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Subject: 06/11/91 - The National Midnight Star #260 ** Special Edition **

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          The National Midnight Star, Number 260

                  Tuesday, 11 June 1991
Today's Topics:
                    Signals Tourbook
----------------------------------------------------------

From: wolf@xensoft.xenitec.on.ca (Dave Wolf)
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 1991 01:39:35 -0400
Subject: Signals Tourbook

Here is another tourbook for the collection.


		   STORIES FROM SIGNALS

   	    Collected from the drummer's diary.
		       by Neil Peart


		    I  SUBDIVISIONS
                 Le Studio,September,1981

We were getting a little bored with inactivity. During the mixing of
_Exit Stage Left_  there was really not much for us to do except say "it
sounds good" or "it doesn't sound good". 

I had been working down in the little studio, cleaning and renovating
an old set of Hayman drums that were kicking around, and had started
working on a "Jack Secret" song with Jack and Skip from the crew. Geddy
and Alex soon joined in on keyboards and rhythm guitar, and we later
recorded the song (_Tough Break_) up in the studio.

I had also been working on some lyrics for a few days and had come up
with _Subdivisions_, an exploration of the background from which all of
us (and probably most of our audience) had sprung.

One afternoon as I was idly polishing my car, Alex and Ged returned from
working at the little studio, set up a portable cassette player right
there in the driveway, and played me the musical ideas they had come up
for it.

"It's kinda weird, but what do you think?"

"Let me hear it again." 

I listened closely, picking up the variations on 7/8 and /34, the way
the guitar adopts the role of rhythm section while the keyboards take
the melody, returning to bass with guitar leading in the chorus, then
the mini-moog taking over again for the instrumental bridge.

"I think it's great."

They smiled.


                           II THE ANALOG KID
          Schooner Orianda, British Virgin Islands, January,1982

We had been tracking up the Sir Francis Drake Channel most of the day,
on a leisurely zig-zag course to Virgin Gorda. At the wheel was our
stalwart guest helmsman, Geddy, with Captain Mike and myself reclining
in the stern and offering directions. We all watched the pennant halfway 
up the starboard shrouds, gauging our attitude to the wind.
Up forward, First Mate Keith and Deck Steward Tom  stood by the sheet
for the Yankee jib, ready to wrestle it across the deck for the upcoming
tack.

Captain Mike decided that we were close enough to land now to make the
manoeuvre, so that if we ran out of wind he could walk to shore! He gave
the helmsman his instructions:

"Okay, call out `prepare to come about`, and spin the wheel hard over to
starboard."

"That's *right*, right?"

"Right!"

"Prepare to come about."

Captain Mike laughed his best "dirty old sailor" laugh; "They've got to
hear you up there, YELL it out!"

"oh ... PREPARE TO COME ABOUT!!!"

"Better" ...

Last night Geddy played me some of the things he had been working on at
home. He had an electronic instrumental that would become the basis for
_The Weapon_, a new extended intro for _Vital Signs_ live , and a couple
of other ideas that we haven't yet used.

That night as we lay at anchor in Virgin Gorda, Geddy and I went down
below after dinner, and I showed him some of the work that I had been
doing. I had written _The Analog Kid_ as sort of a companion piece to
_Digital Man_, which had been written last fall up at Le Studio. He
liked it, and we discussed different ways it could be treated musically.
As we often do, we thought it would be interesting to take the opposite
approach to what the lyrics would suggest;make it a very up-tempo
rocker, with some kind of a dynamic contrast for the choruses. We also
looked at a rough version of _The Weapon_ that I had put together, and
agreed that it would need some more work. He told me what he liked, and
what he didn't like, and gave me some good points to go to work on. We
put an end to the "shoptalk" and went back to our holidays.


                           III CHEMISTRY
         Sound Check, Somewhere USA, Moving Pictures Tour, 1981

Around 4:15 we all made our way on to the bus. Kevin had checked us out
of the hotel, and stowed the luggage in the bay, as that night we would
be driving on to "Somewhere-Else USA." Whitey put the bus in gear and
drove off toward the hall.

In "road-time", this is first thing in the morning, and there was not
much to say beyond the perfunctory "good day". Geddy rustled the local
paper, checking the latest baseball scores, Alex flicked disinterestedly
through a _Plane and Pilot_ that he had read twelve times, and I smoked
a cigarette in a sleepy stupor. Curtains closed against the world, we
rode away to the gig.

At the hall, we checked out each of the instruments separately;
boom-boom-boom, tap-tap-tap, thud-thud-thud, strum-strum-strum,
woof-woof-woof, test-test-test, et cetera, and then gradually moved into
a little spontaneous creation. This tour for the first time our sound
man, Jon, has been taping our soundcheck meanderings, and it had proved
very fruitful to us. On this particular day in "Somewhere USA" we will
unknowingly write a whole song at once, each of us playing a different
part. While Geddy plays what will become the keyboard melody for the
bridge section, Alex is playing the guitar riff for the verses, and I'm
playing the drum beat for the choruses. Just like that!

When Alex and Geddy get together to sift through the soundcheck tapes
they will find a whole song written here, and will arrange it and make a
demo that will be very close to the finished song.

Lyrically, this is the first time that all three of us have collaborated
on the words to a song. Geddy and Alex together came up with the  title
and concept for the song, wrote out a few key phrases and words that
they wanted to get in, than passed it along to me for organization and a
little further development. When all of this is put together, we have
what was probably the easiest song to write on the album. Once again,
our "Research and Development" department of sound check jams comes
through.

                          IV DIGITAL MAN
           The Grange, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, March,1982

At this time of year there is still no sign of spring up here. The lakes
and ground are still blanketed by about four feet of snow, the
temperatures are steadily sub-zero, and one is obliged to dress rather
like an Arctic explorer to go outdoors.

We are up here for a month to work on new songs. We have a row of
chalets to stay in, and the winterized upper room of a barn to work in.
An open fire is friendly company for me as I spend the afternoons
working on lyrics, while Alex and Ged are over at the barn working on
musical ideas. The cold, crisp air and the thick shroud of snow create a
very magical atmosphere in which to work, especially walking back at
night when the full moon gleams on the diamond-dusted snow. Some people
have nothing good to say about winter, but I find it very beautiful.
One night Larry and I borrowed a pair of snowshoes, and went out walking
on the frozen lake. The moon shone down on the bluish snow almost like
daylight, and the dry air was so cold it pinched your nostrils shut.
That might sound like a nightmare to you, but to me it was a
dream-world!

_Digital Man_ had actually been started last fall at Le Studio, when we
had put together the lyrics and the music for the verses and the "ska"
style bridges, but we had been unable to come up with the right
combination for the choruses. After much head scratching, we finally
came up with the sequencer pattern, and the guitar and drum patterns to
go with it. We were all very pleased wit the dynamic and unusual nature
of the part, it was so different for us; but our "objective-ear",
co-producer Terry Brown was not so enthused.

Now, this has happened before, when we all get excited about a part,  
only to have Broon come along and tell us "it sucks". (He's a diplomatic
guy!) Usually, we either see the error of our ways, or give up and let
the "old man" have his way. This time however, we were so sure that we
were right that we refused to give in. We talked and talked about why we
liked it, how we heard it being recorded, and what it could do for the
song as a whole. We wore away at him inch by inch, until he got tired of
hearing about it, offered a few half-hearted suggestions, and relented.
"After all" he admits, "I have been wrong before!" Or, as his daughter
Victoria put it so well: "I can't help it if you're always wrong!"
No respect.

                           V THE WEAPON
   Stately Dirk Manor, Somewhere-north-of-Toronto, December,1981

With a Roland drum machine and assorted synthesizers, Geddy and friend
Oscar secret themselves in Ged's music room to create some music of a
highly confidential and experimental nature. Among the Top Secret
projects which they produce is the basic foundation for this song,
including a highly mysterious and bizarre drum pattern which Oscar
coaxes out of the drum machine. (I'm supposed to learn how to play
*that*?)

Well, I *do* love a challenge, and once we start to tackle this at one
of the rehearsals, I discover that if I play totally backwards, and bend
my hands a few ways they don't normally go, I can do it. The *shame* of
being reduced to learning from a machine! However, I must admit, I would
never have come up with something like that on my own!

With all this and more to accomplish with my hands, it is no compromise
to let my bass drum foot play a steady "four", which is also something I
never thought I could do. This also brings the feel of the song
perilously close to a (shudder) d-d-d-dance song, like, you know,
*disco*! Treason! Treason! Kill the traitors! They wrote a song you can
*dance* to! Will you ever forgive us? (No.)

It was fun to do, though. It's so contrary to the mood suggested by the
lyrics, and such a different approach for us, that it is a very
satisfying piece of work. It's an all-out production number that we can
play live, so I'm sure all the "disco kids" will soon be coming to our
concerts. Ha!

                           VI NEW WORLD MAN
                       Le Studio, Quebec, May,1982

At this point the basic tracks for the other seven songs were finished,
and we *have* enough for an album, but we have always wanted to write
another song for this one. We want *more*! There are moral reasons why
an album shouldn't be too short, but there are technological reasons why
it shouldn't be too long. What shall we do?

We decided to write another song, and if it turns out to be too long, we
won't put it on, but if we come up with something short enough, we will
have an eighth song.

So, thus was born _Project 3:57_! In order for another song not to cause
great inequality between the length of the two sides, and not to cause
us trouble in the mastering of the album, it had to be under four
minutes. When was the last time we wrote a song under four minutes, you
ask? That's a good question, and one that we asked ourselves too. But we
figured we had nothing to lose; if it's too long we simply put it away
and save it for another record. (Actually _Different Strings_ and
_Circumstances_ were both under four minutes, and _Closer to the Heart_
and _Madrigal_ were both under *three*, we can do it!) *Target* - 3:57.
I spent a couple of days wringing out my notebook, and tying in a few of
the themes from other songs, and came up with a straightforward, concise
set of lyrics consisting of the two verses and the two choruses, and
then we went to work.

We decided to play this one fast and loose, writing it in one day and
recording it the next! We wanted to capture a spontaneous, relaxed feel
for this one, not even spending much time getting the sounds together.
Thus, it could stand in contrast to the rest of the album, being much
more raw and "live" in its affect. Two days is very close to a record
for us to write and record a song. The quickest ever was _The Twilight
Zone_ from our _2112_ album. That was written and recorded in *one* day.
But then that whole album was completed in under a month; things are
different now!

                           VII LOSING IT
                     Le Studio, Quebec, June,1982

Like the verse sections for _The Analog Kid_, the main theme for this
song came from Alex's holiday exercises (we all did our homework!). We
worked out the verses and choruses while we were in rehearsal, and made
a skeletal demo of it with just keyboards and drums, then put it away
until we got to the studio.

We had talked for a while about getting Ben Mink to play electric
violin somewhere on this album, and this seemed like the perfect track.
Once we got into the studio, we developed the jazzy solo section,
recorded the basic track, and gave Ben a call. Fortunately he was able
to get away from his group, _FM_ for a couple of days, and bring his
unique instrument up to play his heart out for us.

Ben's violin! That's a story in itself! There a several little cows
grazing in there, as well as a "Beach Party" scene, complete with little
Frankies and Anettes. All of this illuminated by four green Christmas
lights that provide the necessary inspiration for such a piece. Sounds
crazy? You bet!

We worked him hard, squeezed him dry, and threw him away. He just stood
there in front of the console, taking it and giving it, fueled by
occasional sips from a bottle of C.C. Not only the monumentally
fantastic solo did we demand, but we had him multiple-tracking an entire
string section as well. That'll teach him to be our friend!


                           VIII COUNTDOWN
                   Cape Kennedy, Florida, April,1982

We were there! It wasn't easy, but we made it! We had a long-standing
invitation to the first launch, and always swore that we would be there
no matter what. Little did we know!

On April 9th we flew into Orlando on a day off, checked into a hotel, 
and slept until about four A.M., when we had to leave for our rendezvous
at the Air Force Base near the Cape. There we met our liaison man, who
conducted us safely into the "V.I.P." zone (Red Sector A) in the
pre-dawn hours. We stood around, listening to the announcements, as the
sun rose higher and hotter in the sky. We were due to play that night in
Dallas, so we couldn't wait much longer. Finally they announced that the
launch would be scrubbed for that day. The computers weren't speaking!
Well, we ran for the car, and our daring driver sped off, around the
traffic jams, down the median of the highway, and got us to the airport
barely in time.

The next night we had a show in San Antonio, after which we drove off
immediately, clambered into a hired jet, and flew straight back to
Florida. This time the launch took place on schedule, and it was
SOMETHING!! (More about that in the song.) Again we raced backed to the
plane, and flew off once more, back to Fort Worth where we had a show
that night. Fortunately the day after that was a day off, so we had a
chance to catch up on all that sleep!

I remember thinking to myself as we flew back to Fort Worth after a
couple days without sleep: "We've *got* to write a song about this!" It
was an incredible thing to witness, truly a once-in-a-lifetime
experience. I can only hope that the song comes even close to capturing
the excitement and awe that we felt that morning.

So, that's the album. I hope that you will all enjoy it. We put a lot
into it, including about a month of our summer holidays - (didn't quite
get finished on time!) We tried to break some new ground for ourselves;
explore some different types of songs and sounds; while continuing the
directions begun by _Permanent Waves_ and _Moving Pictures_. I guess it
will be like always; some will love it, some will hate it, and some will
say:

"Rush?? Signals?? *What* the *hell* is that??" 



                           NEIL PEART

Well, well! Hello again for another tour! (This is getting to be habit
forming!) I've got some new drums to tell you about. Once again, they
are Tamas; with the custom candy-apple red finish, the brass plated
hardware, and the Vibra-Fibing of the inner shells performed by the
Percussion Center of Fort Wayne. The sizes remain the same: two 24" bass
drums, 6", 8", 10", and 12" concert toms, 12", 13", 15", and 18" closed
toms, and 20" and 22" gong bass drums. My snare is still the same old
wood-shell Slingerland, and I am using the Tama wooden timbales with
great satisfaction.

With the exception of the trashy Chinese cymbal, all my cymbals are by
Avedis Zildjian. They are: 8" and 10" splash, 13" High Hats, two 16"
crashes, one each 18" and 20" crash, a 22" ride, an 18" Pang, and a 20"
China Type.

In the Department of Percussion Effects are orchestra bells, tubular
bells, wind chimes, temple blocks, numerous semi-melodic cowbells,
triangle, bell tree, and crotales.

There are Remo Clear Dot heads on the snare and bass drums, Evans Heavy
Duty Rock on all the toms and the gong bass drums,and Evans Tom-Tom
models on the bottoms of the closed toms. These are all non-Hydraulic
heads. I use clear Remos on the timbales. All of the stands and hardware
are by Tama, and I am still using Promark 747 sticks, with the varnish
removed from the gripping area by Larry.

And that's all!


                           GEDDY LEE

Well Sports Fans, it's time again to go through this seasons' starting
lineup on Stage Left:
                           BASSES

My #1 bass once again is a Rickenbacker 4001, with an occasional
appearance by my Fender Jazz. All my basses are loaded by Bad ass
bridges and Roto Sound Round Wound strings. Not to mention my Jelinek
B-1000 with a deep set pocket and 100% top grain Steerhide throughout.

                           SYNTHESIZERS

This section seems to be getting a bit out of hand! On the _Signals_
tour I'll be using the following:

                           OBERHEIM OBX
OBXA with a DSX Digital Sequencer, interfaced with two Moog Tarus
Pedals. Roland JP 8 Synth, and a Roland 8o8 Compu-Rhythm working in
conjunction. Mini-Moog with Yamaha E1010 Delay.

Also featuring the fashionable, new, Jack Secret Keyboard Stand and
Switching System! No home should be without one!

                           AMPLIFIERS

Same as it ever was! Same as it ever was!
2 Ashley Preamps powered by 2 BGW 750-B Amplifiers into 1 Thiele design
2 x 15 cabinets and 1 Ampeg V4-B cabinet with JBL K140 speakers.

I run this in stereo for the Rickenbacker, and a Skip Gildersleeve Human
Switching Device for the Fender.

My Synthesizers are plugged directly into the House P.A. System and on
stage I use a custom "Joe Bombase Synth Cabinet".
O.K! That's it! Enough already! Hope you enjoy the show!!



                           ALEX LIFESON

I've broken down the equipment I'm using into three catagories;
amplification, guitarification and effectification. It is truly an
amazing coincidence how similar all three catagories are to each other.
For instance, through my keen sense of awareness, I've noticed all three
have a series of knobs! Can you believe it?  Also the amps and assorted
effects all have glowing lights! Incredible! The amps I'm using are four
Marshall Combos which we jokingly refer to as the Marshall Combos. In
the guitar department I'm down to four, a black one, a red one, a white
one and a brownish one. They all have six strings and a long wooden
piece sticking out from the body. I also have two acoustic guitars both
with six strings, one steel string and the other plastic (or something
like that). Both the guitars have rounded bodies to make them impossible
to play sitting down. They also have holes all over the sound board
which is sort of like a diving board I think. My double neck guitar was
recently crushed by an elephant. Too bad.

For effects, I have many. Two Yamaha E1010 Analog Delays, Delta Lab DL-5
Harmonizer, Loft Analog Delays, Advanced Audio Digital Delay, Roland
Boss Chorus, Electric Mistress Flanger, Mutron Octave Divider, M.X.R.
Distortion Plus, Westinghouse Blender, Cry Baby Wah Wah, two Amana
Freezers, Morely Volume Pedal, a gas pedal, a flower pedal, Maestro
Parametric Filter, Cigarette Filter, six nozzles, three lungs and a
M.X.R. Micro Amp. All of these effects are capable of producing a wide
range of sounds. Some are scary while some are awful. I prefer the scary
sounds. Also I'd just like to mention that I ... ah , um, uh, ... I have
to go now. 

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

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Copyright The Rush Fans Mailing List, 1991.

Editor, The National Midnight Star
(Rush Fans Mailing List)

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End of The National Midnight Star Number 260
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