PRODUCED BY NICK RASKULINECZ AND RUSH
GEDDY LEE bass guitar, keyboards, bass pedals, vocals
ALEX LIFESON guitars, keyboards
NEIL PEART drums, cymbals, tambourine
Recorded by Richard Chycki
Mixed by Nick Raskulinecz
'Caravan' and 'BU2B' recorded al Blackbird Studios, Nashville TN, April 2010
Assisted by Lowell Reynolds
All other songs recorded at Revolution Recording, Toronto ON, October-December 2011
Assisted by Stephen Koszler and Jason Dufour
Mixed at Henson Studios, Los Angeles CA, January-March 2012
Assisted by Martin Cooke
Mastered by Brian 'Big Bass' Gardner at Bernie Grundman Mastering, Hollywood CA
All songs composed by Lee and Lifeson, with lyrics by Peart
Arrangements by Rush and Nick Raskulinecz
Piano on "The Garden" by Jason Sniderman
Strings on "Halo Effect," "The Anarchist," "The Wreckers," "BU2B2," and "The Garden" arranged and conducted by David Campbell
Recorded at Ocean Way Studios, Los Angeles CA, January 18, 2012
Engineered by Paul Fig
Assisted by Rouble Kapoor
"BU2B" new intro recorded on Lerxst Mobile, West Hollywood CA
Management: Ray Danniels
Executive Production: Andy Curran
Associate Production: Pegi Cecconi, Liam Birt
Equipment supervision: Lorne "Gump" Wheaton, John "Skully" McIntosh
Art direction, design, and illustrations: Hugh Syme
Band portrait: Andrew MacNaughtan
Geddy would like to thank the good people of the following companies for their technical contributions and support: Fender Musical Instruments and the Fender Custom Shop, Tech 21, Orange Amplifiers, Moog Synthesizers, Tom Brantley, James Hogg, Rotosound Bass Strings, and Jim Burgess of Saved By Technology. I would also like to thank Nancy, Kyla, Julian, and Lauren, for their constant and complete support, love, and understanding - and it is my pleasure to introduce . . . The Wassermans ^..^^..^
Alex would like to thank: Pat Foley and the crew at Gibson Custom Shop and Gibson Guitars, Hughes & Kettner Amplification, Dean Markley Strings, Paul Reed Smith Guitars, Joel Singer and Audio Technica, Universal Audio, Dave Welderman at the Guitar Center, Hollywood, and especially Adrian, Charlene, Dylan, Justin, and Taylor. Farewell, Barbara and Paul.
Neil would like to thank: Don Lombardi, John Good, Louie Garcia, Garrison, and everybody at Drum Workshop and Drum Channel; Mark Love, Chris Stankee, and everybody at Sabian; Promark drumsticks, Remo drumheads, Darren Schoepp at Roland, Jeffery at KellyShu Industries, Greg Russell at neilpeart.net, Brutus at Bubba's Bar 'n' Grill, Freddie Gruber RIP, Peter Erskine, Lorne "Gump" Wheaton, and on the home front, Keith, Jeanette, Jennifer, Adela, Katie, Winston, and - lastest and mostest - Carrie and Olivia.
Our collective appreciation goes to: John McBride and all at Blackbird; Joe Dunphy, Tanya Coghlan, and Amanda Pearl at Revolution (and Rene Lesko at Kindred Spirits Catering). At Henson, Martin and Faryal; Barry and Clint at BZ Brokers; and - O™
Extremely special thanks, as always, to our great support group at SRO/Anthem: Ray Danniels, Pegi Cecconi, Sheila Posner, Meghan Symsyk, Bob Farmer, Andy Curran, Cynthia Barry, Tyler Tasson, Emma Sunstrum, and Randy and Frances Rolfe.
Brought to you by the letter Œ
Dedicated to the memory of our dear friend Andrew MacNaughtan,
February 25, 1964 - January 25, 2012
"Working with ["Snakes and Arrows" producer] Nick Raskulinecz, he's pushing us to think about doing another sort of concept record ... instead of just a thematically conceptual album like the most current records are. Whether we're up for that kind of thing, I'm not so sure. We'll have to wait and see." - Alex Lifeson, ToldeoBlade.com, November 30, 2008
"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......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." - Neil Peart, News, Weather & Sports, November 2009
"...we feel a bit liberated by the state of the music business. Even since 2006, when we started Snakes and Arrows, the album has become less significant in these times of iTunes and shuffle settings and whatnot. But perhaps we can take advantage of that and work in a whole different way. So we decided, when we did meet, that we're not constrained by the patterns of the past, where you spend a year writing and recording, and the next year touring. Anything's possible now; we can record a couple of songs and put them out and then go on tour if we want. So at this point, we're just embarking on writing, but keeping ourselves open to all those other possibilities...I went to see a band called Porcupine Tree not long ago. And I was talking with (singer-guitarist) Steven Wilson. They just put out a 55- minute piece. That's a finger to the whole iTunes shuffle thing, and he intended it as such. And I thought, 'Yeah, that's another way of rebelling against it - by just saying no.' There's too much lost in giving up the integrity of an album - what it represents to you as a musician, and as a human being, for that matter. So I like that approach. That's very possible for a band like us. So there are no limitations; we might go big or we might go small." - Neil Peart, StCatharinesStandard.ca, February 5, 2010
"We have some stuff written, a couple of songs we wanted to release for the tour. In fact, what we talked about, originally, was just to play them live, not record them, and make it something kind of unique to the tour. But the more we got into them, the more we lived with those songs, the more we got into the idea of recording them...We are using [Nashville's] Blackbird Studios - great studio. Really, really good studio. Our producer, Nick Raskulinecz, lives here. He moved here from Los Angeles last year and, unfortunately, in Toronto there are no good drum rooms. Most of the great studios that used to be there are gone. There are a couple still left, but it was a question of where we would record drums more than anything else. We thought about doing it in L.A. Neil lives there. It would be nice for him to be home while we were working, but those studios weren't available either and Blackbird was, and Nick had had some experience there and used it quite a bit, actually. And It's a great place." - Alex Lifeson, Gibson.com (part 1), April 30, 2010
"...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...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..." - Neil Peart, News Weather And Sports, May 2010
"We always do this dumb thing where you do a tour and you're in such great playing shape, but you're exhausted so you take a year or a year-and-a-half off and then when you get playing again it takes awhile to get back up to that speed. So we thought, let's record a couple of tracks and get that spontaneity going, then let's tour and get back into shape and go straight into the studio, see if we can bring those chops in and see where that gets us." - Geddy Lee, TheStar.com, June 9, 2010
"I told the guys about an idea for a fictional world that had interested me lately, thinking it would make a great setting, maybe for a suite of songs that told a story. A genre of science fiction pioneered by certain authors had come to be called 'steampunk,' seen as a reaction against the 'cyberpunk' futurists, with their scenarios of dehumanized, alienated, dystopian societies. Our own previous excursions into the future, 2112and 'Red Barchetta,' had been set in that darker kind of imagining, for dramatic and allegorical effect, but I was thinking of steampunk's definition as 'The future as it ought to have been,' or 'The future as seen from the past'-as imagined by Jules Verne, for example, in 1866, when he was writing 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. When I was nine or ten, my dad took my brother and sister and me to see that movie at a Saturday matinee, and images from it had always stuck with me. The fearsome destructiveness of the Nautilushad a kind of monstrous beauty, contrasted with the cultured opulence of Captain Nemo's quarters, and the massive pipe organ on which, he played with mad rapture. The captain may have been insane, but it was a romantic, idealistic bind of madness-his mission was only to destroy ships of war, because his beloved family had been killed in wartime. The guys seemed intrigued by the concept, and at home in Southern California, I started working on a story and some lyrics along those lines, set in a world driven by steam, intricate clockworks, and alchemy-'a world lit only by fire'..." - Neil Peart, Time Machine Tourbook
"'BU2B' (the guys thought my original title of 'Brought Up to Believe' was too unwieldy, so I found it musing to render it in modern social-networking textese)." - Neil Peart, Time Machine Tourbook
"There is the epic song, 'Clockwork Angels,' which is really taking shape. It's a multi-parted piece, very dynamic. Then there's some stuff that's very melodic and on the softer side, on acoustic, with a strong melody. So there's great diversity there. Honestly, I can't wait until we start really working on these songs. We've sort of got them to the stage where Geddy and I were happy with the arrangements and then Neil kind of comes in and starts working on his drum arrangements, and they go from there. So they're sort of in that pre-drum stage right now, and it's great to see them come to life." - Alex Lifeson, Allentown Morning Call, August 25, 2010
"In the case of 'BU2B', at first we experimented with something more traditional, but it just sounded, I don't know - ordinary. So we decided to punctuate points in the solo section with a more screaming guitar presence. I think it worked." - Alex Lifeson, MusicRadar.com, August 31, 2010
"As you know, the album format seems to be dying in some ways. Rush are traditionalists, so I don't think it'll die for us. This is the first time that we released any new material independent of an album, which was a good thing for us. We wanted to do something different and step out of the box a little bit. It's something we might do again: spend a month or so writing, record two or three songs and release them. Why not?" - Alex Lifeson, MusicRadar.com, August 31, 2010
"I can already tell you that the title track is going to be one of the coolest things they've ever done. It's going to be epic. I told them, 'Don't try to write a single. Don't try to do anything conventional. Give me Rush from back in the day.' They don't need to write something for the sake of radio play. They're Rush! [laughs] So I think the record is going to be a little more bare bones, a little less produced. It's going to be more direct, with killer riffs, solos, pounding drums and Geddy singing up high the way he should. That, to me, is the sound of Rush." - Nick Raskulinecz, MusicRadar.com, November 3, 2010
"The whole idea of doing Moving Pictures and not sharing it, particularly in the UK, was a real concern of ours. So Ged and I will get back to writing in the new year. We'll get through the Christmas holidays and start writing through January and February. We only have two or three more songs that we feel we need for the album. So we can start reworking the material and get it in great shape. Then we'll prepare for the tour in March, finish in July, take the summer off then start work in earnest in September." - Alex Lifeson, Musicradar.com, January 10, 2011
"We've got about 3/4 of the record written and are kind of ready to go. We've got 2 or 3 more tracks we'd like to write. We've kind of run out of time now. We're gonna have to go on tour so when this tour is over we'll get back to writing and hopefully finish the record in the Fall. We're having fun with it...there are some very complex moments. There are some very beautiful moments. It's kind of what you'd expect from Rush I guess - a little bit of everything. Now the indication you can get from the first 2 songs kind of sets the tone for where we're going with this record. But there are a few surprises as you get deeper into the record." - Geddy Lee, UK's 106.1 Rock Radio, March 30, 2011
"Nick is a very bad influence. He wants us to be more Rush than we are, it's wonderful, he pushes me in ways I wouldn't dare. In the middle of Caravan there's a ridiculous fill and it was Nick who wanted me to go all the way down the toms and back up again and once I'd done it, my comment was, 'I'm so ashamed!'. He was in the studio outlining his idea to me, and Geddy's sitting down next to us and he looks up over his glasses and says, 'Oh, he wants to make you famous'. I would have never have proposed some of Nick's arrangement ideas to my bandmates, I'm not that brash, we're not that brash ... we're Canadians." - Neil Peart, Classic Rock Presents Prog, #16
"It was hard for me to set the album aside to tour, this really means a lot to me, I intend it to be my highest achievement lyrically and drumming wise, so I really want to get it done while we still can." - Neil Peart, Classic Rock Presents Prog, #16
"It's been quite weird because we've never really taken so long and interrupted a writing process so many times. We have about six songs finished and waiting to go into pre-production and then be recorded. We've been kind of afraid to go back to them, because we don't want to start fucking around with them, we liked them at the time...Alex and I tried to do some writing on this break. We've had three months, so we thought 'Okay, so maybe we should get all of the rest of the record finished'...but Neil just had a baby last year and he needed to use that time to be a dad and to be domestic, and he didn't want to uproot and get into this intense writing session, and that was totally cool. So Alex and I have been getting together regularly and jamming, and now we have a lot of good material just lying around in suspended animation...We're going in a conceptual direction on this record, for sure...We started with a 10-minute song idea that then turned into a concept and it's feeding off itself. It's like that question that Steven Colbert asked us in the movie. 'Are your songs so long that by the end you're influencing yourself?' I think we're doing that now. We're like a feedback loop, influencing ourselves now. We're spending so much time on this concept. It's been fun, because we haven't gone down that road in a while. Let's see if we can pull it off!'" - Geddy Lee, Classic Rock Presents Prog, #16
"We got lyrics very early on before the last tour. We had five songs written, at which point Neil had an idea of what the concept would be. What happened was, when we went into the studio to record "Caravan" and "BU2B" to take on the road with us, it gave Neil some time to formulate the story and get it into his head. By the time we got back into writing, he redid a lot of the lyrics and changed the direction of the story. It evolved over a period of time. And then, of course, when we attacked the new music, we went into a different direction ourselves." - Alex Lifeson, Guitar World, September 2012
"'Headlong Flight' was one of those songs that was a joy to write and record from beginning to end. Alex [Lifeson] and I had blast jamming in my home studio one day before the 2nd leg of the Time Machine Tour and I did not revisit that jam until a year later. Alex and I assembled the song to be an instrumental and its original title was 'Take that lampshade off yo head!' but once we saw the lyrics Neil had written for 'Headlong Flight,' I knew that the spirit of the lyrics matched the instrumental perfectly and it was just a matter of making them fit and writing the melodies." Geddy Lee, PRNewswire.com, April 19, 2012
"In late 2011, my drum teacher Freddie Gruber, towards the end of his long and adventurous 84 years, was reminiscing among friends and former students. Often he would shake his head and say, 'I had quite a ride. I wish I could do it all again.' That is not a feeling I have ever shared about the past -- I remain glad that I don't have to do it all again. While working on the lyrics for 'Headlong Flight,' the last song written for Clockwork Angels, I tried to summarize my character's life and adventures. My own ambivalence colored the verses, while Freddie's words inspired the chorus 'I wish that I could live it all again.'" - Neil Peart, PRNewswire.com, April 19, 2012
"This 'one of many possible worlds' is driven by steam, intricate clockworks, and alchemy. That last element occurred to me because I was intrigued by Diane Ackerman's use of a few alchemical symbols as chapter heads in An Alchemy of Mind. They seemed elegant, mysterious, and powerful. Soon I learned about an entire set of runic hieroglyphs for elements and processes, and as with the tarot cards for Vapor Trails, and the Hindu game of Leela for Snakes and Arrows, I became fascinated with an ancient tradition. As the lyrical 'chapters' came together, I chose one symbol to represent each of them, for the character or mood. Those would end up arrayed on the cover clockface, as first used on the 'Caravan'/'BU2B' single in early 2010. Since then they have shifted a little, as the story has grown, but you can find brimstone at one o'clock for the faith-bashing 'BU2B,' gold at six o'clock for 'Seven Cities of Gold,' earth at eleven o'clock for 'The Garden,' and so on. (The ' ?' in Rush stands for 'amalgamation.') - Neil Peart, Clockwork Angels Tourbook
"Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson originally worked on the music together in a basement studio, sometimes with Lifeson giving Peart two demos of a tune - one with a drum machine illustrating rhythmic ideas, the other a click-track. "Alex had put together one collection of ideas that turned out to be most of the song Clockwork Angels,' says Peart. "As soon as I heard its rhythmic feel, which was so different for us, my response was 'I want to play that!'" Carniesand Headlong Flightwere of 'furious jams', and there was an 'immediate spark of connection' with Seven Cities Of Gold, Alex Lifeson says, "We talked about having a raucous beginning that related to the middle 'solo' section, and as the song evolved it took on the appropriate character; entering the city with all the wild, dangerous sensory experience it offers." Peart asserts that Lifeson's solo on The Gardenwas, "A few takes recorded casually and assembled into an improvised performance that remains his personal favourite."... The Wreckerswas the result of Lee and Lifeson swapping instruments during writing sessions but, "Once we switched into recording mode," says Peart, "it was back to the same old us." - Classic Rock Presents PROG#25, April 2012
"'The Garden' solo was recorded one afternoon in Geddy?s studio. He had taken a day off, so I came in and updated a few of the songs, getting caught up cleaning tracks and recording newer versions of guitar, keys, and drum parts. I wanted to fill in the 'insert solo here' space with at least something. I fiddled with some guitar plug in settings in Logic and quickly recorded a few passes, and then edited them for the final version. After completing it and listening back, I thought, 'hmm, that kind of fits perfectly!'. The solo you hear on the album is that very same solo, a quick throw away that worked, and this has happened on other songs as well, such as the solo on 'Leave That Thing Alone', acoustic verses in 'Bravest Face', and the solo on 'Bravado' to name a few." - Alex Lifeson, Guitar Connoisseur, May 11, 2016
"Two weeks or so into it, as Geddy and Alex were writing more music, we all kind of looked at one another and said, 'Hey, this is really turning into something. It's tying together.' Then one day, Neil walked in the room and said, 'It's done. I finished it.' For the next 20 minutes, Neil talked about this vision he had for the concept of the record, and it was one of those moments I'll never forget. Listening to him, watching him speak - it was amazing! I wish we were filming him so we could put it on YouTube. And right there, the whole record just clicked. Once Geddy and Al heard where Neil was going, they churned out some amazing music. I think Headlong Flight came the next day." - Nick Raskulinecz, MusicRadar, May 8, 2012
"While we were recording, there were definitely things I wanted to do in the mix - different effects, vocal sounds... The whole middle section to Clockwork Angels, that bluesy bar band section, that definitely happened in the mix. The ending part of Seven Cities Of Gold, where the drums and the rhythm section fade out and you're left with those big, beautiful guitar chords, that was in the mix." - Nick Raskulinecz, MusicRadar, May 8, 2012
"It's funny because the solo in 'Clockwork Angels' and also the solo in 'The Garden' which are two of my favourite solos that I've ever done, were throwaway solos. After we'd written those songs and worked on the arrangements, Geddy went away for a few days, so I continued working and filling things in a little bit and I threw down a couple of solos in just a few takes and that was it. The thing is that after a while they kind of grow on you and you don't think about them when you're doing them as they were so natural and spontaneous so those solos were two throwaways that I did very early on before those songs were really fully developed. With me, when I don't think too much about what I'm doing that's when I tend to do my best work." - Alex Lifeson, Metal Express Radio, May 21, 2012
"I wanted the songs to be a collection that could stand on their own, outside of context of the whole story. When you look at a collection of songs like those on the Who's Tommy, you could pull "I'm Free" out of that and it still stands on its own. But in connection to the story, it takes on another interpretation. So there was a lot of discussion about that. I think at one point, Neil was a little frustrated with my determination to keep the story-line minimal in a sense...The three times we attempted side-long concept pieces in the past, the music was really like one song broken up into many parts. The thread connecting the music on Clockwork Angels is the story-line. That's the key difference." - Geddy Lee, Spin.com, May 22, 2012
"This time we wanted to restrict the way we used overdubs. We wanted it to be very much a three-piece record." - Geddy Lee, Spin.com, May 22, 2012
"I think then you get to a point where you're comfortable with your own sense of yourself. In our case, we've got such a catalogue of ideas that it's hard not to run over ourselves. For me, we're in a place now where we'll find ourselves mimicking ourselves in a way, and doing that in a kind of intentional way, but tongue in cheek - it has to have a purpose. For example, there's a song on the album called Headlong Flight, and when Alex and I started jamming we realized that we had written this bit that sounded really similar to the opening of a song called Bastille Day that we wrote many years ago. You know, we kind of laughed about it and didn't pay too much attention to it, and we created this long instrumental piece that kind of had a silly name, and we were just going to leave it at that. But when the lyric came along and we realized that this was a song at a point in the story where our hero is looking back on his life, reminiscing about the good and the bad, and regardless, he still wishes he could do it all again, I realized there was a real opportunity to use that bit of our past as a kind of Bastille Day Redux. So we had fun with it, and it suited the story, you know, so I don't worry so much about whether I'm treading on ground that I tread on 30 years ago. It depends on the panache with which I deliver it. I'm bringing a whole 30 years of experience to that kind of idea, and I know that I'm not going to settle for just a rehash of some old idea. It's got to bring something fresh to the end result, and it's got to be transformed by that new context." - Geddy Lee, MusicRadar.com, June 25, 2012
"We wanted to record ["The Wreckers"] that way, thinking that live we'd switch instruments, too. But when we got to the recording, the song had evolved so much that the sweet strumming he was doing on the Nashville was replaced by some very fast strumming. So we used our own main instruments, but I basically played his part, and he used my bass arrangement. It was very cool, not only that we would switch instruments and write the song that way but also that we would respect each other enough to continue with the arrangements that each of us had written." - Alex Lifeson, Guitar World, September 2012
"In the choruses [of "Carnies"], when you get that real carnival sense, I used one of the plug-ins, Guitar Rig 5. I don't remember the actual sampled sound; I'm going to have to go back to the earlier versions in Logic to find out - which I'm going to have to do anyway for when we play the song live. But there was this one that had a very funny tremolo, kind of square edged, and all I did was put it on the guitar part that I played. So it's really that three-chord progression that repeats itself, and it's got this secondary effect on it that goes in and out, and it's almost like a carousel. Ged and I were like, 'Oh my God, that's so cool!' It really sounds like you're on this horsey going up and down." - Alex Lifeson, Guitar World, September 2012
"'The Garden' and 'Clockwork Angels' are solos from the demos. For 'Headlong Flight,' that song is so rockin' that I just wanted [Alex] to sit in front of the console with a Les Paul and a wah pedal and go for it. What you hear on the record is his first and only take. As soon as he was done I said. 'Whoa! That's it'. After he did that solo the room erupted into laughter, howls, and high fives." - Nick Raskulinecz, Guitar Player, November 2012
"For a few records there, I was really layering my voice with multipart harmonies all the time, and he wanted to see a more direct approach with my vocals this time-less harmony, or at least just very specifically used harmony." - Geddy Lee, Premier Guitar, November 2012
"With 'Headlong Flight'-it was kind of an accident: Alex and I were jamming, and we go, 'Oh, [expletive]-did we just rewrite 'Bastille Day'? [Laughs.] Because we had assembled that into a complete instrumental song at that point, and at first we were happy to let it be kind of a cheeky nod to the past. So the song was finished, but then I got lyrics from Neil and realized that, at this part of the story, [the protagonist of the album's storyline] is looking back over his life and thinking back over his life-thinking about things that he regrets, things he doesn?t regret-and the main line is 'I wish that I could live it all again.' So, it seemed oddly appropriate that we were reminding ourselves of where we'd been, too." - Geddy Lee, Premier Guitar, November 2012
"We were in L.A. mixing the record, and we wanted to insert this little bit of a lyric or a presence that Neil wanted to have in there, and we thought, 'How can we add to it without taking away, and make it something different-but not another song?' So we recorded that in my hotel room, Geddy and I. We stuck the mic outside and recorded the morning traffic and sounds of Los Angeles from our hotel room, and then I did the acoustic tracks and threw a vocal track on it." - Alex Lifeson on the new intro to "BU2B", Premier Guitar, November 2012
"We actually went during the Clockwork Angels tour, and recorded three tunes after the album was released, from the record, that did't have strings originally. And we recorded a version of them that now had the string parts that had been arranged for the tour. Those were going to be released as bonus tracks or separate tracks (on a later release). We did that while we were in Los Angeles performing." - Jacob Szekely, Clockwork Angels cellist, rushcast.podbean.com, March 6, 2015
"To me, [Clockwork Angels] would make an amazing movie and I thought it would happen organically - that by now somebody would've been at my door with a big bushel of dollars: 'Let's make this happen!' And it hasn't. But we've got the graphic novel done and we're building the world and the vision of it. It's astonishing to me, really, that somebody hasn't come to me wanting it. I thought, what a great semi-retirement project for the three of us, 'cause Geddy loves cinema, Alex for the soundtrack and me for the story. But I was hoping that's a project that the three of us would undertake at some point." - Neil Peart, RollingStone.com, June 30, 2015
Certainly at this point, after being together for almost thirty-eight years (and being around a decade or two before that), Alex, Geddy, and I have reached our "mature years." However, we have arrived there hot and sweaty, sliding into third, as a working, touring band. Like our well-tempered friendship, our dedication and inspiration remain strong, combined with hard-won experience and knowledge - acquired over twenty studio albums, and perhaps most of all by playing thousands of live shows.
In December, 2009, the three of us met to talk about the coming year. While eating and drinking and laughing a lot, as we do so well, we discussed all the possible projects we could launch in 2010. We could start working on a new album, or we could launch a major tour. Fools that we are, we ended up doing both.
Perhaps the wine can be blamed for that - and for our increasingly ambitious talk of creating some new music that was "a little more extended." In turn, the wine seemed to embolden me ( In Vino Veritas) to tell the guys about my idea for a fictional world, a possible setting for a suite of songs that told a story. (The first song, "Caravan," contains a key line: "In a world where I feel so small, I can't stop thinking big.")
My friend Kevin J. Anderson was among the pioneers of a genre of science fiction that came to be called "steampunk" - a more romantic, idealistic reaction against the "cyberpunk" futurists, with their scenarios of dehumanized, alienated, dystopian societies. Our own previous excursions into the future, 2112and "Red Barchetta," had been set in that darker kind of imagining, for dramatic and allegorical effect. This time I was thinking of steampunk's definition as "The future as it ought to have been," or "The future as seen from the past" - as imagined by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells in the late nineteenth century.
The guys seemed receptive to the idea, and I started working on a story and some lyrics set in "a world lit only by fire" (title of a history of medieval times by William Manchester). Influences were inevitable, but still unexpected to me - a lifetime of reading distilled into a dozen scenes, and a few hundred words. The plot draws from Voltaire's Candide, with nods to John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor, Michael Ondaatje and Joseph Conrad for "The Anarchist," Robertson Davies and Herbert Gold for "Carnies," Daphne du Maurier for "The Wreckers," Cormac McCarthy and early Spanish explorers in the American Southwest for "Seven Cities of Gold."
This "one of many possible worlds" is driven by steam, intricate clockworks, and alchemy. That last element occurred to me because I was intrigued by Diane Ackerman's use of a few alchemical symbols as chapter heads in An Alchemy of Mind. They seemed elegant, mysterious, and powerful. Soon I learned about an entire set of runic hieroglyphs for elements and processes, and as with the tarot cards for Vapor Trails, and the Hindu game of Leela for Snakes and Arrows, I became fascinated with an ancient tradition. As the lyrical "chapters" came together, I chose one symbol to represent each of them, for the character or mood. Those would end up arrayed on the cover clockface, as first used on the "Caravan"/"BU2B" single in early 2010. Since then they have shifted a little, as the story has grown, but you can find brimstone at one o'clock for the faith-bashing "BU2B," gold at six o'clock for "Seven Cities of Gold," earth at eleven o'clock for "The Garden," and so on. (The "U" in Rush stands for "amalgamation.") Early in January, 2010, I was able to send a bunch of lyrics to Alex and Geddy in Toronto. They got together in Geddy's home studio, just "messing around," jamming and seeing what came out.
Improvisation was a major theme for the band leading up to this album. In live performance, during the Time Machine tour in 2010-11, we were each aiming to be more spontaneous in our "spotlight moments," and it thus became a shared ambition, and a spirit that carried into every element of this recording.
For the first time, I started the lyrics with the proverbial clean sheet, rather than my usual routine of riffling (and riffing) through the file of lines and titles I have collected over the years. (I call that "The Scrapyard.") Likewise, the music was composed in that elemental way - Alex and Geddy in a basement studio with guitar and bass, riffing and strumming away, and recording everything they played. Alex had put together one collection of ideas that turned out to be most of the song "Clockwork Angels," and as soon as I heard its rhythmic feel, which was so different for us, my response was "I want to play to that!"
In early 2011, before the second half of the Time Machine tour, they got together to try to get going on the writing again. Having a bit of a struggle, they seemed to spend more time drinking coffee and making stupid jokes - except for a couple of furious jams that, when reviewed later, turned out to be the foundations of "Carnies" and "Headlong Flight."
As a general thing, Geddy would listen back to their jams and note the most compelling bits, then assemble them into a random arrangement. Only then did he turn to the pile of lyrics I had sent, to see if anything wantedto go with that music. Sometimes, as with "Seven Cities of Gold," there was an immediate spark of connection. As Alex relates, "We talked about having a raucous beginning that related to the middle 'solo' section, all feedback and crazy, and as the song evolved it took on the appropriate character; entering the city with all the wild, dangerous sensory experience it offers."
Other marriages of music and words were more laborious, and launched a flurry of emails between Geddy and me. Rapid-fire exchanges discussed adjustments to lines and phrases, passages deleted and new ones added, all on the fly, so that even the final shape of the lyrics was more-or-less improvised. Later I would try to stitch the remains together in a way that still expressed what I had intended - and that part wasn't easy. I had a complicated story to tell, with, like, characters and ideas and stuff.
Some of Alex's finest solos also date from the demo stage: offhand "place-holders" that turned out to be unbeatable. "Clockwork Angels" is one example like that, as is "The Garden" - a few takes recorded casually and assembled into an improvised performance that remains his personal favorite.
As the songs were gradually assembled from spontaneous moments, we worked out the arrangements together. Then Alex (our musical scientist) would give me a demo with two versions of the song: one with the drum-machine patterns he had programmed for their writing and arranging purposes, to give me a sense of how they perceived the drum part dynamically (plus Alex often has some good non-drummer ideas that inspire me in alternative directions), and one with just a click track.
The first two songs, "Caravan" and "BU2B," were recorded before the Time Machine tour, in April, 2010, and several of the other songs had been written by then. After taking a break to rehearse for that tour, and play eighty-one shows in North America, South America, and Europe (some break), we got together again in October, 2011, at Revolution Recording in Toronto. Alex and Geddy worked in the small studio there, continuing the songwriting and arranging.
To keep the writing fresh, one day they even tried switching instruments - Geddy on guitar and Alex on bass - and they turned out a richly melodic song called "The Wreckers." They joked that playing the "wrong" instruments had turned them into the Barenaked Ladies. (I happened to run into Ed Robertson around that time, and he had a good laugh about that.) But once we switched to recording mode, it was back to the "same old us."
In the big studio, my drums were set up and ready for me to start learning new songs. Around the drums, master engineer Rich Chycki had prepared the recording environment, so we were "ready to fly." Taking off my lyric-writing cowboy hat (I have pointed out before that I find it hard to take myself too seriously when I am wearing a cowboy hat), I would put on my drumming hat (an African prayer cap - which has equally perfect resonance).
My drum parts were created in a completely different fashion than ever before. For the past few years I have been working deliberately to become more improvisational on the drums, especially in my warmups and solos, and these sessions were an opportunity to attempt that approach in the studio. It began with "Caravan" and "BU2B," which were fairly well organized before recording, but featured a number of spontaneous moments. In these more recent sessions, I played through each song just a few times on my own, checking out patterns and fills that might work, then called in our coproducer, Nick Raskulinecz -"The Mighty Booujzhe."
(A reminder about that nickname: Nick likes to suggest outrageous fills for me to play, and he will mime them with wild physical gestures and sound effects: "Bloppida-bloppida-batubatu-whirrrrr-blop - booujzhe!" That last being the downbeat, with crash cymbal and bass drum.)
So . . . Booujzhe stood out there in the room with me, facing my drums, with a music stand and a single drumstick. He was my conductor, and I was his orchestra. (I later replaced that stick with a realbaton.)
The enthusiastic "Booujzhe-ness" before me energized and inspired me, and he also offered many good suggestions between takes. We quickly hammered out (well, Idid the hammering!) the basic architecture of the part, and demonstrated the key element of collaboration - together we elevatedit.
Now . . . Rush songs tend to have complicated arrangements, with odd numbers of beats, bars, and measures all over the place. These latest songs are no different (maybe worse - or better, depending), but the baton of Booujzhe would conduct me into choruses, half-time bridges, and double-time outros and so on - so I didn't have to worry about their durations. No counting, and no endless repetition of each song just to learn those things - that was a big part of what allowed me to be so spontaneous.
In past years I might have spent several days developing and refining a drum part, but this time it was just a matter of hours "from zero to hero." I like to think a listener can sense that difference - will share the tension and release of a guy going way out there, playing something he has never attempted before, and only just making it back to "one." Chances are that moment only happened once - but that was enough. In turn, Geddy's bass parts and Alex's guitars were added without too much time spent learning, but getting straight to the playing. Booujzhe was their conductor, too, coaching and inspiring Geddy, Alex, then Geddy again (vocals) with suggestions and encouragement, to ever higher levels of absurdity.
(After all these years together, we have learned to be comfortable recording separately - it allows everybody to focus on one part at a time, and experience has taught us that we play the same - to each other- regardless.)
Typically, there was one "trouble child." Out of all the seemingly more complicated songs, the music for "Wish Them Well" was written and scrapped twice, and the song was almost abandoned. But Geddy liked the lyrics enough to keep trying (thank you!), and the third version pleased everyone.
That song also put Booujzhe and me to a lot of trouble over the drum part, much more than any other song except "Headlong Flight" - that one for its perverse complexity, rather than the exacting simplicity of "Wish Them Well." Booujzhe and I spent many hours trying out different basic patterns, and juggling their arrangement.
(The guys always laugh when I come out of the studio grumbling, "I hatethat stupid ignorant song!" [Add expletives to taste.] They laugh because they are the ones who made it that way.)
"Wish Them Well" was equally elusive vocally - or at least lyrically. The day Geddy and Booujzhe recorded that vocal in Toronto, I happened to be at home in California, and all day we exchanged texts and emails over the tiniest of alterations, line by line, sometimes word by word. Ultimately it turned out very well, but I admit I still have a bit of a grudge against that song.
On the bright side - even the brilliantside - one very special aspect of this project is the lush and exotic string arrangements, by David Campbell. One January afternoon at Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood, I stood in the control room listening while the strings were being recorded. It occurred to me that all songwriters should experience the sensual delight of hearing their songs performed by an accomplished string section. For example, when these virtuoso artists on violin, viola, cello, and double-bass executed David's plangent orchestration for "The Garden," there was not a dry eye in the studio.
Finally Booujzhe took over the mixing chair, and entertained us by miming each of our parts note-for-note, with appropriate gestures and facial expressions. When he had his fist up to his mouth as a microphone, emulating every phrase and nuance of Geddy's vocal, sometimes he raised his little finger. "My wireless mic," he explained. He had switched to "live performance" mode.
Another long-time goal took root in August, 2010, on a day off between shows at Colorado's Red Rocks amphitheater. For about twenty years, I have been friends with the previously-mentioned author and pioneer of steampunk, Kevin J. Anderson, and all that time we have discussed doing a project together to combine lyrics and prose. Kevin lived nearby, and led me on a hike up Colorado's Mount Evans (14,265 feet), during which we started workshopping a prose version of the Clockwork Angelsstory. A year and a half later, Kevin would do the "heavy lifting" on its novelization.
One more oblique connection: During the filming of my most recent instructional DVD, Taking Center Stage: A Lifetime Of Live Performance, I found myself talking about playing our older songs in concert year after year, and something occurred to me about Rush songs that I had never realized in all our thirty-eight years.
See, for the most part, Rush songs weren't made with the intention of being listened to on the radio, or in the car, or with earbuds. They were made to be played- by us! (Good title, "Made 2 B Played.")
Thinking of even a few older examples - "The Spirit of Radio," "Limelight," or "Subdivisions" - the arrangements are detailed and dynamic, intricate and challenging, and build toward a rock-concert climax. None of that was ever discussed among us, but all instinctively, our songs, arrangements, and playing exemplified a live-performance piece. It is certainly those qualities of challenging technique and in-the-moment excitement that keep those songs fresh for us all these years later. Like Booujzhe, we raise our little fingers and we are in performance mode.
That built-to-be-performed quality is clearly evident on all of the songs on Clockwork Angels, too. Like the nineteen albums that have come before, these songs are "Made 2 B Played," again and again for years.
And, if the fates allow, they will be . . .
To learn more about my equipment, plus view Special Bonus Content, try
going to this link on the World Wide Interweb of Life.
You will find Everything in the World here.
Please Like it and Friend it!
Breaking with long tradition, I am using the same drumset as our previous tour, Time Machine. The main reason is because that tour, and these drums, were actually designed around the Clockwork Angelstheme from the beginning. And because they still sound and look so great. That considered, I can hardly do better than quote from my previous description of them at the time of their building, in 2010:
Drum Workshop really outdid themselves this time, spearheaded by Don Lombardi, John Good, Shon Smith, Garrison (like Madonna and Cher, he "dares to be known by one name alone"), hardware specialist Rich Sikra, and master painter Louie Garcia.
Barrel-stave redwood, copper leaf and silver alchemy symbols, and the innovation of copper hardware create the main visual statement, but the small, unique details of stand fittings and the little sculpted gears behind the lugs demonstrate DW's imaginative willingness to consider every possibility-and make it real.
Sonically, drum tech Lome "Gump" Wheaton and I agree that these drums surpass all previous kits, in the richness of their tonality, and in the perfect blend of the individual drums with each other.
The custom stand fittings, drum hardware, and riser panels were designed by Greg Russell and Brian Walters of Tandem Digital. Their elaborate CG renderings of the kit and hardware helped to visualize the final outcome.
For their part, the Sabian cymbal company also got onboard with my wild ideas right away. Chris Stankee and Mark Love directed the development of a special steampunk design on the new "Brilliant" Paragons I've been using. (It took some experimenting with inks to find one that didn't affect the sound.)
Among other noisemakers, Gump and I include Pro-Mark sticks, DW and Remo heads, Roland V-Drums (with custom DW shells), MalletKAT, KAT trigger pedals, and a Dauz pad, all running through a Roland XV5080 sampler and Project X Glyph hard drives.
FUN FACTS ABOUT OUR COMPONENTS:
1. It is longer than an electric guitar.
2. It has four strings.
3. Its strings are thick to produce a low sound.
4. It came to prominence in the 1950s.
5. It is part of a band's rhythm section.
6. Many players prefer to pluck the strings with their fingers, rather than using a plectrum.
1. In Germany, the French horn, originating from the bugles or hunting horns, was developed into all fields of music, especially light or popular music.
2. The tuba has a bell that is directed upwards; thus it is a "flügelhorn." It was refined in the nineteenth century into different sizes up to 2.4 meters.
3. The English expression for the trombone is "Sackbut," which actually means "pull" and "push," referring to the sliding device of the instrument.
4. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in about 1840. It was first used in symphony orchestras in 1844.
5. Around 1700, the clarinet was created and developed by Johann Christoph Denner. In the middle of the 18th century the clarinet became an indispensable instrument for every orchestra.
1. The weight of the human brain is about three pounds.
2. It is 60 percent white matter and 40 percent gray matter.
3. It is about 75 percent water.
4. There are no pain receptors in the brain, so the brain can feel no pain.
5. While an elephant's brain is physically larger than a human brain, the human brain is 2 percent of total body weight, compared to .15 percent of an elephant's brain - meaning humans have the largest brain to body size ratio.
1. Americans consume some 16 billion quarts of this whole-grain treat annually. That's 51 quarts per capita.
2. Of the six types of maize/corn - pod, sweet, flour, dent, flint, and popcorn - only popcorn pops.
3. Exploding popcorn kernels can shoot three feet in the air.
4. The world's largest popcorn ball was created by volunteers in Sac City, Iowa, in February, 2009. It weighed 5,000 pounds, stood over eight feet tall, and measured 28.8 feet in circumference.
5. To make a trail of popcorn from New York City to Los Angeles would require something like 352,028,160 popped kernels!
FOR GEDDY'S ACTUAL GEAR INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT:
A choice memory about working creatively with Andrew dates from 1992, when Rush was preparing for our Roll the Bones tour. My bandmates and I decided to have a little fun with the usual tourbook portraits - beginning a tradition that continued right up to the book for the Time Machine tour, in 2010-11.
All of us lived in Toronto in those days, so it was easy for us to get together with Andrew and plan our "surprises" (sometimes kept secret even from each other). We aimed for something that would show some humor, and also, perhaps, a little ... inner essence.
That first set of three portraits does not disappoint on those levels, I hope, but it is also noteworthy that even these "joke" settings were lighted and framed with artful care. They are light-hearted and silly, but photographed with a professional's craft and an artist's vision.
I once defined the highest possible plane of communication to be "art with jokes." That is a rarefied summit even to attempt, but once in a while, with Andrew, we made it.
Liam Birt - Tour Manager & Accountant
Donovan Lundstrom - Road Manager
Craig Blazier - Production Manager
Karin Blazier - Production Assistant
Brad Madix - Concert Sound Engineer
Howard Ungerleider - Lighting Director
Tony Geranios - Keyboard Technician
Jim Burgess of Saved By Technology - Programming
Lorne Wheaton - Drum Technician
John McIntosh - Bass Technician
Scott Appleton - Guitar Technician
George Steinert - Stage Manager
Bruce French - Nutritionist
Anthony Fedewa - Venue Security
Michael Mosbach - NP Road Manager, Security
Kevin Ripa - Artist Tour Liaison
Cliff Sharpling - Carpenter
David Campbell - Conductor
Joel Derouin - Violin
Gerry Hilera - Violin
Jonathan Dinklage - Violin
Entcho Tudorov - Violin
Mario De Leon - Violin
Audrey Solomon - Violin
Jacob Szekely - Cello
Adele Stein - Cello
Ralph Mastrangelo, Jason Heitman
Anson Moore - Audio System Engineer
Brent Carpenter - Monitor Mixer
Corey Harris - Monitor Systems Engineer
Premier Global Productions
Steven 'Creech' Anderson
Martin Joos - Lighting Crew Chief
Curtis Anthony - Electrician
Matthew Tucker - Lighting Technician
Joshua Rahalski - Lighting Technician
Matt Leroux - Lighting Technician
Five Points Rigging - John Fletcher
Albert Pozzetti - Head Rigger
Charles Anderson - Rigger
Sebastien Richard - Motion Control
Danny O'Bryen, Amy Segawa
David Davidian - Video Director
Bob Larkin - Video Engineer
Gregory 'Grit' Frederick - LED Engineer
Brian Littleton - Camera Operator
Jay Cooper - Camera Operator
REAR SCREEN FILMMAKERS
Allan Weinrib - Executive Producer
Dale Heslip - Creative Director
Dale Heslip -Director
Allan Weinrib - Producer
Mark Morton/School - Editor
Kaelem Cahill - Flame Artist/Crush
Yoho Hang Yue - Art Direction & Graphic Design/Crush
Leo Silva - CG Animator/Crush
That's My Shmegegee
Animation produced by Style5.TV
Sam Chou - Director
Noam Sussman - Animator
Brentton Barkman - BG Designer
Ryan Hunt/School - Editor
Mike Spicer & Dave Desjardin/Loop - Animation & Design
Jackie Roda - Editor
Footage supplied by NASA.
Special thanks to Kenneth Fisher
Matt Mahurin - Director
Editor - Lauren Piche
Where's My Thing?
Aaron Dark/School - Editor
Crankbunny - Design and animation
Steven Lewis/Spin Productions - Design and Animation
The Appointment & Office of the Watchmaker
Featuring Jay Baruchel
Dale Heslip - Director
Allan Weinrib - Producer
Mark Morton/School - Editor
Township & Company - CG Design
Township & Company/ AXYZ - Compositing
Calliope version of Tom Sawyer arranged and produced by Lou Pomanti
Concept by Dale Heslip
Pyramid Attack - Director
Moment Factory - Director
Christopher Mills - Director
Julia Deakin/Crush - Graphic Designer/VFX Artist
Seven Cities of Gold
Christopher Mills - Director
Pyramid Attack - Design and animation
Josh Venneulen & Chris Moberg/Double Plus - Design and Animation
Greg Russell and Brian Walters/Tandem Digital - Animation
Wish Them Well
Loki Visual Effects Inc. - Design and animation
Crankbunny - Design and animation
Tom Sawyer contraption
Yoho Hang Yue/Crush - Art Director & Graphic Designer
Jullian Ablaza/Crush - Graphic Designer
Tandem Digital - Design and Animation
Additional Steampunk Video frames
Designed by Bienvenido Cruz
Geddy's Backline video
Design and animation by Randy Knott
All Crush projects previously listed:
Patty Bradley - Executive Producer
Kristen Van Fleet - Producer
Special thanks to Peter McAuley
Geddy and Alex's Backline Amps:
Designed by Dale Heslip
Construction by Mood Inc.
Pyrotek, Lorenzo Cornacchia
John Arrowsmith - Pyrotechnician
Live Nation Global Touring
Gerry Barad, Susan Rosenberg, Carla Jespersen
Keith Keller - Live Nation Global Tour Rep
Colin Womack - VIP Nation Rep
SRO Management Inc.
Ray Danniels, Pegi Cecconi, Meg Symsyk, Andy Curran, Sheila Posner, Bob Farmer, Cynthia Barry, Tyler Tasson, Emma Sunstrum, Randy Rolfe
Hemphill Brothers Coach Company
Dave Burnette - Driver
Lashawn Lundstrom - Driver
Marty Beeler - Driver
Joe C. Bush - Driver
John Morgan - Driver
Tony Hammonds - Driver
Ego Trips - Jim Bodenheimer
Arthur McLear - Lead Truck Driver
Jon Cordes - Driver
Tom Hartmann - Driver
Henry McBride - Driver
Juli Mennitti - Driver
Steve Mennitti - Driver
Bob Wright - Driver
Bruno Pelle - Driver
Provident Financial MGT.
USA - Artist Group International
Adam Kornfeld, June Chaiyasit
CANADA - Feldman & Associates
Vinny Cinquemani, Olivia Ootes
Marla Wax-Fergusson, Joe Mauceri
Image Air Charter
Mike Irish, Liz Horbasz
Dan Droppo - Pilot
Bill Bryant - Pilot
Murray Clapp - Pilot
Flight Attendant - Anastassia Tchernykh
B. Zee Brokerage Ltd.
Barry Zeagman, Neil Zeagman
Point To Point Communications
Donna Hair, Lon Porter
Hugh Syme - Art Direction, Design and Illustration
Andrew MacNaughtan - Photography
Todd Fraser, Richard Sibbald and Meg Symsyk - Photo Editing
Additional Photography - Craig Renwick, Randy Johnson, John Arrowsmith and Donovan Lundstrom
Motorcycling - Michael Mosbach