Rush is a Band

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

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Neil Peart news update: Rush to discuss future plans this month

Tue, Nov 3, 2009@9:36AM | comments removed/disabled

[NEWS, WEATHER, and SPORTS: November, 2009 - Autumn Serenade]

Neil Peart has once again updated the News page on his website. He begins by detailing some of his recent explorations in drumming:

... Inevitably, though, at some point I will be overwhelmed by a strong desire to play the drums for real, and that fever came upon me in late summer of this year. As often happens, the urge was sparked by listening to a couple of great drummers: Jack DeJohnette and Ian Wallace. Some musicians react to another player’s greatness with envy, or even despair—like Eric Clapton’s claim that he wanted to burn his guitar after hearing Jimi Hendrix, or Miles Davis allegedly making Wynton Marsalis want to smash his horn. But for me, hearing another drummer who impresses me (a long list) makes me want to go home and play. That’s how it was when I was a kid, and it’s still true today—not just an urge to practice and get better, but a response to inspiration. ...

He also made an early October visit to Quebec and waxed nostalgic about previous Autumns there with his bandmates:

... Back in the early ’80s, my bandmates and I were recording at nearby Le Studio (working there had introduced me to the Laurentian region, where I have had a home for almost thirty years). The studio’s guest house overlooked a small lake, with a steep wooded mountainside rising behind it, and that was the view from our breakfast table. .... One afternoon when the studio crew were busy with some technical job, Alex and Geddy and I rowed across the lake and climbed that mountainside, up to where I knew a ski trail crossed its high ridge. ... I took out my Swiss Army knife and started carving our new band name into the smooth gray bark of a beech tree. It has long been our habit to invent sub-groups that encourage us to write and play in a different character than “us,” and the early ’80s version was a new-wave outfit called The Fabulous Men (responsible for such songs as “Vital Signs” and “Digital Man”). ... Somewhere up on that mountain in Quebec, along the Portageur ski trail, there’s a beech tree with “The Fabulous Men” carved into it (if it hasn’t grown over or fallen down in over twenty-five years). ...

Once he was finished reminiscing about the band's past he had a bit to say about the future of Rush:

... In this autumn of 2009, the three of us are poised on another kind of “reinvention.” We have agreed to meet in Los Angeles in November, and discuss our future. We learned many years ago that when we finish one long project—like a two-year tour following a year or so of writing and recording for Snakes and Arrows—we don’t make any further plans for a while. It’s good to feel truly free for a time, and to clear your mind to focus on what you’d really like to do next.

Of course, these are parlous times in the music business, so our time-honored pattern of touring, recording, and touring is no longer the obvious way to do things. The music world—or at least the business of it—is very different now, even since 2006, when we began work on Snakes and Arrows. The importance of “the album” is not what it was, and there is currently a reversion to a musical climate rather like the 1950s, when only “the song” matters. Radio, downloads, and “shuffle” settings are inimical to collected works. Because of that reality, record company advances that used to pay for album projects are a thing of the past, so if that was what we wanted to do, we’d be on our own. ...

Neil seems very open-minded as to the course the band may take as demonstrated in this paragraph:

... To this point, the three of us haven’t even discussed what we might discuss, so to speak—so our ideas and shared enthusiasm for the entity of Rush will be fresh, spontaneous, and quite likely exciting. For myself, I’m open to anything we can all agree on (I’ve pointed out before that in a three-piece band, we need consensus, not democracy—it’s no good having one outvoted and unhappy member). My favorite group activity is always songwriting and recording, and I’ve got some lyrical ideas and those new drumming frontiers to explore. However, those rhythmic concepts would also be inspiring for a new drum solo, if we decided to do a tour of some kind, maybe with an orchestra. We could write and record just a few songs, and release them some way. Or there were a couple of film-and-music projects we had discussed in the past. In any case, there are enough possibilities for future collaboration, and I am curious to see what we’ll come up with. ...

While this is good news and very exciting, it's all a bit nebulous as of the moment. It'll be interesting to hear what comes out of the band's November meeting. Thanks to Andrew Olson for the heads up.

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