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Subject: 08/12/92 - The National Midnight Star #486  ** Special Edition **

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(Administrative postings to the posting address will be ignored!)


          The National Midnight Star, Number 486

                   Wednesday, 12 Aug 1992
Today's Topics:

From: rush-mgr
Date: 11 Aug 92
Subject: Administrivia

Sorry it's been so long away from the digest... hopefully things will be all
caught up this week, so start sending in your posts! I know some of you have
seen this interview before, but this is the "official" digest release. Two
more digests will follow (1 today, 1 tommorrow) of old mail. I have removed
the posts which were "time conscious," such as when tickets go on sale, 
directions to various arenas, etc. to cut down on space, so if you don't see
your post that's probably why.

And please if you want to be added/removed/change of address SEND IT TO THE
RIGHT ADDRESS! Thank you for your cooperation, and now... on with the show.

- rush-mgr (for now) Meg


From: (Frank Lancaster)
Date: Mon, 11 May 92 13:44:02 +0200

			     "IT'S TRUE!"



		       Frank Lancaster and TNMS

On Thursday April 23rd 1992 your local german reporter from TNMS set
off from Bonn to Koeln to interview Neil Peart from Rush in the Hotel
Intercontinental. After a nearly sleepless night he had reached a
state of calm numbness which continued until he reached the Hotel
(about one and a half hours early) and found nobody who knew anything
about the interview. At last at ten to twelve (ten minutes before the
interview was supposed to start) I young lady from East-West appeared!
We then started waiting together in the foyer, I wasn't exactly sure
for what.

Shortly after twelve Pegi from SRO met us in the foyer. The interview
was delayed because of some misunderstanding between the managment and
the promoter about the interview timetable. Anyway I was going to be the
first of the two people who were going to interview Neil. Geddy and
Alex had a lot more interviews according to the schedule I saw. At
half past twelve Peter, Neil's driver on the European tours, arrives.
He's a very nice guy, asks me for my name and takes me up to Neil's
room. In the elevator he explains to me that Neil is a very nice
person, open and direct, but very nice.

We reach the room and the door is opened by a very lively and smiling
person, Neil. After joking with his driver about the cap he's wearing
(the driver not Neil, he had no bandana, no hat, only short hair on
his head, no signs of hair lossage), we sit down in the quite small
room and start the interview. First I mention to him that the
questions were put together by some 40 Rush fans from around the
world via e-mail. This got no obvious reaction from Neil, so I just
started asking the questions (no problems with the tape this time).

Warning to fanatics: This interview contains JOKES and IRONY. Do not
take everything seriously.

F: Why and how was it decided to do an European tour this time?  Did the
band decide themselves, and what reasons did you have?  Do the long
periods of absence in Europe make a difference (in America you tour
nearly every year)?

N: Basically coming to Europe is a tribute to our fans, it's inconvient and
expensive for us, so we come here basically just as a present to our fans,
so that's why we come only every two years. As far as all the work we want
to do, as far as live shows and that, we could quite easily just stay in
America and we'd be busy, more busy than we need to be, so that's basically
the reason.

F: Is it somewhat different with the audiences here with the long periods of
absense, do you sense somekind of more anticipation?

N: No I wouldn't say so, because honestly Americans are much more unreserved
anyway, so even if you come back after six months they're really be excited.

F: The audiences must be a lot more smaller than in America here.

N: Yeah, it's a lot more diffcult working here, that's another part of it

F: Will the shows this spring/summer in America be any different than the
earlier American and European shows?

N: Yeah, they will certainly be different, but every shows different! So
it's not a really fair question.

F: Why are you doing such a long American tour, re-visiting places in the
States where they you already been this tour?  Do you decide yourselves
about each place and concert?

N: Very few places we're actually playing the same, and it's generally a
place like Los Angeles for instance. If you play central Los Angeles, only a
certain number of people can get there because the suburbs go for fifty
miles. So other ones that we were coming back to that area we're doing
out-door amphitheatres which are great for us to play, they're great for the
audiences, and they allow the whole suburban area to get there. So places
like that where we've made that choice, it's been based upon having
different audiences, and again same in Chicago we're playing a place which
is very suburban, Chicago goes on for fifty miles too, so it's just access
for a different people and a different kind of venue. We went to those
places in an arena in the middle of winter, and now we're coming back in a
beautiful out-door amphitheatre in summertime, so it's quite a different

F: Are there any cities or arenas that you especially enjoy playing?

N: Hmmm, no.

F: A rumour in Finnland has it that you played in Finland on the Hemispheres
tour. Perhaps you remember whether this is true or not?

N: No. We played Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but not Finnland.

F: You've been on the current tour for 6 months.  How does your family feel
about you being away for so long?  Do they ever tour with you or visit while
you're on the road?

N: They don't like it. No, they don't tour with us. Yes, sometimes they

F: Don't you get tired/bored with touring?  What reward does touring give
you now?  How is it different from touring 10 years ago?

Touring ten years ago we were much more in the learning process. So
consequently playing night after night was very good for us and made us
better as musicians and as a band, like anything else the more you do it the
better you get. Now it became a different choice, around Presto we were
debating what touring could do for us because it didn't do that anymore. You
know, we reached a point where we'd learned a lot and worked hard on the
road for fifteen years, so we paid our dues and basically we decided that
for the band to be a vital working band we needed to be playing live. So it
came down to a simple thing: the only thing worse than touring was not
touring as a band!

F: You always take the least worst?

N: Well, you do what's most important for the band, that was the decision. I
could quite happily not tour. There's a thousand other things I'm interested
in doing, a thousand other things I'm satisfied by doing. But because my
commitment is still to Rush, my commitment is to what's best for Rush, and
that happens to be touring.

F: It's part of the job?

N: Yeah, touring is part of it.

F: Is there going to be a live album or video release from this tour?

N: I don't think so, no. Definitely not a live album and no plans for a

F: How do select songs for concerts? I can remember 1983 you played nearly
the complete Signals album now you play only five songs from the new album.
Has it become harder because you have more songs to select from?

N: Yeah, six more albums since then or whatever. Basically we start of with
the new songs that we want to play from the most recent record when we're
putting together a tour, and then we decide which older songs we want to get
rid of, that we're tired of playing and don't want to play anymore, so they
go, and then we decide if there are any old songs that we haven't played for
awhile that we want to bring back. This tour there are a few, last tour
there were quite a few we brought back, some stayed, some didn't. Basically
we just have to feel like we can play them with conviction and popularity
really can't be a factor, last tour we retired 'The Spirit of Radio' for
awhile, simply because it was stale for us, there was no sense playing it,
because it was just a performance. We weren't playing the song, we were
performing it and that's quite a different thing! So we retired it for
awhile and now it's back again, now we're having fun with it again.

F: What is the timetable for the rest of the year as far as vacations,
writing new material and recording is concerned?  When can we expect a new

N: We'll start work on the new album this November.

F: How long does the tour go in America?

N: Until the end of June.

F: That's since October now, isn't it?

N: Yeah, but we've spaced it out, we've had breaks in between. We did it our
way, just like Elvis!

F: Do you have any ideas so far as to the musical direction of the next
album?  Will you continue with what you've developed in RTB, try for a
different approach, or just let it slide and see what comes up?
N: The only honest way is to see what happens. We just decide the day when
we're going to start work and we don't lay out a plan and say "We should do
this, we should do that!" We just go in and whatever happens is right, and
invariable it is. We're experimental by nature and consequently if we're
excited about an idea, we'll follow it through and put it on the record. But
that may be the end of it as a direction. We might try a style or a
particular way of constructing a song and only after the fact can we say
"Well, we should carry on with that," or "That's the end of that, that
road's a dead end or this one leads us somewhere." Because of the way we are
being so open to whatever direction comes up and whatever direction we get
excited about while we're working on new material, it takes us a lot of
different ways and not all of them continue, but they're all worth doing just
on their own sake.

F: Do you have any plans to continue the musical direction that the albums
Power Windows and Hold Your Fire represent?

N: We did!

F: A lot of fans find them very good.

N: Ahh! I hear these factions all the time. You know: "Why didn't you make
another album like 2112?", "Why didn't you make another album like
Hemispheres?", "Why didn't you make another album like Permanent Waves?".
That's the first time I heard: "Why didn't you make another album like Hold
Your Fire or Power Windows?". We've done it, you know, and we have gone on
from those. It's a question with it's own answer "Why don't we carry on from
them?", well we have! What will we do? Well we will! It's an obvious
evolutionary thing, there's no way we're going to repeat two years ago, or
ten years ago, or fifteen years ago, it would be pointless. But in another
sense there is a continuity and an evolution about it all because it all has
been an honest progress. We've learned from one thing and gone on to the
next. What else could we do?!

F: It has been a long time since Rush performed an epic, are you and/or the
band going to do another story on an upcomming album?  Or do you rule them
out now?

N: There's no rules. We do what we want to do. So, if we had a great idea
that happened to require a longer song then we would do it.

F: Did the length or records have any influence on how you built-up longer
songs? They had to fit onto 20 minutes, did that infuence 2112 or

N: No actually it didn't. They worked out to be the length they were, which
happened to be that long. The only thing that has been nice in recent years
is because of the rise of CD we can have much more time! So it allows us to
be more various, we can explore more angles on different things that
interest us. So where we might have had 40 minutes on an LP now we have 60,
70 minutes on a CD. It give's us a lot more time, that's good, we like that!

F: How do you think the lyrics of the songs Territories and New World Man
relate to the recent war in the Arabian Gulf? It is noteworthy that a song
about the collapse of the Eastern Block is on RTB but nothing relating to
the war in the gulf.

N: Because the collapse in the Eastern Block is way more important than the
war in the Arabian Gulf, for a start!

F: Probably! At least here in Germany.

N: Well, in the world! I'm not writing lyrics as a Canadian or as a North
American, I'm writing them as a citizen of the world. And that was the
message of Territories. It's something I inately feel. I'm not nationalistic
and Canadians get mad at me, and ask we're supposed to be representatives of
Canada. Well we're not. We're representatives of the human race as far as
I'm concerned. I love a lot of places in the world. I love Europe, I love
North America, I love the United States, I love Africa. All these places
have a place in my picture of the world. And the Persian Gulf was in the
historical sense a pretty small thing.

F: RUSH have been writing music which has been a little more complex
than most other rock groups.  Do you feel that music that is less complex or
more simplistic is less meaningful?  Many people would say that simplistic
writing in music and liturature is more able to express strong emotions (eg:
the writing of Kurt Vonnegut).

N: Haha. It depends on the nature. Some people write simply because they
want to be commercial, it's as simple as that. In that case I think it's
obviously shallow and less meaningful because it's written down to a lowest
common denominator. Complexity isn't necessarily the factor, and the idea
that simplicity is more capable of expressing emotions is only true if it is
excellent simplicity. And that's a pretty rare thing and generally you have
to be a master before you can return to simplicity. If you look at the path
of someone like Picasso for instance, he had to learn how to paint like an
old master before he could go back and paint simplistic lines and lots of
colour. Any number of modern painters had to go through that evolution of
learning complexity first and then they could refine the complexity into a
perfect simplicity. It doesn't work the other way around, you can't start
from simple, as a drummer for instance, you can't say "I don't need lessons,
I don't need to learn anything, I'm just going to play and it'll be better."
Well it won't. And for me in lyrics and in drumming I've been through the
same thing. I've learned all the technique I can learn and tried everything
and experimented. And as band we've done the same thing, we've experimented
through all kinds of musical complexity both rhythmic and melodic and now
it's come that it serves a purpose. Whatever the song requires for us is a
multilevel thing of how best we can express what we'd like the song to
convey. In that sense simplicity can be true, and sometimes it is in music
or in writing or any other kind of art. If it's a simple statement from a
simple person then it's honest. But if it's a simple statement from a
complex person generally it's going to be shallow and not very meaningful.
It's an awfully complicated subject and really is more to do with the craft
of music making than perception. Some people like to listen to simple music
because it's less important to them too, they want something on the radio
that's not demanding. Our music is demanding of our listener, it expects an
effort from the audience, just as much it demands an effort from us to
create it. It's a two way street as far as we're concerned, we don't talk
down to our audience at all, we considered them to be the same as us. So
therefore if this music gets us excited and we're willing to do all this
work to convey it then we expect it to get the audience excited and for them
to do a little bit of work in receiving it. It's not just supposed to be
television entertainment, you're not supposed to just sit there like an
vegetable and receive it, you're supposed to get involved with it.

F: I think most Rush fans actually see that.

N: Yeah, it seems self evident to me, but I question like that makes you
F: How do you feel your lyrics relate to ``academic literature''? There are
scores of allusions to writers who are part of the literary canon as well as
more recently appearing works like John Barth's. I know you tend to play
down the seriousness of your lyrics in the literary sense of the word, but
when you are trying to write lyrics with more lasting value or literary
quality how do you feel your writing might relate to the American literary

N: Um, haha. Emmm. None of that's for me to think about. I don't worry about
that. When I'm sitting and writing lyrics there's nothing in the world more
important. But when they're done, they're not very important anymore. It's
as simple as that. Any job that I'm doing engrosses me totally and becomes
the total focus of my being. The same as when I'm playing a concert there's
nothing else in world then either, but when it's over I'm worried about the
next one. It's the same with lyrics too. I couldn't give them more time or
attention when I'm working on them. After that I don't sit around and worry
about them anymore. I did my best [does "clap, whiiiit!" with his hands]

F: In your earlier lyrics there are some very obvious literary influences,
Ayn Rand being the most concrete example of this.  Lately it seems that you
are either using them less, or making the more obscure.  Is this a conscious

N: No. Again, it's a compilcated question in one way, but not a very
interesting one in another. No.

F: One could also find very Hemingwayian things in your older lyrics. But
ever since Hold your fire I've been lost when it comes to what are you
drawing your influences from. I know that on the latest album the phrase
"roll the bones" is from Fritz Leiber and "we will pay the price etc" from
Bravado is from The Tidewater Tales, but that's it. Being an avid reader I
would like to know what kind of literature - perhaps you could mention some
specific books - you have been reading lately and what has influenced you.
Reading what you've read would most probably give me new perspectives on
your lyrics.  Who are some of the authors you currently read?

N: Right, that one's leading towards the same direction. No influences are
direct ones. In olden day perhaps more so than now, but even so not... What
I'm reading now is the writings of Karl Jung, so that's good for anybody to
read! Actually that one might help one understand all Sting's songs!

F: Talking about Ayn Rand -- what is your view on religion in society and
how has it influenced your lyrics?  Do you consider yourself to be an
Objectivist?  What parts of Objectivist philosophy do you disagree with? 
Many of your fans compare you to Howard Roark [from *The Fountainhead*] and
feel Rush's music is much like Roark's architecture.  How do you feel about

N: I think it's a red herring, it's meaningless. You know again, I'm not
going to get into a whole point by point discussion of objectivism. I'm a
left wing libertarian. That's all.

F: Well a lot of fans listen to 2112, and read about Rand and get influenced
by it.

N: Well that's fine, it won't hurt anyone. But that is fifteen years ago for
me, and I've never been a disciple of anyone. 

F: Well, to me your lyrics have change quite a lot.

N: No they haven't. What I believed then, I still believe. But I know a lot
more now. So consequently my view of the world is much broader and
encompasses a lot more people's thinking. Among the people who's thinking I
like is Ayn Rand, but there are a whole lot of others. It's a kind of
disciple mentality that people are applying to me that they think I applied
to her and it's all wrong. I'm nobody's disciple and you know "No god, no
government" none of that, so I don't like it applied to me any more than to

F: What inspired the story of 'The Fountain of Lamneth', from Side Two of
'Caress of Steel'?"

N: Oh get off here. It's 1975, it's meaningless.

F: OK. I was wondering if they are any rock lyricists whose works you
admire, like perhaps Fish (Marillion) or Peter Gabriel? Or are lyrics
uninteresting when you listen to music?

N: No. A lot of lyricists I like a lot. Actually Laurie Anderson is, I
think, one of the nicest lyricists working today because the way she
combines seriousness with humour so well. Couple of bands I heard lately
with good lyrics "Protam" actually have good lyrics, "Chris Carnell" from
"Sound Garden" he writes nice lyrics, band call "Life", have you heard of
them at all, an American band, they have very good lyrics. Who else? That

F: Many high school students and some teachers have used Rush's lyrics to
help get students interested in poetry and classical literature. Do you
think about that when you are writing?  Did you even know about it?

N: Yes, I know about. No, I don't think about it.

F: There are rumours of the existence of poems and travel writings of yours.
Do you have any intention of making them more widely available, in the way
that say, Nick Cave, has?

N: No.

F: In the eventuality that Rush stops producing and playing music, do you
plan to continue writing and would it be in some publicly available form? If
so, what direction or style do you think would it take? ie, Novels, poetry,
editorials etc.

N: I have no plans.

F: No plans?!. Do you use a computer for writing?

N: Yes.

F: Does it help you in writing lyrics?

N: It makes it easier to edit!

F: Well, we'll change the subject. What was your inspiration to be a

N: The "Gene Cooper Story" movie. 

F: Did you take lessons or learn on your own?

N: I took lessons for a while, and then learned, not on my own, but from all
the other drummers in the world by listening to them.

F: Did you consider playing any other instrument?

N: No.

F: When you were growing up, were you glued to your set and did you play for
hours at a time?

N: Yes.

F: What drummers influenced you most as a teenager?  Did you attempt to
emulate them?

N: So many drummers! It's like "Who's your favourite writer?" I have
thousands of books in my house all of which I've read. So, it's the same
with drummers. I've been listening to music as a fan for a long long time
and still continue to. I guess one of the earliest rock drummers that I
liked was Keith Moon, although Mitch Mitchell with Jimi Hendrix at the time
was very good, and the first drummer from King Crimson Michael Giles was a
big influence on me in those days.

F: Parts of your drum solo (A Show of hands) rely heavily on the snare,
which was an attribute of Buddy Rich.  You also played at a memorial concert
dedicated to him.  Are there any other musicians who have significantly
shaped your style of playing?

N: Again, it's so hard. Dozens of them. I've been playing drums for 25
years. I've been learning from the best drummers through those 25 years and
the best drummers of the previous 50 years since the drumset was invented.
It's just, where to start? Name any good drummer of the last 25 years and
I'll say "Yes, he infuenced me." It is that way. I listen that broadly and
there are so many drummers that I admire. Again, I'm no disciple, I never
have been, so I've never been slavishly one guy's follower. I think Buddy
Rich was probably the best drummer there has ever been, but at the same time
there are a awful lot of other good drummers in different styles. I like
Reggae drumming, I like African drumming, I like Jazz drumming, I like Rock
drumming. It's all good and I've learned from it all.

F: Do actually design your drum solo somehow? If you follow them over the
years (the live recordings) there is always something similar between them,
but they've also changed a lot.

N: Every tour I completely redo the structure of it. There are elements I'll
keep. It's the same as I was talking earlier, about keeping the show, how we
change the show from tour to tour. I'll decide the parts that I would like
to keep, some parts stay for a long time just because I like them and
they're sort of autobiographical for me. Some parts of my drum solo go back
to 25 years ago, really, when I first started playing. Other parts change
every night. My drum solo from the previous show is different from the one
before it and it'll be different from tonights in a lot of small ways. I
construct it as a piece of music. As a story it has a beginning and a middle
and an end. And transitions and everything are carefully worked out before
the tour starts, but I leave a lot of room for improvising also depending on
the night. And that carries forward through the course of a tour, the change
multiplies. So a little change every night sometimes adds up to a bigger
change after a week and then after a month. It's constantly evolving night
after night and through the course of tour also. But it does have a
structure around which I work.

F: On the live album (A Show of Hands) the drum solo was cut quite a bit?

N: Well, there was a minute taken out. It's just a question of time. We
did not want to put out a double CD for the live album because we did not
want to expect people to pay the ridiculous price of double CD. Therefore we
said we've got 74 minutes, we wanted as many songs on there as possible. We
talked about the drum solo early on and I said "Leave it out. If it's a
choice between the drum solo and a song let's put a song on." And then at
the last minute we had three minutes left and they said "Oh we'd like to
have some of the drum solo on." So I said "OK, fine". We had three minutes
and twenty seconds the drum solo had to be. I went in and edited myself and
made a shorter version of it. And that's what fit on. People get too upset
about things like this. I had letters like this [lowers his voice] "Why was
the drum solo edited?" Well I did it! It was a choice between three minutes
of the drum solo or nothing! And everybody was excited of having it on
there, so I said OK. It's not a big deal. It was a choice of soaking people
for a double CD as far as I thought, so there was no way we were going to
make the live album longer than one CD, and that's what fit! It's not a big

F: Do you know, off-hand, who came up with the double-hand crossover?  I saw
Louie Bellson play it not too long ago and I just started wondering about
that.  Also (forgive me for asking a question you've probably been asked
100,000 times), how exactly do you play it?  It looks like a single-stroke
roll-type thingamagig, but it's hard to tell!

N: Hahaha! It's probably fifty years old for one. And secondly it is
single-stroke roll based.

F: Do rhythms that you come up with originate from the world around you or
are these thought up by you?

N: A lot of different ways. Sometimes they just draw to the song. When I go
in to hear what Geddy and Ax have been working on musically, it's based upon
a basic tempo, so I can interpret that tempo in any rhythmic way that I can
see a way to fit it. Other times I'll go in and program the drum machine for
them and they'll write around rhythms that I created for them. Or other
times I'll just create a rhythm and use it somewhere wherever it'll fit. So
they come from all kinds of places, little bits that I hear, or combinations
of ideas a lot of times. I'll take a West African pop beat and combine it
with a Reggae beat, or a North American Rock beat, or with a European Dance
beat. All these things appeal to me in one way or another so if I can find a
way to combine them then it becomes something fresh because I don't want to
imitate Eurodisc music or Techno or Nigerian Pop or any of those. I don't
want to imitate them, but I can use them as influences and especially if I
can combine them, then it does become something new. It's just rhythmic
curiousity, the same as with words. I keep a collection of thoughts in my
head and then try to jumble them into a way.

F: Alex and Geddy normally start with the music and lay down some drum
tracks with the drum machine. Are you often able to take ideas from the drum
parts they have laid down, or do you more often just come up with your drum
parts from scratch?

N: It goes both ways actually. Not being drummers they program some
interesting things sometimes that a drummer wouldn't. Especially Alex
because he has a strange rhythmic sense! So a lot of times I use them.
They're great jumping-off points for me for a direction that I might not
have thought of. The drum machine for me is a tool, it's no threat. I'm glad
that it's in there doing the hack work, instead of me having to keep a beat
for an hour while they work on an idea. They do all that and then it's
finished and the drum machine goes in the closet and I take over. I've never
had an adverserio problem with the drum machine. To me it's a friend, it
takes over a lot of the robot work.

F: Are you always looking for a different sound to make using your
electronic drums?

N: No, not really. Essentially they save space. A lot of times where I have
a real marimba at home I don't have room for one on stage. I have a lot of
African drums or Chinese drums at home that are too fragile to travel or
would not fit in my drumkit, but I can have samples of them. To me the great
advantage of sampled drums is that I can have every percussion sound in the
world, or the sound of big sheets of metal or sticks clicking or any of
those things reachable in a reasonably accessible drumset. I don't
experiment a lot with sounds. I know a lot of people who are into
synthesizers create sounds and combine organic sounds into combinations and
all that. It's not really a field of interest for me. For me it's the
playing that counts and that's why the electronics are physically and
mentally in the back seat. The real drums are here and they're all fitted
around because the electronics are secondary. They are just nice things I
can add. What's important to me is playing the drums really.

F: After so many years as a undeniably skillful drummer, do you do you still
feel the need to practice on a regular basis (particularly when you're not
on tour or doing albums), and if so, how much?

N: For the tour we rehearsed seven weeks before the tour, just rehearsals
and of which two of them were just by myself. I went in every day and played
all day relearning the songs and getting my calluses built up and things.
For recording I rehearsed four weeks before the recording learning all the
songs and experimenting with different ideas, refining them, all the little
details of a drum part, and trying to create something that's the best
foundation for the song rhytmically and the most satisfying expression for
me. When I'm at home I tend to just play, I don't rehearse. I'll sit down
and play the marimba or I'll play the congas or I'll play the drumset, but
it'll be just for fun. Whereas when I'm rehearsing for something it's very
serious hard work that I'm working towards a goal, being ready for the tour
or being ready for a recording.

F: Do you plan on having a solo album out in the near future? Have you ever
considered doing a solo album?

N: No.

F: When you first auditioned for Rush, what were your first impressions of
Geddy and Alex, both as musicians and as songwriters?

N: Well, let me think, eighteen years ago... Uhmmm, we got along well, we
enjoyed playing well together. I mean that was all that counted really. We
didn't sit down and start working on album the first day. So we didn't have
impressions as songwriters or anything. We didn't know each other, I'd never
heard of them, they'd never heard of me. It was just like an audition, as
awkward as audition always are for everybody. You walk in as strangers both
musically and personally. You try to forge some common ground. We talked a
bit and played a bit, and found our common ground basically.

F: It must have been very lucky actually.

N: Luck is defined though as when preparation meets opportunity. I'd been
preparing for it for a long time. So the opportunity was there, I was
lucky to get the opportunity, but at the same time I was prepared for it.
And certainly we made the best of our opportunities after the fact. Luck is
a complicated thing as the whole album of RTB tries to outline. It's never
as simple as that.

F: Did the band seriously consider calling it quits during the Caress of
Steel tour?

N: No.

F: What was the worst story of your life on the road?

N: The worst, being sick in the middle of a show and having to go and throw
up between songs but still keep going. You can do it, but it takes an
enormous effort of will.

F: How do you see the future of the band? Could this be your last tour?

N: Oh shut up. YES, I want to start some rumors. This IS the LAST tour.
We're all dying of CANCER and we'll probably won't make it through tonight's
show. No, I outlined the future, we're finishing this tour and then we'll
start work on the new record. That's all we need to worry about, and that's
all anybody else needs to worry about too.

F: Being a bicyclist too, what have been your favorite places that you have
traveled by bike so far and why? Any interesting future destinations?

N: That's more interesting! 

F: Have you been biking here in Germany?

N: Very much, yes. Actually I've done two bicycle tours starting from
Munich. One from Munich to Venice, through Switzerland, over the Alps, and
then a year ago last fall I did Munich to Istanbul. We started from Munich
and went down through Austria and over the Grossglockner. So I've done a lot
of cycling especially in southern Germany. I really like it a lot. Actually
if I had to pick the best place for cycling it is definitely Switzerland,
Germany and Austria.

F: With all these mountains?

N: Well, I love mountains. If you get up, you get a view! So climbing
mountains is worth it. The roads are great, the people are really nice, the
drivers are great, you've lovely places to stay, good places to stop for
food. That's to me the ultimate ideal cycling, is this part of southern
Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The most interesting place however would
certainly be Africa. But it hasn't got any of those things, no good roads,
no good drivers, but nice people! The food isn't good, but I've been cycling
in west Africa twice now and I plan to go back there this October again to
Mali, Senegal and Gambia.

F: Well, that's about it.

N: Glad you saved an interesting one for last!


After the interview I gave him all the messages I received from the
list.  It was I bit sad that not everybody had put his paper mail
address in it, because he told me that he normally tries to answer all
fan mail. Then I asked for some autographs, to which he had no
objection, and that... was it.


Special thanks goes to Daniela (The Frog) Pizzini from the Livewire
magazine for making the interview possible in the first place.

Thanks to Andrea from East-West, Pegi from SRO, and of course Neil for
the interview!

Thanks to all the people who mailed me questions:

David S. Schmidt, Brian Daniels, John Q. Public, Mark Steph, Scott
David Daly, Eric W. Anderson, Steve E. Goodsell, Brian Colby, Matthew
Coohill, Scott Joaquim, Rich "RSB3516@RITVAX.bitnet", Ken F. "Lerxst",
T J Moore-Read, "CMCVEY@LOYVAX.bitnet", Ron Wiseman, Gregg Jaeger,
Wayne Buttles, Dave Zegas, Tero "You'll get your postcard!" Valkonen,
John Michael Santore, Thomas Beaudoin, Keivan Khalichi, David
Sandberg, Wade Williams, Tom Hamilton, Thor "Cancer" Iverson, Tuncer Guven,
Larry Salomon, Puanani "double-hand crossover" Akaka, Randall Stark,
Peter "UI1T@DKAUNI2.bitnet", Doug White, Dave "DTG@WVNVMS.bitnet"

Scott David Daly, was late, but thanks all the same for the encouragement!

Winner of the "Most Interesting Question" Award: Tom Hamilton for the
cycling question

Grand Wizard: The Manager of The National Midnight Star, without him
the whole thing wouldn't have been possible!

A VERY SPECIAL "thank you" goes to Susanne for calming me down in the
evening before the interview.


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End of The National Midnight Star Number 486

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