Bonus Live Tracks
* Overture (4:31)
* Temples Of Syrinx (2:21)
** A Passage To Bangkok (3:57)
* Moving Pictures Tour, Northlands Coliseum - Edmonton, AB, Canada, June 25, 1981
** Permanent Waves Tour, Manchester Apollo - Manchester, England, June 17 1980
"I lie awake, staring out at the bleakness of Megadon. City and sky become one, merging into a single plane, a vast sea of unbroken grey. The Twin Moons, just two pale orbs as they trace their way across the steely sky. I used to think I had a pretty good life here, just plugging into my machine for the day, then watching Templevision or reading a Temple Paper in the evening
My friend Jon always said it was nicer here than under the atmospheric domes of the Outer Planets. We have had peace since 2062, when the surviving planets were banded together under the Red Star of the Solar Federation. The less fortunate gave us a few new moons
I believed what I was told. I thought it was a good life, I thought I was happy. Then I found something that changed it all..."
bass and vocals
"The only justification I need for what I'm doing with Rush is that we finish an album and we love it," singer-bassist Geddy Lee told me one afternoon in the fall of 1978. "Then we take it to the fans, and they respond to it. If what we were doing wasn't right, we wouldn't be where we are. There may be ways of becoming bigger," he added, "but I'm not complaining."
Lee was sitting in the living room of his home in a suburb of Toronto, Canada, the city where he was born and his band was founded. He wore a promo sweatshirt for the British art-rock band Barclay James Harvest, and there was a vintage mellotron against one wall.
There was also ample evidence of Rush's recent, accelerating success, after a decade of hard touring, musical advance and baffled, sometimes vicious reviews: gold and platinum albums for the 1976 live set, All the World's a Stage; the 1977 studio LP, A Farewell to Kings; and 1976's 2112, Rush's fourth album and the group's creative and commercial breakthrough.
Lee was still only 25. He and guitarist Alex Lifeson began playing together shortly after they met in 1967, in a Toronto junior high school. Lifeson was already in a band called Rush when he asked Lee to join. Lee quit school in the eleventh grade to be in Rush full time.
"Club owners didn't want to hear it," Lee said with a laugh, recalling Rush's Cream-and-Led Zeppelin-inspired racket with original drummer John Rutsey. "Their big concern was that the waitresses couldn't hear the beer orders." He remembered a club gig in Oakdale, a town near the Ontario-Michigan border, which lasted half a set. "They got so many complaints from the neighbors next door we decided it was best just to get out of there."
But Rush really started when: Neil Peart replaced Rutsey in the summer of 1974, just before a U.S. tour to promote the debut album, Rush. Born outside Hamilton, Ontario, Peart came with a furious Keith Moon streak in his precise, orchestral drumming. He soon became Rush's lyricist as well, drawing on his avid reading of science-fiction writers such as Samuel R. Delany and Ray Bradbury and the controversial novelist Ayn Rand. Lee, Lifeson and Peart quickly worked their way up from the bottom of arena bills, playing power-blues about trouble and women, to headlining status and the epic storytelling and instrumental complexity on Fly By Night and Caress of Steel, both released in 1975.
"Every album is a point in Rush's history," Lee said that afternoon in 1978. "And if it's not getting better, something's wrong. Every album has to be the perfect Rush album."
The first, perfect Rush album, everyone in the band now agrees, was 2112 - "the first record," Lifeson has said, "where we sounded like Rush." Peart recently described it as "the beginning of everything for us a seed that spread out and grew." But this may be the most remarkable thing about 2112 Rush almost didn't get to make it.
2112 was released 36 years ago, by Mercury Records in April, 1976. It was Rush's first gold, then platinum album and has never been out of print. The band still plays the title track, in some form, in every live show.
"2112" - the 20-minute suite that covered all of Side One on the original vinyl LP - is also 100 years young. It is set in a cold dystopian century - empty of music and joy, run by a totalitarian priesthood that fears spontaneous expression and crushes individual spirit too distant for most of us to dread or comprehend. Anyone listening to 2112 now is unlikely to-live long enough to see that turning of the calendar. Those who follow still have an eternity to prove this record wrong.
But 2112 was not science fiction. Everything in the main tale - youth and discovery; the mutinous power of music; oppression and silence; the choice between sacrifice and surrender - was and remains absolutely contemporary. In March, 1976, a couple of weeks before 2112 came out in North America, a military coup in Argentina marked the start of a seven-year dictatorship there that claimed thousands of victims - the so-called "Disappeared" including writers, poets and musicians. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the ruling Imans banned concerts and broadcasts of classical and popular music. Years later, in Afghanistan, the Taliban went further, prohibiting all musical instruments.
2112 is ultimately about giving everything you've got to the thing you love most, against all odds. Lee, Lifeson and Peart knew what they were talking about. In late 1975, on the eve of making this album, they were in their own dire straits: about to lose their record deal and, one night between gigs, talking of calling it quits.
Lee remembered that flicker of doubt in a 1980 interview with Guitar Player. "We were on an overnight drive to Atlanta, Georgia, and we were all real depressed, saying, 'Oh, this is never going to work! What are we doing here?' We were still getting pressure from people to commercialize our sound. But we always felt that if your music is interesting, people will like it."
Caress of Steel had been a test of that faith, with two multi-part concept pieces - "The Necromancer" and "The Fountain of Lamneth" - totaling 32 minutes. Reviews were scathing, the album sold poorly and Mercury threatened to drop Rush if they didn't cool the extremes. The band had trouble getting bookings, and the shows they played were not well attended. According to Peart, Rush's road crew drolly dubbed that run "The Down the Tubes Tour."
After the last show, a homecoming at Massey Hall in Toronto on January 10th, 1976, Rush went into the studio there with engineer and co-producer Terry Brown. The band still had a contract - barely - but there was no compromise. The five shorter tracks on Side Two - from "A Passage to Bangkok," an explorer's memoir wreathed in primo-weed smoke, to the heavy-rock finish "Something for Nothing" echoed the themes and frustrations in "2112" with more concision but no less daring in arrangement. "The whole theme of that album," Lee said in the 1980 interview, was "individuality...a passionate statement saying, 'Leave us alone, we're okay, we will still get along.'"
Also talking to Guitar Player that year, Lifeson ran down the typical birth of a Rush song. "Neil will go off and work on the lyrics," the guitarist said, "while Geddy and I sit together and throw ideas back and forth. Neil usually has one or two songs written before there are melodies to them, and that gets us started.
"We were pretty straightforward rock until 2112," he noted. After the crisis and doubt of Caress of Steel, 2112 "was like coming back with a vengeance," Lifeson contended. "That album still feels like that to me when I listen to it today. I can feel the hostility hanging out."
It doesn't hit you right away. "2112" begins in electronic mist and menace created on an ARP synthesizer. Then the thunder cracks. A staccato riff, played in crisp trio unison, and a tumbling ménage of hooks and flourishes from the later movements. There is heavy blues in "Overture" - the arcing sighs and biting-treble shots in Lifeson's soloing. You also hear the distance Rush have travelled from their roots and that first album, as composers and players.
Lee makes his vocal entrance in a commanding alpine register, as the holy police in "The Temples of Syrinx." But he was, In 1976, already a more melodic and nuanced singer than his critics claimed, and Lee plays the seeker, stumbling upon a guitar in "Discovery," with authentic wonder. The band echoes the emotional dynamics in Peart's story with the same fluid contrast: the swerve in temper from hopeful folk-rock to vindictive fury as the priests bring the hammer down in "Presentation"; the jangling guitar in clear-night echo in "Oracle: the Dream"; the furious closing instrumental as Peart's tense tight rolls and Lifeson's growling guitar evoke a last stand with no clear victor.
On the gatefold sleeve, under his credit for the lyrics of "2112," Peart acknowledged "the genius of Ayn Rand." In her epic and controversial novels The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), Rand advocated rational thought and individualism over collective force and conventional religion, a philosophy she called Objectivism. As Peart wrote the story and words of "2112," he recognized an unintended resemblance to Rand's 1938 novella, Anthem, in which a young rebel-genius is trapped in a society ruled by a council of tyrannical, reactionary scholars.
"It's always difficult to trace those lines, because so many things tend to coalesce," Peart said in a 1991 radio Interview. "I didn't realize it while I was working on it, [but] the parallels became obvious to me. So I did give credit to her writings." But the free will and fighting spirit in "2112" also came from close to home: Lifeson, born Alex Zivojinovic, was the son of Serbian immigrants, while Lee's parents were Polish Jews who had survived the Nazi concentration camps. Ayn Rand was "at some point in my life a formative influence," the bassist, born Gary Lee Weinrib, admitted in 2004. "But one of many," he quickly added.
Side Two of 2112 is, nominally, the commercial half of the album. It also points ahead to the tonal adventure and melodic craft on 1980's Permanent Waves and Rush's second acknowledged classic and biggest seller, 1981's Moving Pictures. Lee flexes his vocal range, in pitch and character, amid the harmony-metal guitars in "The Twilight Zone." He also makes a rare appearance as a lyricist in "Tears," a spare ballad of sorrow and comfort with a pillowy mellotron played by album designer Hugh Syme, who created 2112's memorable "Starman" logo. The electronics and matured production of 2112 led Rush to briefly consider expanding then lineup, to play the music on stage; instead, they embraced multi-tasking. As Lifeson soloed in "A Passage to Bangkok," Lee would play rhythm guitar on a double-necked Rickenbacker while recreating the bass part on a Moog Taurus synthesizer, triggered by a pedal board. (Once, at a Rush show, I saw Lee get a thunderclap effect on a synthesizer with his ass - sitting on the keyboard as he continued playing bass.)
"Something For Nothing" ends 2112 like the suite in miniature. Peart wrote the lyrics after a ride to a gig in Los Angeles, where he spotted graffiti that declared "Freedom Isn't Free." "Let your heart be the anchor/And the beat of your own song," Peart wrote - and Lee sang at the end. But Rush knew that already "At our heaviest, we were touring seven months of the year and recording for two months," Lee told me in another interview, remembering the heavy weather before 2112. "It was hard, but we felt we had to do that because we weren't getting exposure any other way. Besides, we enjoyed playing, and what better way to learn your craft - to refine what you're doing - than to do it?"
I saw that pleasure and pride up close, shortly after my afternoon with Lee in 1978 - the following January, on stage in Pittsburgh. I was on tour with Rush as an honorary roadie, writing a story about crew life for the rock magazine Circus. At the end of the set, after the final climactic chord of "2112," Lifeson ran toward me with a huge grin and his Gibson guitar, which I grabbed and held ready until he ran back, flashing another big smile as the band returned for encores.
"People have this image of us," Lee remarked that day in his living room, "saying, 'You guys take yourselves too seriously.' And I say, 'You're full of shit.' We don't take ourselves too seriously, only what we do, because to us it's worth caring about."
In that way, 2112 is, more than anything, a record about being Rush. Loving music, moving it forward and taking it to the world, whatever the price. And it is perfect.
Supervised by Jeff Fura and Andy Curran
5.1 Surround Sound Mixed by Richard Chycki at Mixland, Ontario
Mastered by Andy VanDette at Masterdisk, New York NY
Blu-ray Production Facility: Sonic Pool
Menu Design: David Lange
Authoring: Marcus Ionis
Story Art: Tom Hodges
Color Assists: Terri Hodges
Art Direction and Design: Hugh Syme
Photos: Fin Costello and Bruce Cole
Production Manager: Monique McGuffin Newman
Product Manager: Rob Jacobs
Publicity: Sujata Murthy
Clearances: Andrew Labarrere
Management: Ray Danniels at SRO Management, Inc., Toronto
Special thanks: Pegi Cecconi, Meghan Symsyk, Bruce Resnikoff, Herb Agner, Vartan, Mike Diehl, Dave Wright, Carrie Hunt, everyone at SRO/Anthem, Strobosonic, UMD and UMe.
Previously Unreleased Bonus Audio:
THE TEMPLES OF SYRINX (Live)
A PASSAGE TO BANGKOK (Live)
PCM & DTS-HD MASTER AUDIO 5.1 Surround Sound 96kHZ/24-bit
PCM Stereo 96kHz/24-bit
Lyrics - English
Liner Notes - English
Photo Gallery - Digital Comic Book
PRODUCER'S NOTE: With this disc you are now able to hear at home what we hear in the studio. This disc contains all 6 tracks from 2112 in high resolution 96kHz 24-bit PCM stereo, PCM 5.1 surround sound and DTS-Hd Master Audio 5.1 surround sound. It is primarily an audio-only disc with basic navigation and song information displayed on-screen. The 96kHz 24-bit audio on this disc has 256 times more resolution than a CD, providing greater detail and reproducing the music's full dynamic range, from the softest to the loudest sounds.
All lyrics ©1976 Core Music Publishing (SOCAN world ex USA / SESAC USA)
All music by Core Music Publishing. Used by permission.
Sheet Music: ©1976 (Renewed), 1981 CORE MUSIC PUBLISHING.
Used by Permission of ALFRED MUSIC PUBLISHING CO., INC.
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.
© 2012 The Island Def Jam Music Group. B0017479-00 anthem
Comic Book Artwork and Lyrics: ©2012 Core Music.
December 18, 2012
"Like the other Rush surround releases to date - Moving Pictures, A Farewell To Kings, Fly By Night, and Signals - 2112 has been remixed at a 96 khz 24 bit high resolution from the original multitrack masters in a 're-creation' direction taking advantage of the 3-dimensional soundscape of surround, rather than a complete re-interpretation of the mix." - Rick Chycki, November 7, 2012