R40 Live Tour Book

Live It All Again

By Neil Peart

R40 Tourbook, click to enlarge

Exactly two-thirds of my already surprisingly long life has been spent as a member of Rush. Thus our forty years of making music together is not only a large part of the soundtrack of my life, but the longest collaboration - the longest friendship - I have ever known. I once tossed off a quote that now seems deeper than I knew, about how such a relationship best survives: "Because surely the essence of collaboration is making each other happy, yes?"

Regular readers will know that "live it all again" is a phrase from "Headlong Flight" that was inspired by my late drum teacher, Freddie Gruber. Toward the end of his long, haphazard life, friends and students gathered around him in his quirky little house in the San Fernando Valley. Even as his vitality faded, Freddie would sometimes have a burst of energy and launch into tales from New York in the 1940s, or Los Angeles in the 1960s and '70s. Then he would shake his head and smile, "I had quite a ride. I wish I could do it all again."

Recently I picked up a trendy abbreviation, "irl," for "in real life." That is the distinction I would make here. For myself, I have no wish to actually live it all again "irl" - but reliving it, through memories and music, is quite a ride.

I could not attempt to recount even the high points of that journey - from early tours as an opening act to decades as a headliner; the songs and albums, the people and places - but one location and our experiences there might stand as a symbol of our lives together all these years, the work and the play.

In the summer of 2014 I revisited the ruins of Le Studio in Quebec to film an interview. Alex, Geddy, and I recorded there many times from 1979 until 1995, but the place had been abandoned and crumbling for about fifteen years, and I had never been back.

At the moment of arriving, and even on the way there, I felt some emotions bubbling up. At first I pushed them down - unsure exactly what I was feeling, or would feel. Later I realized that the experience was just too much to process all at once - because no other place on Earth had been more important in my life. So that's big.

Glancing back at all the days and nights, the weeks and months, the summers and winters, the songs, the albums, the laughs - it was a long emotional parade of memories. Yet at least the ghosts there were happy ones, so it was enjoyable to wander among them.

As I stood in front of the low, weathered building with the film crew, I described the recording of the intro for "Witch Hunt" on those very steps. On a night in early winter, with a few snowflakes in the air, we set up a microphone outdoors and acted out the vigilante scene. The rabble-rouser was played by yours truly, shouting out stuff like, "We've got to stand up for law and order!" and "We have to protect our children!" The mob I was inciting to mayhem was made up of the Guys at Work - band, crew, and studio guys.

Another memory emerged as I led the crew around to the back of the studio building, where the lake appeared through the trees. I described the recording of the intro for "Natural Science," down by the Lakeshore. On a cold night late in 1979, Alex and I stood at the water's edge with rowboat oars and canoe paddles, stirring the water. A microphone on a stand beside us captured the sound effects for the "Tide Pools" section.

Our first visit to Le Studio was in the fall of 1979, to record the basic tracks for Permanent Waves. In subsequent years we returned to record and mix Moving Pictures, then to mix a live album, Exit: Stage Left, in the summer of 1981. On that project there wasn't much for us to do except occasionally approve performances and balances, so we started messing around with other things. Alex built and crashed radio-control float planes; Geddy learned everything in the world about baseball (his new passion then), and I did a painstaking nut-and-lug restoration of an old set of Hayman drums that were laying around the studio basement. Apparently they had belonged to Corky Laing, drummer with Mountain, and when my work was done, I liked the way they sounded. Each of us eventually started fooling around with words and music and put together "Subdivisions" - I remember Alex and Geddy coming up to me in the driveway of the guest house and playing the demo for me on a cassette player. (Later I played those Haymans on a demo of that song.)

After completing Signals at Le Studio in 1982, we returned through the long winter of 1983-84 to struggle with the making of Grace Under Pressure. From then on our visits to Le Studio became more sporadic - as we experimented with "settings" again, recording and mixing in the English countryside, in London, on the tropic isle of Montserrat in the Caribbean, and in Paris. (Because we could.) In the '90s we returned to Le Studio with Rupert Hine and Stephen W. Tayler to record the basic tracks for Presto, and a few years later with Peter Collins and Kevin "Caveman" Shirley for the same on Counterparts.

So, a lot of my life had been centered on Le Studio. It felt good to reflect on it all now, with pride, and a feeling of having been fortunate to have lived all that once - never mind again. Many, many good memories are attached to those days, and I do treasure them. (Perfect word - "the treasure of a life.")

The following passage was written for a bio and tourbook essay for Presto, in 1990. (Funny that I first referred to us as "Rash" in that story - a joke that would recur over twenty years later, in comedic films to accompany the Time Machine tour.) Just as Le Studio can be considered a symbolic place of work for us, this description of our after-work volleyball games might be emblematic of our leisure hours together.

A long day's work behind us, we gathered outside, charged by the cool air of early summer in the Laurentians. We doused ourselves with bug repellent, then gathered on the floodlit grass, took our sides, and performed a kind of St. Vitus Dance to shake off the mosquitoes. Occasionally one of us hit the ball in the right direction - but not often. Mostly it was punched madly toward the lake, or missed completely, to trickle away into the dark and scary woods. ("That's okay; I'll get it.") We were as amused by Rupert's efforts at volleyball as he'd been by our songs, but indeed, all of us had our moments - laughter contributed more to the game than skill. And if the double-distilled French refreshments subtracted from our skill, they added to our laughter.
Between games the shout went up: "Drink!", and obediently we ran to the line of brandy glasses on the porch. Richard the Raccoon poked his masked face out from beneath the stairs, wanting to know what all the noise was about. "Richard!", we shouted, and the poor frightened beastie ran back under the steps, and we ran laughing back onto the court. The floodlights silvered the grass, an island of light set apart from the world, like a stage.
On this stage, however, we leave out the drive for excellence; no pressure from within, no expectations from others. Mistakes are not a curse, but a cause for Laughter, and on this stage, the play's the thing - we can forget that we also have to work together.
Work together, play together, frighten small mammals together: Are we having fun yet? Yes, we are. And that, now that I think about it, is why we do what we do, and why we keep doing it. We have fun together. How boring it would be if we didn't. Not only that, but we work well together, too, balancing each other like a three-sided mirror, each reflecting a different view, but all moving down the road together. As the Zen farmer says, "Life is like the scissors-paper-stone game: None of the answers is always right, but each one sometimes is."

My feelings were running high during that 2014 visit, but I could not quite define them - words failed for a time. Some people described the place's abandonment as "sad," but wandering through those rooms did not make me feel that way. What I felt was more like lucky, and an overriding sense of gratitude - that we had been fortunate enough to live and work in a place like that, all those times, in every season. And others like it: Air Studios in the tropical paradise of Montserrat, the "quaint" British residential studios like Rockfield, the Manor, and Ridge Farm, and Bearsville and Allaire in New York's Catskill Mountains. Will a rock band ever again enjoy and be nourished by such artistic and playful retreats?

That, to me, is the really sad part.

But never mind all that - let's think happy thoughts!

Like, just consider the statistical absurdity of the three of us, all these years and decades later, still around, and still ... doing it. Still playing those very songs, from a time when, as I described in a recent interview, "we were young and foolish and brave and fun." (If we are no longer young, the other qualities still apply!)

A few years ago the band received a couple of lifetime-achievement-type awards, and in response to one of them I remarked - only half-jokingly - that it was our fans who deserved a lifetime achievement award. Because if we have hung in there, they surely have too.

We never forget that reality, and often celebrate it - just as we are planning to do "irl," on this fortieth anniversary tour. As the three of us discussed the songs we would play, it was all about how we and the fans might be able to live it all again - just this once.

Because it was quite a ride, wasn't it?

Alex Lifeson

R40 Tourbook, click to enlarge

We are just completing the first week of rehearsals and have gone from sounding like a terrible Rush tribute band to a crappy Rush tribute band. I wish we sounded like a mediocre Rush tribute band, but you can't have everything. Hey, it's amazing we can still play at all, after over 40 years together, but each day brings some level of progress and reminds me of how much fun it is to play music, and how blessed we've been to do it together, year after year.

It's funny - as I look around the rehearsal room I see cases and cases of basses (rhyme!), two full kits of drums and my own bloated collection of guitars and I can't imagine how we'll play all this stuff in one night. Geddy and I have been trying out lots of different combinations and I can't tell you how much fun it is to revive many older instruments that haven't seen a stage in some time. Geddy, who is a crazy maniac, has been seriously collecting vintage basses and some guitars as well. He is the consummate collector: serious, knowledgeable, passionate and dedicated. In fact, I was over at his place recently (no, not to borrow his amp!) and he made me play every guitar he acquired in the past year, which I have to admit was really interesting and helpful for both of us, not to mention the delicious coffee, rich and robust with just a hint of, um, coffee. I'm also playing his 1957 Les Paul Goldtop on this tour. I sent him an invoice but still haven't seen a cent.

Neil, who is a crazy maniac as well, is mostly just a crazy maniac, a trait common to all drummers and even those who are just thinking of becoming drummers, but in his case he's like multiple crazy maniacs rolled into one. I didn't quite get the count, because I didn't have a calculator, but he's got something like eleven hundred drums he's playing mostly at once, or at least that's what it sounds like to me. I could do that but I don't feel like it, okay? Anyway, I'm sure they'll "fill" (hilarious drummer joke) you in on all that equipment junk on their pages.

I had dinner with Liam the other night and we took a trip down memory lane. It was remarkable how well we remembered these bright moments in time, sort of like snippets of dreams that fire from memory, considering we were in a critically challenged recall state. We went way back to club dates and crappy hotels we stayed in, sometimes four to a room, and bar owners who'd "buy" us drinks and meals only to present a bill at the end of our weeklong gig that happened to equal our fee. And the time we all took up pipe smoking on a long drive for the entire ride, and the car we rented for a short several-day tour but returned six weeks later with 11,000 more miles on it and a cooler of lobsters in the trunk that we forgot about. And the time we played a union benefit gig at a mental institution, and the time we opened for Sha Na Na at a greaser Sadie Hawkins dress-up gig in Baltimore on Neil's birthday and were lucky to get out alive... I guess it didn't help when we turned up to 12!

There were also all those bands and musicians we played with - some we got to know better than others, and I could hardly believe how many they were once we started to name them: The Projection, Water-Logged Gorilla Fingers, The Cigarettes featuring Peter Stuyvesant, The Crap ... to name a few. And where are they now?

The stories flowed for a couple of hours and as we wiped our laughing tears it occurred to me that we are so fortunate to have lived during such a great period in music history and to have traveled a road not available to many, in the company of madmen. It is now another time to celebrate all that Rush was and is, and get lost in the happy memories we all shared of the special moments spent together.

I know I will.

Neil Peart

R40 Tourbook, click to enlarge


These R40 drums are a time machine that spans an incredible fifteen hundred years. Around 500 CE was the beginning of the Dark Ages in Central Europe, when the Roman Empire was crumbling and overrun by ... what sounds like a bunch of heavy-metal bands - the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths, the Vandals, the Byzantines, the Saxons, the Bulgars, the Huns.

Meanwhile, along the banks of the Olt River in present-day Romania, a mighty oak tree toppled into the water and was gradually buried in silt. Centuries, generations, and historical epochs passed, while that oak's wood gathered supernatural density from the pressure of its airless tomb.

In 2014 that log was raised, and its wood was acquired by Drum Workshop. I tried a few prototype shells, and knew I wanted my new drums made from that log - the wood offered exceptional tonality and projection.

Through the development of DW's "Icon" snare series, I learned about laser-cut inlay work, and we applied that technology to an update of the R30 drumset design. Each of the logos and even the red oblong frames around them (deliberately evoking Keith Moon's "Pictures of Lily" kit, my teenage dream) are made of inlaid hardwoods. The hardware is gold-plated, as seemed appropriate for an "anniversary" tour.

It will soon be no secret that I am playing two separate sets on this tour - one "modern" arrangement like I have been using for the past twenty-five years, and one like the setup I played for almost twenty years before - double bass drums, open concert toms, ride cymbal hard right. Its look is modeled after the black-chrome Slingerlands I played in the late '70s, but DW's version far surpasses those in tone, resonance, playability, and "shininess!" The hardware is plated in black nickel, for a murdered-out look that will be perfect when I am asked to play for the Ostrogoth Vandals or the Byzantine Huns...

Each drumshell in both sets was made from that single Romanian River Oak (DW uses the slogan "1500 Years in the Making," I prefer "Monsters From the Deep.")

The cymbals are all Sabian Paragons, with a couple of new sizes in the mix - 19-inch and 17-inch crashes. Sticks are by Pro-Mark, the heads an ever-changing variety of DW and Remos (always experimenting in that area). The Roland V-Drums (with custom DW shells), MalletKat, KAT trigger pedal, and Dauz pad go through Ableton Live running on a MacBook Pro.

Lorne "Gump" Wheaton continues to keep all that good stuff working and looking wonderful, as he has for almost fifteen years now. Recently a friend asked the two of us who was the bigger "pain" to work with, and after a pause, I replied, "We don't really have trouble with each other - just other people!"

Gump laughed and agreed...

Geddy Lee

R40 Tourbook, click to enlarge

"All About That Bass."

Vintage basses ... custom colour basses ... weird-looking basses ... basses and more basses ... that's my theme for this tour!

They are fascinating and beautiful to look at (IMHO), and the evolution of how they are made and how their sound has developed through the years is very compelling to me.

Okay ... yes, I know - I can be a little obsessive, but I have never collected anything that was more appropriate to who I am and what I do and have done with my life.

So here is the rundown...

Somewhere around the rehearsal phase of the Clockwork Angels Tour I managed to acquire a couple of vintage basses. One was a bit of a conceit as it was a Fender Precision Bass from my birth year - 1953 (the electric bass was only invented in 1951) and the other was a rather whimsical and striking 1968 Fender Telecaster Bass covered in Pink Paisley "wallpaper" - to celebrate the Summer of Love.

As I examined these pieces of Bass History I found that I wanted to know more about them - well, everything about them - and more about how the electric bass came into being. Because as a player, in a sense, it was important to the understanding of my own history.

As a collector of many and various things I have come to recognize when you arrive at "the point of no return!" - where your curiosity begins to drive your passion to the extent that you must know everything about the thing that has come into your focus ... in other words, I was a goner!

So with my esteemed and highly knowledgeable technician John "Skully" McIntosh, we began a two-year journey of searching for vintage basses that told a story to us. I have chosen to share the sound and glory of some of those instruments with you all on this R40 tour. Even though I did not play these exact instruments on the original recordings of these songs, I have tried to choose ones that enhance the music in one way or another. I hope you will enjoy this parade through time, and will dig the experience of hearing these fantastic instruments as much as I will enjoy playing them!

Here they are:
1972 Fender Jazz Bass (Black) My Number One
1972 Fender Jazz Bass (Blonde)
Fender Jazz Bass (Surf Green Custom Shop)
Fender Jazz Bass (Trans Red Custom Shop)
1960 Fender Jazz Bass (Fiesta Red)
1962 Fender Jazz Bass (Sea Foam Green)
1963 Fender Jazz Bass (Black with matching headstock)
1964 Fender Jazz Bass (Lake Placid Blue with matching headstock)
1964 Fender Jazz Bass (Sonic Blue with matching headstock)
1965 Fender Jazz Bass (White)
1966 Fender Jazz Bass (Shoreline Gold with matching headstock)
1966 Fender Jazz Bass (Fiesta Red with matching headstock)
1957 Gibson EB-1 (Walnut)
1964 Gibson Thunderbird IV (Sunburst)
1964 Epiphone Embassy (Cherry)
1967 Gibson Thunderbird II (Polaris White)
1959 Fender Precision Bass (Olympic White) with matching headstock
1965 Fender Precision Bass (Burgundy Mist)
1968 Fender Telecaster Bass (Paisley)
1967 Rickenbacker Model 3261 (FireGlo)
1968 Rickenbacker Model 4001 (BurgundyGlo)
1977 Rickenbacker Model 4001 (JetGlo)
1975 Rickenbacker Model 4080/12 (JetGlo)
1978 Rickenbacker Model 4080/12 (FireGlo)
1961 Hofner Solid Body 2 Pickup (Cherry Red)
1992 Zematis Bass (Black with engraved metal front)


Liam Birt - Tour Manager & Accountant
Donovan Lundstrom - Road Manager
Craig Blazier - Production Manager
Lydia Bourgeau - Production Assistant
Brad Madix - Concert Sound Engineer
Howard Ungerleider - Lighting Director
Tony Geranios - Keyboard Technician
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 - Head Carpenter
John Renner - Carpenter


Clair Global, Jason Heitmann
Anson Moore - Audio System Engineer
Brent Carpenter - Monitor Mixer
Corey Harris - Monitor Systems Engineer


Solotech, Richard Lachance, Hugo Tardif
Yanick Blais - Lighting Crew Chief
Vincent Cadieux - Lighting Technician
Andrew O'Toole - Lighting Technician
Denis Ayotte - Lighting Technician
Benoit Paille - Lighting Technician


Production Design Intl., Brian Beggs
Laser Technician - Scott Wilson


Five Points Production SVCS, John Fletcher
Jerry Ritter - Head Rigger
James Harrelson Jr. - Rigger
Sebastien Richard - Motion Control


Pyrotek, Bob Ross
John Arrowsmith - Pyro Technician


Patrick McLoughlin, Don Johnson


Solotech, Richard Lachance, Hugo Tardif
David Davidian - Video Director
Dominic Moreau - Video Crew Chief
Frederic Fournier - CCU & Controls
Philippe Casutt - Projections
Philippe Valade - LED / Camera Operator
Jonathan Gagnon-Roy - LED / Camera Operator


Matthew Miller


Allan Weinrib - Executive Producer
Dale Heslip - Creative Director

"The World is .. The World is ..."
Crankbunny - Design and Animation

R40 Screen Animations
Julia Deakin/Smith - Graphic Designer/VFX Artist

Clockwork Angels
Moment Factory - Design and Animation

The Anarchist
Christopher Mills - Director

The Wreckers
Pyramid Attack - Design and Animation

Headlong Flight
Josh Vermeulen & Chris Moberg - Design and Animation

Big Money
Retrospective 1 & 2 (2nd set)
Fort York - Design and Animation

Far Cry
Steven Lewis, Spin Productions - Design and Animation

Fan Film & Montage
Banger Films - Original Footage
Mark Morton, Aaron Dark, School & Miller - Editorial

One Little Victory
Spin Productions - Design and Animation

Julia Deakin, Smith - Graphic Designer/VFX Artist

Roll The Bones
4U2C - Design and Animation, Randy Gonzalez - Artistic Director
Aaron Dark, School - Editorial

Distant Early Warning
David Mallet - Original Video Director
Drew MacLeod - Re-editing

Grant Lough - Original Video Director
Drew MacLeod - Re-editing

No Country for Old Hens
Mark Morton, School - Editor

Tom Sawyer
School - Editorial

Red Barchetta/YYZ
Crankbunny - Design and Animation

Camera Eye
Andrew MacNaughtan - Photography
Jackie Roda, School - Editorial

Spirit of Radio/Natural Science/Closer to the Heart
Christopher Mills - Director

Jacob's Ladder
4U2C - Design and Animation, Randy Gonzalez - Artistic Director

Prelude to Hemispheres/Cygnus X-1
CuppaCoffee - Animation

Ask Al
Pyramid Attack - Design and Animation

4U2C - Design and Animation, Randy Gonzalez - Artistic Director

Mel's Rockpile
Special Thanks to Eugene Levy

Exit Stage Left
Director - Dale Heslip
Kelly Norris - Producer
Mark Morton, School - Editor
Pyramid Attack - Animation
Fort York - Compositing
Special Thanks - Rob Cohen

Stage Re-Creations
4U2C - Design and Animation, Randy Gonzalez - Artistic Director
Drew MacLeod, Lauren Piche, Mark Morton & Aaron Dark/School - Additional Editorial

Geddy's Backline Video
Randy Knott & Jamie Kaiser - Design and Animation

Andrew Bergant

Geddy and Alex's Back Line Amps
Dale Heslip - Design Mood Inc. & Mojo Musical Supply - Construction

Special thanks to Marshall and Ampeg


SRO Management Inc.
Ray Danniels, Pegi Cecconi, Meg Symsyk, Andy Curran, Sheila Posner, Emma Sunstrum, Bob Farmer, Cynthia Barry, Tyler Tasson, Veronica Sinnaeve, Jeremy Biderman, Izzy Martin


USA - Artist Group International - Adam Komfeld, June Chaiyasit
International - The Agency Group - Neil Warnock, Samantha Henfrey
Canada - Feldman - Vinny Cinquemani, Olivia Ootes


Live Nation Global Touring, Gerry Barad
Susan Rosenberg, Carla Jespersen
Keith Keller - Live Nation Global Tour Rep
Colin Womack - VIP Nation Rep


B. Zee Brokerage Ltd., Barry Zeagman, Neil Zeagman


Provident Financial MGT., Amy Cetron


Frosch Travel, Marla Wax-Ferguson, Joe Mauceri


Chartright, Justin King
Darren Soley - Pilot
John Bunston - Pilot
Jennifer Merten - Flight Attendant


Hemphill Brothers Coach Company, Mark Larson
Dave Burnette - Bus Driver
Lashawn Lundstrom - Bus Driver
Marty Beeler - Bus Driver
Joe C. Bush - Bus Driver
John Morgan - Bus Driver


Ego Trips, Jim Bodenheimer
Arthur "Mac" McLear - Lead Truck Driver
Jon Cordes - Truck Driver
Mike Kindler - Truck Driver
John Lyon - Truck Driver
Juli Mennitti - Truck Driver
Steve Mennitti - Truck Driver
Bob Wright - Truck Driver


Tait Towers, John 'Freddie' Frederick


Acass Systems, LLC, Aaron Cass


Otto Entertainment, Mark Alger


Point To Point Communications, Ken Micks, Kevin Kett


Smart Art, Donna Hair, Lon Porter


Hugh Syme - Art Direction, Design and Illustration


Craig Renwick, Richard Sibbald, Fin Costello
Neil Zlozower, Patricia Seaton, Randy Johnson
John Arrowsmith, Donovan Lundstrom, Brutus
and Andrew MacNaughtan

Meg Symsyk - Photo Curation
Meg Symsyk and Richard Sibbald - Photo Editing

Dedicated to the Memory of Tom Hartmann