songs that we liked to fill a new album?

Always a burning question, and more so this time, when so much life had flowed beneath our bridges. Also, in the past few years both Geddy and Alex had produced their own projects, for themselves and for others, and each of them was used to being the Supreme Boss of Everything. For many reasons, the process of meshing again had to be gradual, exploratory, and careful.

We laid out no parameters, no goals, no limitations, only that we would take a relaxed, civilized approach to this project. No hurry, no pressure, no marathon stints in the studio (at first anyway); we would simply keep working, day after day, trying to strike sparks from each other and feed the slow-burning fire of collaboration and mutual inspiration.

Per our usual pattern, Geddy and Alex started working together on musical ideas in the studio’s control room, while I retreated into another little room with pen, paper, and computer to start trying to assemble lyrics. I began by going through my “scrapyard” of jotted notes and phrases I had collected, looking for connections to stitch together, while Geddy and Alex began by simply playing, setting up a rhythm machine and jamming along with guitar and bass.

After a couple of weeks I had put down a few lyrics to pass over to them, but it seemed they weren’t ready to get serious yet—they just wanted to “play.” Sometimes I would take a break from wordsmithing and go down the hall to have a bash at my drums in the main recording room, and I would pass the control room where the two of them were working. Usually I heard them riffing away, exploring some interesting directions and recording everything, but there weren’t any songs yet.

We would talk at the beginning or end of the day, and I knew the two of them were starting to get excited about their explorations, but didn’t want to stop for the relatively tedious job of listening through all those raw ideas and choosing the best ones to assemble into a coherent structure.

For myself, once I had a half dozen lyrics finished I began to feel a little unsure how to proceed. I wanted to know which ones might be “working” for them, to receive some feedback, and some influence, from where they were going musically. So I stopped lyric-writing for awhile, and started writing a book instead. (As one does.)

Eventually Geddy began to sift through the vast number of jams they had created, finding a verse here, a chorus there, and piecing them together. Often a pattern had only ever been played once in passing, but through the use of computer tools it could be repeated or reworked into a part. Since all the writing, arranging, and recording was done on computer, a lot of time was spent staring at monitors, but most of the time technology was our friend, and helped us to combine spontaneity and craftwork. Talk was the necessary interface, of course, and once Geddy and Alex had agreed on basic structures, Geddy would go through the lyrics to see what might suit the music and “sing well,” then come to me to discuss any improvements, additions, or deletions I could make from my end.

Gradually the songs began to come together, “Out Of The Cradle” among the first, along with “Vapor Trail,” “The Stars Look Down,” and “Earthshine.” That last is notable for being the only Rush song I can recall that was later completely rewritten, keeping the same lyrics but replacing every single musical part. “Cradle” also underwent some serious surgery as time passed, and that was the kind of relaxed approach we were taking, allowing us to reexamine songs with the luxury of perspective, and repair or replace any parts that didn’t survive that test of time. Sometimes a developing song seemed to lose momentum, or our faith (the critical force), and was abandoned, but that had always been our version of “natural selection.”

Once I had the reassurance of knowing that some of the lyrics were working, and had a feel for the musical context, I carried on with the lyric writing. And switching to my “drummer” hat, now that I had some song sketches to work on I started spending a few nights a week creating and refining drum parts, playing along to the still-evolving arrangements of music and vocals as my guide. Alex was my personal producer and recording engineer, as he had been for this phase of many past albums.

More songs came together too, like “Secret Touch,” “Sweet Miracle,” and “How It Is,” and as often happens, once we had a few songs finished that we liked, the newer ones started to get weirder. Daring grows out of confidence (or what the ancient Greeks called “hubris,” I guess), and from this combination came “One Little Victory,” “Ceiling Unlimited,” and “Nocturne.”

By that time we had been working on our own for about six months, and felt we had enough material to benefit from an “objective ear,” a coproducer. Paul Northfield had worked with us as recording engineer on albums going back to Moving Pictures and Signals in the early eighties, and on several live records over the years (as well as my Buddy Rich tributes), but this was the first time we had worked with him in a more creative capacity. We wanted someone who knew us and our music well enough to make a shortcut straight into the composing and arranging area, for there were still more songs to be written and organized, and make a transition from there straight to recording.

That was an important difference in the way we made this record, compared to any in the past. We used to spend a period of time working on the songwriting, arranging, and our individual parts, then do some last-minute preproduction work with a coproducer before moving to a big-time studio to start the “official” recording. The pressure this imposed on us could be productive, and in particular I found that it could often drive me to a level of performance I hadn’t reached before, but this time we wanted to do it differently—more gradually, with more time for revision and renovations.

Some of the songs had been worked on over a period of months by that time, and were ready to record, while others were still under development, and a few hadn’t even been written yet. So for the first time we were able to simultaneously work on writing new songs, arranging older ones, and recording finished performances on the ones we were “satisfied” with. Geddy had been able to record the vocals on his own, and Alex the guitars, experimenting and layering to their hearts’ content, and some of those performances would remain irreplaceably right. In each case we were “leap-frogging” ahead, improving our individual parts and discussing changes, then responding to the work the others had done on their own. After so many years of playing together we intuitively understood each other musically, and even if we worked in isolation, we were working together.

Paul’s influence was strong through this phase, for he could help us judge the performances as “finished” or “not yet,” and he saw possibilities that sometimes escaped us (urging “Ghost Rider” from the verge of abandonment to its glorious realization, for example). He also encouraged our “eccentricities” in the later-emerging songs like “Freeze” and “Peaceable Kingdom.”

By then certain common musical themes had emerged, like a “veiled complexity” in the parts and arrangements (the drum parts for “Freeze” and “Peaceable Kingdom” took me days to work out and refine, for example). Alex’s particular agenda steered us away from the use of keyboards or guitar solos, and Geddy experimented with multi-tracked backing vocals as textural alternatives. Lyrically, no overall concept emerged, but I can trace some interesting sources for particular lines, like Walt Whitman in “Out Of The Cradle” and Thomas Wolfe in “How It Is” (“foot upon the stair, shoulder to the wheel”) and “Ceiling Unlimited” (Wolfe’s title “Of Time and the River” and looking at a map of the Mississippi Delta suggested the “winding like an ancient river” lines). “Ceiling Unlimited” also offers a playful take on Oscar Wilde’s reversal of the Victorian lament, “drink is the curse of the working class,” while Joseph Conrad’s Victory gave the “secret touch on the heart” line. “There is never love without pain” echoed from my own experience and the novel Sister of My Heart, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and W.H. Auden and Edward Abbey (Black Sun) influenced certain lines in “Vapor Trail.”

An article in the magazine “Utne Reader” called “What Do Dreams Want?” contributed to my ideas in “Nocturne” (as well as the enigmatic mantra, “the way out is the way in,” for “Secret Touch”), and I was also struck by a psychologist’s approach to analysis and dream interpretation, “without memory or desire.”

The nineteenth-century Quaker folk artist, Edward Hicks, painted no less than sixty versions of the same biblical scene, “Peaceable Kingdom,” and the tarot card “The Tower” seemed a chilling reflection of the events of September 11, 2001. A series of works by Canadian painter Paterson Ewen helped to inspire “Earthshine,” and the title of a novel by A. J. Cronin, The Stars Look Down (which I’ve yet to read), seemed to express a fitting view of an uncaring universe.

In the self-contained universe of our work, everything had been going very smoothly, and it was only when we moved into the final mixing stage that we got bogged down. It seemed that all of us, Paul included, had become too deeply immersed in the material, and we could no longer step back and hear the songs whole. After a few unsatisfying attempts, we called in a specialist, David Leonard, and he was able to sift through the parts and make them bright and new again, to find the hidden dynamics and textures and bring out the subtleties of the music and the performances.

And so it was that we suddenly found we had been working on this project for over a year. It was not because we had any special difficulties, or because it was at all “overwrought,” for many of the final takes of the songs had been captured fresh and spontaneous, more than they had ever been in the past. Far from being stale or over-rehearsed, often they had only been played that way once. The difference this time was that instead of working to schedules and deadlines, we simply carried on writing songs and recording them until we felt the collection of music was complete. (Someone wise once said, “no work of art is ever finished, it is only abandoned.”)

While putting so much time and care into every detail of the content and performance of the songs, we hadn’t paid any attention to their length, and now we began to worry if all thirteen songs would even fit on a CD, which can only hold 74 minutes. There was some talk of saving a couple of songs for a compilation or something, but Rush has never left any “previously unreleased tracks” for anybody to capitalize on, and we weren’t about to start now. All of these songs had taken a lot of time and effort, and we simply couldn’t imagine leaving any of them behind. Fortunately they added up to just under 67 minutes, so we were spared any painful choices.

Then there was the album title—never an easy decision. A unifying theme sometimes appears in the collected songs and suggests an overall title, like Counterparts or Power Windows; other times a particular song seems emblematic, like “Test For Echo” or “Roll The Bones.” Neither approach seemed right this time, so we went with the song title we liked the best, “Vapor Trail,” and made it plural to refer to all the songs. Then I went to work on cover ideas with our longtime art director, Hugh Syme.

The last big challenge we faced, as always, was the running order of the songs, and we fiddled with that right up until the last minute. However, we never doubted which song would open the album, for “One Little Victory” made such an uncompromising announcement, “They’re ba-a-a-ack!”

Knowing that our music is nothing if not idiosyncratic, and doesn’t really cater to popular “taste,” we also envisioned advertising slogans along the lines of, “If you hated them before, you’ll really hate them now!” Or, “And now—more of everything you always hated about Rush!”

But of course, like everyone, we do hope people will enjoy our work, and that our shared enthusiasm, energy, and love for what we do communicates itself to the listener. When you set yourself on fire and aim for the sky, you hope to leave behind some sparks of heat and light.

Like a vapor trail.

Geddy Lee: bass guitar, vocals, synthesizers
Alex Lifeson: guitars
Neil Peart: drums, cymbals, electronic percussion

Management by Ray Danniels, SRO Management Inc., Toronto
Tour Manager—Liam Birt
Production Manager—Craig (C.B.) Blazier
Production Assistant—Karin Blazier
Concert Sound Engineer—Brad Madix
Lighting Director—Howard Ungerleider
Keyboard Technician—Tony Geranios
Bass Technician—Russ Ryan
Drum Technician—Lorne Wheaton
Guitar Technician—Rick Britton
Stage Monitor Engineer—Brent Carpenter
Carpenter—George Steinert
Security Director—Michael Mosbach
Personal Assistant—Peter Rollo
Band Nutritionist—Bruce French
Concert Sound by MD Clair Bros.—Jo Ravitch, Brian Evans, Kevin Kapler
Lighting by Premier Global—Rich Vinyard, Shane Gowler, Keith Hoagland, Jamie Gossenkemper
Moving Lights Programming—Matt Druzbik
Rear Screen Projection created by Spin Productions—Norman Stangl
Live 3D Animation by Derivative—Greg Hermanovic
Derivative VJ—James Ellis
Video by BBC—David Davidian, Bob Larkin, Adrian Brister, James George
Lasers by Production Design—Chris Blair
Pyrotechnics provided by Pyrotek Special Effects—John Arrowsmith
Concert Rigging—Ken Mitchell, Brian Collins
Trucking—Ego Trips
Drivers—Arthur (Mac) McLear, Dave Cook, Jon Cordes, Michael Gibney,
Ron Kilburn, David Burnette, Tom Mikita, Bob Reetz, John Petrus
Flight Crew—Frank McGrath, Gil Faria, Don West
Tour Merchandise—The McLoughlin Family
Booking Agencies—Artist Group International, NYC, The Agency Group, London, S.L. Feldman & Associates, Toronto
Tour Accountants—Drysdale & Drysdale — John Whitehead, Liam Birt
CCE Tour Director—Ian Jeffrey
Art Direction, Design and Digital Illustrations—Hugh Syme
Photography—Andrew MacNaughtan
Additional Photography—Carrie Nuttall—page 19
Tour Promoter—Clear Channel Entertainment—Arthur Fogel, Steve Howard, Gerry Barad

Visit our site at

Alex Lifeson

Big Al uses:
Hughes & Kettner Tri-Amp and Zentera amplification
Paul Reed Smith guitars
Gibson guitars
Fender guitars
Ovation guitars
Too many guitars
TC Electronics G Force effects processor
TC Electronics 1210 Spatial Expander
Behringer Virtualizer Pro
Behringer MX 602 Mixers
Digital Audio GCX audio switchers
Custom Audio Midi Footswitching
Shure Wireless Systems
Sampson Wireless Systems
Palmer PDI 03/05
Dean Markley strings
The Omega Stand, of course

Neil Peart

The drums are made by DW, with a custom red sparkle finish – sam as the last tour. (DW offered to build me a new set, but these ones still sounded great, so I decided to keep them.)

The bass drum is 22″, the toms are 8″, 10″, 12″, 13″, 15″ (two), 16″, and 18″. The current favorite snare drum is a 5″ x 14″ DW Craviatto, and I’m also using a 13″ DW piccolo snare, miscellaneous LP cowbells, and DW pedals and hardware.

Out back, and hidden all around, are Roland V-drums and trigger pads, accompanying the Kat mallet controller and Shark pedals, all feeding into Roland TD-10 modules with expansion cards, Roland 5080 sampler, line mixer, and midi converters. (I have no idea what any of that means.)

Drum heads are remo white-coated Ambassadors, and cymbals are Avedis Zildjian – 8″ splash, 2-10″ splashes, 13″ high-hats, 14″ X-hats, 2-16″ crashes, 18″ crash. 20″ crash, 22″ ride, 20″ Low China, and an 18″ Chinese Wuhan. (That sort of thing I understand better – you just hit them with sticks. Promark 747 “Signature” ones, in this case.)

Someone has also written at the end of this list that I have “a really great drum tech.” That would be Lorne Wheaton, better know as “Gump.” Or is that “Grump?” Time will tell . . .

Geddy Lee

Hi There, This is the space where I’m supposed to list my, er . . . equipment . . . It’s not very long, but it’s terribly exciting to look at . . . I’m talking about my equipment of course, so get your mind out of the gutter and get ready for the ultra compelling


1 Fender Jazz Bass circa 1972 / 4 Fender Jazz Basses circa 1996
Avalon U5 Tube Direct box – for that “clean” sound / SansAmp R.B.I. Bass preamp by Tech 21 – for that “dirty” sound
Palmer-PDI-O5 Speaker Simulator – for that “big bottom” / Trace Elliot QUATRA-VR power amps
Roland XV-6090 Sampler / Synthesizers / Roland and Korg midi foot pedals / Roland D-50 Synthesizer / 3 Maytag dryers (coin operated) … for that “clean, clean” feeling.
All this gear is superbly maintained by the inimitable Mr. Russ Ryan (bass department) and the mysterious Jack Secret a.k.a. Tony Geranios (keyboard department) with the complex array of synthesizer and drum programming, sequencing and sonic sampling organized by Jim Burgess of Saved By Technology . . . (or is that Waiting for Technology? . . . I get those 2 mixed up!) and Eric Bedard.

Well that’s about it! . . . Riveting stuff, eh? . . . I know, I know . . . you’re sad it’s over . . . I’m sad it’s over . . . but that’s life, folks!

See you . . . G.L.


Alex Lifeson

I didn’t know if I should write some sort of story, or tell a joke, or list my equipment like Ged and Neil did, but in the end, I chose to go the gear route. It’s like two weeks before the tour and, as always, we’re down to the wire.

I did ask my wife to help me with it, though, and she was a terrific help, as usual. She’s always been into amps and delay units and string gauges, and never lacks giving some sort of helpful advice.

The conversation went something like this:

“So honey, I’m thinking of using the Hughes & Kettner Zentera modeling amps and the Triamps again this year, as I was very happy with them on the last tour.”


“It’s just that the Audio Technica AEW R5200 wireless system sounds so good through the Behringer MX602 mixers. It helps make the T.C. Electronics G Force sound great and really widens the T.C. Electronics Spatial Expander.”

“The spatula what?”

“Now, if it wasn’t for the Custom Audio Japan power supply and VCA units connected with the Ground Control Audio Switcher, I don’t know what I’d do. I’d have no Cry Baby Wah Wah.”

“Wah what? That’s how a grown man talks, wah wah? Where are my cigarettes?”

“I’m also taking out a bunch of guitars again. Four Paul Reed Smith CE Bolt Ons, 3 Gibson Les Pauls, 2 Fender Telecasters, a Gibson double-neck, ES 355 and SG, Taylor and Gibson J150 acoustics and my trusty Ovation Nylon.”

“You wear nylons now? Where’s that stupid corkscrew when I need it?”

“Here it is. So where was I? Oh yeah, here’s the schematic layout Rick drew of the routing, post radio via Axces splitter pre effects, and if you notice here at the?Honey? Honey?”


Neil Peart

Just about everything in my workshop is new and different this tour—everything but the drummer, really. (And the equally aging, but invaluable, drum tech, Lorne “Gump” Wheaton.) Even the drum riser had to be rebuilt, after it was demolished during loadout after the Rio de Janeiro show (fortunately the last show of the Vapor Trails tour). Upended on a flatbed truck, the riser was being ferried to the semi-trailers outside the stadium, when the driver failed to notice that his load was higher than the exit. Just like in a cartoon, the whole big assembly flew off the back and went “boom.”

After that Rio show (I’ve been dying to tell this story somewhere), we also had to leave behind the carpet that covered the stage (40′ by 24′, with the Vapor Trails logo in the middle). It had absorbed so much rain over those three shows in Brazil, it was too heavy to ship back to Canada. Apparently it finally dried out, decorated a Brazilian home awhile, then appeared on eBay.

But I digress.

The biggest news is the cymbals. In September of 2003, I had the fascinating experience of visiting the Sabian factory in Meductic, New Brunswick, and working with cymbal master Mark Love on the design of my own line of cymbals, called Paragon. The results have been extremely gratifying, first in how well they work for me, and second in how well they’ve been received by other musicians. I play a 22″ ride, 20″, 18″, and two 16″ crashes, 13″ high-hats, 14″ “x-hats,” 8″ and 10″ splashes, and 19″ and 20″ China types.

The drums are also brand, spanking new, a special “30th Anniversary” kit created for me by the good people at DW. As we worked together on the design, we aimed to create the drum-set equivalent of the “dream cars” displayed at auto shows, a showpiece that was also the ultimate expression of craftsmanship. John Good carefully selected the woods and laminates, even the grain direction, for maximum tonality, and the shells, as always, were timbre-matched to complement—and compliment—each other musically. Additional thanks to Don and Garrison for their overview and detail work, and the finish was developed with master painter Louie and transfer-designer Javier, partly inspired by Keith Moon’s “Pictures of Lily” kit, to represent the “dream drums” of my youth.

The sizes are the same as the old red sparkle kit, 22″ bass drum, toms 8″, 10″, 12″, 13″, two 15″, 16″, and 18″. I have been favoring either the DW “Edge” model snare drum (indoors) or the DW “Solid Shell” (outdoors). The hardware is plated in 24-karat gold this time, rather than brass, and the heads are DW’s own design, which have lovely feel and resonance.

DW also put together custom shells for the Roland V-drums, to give a nice completion to the electronic side of the shop, which also includes a MalletKAT, K.A.T. trigger pedals, and a Dauz pad, all running through a Roland XV5080 sampler and Project X Glyph hard drives.

Bringing it all back to basics, and keeping it real (not to say primitive), I continue to beat on all that with Promark signature model drumsticks.

Geddy Lee

Well, it’s time for me to list my equipment for this here 30th Anniversary Tour. So I guess I should start with what seems to be the single most popular piece of gear I own—the Maytags. (Geez, you’d think I’d have a sponsorship by now!)

I have to confess that I don’t even know what their model number is, or even what vintage they are! I really have to get into that—I mean, a professional musician should know everything about every piece of gear he or she uses on stage. Like, we’re only as good as our tools, right?

I’ve been lucky with some of my gear. I found my Fender Jazz Bass in a pawn shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and I found my Maytags in a used appliance store in the outskirts of Toronto. Even luckier because they were in such good shape—and three of them to boot!

But lately I have been pondering whether or not to carry on with them for this tour, or to try something else. Something, er, different. You know, keep evolving, so to speak, looking for that perfect setup. The ultimate piece of gear, know what I mean? I think I owe it to my craft to keep searching for perfection in technology.

I know, I know, what you’re going to say—“Don’t mess with a perfect thing, man!” “People love them, man!”

Well, you could be right, but I just can’t give in to the vox populi, as it were, tempting as it may be to keep up with the status quo (hey, not bad—two Latin references in one sentence!). I just gotta be me and keep looking for the certain, special, something that will make my little corner of the stage a little more special.

As I write this, I am looking at alternatives. Other appliances? Perhaps. Speaker cabinets? Nah, never.

Hmm . . . Hey, wait a minute! Maybe I can pay my respects to the past, and still move forward!

Just give me a few days to work this out. Why, that’s so crazy it just might work . . .

Anyway, see you out there somewhere!

Oh, right . . . I also use a few other bits of stuff. Like a few Fender Jazz Basses with maple necks and Badd-Ass bridges. An Avalon Tube direct box, a Sans Amp R.B.I. bass preamp, and a Palmer speaker simulator. For keyboard noises, and sounds that you can hear and wonder where the come from, we use Roland XV-5080 sampler-synthesizers, either played on keyboards or triggered by me, Alex, or Neil via footpedals or drum triggers.

All very scientific stuff, you know . . .

Geddy Lee: bass guitar, vocals, synthesizers

Alex Lifeson: guitars, vocals, synthesizers

Neil Peart: drums, cymbals, electronic percussion

Management by Ray Danniels, SRO Management Inc. Toronto
Tour Manager & Tour Accountant: Liam Birt
Production Manager: Craig Blazier
Production Assistant: Karin Blazier
Road Manager: Donovan Lundstrom
Artist Liaison: Shelley Nott
Concert Sound Engineer: Brad Madix
Lighting Director: Howard Ungerleider
Keyboard Technician: Tony Geranios
Drum Technician: Lorne Wheaton
Bass Technician: Russ Ryan
Guitar Technician: Rick Britton
Stage Monitor Engineer: Brent Carpenter
Carpenter: George Steinert
Security Director: Michaei Mosbach
Nutritionist: Bruce French
Derivative VJ: Marcus Heckmann
Concert Rigging: Brian Collins, Frank Aguirre, Jr.
Concert Sound by MD Clair Bros.: Jo Ravitch, Beau Alexander
Lighting by Premier Global Productions: Rich Vinyard, Andy Garanyi, Keith Hoagiand, Jamie Grossenkemper
Video by BCC Screenworks: David Davidian, Bob Larkin, Adrian Brister, Greg Frederick
Rear Screen Projection by Spin Production: Norm Stangi, Lisa Batke, Mikkel Groesland, Paristu Rezaie: Nick Perks, Steven Lewis, Luis Torres
Live 3D Animation by Derivative: Greg Hermanovic, Ben Voight, Farah Yusuf, Garrett Smith, Rob Bairos
Lasers by Production Design: Scott Wilson
Pyrotechnics by Pyrotek: Kevin Hughes
Director of Visuai Production: Allan Weinrib
Trucking by Ego Trips: Arthur (Mac) McLear, Tom Hartmann, Jon Cordes, Michael Gibney, Don Johnson, Jeff Wiesner
Buses by Hemphiii Brothers: David Burnette, Lashawn Lundstrom, Marty Beeler, Sam Mitchell
Tour Merchandise: Pat and Kelly McLoughiin, Alex Mahood
Booking Agencies: Writer & Artist Group International, NYC, / The Agency Group, London, / S. L. Feldman & Associates, Toronto
Art Direction, Tour Book Design and Digitai Illustrations: Hugh Syme
Photo research, Editing and Archiving: Andrew MacNaughtan
Assistant Editor: Jeff Harris
Photographers: Fin Costello, Andrew MacNaughtan, Deborah Samuel, Dimo Safari, Carrie Nuttall, Philip Kamin, Bruce Coie, MRossi, and Yousuf Karsh

Snakes and Arrows

Past, present, and future all come together on this stage—sometimes in the most unlikely ways.

The story began last December, when the three of us met in Los Angeles with our Snakes and Arrows coproducer, Nick (“Booujzhe”) Raskulinecz, to talk about the coming year. We had deliberately not discussed any plans before that meeting, only agreeing that we wanted to do something together. We had several possible choices ahead, and we would outline them together and decide.

In late 2006 and early ’07 we had recorded Snakes and Arrows, then toured in the summers of ’07 and ’08, and taken some time off in 2009. So far, so normal. Now the typical thing to do would be to start writing songs toward making an album, then launch a tour behind that in 2011 or so. However, these days an “album” is an abstraction dearer to artists than to audiences, and it didn’t seem necessary to follow that timeworn pattern anymore. “Crisis is both danger and opportunity,” goes the old Chinese saying, and we were kind of excited about doing things a different way.

We definitely wanted to work on something new, and talked about just writing and recording a couple of songs. We could follow the wishes of our manager, Ray, and do a little touring in 2010 as well. Geddy brought up a project that has long appealed to him—collecting all of our instrumentals into one album, and perhaps writing a new one to go with them.

“Maybe something a little more extended,” he said, and my ears pricked up. Years back, we had done our share of long works, lyrical concepts and instrumentals (always remembering the subtitle of “La Villa Strangiato” from 1978, “An Exercise in Self Indulgence”), but lately we had tended to make our songs, if not concise, at least more compressed. So that, for example, an instrumental like “The Main Monkey Business” on Snakes and Arrows was enormously complex, but worked through its movements in six minutes, instead of nine or ten.

At that suggestion, wheels started turning in my head. Now that we were talking about doing something a little more ambitious musically, I wondered if it wasn’t time to think that way in terms of lyrics and concepts, too. The chorus line in “Caravan” seems apt: “I can’t stop thinking big.”

I told the guys about an idea for a fictional world that had interested me lately, thinking it would make a great setting, maybe for a suite of songs that told a story. A genre of science fiction pioneered by certain authors (including my friend Kevin J. Anderson) had come to be called “steampunk,” seen as a reaction against the “cyberpunk” futurists, with their scenarios of dehumanized, alienated, dystopian societies. Our own previous excursions into the future, “2112” and “Red Barchetta,” had been set in that darker kind of imagining, for dramatic and allegorical effect, but I was thinking of steampunk’s definition as “The future as it ought to have been,” or “The future as seen from the past”—as imagined by Jules Verne, for example, in 1866, when he was writing 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

When I was nine or ten, my dad took my brother and sister and me to see that movie at a Saturday matinee, and images from it had always stuck with me. The fearsome destructiveness of the Nautilus had a kind of monstrous beauty, contrasted with the cultured opulence of Captain Nemo’s quarters, and the massive pipe organ on which, he played with mad rapture. The captain may have been insane, but it was a romantic, idealistic bind of madness—his mission was only to destroy ships of war, because his beloved family had been killed in wartime.

The guys seemed intrigued by the concept, and at home in Southern California, I started working on a story and some lyrics along those lines, set in a world driven by steam, intricate clockworks, and alchemy—“a world lit only by fire” (title of a history of medieval times by William Manchester). Early in January, 2010, I was able to send a bunch of pages of lyrics to Alex and Geddy in Toronto, and they got together in Geddy’s home studio, “messing around,” jamming and seeing what came out. Their individual temperaments are perfect for that approach—Alex the consummate improviser (you will hear him noodling on the guitar and play something great, then ask him, “Wait—what was that?,” and he’ll look up and say, “Um, I don’t know”), and Geddy the patient editor and organizer, sifting through their recorded rambles for the best parts, then stitching them together into an arrangement. He would also look through my pages of lyrics for things that seemed to go together, then tweak the music to suit, and send me requests for lyrical alterations to fit the growing song.

In early March we met in Toronto at Geddy’s house, and listened to the five songs they had completed. Booujzhe also came back into the picture at that point, delivering his opinions and suggestions for the work in progress, and together we decided to focus on two of the songs, “Caravan” and “BU2B” (the guys thought my original title of “Brought Up to Believe” was too unwieldy, so I found it musing to render it in modern social-networking textese). Those songs also happened to be the first two pieces of the projected story, now titled Clockwork Angels.

In April I returned to Toronto for two weeks, when we finalized the arrangements, and I started working out drum parts. With reference to the “compressed complexity” mentioned earlier, it is noteworthy that “Caravan” alone took me three days to learn just as “The Main Monkey Business” had. Playing through it time and again, gradually “absorbing” its bumps and wrinkles and smoothing them out, I was grumbling to my drum tech, Gump, about my bandmates’ tendency to add and drop random beats here and there in the arrangement, whenever it suited them. “I do wish they could learn to count to four three times in a row!”

Then came Booujzhe. I have explained before that his nickname came from his habit of airdrumming outrageous fills, “Blappada-blappada, dubba-dubba-dubba, rat-a-ta-tat, booujzhe.” (Onomatopoeia, like.)

He was soon at it again. In the middle of “Caravan” there was a linking section where Geddy and Alex did a climb down, then up again, and I had laid out of that part, just accentuating the downbeats between. In those spaces, Booujzhe started miming an absurd fill, tumbling all the way down the toms in triplet-feel flurries, then rising all the way back up again, to follow the guitar and bass. I just looked at him, incredulous. He gave me his usual comment, “Hey—I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t think you could do it.”

Geddy looked up over his glasses and said drily, “He wants to make you famous.”

I worked it out and played it, and Booujzhe got all excited. All I could say was, “I’m so ashamed.”

Like the end section of “Far Cry,” which Booujzhe had likewise encouraged me to solo over, it was not something I would ever have suggested myself, but it’s one of the reasons we like having a guy like Booujzhe around—to push us, encourage us, make us do crazy stuff.

So now we needed a studio where we could properly record this new music. Part of the collateral damage in the decline of the established music industry has been that many recording studios have closed, and the only good room for recording drums we could get at short notice was in Nashville—Blackbird. However, as we put down the drum and bass tracks in the first two days, then moved on to overdubs and mixing for another ten days, it proved to be a great studio, and we loved the results.

During all this time, going back to January, we had also been planning the Time Machine tour—trading suggestions for old songs to resurrect, as well as dreaming up a whole new stage presentation. Inspired by artists like Steely Dan and Todd Rundgren, who had recently been performing some of their older albums in their entirety, I suggested that it might be cool to do that with Moving Pictures—one of our most popular albums, we had never performed the whole thing before—had never played “The Camera Eye” live.

Other recent tours have actually given us more freedom in choosing songs. After presenting such a broad retrospective on the R30 tour in 2004, we felt liberated from that “responsibility” on the Snakes and Arrows tour in 2007 and ’08, and played more of the newer songs. This time we felt free of those, and along with adding our two new songs, “Caravan” and “BU2B,” and the Moving Pictures set, we tried to find some unusual oldies to spark up the song list-for ourselves and for our fans.

The time machine was now set to past, present, and future.

While I put together some ideas for cover art with Hugh Syme, for the song releases and the tour, Geddy was working with his film collaborators Dale and Allan on the rear-screen movies, recruiting Alex and me as comedic “actors”—to pursue our long-term goal in live performance: “More Comedy, Less Music.”

While we never seem to get away with “less music,” it’s true that as the years go by we do have more laughs.

Management by Ray Danniels, SRO Management Inc. Toronto

Tour Manager & Tour Accountant – Liam Birt
Production Manager – Craig Blazier
Production Assistant – Karin Blazier
Road Manager – Donovan Lundstrom
Artist Liaison – Shelley Nott
Concert Sound Engineer – Brad Madix
Lighting Director – Howard Ungerleider
Keyboard Technician -Tony Geranios
Drum Technician – Lorne Wheaton
Bass Technician – Russ Ryan
Guitar Technician – Bobby Huck
Stage Monitor Engineer – Brent Carpenter
Carpenter – George Steinert
Security Director – Michael Mosbach
Nutritionist – Bruce French
Programming – Jim Burgess of Saved by Technology and Ed Wilson
Concert Rigging by Five Points Rigging – John Fletcher, Jacques Richard
Concert Sound by MD Clair Bros. – Jo Ravitch, Anson Moore
Lighting by Premier Global Productions – Rich Vinyard, Greg Haygood, Randy Garrett, Matt Tucker
Video equipment by Screenworks – David Davidian, Bob Larkin, Nick Strand, Bill Quinn
Lasers by Production Design – Andrew Seabeck
Pyrotechnics by Pyrotek – John Arrowsmith
Trucking by Ego Trips – Arthur [Mac] McLear, Jon Cordes, Don Johnson, Tom Hartmann, Dick Albrecht, John Stephenson, David Vancil
Buses by Hemphill Brothers – David Burnette, Lashawn Lundstrom, Marty Beeler, Joe C. Bush, Bob Reetz

Tour Merchandise – Pat McLoughlin

Booking Agencies – Writer & Artist Group International, NYC,
The Agency Group, London, S.L. Feldman & Associates, Toronto

Art Direction, Design and Digital Illustration by Hugh Syme
Photography by Andrew MacNaughtan
Executive Production
all rear-screen films – Allan Weinrib

Set One Introduction Film
Animation and VFX by SPIN
Creative Director/Animator – Mike Spicer
Executive Producer – Lisa Hemeon
Designer/Animator – Rodrigo Santas

Live action segments:
Imported Artists
Director – Dale Heslip
Producer – Jill Waters
Editor – Mark Paiva

Circumstances, Mission, Secret Touch, Between The Wheels, The Main Monkey Business, Spindrift, Witch Hunt, Natural Science,
by Derivative – Rachel Villuens, Markus Heckmann, Greg Hermanovic, Geoff Marshall

Set Two Introduction Film
Animation and VFX by SPIN
Creative Director – Colin Davies
Executive Producer – Lisa Hemeon
Flame Artist – Steve Lowry
3D Artist – Kye Yong Peck

Live action segments
Imported Artists
Director – Dale Heslip
Producer – Jill Waters
Editor – Mark Paiva

Far Cry
Animation and VFX by SPIN
V.P./Director/lnferno Artist – Steven Lewis
Creative Director – Colin Davies
Executive Producer – Lisa Hemeon
3D Artist – Kye Yong Peck
Assistant Designer – Sean Lewis

Armor and Sword
Visuals by Christopher Mills

Workin’ Them Angels
Lewis Hine photos courtesy of George Eastman Kodak and U.S. Photo Archives
Illustrations by Hugh Syme
Editorial by Mark Paiva/School Editorial

The Larger Bowl
Steve Mykolyn & Meldmedia Inc.
Art Director – Ken Reddick
Producer – Michael Dobell
Motion Graphics Artists – Ken Reddick, James Hackett. Mat Den Boer, Milica Stefancic, Sebastian Grebing

The Way the Wind Blows
Electric Company
Visuals by Crankbunny

The Main Monkey Business
Andrew MacNaughtan & School Editing
Editor – Mark Paiva

Swingin’ Serpents
Tandem Digital
Creative Direction & Design,
Motion Graphics – Greg Russell
Motion Graphics – Nick Chomicki

A Passage to Bangkok
School Editing
Editor – Mark Paiva

Alex Lifeson

Excerpt from an interview of Alex by Alex dated May 13, 2007.

Let me begin by saying how lovely it is to see you.
Yes, I know, and it’s terrific to see you, too.

I dunno, but did you get a haircut or something, because, wow!
I trimmed my ears last week, maybe that? It makes a big difference.

Yes. . . Um.

Tell me, what goes on behind those eyes, deep in your brain, out the back of your head and down your leg, around the corner and so on?

What? LOL . . . did I actually say LOL? I promised I’d never do that.

No, it’s okay, you just typed it. Tell us a little about how you prepare for one of your lively concerts, just the parts while you’re awake.

Well, it takes hours of intense thinking and questioning . . . yes, questioning why you’re thinking so intensely so intensely. It’s like a giant circular circle or a snake that’s been man-made into a circle-like circle snake—but definitely not like a flying shark snake, which is usually on days off.

From there it just gets intense.

I see. Fascinating. As are your shoes! They are absolutely to die for. Prada?
Pravda, actually. I bought them in Prague from a street vendor who was having a closing out sale on Soviet footwear. Placing the heel on the front of the shoe was revolutionary.

How Bohemian. LOL.

LOL too.

So, Alexandar, let’s go deep for a moment and travel back to May 12. It’s 7 a.m. and you’re getting up. You walk down the hall, pass a mirror, glance fleetingly. You arrive in the kitchen to the prospect of a coffee. You have the coffee, shake your head and smile, you think, “this is a good coffee day” when suddenly you stub your toe, drop the coffee cup, spill scorching hot coffee on your pants, slip on the wet floor, go flying, smash a vase when you crush the coffee table and break the door off the dishwasher and totally break all the coffee cups. What was it you saw in the mirror? What?

Where do you get all this stuff? That is amazing. Your research department is to be commended. I’m just blown away that you have all that. It’s as if you were there. No really, that’s something else.

The mirror, Alex. The mirror.

Huh? The mirror? What mirror? I didn’t look into a mirror.

The . . . mirror . . . Alex.

No really. There was no mirror. I glanced out the window.

What the, no, I, wait . . .

You’re SOL, buddy

Why you SOB!

Hey. FU!



Getting back to something I’d like to explore with you. I’ve watched ice melt and seen the wind die, the Leafs blow, I’ve been a wailin’ on the high seas. If you could be a friendly insect, what would you be, and not hairy or anything?

I’ve always had a hard time answering that question. There are so many insects, maybe hundreds, and really, how do you choose? What are the criteria? It’s not easy, for sure. Maybe a salamander.

You mean like Sal, a man, ‘der? LOL again.


Continuing on that train of thought for a moment, ask yourself this: where did I leave my keys, you idiot?

In the car at the gas station while you were filling up an hour ago and you went in to get a coffee and . . . oh oh.

If you could go back in time to just that last, say, hour and a half, what would you do differently?

Quit drinking coffee.

I couldn’t do that. I’d go crazy and I don’t even like coffee but no one can make me quit if I don’t want to, though I’m not saying I don’t want to or quit wanting to or just plain wanting to quit.

Exactly. I’ve been saying that for years and I’m finally relieved to know other serious, smart in brain people are making the think in headvoice ideas too. It’s time to take a coffee stand and deciding stuff to make the world a faster place to live in.

Well, we seem to have run out of time. I’ve quite enjoyed our conversation, as usual, and would leave you with this thought to ponder . . . but don’t ponder too long, and when I say ‘ponder,’ I don’t mean, like, PONDER, just think about it with your eyebrows scrunched up and like you’re pondering around. Okay then, what is the absolutely best day of your life?

Next week.

Bold and brilliant! It’s been a great pleasure. Thank you.

Charmed, I’m sure.

Neil Peart

After the 30th anniversary tour, the guys at Drum Workshop and I agreed that the R30 kit ought to be retired. I felt that way because it had been a true centerpiece of that tour (sitting center stage every night, after all), and I wanted to keep that “specialness.” The DW guys, led by John Good (“the Wood Whisperer”), felt that way because they thought they could do better.

In 2006, they built me a “West Coast kit” on which I recorded a few songs for my friend Matt Scannell, as well as Snakes and Arrows. Everybody who heard those drums was blown away by their sound, but John continued to develop his ideas—combining different combinations of laminates for the shells, like his “Vertical Low Timbre” innovations. Just as the West Coast kit had eclipsed the R30 drums in tonality and resonance, these new ones take it to what my teacher, Freddie Gruber, would call “another place.” After I had rehearsed for a couple of weeks on the West Coast kit, my drum tech, Lorne “Gump” Wheaton, put up the new ones, and I truly couldn’t believe how different they sounded—how much bigger and warmer.

One of these drums actually is bigger—the 23″ bass drum, which is another unique innovation of John Good’s. Back in the 70s, when Rush were opening shows, I used to be able to go out front and listen to other drummers. I noticed then that 24″ bass drums had a particular “kick” (for once that word is apt), but I preferred the playability and dynamics of a 22″. John suspected that the 23″ would combine the best of both, and he was right.

The “VLT” approach was also applied to the snare drum’s shell, and it was another revelation—the best I have ever played, for both response and sound. The toms are 8″, 10″, 12″, 13″, two 15″, 16″, and 18″, with DW’s Coated Clear heads. Remo supplies some of the other heads, while the drumsticks are Pro-Mark signature models.

In an earlier Web story, I hinted that “black is the new gold,” and this time the hardware is plated in black nickel. Likewise, “red is the new black,” the finish is Aztec Red, inset with a pair of logos Hugh Syme and I created for the CD package. The Greek symbol ouroboros, or snake eating its tail, surrounds a calligraphic rendering of my favorite road sign: the universal symbol for “winding road” (On a motorcycle or in a fast car, that’s the best kind of “snake and arrow” you can see.) The repeating motif, in gold leaf and metallic gray satin over the Aztec Red, was created by DW’s master painter, Louie Garcia (a true artist).

The cymbals are my signature Paragons, by Sabian, with a 22″ ride, 20″, 18″, and two 16″ crashes, 13″ high-hats, 14″ “x-hats,” 8″ and 10″ splashes, 19″ and 20″ China types-plus our new innovation, the “Diamondback,” with tambourine jingles.

DW once again provided custom shells for the Roland V-drums (the TD-20s), and the electronic stuff includes a MalletKAT, KAT trigger pedals, and a Dauz pad, all running through a Roland XV5080 sampler and Project X Glyph hard drives.

Geddy Lee

O.K. It’s that time when I am supposed to list the ekwiptment that I will be using on the Snakes and Arrows tour. But . . . does anyone really care what devices I use?

Isn’t the real question of interest, “Will you be using your dryers on tour again?”

That was the question I was most often asked during the last two tours. I mean, what is it with this obsession with laundry, folks?

Rather than put myself through all of that once again, I knew I had no choice but to abandon the warm, dry sound of my Maytags, and go into an entirely new direction in onstage amplification.

So, between rehearsals and preparing for my Rotisserie Baseball drafts, I decided to get professional help. After a few sessions, I started to feel much better. (Apparently it has something to do with my childhood . . . I dunno.) In any event, I contacted the ridiculously fashionable new amp designer, Henry Spencer, with the company, Un Peu de Poulet, for the absolute latest in cutting-edge stage gear. Together we have designed what I feel will set a new standard by which all other rock ‘n’ roll shows will henceforth be judged.

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that this is the man who brought you such famous amps as the the HENHOUSE and the MAN-MADE CHlCKEN-which in fact was no bigger than your fist! And he also developed the roasting hot KAPON, which guitarists (especially our own lovely and rapacious Alex Lifeson) have been using with gusto for many years. Despite the obvious negative side effects.

So, I sincerely hope my new amps will finally satisfy my endless hunger for the newest and most perfectly tasty sound source, and I also hope that you, our dedicated audience, will be able to digest the audacity with which we have been devouring this new technology, and appreciate the sheer bravado of such a bold step forward in the ongoing search for revolutionary new ideas with which to whet your cumulative appetites!!

Cheers, santé, down the hatch, and bon appetit, mes amis!

1972 Fender Jazz bass
Fender Jazz Geddy Lee model
Fender Jazz Custom Shop bass
Fender Jaco Pastorius Tribute fretless bass
Fender Jaco Pastorius Tribute Custom Shop fretted version
Garrison acoustic guitars

Avalon direct boxes, model U5
SansAmp RPM pre-amps
Palmer speaker simulator, model PDI-05
Trace Elliot Quatra valve amps
Sampson UR-5D wireless system

Keyboards and Samplers:
Roland XV-5080 sampler/ synthesizers
Roland Fantom-X7 synthesizer
Moog Little Fatty digital synthesizer
Korg MIDI pedals

Snakes and Arrows Live

The Game of Snakes and Arrows
Prize every time

By Neil Peart
“PRIZE EVERY TIME!” I used to have to call that out, over and over, one long-ago summer on the midway at Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie, Ontario. “Catch a bubble, prize every time!” The “bubbles” were ping-pong balls with painted numbers that floated on a jet of forced air, like popcorn. You had to catch one with a tiny net, and its number would match the array of shelves behind me, rewarding the bubble catcher with a stuffed animal, keychain, or “magic trick.” Prize every time.

Back then I was about twelve, and I’m older now, but speaking of prizes (and startling segues), I will never forget first hearing the initial few songs for this album. On a snowy day in March 2006, Alex and Geddy came to visit me at my house in Quebec, and brought a CD of a handful of songs they’d put together in Geddy’s home studio in Toronto, with some lyrics I’d sent up from California.

It is always a thrill to hear my words sung for the first time, when those dry, printed lines I’ve labored over finally become charged with life. “Prize every time.” Plus, there’s a sense of affirmation in knowing that Geddy found those words worth singing (many are sent; few are chosen).

When I first listen to a rough sketch of guitar, bass, vocal, and drum machine, I am hearing it as the lyricist, seeing how the words work, and I am also listening as the drummer, knowing I will have to learn that song and play it, maybe hundreds of times. In a larger sense, though, I’m really listening as a “fan”—someone who wants to love that song. Even on first listen, I felt that way about “Bravest Face” and “The Way the Wind Blows,” and I was especially excited by how different they were from anything we had done before—fresh and vital, yet rooted in some deeper musical streams.

Three decades of working together have given us wells of experience to draw upon, sure, but perhaps more important are the longer intervals between songwriting sessions, when we can let those aquifers fill. In the early years, it was an album every six months, then every year, then every two years, but in the past decade, for one reason and another, it’s been five years between projects. And it seems that with more time to learn and grow, we can still surprise ourselves.

At the time of hearing the first few songs, the only word I could think of for their essence was “spiritual.” Another quality might be the almost oxymoronic sense of “raw sophistication” (good name for an oyster bar). They demonstrated our band’s characteristic alloy of driving rhythms behind soaring melodies and harmonies, all set in a framework that was complex, and crafted with care. But this time, while the arrangements remained intricate and dynamic, the elements were often simple and direct—basic hard rock and blues forms. The Raw and the Cooked. (Still thinking up names for oyster bars.)

In May 2006, the three of us moved into a small studio in Toronto to work together for a month. In that northern season of riotous bloom, the city was bright with flowers and spreading leaves, washed in warm sun and sudden thunderstorms. Our work was blossoming, too, and by the beginning of June we had eight songs we all liked. We adjourned for the summer, planning to pick up again in September, and keep working until it was finished.

We had also made some production decisions that would be fruitful later. Engineer Rich Chycki had worked with Alex on the mixes for the R30 DVD, and we felt he had done a perfect job of maximizing our live sound. We signed him up to be our recording and mixing engineer.

Earlier that year, a young American producer heard we were back working on new material, and asked his manager to send our office a CD of some of the music he had worked on. We always like to have a coproducer, and many times we’re looking for somebody we haven’t worked with before, for fresh input and new directions. We listened to that CD one afternoon while we sat around the control room of the Toronto studio, reviewing a selection of production work by several candidates. Right away we were drawn to the work of that young American, Nick Raskulinecz, and when we met him soon after, we were drawn to him even more.

At thirty-six, Nick was a little younger than us (his mother was a little younger than us!), but he was also experienced enough, as both musician and producer, to have strong opinions and creative ideas. The three of us quickly agreed to hire him, and once we started work again in September, and had sketched out a few more songs, Nick joined us to review our work so far. He was a powerhouse of enthusiasm, and offered suggestions for the arrangements (one of his frequent lines, “I’d be curious to hear . . . “), helping us to shape the songs more effectively. He also encouraged and elevated our individual performances, challenging us to keep reaching higher (another typical line, “Hey, I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t know you could do it!”).

Nick is a master “air musician,” equally virtuosic on all instruments (some of them for real, too; he had started as a drummer, then played both guitar and bass in bands, until he gravitated to the production side). While suggesting an idea for a drum part to me, Nick would use a combination of physical and vocal emulation, arms flailing to something like, “Bloppida-bloppida-batu-batuwhirrrrr- blop-booujze.”

“Booujze” was Nick’s vocalization of a bass drum and cymbal crash at the end of that incredible air-drumming fill, and we heard it often. One day I walked into the control room to see Geddy behind the computer screen, moving the sections of a song around on the digital recording. He looked up at me, then nodded toward Nick, “Booujze here wants us to try changing the chorus in ‘Spindrift.'”

Everybody laughed, and from then on, he was Booujze. (The proper spelling determined after considerable discussion.)

By October we had eleven songs completed in rough form, and some dominant lyrical themes were evident. Thoughts on spirituality and faith were woven into several songs: “Whirlwind life of faith and betrayal,” as hinted in “Far Cry,” and further expressed in “Armor and Sword,” “The Way the Wind Blows,” and “Faithless.”

Other lyrical themes include a twist on the time-honored “relationship songs,” framed along the lines of Robert Frost’s epitaph, “I Had a Lover’s Quarrel With the World.” In “Spindrift” and “Good News First,” for example, the lyrics are deliberately presented in the context of a “lover’s quarrel.” The addressee, though, is not a “significant other,” but a significant proportion of the whole, wide world-as expressed in “The Way the Wind Blows,” all those people “Who don’t seem to see things the way you do.”

The same “lover’s quarrel” device colors the album’s final statement, “We Hold On.” (With a nod to T.S. Eliot for “measured out in coffee breaks.”) If many of the other lyrics illuminate the struggles we all have to face, in love and in life, this one shows how we deal with it: We hold on.

Geddy adapted “Workin’ Them Angels” from the verses that open my book Traveling Music, which closed that circle nicely. In a similar loop, the title for “The Larger Bowl” came from a bicycle trip in West Africa, as described in The Masked Rider, when a song with that title wafted through a feverish, hallucinatory “dysentery dream.” Waking in a sweaty tangle of twisted sheets, I only remembered the title, but I knew I had to write that song. Make a dream come true, as it were.

Back in the early ’90s, I gave that title to some words partly inspired by the dream’s location, Africa, about life’s unequal “fortunes and fates.” The front of my rhyming dictionary had an index of traditional verse patterns, and I tried writing in some of them—as an exercise, like solving a crossword puzzle. Among sonnets, villanelles, and sestinas, I particularly liked a Malay form called the pantoum, and wrote several lyrics using that scheme, including “The Larger Bowl.” However, I never even submitted them to my band mates until this album—fifteen years later.

It must have been the right time, because, to my delight, Alex and Geddy responded to the challenge of “The Larger Bowl,” and its unusual construction. Musically, the song seemed to benefit from stylistic influences we discovered, or recovered, during our Feedback project, when we recorded a number of cover tunes from our earliest influences. That spirit of youthful enthusiasm, and the spirit of the ’60s, is alive in several of these songs, from the blues sections in “The Way the Wind Blows” to the “feedback solo” in “Far Cry,” and the simple rhythm section backing for the melodic guitar solo in “The Larger Bowl.”

And speaking of the all-important rhythm section, I had been working hard on my drum parts, too. While Alex and Geddy wrote and arranged in the control room, I could play my drums in the recording room without disturbing them. Several times a day I took a break from lyric writing and went in to play along with CDs of their song sketches, and two nights a week Alex stayed late to be my “producer,” so I could record my ideas and see how they worked.

As a drummer, it has become apparent to me that am I more of a “composer” than an “improviser,” yet I still face every new song by imagining everything that might possibly fit. Determined not to repeat myself if I can avoid it, I search for new approaches to parts, and different kinds of fills. In that spirit, I played through all of the songs many times while I experimented, and that helped to “groom” my performances, make them smoother and more finely detailed.

In November we began the final recording at Allaire Studios, a rambling residential studio in the Catskill Mountains of New York. In the summer of 2005, I had filmed an instructional DVD, Anatomy of a Drum Solo, at Allaire, and had loved both the recording facilities (a large room of wood and stone, the estate’s former Great Hall, sounded terrific for drums) and the friendly, comfortable atmosphere of the place. The view from the studio windows looked down over a forested valley and far across to receding round peaks—and the food was good!

After a little scientific mic-placing and knob-twiddling, and some impromptu jam sessions, we got down to work. After more than thirty years of recording together, the three of us felt we achieved our best results by concentrating on one performance at a time. Even if we were playing alone to a recorded guide track, it was still us, and we “meshed” automatically. Still, we remained open to other methods, and at Booujze’s direction, sometimes I recorded the drum track to the guide by myself; sometimes Geddy and I played together; and sometimes Booujze wanted all three of us out there. Once he was satisfied that we were getting the most from each part of every song, we concentrated on getting the best drum performances. Then Geddy could take a similarly focused approach to rerecording his bass parts to them.

We had only planned to stay at Allaire for two weeks to get those basic tracks done, then move back to Toronto to overdub final guitars and vocals. However, everybody found the atmosphere at Allaire so comfortable, and so conducive to getting good work done, that we ended up staying for six weeks, and recording everything there—often all at once. Allaire was equipped with two complete studios in different parts of the compound, and thus Rich and Alex were recording guitars in one room, while Booujze and Geddy worked on vocals in the other.

In a single, inspired performance, Alex recorded his eclectic and poignant solo guitar piece, “Hope,” which also has qualities of spirituality, and raw sophistication. He chose the title from the line in “Faithless,” “I still cling to hope,” and like that song, “Hope” is a kind of secular prayer.

Toward the end of the sessions, Geddy was playing with a fretless bass between vocal takes, just riffing aimlessly, and Booujze was getting excited. He started recording some of those figures over the vocal mic, and fired us up with the idea of putting them together to create a short, quirky instrumental. This inspired the thirteenth track, for luck, “Malignant Narcissism” (an apt title for an instrumental with bass and drum solos, it came from Team America: World Police). For everyday use, that mouthful was soon abbreviated to “MalNar” (cue robot voice, “We are from the planet Malnar”). I had left a little four-piece drumset in the studio for Booujze to play around on, and I ended up recording “Malignant Narcissism” on that. Just for fun.

Nearing the end of December, that spirit of fun, inspiration, perspiration, spontaneity, efficiency, and isolation (little to do but work) had sped the recording along, and we were done months ahead of our best-case scenario. More importantly, we enjoyed our time working together more than we have in years (maybe ever), thanks to the great conditions at Allaire and our “dream team” of Rich and Booujze. As I said to them on the day the drum tracks were finished, “I have never enjoyed the recording process so much, nor felt so satisfied by the results.” That’s saying something, believe me, after nearly thirty-three years and I don’t know how many recordings.

In January 2007, we started the mixing at Ocean Way in Hollywood, California. That made quite a change from the rustic surroundings of Allaire, but it was pleasant for me. All through the six years I had been living in Los Angeles, I had commuted to Toronto for rehearsing, writing, and recording, so it was nice to have Alex and Geddy come to me for a change.

And they didn’t seem to mind escaping January in Toronto for Southern California. One day Geddy reported that Toronto was exactly a hundred degrees colder—a balmy 80 degrees in Los Angeles, and a 20-below wind chill in Toronto. While waiting for Rich (now “Arch,” for his spot-on imitations of Archie Bunker) and Booujze to put together a mix for our approval, there was plenty of time for, say, tennis and golf.

By then we had settled on the album title, Snakes and Arrows, which came about when I was working on the lyrics for “Armor and Sword.” In turn, that title metaphor had been developed for my book, Roadshow, to describe the “good” kind of faith as being armor, while the “bad” kind of faith is a sword.

While I was working on those lyrics for “Armor and Sword,” the battlefield imagery reminded me of a line, “Where ignorant armies clash by night,” from a poem I half-remembered. It turned out to be Matthew Arnold’s magnificent “Dover Beach,” and I was so excited by its synchronicity with my own preoccupations in many of these songs that I had to put in one line from the poem, as a tribute, “Confused alarms of struggle and flight.”

I was also thinking, like Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, about how children are usually imprinted with a particular faith, along with their other early blessings and scars. People who actively choose their faith are vanishingly few; most simply receive it, with their mother’s milk, language, and customs. Thinking also of people being shaped by early abuse of one kind or another, I felt a connection with friends who had adopted rescue dogs as puppies, and given them unlimited love, care, and security. If those puppies had been “damaged” by their earlier treatment—made nervous, timid, or worse—they would always remain that way, no matter how smooth the rest of their life might be. It seemed the same for children.

To express that notion, I came up with, “The snakes and arrows a child is heir to/ Are enough to leave a thousand cuts.” I thought I was only combining Hamlet’s “slings and arrows” with the childhood game “Snakes and Ladders,” to make something less clichéd. And indeed, when we were discussing Snakes and Arrows as a possible album title, Geddy remarked, “I like it because it sounds familiar, but isn’t.”

One thing I have always done when we decide on a title is check to see if it’s been used already. In the old millennium, that would involve a visit to the local record store and a flip through their master list, the Phonolog. These days, of course, it’s a perfect job for a search engine.

To my surprise, “snakes and arrows” called up several links to something called “Leela, The Game of Self Knowledge,” or, incredibly, “The Game of Snakes and Arrows.” Long story short, I followed that trail with growing enthusiasm, and learned that Leela (Hindi for “the game”) was at least 2,000 years old, and had been created by Buddhist saints and sages as a game of karma—like many games, a metaphor for life. (And an accidental but deep connection with the tarot cards we used on Vapor Trails, or the dice on Roll the Bones—both ancient games, and metaphors for life.)

The Leela player rolls a single die, said to be affected by his or her karma, and moves around the board. Each square on the grid represents a stage of consciousness or existence, and the player is raised to higher levels by arrows, and brought low by snakes. The children’s game “Snakes and Ladders” (sometimes “Chutes and Ladders”) was adapted from Leela by the British during the 19th century Colonial period. After that, the original game almost disappeared— apparently only two gameboards existed in India when scholar Harish Johari revived the game and brought it to America in the 1970s. The Sanskrit chants that once accompanied each of the squares were lost, but a cosmos of spirituality (there’s that word again) survived.

When I told Alex and Geddy about the Leela connection, and showed them the gameboard painted by Harish Johari, they were as excited by all that serendipity as I was, and we agreed to use his painting for the cover. Hugh Syme and I began our always enjoyable collaboration of creating the other elements for the packaging—the presentation—and images for each of the songs.

So, from the first demo to the final cover, that’s the story of Snakes and Arrows. Or a few of them, anyway. If every song is a story, every song has many stories, too. The elaborate instrumental, “The Main Monkey Business,” was certainly the most painstaking song of all to write, arrange, and record (it took me three days just to learn it). Its title comes from a conversation Geddy had with his Polish mother. Talking about a cousin of theirs, she said, “I have a feeling he’s up to some monkey business.”

Geddy laughed, saying, “What kind of monkey business?”

“You know,” she said, with Old World wisdom, “The main monkey business.”

Everybody knows about that.

And so it can be said that Snakes and Arrows offers some monkey business, some spirituality, some lover’s quarrels with the world, some raw sophistication, some dysentery dreams, some malignant narcissism, the spirit of the ’60s, and the Tao of Booujze. It combines everything we know about making music with everything we love about making music.

Naturally, we hope listeners will feel that spirit-all those spirits-and have a rewarding musical experience, not just once, but again and again.

With a prize every time.

Management by Ray Danniels, SRO Management Inc. Toronto

Tour Manager & Tour Accountant – Liam Birt
Production Manager – Craig Blazier
Production Assistant – Karin Blazier
Road Manager – Donovan Lundstrom
Artist Liaison – Shelley Nott
Concert Sound Engineer – Brad Madix
Lighting Director – Howard Ungerleider
Keyboard Technician -Tony Geranios
Drum Technician – Lorne Wheaton
Bass Technician – Russ Ryan
Guitar Technician – Bobby Huck
Stage Monitor Engineer – Brent Carpenter
Carpenter – George Steinert
Security Director – Michael Mosbach
Nutritionist – Bruce French
Programming – Jim Burgess of Saved by Technology and Ed Wilson
Concert Rigging by Five Points Rigging – John Fletcher, Jacques Richard
Concert Sound by MD Clair Bros. – Jo Ravitch, Anson Moore
Lighting by Premier Global Productions – Rich Vinyard, Greg Haygood, Randy Garrett, Matt Tucker
Video equipment by Screenworks – David Davidian, Bob Larkin, Nick Strand, Bill Quinn
Lasers by Production Design – Andrew Seabeck
Pyrotechnics by Pyrotek – John Arrowsmith
Trucking by Ego Trips – Arthur [Mac] McLear, Jon Cordes, Don Johnson, Tom Hartmann, Dick Albrecht, John Stephenson, David Vancil
Buses by Hemphill Brothers – David Burnette, Lashawn Lundstrom, Marty Beeler, Joe C. Bush, Bob Reetz

Tour Merchandise – Pat McLoughlin

Booking Agencies – Writer & Artist Group International, NYC,
The Agency Group, London, S.L. Feldman & Associates, Toronto

Art Direction, Design and Digital Illustration by Hugh Syme
Photography by Andrew MacNaughtan
Executive Production
all rear-screen films – Allan Weinrib

Set One Introduction Film
Animation and VFX by SPIN
Creative Director/Animator – Mike Spicer
Executive Producer – Lisa Hemeon
Designer/Animator – Rodrigo Santas

Live action segments:
Imported Artists
Director – Dale Heslip
Producer – Jill Waters
Editor – Mark Paiva

Circumstances, Mission, Secret Touch, Between The Wheels, The Main Monkey Business, Spindrift, Witch Hunt, Natural Science,
by Derivative – Rachel Villuens, Markus Heckmann, Greg Hermanovic, Geoff Marshall

Set Two Introduction Film
Animation and VFX by SPIN
Creative Director – Colin Davies
Executive Producer – Lisa Hemeon
Flame Artist – Steve Lowry
3D Artist – Kye Yong Peck

Live action segments
Imported Artists
Director – Dale Heslip
Producer – Jill Waters
Editor – Mark Paiva

Far Cry
Animation and VFX by SPIN
V.P./Director/lnferno Artist – Steven Lewis
Creative Director – Colin Davies
Executive Producer – Lisa Hemeon
3D Artist – Kye Yong Peck
Assistant Designer – Sean Lewis

Armor and Sword
Visuals by Christopher Mills

Workin’ Them Angels
Lewis Hine photos courtesy of George Eastman Kodak and U.S. Photo Archives
Illustrations by Hugh Syme
Editorial by Mark Paiva/School Editorial

The Larger Bowl
Steve Mykolyn & Meldmedia Inc.
Art Director – Ken Reddick
Producer – Michael Dobell
Motion Graphics Artists – Ken Reddick, James Hackett. Mat Den Boer, Milica Stefancic, Sebastian Grebing

The Way the Wind Blows
Electric Company
Visuals by Crankbunny

The Main Monkey Business
Andrew MacNaughtan & School Editing
Editor – Mark Paiva

Swingin’ Serpents
Tandem Digital
Creative Direction & Design,
Motion Graphics – Greg Russell
Motion Graphics – Nick Chomicki

A Passage to Bangkok
School Editing
Editor – Mark Paiva

Alex Lifeson

Excerpt from an interview of Alex by Alex dated May 13, 2007.

Let me begin by saying how lovely it is to see you.
Yes, I know, and it’s terrific to see you, too.

I dunno, but did you get a haircut or something, because, wow!
I trimmed my ears last week, maybe that? It makes a big difference.

Yes. . . Um.

Tell me, what goes on behind those eyes, deep in your brain, out the back of your head and down your leg, around the corner and so on?

What? LOL . . . did I actually say LOL? I promised I’d never do that.

No, it’s okay, you just typed it. Tell us a little about how you prepare for one of your lively concerts, just the parts while you’re awake.

Well, it takes hours of intense thinking and questioning . . . yes, questioning why you’re thinking so intensely so intensely. It’s like a giant circular circle or a snake that’s been man-made into a circle-like circle snake—but definitely not like a flying shark snake, which is usually on days off.

From there it just gets intense.

I see. Fascinating. As are your shoes! They are absolutely to die for. Prada?
Pravda, actually. I bought them in Prague from a street vendor who was having a closing out sale on Soviet footwear. Placing the heel on the front of the shoe was revolutionary.

How Bohemian. LOL.

LOL too.

So, Alexandar, let’s go deep for a moment and travel back to May 12. It’s 7 a.m. and you’re getting up. You walk down the hall, pass a mirror, glance fleetingly. You arrive in the kitchen to the prospect of a coffee. You have the coffee, shake your head and smile, you think, “this is a good coffee day” when suddenly you stub your toe, drop the coffee cup, spill scorching hot coffee on your pants, slip on the wet floor, go flying, smash a vase when you crush the coffee table and break the door off the dishwasher and totally break all the coffee cups. What was it you saw in the mirror? What?

Where do you get all this stuff? That is amazing. Your research department is to be commended. I’m just blown away that you have all that. It’s as if you were there. No really, that’s something else.

The mirror, Alex. The mirror.

Huh? The mirror? What mirror? I didn’t look into a mirror.

The . . . mirror . . . Alex.

No really. There was no mirror. I glanced out the window.

What the, no, I, wait . . .

You’re SOL, buddy

Why you SOB!

Hey. FU!



Getting back to something I’d like to explore with you. I’ve watched ice melt and seen the wind die, the Leafs blow, I’ve been a wailin’ on the high seas. If you could be a friendly insect, what would you be, and not hairy or anything?

I’ve always had a hard time answering that question. There are so many insects, maybe hundreds, and really, how do you choose? What are the criteria? It’s not easy, for sure. Maybe a salamander.

You mean like Sal, a man, ‘der? LOL again.


Continuing on that train of thought for a moment, ask yourself this: where did I leave my keys, you idiot?

In the car at the gas station while you were filling up an hour ago and you went in to get a coffee and . . . oh oh.

If you could go back in time to just that last, say, hour and a half, what would you do differently?

Quit drinking coffee.

I couldn’t do that. I’d go crazy and I don’t even like coffee but no one can make me quit if I don’t want to, though I’m not saying I don’t want to or quit wanting to or just plain wanting to quit.

Exactly. I’ve been saying that for years and I’m finally relieved to know other serious, smart in brain people are making the think in headvoice ideas too. It’s time to take a coffee stand and deciding stuff to make the world a faster place to live in.

Well, we seem to have run out of time. I’ve quite enjoyed our conversation, as usual, and would leave you with this thought to ponder . . . but don’t ponder too long, and when I say ‘ponder,’ I don’t mean, like, PONDER, just think about it with your eyebrows scrunched up and like you’re pondering around. Okay then, what is the absolutely best day of your life?

Next week.

Bold and brilliant! It’s been a great pleasure. Thank you.

Charmed, I’m sure.

Neil Peart

After the 30th anniversary tour, the guys at Drum Workshop and I agreed that the R30 kit ought to be retired. I felt that way because it had been a true centerpiece of that tour (sitting center stage every night, after all), and I wanted to keep that “specialness.” The DW guys, led by John Good (“the Wood Whisperer”), felt that way because they thought they could do better.

In 2006, they built me a “West Coast kit” on which I recorded a few songs for my friend Matt Scannell, as well as Snakes and Arrows. Everybody who heard those drums was blown away by their sound, but John continued to develop his ideas—combining different combinations of laminates for the shells, like his “Vertical Low Timbre” innovations. Just as the West Coast kit had eclipsed the R30 drums in tonality and resonance, these new ones take it to what my teacher, Freddie Gruber, would call “another place.” After I had rehearsed for a couple of weeks on the West Coast kit, my drum tech, Lorne “Gump” Wheaton, put up the new ones, and I truly couldn’t believe how different they sounded—how much bigger and warmer.

One of these drums actually is bigger—the 23″ bass drum, which is another unique innovation of John Good’s. Back in the 70s, when Rush were opening shows, I used to be able to go out front and listen to other drummers. I noticed then that 24″ bass drums had a particular “kick” (for once that word is apt), but I preferred the playability and dynamics of a 22″. John suspected that the 23″ would combine the best of both, and he was right.

The “VLT” approach was also applied to the snare drum’s shell, and it was another revelation—the best I have ever played, for both response and sound. The toms are 8″, 10″, 12″, 13″, two 15″, 16″, and 18″, with DW’s Coated Clear heads. Remo supplies some of the other heads, while the drumsticks are Pro-Mark signature models.

In an earlier Web story, I hinted that “black is the new gold,” and this time the hardware is plated in black nickel. Likewise, “red is the new black,” the finish is Aztec Red, inset with a pair of logos Hugh Syme and I created for the CD package. The Greek symbol ouroboros, or snake eating its tail, surrounds a calligraphic rendering of my favorite road sign: the universal symbol for “winding road” (On a motorcycle or in a fast car, that’s the best kind of “snake and arrow” you can see.) The repeating motif, in gold leaf and metallic gray satin over the Aztec Red, was created by DW’s master painter, Louie Garcia (a true artist).

The cymbals are my signature Paragons, by Sabian, with a 22″ ride, 20″, 18″, and two 16″ crashes, 13″ high-hats, 14″ “x-hats,” 8″ and 10″ splashes, 19″ and 20″ China types-plus our new innovation, the “Diamondback,” with tambourine jingles.

DW once again provided custom shells for the Roland V-drums (the TD-20s), and the electronic stuff includes a MalletKAT, KAT trigger pedals, and a Dauz pad, all running through a Roland XV5080 sampler and Project X Glyph hard drives.

Geddy Lee

O.K. It’s that time when I am supposed to list the ekwiptment that I will be using on the Snakes and Arrows tour. But . . . does anyone really care what devices I use?

Isn’t the real question of interest, “Will you be using your dryers on tour again?”

That was the question I was most often asked during the last two tours. I mean, what is it with this obsession with laundry, folks?

Rather than put myself through all of that once again, I knew I had no choice but to abandon the warm, dry sound of my Maytags, and go into an entirely new direction in onstage amplification.

So, between rehearsals and preparing for my Rotisserie Baseball drafts, I decided to get professional help. After a few sessions, I started to feel much better. (Apparently it has something to do with my childhood . . . I dunno.) In any event, I contacted the ridiculously fashionable new amp designer, Henry Spencer, with the company, Un Peu de Poulet, for the absolute latest in cutting-edge stage gear. Together we have designed what I feel will set a new standard by which all other rock ‘n’ roll shows will henceforth be judged.

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that this is the man who brought you such famous amps as the the HENHOUSE and the MAN-MADE CHlCKEN-which in fact was no bigger than your fist! And he also developed the roasting hot KAPON, which guitarists (especially our own lovely and rapacious Alex Lifeson) have been using with gusto for many years. Despite the obvious negative side effects.

So, I sincerely hope my new amps will finally satisfy my endless hunger for the newest and most perfectly tasty sound source, and I also hope that you, our dedicated audience, will be able to digest the audacity with which we have been devouring this new technology, and appreciate the sheer bravado of such a bold step forward in the ongoing search for revolutionary new ideas with which to whet your cumulative appetites!!

Cheers, santé, down the hatch, and bon appetit, mes amis!

1972 Fender Jazz bass
Fender Jazz Geddy Lee model
Fender Jazz Custom Shop bass
Fender Jaco Pastorius Tribute fretless bass
Fender Jaco Pastorius Tribute Custom Shop fretted version
Garrison acoustic guitars

Avalon direct boxes, model U5
SansAmp RPM pre-amps
Palmer speaker simulator, model PDI-05
Trace Elliot Quatra valve amps
Sampson UR-5D wireless system

Keyboards and Samplers:
Roland XV-5080 sampler/ synthesizers
Roland Fantom-X7 synthesizer
Moog Little Fatty digital synthesizer
Korg MIDI pedals

Clockwork Angels

The Future as Seen From the Past
(or: “Yesterday’s Tomorrowland”)

By Neil Peart

Certainly at this point, after being together for almost thirty-eight years (and being around a decade or two before that), Alex, Geddy, and I have reached our “mature years.” However, we have arrived there hot and sweaty, sliding into third, as a working, touring band. Like our well-tempered friendship, our dedication and inspiration remain strong, combined with hard-won experience and knowledge—acquired over twenty studio albums, and perhaps most of all by playing thousands of live shows.

In December, 2009, the three of us met to talk about the coming year. While eating and drinking and laughing a lot, as we do so well, we discussed all the possible projects we could launch in 2010. We could start working on a new album, or we could launch a major tour. Fools that we are, we ended up doing both.

Perhaps the wine can be blamed for that—and for our increasingly ambitious talk of creating some new music that was “a little more extended.” In turn, the wine seemed to embolden me (In Vino Veritas) to tell the guys about my idea for a fictional world, a possible setting for a suite of songs that told a story. (The first song, “Caravan,” contains a key line: “In a world where I feel so small, I can’t stop thinking big.”)

My friend Kevin J. Anderson was among the pioneers of a genre of science fiction that came to be called “steampunk”—a more romantic, idealistic reaction against the “cyberpunk” futurists, with their scenarios of dehumanized, alienated, dystopian societies. Our own previous excursions into the future, “2112” and “Red Barchetta,” had been set in that darker kind of imagining, for dramatic and allegorical effect. This time I was thinking of steampunk’s definition as “The future as it ought to have been,” or “The future as seen from the past”—as imagined by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells in the late nineteenth century.

The guys seemed receptive to the idea, and I started working on a story and some lyrics set in “a world lit only by fire” (title of a history of medieval times by William Manchester). Influences were inevitable, but still unexpected to me—a lifetime of reading distilled into a dozen scenes, and a few hundred words. The plot draws from Voltaire’s Candide, with nods to John Barth’s The Sot-Weed Factor, Michael Ondaatje and Joseph Conrad for “The Anarchist,” Robertson Davies and Herbert Gold for “Carnies,” Daphne du Maurier for “The Wreckers,” Cormac McCarthy and early Spanish explorers in the American Southwest for “Seven Cities of Gold.”

This “one of many possible worlds” is driven by steam, intricate clockworks, and alchemy. That last element occurred to me because I was intrigued by Diane Ackerman’s use of a few alchemical symbols as chapter heads in An Alchemy of Mind. They seemed elegant, mysterious, and powerful. Soon I learned about an entire set of runic hieroglyphs for elements and processes, and as with the tarot cards for Vapor Trails, and the Hindu game of Leela for Snakes and Arrows, I became fascinated with an ancient tradition. As the lyrical “chapters” came together, I chose one symbol to represent each of them, for the character or mood. Those would end up arrayed on the cover clockface, as first used on the “Caravan”/”BU2B” single in early 2010. Since then they have shifted a little, as the story has grown, but you can find brimstone at one o’clock for the faith-bashing “BU2B,” gold at six o’clock for “Seven Cities of Gold,” earth at eleven o’clock for “The Garden,” and so on. (The “U” in Rush stands for “amalgamation.”)

Early in January, 2010, I was able to send a bunch of lyrics to Alex and Geddy in Toronto. They got together in Geddy’s home studio, just “messing around,” jamming and seeing what came out.

Improvisation was a major theme for the band leading up to this album. In live performance, during the Time Machine tour in 2010-11, we were each aiming to be more spontaneous in our “spotlight moments,” and it thus became a shared ambition, and a spirit that carried into every element of this recording.

For the first time, I started the lyrics with the proverbial clean sheet, rather than my usual routine of riffling (and riffing) through the file of lines and titles I have collected over the years. (I call that “The Scrapyard.”) Likewise, the music was composed in that elemental way—Alex and Geddy in a basement studio with guitar and bass, riffing and strumming away, and recording everything they played. Alex had put together one collection of ideas that turned out to be most of the song “Clockwork Angels,” and as soon as I heard its rhythmic feel, which was so different for us, my response was “I want to play to that!”

In early 2011, before the second half of the Time Machine tour, they got together to try to get going on the writing again. Having a bit of a struggle, they seemed to spend more time drinking coffee and making stupid jokes—except for a couple of furious jams that, when reviewed later, turned out to be the foundations of “Carnies” and “Headlong Flight.”

As a general thing, Geddy would listen back to their jams and note the most compelling bits, then assemble them into a random arrangement. Only then did he turn to the pile of lyrics I had sent, to see if anything wanted to go with that music. Sometimes, as with “Seven Cities of Gold,” there was an immediate spark of connection. As Alex relates, “We talked about having a raucous beginning that related to the middle ‘solo’ section, all feedback and crazy, and as the song evolved it took on the appropriate character; entering the city with all the wild, dangerous sensory experience it offers.”

Other marriages of music and words were more laborious, and launched a flurry of emails between Geddy and me. Rapid-fire exchanges discussed adjustments to lines and phrases, passages deleted and new ones added, all on the fly, so that even the final shape of the lyrics was more-or-less improvised. Later I would try to stitch the remains together in a way that still expressed what I had intended – and that part wasn’t easy. I had a complicated story to tell, with, like, characters and ideas and stuff.

Some of Alex’s finest solos also date from the demo stage: offhand “place-holders” that turned out to be unbeatable. “Clockwork Angels” is one example like that, as is “The Garden”—a few takes recorded casually and assembled into an improvised performance that remains his personal favorite.

As the songs were gradually assembled from spontaneous moments, we worked out the arrangements together. Then Alex (our musical scientist) would give me a demo with two versions of the song: one with the drum-machine patterns he had programmed for their writing and arranging purposes, to give me a sense of how they perceived the drum part dynamically (plus Alex often has some good non-drummer ideas that inspire me in alternative directions), and one with just a click track.

The first two songs, “Caravan” and “BU2B,” were recorded before the Time Machine tour, in April, 2010, and several of the other songs had been written by then. After taking a break to rehearse for that tour, and play eighty-one shows in North America, South America, and Europe (some break), we got together again in October, 2011, at Revolution Recording in Toronto. Alex and Geddy worked in the small studio there, continuing the songwriting and arranging.

To keep the writing fresh, one day they even tried switching instruments – Geddy on guitar and Alex on bass – and they turned out a richly melodic song called “The Wreckers.” They joked that playing the “wrong” instruments had turned them into the Barenaked Ladies. (I happened to run into Ed Robertson around that time, and he had a good laugh about that.) But once we switched to recording mode, it was back to the “same old us.”

In the big studio, my drums were set up and ready for me to start learning new songs. Around the drums, master engineer Rich Chycki had prepared the recording environment, so we were “ready to fly.” Taking off my lyric-writing cowboy hat (I have pointed out before that I find it hard to take myself too seriously when I am wearing a cowboy hat), I would put on my drumming hat (an African prayer cap – which has equally perfect resonance).

My drum parts were created in a completely different fashion than ever before. For the past few years I have been working deliberately to become more improvisational on the drums, especially in my warmups and solos, and these sessions were an opportunity to attempt that approach in the studio. It began with “Caravan” and “BU2B,” which were fairly well organized before recording, but featured a number of spontaneous moments. In these more recent sessions, I played through each song just a few times on my own, checking out patterns and fills that might work, then called in our coproducer, Nick Raskulinecz -“The Mighty Booujzhe.”

(A reminder about that nickname: Nick likes to suggest outrageous fills for me to play, and he will mime them with wild physical gestures and sound effects: “Bloppida-bloppida-batubatu-whirrrrr-blop – booujzhe!” That last being the downbeat, with crash cymbal and bass drum.)

So . . . Booujzhe stood out there in the room with me, facing my drums, with a music stand and a single drumstick. He was my conductor, and I was his orchestra. (I later replaced that stick with a real baton.)

The enthusiastic “Booujzhe-ness” before me energized and inspired me, and he also offered many good suggestions between takes. We quickly hammered out (well, I did the hammering!) the basic architecture of the part, and demonstrated the key element of collaboration – together we elevated it.

Now . . . Rush songs tend to have complicated arrangements, with odd numbers of beats, bars, and measures all over the place. These latest songs are no different (maybe worse – or better, depending), but the baton of Booujzhe would conduct me into choruses, half-time bridges, and double-time outros and so on – so I didn’t have to worry about their durations. No counting, and no endless repetition of each song just to learn those things – that was a big part of what allowed me to be so spontaneous.

In past years I might have spent several days developing and refining a drum part, but this time it was just a matter of hours “from zero to hero.” I like to think a listener can sense that difference – will share the tension and release of a guy going way out there, playing something he has never attempted before, and only just making it back to “one.” Chances are that moment only happened once – but that was enough. In turn, Geddy’s bass parts and Alex’s guitars were added without too much time spent learning, but getting straight to the playing. Booujzhe was their conductor, too, coaching and inspiring Geddy, Alex, then Geddy again (vocals) with suggestions and encouragement, to ever higher levels of absurdity.

(After all these years together, we have learned to be comfortable recording separately – it allows everybody to focus on one part at a time, and experience has taught us that we play the same – to each other – regardless.)

Typically, there was one “trouble child.” Out of all the seemingly more complicated songs, the music for “Wish Them Well” was written and scrapped twice, and the song was almost abandoned. But Geddy liked the lyrics enough to keep trying (thank you!), and the third version pleased everyone.

That song also put Booujzhe and me to a lot of trouble over the drum part, much more than any other song except “Headlong Flight” – that one for its perverse complexity, rather than the exacting simplicity of “Wish Them Well.” Booujzhe and I spent many hours trying out different basic patterns, and juggling their arrangement.

(The guys always laugh when I come out of the studio grumbling, “I hate that stupid ignorant song!” [Add expletives to taste.] They laugh because they are the ones who made it that way.)

“Wish Them Well” was equally elusive vocally – or at least lyrically. The day Geddy and Booujzhe recorded that vocal in Toronto, I happened to be at home in California, and all day we exchanged texts and emails over the tiniest of alterations, line by line, sometimes word by word. Ultimately it turned out very well, but I admit I still have a bit of a grudge against that song.

On the bright side – even the brilliant side – one very special aspect of this project is the lush and exotic string arrangements, by David Campbell. One January afternoon at Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood, I stood in the control room listening while the strings were being recorded. It occurred to me that all songwriters should experience the sensual delight of hearing their songs performed by an accomplished string section. For example, when these virtuoso artists on violin, viola, cello, and double-bass executed David’s plangent orchestration for “The Garden,” there was not a dry eye in the studio.

Finally Booujzhe took over the mixing chair, and entertained us by miming each of our parts note-for-note, with appropriate gestures and facial expressions. When he had his fist up to his mouth as a microphone, emulating every phrase and nuance of Geddy’s vocal, sometimes he raised his little finger.

“My wireless mic,” he explained. He had switched to “live performance” mode.

Another long-time goal took root in August, 2010, on a day off between shows at Colorado’s Red Rocks amphitheater. For about twenty years, I have been friends with the previously-mentioned author and pioneer of steampunk, Kevin J. Anderson, and all that time we have discussed doing a project together to combine lyrics and prose. Kevin lived nearby, and led me on a hike up Colorado’s Mount Evans (14,265 feet), during which we started workshopping a prose version of the Clockwork Angels story. A year and a half later, Kevin would do the “heavy lifting” on its novelization.

So once again, collaboration proves joyful, and elevates the art. This project has been sparked by many sources of flint and steel, and one quality shared by everyone involved might be called “a fevered imagination.” That temperament, burning slightly hotter than what passes for “normal,” also describes art director Hugh Syme – who is serving a life sentence as my graphic arts collaborator. Hugh brings his own febrile dreams to the Vision Quest, and whatever I can visualize, he can realize. The two-year (literally elephantine) gestation period of this album allowed Hugh time to generate a series of beautifully evocative illustrations to accompany the story-the words and music.

One more oblique connection: During the filming of my most recent instructional DVD, Taking Center Stage: A Lifetime Of Live Performance, I found myself talking about playing our older songs in concert year after year, and something occurred to me about Rush songs that I had never realized in all our thirty-eight years.

See, for the most part, Rush songs weren’t made with the intention of being listened to on the radio, or in the car, or with earbuds. They were made to be played – by us! (Good title, “Made 2 B Played.”)

Thinking of even a few older examples – “The Spirit of Radio,” “Limelight,” or “Subdivisions” – the arrangements are detailed and dynamic, intricate and challenging, and build toward a rock-concert climax. None of that was ever discussed among us, but all instinctively, our songs, arrangements, and playing exemplified a live-performance piece. It is certainly those qualities of challenging technique and in-the-moment excitement that keep those songs fresh for us all these years later. Like Booujzhe, we raise our little fingers and we are in performance mode.

That built-to-be-performed quality is clearly evident on all of the songs on Clockwork Angels, too. Like the nineteen albums that have come before, these songs are “Made 2 B Played,” again and again for years.

And, if the fates allow, they will be . . .


To learn more about my equipment, plus view Special Bonus Content, try going to this link on the World Wide Interweb of Life.
You will find Everything in the World here.
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Breaking with long tradition, I am using the same drumset as our previous tour, Time Machine. The main reason is because that tour, and these drums, were actually designed around the Clockwork Angels theme from the beginning. And because they still sound and look so great. That considered, I can hardly do better than quote from my previous description of them at the time of their building, in 2010:

Drum Workshop really outdid themselves this time, spearheaded by Don Lombardi, John Good, Shon Smith, Garrison (like Madonna and Cher, he “dares to be known by one name alone”), hardware specialist Rich Sikra, and master painter Louie Garcia.

Barrel-stave redwood, copper leaf and silver alchemy symbols, and the innovation of copper hardware create the main visual statement, but the small, unique details of stand fittings and the little sculpted gears behind the lugs demonstrate DW’s imaginative willingness to consider every possibility-and make it real.

Sonically, drum tech Lome “Gump” Wheaton and I agree that these drums surpass all previous kits, in the richness of their tonality, and in the perfect blend of the individual drums with each other.

The custom stand fittings, drum hardware, and riser panels were designed by Greg Russell and Brian Walters of Tandem Digital. Their elaborate CG renderings of the kit and hardware helped to visualize the final outcome.

For their part, the Sabian cymbal company also got onboard with my wild ideas right away. Chris Stankee and Mark Love directed the development of a special steampunk design on the new “Brilliant” Paragons I’ve been using. (It took some experimenting with inks to find one that didn’t affect the sound.)

Among other noisemakers, Gump and I include Pro-Mark sticks, DW and Remo heads, Roland V-Drums (with custom DW shells), MalletKAT,
KAT trigger pedals, and a Dauz pad, all running through a Roland XV5080 sampler and Project X Glyph hard drives.


At GEDISON™, we not only make surpassingly brainy bass amplifiers and keyboards … we make popcorn, too!


1. It is longer than an electric guitar.
2. It has four strings.
3. Its strings are thick to produce a low sound.
4. It came to prominence in the 1950s.
5. It is part of a band’s rhythm section.
6. Many players prefer to pluck the strings with their fingers, rather than using a plectrum.

1. In Germany, the French horn, originating from the bugles or hunting horns, was developed into all fields of music, especially light or popular music.
2. The tuba has a bell that is directed upwards; thus it is a “flügelhorn.” It was refined in the nineteenth century into different sizes up to 2.4 meters.
3. The English expression for the trombone is “Sackbut,” which actually means “pull” and “push,” referring to the sliding device of the instrument.
4. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in about 1840. It was first used in symphony orchestras in 1844.
5. Around 1700, the clarinet was created and developed by Johann Christoph Denner. In the middle of the 18th century the clarinet became an indispensable instrument for every orchestra.

1. The weight of the human brain is about three pounds.
2. It is 60 percent white matter and 40 percent gray matter.
3. It is about 75 percent water.
4. There are no pain receptors in the brain, so the brain can feel no pain.
5. While an elephant’s brain is physically larger than a human brain, the human brain is 2 percent of total body weight, compared to .15 percent of an elephant’s brain—meaning humans have the largest brain to body size ratio.

1. Americans consume some 16 billion quarts of this whole-grain treat [popcorn] annually. That’s 51 quarts per capita.
2. Of the six types of maize/corn—pod, sweet, flour, dent, flint, and popcorn—only popcorn pops.
3. Exploding popcorn kernels can shoot three feet in the air.
4. The world’s largest popcorn ball was created by volunteers in Sac City, Iowa, in February, 2009. It weighed 5,000 pounds, stood over eight feet tall, and measured 28.8 feet in circumference.
5. To make a trail of popcorn from New York City to Los Angeles would require something like 352,028,160 popped kernels!



by Neil Peart

A choice memory about working creatively with Andrew dates from 1992, when Rush was preparing for our Roll the Bones tour. My bandmates and I decided to have a little fun with the usual tourbook portraits – beginning a tradition that continued right up to the book for the Time Machine tour, in 2010-11.

All of us lived in Toronto in those days, so it was easy for us to get together with Andrew and plan our “surprises” (sometimes kept secret even from each other). We aimed for something that would show some humor, and also, perhaps, a little … inner essence.

That first set of three portraits does not disappoint on those levels, I hope, but it is also noteworthy that even these “joke” settings were lighted and framed with artful care. They are light-hearted and silly, but photographed with a professional’s craft and an artist’s vision.

I once defined the highest possible plane of communication to be “art with jokes.” That is a rarefied summit even to attempt, but once in a while, with Andrew, we made it.

Liam Birt—Tour Manager & Accountant
Donovan Lundstrom—Road Manager
Craig Blazier—Production Manager
Karin Blazier—Production Assistant
Brad Madix—Concert Sound Engineer
Howard Ungerleider—Lighting Director
Tony Geranios—Keyboard Technician
Jim Burgess of Saved By Technology—Programming
Lorne Wheaton—Drum Technician
John McIntosh—Bass Technician
Scott Appleton—Guitar Technician
George Steinert—Stage Manager
Bruce French—Nutritionist
Anthony Fedewa—Venue Security
Michael Mosbach—NP Road Manager, Security
Kevin Ripa—Artist Tour Liaison
Cliff Sharp Ling—Carpenter

David Campbell—Conductor
Joel Derouin—Violin
Gerry Hilera—Violin
Jonathan Dinklage—Violin
Entcho Tudorov—Violin
Mario De Leon—Violin
Audrey Solomon—Violin
Jacob Szekely—Cello
Adele Stein—Cello

Clair Global
Ralph Mastrangelo, Jason Heitman
Anson Moore—Audio System Engineer
Brent Carpenter—Monitor Mixer
Corey Harris—Monitor Systems Engineer

Premier Global Productions
Steven ‘Creech’ Anderson
Martin Joos—Lighting Crew Chief
Curtis Anthony—Electrician
Matthew Tucker—Lighting Technician
Joshua Rahalski—Lighting Technician
Matt Leroux—Lighting Technician

Five Points Rigging—John Fletcher
Albert Pozzetti—Head Rigger
Charles Anderson—Rigger
Sebastien Richard—Motion Control

Screenworks NEP
Danny O’Bryen, Amy Segawa
David Davidian—Video Director
Bob Larkin—Video Engineer
Gregory ‘Grit’ Frederick—LED Engineer
Brian Littleton—Camera Operator
Jay Cooper—Camera Operator

Allan Weinrib—Executive Producer
Dale Heslip—Creative Director

Gearing Up
Dale Heslip—Director
Allan Weinrib—Producer
Mark Morton/School—Editor
Kaelem Cahill—Flame Artist/Crush
Yoho Hang Yue—Art Direction & Graphic Design/Crush
Leo Silva—CG Animator/Crush

That’s My Shmegegee
Animation produced by Style5.TV
Sam Chou—Director
Noam Sussman—Animator
Brentton Barkman—BG Designer

Big Money
Ryan Hunt/School—Editor
Body Electric
Mike Spicer & Dave Desjardin/Loop—Animation & Design

Jackie Roda—Editor
Footage supplied by NASA.
Special thanks to Kenneth Fisher

The Pass
Matt Mahurin—Director
Editor—Lauren Piche

Where’s My Thing?
Aaron Dark/School—Editor

Crankbunny—Design and animation
Far Cry
Steven Lewis/Spin Productions—Design and Animation

The Appointment & Office of the Watchmaker
Featuring Jay Baruchel
Dale Heslip—Director
Allan Weinrib—Producer
Mark Morton/School—Editor
Township & Company—CG Design
Township & Company/ AXYZ—Compositing
Calliope version of Tom Sawyer arranged and produced by Lou Pomanti

Concept by Dale Heslip
Pyramid Attack—Director
Clockwork Angels
Moment Factory—Director
The Anarchist
Christopher Mills—Director
Julia Deakin/Crush—Graphic Designer/VFX Artist
Seven Cities of Gold
Christopher Mills—Director
The Wreckers
Pyramid Attack—Design and animation
Headlong Flight
Josh Venneulen & Chris Moberg/Double Plus—Design and Animation
The Percussor
Greg Russell and Brian Walters/Tandem Digital—Animation
Wish Them Well
Loki Visual Effects Inc.—Design and animation
The Garden
Crankbunny—Design and animation
Tom Sawyer contraption
Yoho Hang Yue/Crush—Art Director & Graphic Designer
Jullian Ablaza/Crush—Graphic Designer
Tandem Digital—Design and Animation

Additional Steampunk Video frames
Designed by Bienvenido Cruz

Geddy’s Backline video
Design and animation by Randy Knott

All Crush projects previously listed:
Patty Bradley—Executive Producer
Kristen Van Fleet—Producer
Special thanks to Peter McAuley

Geddy and Alex’s Backline Amps:
Designed by Dale Heslip
Construction by Mood Inc.

Pyrotek, Lorenzo Cornacchia
John Arrowsmith—Pyrotechnician

Live Nation Global Touring
Gerry Barad, Susan Rosenberg, Carla Jespersen
Keith Keller—Live Nation Global Tour Rep
Colin Womack—VIP Nation Rep

SRO Management Inc.
Ray Danniels, Pegi Cecconi, Meg Symsyk, Andy Curran, Sheila Posner, Bob Farmer, Cynthia Barry, Tyler Tasson, Emma Sunstrum, Randy Rolfe

Hemphill Brothers Coach Company
Mark Larson
Dave Burnette—Driver
Lashawn Lundstrom—Driver
Marty Beeler—Driver
Joe C. Bush—Driver
John Morgan—Driver
Tony Hammonds—Driver

Ego Trips—Jim Bodenheimer
Arthur McLear—Lead Truck Driver
Jon Cordes—Driver
Tom Hartmann—Driver
Henry McBride—Driver
Juli Mennitti—Driver
Steve Mennitti—Driver
Bob Wright—Driver
Bruno Pelle—Driver

Provident Financial MGT.
Amy Cetron

USA—Artist Group International
Adam Kornfeld, June Chaiyasit

CANADA—Feldman & Associates
Vinny Cinquemani, Olivia Ootes

Frosch Travel
Marla Wax-Fergusson, Joe Mauceri

Image Air Charter
Mike Irish, Liz Horbasz
Dan Droppo—Pilot
Bill Bryant—Pilot
Murray Clapp—Pilot
Flight Attendant – Anastassia Tchernykh

B. Zee Brokerage Ltd.
Barry Zeagman, Neil Zeagman

Patrick McLoughlin
Don Johnson

Otto Entertainment
Mark Alger

Point To Point Communications
Ken Micks

Smart Art
Donna Hair, Lon Porter

Hugh Syme—Art Direction, Design and Illustration
Andrew MacNaughtan—Photography
Todd Fraser, Richard Sibbald and Meg Symsyk—Photo Editing
Additional Photography—Craig Renwick, Randy Johnson, John Arrowsmith and Donovan Lundstrom
Motorcycling—Michael Mosbach