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Subject: 12/16/91 - The National Midnight Star #406 ** Special Edition **

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

          The National Midnight Star, Number 406

                 Monday, 16 December 1991
Today's Topics:
             Chicago Tribune Article, 11/1/91
----------------------------------------------------------

[ Well, I'm finally getting to that backlog of transcriptions.  I'll limit
  them to every couple of days, so as not to flood anyone's mailbox.
                                                                  :rush-mgr ]

Date: Thu, 7 Nov 91 11:29:50 -0600
From: Mike Korman <michael@morgana.pubserv.com>
Subject: Here's the article

The following article appeared on the first page of section 2, in the Chicago
Tribune, Friday, November 1. (The day they were at the Rosement Horizon)

Transcribed by Mike Korman,
Computer Programmer, Champaign IL.
E-mail: michael@morgana.pubserv.com

************************************************************************

Title:	Rush still feels no special need to hurry

	By Greg Kot
	Rock music critic

The great dividing line of '70s rock was Rush.

The Toronto trio seemed to embody everything there was to
love---and hate---about so-called progressive rock, a style built as
much on the melodic structures of classical music and the instrumental
interplay of jazz as it was on the energy of rock.

Fans loved Rush's dextrous musicianship, cosmic lyrics, Baroque time
signatures, stop-start tempo changes and album-long science-fiction
stories.

Detractors sneered at the band's overblown arrangements, pseudo-poetic
songs and the straining vocals of Geddy Lee, whom more than one critic
likened to Donald Duck.

Cruel as some of these assessments were, Rush soldiered on and became
one of the most popular, longest-lived, hard-rock/heavy-metal bands in the
world---the Grateful Dead, if you will, of their genre. Despite only
one Top 40 single in 17 years, bassist-singer Lee, guitarist Alex
Lifeson, and drummer Neal Peart continue to fill concert halls and
sell albums by the millions.

And, wonder of wonders, Rush is even earning some respect.
Cutting-edge bands such as Living Colour, Metallica, Fishbone,
Megadeth and Queensryche all cite Rush as a key inspiration.

What these bands relate to is Rush's attitude as much as its music.
The band approached each show and album as a purely musical
experience, and even though its arrangements tended to become a bit
bloated, Rush cut away all other distractions: fashion, fancy staging,
special effects, the very idea that a band had to have a
sensationalistic, larger-than-life image to succeed.

Especially in the increasingly glitzy world of 1970s hard rock, a
sense of style seemed to be a must. Kiss, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath,
Led Zeppelin---as musical as some of these bands were, they all
cultivated an extra-musical personality as showmen, cartoon
characters, satanic henchman, sex gods.

Rush had no image outside of its music: Just three guys who could be
your next-door neighbor playing increasingly complicated original
compositions through a stack of amplifiers.

"Every time we put a record and it does well we think, `Yes! We've
gotten away with it again,'" says Peart, now 39, with a laugh. ``We
never take anything for granted, we constantly feel as though we have
to live up to expectations.

Perhaps that's why our fans are so loyal. Whether we're playing in
Omaha or New York, we always go out there with the idea of doing our
best, and I think we've built up a reputation for integrity because of
that.''

		Exploring new territory

The band's artistic temperament dictates such commitment, he says.

``It was a point of honor among many drummers I knew to make a living
playing drums, no matter what the music,'' he says. ``With me, it was
always a case that I would rather not play if I couldn't play the
music I wanted to make.

I'm competent at other things. I could work in a shoe store if I had
to. I didn't play drums to make a living, so it was easy to be
uncompromising as a musician.''

It comes as no surprise that with every few albums, Rush explores new
musical territory. The trio began as a blues-metal band influenced by
Cream and the Yardbirds, shifted to longer progressive pieces in the
mid-'70s, anthemic arena rock in the '80s, and now has settled into a
leaner and---believe it or not---funkier groove.

The band's most recent album, "Roll the Bones" (Atlantic), ventures
into funk rhythms and even contains a rap vocal by Lee (I think this
guy was assuming it was Lee) on the title track.

``We felt intrigued lyrically by what was going on in the better rap
tunes,'' says Peart, the band's lyricist. ``And the timing was right.
Rap is a very valid expression of anger, repression, rebellion---all
the things that rock stands for. You see bands like Faith No More
incorporating rap, the Public Enemy-Antrax collaboration. To us, it
wasn't fakery, but a true expression of where rock has gone in the
last few years.''

As for the funk, Peart says that the band's home base of Toronto ``was
the white rhythm and blues center of the '60s. I grew  up on James
Brown.''

The drummer says such musical detours are why Rush is still making
albums into its third decade.

``Our work is uneven by design,'' he says. ``We are determined to push
our boundaries on each album. What's important is trying the
experiment, not whether it works or not.''

		Displays of technique

In the same way, Peart, one of the more inventive rock drummers,
constantly plays ``mind games'' with himself to keep his job
interesting.

``Before we recorded the new album, I completely rearranged my drum
kit just so I wouldn't fall back into my familiar patterns,'' he says.
His work at the tail end of "Bravado" from the new album is
breathtaking, with all four limbs pounding out contrasting but still
complementary rhythm lines.

Once, such displays of technique were ends in themselves for this band
of budding virtuosos, but Peart says the trio now is more interested in
constructing solid songs.

The difference is telling. The musical elements that used to make the
band so annoying to some critics---the long, winding compostions and
Lee's shrieking vocals---have been tempered in recent years.

``The five-minute song isn't a limitation to us anymore,'' Peart says.
``We don't need a suite to express ourselves.''

He says the band's once-consuming interest in keyboard technology and
electronics has also fadded, and the trio sought a more simplified,
organic approach on the last two albums, both recorded with producer
Rupert Hine.

``Our  previous producer was into a more-is-better approach, and that
was fine for where we were at the time,'' Peary says. ``Now we're less
intrigued by the novelty of using choirs and strings, and more into
the basic instruments.''

Lee also is singing in a warmer, more natural range.

``Geddy had to scream in the beginning to be heard over the rest of
the band because our equipment was so bad,'' Peart says. ``And I never
used to pay attention to things like what key the song was in or how
euphonious the words were, how a particular syllable would roll off
the singer's tongue. I'll rewrite lines now if it's a problem for
Geddy to sing it.''

Peart's lyrics for each album usually revolve around a theme.  The ideas
of chance, fate and contingency play a central role in "Roll the
Bones," which emerged when Peart was playing with a stack of cards one
night.

``The image of the wild card prompted all kinds of thoughts---that a
lot of what happens to us is out of our control,'' he says. ``In
`Heresy,' it's about the bad luck of being born in Eastern Europe in
this century. The Berlin Wall falling had a tragic aspect---all those
wasted lives.''

	A few stumbles

Long admired as one of rock's more cerebral lyricists, Peart says his
songs come from the gut as much as any rocker's.

``I guess I just go through the extra effort to figure out why
something makes me sad or happy,'' he says. For example, one of his
more recent songs, "The Manhatten Project," about the building of the
atomic bomb, was written only after he extensively studied the
subject.

``It's a personal work ethic that makes me do that,'' he says. ``I've
always viewed writing lyrics as a craft that can be developed.''

In the same way, Rush has turned the long-disparaged style known as
hard rock into something of an art form. Despite a few stumbles along
the way, and a few detours that seem laughable in retrospect, Rush has
emerged as a best-selling band with its integrity intact.

``Compared to the mainstream, we've always been this little
backwater,'' Peart says. ``But somehow we've been allowed to flow
along, and we've found that people always want an alternative. We're
happy to be that.''

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

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The contents of The National Midnight Star are solely the opinions and 
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Copyright The Rush Fans Mailing List, 1991.

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

********************************************
End of The National Midnight Star Number 406
********************************************



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