Rush is a Band

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

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Neil Peart news update: Time Machines

Fri, May 21, 2010@4:32PM | comments

[NEWS, WEATHER, and SPORTS: May, 2010 - Time Machines]

Neil Peart has once again updated the News page on his website. In this news, weather and sports update, Neil takes us on a journey through time. He introduces a few old photos of himself and gives us some background on each one. He then goes on to describe rehearsing for the new tour and coming up with his new drum solo, recording the 2 new songs at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, and the construction of his new drum kit. Included is a photo of him on his Snakes & Arrows kit in Nashville:

... This photo was taken at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, on Tuesday, April 13, 2010, while I was being the “time machine”—recording drum parts for two new Rush songs. Alex, Geddy, and I had put them together over the winter and spring, mostly by long distance (Geddy e-mailing me from Toronto to report on his and Alex’s progress in his home studio, and to request lyrical alterations), even as we were planning our “Time Machine” tour. We had never done anything like that before—write, arrange, record, and release just two songs, instead of a whole album—then go out on tour and play them, along with what we thought was an inventive selection of our older songs. But the real-time time machine—life—has brought many changes to what used to be called the “music business,” and we thought, “Why not?”

I was using the Snakes and Arrows kit for that session, and now, rehearsing for the tour at Drum Channel, I was playing a mish-mash of a setup, based on the “Hockey Kit,” that Gump had successfully assembled for me to work with—because just around the corner, at Drum Workshop, a spectacular new drumset was under construction, down to the final details of finishing and assembly. Sometimes Gump and I took a “field trip” over to the factory, to check on its progress.

As I played through the old songs the three of us had agreed to resurrect for the “Time Machine” tour, some of which I hadn’t played live in ten years, twenty years, or ever, it occurred to me that the ultimate time machine might be a song. What else can immediately take you to a particular moment in time—an indelible memory that overwhelms you with its completeness? Smells are famously powerful memory stimulators, and—as we have seen—images of the past can have an intense effect of revitalizing the olden days. But when it comes to really taking you somewhere, there is nothing like a song.

And it doesn’t have to be only about memory. It happens that the two songs we recorded that day in Nashville are detached from the past, rooted in the present, and pointed toward the future. Because they are the first two parts of what we envision as an extended album-length story, they truly are a work in progress, and thus a glimpse of our own future. Some sneer at the notion of “progressive” music, but I am pleased to note that I’m still progressing—several elements of my drum parts in those songs contain discoveries in technique and knowledge that I have only acquired in the past couple of years—studying with Peter Erskine, playing the Buddy Rich tribute concert, recording “The Hockey Theme,” and just generally moving through time, as a drummer. ...

Neil also includes a beautiful picture of him and baby Olivia at the end of the article. Great reading as always. The thing that jumped out for me is Neil revealing that Rush will by a playing a song or songs that they have never played live. Anyone care to speculate? A great list of songs that Rush has never played live can be found at the Power Windows site (in the right sidebar). Thanks to Adam G for the heads up.

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