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Subject: 02/24/94 - The National Midnight Star #891

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          The National Midnight Star, Number 891

                Thursday, 24 February 1994
Today's Topics:
           Fixing up the tour list/CP Tour book!
          Pre-ticket sale party for Washington, DC
             A call-in radio show cheat sheet
      Goldmine _Counterparts_ review -- March 4, 1994
                   "Request" article

From: (******* Meg *******)
Date: Thu Feb 24 19:09:19 EST 1994
Subject: Fixing up the tour list/CP Tour book!

Don't forget about the Counterparts tour book! I need local newspaper reviews,
transcripts (or actual tapes) of local radio interviews with Rush before/after
shows, and personal reviews! Lots and LOTS of personal reviews; if you send
one into the digest, please also forward me a copy, makes my job a little

I also need venue seating arrangements, from phone books, ticketmaster maps,
etc, photocopy or original. I plan on putting these in the CP book as well in
time for the 20th anniv tour, so everyone will know where their seats are!

And I've been in the campus library the past two days digging back through old
local newspapers in search of fixing some of the missing dates in the tour
list. I happened to not only find an exact San Diego date previously in
question, but 4 LA dates for Hemi & PeW tours, and 3 from 2112, that weren't 
even listed! I'll be adding them (and some Counterparts dates) to the tour 
list soon, and transcribing the articles I happened to find along with the 

If anyone else has some spare time and is interested in helping out (esp. if
you have access to a university library!) I can send you dates for your area
and you can look through your local papers to help out. I'd also like copies
of any articles, ads, etc. that you may find, I'm willing to pay for what it
cost you to print them out and mail them to me.

I've been trying to find a Caress of Steel date, but I ran out of time to look
today. I think even if they were playing mostly midwest, that they'd at least
hit the LA area, but so far no luck. If you live in the midwest (Ohio or
Michigan would be excellent choices!) and want to check on this, try any
newspaper between September 1, 1975 & March 1976. I've found that Sunday's
paper usually will have concert listings for the next week -- try looking at
the smaller bars around in that area.



Date:         Thu, 24 Feb 94 13:30:01 EST
From: Mike 
Subject:      Pre-ticket sale party for Washington, DC

Yes, it's me again...

(rush-mgr: PLEASE try to get this post in a digest on Thursday, or Friday at
the latest.  It becomes moot afterwards.  Thanks!)

Since the DC show is announced and going on sale Saturday morning, I'm thinking
that since 26 April is still two months off, why don't we have a pre-ticket
sale party for the tickets?

I'm going to be at the Tower Records at 21st and I Streets downtown, on the
campus of GWU.  I plan to get online, snow or no, early in the evening of
Friday night, so if any other DC area fans want to hang out with other
NMS'ers, feel free to join us on line there.  In my experience at Tower
they seem to be on the ball for pulling tickets at 10am sharp.

If you want to RSVP, the email address is in my .sig file.  Or, just show
up.  If you have a boom box, bring it, since I'll be bringing some boots
to listen to.  It's going to be really cold that night, so I thought that
if there were some other knowledgable Rush fans to hang out with, it'd pass
the cold night much faster.

So, if you just show up anytime between 6pm and 10am, look for the guy freezin'
his ass off in multi layers of clothing.  That'll be me :)

Mike, who's CRAZY for camping out in the snow for tickets a week after getting
over a month long bout of bronchitis.  But hey, it's Rush!

: Mike Weintraub, Jvi the Jedi, aka : \  / ___  __ :
: at The American University in Washington, DC           :  \/  ___ |_ `:
:...................sig Quote du Jour....................:  /   ___   \ :
:"I think I have become one of the hollow men, as I      : /          / :
: shine on the outside more these days, I can feel the   :       \___/  :
: outside feeding on my inside, leaves a growing         :..............:
: darkness in it's place" - Marillion 'The Hollow Man'   :Talk - 22/3/94:


Date: 28 Jan 94 16:01:10 EST
From: Bruce Holtgren <70724.1622@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: A call-in radio show cheat sheet

Discussion about coming up with good questions for future 
editions of Rockline prompts me to share what I know (or think I 
know) about how call-in radio shows work in general. Many readers 
of The National Midnight Star will no doubt find this information 
helpful the next time they try to access our heroes in real-time 
voice mode.

*Disclaimer* - I am but a lowly member of the scum mainstream  
media. All I know is what I read in the papers. This stuff is not 
to be taken as gospel truth, but it's what I recall to the best 
of my ability from things I've read, as well as what I've heard 
from folks in the business in a probably all-too-distant past. 
(I've also called in to a show a time or two.) I encourage any 
and all corrections to this to be submitted, especially from 
those who would know better. Any radio folks in our listening 
area? ... :)

First things first: Be prepared to hold a phone to your ear for 
much of a day. For maximum convenience, get a headset like Judy 
the Time-Life Operator has - Radio Shack sells 'em. Start calling 
the number early - as in two, three or even four hours before the 
show starts. (Your chances of getting through after the number 
has been announced on the air - especially after the show has 
already begun continent-wide - are virtually nil.) Don't worry if 
all it does is ring. Let it ring. If the phone company hangs you 
up after 100 rings (or whatever cutoff there may be), call right 
back. Let it ring. It beats the constant busy signal you'll be 
hearing if you give up and try later.

OK, so you've finally gotten someone to answer. Next thing to 
be aware of is: Whenever you call any (800) number, the callee 
will almost certainly be able to determine, probably instantly, 
any or all of the following: your phone number, your address, and 
maybe even your name. This is not part of any nefarious gummint 
plot - it's just a marketing tool. They use this information to 
put you on a mailing list (or lists) to try to sell you products 
and services related to what you're calling about. Many 
companies, in turn, sell or rent your name and address to others 
as a way of making money on the side. (In the case of Rockline, I 
wouldn't be surprised if the national show provides your name and 
address to your local station.)

So don't even try to give a fake name, address or phone number. 
They know who and where you are. (So why do they ask you anyway? 
To keep you honest - this is an early, easy way to make sure 
you're on the level.) Lying about these basic bits of information 
is the surest way to get yourself blocked out of any chance of 
getting on the air.

The person who answers will note all the basics - where you're 
calling from, what station you're hearing the show on, etc. He or 
she may or may not engage in a bit of small talk, depending on 
how busy they are. All this is to put you both at ease - to 
reassure you that you indeed have gotten through, and to reassure 
them that you seem to be for real.

Then, of course, you'll be put on hold. Be prepared to sit 
patiently, for possibly hours, while you listen to nothing in 
particular (or ads, or worse, Muzak). But don't even think of 
setting the phone down, even for a minute, no matter what. You 
never know when someone will come back on the line to make sure 
you're still there. If you're not, it's bye-bye time. They'll be 
especially careful to check that you're there in the few minutes 
before you go on the air. (They'll also be running your voice 
through their equipment in an attempt to gauge the correct 
"level" for broadcast - so speak at about the same volume you 
will when you go on.) Anyone who watches/listens to call-in 
shows knows how common (and annoying) it is when the caller is 
supposed to be there ... but isn't. Or is, but can barely be 

Oh, and a person at the other end will ask you - eventually, if 
not right away - what question you're gonna ask the show's 
guest(s). This is crucial. What your question is, and how you 
phrase it from the very beginning, will determine more than 
anything whether you get on the air. Here's why ...

A list of all callers who are holding, along with their 
questions, is sent to a monitor in the studio where the show is 
originating from. Long before the first call goes on the air, the 
show's staff, including the host, sees the list of callers and 
questions. On many shows, so do the guests. Any or all of these 
good people can pick and choose, based on what's on the monitor, 
which calls to take and which not to take. So, if you say that 
you intend to ask Alex about his family life, you can bet your 
call will not be picked up - no matter how early you got through, 
no matter how many people you called ahead of. If you say that 
you want to ask Geddy about the origins of the bass line during 
the second verse of "The Necromancer," he'll probably ask the 
host not to take that call. Wondering why they switched record 
companies? They're not gonna take that call, either. (Such 
questions might be good ones as far as many TNMS members are 
concerned - but if the band doesn't wanna talk about anything 
sensitive or stupid, they can avoid even being asked.)

Besides the question on the screen, your geographic location may 
be a factor in whether you get put on the air. It's to the 
show's benefit not only to take calls from all over (to show how 
widespread it is), but also to give a slice of free nationwide 
publicity to some of their more loyal stations. So, if you're 
calling from San Diego but there have already been four other 
callers from California on the air, you may be out of luck, no 
matter how good your question looks. Or, if WKRP has been 
plugging Rockline heavily all week and has been a longtime 
subscriber to the show, a call from Cincinnati might be taken 
ahead of a lot of others, even if the question is lame. So it's 
far from first-caller, first-served. No, it's not fair. But 
that's life in the profit-crazed American media. 

Another thing to realize is that because of the questions-in-
advance system, the guests (if they are allowed to look at the 
host's monitor) get a nice head start on coming up with snappy 
answers. If a question on the screen says, "Any plans to do any 
instructional videos?", they can think about it for a while. 
Then, when the caller comes on, Geddy can seem even more clever 
than he already is by waiting for the question to be asked, then 
immediately replying, "Well, I'm still *watching* instructional 
videos ..." 

A bit of thought will demonstrate that coming up with just the 
right question is not as important as you thought. It's a hell of 
a lot *more* important than you thought.

The more devious-minded out there, most notably some savvy fans 
of a certain New York shock jock, have nothing better to do with 
their lives than drive broadcasters batty by playing games with 
this system. These people typically call up radio and TV talk 
shows, submit an innocent-sounding fake question in advance, wait 
patiently for hours to get on the air, and then blurt out to the 
guest, "So how do you feel about the idea of doing a mind-meld 
with Howard Stern's penis?" (The latter was an actual question 
that got through once; there have been many others in a similar 
vein.) Producers and engineers constantly sweat throughout each 
show, ready to kill any call the instant it sounds like a 
question is headed into the gutter.

Rush fans are a much cooler crowd, of course, than Howard Stern 
fans. They would never think of blowing the chance of a lifetime 
to ask a wonderful question of the greatest band on the planet. 
They might, of course, be only a minor jerk by, say, announcing 
an easy question in advance ("Hey, what *is* this Gangster of 
Boats business, anyway?") and then asking a toughie once they're 
on the air. ("Neil, you've long been an eloquent champion of 
individual liberty and the free-market way - so why is it that 
you so vehemently denounce the bootlegging of Rush concerts?")

Of course, you should be aware of many serious risks inherent in 
playing such games. They include, but are not limited to:

*Being put on a broadcasters' "black list" of people whose calls 
should never be accepted again.
*Being hung up on, before you even get on the air, if the show's 
producers get even the faintest whiff that trouble may be afoot.
*Having civil or criminal charges filed against you, if 
appropriate (or even if not appropriate). Remember, the people 
you're calling know full well who and where you are.
*Having Rush decide they shouldn't do any more appearances on 
Rockline, or maybe any other call-in shows, if this is the kind 
of stuff they're gonna have to contend with.

In short, be honest, and be nice. It's the easiest, coolest and 
overall best approach to take. There are scads of great questions 
to ask (especially of people like Rush, who have such a fun sense 
of humor) that aren't controversial or mean. I expect we'll be 
seeing a lot of good ideas submitted to rush-mgr in anticipation 
of the next Rockline show the band does.

In parting, here are a few bits of more basic advice - more like 
impassioned pleas - for those thinking of actually placing a 
call. (For those who complain that these seem like common sense - 
well, they are. But they nevertheless don't get followed, as 
call-in show after call-in show demonstrates.)

* Turn down your damn radio. ALL THE WAY. If you're that 
fascinated in hearing yourself, then record the show - in another 
room. (You were gonna be recording the show anyway, right?)
* SPEAK UP! (See above, regarding the engineers setting your 
voice level.)
* No matter how nervous you are, bag the small talk already. It's 
a waste of precious time. We know the band is fine. We know 
you're fine. That's very nice, but cut to the chase - WHAT'S YOUR 
* Even more of a waste of time is sycophantic hero-worship 
blather. Yes, we know you love the band - that's why you're 
calling. We all love the band, or we wouldn't be listening. This 
kind of stuff is embarrassing for even one person to have to 
listen to, much less millions. (How celebrities put up with it 
day in and day out, for years on end, is beyond me - but that's 
another essay.)
* For NMS subscribers especially, please, please, please: No lame 
questions. *READ THE FAQ! READ THE FAQ! READ THE FAQ!* Please 
don't ask anything that isn't already general public knowledge. 
Break some new ground if you possibly can - either go for new 
information, or have some especially goofy fun. Again, I'm 
looking forward to seeing ideas that people submit to rush-mgr in 
these regards.
* Respect the band by focusing on the present. Yes, we're all 
dying to know the lyrics to "Didacts and Narpets" - but you'll 
get a much friendlier response if you ask about the latest album 
or two, or current plans.

My apologies for taking up so much bandwidth with so much arcane 
drivel about a single subject. If you're not interested in call-
in radio shows, this was a complete waste of your time. If you 
are, I hope it shed some light.

All comments not of general interest (e.g. flames) should be e-
mailed to me directly, please. 

            |                           |         
           /|   /\                     /|   /\    
 ----^-^-^/ |  /  \--------------^-^-^/ |  /  \----^-^-^
            | / Emotional feedback      | /         
            |/  On a timeless wavelength|/   
                Bearing a gift beyond price -
                Almost free ...



From: (******* Meg *******)
Date: Mon Feb 21 19:07:00 EST 1994
Subject: Goldmine _Counterparts_ review -- March 4, 1994

Taken from: Goldmine -- March 4, 1994

Atlantic Anthem (82528-2)

     It's been 20 years now since Rush stormed out of Canada with slashing
guitars (often inaccurately described as "heavy metal"), mellifluous bass and
thundering drums, spinning yarns combining science fiction trappings with the
archetypal search for self identity with which so many teenagers (and not a
few middle-agers) could readily identify. Staying true to their historical
penchant for producing "concept" -- or at least thematically unified -- albums,
_Counterparts_ blends dreamscapes and philosophical poetry in an exploration
of yin/yang, necessary opposites, apparent contradictions which hold the world
together in tension and resolution. (It's a sign of Rush's nature that
discussing them leads immediately to abstract language...)
     Following this theme, Geddy Lee's distinctive tenor soars through Neil
Peart's ruminations about heroism, sex, competition/cooperation, and
exhortations about existential perseverance. As usual, Peart's lyrics favor
staccato images, short phrases pregnant with oblique meaning or carrying a
sparse narrative that brims full of aphoristic truth.
     Musically speaking, Rush has stripped off some of the lusher production
for a rougher edge that emphasizes the trio form, although any "roughness" has
to do with sonic illusion, since it's hard to imagine much more polished
musicians than these three. Alex Lifeson's guitar playing is lean and tough,
crunching chords or following the melody tightly, only occasionally stepping
out to rip through a succinct solo which is always the picture of musical
perfection, taking the song to the brink before pulling back. Such compressed
energy, subjecting ego to the song, is no doubt why Lifeson has been one of
the more underrated guitarists for years. It's probably for the best, because
if he ever really let his hair down, it just might well precipitate the Big
     Lee and Peart are no slouches, either. Lee's punchy bass style is
extremely melodic, acting as a bass voice in a classical sense rather than
playing an oom-pah dance-band role. Moving in and around it all are Peart's
kinetic, ever-creative drum parts.
     _Counterparts_ marks no new changes in direction for Rush, which will
probably not disappoint fans, and would be a rather radical departure for a
band with such a steady output, after all. Neither are there new revelations,
just plenty of artful concept music, spotlessly played and exquisitely
produced. Sometimes one wishes they'd go ahead and get a little crazier once
in awhile, but then, that wouldn't be Rush, would it? And this is definitely
							Michael Wright


Date: Thu, 27 Jan 94 21:53:24 EST
From: (Steve Chiro)
Subject: "Request" article

     Here's the article from February's "Request" magazine.  I never
realized what a long process this transcribing actually was!
        -Steve Chiro
                           "RUSH RECONSIDERED"
                      from Feb. 94 issue of "Request"
           Their fans have taken them seriously for 20 years.
           What have lazy, ill-informed critics been missing?
           Jim DeRogatis opens the band's E-mail to investigate.
     Weeks before the official release of _Counterparts_, Rush's 19th album,
analyses of the new lyrics and music are already filling _The National
Midnight Star_, a computer fanzine on Internet.  The fanzine/bulletin board
serves as a sort of electronic clubhouse for serious Rush fans, a group
that makes Deadheads look like amateurs.  The E-Mail postings are filled
with discographies, reviews of every show the band has played, and trivia
about the musicians and anyone who's worked with them.  All of this is
treated as a science, and fools are not suffered lightly.
     "I know it's fun to come up with pet theories for how things are
related to each other, but please don't send them to me saying that, `It
_can't_ be a coincidence!'"  Editor "Rush manager-Syrinx" cautions in
an introduction to a recent edition of _The National Midnight Star_.
"Send a reference to an interview or a quote from the band member that
supports what you say.  For example: Don't point out that 1001001 [the
scanning code on the back cover of _Counterparts_] is the binary equivalent
to 73 decimal, and 73 decimal is ASCII for letter 'I,' and the letter 'I'
was significant to the plot of Ayn Rand's _Anthem_, and Neil Peart reads
a lot of Ayn Rand, therefore [the song] `The Body Electric' is a reference
to _Anthem_.  Believe me, you won't be the first.  But Neil has never said
anything on the particular subject, as far as I know."
     Naturally, Rush's following is broader than just the faithful who enjoy
such detailed discourse: There are also dabblers drawn to a particular
album by on AOR hit or MTV video, as well as a contigent of alternative-
rock fans who, thanks to Lollapalooza headliner Primus, are coming out of
the closet and admitting they like Rush too. ("The new revisionist Rush
theory," bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee says.)  But the true faithful run out
and buy each new album as soon as it's available: When _Counterparts_ was
released in late October, it debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard album
chart, trailing only Pearl Jam's Vs.
     The faithful will never come right out and admit that Rush's last
couple of studio albums- 1991's _Roll the Bones_, and 1989's _Presto_-
are downright stinkers, but they are excited that _Counterparts_ is a
"return to form."  When Rush started in Toronto in 1974, it mixed the
musical and lyrical complexity of progressive rockers such as Yes and
Genesis with the drive of no-nonsense heavy metal, resulting in such
overblown but endearing high points as 1976's _2112_ and 1978's
_Hemispheres_.  While the band hasn't exactly gone back to those days,
it has abandoned the digital sheen and layers of keyboards that
characterized its work in the late '80s, returning to the basics of
guitar, bass, and drums.
     Of course, the basics for Rush still mean Byzantine chord
progressions and guitar solos, florid lyrics delivered with Lee's
trademark Donald-Duck-on-helium yelp, and time signatures that require
a degree in mathmatics.  But there's no denying that such songs as
"Animate," "Stick It Out," and "Nobody's Hero" are more driving and
catchy than anything since "Tom Sawyer" or "Red Barchetta" from 1981's
_Moving Pictures_, which remains the group's best-selling album.  The
band credits the success of _Counterparts_ to a more organic approach
in the studio.
     "It was the first record in a long time where we clearly knew
what we wanted it to sound like," says Lee (real name: Gary Lee
Weinrib, according to the computer fanzine).  "It was kind of nice to
get back to more of that youthful energy of playing," says guitarist
Alex Lifeson (real name: Alex Zivojinovic).  "It wasn't a complete
reinventing of the band by any means, but we did change the wrapping,"
concludes drummer/lyricist Neil Peart (real name: Neil Peart, though
the pronunciation is "Peert," not "Pert").
     The band members (who were interviewed seperately while in their
offices at Anthem Entertainment) agree that the impetus for change came
from a 1992 tour with Primus, the San Francisco Bay Area trio that
retooled Rush's prog-rock for the thrift-store/grunge crowd.  Rush was
also inspired by the energy of the new Seattle bands, especially Pearl
Jam.  The situation recalls the way punks in the late 70's prompted the
first generation of progressive rockers to strip back the excess on
such relatively lean-and-mean albums as Yes' _Going for the One_ and
Genesis' _...And Then There Were Three_.
     "When we went in to do this record, Alex and I were sitting at an
eight-track computer machine getting ready to write and watching
everybody set up the keyboards," Lee says.  "When they were done, there
was this bank of keyboards with all these television screens, and nowhere
could you get a ball game.  We just went, `Pass.'  Inevitably, you come
back to these machines to add something later or make the arrangements
more interesting.  But I think we proved that the best way to write is
not to rely on these machines first."
     Producer Peter Collins, who worked on 1985's _Power Windows_ and
1987's _Hold Your Fire_, and engineer Kevin "Caveman" Shirley, a
newcomer who owes his nickname to his analog attitude, encouraged Rush
to think like metalheads.  "This was the first time in twelve years that
I sat in the studio and recorded guitars," Lifeson says.  "I'd been
sitting in a very controlled control room where communication is
instantaneous and your monitors always sound great and everything's nice.
I got talked into going out into the studio, and then I realized `This is
where it's at!'  You've got to feel the guitar vibrating against your
body and sound going through the pickups for you to lock into the energy
and really push it."
     Lee says that _Presto_ and _Roll the Bones_ suffered from a "drastic
change in writing at the same time we changed production teams; we only
got it right part of the time, and a couple of the songs were
shortchanged."  But Peart, by far the trio's most humorous and didactic
member, maintains that everything on those albums was necessary for the
band's growth.  "You can't change any part of a progression without
changing the outcome, that's what people constantly forget," he says.
     Peart is the only member of Rush with a noticeable Canadian accent,
and the pitch goes up at the end of his sentences just like Bob and Doug
McKenzie.  "Rush by design is a very uneven band," he says.  "No way are
we going to create a perfectly crafted record in which every song comes
out the same, because it would mean mediocrity.  It's like the Somerset
Maugham quote: `Only an average man is always at his best.'"
     Peart is a curmudgeon when it comes to discussing the band's early
albums.  "Certainly there are a lot of people who hate all our early
records, and I would count myself among them," he says.  He and his
handlebar mustache joined the band in 1975 after the departure of its
first drummer, John Rutsey.  It wasn't long before he also became the
     "The job was kind of thrust on Neil: `You talk good, you be
lyricist,'" Lee says, laughing.  "A lot of his early lyrics were quite
wordy and dense and without much room for me to be too flexible
melodically; it was kind of `words per minute.'  As he's become an
improved lyricist- and some of his lyrics are fantastic now- the style
has changed, and he's written with my consideration in mind."
     If Peart isn't actually embarrassed by the lyrics of old gems such
as "2112" (with its sci-fi tale of the priests at the Temple of Syrinx)
and "The Trees" (a parable about the need for unity between maples and
oaks), he does seem chagrined that the faithful continue dissecting
them on a computer bulletin board.  He'd much prefer that fans put
their efforts into analyzing his recent efforts, and many do.
     "Had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine the other day
about `Heresy' [from _Roll the Bones_]," a Rush fan named Steve writes
in _The National Midnight Star_.  "It appears to me that Neil is blaming
the Soviet military buildup (communism/collectivism) for the `fear and
suffering' that both the Russian people and western cultures experienced
during the Cold War.  My friend believes that Neil is blaming the
American government as well for overreacting to the Soviet threat: `All
a big mistake.'  It seems to me, evidence by previous songs, that Neil
views the threat of collectivistic totalitarian governments very
seriously; it's certainly evident throughout `2112,' `Red Sector A,'
`Red Lenses,' and `The Trees.'  Any thoughts on what the `big mistake'
is?  Is it communism/socialism or paranoid capitalists?  Maybe both?"
     "The lyrics are as much of an attractor as the music," says Deena
Weinstein, a sociology professor at De Paul University in Chicago who
has written about Rush in two books, _Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology_
and _Serious Rock: Bruce Springsteen, Rush, and Pink Floyd_.  "The lyrics
speak to people, and God, do I know these people.  Every last one of them
goes to college.  They're not party animals, these people are really
well-read.  They think they should know some philosophy, and they've read
some philosophy.  They're not slackers at all; they're the antithesis.
They're really serious about existence."
     Almost all Rush loyalists are male.  It's impossible to decipher
their average age from the computer bulletin board, but many seem to be
stuck in adolescence, at least when it comes to dealing with the opposite
sex.  Their messages are filled with dumb, awkward sex jokes, and there's
even an abbreviated Beavis-and-Butthead-as-computer-geeks code: GMAW means
"gave me a woody," ISTBO means "it sucked the big one," and TOS means
"totally organic shit."
     The guys on the bulletin board will have a field day with
_Counterparts_, which is essentially a concept album about male/female
relationships.  "Gender differences were a big subject of study for me
in the last two years," Peart says.  "I ransacked everything from
_Scientific American_ to what the great thinkers of the world have
had to say about it, just so I could be clear on what I was thinking
and then try to put it into a few words."
     The result is songs such as "Animate," in which Peart calls on the
"Goddess in my garden/Sister in my soul/Angel in my armor/Actress in my
role" to "Polarize me/Sensitize me/Criticize me/Civilize me."  Peart
boasts of putting months of research into the 200 or so words in each of
his songs.  He claims he read 12 books about nuclear fission to write
"Manhattan Project" on _Power Windows_.  For _Counterparts_, he immersed
himself in the writings of pschologist Carl Jung and controversial anti-
feminist Camille Paglia.
     "I don't agree with everything she says," Peart confesses.  "But
when she quotes Freud and gets in trouble for that, she says, `Look, I
don't believe every word the guy wrote.  He had some good insights and
I chose to make use of them.'  And that's the way I feel about Camille
Paglia and Ayn Rand."
     But Paglia, Rand, and Peart are all prone to being misinterpreted
by their devotees.  The theme of maintaining one's individuality- either
in society or in a relationship- is key to all of Rush's work.  Peart is
firmly on the side of the individual, and he has described his political
leanings as "left-wing libertarian."  But Weinstein sites as an example
how many fans think that Rush sides with the priests in the temple of
Syrinx in "2112," even though Peart's priests are actually fascists who
are trying to stamp out self-expression.  Other fans seem to confuse Rush,
the group, with Rush Limbaugh, the No. 1 enemy of "political correctness."
Callers to a Chicago-area radio show said they believed that in the song
"Nobody's Hero," Peart was saying he was tired of seeing the media portray
people with AIDS and women who'd been raped as heroes.  But the drummer
said he meant exactly the opposite: The two people portrayed in the tune
"were more important in my life than any of the `media heroes.'"
     "Why are people expecting super-human, non-biological functions from
their heroes?" Peart continues.  "People like film stars or Michael
Jackson or Michael Jordan are somehow above any earthly taint.  Obviously
it warps them out, but it's also very unhealthy for the admirers."
     One could argue that die-hard Rush fans view their heroes in a
similar light.  "Rush fans perceive Rush as these god-like figures:
`Neil the super-intellectual lyricist and master of the drum kit,'" says
Andrew MacNaughtan, the band's photographer and personal assistant.  "I
think because they're such perfectionists in everything they do, they're
perceived as being perfect and they can't do wrong.  The band has a hard
time understanding why the fans are so- I don't want to say psychotic-
but just infatuated with them.  They appreciate it and they thank their
fans for it, but they just don't understand why some fans go to far."
     Going too far means showing up at the band members' homes in rural
Toronto suburbs and peering in the windows, MacNaughtan says, which is
how the photographer himself met the band.  As a teenager, he ran a fan
club called the Rush Backstage Club of Toronto, and one day he turned up
on Lee's doorstep.  "He said, `I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell
anybody where I lived.  You're a polite boy,'" MacNaughtan recalls.  The
photographer went on to found a Toronto music magazine; Rush bought some
of his photos for the _Power Windows_ tourbook, and that led to a full-
time job at Anthem.  The band didn't even know about the old fan club
until MacNaughtan brought Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach (A former
member) backstage during the _Roll the Bones_ tour.  "Bach didn't waste
any time telling Rush that I used to do a Rush fan club," MacNaughtan
says, laughing.
     MacNaughtan characterizes the band members as intensely private
individuals who disdain the trappings of rock stardom, including videos,
photo shoots, and interviews.  He says they all have healthy senses of
humor, and he has tried to capture that in his work: The CD booklet for
_Counterparts_ features a photo of Peart at the end of the '92 tour
sitting on a toilet displaying a mohawk haircut that MacNaughtan had
just given him.
     But the photographer says the faithful rarely pick up on the humor
when they meet their heroes.  "They're not perceiving Neil as he should
be perceived: as a human being, as a funny, goofy guy, and as an
intellectual," MacNaughtan says.  "Neil knows everything about
everything; art, history, literature.  Of course, a fan will never know
     "The horror of being the object of such obsessiveness must be
enormous, especially given where Peart is coming from- the individual
attempting to work with integrity," Weinstein says.  One might assume
that knowing beforehand that the faithful will deconstruct every riff
and word on an album would weight heavily during the recording process.
But Peart, Lifeson, and Lee say they barely think of the fans.  Their
attitudes about their following vary dramatically, offering insight
into the band members' personalities.
     Lee is bemused by it all.  "Every once in a while you get the
overly intense Rush fans who has to come to know you, and it's a
little scary," he says.  "But for the most part, they're pretty
considerate, polite, and introspective.  They're very intense, usually,
and very enthusiastic.  But I think fans of anything are like that.
I'm a baseball fan, and I'm pretty nutso.  If you ran into me at a ball
game, I'd be pretty hyped-up."
     Lifeson is almost paternal.  "I think our audience is into the band
as much as we are, and they take as much time and care with our music as
we do," he says.  But Peart says he rarely recognizes anything of himself
in his admirers.  "How much commonality can there be?" he asks.  "People
find what they want to find or approach our music from many different
     Like "Rush Manager- Syrinx," Peart dismisses anyone who can't back
up his or her views.  "The problem with democracy is you get a lot of
uneducated opinions with all the strength and fanaticism as if it were
revealed truth," he says. "When I get an opinion from someone who's done
research for a long time, I take that with a lot more weight than
someone who listens to a talk show on the radio and says, `Wait, that's
not right.'"
     For Peart, this is as true in rock 'n' roll as it is in politics.
He believes that because he's played drums for 30 years, he's more
qualified to judge what constitutes good rock music than any critic or
fan.  The fact that a lot of people disagree with him despite his
obvious experience is one of the factors that drew him to Paglia.
     "Her odyssey has been much like mine," he says.  "She came out of
'60s feminism, so her credentials are sound.  Then her study, basically
25 years of scholarship, led her to certain conclusions that people
dismiss with a snap.  She spends years and years studying something and
then says , `There's this and this difference between males and females,'
and somebody says, `No there isn't.'  This bothers me too.  If someone's
not willing to do the homework on it, then they have no right to the
opinion.  As Joe Walsh so eloquently put it, `There's just no arguing
with a sick mind.'"


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End of The National Midnight Star Number 891

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