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Date: Thu, 22 Aug 1996 21:13:36 -0700
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Subject: *** 08/22/96 - The National Midnight Star #1432 *** Special Edition

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List posting/followup:     rush@syrinx.umd.edu
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(Administrative postings to the posting address will be ignored!)

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            The National Midnight Star, Number 1432
                    Thursday, 22 Aug 1996

                        Today's Topics:
                        Administrivia
                    tour dates are here!
                Geddy Lee Interview from NY

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From: rush-mgr@syrinx.umd.edu (The RUSH Fans Digest Manager) 
Date: Thu Aug 22 20:24:00 PDT 1996 
Subject: Administrivia

FINALLY!! What you've all been waiting for, drooling about, anticipating...
the tour dates!! Please note that only the first 4 have been positively
confirmed, but the rest are coming from a reliable source.
And one more thing -- DO NOT post "does anyone know if they're playing my
city Blahblahblah?" because I will delete it. These are the only dates so
far, asking for them will not make them happen any faster.
And now, on with the dates!! - rush-mgr
In addition to the dates (thanks to our anonymous source), you may recall we
talked about Geddy doing an interview in NY with the guitarist from Living
Colour back in the first week of August on the NMS. Someone sent me the text
of that interview, I guess it's dated July 31st, where Geddy talks about the
album and among other things the Internet!	I'd like to thank whoever 
it was
that typed up that interview, it was cool, so whoever you are (I believe it
was from cmu.edu), drop me a line. Thanks again.	The interview is 
attached below the tour dates.
BTW, speaking of tourdates, I guess it's okay to break the news. The very
latest word is that IME will not be opening. In fact, there isn't any opener
The tour is slated to be "An Evening with Rush", there will be a brief
intermission between the two sets midway through the show.	Should be 
awesome.
That's it for now, more news later. Enjoy. :rush -mgr


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From: rush-mgr@syrinx.umd.edu (The RUSH Fans Digest Manager) 
Date: Thu Aug 22 20:15:53 PDT 1996 
Subject: tour dates are here!

After the dates in December, there are plans to go back on tour in the spring,
possibly to do amphitheater/outdoor shows.

October
19 -- Albany, NY
20 -- Buffalo, NY
22 -- Dayton, OH
23 -- Grand Rapids, MI
25 -- Detroit, MI
26 -- Detroit, MI **or** Toledo, OH
28 -- Minneapolis, MN
29 -- Chicago, IL 31 -- St. Louis, MO

November
1 -- Milwaukee, WI
3 -- Indianapolis, IN **or** Pittsburgh, PA
4 -- Cleveland, OH
6 -- Philadelphia, PA
7 -- Largo, MD
9 -- Boston, MA
10 -- Hartford, CT
20 -- San Jose, CA
21 -- Sacramento, CA
23 -- San Diego, CA
24 -- Las Vegas, NV
26 -- Anaheim, CA **or** Los Angeles, CA
27 -- Los Angeles, CA
29 -- Phoenix, AZ
30 -- El Paso, TX

December
2 -- San Antonio, TX
3 -- Dallas, TX
5 -- Houston, TX
6 -- New Orleans, LA
8 -- Miami, FL **or** Tampa, FL
9 -- Miami, FL **or** Tampa, FL
11 -- Atlanta, GA
12 -- Charlotte, NC
14 -- Uniondale, NY
15 -- East Rutherford, NJ
17 -- Toronto, CAN **or** Buffalo, NY
18 -- Toronto, CAN
19 -- Ottawa, CAN
20 -- Montreal, CAN


----------------------------------------------------------------------


From: rush-mgr@syrinx.umd.edu (The RUSH Fans Digest Manager) 
Date: Thu Aug 22 20:24:00 PDT 1996 
Subject: Geddy Lee Interview from NY

[ Thanks go out to whoever typed this up. Send me your name. :rush-mgr ]

If you've accessed this section, no introduction is needed. Here's Geddy Lee, 
interviewed on July 31st, 1996 in New York City, talking about Rush's new album, 
"Test For Echo," and a lot of other things as well.

Is there a theme to this album?

Well, not to me - Neil might beg to differ. But as far as I'm concerned, 
this record is a collection of songs, maybe more than our
last few records have been. The songs are quite different, lyrically
and musically. What were some different influences or equipment that
came into this album? In terms of equipment, there's not really that
much new. We used a different hard disc recording system in the writing 
stage, which I found really compatible. It's called Logic Audio, 
it's a basic pro-tools kind of setup.
It has 16 tracks of hard disc audio, so we could throw a few tracks of
music down, live, with Alex and I playing, and fool around with rhythm
ideas and vocal ideas and so forth, and do it in a very scratch-track
kind of way, and then I could cut and paste and play around with
the arrangement until I got it to a point where I thought it was working,
and then we could kinda do it for real and get a better version of it
with some drums and some overdubs.

Do you wish you'd had it for some of your earlier records?

Well, it would have been nice, but at the same time, there are probably 
improvements we've made as musicians, and the discipline was
probably good for us in the long run. It's all part and parcel, and 
there are some maddening things about using that technology as well
sometimes you just wanna throw it out the window when it's not functioning 
the way you want it to, or when it crashes, which it always does.

Did you lose anything really heartbreaking?

When we were doing the song "Driven," we kept having this really weird
crashing problem, where I had done some vocals, and we weren't sure whether 
we still had them - we had bounced some tapes together and then we couldn't 
separate them again. We know they're in there, but they won't come out 
and play with you!

Are there any new bands you particularly like?

I like Tragically Hip a lot... Tripping Daisy. Massive Attack's 
"Protection," and the "No Protection" remix album. Tricky - that's not
that new - Beck, that's a pretty great record. Bjork. There's parts of
the Smashing Pumpkins record I like. There's this record I've been 
listening to a lot lately, Cibo Matto, that's cool. Primus... there's
so many.

There's a lot of electronic-based music in there - would you like to
use that with your own material?

Nah, I don't like that. I went through an aggressively electronic 
period, and it's a very unsatisfying way to make records. I like to 
play music, I like to play a particular style of rock music, 
I just find that more fun to do.
Playing with electronics is really bad for your sense of humor (laughs), 
and I just find it maddening. So I kind of steer away from
it, but I like listening to it, it's great for other people.

Does the band still write its material in the same way? 
(Gathering together in a house with Neil working on lyrics at one end, and Geddy
and Alex working on the music at the other.)

Yeah, Neil's at one end of the house - locked away, as most drummers 
should be! - and Alex and I are writing away at the other end, putting
tracks together. Actually, Alex and I were more secretive in a way 
this time - I guess we didn't realize it.
We spent a lot more time working on the first five or six songs, and
normally we'd write one song at a time, play it for Neil, get his 
opinion, and carry on. This time we were on a roll, and in the middle
of writing one song, we'd get a totally different idea, so rather than
putting it aside, we'd stop, open up another arrangement page, and 
follow that idea to its logical conclusion, and then another idea would come up.
So this kept happening, so we ended up with about five or six songs 
the middle of being written, and we figured we'd finish them all
then play them for Neil - we didn't realize that he was going crazy 
waiting for these songs! But when there's a spark, I think it's important 
to exploit it. That's the best part of writing, when everybody's 
inspired and a lot of ideas are flying around.

Do you ever throw a wrench into the process just to see what happens?

Well, for this album, we decided not to write any songs on keyboard.
We started to do that on the last album, but a couple of songs snuck
in there that were keyboard-written. Sometimes those limitations are
good, they force you to focus and find ways to make that limitation 
interesting. Generally we try to keep an open mind, anything that's 
around will give us that spark.

Has your writing technique changed over the years?

Through the years various things have changed. When I first started, I
wrote on bass and a little guitar. And when I got into a keyboard mode
I'd write a lot on keyboards, and now I've kind of rejected that and
gone back to bass. I wrote a lot of "Counterparts" on bass, and this
album too.

He had been the "boss" of his project for a few months, and I think it
was nice for him to be a part of a democracy again! We did more on our
own than in the past - I'd be working on an idea, and I'd say 'Can you
give me a few minutes?' And he'd say 'sure' and fall asleep on the 
couch or something, and I'd start multi-tracking basses and start 
constructing a song on my own. And he did a lot on his own too, 
we gave each other a little more space this time.
I'd be in there singing for like three hours and not even realize it.
It was a lot of fun to work by myself and follow my instincts. But 
then of course you need that other person to ask, 'Hey, am I a schmuck
here? Does this make any sense?' 

Is it still fun to play live? You guys seem so chained to your pedals 
and keyboards and triggers that when you're playing an old song, 
it's like, 'we're free!' (Laughs)

Yeah, there's work and then there's recess! I like to do all those 
things because it's hard to do, and usually the stuff that's hard
do is the least boring because you've gotta be totally focused. But
the same time, I like to have fun onstage, and sometimes what's fun 
for me onstage isn't as much fun for the audience, and you can't 
forget that they're out there, and they need to be entertained, and
well as listening to you play, they want some kind of show.
But it's always a bit of a battle. I would love to have the freedom
run around and goof off as much as I can onstage, but you owe it to 
the song to give it the best representation you can musically, and
think that's gotta come first. But more and more, with the advent
Midi technology, the other guys have taken the keyboard parts away from me;
they can play them with pedals and drum triggers, and that means that
I can play bass more, and that's made me a lot happier. That's another
reason why we're writing with less keyboards; it's less of a big deal
to play those songs live.

Do you feel there was one album that made you into 'career artists,' 
as opposed to a '70s band?

Maybe "Moving Pictures," it was a kind of a consolidation of a lot of
things. I still don't know why certain albums have a more universal 
appeal, that one seems to, it seems to have a very identifiable sound
of our own. And I think there have been certain periods and certain 
albums that seem to have an identifiable sound:
"2112" was the first time that we sounded like us and nobody else, and
"Moving Pictures" was kind of a reestablishment of our own sound, 
although it was a slightly different direction - slightly less 
complicated, rather more song-oriented. Maybe less hard rock, I dunno.
It's hard, y'know, I think about so many different pieces of music 
I've written and it's hard to find the real defining moments. The 
changes now seem to come, they seem to evolve... not always forward, 
sometimes sideways!

Which albums are your favorites?

"2112." I like "Permanent Waves" a lot, I think "Roll The Bones" had
some great material on it, and there's parts of "Hold Your Fire." Some
of those records I would like to re-record, some of them I like the 
music but I'm not happy with the sound, others I like the sound but 
I'm not happy with the music! (laughs)

Aren't you always going to feel that way about your own work? 

Pretty much, yeah. Unless it's something really, really old, and then 
you either out-and-out can't listen to it, or you're kinda fascinated
by the approach you had at the time, which you usually didn't realize
you had. Like if I listen to "2112," there's a lot of complex and 
passionate music on there that... y'know, it's very well-constructed,
more so than I would have thought we were capable of at the time. 
Sometimes you don't realize what you're doing right!

It has a sort of "Tommy"-like naivite to it.

Yeah, conceptually it's fairly naive, although that's part of its
charm. And the music construction is definitely of the period, 
it's not deep or anything. But I like it, there's something about it that's
quite unique.

Can we talk about "Virtuality"? (Song from "Test For Echo" about the Internet) 
Have you all gotten more involved with the net, the web, etc.?

Yeah, it's a boring subject, and part of me didn't want to do a song
that had anything to do with that. But that song, from Neil's point of
view, is quite a negative criticism of the web. He's not a fan of it,
and I don't think that comes through necessarily lyrically - it's not complimentary!
I have a different outlook on it; I think it's just communication.  I
think that commercial exploitation of it is pretty bogus, even though
I assume this [interview] is probably going in that same vein... Say
whatever you want... Let me ask you something: do you really want to
spend 20 minutes of your life downloading a picture of sparkling water
from some web site from a water company? What's the point of that?
And all these movie web sites - it's just bogus to me. I mean, who's
got the time? Whose life is so empty that they have to spend time 
downloading this bullshit? Yes, if you're a writer, or if you have a
question, or if you want to stay in contact with some newsgroup, or 
you're writing an essay or an article or if you're researching something, 
anything, for work or pleasure, then there's no greater invention 
than the Internet. It can connect you anywhere you want to
go and get you that information.
That's where it's useful. But do you really wanna see naked shots of
the girls of Texas A&M, and do you wanna wait 25 minutes while the 
bloody thing downloads into your computer? Have you got nothing else
to do? So there's a kind of a cheap thrill from it that I think 
appeals to people that have really got time on their hands, and 
there's a whole side of it that to me is just a bunch of nonsense.  But
having said that, if I was a writer, it would be my best friend.
I think e-mail's fantastic, I keep in more regular contact than I do
on the telephone with people, and I like the fact that it's slightly
impersonal so I don't have to go through a lotta smalltalk bullshit 
chit chat - I can leave a very direct note, I can leave a joke in 
somebody's mailbox, I think that's really cool. And I can keep in 
contact with my rotisserie league members and get baseball stats 
instantly! It's out there, it's whatever you need it for, it's 
whatever you don't need it for.
It's the lightest encyclopedia there is. Yeah, you're right. And 
I think maybe that's something Neil doesn't appreciate in his diatribe
against the web! (laughs) He's got an e-mail box that he doesn't use,
and I keep bugging him to use it, because it's cool. But he's got his own ideas.

Neil was talking about these little slogans you came up with. 
What does this one mean: "Individually we are a ass, but together we are a genius"?

(laughs) Yes, A ass! It's like the idiot savant idea. We kept coming
up with these really stupid slogans as we were making the record, and
as stupid as they are, there's a grain of truth - we seem to be better
together than we are individually, musically speaking.
And we certainly come up with our best jokes as we're sitting around!
One great thing about the music business is - I think Pete Townshend
said it - you never have to stop being an adolescent. I think the same
thing is true for a professional athelete.

I think "Dog Years" is the most unusual sounding song on the album. 

I guess it is. I didn't really think so at first, I love that song, as
weird as it is, I don't think fully appreciated how weird it was, and
how people would react to it. Since finishing the album, I've gotten
reactions and some people are just totally puzzled by it.
It starts off with this angry punk vibe, and it's a song about a dog!
(laughs) It's like, 'WHAT are you on about?' It's one of my favorites
on the record.

It sounds less like Rush than anything you've done in years.

Yeah, I don't know what it sounds like. We wanted it to have this very
aggressive sleazy kind of ratty attitude, and it was an opportunity 
for me to sing in a high range again, and I thought the lyrics were 
just really a lot of fun.

When you put together the set for a tour, how do you condense 16 albums into a two-hour set?

It's really hard. It's the most difficult thing we have to do ­more
difficult than designing a stage set or rehearsing. It's just really
hard, because we all have our favorites, and every fan has their 
favorites, so you try to balance keeping yourself happy onstage - you
don't want too many songs that you hate in the set but at the same 
time, you don't want to disappoint fans, and inevitably, somebody's 
gonna be disappointed that they didn't hear some songs. We do medleys 
that are basically to placate certain members of the audience because 
some songs are hard for us to play their entirety, because we're really 
bored with them. But in the that's not totally satisfying because they 
would rather hear the entire song. I don't know, maybe on this tour 
I'd like to get away from the medleys and just make some hard decisions:
we're either gonna play that bloody song or not! But sometimes it's 
also fun from a structural point of view to throw in some weird things, 
like on the last tour at the end of the medley we were throwing in a bit 
of "Cygnus X-1," and that was kinda fun for all those "Cygnus" fans, 
just to hear that signature riff.

You've been doing the medleys for about 15 years.

Yeah, we've been doing them for quite awhile, and sometimes they work
really well, other times they might be frustrating. The medleys are 
actually pretty interesting to play, because they kind of turn 
themselves into a new song, you can write new bridges linking the songs together.

Is it hard having a family and being on the road?

I think it's difficult to do a good job being a parent and not be 
there a lot. I think there are certain times in childrens' lives when
they need you around. And you don't always have the luxury of being 
able to make that commitment.
At this stage in my life I do have that luxury, so I choose to, and I
think it's really good for them. I'll never do nine-month tours again
- I can't disassociate myself from my family for that long.

What has kept the band together for so long?

I don't know. I think it's a personal thing. Whatever gripes we might
have on our own, whatever complaints, whatever static may exist 
between the three of us individually, when we sit down to write a 
record or get together to do some work, none of that seems very 
important - and the quality of the jokes that we make seems more important! (laughs)
So I think that's one aspect, there's something in the cameraderie that the 
three of us share when we aet together to work, and that's kind of forgiving. 
And at the same time, I think there's a deep professional respect for each 
other as musicians that allows us to keep coming back together. So whatever 
you're pissed off about can put aside enough to get work done and have 
a good time, and then another record is made, and you realize you've stayed 
together for another year! And those complaints might come back and you 
still might have things that you're not totally satisfied with, 
but you work on them. And like any relationship, you've gotta work
it, it's never gonna be perfect, no relationship worth its salt doesn't 
have its problems.
But I think a willingness to put those other differences aside overcomes 
the negatives. Maybe that's what longevity is.

Is it like a family in that sense?

It's a strange relationship, it's unlike any I've ever had. Because 
you're friends but you're not friends, and in some ways you know

[[Remainder of issue missing -- NMS Curator]]


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For those of you on the World Wide Web, there is now a Rush home page at:
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The contents of The National Midnight Star are solely the opinions and comments of the individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the authors' management, or the mailing list management.
Copyright (C) 1996 by The Rush Fans Mailing List Editor, The National Midnight Star
(Rush Fans Mailing List)

*********************************************
End of The National Midnight Star Number 1432
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