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Hugh Syme on the Art of Rush in new Billboard interview

Thu, Jul 2, 2015@9:30AM | comments

Rush recently released a 272 page coffee table book titled Art of Rush, which celebrates the 40 year relationship of Rush and their longtime artist and illustrator Hugh Syme. Syme recently sat down with Billboard to talk about the book and his relationship with Rush. Here's what he had to say when asked about his favorite Rush art design:

... I tend to think more about technical prowess, so I'll probably err more towards the juggler for Hold Your Fire or inukshuk on Test For Echo. I quite like that cover, and it was fun to work on because I got to build that model and then photograph it and strip it into the scene. Power Windows is dear to me because I painted that in and around the death of my father, so it was cathartic for me. I like Counterparts for its glib simplicity. I think Signals was even more glib and ridiculous; it came after quite a few dead ends. At one point we entertained the idea of morse code and I was going to have the band each strapped into their own electroencephalograph equipment and have some technicians come in, and while they were recording and playing in the studio and snip a specific section of each of their heartbeats or brainwaves at a specific moment in the music. It was all getting too intelligent, so one day I said, "Let's just have a dog sniffing a fire hydrant." ...

He also echoes much of what he said in his recent Daily Tribune interview regarding the band's future:

... I've heard a few fairly firm final references -- but not from the band. In a way I think what you're talking about is already in place; they used to do nine months and then take three months off, so I think they have scaled back consistently over the years. I think what they're doing now seems like a pretty manageable amount of dates for them. My feeling is there's going to be some kind of demand from Europe, and they always get such a great response when they go to Rio. So if they get the right kind of offers they may just do it because, what the hell, they want to and they can. But that's just me thinking out loud. I think as a band, letting go of their entire career and closing the doors is an improbability. I just don't see them kind of going gently, just ignoring music. I think something's going to happen in a couple of years, even if they're deluding themselves into thinking this is a swan song. I think they will do another album -- I just happen to believe that. ...

The article also contains the complete text of Neil Peart's foreword from the Art of Rush. Here's an excerpt:

...It is likely no coincidence that 2112 was the project that really came together for Hugh as well. The bold, luminous front cover with its striking colours punched the viewer with the same uncompromising energy that the music expressed, while on the inside cover (after years of pleading we finally got a proper gatefold cover!), the Starman would become an iconic symbol for four decades. Although Hugh and I always rejected the idea of "logos," and constantly changed typefaces and images from one project to the next, that one star, circle, and naked man -- the individual against oppression -- has endured and recurred. It's just undeniable. ...

You can read the entire interview online here and purchase the Art of Rush at
this location.