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         The National Midnight Star, Number 2131

                  Thursday, 05 Nov 1998

Today's Topics:
                    DS album premiere

From: (The RUSH Fans Digest Manager)
Date: Thu Nov  5 14:28:52 PST 1998
Subject: DS album premiere

Here's the first half of the interview, I'll try to get the second half
up tonight. And parts that I'm missing I'll fill in in the next few days.

 - rush-mgr

[missing about 30 seconds of the intro]

JR: For the next two plus hours, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson will share with us
Rush's Different Stages. What we don't know is why most of this cd was
recorded at one venue. What we don't know is how the band selected these live
songs from hundreds of hours of recorded music. What we don't know is what the
guys think of the "then" in '78 at Hammersmith and the "now" of the the '97
performances. What we don't know is the gem that awaits us at the very end of
this broadcast. Curious? Then join us for the Album Network world premiere
broadcast of Rush's Different Stages.

    [ "The Spirit of Radio" is played ]

JR: Oh, how long have we been waiting for this? It's the world premiere
broadcast of Rush's Different Stages here on the Album Network. I'm Jo
Robinson, delighted to have Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee in the studio with us
here in Toronto. Hi, fellas.

AL: Jo, hello!

JR: Lovely to see you again.

GL: Nice to see you.

AL: Thank you, same here!

JR: Geddy, does the world really need another live Rush album? 

GL: Apparently so! A difficult question to answer, but when you're in the
habit of making live albums, it's one of those things that you're always
looking to perfect. You just can't help yourself after a while.

JR: Well, there was "All The World's a Stage" and "Exit... Stage Left" and
then "A Show of Hands"... Alex do you think you guys are getting it right by
this point?

AL: I think we are getting it right by this point. Technology the way it is
today allows you to record more shows in a more casual way then we used to in
the past. In the past, you got a truck and you came in and you picked five or
seven days and hoped to get all the performances. And of course you never do,
because Murphy's Law says you'll never get them when you really need them.
With the advent of portable digital recording, we're able to record 45 or 50
shows on a tour, and you have a lot of material to choose from, and go for the
best performances on a whole tour.

JR: It's a triple cd that we'll get to so many songs tonight for the world
premiere broadcast, we're so excited about this, so all I would say to the
listeners at home is make sure you put on you headphones, close your eyes, sit
back and relax and pretend like you're going to be in a full-on Rush concert,
because we're giving you all access to Rush and Different Stages tonight, on
the Album Network.

   [ commercial break ]

JR: We're back with Alex and Geddy for the world premiere broadcast of
Rush's Different Stages. Now "Different Stages" is made up primarily, other
than the Hammersmith Odeon cd, which we'll talk about, is made up primarily of
songs from the Test For Echo tour, or when you guys were touring in '97. How
many of those shows did you actually record?

AL: 48 shows? for the last tour, and 45 from Counterparts? Total number of
shows recorded.

GL: Yeah, Alex is right, something like that. A lot of shows, many albums.

JR: So how do you whittle it down? It's got to be a lot different than a
studio recording, but how do you whittle down to, ok, Alex played great on
this, Geddy played great on this, Neil sucked, so we can't use that one.

GL: There's a methodolgy that we developed, it's a little bit long-winded 
but I'll try to be concise. The first set of exclusions, if you will, were
done by our live sound engineer, who was also overseeing the recording on a
nightly basis...

JR: Robert Scovil

GL: Robert Scovil, that's correct. He took the tapes to his home studio and
was able to listen through and eliminate things like damaged tapes, and weird
recorded moments; just not good performances, or out of tunenesses, so
anything that obviously is not usable he would eliminate. Because of his
familiarity with the band's performance, we trusted him to pick out, say, the
best 10 to 15 versions of each song, so still plenty to whittle through.

At that stage, he would send it to myself and Paul Northfield who co-produced
the record with me, and we would just listen to them over and over and try to
determine which were the best songs and which songs suited the album, and of
course that brought up the whole issue of which songs would you like to see
on the album and which songs will eventually go on the album. It was a very
difficult choosing for us, but that's what had to be done.

JR: So, Alex, you pretty much just sat back on your ass the whole time and let
Geddy and Paul do everything. Is that true?

AL: Well you know, with a live album, you come in a few times and once the
character of what the live album's going to sound like is established, then
it's just a matter of knocking the songs off. In my case, I came in once in a
while, I think only I came in maybe 4 or 5 times in the process of the
recording, once we started up in the summer. I was in more when we went
through the first round of recordings, or the first round of mixes that we 
decided not to use, and we restarted again after the last tour. Geddy was 5
minutes from the studio, and Ged had a strong interest in being involved in
it, and I also thought that it was great that he was really on the ball and
really into it and then it became really a project of his.

JR: Now you guys were talking about recording dozens and dozens of shows.
We've already heard "The Spirit of Radio" and the next 3 songs that we're 
going to play in a row -- just like a Rush concert -- are the first 3 tunes on
Different Stages and it's odd that "Spirit of Radio" was recorded in Chicago,
and all 3 of these next songs also were recorded at that same show.

GL: Yeah, that's a really interesting theory now that we've kind of
discovered: the more shows you record, the fewer shows that you use. After
sifting through most of these shows, there came to be really a handful that
were exceptional, in terms of atmosphere, performance, sound quality and crowd
involvement, and the Chicago show, the one we did at the World Amphitheater,
every time we put those tapes up, had a very special atmosphere about it. It's
just something about it, it sounded kind of like a special event. So we held
up the Chicago show as the one to beat; whenever we were comparing other shows
we would say, well, ok let's pull up Chicago now, is it better than Chicago?
And if it wasn't better than Chicago then we used Chicago. I would say 75% of
the Test For Echo stuff came from that one Chicago show.

JR: Interesting!

    [ "Dreamline", "Freewill" & "Driven" are played ]

JR: The very first 3 songs on the 3-cd set of Rush's Different Stages. What I
love about this particular live cd, there's so many things but, the crowds...
you guys didn't mix the crowds away from the music, even Geddy when you're
doing your bass solo for "Driven", you can hear the crowd going nuts!

GL: Right! Well, you know a lot of the live records we've made in the past,
we've kind of gone back and forth on that. The first live album All The
World's A Stage was done very quickly, we had no experience, and it was kind
of, what you got was what you got. I know there's some fans that love that raw,
dangerous kind of atmosphere about it, but for us it was a little too raw to
really pass the test of time. The next live album we made we went a little
overboard polishing it up. It was a bit sterile, the crowd was not important
enough as it should have been. I thought A Show of Hands, which was the third
live album, was pretty much on the money, but I think with this album, and by
virtue of the method of recording, we've been able to capture real relaxed
performances and a real connection with the crowd. Really what the album is
about is that confidence of performance and the connection between us and the
audience and we didn't want to leave that part of it out. So, the hall sound,
and the involvement of the fans was very important to this project.

JR: Next, we're going to talk about the Hammersmith Odeon, and the concert
that was done 20 years ago, and maybe revisit the raw side of Rush, as we
continue with the world premiere of Different Stages.

   [ commercial break ]

JR: We're back with the world premiere broadcast of Rush's Different Stages,
sitting in the studio in Toronto, I'm Jo Robinson. With me, Alex Lifeson,
Geddy Lee... one of the cds is a special long-lost concert from the
Hammersmith Odeon in London back in 1978 on the Farewell To Kings tour. Alex,
what do you remember about that show?

AL: I remember the dressing room, I remember the tuning room, I remember
wakling down the hallway onto the stage, and I don't remember much after that.
I *think* I remember the crowd and the show. We did a lot of shows at the
Hammersmith Odeon, as a matter of fact we did 5 shows...

GL: One time we did a 5-nighter marathon.

AL: Yeah, but I remember the hall a great hall, and the crowd being very
enthusiastic. But also I remember this night that we recorded we weren't
particularly happy with the way the night went. And I think I remember Geddy
having problems with his throat...

GL: Yeah I had a cold.

AL: ...had a bit of a cold, and I don't think we even listened to those tapes
after we finished them.

GL: I listened to them. After the show, I went into the truck 'cause Terry 
Brown, who used to produce us, flew in to engineer that show, because it was 
going to go for a radio broadcast. I remember going in the truck, and the 
first couple of songs at the beginning of the night my throat was raw, and you
could kind of hear that I was phrasing things really unusually. Terry and I
were both uncomfortable with releasing to radio in that state. But of course,
20 years later, a lot of what was bothering us then disappeared with time. The
instrumental performances in particular were so strong, and the sound of the
room, and also we had the luxury to cut out those songs that were a little
uncomfortable vocally, so the bulk of the show, about 60 minutes of it,
sounded fine. It was a real treat to be able to put on versions of those songs
as they were played back then.

JR: You were talking about the technical differences in 20 years of recording,
or of playing live, but let's go back a little bit to 1978 when you weren't as 
huge of a band as you are now. You weren't worldwide known, Rush was not a
household name just yet. Were folks different in London at that time Alex?

AL: It was somewhat different. That was recorded, I think on the...

GL: Farewell to Kings tour.

AL: ...yeah, second tour that we did there.

GL: Yeah, that's right.

AL: Prior to that, our records were only available on import, and we had a
very small cult following, but we went and did a tour. The first tour we did
there we did, I think 12 shows, and did basically sold-out in small halls. The
promoters were really freaked by it, didn't expect it at all. People from the
record company were taken aback by it as well, they didn't expect that sort of
result. Then the albums were released, and everything fell in place, so it was
a very exciting time.

You're right: we were a smaller band then, but there was a very strong cult
following for us in England at that time and it was really quite exciting.

GL: It also began a period where we worked a lot in England. We recorded in
English studios, and it became like a home away from home for us; we got very
familiar with living in London. I look back on those times, really very
fondly. It was a great experience for us as just guys getting to hang around
with each other in another city, and as bandmates; it was an exciting time.

JR: Coined as "lost tapes" that we are so glad that you found and decided to put
on Different Stages, let's go back and hear Rush live from 1978.

    [ "Working Man", "Fly By Night", "In The Mood" are played ]


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(Rush Fans Mailing List)
End of The National Midnight Star Number 2131

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