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Subject: 10/30/92 - The National Midnight Star #549  ** Special Edition **
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          The National Midnight Star, Number 549

                 Friday, 30 October 1992
Today's Topics:
	   Interview with Andrew MacNaughtan

Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1992
Subject: Interview with Andrew MacNaughtan

Behind the Camera Eye - Pt.1
[From "The Spirit Of Rush" Winter 91/92, #17]
An Interview with Andrew MacNaughtan

Andrew MacNaughtan is first and foremost a photographer.  You will no
doubt, have seen his work in recent tour books and promotional shots all
over the music press.  At tour time he doubles up as the band's personal
assistant and Andrew graciously took time out and allowed us to
interview him on the Presto tour in Seattle.  The following will give
you an insight into his own work as well as his involvement with the

As we commenced, we spoke briefly about giving up smoking.  So, as Andrew
lit up to prepare himself for his first ever interview....

AM:  Hopefully I can give up.  Once I get back to Toronto and my normal
schedule I'll ... well it's not normal, I have a strange schedule, I do so
much back home with my photography, plus other things with Rush - working
at Anthem and things like that.  I burn myself out quite quickly and get
quite tired so .... 'Better have a cigarette, give me some of that energy!'

SOR:  How did you first get involved with the band and Anthem?

AM:  Actually it's quite an interesting story.  It's funny because it all
came back to haunt me a couple of weeks ago when I brought Sebastian Bach
of Skid Row backstage to meet the band; well not to haunt me but, it was a
little embarrasing because the band was there.  When I was 16 I started up
a fan club in Toronto called the Rush Backstage Club of Toronto.  I tried
to do something like you guys, I was your typical Rush fan, fanatic, but I
always tried to apply a positive thing.  Instead of just being a fan that
would hang out at hotel doors.  It is fine to be fanatical about a band
believe me, everyone wants an idol, everyone wants things to look up to and
follow but, I put it to a more practical use, as you have, and developed a
fan club.

So anyway, Sebastian Bach used to be a member of my fan club, and we knew
each other from back then, and when we talked a couple of weeks back we had
some great laughs.  So did the band because Bach didn't waste time telling
Rush that I used to do a Rush fan club!

SOR:  We never heard of it, we would have joined otherwise.  Wasn't there
an ad in Circus magazine for it?

AM:  That's a different one.  Mine was just a club in Toronto.  It was the
same name as the International one done out of Las Vegas, but I made mine
specific that it was just Toronto.

SOR:  Were you a big Rush collector?  Did you collect records etc?

AM:  Not really.  At that time I didn't have a lot of disposable income.  I
basically collected posters.  I pretty well have all the posters from that
era and buttons and things like that.  I didn't really collect that much, I
was just happy to have the records and hear the music.  That was the main

I remember at my school, a teacher of mine used to live down the street
from Geddy in Toronto.  She told me this in confidence and I was about 17
at the time and remember driving down to his house and knocking on the door
and asked him for an autograph.  He said: "I'd appreciate it if you didn't
tell anybody where I lived.  You're a polite boy...."  He shook my hand and
that was it.

SOR:  That was a nice touch by him, and on your way and you didn't wash your 
hand for a month!

AM:  I couldn't wash my hand for a month, exactly.  I was just in awe.  He
was very polite himself.  And that almost gave me the energy again to, even
though I was doing the club out of my own time and effort, to keep it going
because, just that little perk.  When you're a kid of that age, things like
that are really very important to you.  I can understand why fans, Rush
fans, are very persistant about meeting the band and all that sort of
thing, which is fine, but there's a time and a place for that.  The band
for the most part is quite willing to do an autograph, as long as there
isn't fifty people waiting for them, or they're coming to people's doors
and being really obnoxious.  I am now really understanding that.

Rush is out there to give, they've already given of themselves, they're
producing records that they like, that hopefully you can share their joy
that they have put into the music.  I think there is a fine line between
wanting more from them.  And of course, when there's 800,000 kids out there
that want the same thing, it just can't happen.

Getting back to the story.  The next time I actually met Alex and Geddy was
when I went down to Radio City Music Hall in New York, for the Grace Under
Pressure tour.  Actually before Grace when they were experimenting with the
new songs.  I got a chance to formally meet Geddy and Alex at the time;
which was nice.

SOR:  Was this in the capacity of photographer?

AM:  NO.  This is before that happened, right before I launched a music
magazine.  It was a free Toronto based glossy publication and was
distributed through record stores.  During that period I did an interview
with Alex for Grace, and I put him on the cover.  During this time I went
and shot a couple of shows and got a whole bunch of good concert stuff.
The magazine then folded and was bought out by a publisher.

SOR:  This kid was ambitious!

AM:  Yeah, not your normal teenager.  I had these photo's of Rush, I called
up Howard (Ungerleider), I knew him through the fan club and met him
occasionally, he got me tickets and things.  I gave him a whole bunch of my
photo's, just to take down to Anthem to give to the person in charge of
photo's and stuff.  I said that I hadn't a use of them can you use them?
It was at this point that they were doing their tour book for Power
Windows.  The band loved the photos and they had nothing for the tour book,
as they had used them up, they bought about 12 shots of mine, and used them
in the Power Windows tour book.  Which was really great.  a great honor.

That led me to shoot on the Power Windows tour.  They sent me down to
Binghampton, Troy and Syracuse in New York, I shot all that and then onto
Buffalo and some in Toronto.  They used a lot of those photos as well, they
were used for magazine articles as well as the Hold Your Fire tour book,
which was great.  I started to get my way in there, working with Rush in a
different way, other than the now folded fan club.  It was getting too
large.  So, I passed it all onto the Las Vegas fan club.

SOR:  What did you do then?

AM:  I then again started to meet the band a little more because they
started to use my photos and I bumped into Geddy a couple of times.  I did
a lot of concert stuff and more studio work.  at that point Anthem signed a
band of mine, The Spoons.  They did well in Canada with their first two
albums.  When they signed to Anthem, I was helping them with management as
well as doing photography for them.  I did their album cover for Bridges
Over Borders that got Anthem more aware of my studio work as a photographer.

When I wasn't shooting, I was looking for work, so I came in to Anthem
doing part-time stuff for them.  I then started doing more photography for
The Spoons and other Anthem bands:  Gowan, Malcom Burn and Images and
Vogue.  Working part-time at Anthem and doing my photography I started
working for Geddy.  At this time Geddy and I started to become friends,
through the office and Christmas parties and things like that, and we found
we had a lot in common with regards to photography and art and history

SOR:  He's the band member who gets more involved with the video side of
things isn't he?

AM:  Yes.  He's very creative in that way.  He has very strong visual
talents, aside from his incredible music talents.  So we would do a lot of
things together with regard to museums and art galleries.  So then as a
friend, I asked him to come down and let me do some photos of him in the
studio.  He agreed and I did portraits of him and he loved them so much;
and in fact he said that these were probably the best portraits that he's
ever had of himself.  Also his family and friends have said that it's the
best he's ever looked.  That's a very wonderful thing for me, because it's
been a goal of mine to one day, get these guys in the studio.

By that time I had asked Alex if he'd be willing to come in and let me
shoot him in the studio.  Four months later, before they went off to record
Presto, he came in.  And he really liked the portraits too.  So they both
spoke to Neil, and I shot him in the middle of recording the album, in
Toronto at McClear Place.  I went down with my entire system to the studio
and tried to duplicate what I did with Alex and Geddy.

SOR:  We were a little surprised with the pictures of Geddy when we first
saw them, with his hair tied back and the shades.  It was a bit like 'Oh my

AM:  Yes.  Well that's the thing.  I feel that is what Geddy is about.
He's a man with a lot of style, very intelligent, very worldly and he's
exposed to a lot of things that are so incredible out there.  Things that
I'm learning about as well, so much out there with art, history, and
architecture and beautiful things that a lot of people just don't take the
time to investigate.  So, he's got a lot of style, he's a great guy and
what you see there, that's him.  That's the way he is and if the fan
don't like that...

That photo really represents, as a photographer, my style.  I have a
tendency to do things a little bit more alternative.  I like to have a
sophisticated portrait.  I try and get a really beautiful portrait, as
flattering as possible.  And when Geddy fell in love with that shot it was
great; he said: "this should be used for the album jacket."

SOR:  When he came in for the shoot, he just happened to have the shades

AM:  Well, actually no.  I told him to put them on.  I really wanted
something that was different.

SOR:  You certainly achieved it anyway.

AM:  Believe me it wasn't just me, it was him, that's the way he's been
wearing his hair for two years now.  That's his look, that's his style.  It
resulted from a discussion beforehand.  I said would love to see you, as
you, as who you are.  Geddy the way he is, he wears beautiful clothes; he's
a man with great taste.  I told him to throw on the glasses.  I mean
there's a whole bunch of other shots that I've never had released yet,
without his glasses in the same setting.

So, he took them to the band, the band said great.  That's how I did it.
What's interesting about the whole shoot for the Presto album jacket, those
portraits, is they were shot over a period of eight months!  I know they
look as if they were done at the same time, but they're really different

SOR:  Are there some group photo's as well?

AM:  Yes.  The group photo's - the one thing you have to understand, it's
very hard to get the band all together in one place.  They're very busy
people and they hate having their photo's taken.  They really find it, not
a waste of time, they know they have to do it because it's required when
you're doing an album and for press and all that, but they really find it
difficult to get themselves together to do a photo session.  So basically
the next best time to get them to do a group shoot was when they were doing
The Pass video.  With the new label, they really needed portrait and group
shots and stuff for magazines like Music Express in Canada I do.

SOR:  That's a good shot on the cover of Music Express you did.

AM:  That was shot at the same time.  What I did is, they flew down to New
York, I spent a day with the band on the set for The Pass.  About
three-quarters of the day was shot outside, on location in this old
abandoned school yard.  The photo's you see in the Presto tour book are
stills from this session.  They then went indoors and filmed all the indoor
stuff, which is now used for The Pass video.  The director, Matt Mahurin
went through all the footage and the outdoor footage was nt up to par as
the indoor footage was.  So it was decided to leave it up to the director
and as you can see the video is fantastic; probably one of their best

SOR:  Love the song and the video is excellent.

AM:  Oh the song is brilliant.  It was the first song that clicked with me
when I first heard the album.  So the outdoor footage was never sued.  It
probably never will be.

SOR:  It's just stored is it, that sort of footage?

AM:  Yeah.  That's it, it's just stored.  But those stills you see in the
tour book is what was shot outside.  It was a very cold day, it was
freezing.  They came off the bus, did one thing and went back in to keep
warm.  So I shot stills there and they loved what I shot and wanted to use
them for the tour book.  I think some were used for an ad to promote The Pass
single in the states.

Afterwards, when they were doing the video inside, I basically had my entire
studio, I had two complete set-ups.  The thing is, when you shoot Rush, you
get them in, you get them out.  I feel very honoured to be able to shoot Rush,
because there are very few people that ever have.  The top people that have
always shot Rush have been: Dimo Safari, Fin Costello and Deborah Samuel.

SOR:  Loverly portraits she did for the Hold Your Fire album, they were really

AM:  Deborah is one of Canada's best.  I love her work and really have a lot
of admiration for her and hope one day I can be of her level.  I do have a
pretty substantial portfolio -- I do have a lot of good pieces in there.  And
having Rush is fantastic and doing this album jacket is just a dream come

Getting back -- I had two set-ups, I had the red background set-up, which was
shot specifically for the Music Express cover; which didn't turn out the way
I'd liked it to.  I was the most beautiful portrait I'd done, I was very proud
of it.  Unfortunately, the reproduction of the magazine all went flat.  Really
disappointed.  The other set-up which had the background painting which was
like a cloud scene; I tried to duplicate the album cover in some ways.

SOR:  If you compare those photo's from the album with the ones you are just
talking about, they look as though they were shot at the same time.  You did a
good job there.

AM:  Well, I think it's important to try to keep continuity, but still keep
things that are different.  I really work hard at trying to do lighting that
is flattering.  Priority, make people look good.

SOR:  Do you shoot like 'glamour photographers' and shoot a lot of film then
pick the best ones, or do you pose them?

AM:  When I did Geddy's session, I did several different things.  It basically
took one hour to do the whole thing.  When I do a session in the studio for a
band, I like to go in and spend half to a full day; I like to give the band as
many things as they can work with.  Enough for an album cover, magazine work,
promo shots, single sleeves, posters etc.  I like to do at least four different

SOR:  That's good, so they haven't got to come back and do it all again
another time with another set-up.

AM:  Exactly.  In most cases I shoot a LOT of film.  I may shoot 25 rolls.
With Rush though, you get them in, you get them out!

SOR:  And take the best advantage you can of the time you've got!

AM:  Exactly.  Remember, they had been shooting a video all day.  They came
into my set-ups -- I went bang, band, bang -- I shot maybe three rolls for the
magazine cover.  I moved them to the next set, went bang, bang, bang and shot
enough stuff to cover them for different things.  The whole shoot took 20-30
minutes.  That is the way I like to work.  I like to have everything ready and
they just walk here, walk there, bang, they're out of there.  When you are
dealing with a band of that calibre, things have got to be like that.  It was
the most wonderful thing that could have happened to me.  Geddy laughs at
this, because I am a Rush fan, it's weird, the things sort of happened.  I
worked towards them, it wasn't as though I didn't do anything to try to get
where I am today.  Shooting and having my photos on a Rush album, that was my
dream come true.

SOR:  It must have been similar to what 'The B-Man' did then really, the way
he worked himself in there?  Working for the radio station, and doing
interviews, becoming friends and eventually writing Visions.

AM:  Yes I would say the same thing.  It's a great thing and I have to thank a
lot of that to Geddy.  He's been very supportive of my work, he's been a great
friend, it's been a dream come true.  Also I'm keeping this all in prospective
now, because it's funny, once you get to a certain point your attitudes
change.  I mean, yes I still love Rush music, this is what's funny, it's
always been the exception to my musical tastes.  I listen to a lot of
alternative music like New Order, The Cure and Depeche Mode and things like
that which probably a lot of Rush fans would go errhh.

SOR:  The three you mentioned are British bands.  Any significance?

AM:  Yes. I have a real passion for British music.  I try to go over every
year and shoot British bands.  A few years ago; and I know when you write this
down your readers are going to go: ERRHH, you shot those people?  -- I shot
Bros.  It was funny, it was like ERRHH Bros, I know they don't have a lot of
respect with this audience but, I shot Bros, Wet, Wet, Wet and Hue & Cry.
That concludes the first part of the Andrew MacNaughtan interview.  In part
two, Andrew talks about, amongst other things, his role as the band's P.A.,
the Anthem archives and reveals what became of Geddy's 12-string Rickenbacker
double-neck guitar.


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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 549

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