Rush is a Band

A blog devoted to the band RUSH:
Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

Thu, Sep 19, 2019

More reaction from Neil Peart on 2112's MasterWorks honor

Mon, Oct 23, 2006@10:41AM | comments

[Parts of '2112' make Peart cringe]

Last week it was announced that The Audio-Visual Preservation Trust would be honoring Rush's 2112 as part of their MasterWorks program. Neil Peart reacted to the news with mixed feelings shortly after. He also recently spoke via phone with Cassandra Szklarski of the Canadian Press about the honor and discussed 2112's history and what it meant to the band. He admits that parts of the album "make him cringe":

... "To me, it's raw and immature and all that it should be - it's 30 years ago," ... "A lot of our early stuff does (make me cringe) but on the other hand, I know that it's genuine."

The themes of the album were heady stuff - touching on notions of individualism, self-expression and freedom.

But it was a sense of flat-out defiance that pushed the trio into more experimental territory, says Peart.

After three failed albums in the mid '70s, the record company leaned heavily on the band for a commercial release. The situation had become "very precarious," Peart says.

"That summer, we were unable to pay our road crew's salaries or our own salaries and we had just finished a tour that we disparagingly called at the time, 'The Down The Tubes Tour,' because we were playing grotty little clubs and (were) the opening act on a five-act show and it was grim," recalls Peart, noting that these days, the band would have been dropped by the label.

"Financially and spiritually, I had to look at the fact that the next year I might be back in the farm equipment business."

But when Mercury Records demanded a hit single, the band got its back up. It churned out the complete opposite of what their bosses pushed for - a concept album, with an opening track that was no less than 20 minutes, 33 seconds long and took up the entire side of a vinyl LP.

"That album is full of just bitter anger and rebellion," says Peart. "Nobody's going to tell us what to do. And that spirit, I think, is what communicated itself to an audience and of course we toured non-stop and did everything we could to spread our music around, but inevitably, there was an intangible quality that reached people."

"It was an important, pivotal turning point for us because it was the first one to become kind of successful against all predictions and against all musical popularity at the time." ...