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Subject: 10/07/92 - The National Midnight Star #531  ** Special Edition **
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          The National Midnight Star, Number 531

                Wednesday, 7 October 1992
Today's Topics:
	    Geddy & Alex Interview April 1992

Date: Wed, 7 Oct 1992 13:29:24 +0100 (WET DST)
From: James Kennedy CSIS 
Subject: Geddy & Alex Interview April 1992

Hello there people ...

Earlier this year, Rush came to England for a show, and met with Kerrang
magazine.  This is the resulting interview. BTW, this is my first post to
TNMS, which I have been reading now for a couple of weeks, and I think
it's great (except maybe the Old v. New thread which is pointless IMHO
and I've actually taken to skipping any messages that mention the subject).

Anyway, read and enjoy ...
Jim Kennedy                  !    I will wear your white feather      !               !    I will carry your white flag        !
Software Specialist          !    I will swear I have no nation       !
University of Limerick       !    But I'm proud to own my heart       !
Ireland                           --  Fish (Marillion), White Feather

[From: KERRANG, No. 388, April 18, 1992 (Taken without permission)]

(note: it's not wrong spelling by me, but k's are often used instead of c's
 in this magazine ...)

R O L L    M O D E L S

Oh, won't you please welcome Canadian legends RUSH - back in the UK for their
sold-out 'Roll The Bones' tour. After nearly twenty years together, the trio
have been asked just about every question in the book. So, following the
deluge of entries for our kompetition in issue 384 to win a chance to meet
the band backstage, PAUL ELLIOTT came up with the sensible idea of letting
you, the readers, 'interview' ALEX LIFESON and GEDDY LEE. None of you will
get paid, natch, but that's okay, because neither will Mr. Elliott... Hargh!

Some bands plain kick ass, but Rush, they 'kick some gluteus max'... And
for those of you without a human biology degree or a good dictionary, the
gluteus is any one of the three muscles in the buttock!

This little gag, from the song 'Roll The Bones', says much of Rush. The
Canadian trio are the thinking man's hard rock band, a tag which stuck
when Neil Peart replaced drummer John Rutsey in 1974 and began writing the
band's lyrics. Peart's busy style of drumming and involved wordplay had
him dubbed 'The Professor', while the NME foolishly labelled the band
neo-fascists following the release of 2112, a concept album based on Ayn
Rand's controversial individual novel 'Anthem'.

Peart's lyrics are simpler now, and Rush's songs more direct. Gone are the
days when a whole side of an album would be consumed by a single, sprawling
epic number.  Rush still compose little mini-series like the 'Fear' and
'Gangster of Boats' trilogies (of which the instrumental 'Where's My Thing'
is 'Part IV'!?!), but these are fragmented over several records.

In the past 10 years Rush have produced much of their finest work; slick,
smart, deep, emotive rock. And Peart has grown to be one of rock's most
skilled lyricists.

'Afterimage', from 1984's 'Grace Under Pressure', is a terse and poignant
recollection of a lost loved one, with some remarkably vivid images: 'We ran
by the water on wet summer lawn - I see the footprints - I remember'.

Equally adeptly, 'The Analog Kid', from 1982's 'Signals', captures the spirit
of youth.

"It's about that time of life when you're so easily inspired and ambitious,
which usually coincides with adolescence," explains Geddy Lee, vocalist and
bass/keyboard player, "When you're just discovering yourself, discovering
music and art, everything moves you to an immense degree."

Geddy and guitarist Alex Lifeson call from Toronto on the eve of the band's
current UK tour. At one of the British dates, Rush's first for five years,
'Kerrang!' kompetition winners will meet the band backstage. The kompetition
tiebreaker involved thinking up an original question to ask the band, and
among the several hundred entries there were certainly some unusual

I decide to put the best of these questions to Geddy and Alex, although some
were clearly better left unasked. JF Marshall of London wanted to ask Geddy
what it's like playing schoolmistress Dorothy Burke in 'Neighbours'! Lee
Bool of Gwent wondered, "Why are we here?" and "Why does it happen?", while
Richard Mitchell of Lancashire begged, "How do you do it?"! Marco Da Silva
made a sadly transparent attempt to brown-nose his way to victory by
buttering up both Rush and the 'Big K!'. And Paul Davies of Walsall was
hardly likely to be invited backstage simply to ask, "Why don't you tour
Britain more often, you miserable bunch of f**king Canadian tosspots! Do you
want a scrap or what?!"...

The other questions, Geddy and Alex were more than happy to answer, beginning
with the old one of whether Rush had considered enlisting a fourth member for
live performance to help relieve the burden on Geddy (posed by Sarah
Kilbridge of Bedfordshire and Chris Gaskell of Wiltshire).

"We seriously discussed it before the 'Presto' tour when we weren't sure that
we could pull off all the vocal and keyboard parts," reveals Geddy, "but in
the end we figured our fans would rather see us struggle with technology
than get another guy in. Alex and Neil have taken some of the weight off my
shoulders, which allows me just to play bass."

"Technology is efficient," reasons Alex,"so we continue as we are. We didn't
want to disrupt our chemistry. We don't play to tapes, we route keyboards
and samples to foot triggers. It can be dizzying, but like everything, you
get used to it."

On the subject of band chemistry, many readers - including Mike Marsh of
Clacton-on-Sea and John Wilson of Wrexham - asked how the trio have remained
such close friends after 20 years of working together.

"The main reasons," says Geddy, "are that we have remarkably similar tastes
in music, we have the same level of ambition, and a healthy sense of humour."

"We enjoy our time together," adds Alex, "Then during our time off, we each
pursue different interests, and we have our own families. Neil lives 500
miles away in Quebec - he's either there or on his cycling trips. Geddy and
I are a little closer; we play tennis every couple of weeks and we talk
at least once a week. Boredom is the biggest enemy of touring and that can
be unhealthy, but we search for something interesting to do. On the last
European tour we took a Berlitz xourse in French!"

Robert Melvin of Norfolk wants to know what Alex is saying into a mike when
his mouth is covered by a 'censored' strip during the live video 'A Show
Of Hands'.

Alex laughs. "I'm not singing, it's more spontaneous babbling! You get kinda
goofy at the end of a show, especially near the end of a length tour. That
was just crazy rambling, verbal farting. It was Geddy's idea to put it on
the video."

"Not everybody gets the joke," says Geddy disbelievingly. "They say, 'What is
it that had to be censored?'. Alex usedta just ramble, getting the day's
frustrations out. I beat him at tennis regularly, y'see. Now he's an
accomplished golfers and plays less tennis. I don't play golf - it's the
clothes I object to."

But you're a baseball fan, and 'ball players wear equally bad clothes. "They
do, but I like it. They're not so much of a fashion crime."

On a fashion note, Shane Counter of Nottingham enquires, "Where did you get
those silk kimonos (worn on the back cover of '2112') and why?"

"Ha! Talk about fashion crimes! Guilty! But I guess if you look at enough
pictures of yourself from 10 to 15 years ago you'll find a few that you'll
cringe at."

"Y'know," Alex chuckles, "we were asking ourselves the very same question!
We did a tour with UFO and Pete Way never stopped saying to us, 'We love
those housecoats!'."

Rush also had to have the stage carpeted on that tour, which UFO ridiculed
by nailing a pair of slippers to the lip of the stage!

Many, including Neil Jeffries of Isleworth (shurely shome mishtake?!) have
asked, "If you could do it all again, would you still make your
poorly-received 1975 LP 'Caress Of Steel'"?

"That's kind of a crazy question," Geddy sighs. "Sure, 'Caress Of Steel' is
flawed, but you have to be allowed to make mistakes. Plus, every record we
make is a stepping stone, and we couldn't have made '2112; without first
making 'Caress Of Steel'."

"We were enormously proud of that album when we made it," remembers Alex.
"The lack of support it received pissed us off, and that anger helped fuel
'2112' which became our most important album."

John Henslett of London asks whether the band feel they'd have taken a
radically  different path had Neil not read 'Anthem'.

"That's an impossible question to answer," Geddy splutters, "If Neil hadn't
read 'Anthem' he might've read Woody Allen's 'Without Feathers'." A concept
album based on 'Without Feathers', one of Woody's craziest works? Now that'd
be something! Geddy likes the idea too.

"Neil read all Ayn Rand's books and a lot of other books as well," adds Alex,
"'Anthem' made a big impression on him but the press made too big a deal out
of it. Besides, 'Anthem' isn't fascist, it's about individuals making the
best of their lives. I read the book, but it's not like it was a uniform
mind-set for the band. The NME got it wrong."

There's also some confusion over the early classic 'By-Tor And The Snow Dog'.
"Why does By-Tor appear as an evil character on 'Fly By Night' and reappear
as a hero in 'The Necromancer' from 'Caress Of Steel'?" asks Diane Barker of

"I guess he went through rehabilitation!" Geddy laughs. "He had a bad drug and
alcohol problem, so he checked into the Betty Ford clinic. By-Tor saw the
light. Last I heard he was living a good life in California. He's a music
business lawyer, I think." "Maybe," ponders Alex, "'The Necromancer' was even
more evil than By-Tor!"

Geoff Williamson of Manchester has a question for Alex: what's the latest

"Well, I haven't invented anything lately. I tinker. I've made things for
Geddy and Neil in the past. Neil wanted a bookstand so he could read while
he ate breakfast, so I fashioned one out of drum parts glued and welded
together. After that I made a guitar stand because I needed one, and the
design has been in production for a few years now; it sells at low cost
through mail order."

Neil Marsh of Edinburgh wanted to know about your secret for short term
wine storage.

"Well, I've collected wine for some years now. I devised a pump to remove air
from the bottle so the wine will keep longer. I thought about patenting it
but a few months after I started using it, I saw one in the shops. It sold
incredibly well too. I always had a passion for science at school, although
my main passion at that time was *not* going to school!"

Aren't you a bit of a DIY bore, Alex?

He laughs: "Uh, borderline maybe! My wife puts up with me as do my cohorts in
the band. They're like, 'Yeah Alex, great idea!'."

"Alex is a brilliant inventor," says Geddy proudly. "He made me a lyric stand
with rear lighting, so no matter how dark it gets in the studio, or however
blind I get, I can still read the words."

Geoff Williamson also wanted to ask Geddy about his charity work, although,
like top DJs Mike Smash and Dave Nice, Geddy doesn't like to talk about it.

"I was very proud of our fans - they came to a show in Canada and filled
three truck loads with food for the needy. I guess everybody has their pet
charities. The proceeds of one of our San Francisco shows went to AIDS

Does Neil have a great obsession?

"Smoking, I guess, is Neil's worst obsession. But Neil doesn't go on about
things, he just does it, whereas myself and Alex will keep on talking about

"Cycling is Neil's obsession," says Alex, "or reading, or reading while
cycling! Geddy just thinks baseball 25 hours a day. He criss-crosses America
travelling up to 150 miles between games. At a gig in Tampa we invited 50
ball players backstage - Geddy was in heaven."

Neil McKinnon of East Lothian asks if there is a song by another band which
Rush have thought of covering.

"Er, the Coca-Cola theme?" Alex jokes. "We're pretty happy with our own
songs, although we're kinda embarassed by a couple of older ones. Some of the
songs on 'Caress Of Steel' are tough to listen to now, but they were
important at the time. I like to think we've improved over the past 15 years;
that's why we're still around."

Several Rush fans - among them Angela Grant of Rotherham, Ian Shepherdson
of Hertfordshire and Mr. N P Daft of Gwent - wonder why there's a picture of
an elephant's bottom on the inside sleeve of the current 'Roll The Bones'

"The whole cover is based around dice," explains Alex, "and dice were
originally made from ivory, it's as simple as that. I guess we could've put a
piano on there too. Neil works closely with Hugh Syme on the cover art."

Mr. D Englishby of Banbury, who posted his kompetition entry to the 'Big K!'
on a postcard featuring 'Britain's smallest bird, the Goldcrest', is puzzled
by the phrases, "brought to you by the letter M" on 'Power Windows' and
"... the letter B" on 'Roll The Bones'.

"That started on 'Power Windows'," recalls Alex, "when we were sequencing the
tracks and Neil commented that 50 per cent of the songs began with an 'M' -
'Marathon', 'Manhattan Project', 'Middletown Dreams' and 'Mystic Rhythms'.
It's as innocent as that. It's nothing to do with 'Sesame Street'!"

"We throw a lot of silly litle things into the credits," shrugs Geddy,
"little inside jokes. It's just an immature habit we developed!"

Lastly, two questions from Louise Harris, who, tragically, lives within
birding distance of Kerrang's own Paul Harries, in Romford, Essex! Firstly,
do Alex and Geddy have any favourite tracks from Rush's 14 studio albums?
Geddy names 'Subdivisions', Alex 'Limelight', which contains his favourite

"'Bravado' and 'Ghost Of A Chance' are my favourites of the new record," he

"'Ghost Of A Chance' was a real sleeper. First off it seemed the weakest but
it developed into everyone's favourite. The solo on that song is from the
original demo; I did it just to fill the space, but it had great spontaneity
and emotion."

Louise's second question is what we in the business call a real teaser: "Do
you purposefully write music that is erotic, sensual and such a turn-on -
i.e. 'Jacob's Ladder' - or is this just a personal interpretation?"

"Eroticism?" Geddy chokes. "Maybe neuroticism! That's all I want to say on
the subject!"

End of Interview.


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Copyright The Rush Fans Mailing List, 1992.

Editor, The National Midnight Star
(Rush Fans Mailing List)
End of The National Midnight Star Number 531

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