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Subject: 01/12/94 - The National Midnight Star #849  *** Special Edition ***

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          The National Midnight Star, Number 849

                 Wednesday, 12 January 1994
Today's Topics:
'A day in the Lifeson'- an article taken from Car Stereo Review
            Network magazine article, Nov 1993

Date: 10 Jan 94 19:11:00 CST

Great interview.  Geddy and Alex talk about the studio and album a lot more
than most interviews I've read lately.  Enjoy.

Transcribed from Guitar World magazine February 1994
Without written permission.

CLOSER TO THE HEART - Guitarist Alex Lifeson and Bassist Geddy Lee revisit
their stripped down, power trio roots on Counterparts, the strongest Rush
release in years.  By Andy Aledort  Photography by Andrew MacNoughton

    "It's about the three of us playing together," says Alex Lifeson.  The
Guitarist is talking about Rush's approach to their recently released album, 
Counterparts.  "There was something very satisfying about making this record.  
It took us back to what we've always been about as a three-piece band."

    Rush's 19th album does indeed find the band re-examining their signature
sound, stripping away the studio slickness that had crept into their past
several albums, in pursuit of the raw rock spirit at the band's core.
"This time out, we really wanted to rock harder and present a more aggressive 
band sound," says Geddy Lee.

    Adds Lifeson: "Playing with musicians like Geddy and Neil [Peart] has 
always been inspiring, and we really wanted to get back to the fun of playing,
Which is what Rock and Roll is all about."

    They may have sometimes wandered off the path a bit, but Rush has survived
the many changes in musical trends to remain at the top of their field.  Below, 
Geddy and Alex discuss just what it was they were aiming for in Counterparts,
and also take some time to reflect on the spirit of Rush in grander terms.

GUITAR WORLD: It's been almost 20 years since the first Rush album.  After 
such a long and successful recording career, did you have any new goals going
in to record Counterparts?

LEE: Actually, this is one of the few records where we had very definite goals 
in terms of the sonics.  Usually we kind of let the record take its own shape,
but this time we wanted to change our sounds.  There were a lot of things we 
liked on Roll the Bones and Presto, but there were areas where the sound could
have been more aggressive.  Both times we realized that when we got to the mix;
we wanted the sound to be a bit bigger, or more intense, but it wasn't there
[on the tape] to be had.

     So we figured we needed a different approach.  Part of that was using a 
different style engineer, someone who wasn't English, or enamored with the 
English sound, which is slightly more sophisticated, but smaller.  So we used 
this beastial character named Kevin "The Caveman" Shirley [laughs].  He gave
us a very natural, dry, aggressive sound.

ALEX LIFESON: Kevin is of the "plug it straight in, turn everything up all the 
way and record it" school.  His approach to the drums was the same.  He set up 
the drum mikes without any on-board eq, and just moved the mikes around 'til 
he got the sound that was in his head.  That approach was refreshing for us.  
He's more primitive in his approach than some of the guys we've worked with 
lately--I wouldn't say he was a very sophisticated engineer--but he certainly
got the results we were looking for.

GW: Did you both use different amp setups this time out?

LEE: Yes.  I used this old, old Ampeg head, which I think is pre-SVT.  I'm
not sure exactly what it is, because it was out of its casing and belonged to
the assistant engineer.  I had tons of my own gear there, but Kevin convinced 
me to try the Ampeg, which was literally taken out of the garbage.  We plugged 
it into these Trace Elliot cabinets--an 8x10 and a single 15 inch--cranked the 
shit out of it, and it sounded great.  We miked those up, fairly close to the 
speaker, plus I went direct into a Palmer Speaker Simulator, straight into the 
board.  It's a DI [direct input] sound, but not as sterile.  Between the two 
of 'em we created the bass sound.  For bass, I used my old early-Seventies 
Fender Jazz for the whole thing.  It was really nice to play it again.

LIFESON: I changed a few things this time around.  For the last 12 years of 
so, I've always worked in the control room, using a combination of Marshall 
50-watt 2x12 combo amps, a Gallien-Krueger MPL 100 through a Crown Macro 
Series run into twin 12-inch Celestion cabinets, and a 4x12 Marshall cabinet
with a 100-watt Marshall head.  Between all of these different amps, I'd set
up five or six different sounds, and we'd bring up different sounds in the 
mix, depending on the balance we wanted.

    For this album, we went back to a earlier approach, which was for me to
play in the studio itself, alongside the amps.  I hadn't done that in so long
I was apprehensive about it.  It's tougher to hear things, and it's hard to 
get the mix in the cans [headphones] loud enough.  I thought it wound be more
distracting, but it was great.  It took me a few days to get used to not being 
able to hear anything in the headphones, but as long as I could hear the snare
and kick drums loud enough, I knew where I was.  I could feel the guitar 
vibrating against my body, and it was easy to pick up feedback.  The amps were
really singing.

GW: Were the amps baffled at all?

LIFESON: No; they were wide open, and they were aimed at me!  We were set up 
in kind of a triangle, and I had a Marshall 100-watt head with one 4x12 
cabinet in conjunction with a Peavey 5150 head and another 4x12 cabinet.  The
Peavey sounded really great; it's a very, very, versatile studio amp.  The 
Marshall had a rounder tone when we set it up clean, but the thing I noticed 
about the Peavey was that it was very responsive to changes in tonal settings.  
On the Marshall, the volume affects the tone even more than the tone controls
themselves, but the 5150 was very sensitive it terms of tone.  It sounded good
instantly; it didn't take a lot of fiddling around to get something happening.

    It had a very warm, tough sound that gave you a sense of the speakers 
working, and it was very smooth.  I also had the Gallien-Krueger set up, but 
that signal was sent through the effects send on the other two amps,  I 
really just plugged straight into the amps and played.

LEE: Kevin was able to pry some of the effects away from Alex's guitar 
[laughs], and Alex got a whole resonant vibe happening in there with his amps, 
creating this big, dry sound.  I think that's the most significant change for
us on this album.

    We wanted to make sure we got very alive, aggressive performances on tape.
You can always tame something down when you're mixing, but you can't make it
more raucous; it's got to be there.  You're never really quite sure what 
you've got on tape until you get into the mastering room, and I've been un-
pleasantly surprised many times.  You say, "Where did it go?" [laughs]

GW: Alex, how did you mic the amps?

LIFESON: We used both close and ambient miking using [AKG]421's and [Shure]
SM-57's for most of the close-miking. 

    It was really loud, but I loved it!  It's hard to explain, but we've had
almost a problem of being too sterile in our approach--too organized and too
clinical.  I don't know if that's because we've been doing it for so long, or
because we have a couple of very organized Virgos in the band [laughs], but I 
think we lost the attitude of just getting up and having fun, without worrying 
so much.  With this record, we realized that it's just rock and roll, and that 
it's fun to be in a band, playing with people you like.

    We needed to do something that felt fresh to us.  It's something we've 
been aiming for since Hold Your Fire [1987], which was when we first started
talking about taking a more basic approach to songwriting and recording.

GW: It seems like this is more of a reaffirmation of the band's original spirit
than a case of being influenced by the things that are happening now.

LIFESON: I think you're right.  Our purely three-piece songs, even some of our
earliest stuff, are always the most rewarding and satisfying songs to play 
live.  That's when you can go all out as a player.  You've got a lot on your
mind for the songs that utilize sequencers and samples, and it ends up being
a process that you go through rather than feeling free to play.

GW: You guys have always made things tough on yourselves, by trying to pull 
off very complex material as a three-piece unit.

LEE: We've had this unwritten rule that it would always be just us.  From time
to time, we've discussed the possibility of bringing someone else in, to allow 
us to be able to enjoy the performance a bit more, but Rush is like this club
that no one's allowed to join [laughs], and we all treat it with an almost 
sacred attitude.  A couple of albums ago, we seriously considered bringing 
someone in to play live with us, but we said, "Ahh, let's just do it 
ourselves."  So we came up with these ridiculous stage setups where every foot
has a job assigned to it!  Trigger that, step on this, play this's
ridiculous!  Half of the performance is playing, and the other half is 
choreography, to make sure we trigger everything at the right time, but it's 
got to be that way.

LIFESON: When you get stuck behind the pedals and keyboards, it certainly 
pushes you to the limits [laughs], but it's more from the head rather than 
from the guts.

LEE: Being a three-piece has certainly had its limitations, but I think 
they've helped to create the signature of the band's sound.  It would be a lot 
easier to have someone else play keyboards and do backing vocals, but we can't
do that!  We'd be transgressing, crossing the River Styx.

    Our attitude has changed in the studio as well over the last few years, 
though I don't think Neil's has; He's still very uptight about being able to 
recreate everything live that he does on record.  That's why he'll never 
overdub any of his drum parts; they are all live.  Even when he's using 
samples, he'll play the samples at the same time in the studio.  It's a
performance--every single  drum track is a single track performance.  Alex and
I have loosened up about that stuff, maybe because we're overdubs, anyway. 
[laughs]  We think, "Let's make a great record; we'll worry about that other 
stuff later."  I think people will forgive us if we have to change some things
for the live show.

GW: How were the arrangements worked out for this record?

LIFESON: We worked with something called Qbase Audio, which is a software 
package that allows you to record analog information onto it and then do 
whatever you want with it, much like you can do with MIDI information.  
Geddy's bass is plugged into the console, I've got a guitar, there's a vocal 
mic, the keyboards are all set up, and it all goes to Qbase Audio as well as
the ADAT system.  We'd work things out on the Qbase so we could move pieces of 
the arrangement around, cutting and pasting.

GW: That sounds like an exciting, versatile way to work with the material.

LIFESON: Yeah, it would be, if the system would only work! [laughs]  It drove
us crazy!  It's a brilliant idea, but it wasn't quite ready.  The great thing
about it was that we were able to put down ideas and then move the arrangement
around.  We could add another chorus or take a line out of the chorus, and 
hear it back instantly, thus eliminating the need to play different versions
of the arrangement to get a handle on the tune.

    Also, you have an infinite number of tracks; you can only play four at a
time, but you can track it up as much as you want.  If you synch it up to 
SMPTE, you can run everything onto ADAT, and keep doing a few passes 'til
you get all of the information on there,  Once it was on ADAT, I would do
all my guitar stuff, tracking up the guitars, trying different things, and 
working out the solos.  From there it went to the 24-track.

GW: It sounds like, by the time you go to the 24-track, you're virtually done

LIFESON: Pretty much, yeah.  We just dump over the guides, and they often 
sound pretty good.  We ended up keeping a lot of those tracks for the album--
a lot of the guitar.  The solos on "Cut to the Chase" and "Speed of Love"
came from the ADAT.

GW: Alex, who are some of your biggest influences as a soloist, and how has
your style changed over the years?

LIFESON: Certainly Jimmy Page was a big influence in the early days.  His 
solos are so emotive, and not particularly exact.  You sit in the studio
and someone says, "That note's a little flat," or, "You really didn't hit the
beat there."  But I've finally come to realize who cares?  It's all about 
feeling.  Soloing shouldn't be about how fast or how many notes you can play, 
or how much "better" you can play than the next guy.  It's got to really 
relate to the songwriter than just just being the guitar player, especially 
when you play in a band with guys like Geddy and Neil, where everyone has such
a strong influence and impact on the music.  It's really a much broader 
picture that way.

GW: Were there things that you wanted to do as a guitar player on this album 
that you hadn't done in the past?

LIFESON: I wanted the guitars to stand out more than they had in the last 10 
or 12 years.  I've had a problem with the guitar sound since Signals [1982];
perhaps we had too many producers in the studio, all vying for their own
little thing.  It's often that way with us.  Mixing is always difficult, 
because everyone hears their instrument a little differently, and one thing
gets pushed, and then the next and the next, and it becomes a bit of a contest.
Because we took a straighter approach to recording this time, there's less of 
a cloud on the tracks, and the guitar isn't always competing with the 
keyboards.  I think our older records are great for their time, but I'm glad 
that I don't feel 100% satisfied with them; it's time to quit if you do!

GW: From the opening chord of "Stick It Out" it's apparent that this album is
heavy.  Following some slick feedback, you go into these really dense chords.

LIFESON: I've got the low E tuned down to D on that one, which always makes it
a little heavier.  I just wanted to write a song that was really heavy.  
There's probably four or five guitars on the opening; we tracked it up at that
feedback point, and there's probably three guitars through the meat of it.  A 
few guitars are in there just for effects things, hitting certain notes.

GW: One thing that distinguishes Rush from other progressive rock bands is a 
strong pop sensibility in the vocal melodies,  I think that's been a big
reason for your success.

LEE: I'm glad you said that.  It isn't often discussed in connection with
Rush, but it's something that I've spent more and more time working on over
the last five albums.  Vocal harmonies too.

    For the last 10 years my singing was always "the last overdub."  The voice
was just another instrument.  But over the last seven or eight years the songs
have been written around the vocal melody, so it's usually the first thing I
write.  Neil also puts a lot of energy into writing lyrics which allow me room
to play with the vocal.  And I'm not afraid of harmonies; in fact, I'm really
intrigued by the idea of writing them.

GW: Another big part of the Rush sound is the use of arpeggios...

LIFESON: Oh, yeah.  You get all of that intertwined harmonic information over-
lapping, especially with a little bit of reverb or echo repeats.  It's a very 
effective technique.

GW: Geddy, how about you--were there things you wanted to hear from yourself
on this record that you hadn't done in the past?

LEE: Sure, I wanted to make the tracks groove better, with more emphasis on 
rhythmic bass playing, as opposed to the standard "rock" style.  Rather than 
just root the stuff, I wanted to help make the music move.  In my formative 
years, I played a lot of funk-oriented stuff, but then we got into rock, with 
a straighter kind of a groove, and when we got into the more progressive stuff 
in the Seventies, there was no funk or groove at all.  It was all math.  The 
groove thing really appeals to us now.  The marriage of rhythm and heavy rock 
is exciting to me; it makes it a little more seductive.

GW: Does this mean incorporating more syncopated lines into the music?

LEE: Yeah, but also using the instrument in a more rhythmic way.  I tried to 
move in and out of the drumbeat and help push the rhythm, as opposed to just 
playing along with a certain drumbeat.  I really pushed it on quite a lot of
these tracks.  I wasn't slapping and pulling [popping], but I was doing 
something in between that and normal playing, trying to keep the track moving, 
pushing and pulling the rhythm back and forth.  The music is often quite 
segmented, and I wanted to make sure that didn't happen this time.  It was
great fun, to do this stuff, and I can't wait to do it live.

GW: Do you try to convey any sort of message through your music?

LEE: If our music says anything, it's that we make for ourselves, and we hope
other people dig it too.  That in itself is kind of a statement, or message:
"Do what you like, what you think is right, and stick to it."  That's what
"Stick It Out" is about to us; there are a million ways to live, a million 
ways to write and play music, and you have to figure out which makes you the 
happiest, and stick to it.  We've been lucky to get away with that; not 
everybody gets that chance.  Luckily, there's been enough people out there 
that like what we do to keep us afloat for all these years.

The End.  Whewwwwwww!


Date: Tue, 11 Jan 1994 15:20:27 -0600 (CST)
From: Phil Hyde 
Subject: 'A day in the Lifeson'- an article taken from Car Stereo Review

   [ NOTE: This is not the whole article in the Car Stereo Review, but a side
     box within the main article.				: rush-mgr ]


	 An article taken from Car Stereo Review
                     Jan/Feb 1994

	To borrow a line from and early eighties Rush song, 
Alex Lifeson is a digital man.  "It's been so long since I've 
even listened to vinyl," He says.  "In fact, not too long ago,  
my 16 year old son and I were talking about stereo equipment.  
He looked around our living room and asked, 'What's a turntable?'  
Not where is it, but what is it.  We don't even have one; mine's 
been stored away for years.
	Longtime proponents of cut-and-paste MIDI composition 
and synthesizer-enhanced arrangements, Rush pulled back on the 
digital chain while making 1993's Counterparts (Atlantic Anthem).  
"It's not that you get into a rut, but that you get used to a 
certain way of doing things," Lifeson explains.  "As a response 
to all that technology, I call this our 'Anti-toy' album.  For 
example, there's less competition between the guitars and 
keyboards, and there's more emotion and weight to our overall 
sound."  Counterparts is certainly more gnarly than its recent 
predecessors in the Rush canon, thanks in large part to the 
decision to bring Lifeson's crackling guitar back to the 
forefront of the mix.  The squeaky, grainy riffs that intro 
songs like "Stick It Out" and "Cold Fire" set an overall rockier 
stage, and the funky phasing in "Cut To The Chase" and gumshoe 
groove of "Double Agent" signify a lighter tone and attitude.  
In short, Counterparts is a lot more in-yer-face than expected.
	As 1994 is Rush'd 20th anniversary, the band's current 
live show contains a few surprises.  "While we're not particularly 
interested in writing 11-minute epics anymore," Lifeson relates,
"we're thinking  of doing a set that's cronologically made up of 
at least one song from every album we've ever done.  So yes, maybe 
we will hear (1977's) 'Cygnus X-1' again--or at least a little bit 
of it."
	Lifeson realizes the band's fans would rather hear 1976's 
2112 in it's entirety and avoid anything after 1981's Moving 
Pictures, but that's not creatively where Rush is at these days.  
"Bands evolve, and that's important," he says.  "Do I listen to 
our old material? Seldom.  But a few years ago, I went camping 
in Northern Ontario with some friends, and one of them brought 
a copy of (1978's) Hemispheres.  I hadn't heard it in over 10 
years--really.  He put it on, and I had to laugh at first.  But 
afterward, I noticed there were aspects of that record I felt we 
could apply to the way we record our songs today, certainly in 
terms of the presence of my guitar parts."
	Revsionist rock history is in vogue, so Rush, much like 
Led Zeppelin, find themselves getting better reviews today than 
at any other point in their career, aided in part by progressive 
bands like Kings X and Primus citing them as key influences.
	Lifeson has another theory, however.  "Actually, we've 
outlasted the critics who hated us," he grins.  "Plus there's a 
new generation of writers who've grown up on our music."  Must 
have something to do with the spirit of radio....

				written by Mike Metter

Hope you guys like this!



From: (******* Meg *******)
Date: Wed Jan 12 18:15:23 EST 1994
Subject: Network magazine article, Nov 1993

[Taken from Network magazine -- November 1993]

"The Godfathers of Cyber-Tech Go Organic"
By Perry Stern

In the music business, like the animal kingdom, a process of natural selection
occurs that weeds out the old and tired while making room for the young and
strong. As a result, musicians have the shelf life of an open carton of milk
on a summer sidewalk in New Mexico. Rock is still such a relatively new art
form that we, the consumers, sit in stunned amazement as anniversaries roll by
(Woodstock was 25 years ago? No way!), heroes wither (Mick Jagger is 50? Get
outta town!) and embarrassing fads make a comeback (bellbottoms -- 'nuff said).
Because it's so geared to youth culture, rock has a tendency to discard
sounds, instruments, technology and people with the casual thoughtlessness of
a toddler and his toys.

In most artistic endeavors age is equated with growing, improving and wisdom.
In rock, aging equals dying. That's why Rush is beyond rock. As the most
enduring proponents of progressive rock, a field once crowded by now -- (or
ought-to-be-) defunct bands such as Yes, ELP, Genesis and Jethro Tull, it
should be easy to dismiss our homeboy power trio as a staggering dinosaur too
big and stupid to know it's among the walking wounded. But it's not. As the
band's peers fade to grey, Rush explodes into technicolor. Rush is the
metarocker of the future. It couldn't have happened any other way.

As far as the three members of Rush are concerned, it's not a new or improved
or even old Rush that surfaces on their (can you believe it?) 19th album,
_Counterparts_, but simply _another_ Rush -- a Rush for the '90s. Harkening
back to an earlier, rock-oriented sound before the clutter of synthesizers and
drum machines, _Counterparts_ reveals a lean, mean Rush that has come down to
earth after almost two decades worth of apocalyptic, epic compositions. Cynics
might charge that the band is conforming to the latest MTV-era fad of
"unplugging" its sound, although the words "acoustic" and "Rush" have yet to
(and still shouldn't) be uttered in the same sentence. The group hasn't
unplugged its guitars, just all those bloody keyboards. After years of
assembling musical monuments to technology, Rush has slipped back down the
evolutionary ladder a few rungs to make its most organic-sounding release to

Sniffing into his handkerchief, a little red-eyed and ravaged by a late summer
virus, bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee explains how the formerly distant, aloof
Rush turned warm and fuzzy. "We've been moving in this direction over the last
two or three records," he says, "slowly eliminating frills and trying to get a
more rooted, more hard-hitting, basic sound." After years of pushing the
outermost limits of the technological envelope, he asserts the new album is,
in fact, "anti-technology."

"We feel like we drowned in it and now we're coming up for air," says Lee.

As befits an album made by adults (Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson turned 40
this year, drummer/lyricist Neil Peart is 41) _Counterparts_ reveals a side of
Rush that its members actively concealed for the better part of their career.
There are love songs on the album, not the band's first, but certainly its
most (oh, oh, here comes the "m" word) _mature_, most realistic love songs as
well its most accessible commentaries on basic human nature. "I've been more
comfortable with personal statements [and my] increasing ability to express
them in non-cliche ways," lyricist/drummer Peart rather clinically declares
over the phone from his home north of Toronto. "In 'Cold Fire' I have the
woman speaking to the man and she's smarter than he is. It was a difficult
technical challenge lyrically, but those are the kind of things that now,
after all these years, you start to feel you have the craft to take on. I
don't mind writing about love now, where I would have avoided that in the
previous years just because of the inability to get beyond cliches."

Although the band blossomed in the '70s (with classics like _Fly By Night_,
_2112_ and _Farewell To Kings_) and flourished in the early '80s (_Permanent
Waves_, _Signals_) Peart says, "the mid-'80s were difficult because music was
moving so far away from our values. Musicianship suddenly didn't count. We had
no respect from the critics and everyone else considered us kind of
irrelevant." Everyone else but the loyal fan base that pretty well assured
them platinum-plus sales and sold out concerts around the world.

Rush suffered an image problem. Hobbled by the perception that it exclusively
wrote dungeons-and-dragons style epics or cyberpunk (before the word was
coined) fantasies for nerdy 17-year-old boys, Rush found itself at odds with
the way the music world classified it. "We were just as outside and
experimental and idiosyncratic as Japan, Peter Gabriel or Brian Eno," Peart
contends, almost defensively, "but certainly we never won that respect and
were never perceived as having those intentions." This was a band that could
have cleaned up selling pocket protectors along with its T-shirts at concerts.

But lately Rush can no longer claim to be the Rodnet Dangerfield of rock. If
the "respect" illustrated by ticket and record sales wasn't quite enough for
Lee, Peart and Lifeson, then two recent awards, given for vastly different
reasons and by vastly different organizations, have helped assuage their
moderately bruised egos. In early September the Arts Foundation of Greater
Toronto announced that Rush would receive the 1993 Toronto Arts Award for
Music for having brought "new standards to hard rock." Citing the band's sale
of 30 millino records and six million concert tickets (including a record 22
dates at Maple Leaf Gardens) as an aside, jury head Denise Donlon (Director of
Music Programming for Citytv/MuchMusic) says the award had more to do with the
"international acclaim they've brought to the city," as well as the
extraordinary generosity of their very "personal and very private" donations
to local charities. Over the years the band has raised over $1 million for the
United Way. "Beyond all the awards and statistics," the announcement stated,
"Rush's music continues to excite, challenge and entertain."

The other award came in May from out of left field. With tongues placed
partially in cheek, the members of the _Harvard Lampoon_ (at 177 the world's
oldest humor magazine) declared Rush the Musicians of the Millennium. At a
black-tie reception in the mysterious Lampoon Mansion a secret ceremony was
held inducting the three as honorary members, a distinction shared by such
diverse luminaries as Winston Churchill, Bill Cosby, George Foreman and Robin
Williams. The award isn't exactly a back-handed compliment by a bunch of
elitists snickering behind their smiles at a band that takes itself too
seriously. Steve Lookner, a former member of the executive board that chose
Rush, explains, "They're very literate -- one of the few bands that actually
puts some humor into its lyrics and tries to make jokes once in a while. When
there's a band that tries to be funny in an industry which doesn't have a lot
of humor in it, we respect that."

"A sense of humor has kept the three of us together more than anything," Lee
contends. "People attach this sense of severe seriousness to everything we do,
but it's not like that. There's a lot of goofiness that goes into our material
that's described as heaviness, which is kinda funny. And I guess there is a
serious side to us, but it was a great relief to us to have the opportunity to
go to the _Lampoon_ and for them to recognize a lot of these stupid things we
put in our songs. Here's this generation of young bright lights who will be
making their way into comic writing and positions of leadership in the future
and _they got the jokes_."

The "jokes" (as in older songs like "Superconductor" and "Red Lenses" that
poke fun at pop icons and political perceptions) are few and far between on
_Counterparts_, though. By shrinking the scope of his lyrics to personal
rather than universal problems, Peart has verbally paralleled the down-sizing
that Lee and Lifeson have accomplished sonically. But for both Lee and Peart
what appears to be a simplification is, in fact, some of the hardest work
they've done.

Where once it seemed all three players tried to fit as many notes or beats
into a song as (in)humanly possible, now there seems to be a refinement of
songwriting that resembles nothing less than conventional verse/chorus/verse
three-minute pop song structure. "I guess the common word is 'retro,'" Lee
says of _Counterparts'_ sound, "but it's not, it's just simplified."

"That's the classic showbiz thing," Peart claims, "do a simple thing and make
it look hard or do something hard and make it look simple. One is
entertainment and the other is artistry."

"We've always written music to satisfy ourselves," Lee points out, "and we
cross our fingers that there are enough people of similar sensibility that
will appreciate our music. We don't have a target market, we just do what we
do. Enough of our audience has stuck around and there's been enough interest
among younger people that our audience is really 14 to 40. In some cities [the
audience] is real young, in some there's even people my age!" he laughs. "It's
pretty gratifying -- we've turned into what the Grateful Dead are, for our
kind of music. It's almost a cult thing."

But while Rush might be a "cult thing" elsewhere, it's about as close to a
musical institution in this country as anything on this side of Gordon
Lightfoot, Anne Murray and _Don Messer's Jubilee_. At one time the band might
have been a guilty pleasure or an embarrassing footnote in some snob's music
collection, but today Rush returns to the head of the class with a refined
sound that puts bands half its age to shame.


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Copyright (C) 1994 by The Rush Fans Mailing List

Editor, The National Midnight Star
(Rush Fans Mailing List)
End of The National Midnight Star Number 849

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