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Subject: 05/01/92 - The National Midnight Star #481  ** Special Edition **

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          The National Midnight Star, Number 481

                    Friday, 1 May 1992
Today's Topics:
                   adventures in paradise
                    Living In A Big Rush
               Neil article (Orlando Sentinel)
           Music Express Article with Neil and Alex
                      A Primus Primer

From: Editor, The National Midnight Star 
Subject: Administrivia

Here is a collection of article/interview/etc transcriptions sent in by
various list members.  I finally have a few minutes of free time, and the
list has been fairly quiet the past couple of days, so I'll dump a bunch
on you at once.  Sorry for the delay to all you submitters, it wasn't



From: (Dave Wolf)
Subject: adventures in paradise

                      ADVENTURES IN PARADISE

The whole world provides inspiration for Rush drummer and
lyricist Neil Peart. He's no stranger to vaccines but he's hoping
it'll be a long time before they find a cure for wanderlust.

It's not nice to needle Rush drummer Neil Peart about his recent
safari to East Africa. Especially after Peart's solid frame was
punctured more times then your average dartboard as a precaution
against tropical disease.

"It's not the shots I mind," says Peart ruefully rubbing his
wounds, "it's the idea that they may have missed one. I have this
recurring nightmare of contracting some exotic virus and an
examining doctor looks at me and says, `Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Peart,
we forgot to give you a shot for that one'!"

Peart's escapade was a prelude to Rush's latest opus, _Hold Your
Fire_ and a North American concert tour which began in the
Canadian Maritimes and heads south down the eastern seaboard.

During his African trip, the adventurous percussionist tramped
across Tanzania and Kenya, and scaled the dizzy heights of
Mt.Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet) before meeting up with his family
for a more leisurely jaunt through game lodges and safari parks.

"I've always had a fascination for nature and for areas where
life is close to the earth. To write lyrics about nature and the
environment, I find you have to examine these things first hand
and acquire an insight into the reality of the situation."

Other recent Peart fact finding missions have included cycling
tours through Europe and mainland China.

Not your average skin-basher, Peart is a delightfully
intelligent, articulate individual whose probing, provocative
lyrics have been a Rush trademark since he debuted on the group's
second album, _2112_. [sic] Coupled with the equally textured
instrumental arrangements of bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee and
guitarist Alex Lifeson, Rush has become somewhat of an anomaly.

Call them The Thinking Man's Heavy Metal Group or simply label
them Yuppie Rock, the fact id that even after 15 years, Rush's
music still carries a significant impact. Especially the last
three albums which contained conceptual themes that addressed
concerns readily discernible to the general public. _Grace Under
Pressure_ dealt with environmental abuse, _Power Windows_ probed
the use and misuse of power, while _Hold Your Fire_ concerns
itself with the multi-faceted human personality.

"My first idea was to write about time and the first song I wrote
was _Time Stand Still_. But the more I thought about it and
played around with the ideas, the more expanded idea of
temperamental barriers took shape. _Time Stand Still_ applies to
that concept in that it deals with the attitude of enjoying life
and not letting it whisk by without appreciating it."

_Force Ten_ opens the album in high spirits and, although it's
already earmarked as the first single, Peart states that the
track also lays the album's conceptual foundation. "The song
expresses ways to face barriers and urges people not to be afraid
of failure - one of our basic temperamental traits."

_Open Secrets_ stemmed from a conversation between Peart and Lee
about people they knew and how they went through life without
properly addressing problems that were affecting them.

"Quite a lot of my ideas come from having conversations with
other people. I take their observations and viewpoints and
personalize them. Unfortunately a lot of people think these songs
are personal statements. I don't want that to happen because it
would seem I'm unburdening myself and that would be tiresome."

_Second Nature_ is conciliatory in its message: If we can't reach
perfection in this world then let's at least settle for some
degree of improvement. "Sometimes we have to accept something
less than total victory," notes Peart. " It's like the difference
between compromise and balance. The politician who campaigns for
clean air but doesn't want to close down the stinking factory in
his area because thousands of people will lose their jobs. My
viewpoint is that I'll take as much as I can without hurting
other people."

Peart's European cycling tour provided graphic evidence of
terrorist unrest on the continent. Observations which germinated
into _Lock and Key_ a track that deals with man's killer

"I'd be peddling through some sleepy little Spanish town on a
quiet Sunday morning and I'd see soldiers and town officials
standing guard over office buildings and restaurants brandishing
some pretty serious weapons."

Even more unusual was Peart's experience at a Paris airport. "I'm
sitting in the lounge waiting for my flight and I'm hearing all
these explosions. I found out that any luggage left unattended is
automatically taken to the parking lot and blown up! That's one
heckuva way to solve your lost luggage problem."

While _Prime Mover_, _Mission_ and _Turn the Page_ deal with the
various other traits of human nature, Peart employed his own
adventurous instincts to pen _Tai Shan_, an ode to a Chinese
mountain scaled during last year's cycling expedition. "I was
just inspired by the whole spirit of the country and wanted to
capture that experience in one song."

_Hold Your Fire_ concludes with _High Water_, a track that
addresses man's primal connection with water. "i always feel
comfortable when I'm near water, be it the sound of the ocean or
even the refreshing feeling od a dip in the swimming pool,"
explained Peart. "I remember being in the center of one of
Japan's biggest cities and the noise pollution was incredible.
But right in the middle was this garden with a small waterfall
that ran over a bunch of stones. It was designed in such a way
that if you sat by the waterfall, the sound of water would drown
out all the surrounding noises. I think the Japanese understand
the therapeutic nature of water better than most."

Co-produced by Peter Collins (who also shared duties on _Power
Windows_), the new album was recorded in England, Canada and the
Caribbean island of Montserrat, and was mixed in Paris.

"We use the Manor in Oxfordshire because of the great drum room
and we recorded the keyboards at Ridge Farm in Surrey. Then we
went to Montserrat and suntanned on the beach while Alex slaved
over the guitar sessions before ending up at McClear Place in
Toronto to finish off the vocals."

Peart explained that the mixing could have been done anywhere
quiet. "But we like to mix a little culture with our work so it's
nice to visit art galleries and museums in famous cities when
you're not working."

Whereas _Power Windows_ was lauded for its experimental nature
(The Art Of Noise contributions and the string arrangements),
_Hold Your Fire_ returns to a more basic, dare we say commercial,
stance with _Time Stand Still_ shaping up to be the band's
biggest single ever.

"We were quite free about trying new things but less free about
using them," said Peart in describing the finished product. "We
tried all these string arrangement ideas but when we played them
back we decided the songs were strong enough without them."

An innovation for Rush was the inclusion of 'Til Tuesday's Aimee
Mann in a vocal duet with Lee on _Time Stand Still_. "it was
something we always wanted to do and that song lent itself
perfectly," notes Peart. "It's a little different but it works
all the same."

To the point that the major trade publications have cited this
album as being the most commercially accessible release in the
band's impressive history. Peart demurs, "We always like to get
our albums played on the radio. After you've worked hard to
record songs that you like, you always hope that someone else
will like them too."

But after a career spanning 15 years from the band's initial hard
rock roots to their current, more sophisticated direction, one
has to wonder 'Who is your average Rush fan?'

"That's a good question" laughs Peart. "There probably isn't one.
I mean there are fans who have favorite Rush eras and who didn't
like us before or after that era. There are fans who love our
last few albums but who probably can't stand our early stuff and
vice versa. And with every new album, there are people who are
just discovering us."

"Because of this, we can't write with the average Rush fan in
mind. Our material is based on the initial test of whether it
excites us as a band. If it does, then we proceed on the naive
assumption that if we like it then our fans will like it too. At
that point the craftsmanship comes in and we try to create
quality arrangements based on the expertise our experience has
afforded us. The end result is a Rush album."

Which leads to the inevitable videos (a process Peart considers
a waste of time) and the annual (or semi-annual) tour, a
procedure the band has down to a science. 

"It's kind of like being a school teacher," smiles Peart. "We
spend the summers with our families, release the albums in the
fall and then tour through the winter and spring. We avoid those
horrible summer stadium concerts like the plague."

"We've done those 3,000-seat Bon Jovi tours in the past when we
had to. Now we can afford to be more selective. At this point in
our careers, we can make albums when we want to, tour when we
want to, and preform where we want to. This way, touring doesn't
become a soul-destroying experience."


Subject: Living In A Big Rush

Hey.  I'm finally taking the time to trascribe a couple of articles I've had
sitting around for a little bit.  Here's an article from the Rochester
Times-Union, just previous to the 10-26 show, and the Bass Player bassist of
the year award.  I'm going to post the concert review of the Rochester show
direct to the list, and sometime later I'll take on the Guitar Player article
if no one has done it yet...  Anyhow, on with the show...

    reprinted without permission from the Rochester Times Union, 10-24-91

	We seem to know every last, tawdry detail about the members of Guns 'N
Roses, but think fast - are the guys in the Canadian rock band Rush even
married?  Do they have kids?  Do they come to blows over musical ideologies?
	If you're a fanatic Rush follower - and judging by the speed with which
this Saturday's concert sold out, Rochester has plenty - these might be easy
questions.  But the average Rush fan probably doesn't have much of a clue; he
or she simply likes the music.
	That's exactly how the band likes it.
	"The privacy aspect of Rush is really just self-defense," says Rush
drummer and lyricist Neil Peart.  "And from a writer's point of view, it's to
make sure I can continue being an observer instead of being observed all the
time.  It's hard to write about the real world when you're not living in it, so
it's been important for us to protect that element of reality in our lives.  We
need to get outside the bubble that being a rock band could certainly allow us
to create.  You could build such a wall of defenses that suddenly, you'd have
no contact at all with the world outside."
	In other words, Peart is happy to admit that all three members are
amrried and have children.  But beyond that, he says, the band has learned,
without much difficulty, how to keep its public and private lives separate. 
Rush may have sold more that 20 million records in its 18 year history - and it
may have sold out the Community War Memorial in just hours on both this tour
and the last one - but it doesn't attract a whole lot of media attention.
	"Luckily, we're not Michael Jackson or anything - the National Enquirer
doesn't par on OUR doorsteps," says Peart, laughing.  "We're not super-popular,
although we're self-sustaining and our albums and tours do respectably.  But at
the same time, we don't sell the same number of records that Guns 'N Roses do. 
They get a lot more attention because they're a part of many more people's
lives.  And anyone who lives that kind of fishbowl existence, well, people will
find something to write about."
	So, no - Peart and Geddy Lee, Rush's high-pitched lead singer, have
never knocked each other down.  Bassist [????] Alex Lifeson has never gone to
the bathroom in an airplane aisle.  And none of them has paternity suits
pending.  It makes for fewer inches in the tabloids, but according to Peart,
life in Rush is uneventful.  The trio rarely disagree on their musical pursuits
and genuinely enjoy working with each other.
	Saturday's show is only the second on the new Roll the Bones tour, so
on this mid-October afternoon, Peart is on the telephone from the band's
Toronto rehearsal space.  The guys are trying to hammer out the tour's song
list, which is no easy task.
	"We basically start from last year and decide which songs have become
stale," Peart explains.  "Sometimes we put songs away for a few tours, until we
feel refreshed enough to bring them back, and that's been the case with
Limelight.  Now, we're ready to play it again."
	But a concert can only be so long, and for every new song that's put
into the rotation, another has to exit stage left.  The toughest part, Peart
says, is deciding what to play from Rush's new Roll the Bones album.  He
doesn't say for sure, but fans might expect Peart's own two favorites - Ghost
of A Chance and Bravado - and Dreamline, the first hit played locally on WCMF,
FM 96.5.  
	"Changing arrangements can also be fun," Peart says.  "In the past, our
ideal has been to play as close to the record as possible, and that's an
incredible goal to shoot for.  But this time, we began messing with new songs
right away."
	Another tour highlight will - once again - be Peart's lenghty drum
solo.  It came at the end of YYZ on the last tour, but this time Peart has a
different plan; a "history of percussion" solo that will feature African, rock
and jazz rhythms.
	"I'm not going to comeo out of a song this time," he reveals.  "I
wanted a free standing piece of music with its own dynamic structure.  I
haven't worked out every beat, though - I know where I'm going next, but I
don't always know how I'm going to get there.  It actually becomes a metaphor
for the whole show: We do have to plan it out because we do want consistency,
but there's room for it to breathe bigger on a good night."
	Another question from fans might be, "Are we going to hear the OLD Rush
on Saturday night, or the NEW Rush?"
	It's a valid question.  The band did in fact change its approach after
1981's Exit...Stage Left album, and those changes - more synthesizer-pop than
the band's traditional metal-pop approach - annoyed many of the faithfuls who'd
been with Rush from its Fly By Night and 2112 days.
	"It's so difficult for someone on the inside to judge between early and
late; to me, the band has been a series of evolutionary steps," Peart says.  "I
mean, what we went through in the '80s were a wealth of experiments that have
served us so well in the long run.  For us it wasn't like we lost our way or
anything.  Quite the contrary.  We went off in some interesting ways and tried
a lot of things that expanded our range.  I would agree that the last two
albums (A Show of Hands and Presto) have been more focused, but I think that's
been a result of prior experimentation, whether those experiments worked at the
time or not.  For me to compare Roll the Bones with, say, Hemispheres would be,
'Thirteen years of evolution.'  There's been a lot of change and well there
should be."
	It's not just the group that has changed, though - Peart as band
lyricist has also matured.  He's always been lauded by the press and fans for
his insightful, well-drawn phrases, but he says that on Roll the Bones he was
comfortable, for the first time, with subjects like eternal love (Ghost Of A
Chance).  So what's been his secret?
	"Discipline," he answers without hesitation.  "People think songwriting
is all about mysterious inspiration, but really, it's about being on the edge
of sleep, having an idea, and forcing yourself to get up and write it down.  Or
if you're in the middle of something and a phrase pops into your head, it's
about saying, 'Well, this is inconvenient , but I'm going to write it down so
it will be there in a year when I need it.'  You have to save up your little
inspirations and then sit for three days if you have to, until you get the song


From: Bruce Holtgren <70724.1622@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: Neil article (Orlando Sentinel)


Orlando Sentinel

   It has taken them 17 years, but the members of Rush have 
finally acknowledged that the band has a future in the music 

   "We really have never looked to a long future until now," 
drummer Neil Peart said by phone from a New Orleans tour stop. 
"We've always said, 'OK, we'll make the next record' or 'We'll do 
the next tour,' and that's as far as we ever looked ahead.

   "Now we realize that this band is all we need. As individuals, 
everything that we want to accomplish as musicians or writers we 
can do within this band."

   Peart, singer-bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson 
adopted the new attitude during recording sessions for their 18th 
album, "Roll the Bones," which focuses on the random nature of 
the human condition.

   Fittingly, Peart said that he got the idea for the album's 
theme by chance while toying with lyrics about being dealt a wild 

   "It just came out of nowhere, honestly. Suddenly, it struck 
me. Then I started thinking about it more and realizing how many 
wild cards there are in each of our lives and how you're faced 
with a choice - just like in a card game.

   "You can be dealt the wild card and you can turn it down - or 
you can jump on it. That's part of the 'roll the bones' aspect, 
too. When opportunity knocks, do you answer or do you pretend 
you're asleep? Even when luck comes your way, you have a choice 
how you respond to it."

   But Peart concedes that when a band has existed as long as 
Rush, there is more involved than luck.

   "There's a discipline and a restraint factor that comes into 
it, so that when you do have disagreements, you handle them in a 
mature and productive way.

   "If you disagree on something, you have to decide in your own 
mind first, 'Is this worth having a fight about? Is this worth 
the band breaking up over, or should I find a more positive way 
to introduce this note of discord?' Those kinds of little 
decisions that you make on a day-to-day basis really do affect 
the long term."

   Peart said that it's similar to the compromises that must be 
made in a romantic relationship - a scenario he addresses in 
"Ghost of a Chance," the latest "Roll the Bones" single. Peart is 
proud that the song goes beyond the cliched idea of starry-eyed 

   "'Ghost of a Chance' really offers some clues into long-term 
relationships - not only for mates but also for a band - in the 
sense that you just make it last ...

   "It debunks a lot of the sentimental love songs in saying that 
love at first sight is not going to last forever and be made in 
heaven and all that. People drift together by accident, and if 
they are attracted to each other, that's the easy part. The hard 
part is making it last."

   It would seem that Rush is making it last. The group has 
enjoyed consistent chart success over the years with such albums 
as "A Farewell to Kings" (1977), "Hemispheres" (1978), "Permanent 
Waves" (1980) and "Presto" (1989). Peart credits the band's 
staying power to the fact that all three members enjoy equal 
creative input.

   "There are no frustrations hanging over," he said. "At the end 
of a record, there isn't one guy left with five of his songs not 
getting used. With me writing the lyrics and the other two 
writing music, everybody is involved."

   He said that the band also has managed to avoid such pitfalls 
as overinflated egos, choosing instead to cultivate a group 

   "Those pressures do play a larger part in tearing bands apart 
than I think is often admitted or understood by other people," 
Peart said. "There are those problems of pride and ego - and not 
even to the extreme sense. I just mean in the small, day-to-day 
sense of anyone in any working situation, really, if you feel 
that you're not really being appreciated, your work isn't being 
used and somebody else is getting more attention.

   "Those are common aspects of human nature and human life, I 
think, that hold more true in a band because it's such a 
concentrated environment of just a few people trying to work 
together creatively over a period of time."

   In concert, members of Rush have traditionally attempted to 
duplicate the studio versions of their songs on stage. But this 
time around, they are loosening up.

   "We said it's time to get out of that and take a few chances," 
Peart said. "So when we were putting this tour together, we 
started immediately playing with the arrangements of the new 
songs and putting some spontaneous bits in them.

   "At this point, we feel that we can really perform a song as 
well live as it is on the record, so we have to push ourselves 
beyond that. It's just an ongoing learning process and refinement 
of what you're really supposed to be doing."

   While the rigors of the road also can take a toll on a band, 
Peart, 39, said that Rush has learned how to manage the stress.

   "We actually enjoy it a lot more than we did even 10 years 
ago," he said of touring. "We're much more in control of it now, 
and we understand what a good balance of work and freedom is ...

   "Within the last 10 years, our lives have gotten so much 
bigger that suddenly we can take advantage of being on the road. 
If we're in a city for a day or two, we can go to an art museum 
or we can play tennis or golf or go for a bike ride."

   Pretty sedate activities for rock 'n' rollers. But Peart said 
the band has never craved a rowdy offstage image.

   "I think we're pretty normal, really. It's just whether you 
take the trouble to cultivate this big image of a larger-than-
life kind of lifestyle and all that - and we never have.

   "We thought, 'Let's just get along and survive.'"


From: erik habbinga 
Subject: Music Express Article with Neil and Alex

                      Something Up Their Sleeves
                           by Keith Sharp
                    Copied Without Permission From
              Music Express Vol.14, Issue 144, Feb. 1990

   There's nothing magical or mysterious about the longevity of Rush.  Their
professional creative approach and insistence on a satisfying life outside
the band are paying off as they attack the '90s with a strong album and 
renewed vigor.

   Like the magical implication of its title, Rush's latest release,
_Presto_, has flashed into the U.S. charts with almost stunning swiftness
--16 with a bullet after just three weeks.  Ironically, though, there was a
time when doubts lingered as to whether this, or any future Rush albums for
that matter, would ever be recorded.

   It was a momentary, almost fleeting time of indecision, and both
drummer/lyricist Neil Peart and guitarist Alex Lifeson now downplay the 
severity of the situation.  But in the summer of '88 there was definite 
skepticism about the trio's future plans.

   "I was the most concerned I'd ever been," explains Lifeson as he lounges
comfortably amidst the splendor of his majestic mansion, set on a two-acre
estate in an exclusive north Toronto suburb.

   "We'd just come off tour, we were doing the live album, _A Show Of 
Hands_, and everybody was caught at a down point.  There seemed to be an air
of uncertainty as to whether we were properly motivated to record another 

   From the study of his equally palatial Toronto manor, Peart recalls being
less pessimistic about the group's future.

   "We had left things in limbo for a period of time after the live album. 
We agreed not to make a decision and to leave things up in the air," he 
explains.  "It was an open period of our career, our contract with Phonogram
had ended, we had no more obligations or deadlines to fulfill.  So we 
decided to get together at my house at the end of December and ask each 
other, "What do you want to do?"

   Since its 1970 inception, Rush has never operated like other bands.  From
an early stage, they realized that the only way to achieve longevity was by 
putting their career in a proper perspective.  This meant establishing a 
meaningful and productive social life outside of the band.

   As Lifeson has said previously, "Geddy [Lee], Neil and I get together and
decide if we want to do a record or a tour.  If the answer is yes, then we 
get on with it.  If the answer is no, then we don't.  And if we decide one 
day that there's other things we'd rather do, then no one feels any future 
obligation to each other."

   On a cold, wintry dy in December '88, the trio  had come to terms with 
the band's fate.  As Peart remembers it, all three were in good spirits and
it soon became obvious that there was still life in the Rush machine.

   "We all agreed that we wanted to make another record and from that point
everything just flowed naturally," he says.  "On the day we were supposed to
start writing--we started writing."

   "It was amazing how smoothly things went," agrees the blonde-maned 
guitarist.  "Writing and recording albums is usually a tense, stressful 
period, but this one went amazing well.  We were so well prepared that we 
had the album written, recorded and finished a month ahead of schedule, 
which for us is unbelievable."

   Writing _Presto_ followed the same path as most recent Rush releases.  As
 _A Show Of Hands_ hit the store shelves, the trio ensconced themselves in a
rural farmhouse studio, Peart filing through his ledger for lyrical ideas 
while Lee and Lifeson collaborated on the instrumental arrangements; the 
trio meeting at the end of the day to see how their individual ideas were 
matching up.

   Peart had previously suggested the title _Presto_ for their live album, 
but had lost out by democratic process.  "So I went and wrote a song called 
_Presto_ and knew at that point that we had at least an album title to work 

   Unlike some of the heavy-handed lyrical missives of _Grace Under 
Pressure_, _Power Windows_ and _Hold Your Fire_, _Presto_ seems to be a 
little more diffuse with no overriding theme or message.  If anything, the 
lyrical content is more humanistic and emotional, a return in some ways to 
the spirit of _Permanent Waves_ and _Signals_.  "Yes, I was conscious that 
maybe a couple of the last albums were a  little on the heavy side, 
lyrically speaking," allows Peart.  "With _Presto_ I took a little looser 
approach to things.  These songs have their own stories and messages without
necessarily being linked buy some overall theme."

   There is the token ecological in _Red Tide_ but for the most part, the
subject matter deals with humanistic matters like  cynicism (_Show Don't 
Tell_) and sensory perception (_Available Light_), an ode to Peart's 
travelling adventures.
  "If there is an identifiable lyrical trait here, it's my use of irony, 
which is injected by acting a character out through the lyrics", Peart says.
"For example, in _Hand Over Fist_ there are two people walking down the 
street arguing, and the lead character is saying things which are supposed 
to be ironic."

   The image of Rush clocking in to methodically write new material seems
somewhat calculated and mechanical, yet Peart rails at any question of the
band's artistic integrity.

   "We can't be more creative that locking ourselves away in a farmhouse.  
I know there is such a thing as inspiration, but I know how to take 
advantage of it.  When we're not rehearsing or writing, I collect ideas and
prepare myself for when we do start writing.  By the time we're ready to 
work on a new album, I'm fully prepared.  I've got pages and pages of notes
to work from."

   "Call us efficient, call us mechanical.  The point is, when we have to 
get something done, it's done.  That's the only way we know how to work.
Maybe we're exceptional in that way.  To our mind this is simply being 

   Peter Collins, the producer of the band's last two studio albums, passed 
on this project, leaving them to seek out a new recruit--Rupert Hine.  Hine 
had initially been approached at the time of _Grace Under Pressure_, but 
while he was unavailable for that assignment, he made up for it this time 

   With Rush deciding to record the bed tracks at Quebec's Morin Heights
facility and the overdubs at Toronto's McClear Place, it meant Hine and his
engineer cohort, Stephen Tayler would be working outside of their England
recording base--a rarity for Tayler who's known to be a real family man.

   Recording in Canada instead of England, the site of their last two 
sessions, was a concession the band made to their families.  "We're kind of 
like schoolteachers," declares Peart.  "We like to work in the winter and 
spring and take the summer off with our families.  So when we realized we'd
have to record during the summer, we set up the sessions so we could at 
least spend the weekends at home."

   In Hine and Tayler, Lifeson and Peart both agree the band couldn't have 
made better selections.  Aside from credits with The Fixx, Howard Jones and
Tina Turner, Hine has recorded several of his own albums.  His strengths are
vocal and keyboard arrangements, elements that aren't exactly band 

   "Our usual practice is to allow one day for the pre-production of each 
song," explains Lifeson.  "So we counted on about 11 days going over the 
tracks with Rupert.  So the first day, we start playing the demos, and he's
laughing.  We're going 'What's going on?' Rush songs aren't supposed to be 
humorous!  But he said he was laughing because he thought there was nothing
for him to do.  We went through all 11 songs in one day."

   According to Lifeson, Hine developed some interesting vocal arrangement
concepts for the band and implemented some strong keyboard elements while
actually de-emphasizing their prominence.
   As for Tayler, Lifeson calls him "simply the best engineer in the 
universe.  He was so smooth and so efficient, it was incredible.  I kept 
waiting for something to go wrong, but nothing ever did.  Because of this,
we sailed through the sessions in no time."

   As for the end result, Lifeson feels _Presto_ caps off an expressive 
period that started with _Signals_, and is a more basic rock album that 
other recent efforts.  "We've probably gained a lot of new fans and lost 
some of our old ones with the last couple of releases," he says.  "With 
_Presto_, I think we'll get some of the old ones back."

   On a strictly commercial level, Lifeson's observations seem to be 
correct.  With new U.S. label Atlantic making _Presto_ a high-priority item,
both the single (_Show Don't Tell_) and the album itself are riding high on 
the U.S. charts--a positive prelude to their next North American tour, which
starts this month.

   One strange quirk about the new album is that the first side is much 
longer than the second, forcing Rush to instruct their fans to play the A 
side much louder to compensate for sound loss.

   "You'd think with CD technology that we wouldn't run into these problems,
but we still do," bemoans Peart.  "We had problems with _A Show Of Hands_ 
because we wanted the tracks to fit on one CD.  That meant we had to leave 
some tracks off the release, which upset some of our fans.  Because of CDs 
we can now comfortably write longer compositions without having to worry too
much about time restrictions.  However, a natural running order tends to 
develop with our albums.  This isn't a problem with cassettes, but with 
albums you're restricted to the time on each side and with CDs you've only 
got a certain amount of time to play with.  So with _Presto_, the only way
we could keep the running order the way we wanted was to put more material
on side one than on side two.  This means the sound level on the first side
is lower that on the second." 

   As for _Presto_'s immediate impact in the States, Peart and Lifeson are
naturally enthused but are adapting a cautious, wait-and-see attitude.  They
have seen Rush albums fly out of the starting gate only to fade after a
couple of weeks.

   "That was the main complaint with our previous label," Lifeson notes.
"After the initial euphoria when all the hardcore fans were buying the album,
the label would never take that extra step to push it further.  As a result, 
sales would drop sharply after the first five or six weeks.  This time, 
though, our new label has something to prove, and I genuinely feel _Presto_
deserves this attention.  It's the right album to push Rush into the '90s."

   A new album means the inevitable tour, something Lifeson in particular
endures more than relishes.  It was primarily this factor that put the 
continued existence of the band in doubt.  It's not the actual playing that 
causes the problems.  All three members love the challenge of presenting 
their new work live to their fans.  It's the mind-numbing boredom of the 
time off-stage:  the airport terminals, hotels, concrete arena dressing 
rooms, the monotonous grind of travelling from one gig to the next.

   "We could tolerate it when we were younger and we had to play 300 gigs a 
year to survive," recounts Lifeson.  "But now that we've all got families, 
it becomes so much harder.  It's not so bad for Neil; he's started to work 
on his travelogues and he goes for a 60-mile cycle to relieve the boredom.
For Geddy and I, we try to play tennis or go to a movie or a car show if 
there's one in town.  But it can be really difficult at times.  When you're
stuck in a place like Topeka or Des Moines and there's nowhere to go, you 
get a real feeling of helplessness."

   Peart and Lifeson say they're mentally up for this tour after taking time
off to engage in some exotic exploration.  Peart, a known travelholic, has 
just returned from a cycle tour of West Africa while Lifeson had recently 
been hiking and scuba diving in Paupa New Guinea.

   "They say you go to East Africa for the animals and West Africa for the
people--and the people of Togo, Ghana and The Ivory Coast were incredibly
friendly," Peart enthuses.  "We stayed in the huts with the village chiefs 
and got to know the people in a way you never could if you were just touring 
with a band.  They thought it was quite a novelty to see a white man playing
the drums!"

   Lifeson's exploits took him on hikes with people who 20 years ago would 
have eaten him for breakfast, as well as on reef dives amongst killer 

   "You realize that man totally misunderstands the creatures of the sea; 
I've developed a whole new respect for them," he says.  "Sharks actually 
aren't that dangerous if you respect them.  It got to the point that we were
actually disappointed if we went on a dive and didn't see something six or 
seven feet long."

   Of significance is an announcement that Rush will court a suitable 
corporate sponsor for this tour, providing it fits the band's "image".
"Like Canadian Tire or Home Hardware [Canadian department stores]," laughs
Lifeson.  "Yeah, I could have a lot of fun in those stores.  Or how about 
Fred's Plumbing or Bill's Bowling Alley -- a totally anti-corporate sponsor?
That would be more like us." 

   Peart, however, is much more somber when broached on the subject.  
"Corporate sponsorship is a vulgar, abhorrent concept," he says, "which 
drives up a show's production costs by hundreds of thousands without 
reflecting the band's true demand.
   "There was a time when the onus was on the record companies to provide 
tour support to break entry-level bands.  Now that they have to spend an 
extra $125,000 or so on videos, the labels are trying to pass the 
responsibility of sponsorship on to the corporate entity, and that's 
where things really get dangerous.

   "Suddenly the sponsors only want the top-level acts and the ones that are
prepared to wear their t-shirts and endorse their products.  The entry-level
bands don't stand a chance.  It's a dangerous situation that's getting worse
all the time."

   Peart claims Rush has avoided such pitfalls by recognizing their own
limitations.  They don't play summer football stadium concerts because they
know they're not a big enough headline act to pull 50,000 fans -- and, 
besides, it's not conductive to their music.  They also don't play countries
that don't warrant their interest.

   "For us to play places like Eastern Europe, Japan and Australia would be
totally self-gratifying," notes Peart.  "We know the fans aren't' there, so
why bother?  And besides, I'd rather see those places on my bike.  It's a 
lot more intimate and a lot more fun."

   Both Peart and Lifeson profess dismay at the recent trend towards 
nostalgic super concerts which have seen the likes of Pink Floyd, The Who, 
The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney dominate box office receipts.

   "When The Who did their farewell tour in '83," says Lifeson, "I thought,
wow, that's a classy way to finish.  But five years later it's like, 
'Whoops, lads, we're short of money.  Let's do _another_ farewell tour.'  
Same with the Stones.  They're not out there for the music.  They get their
satisfaction from making $60 million."

   Nostalgia isn't a tag that can easily be pinned on Rush.  Their most 
recent albums have been even more adventurous than ever and, now that 
they've survived a mini internal crisis, they seem even more determined to
push their music well into the '90s.

   "We've been lucky to create a personal chemistry that's lasted so long.
Look at any band that's lasted so long.  Look at any band that's broken up 
and it's usually because of personal problems," analyses Peart.  "As long as
we get that creative gratification from working together, we will continue 
to produce albums.  So long as the band isn't all-encompassing -- none of us 
could ever tolerate that."

Erik Habbinga            "And on bass, The Doc of Shock, The Duke of Spook!"  
U-niversity of
C-olorado between         "Time to make the doughnuts, you bastards!"
L-ongmont and
A-rvada                        "Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball"


From: Bruce Holtgren <70724.1622@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: A Primus Primer

Hey, Mr. rush-mgr ...

I found this here article about Primus, and figured that since 
there seems to be a good deal of interest about the band, I'd 
type it in, fling it to you, and see if you'd want to post it, or 
at least stick it at the ftp site. I'm not a Primus Person, but I 
thought this item offered a reasonably decent introduction to the 
band that's currently backing up our heroes. Anyway, do with it 
what you will - even if you deem it not Rushian enough to foist 
on the NMS crowd, my feelings won't be hurt.

Bruce Holtgren

                    PRIMUS POISED FOR SUCCESS                 
       (published February 14, 1992; used without permission)

The Idaho Statesman

   Primus fans inside a malarially hot club mosh in front of the 
stage, jumping up and down and swinging their hair violently from 
side to side.
   At the show's close, they gleefully shout "Primus sucks," a 
form of reverse reverence that follows the heavy alternative trio 
everywhere. Brave (or foolish) fans stage-dive into the crowd, 
hoping for a soft landing into friendly arms.
   They expect - and get - dazzlement from leader Les Claypool, a 
character with a mosquito tattooed on his head ("because they 
suck") and a bass player of thundering virtuosity.
   From guitarist Larry LaLonde, they get whatever he feels like 
playing. Or whatever he can remember.
   "I'll go into the studio and play, and once I've heard it many 
times, I can play it live," LaLonde says. "But a lot of times, I 
can't remember what I've played."
   LaLonde and company are busy improvising these days. Primus 
puts in the odd club date when not opening for Rush on its 
current U.S. arena tour.
   LaLonde is a trained guitarist. He studied for four years with 
Joe Satriani before the latter became a guitar godhead. As a 
result, LaLonde says, he does not shrink from being spontaneous, 
off-key or even bad.
   "The cool thing I learned from Joe is, you'll know what key 
you're in and you can play a bunch of wrong notes," LaLonde says. 
"It's a way to play a weird thing. He's definitely a bizarre 
   Riffing on the edge embodies the Bay Area band's style. 
Usually tagged with a thrash-funk label, Primus' music invites 
synapse-twisting attempts at definition.
   It's funky, but not in a glam way. It's thrashy, though not 
speedy. Not melodic, but still musical. Heavy in attitude, yet 
not dirgelike.
   When LaLonde joined the band in 1989, Primus was most often 
compared to star rock-funksters Red Hot Chili Peppers.
   "When people were just hearing about the Red hot Chili Peppers 
and then people would hear us, they would compare us to them. Now 
there are a ton of (funk-rock) bands, and they don't compare us 
to them.
   "I think we sound more like the Residents. But whatever people 
hear, they hear."
   Claypool's menagerie of bass noises - created by slapping, 
plucking, strumming and banging - certainly recalls hard funk. 
Deadhead LaLonde's influences team psychedelia and punk. Tim 
"Herb" Alexander is, as LaLonde describes him, "Mr. World 
   "Everybody in the band has been turned on to different kinds 
of music. Herb had never heard of Metallica, and then we turned 
him on to it, and he was way into it."
   Whatever the pedigree, Primus' peculiar fusion is hitting.
   "Sailing the Seas of Cheese," the group's third album and 
first major release, on Interscope Records, is closing in on 
300,000 copies sold. And pre-Rush, the group shared tour billing 
with Jane's Addiction and 24-7 Spyz.
   "We've been so busy," LaLonde says. "Jane's Addiction will 
call and say, 'Do you want to tour?' Then Fishbone called us and 
Rush called us."
   The attention of the press and a contract on a big label could 
make an alternative band slightly queasy about the proximity of 
mainstream acceptance.
   LaLonde is not worried Primus will become a rock commodity and 
sell cola anytime soon. "I don't think that even if we tried that 
would happen," he says.
   Between now and worldwide dominance, Primus will tour large 
halls with Rush and small halls on its own, and say "Thank you" 
when fans chant "You suck."
   The phrase is a reminder of modesty. Fans used to tell 
Claypool the band was great, and he would say, "Nah, we suck."
   Says LaLonde with a laugh, "It's really fun when there's 
someone there who doesn't know why people are saying, 'You 


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End of The National Midnight Star Number 481

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