Snakes & Arrows

MVI Edition Extras
5.1 Surround Sound Mix
Video: The Game Of Snakes & Arrows
Photo Gallery
Bio: The Game Of Snakes & Arrows
Credits
Booklet
Wallpaper
IM Icons
Ringtones
Poster


CD Linernotes

NEIL PEART
drums, cymbals, electronic percussion, tambourine

GEDDY LEE
bass guitar, bass pedals, mellotron, vocals

ALEX LIFESON
six- and twelve-strong electric and acoustic guitars, mandola, bouzouki

Produced by Nick Raskulinecz and Rush
Engineered by Richard Chycki
Mixed by Richard Chycki

Recorded at Allaire Studios, Shokan NY, November and December, 2006
Assistant engineer: Matt Snedecor
Additional recording at Grandmaster Recorders, Hollywood CA
Assistant engineer: Andrew Alekel
Mixed at Ocean Way Recording, Hollywood CA, January 2007
Assistant engineer: Scott Moore
Additional engineering and mixing by Nick Raskulinecz
Arrangements by Rush and Nick Raskulinecz
Strings on "Faithless" by Ben Mink
Preproduction at Cherry Beach Studios, Toronto, May and September - October, 2006
Engineered by Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee, assisted by Inaam Haq

Mastered by Brian "Big Bass" Gardner
Management by Ray Danniels, SRO/Anthem, Toronto
Executive Production: Pegi Cecconi, Andy Curran, Lorne Wheaton
Equipment Supervision: Lorne Wheaton and Russ Ryan

Art direction, design, and illustrations by Hugh Syme
Cover painting The Leela of Self-Knowledge by Harish Johari, courtesy of Inner Traditions, Bear & Co.
"Workin' Them Angels" illustration created by Hugh Syme with the assistance of George Eastman House, who supplied the original Lewis Hine photograph on which the illustration is based
"Bravest Face" illustration by Hugh Syme and Andrew MacNaughtan
Band photograph by Andrew MacNaughtan

All songs composed by Lee and Lifeson, with lyrics by Peart,
except "Hope", composed and performed by Lerxst Lifeson, all by his own self

Geddy would like to thank: Fender Musical Instruments and the Fender Custom Shop, Jim Burgess and Frank Szabo of Saved By Technology, Coll Audio, Tech 21, and Rotosound Bass Strings for their technical contributions, Duke and Ewan for their exceptional canine behavior in a supporting role, and last but certainly not least, my crowd at home: Nancy, Kyla, Julian and Lauren, for their unequivocal and loving support.

Alex would like to thank: Hans, Dennis, Paul, and Rudiger at H&K Amplification, Cara and Pat at GMI, Chris and Glen at Garrison Guitars, Dave at Dean Markley, Joel Singer and Audio Technica, Mike and Nina, Jerry, John and Nikki, Stephen Bennett, David Gilmour, Clatty, JP, Rob, Mike, Lukie, and especially Ade, Justin, Michelle, Taylor, and Chuckie.

Neil would like to thank: John Good, Don Lombardi, and Garrison at Drum Workshop, Mark Love and Chris Stankee at Sabian, Pat Brown and Kevin Radomski at Promark, Darren Shoepp at Roland, Michelle Jacoby at Remo, Greg Russell at neilpeart.net. Freddie Gruber, Matt Scannell, Lorne "Gump" Wheaton, all my "circle of brothers" (too many to list - you know who you are), and on the home front, Keith, Claudia, Jennifer, Adela. Winston, and - at the heart of it all - Carrie.

Our collective appreciation goes to Inaam, Shannon, Carmine, Chris, and David Godfrey Catering at Cherry Beach; Matt, Mark, Susan, Ken, Lisa, Rachel, Annalee, Thorn, Jay, Stephanie, Colby, and Julia at Allaire; Andrew and Jen at Grandmaster; Scott, Kelly, and Jessica at Ocean Way; Barry and Clint at BZ Brokers; and - Ω?

Extremely special thanks to our great support group at SRO/Anthem: Ray Danniels, Pegi Cecconi, Sheila Posner, Anna LeCoche, Cynthia Barry, Shelley Nott, Bob Farmer, Andy Curran, and Randy and Frances Rolfe.

Brought to you by the letter "sssss"

Atlantic/Anthem, May 1, 2007
© 2007 Atlantic Records © 2007 Anthem Entertainment

MVI Linernotes

Rush - The Game of Snakes & Arrows Video Documentary
Filmed & Directed by Andrew MacNaughtan
Executive Producers - David Burrier and Pegi Cecconi
Editor - Andrew Adolphus
Producer - Andrew MacNaughtan
Interview Producer - Cristina Anderlini
Additional Photography - Max Gutierrez, Brennan Maxwell, Lorne Wheaton
Sound - Jay Verkamp
Online - Fini Films, Toronto
Onscreen Titles and Graphics - Hugh Syme
Special Thanks to Lorne Wheaton, Andy Curran, Nick Raskulinecz, Matt Snedecor, Allaire Studios, Andrew Alekel, Grandmaster Recorders Ltd., Marc Bachli
5.1 Audio Mix by Richard Chycki
Audio Post Production: Mixland Music & DVD, Toronto and Lerxst Sound, Toronto
Mastered by Brian "Big Bass" Gardner

Produced by Nick Raskulinecz and Rush
Engineered by Richard Chycki
Mixed by Richard Chycki

Recorded at Allaire Studios, Shokan NY, November and December, 2006
Assistant engineer: Matt Snedecor
Additional recording at Grandmaster Recorders, Hollywood CA
Assistant engineer: Andrew Alekel
Mixed at Ocean Way Recording, Hollywood CA, January 2007
Assistant engineer: Scott Moore
Additional engineering and mixing by Nick Raskulinecz
Arrangements by Rush and Nick Raskulinecz
Strings on "Faithless" by Ben Mink
Preproduction at Cherry Beach Studios, Toronto, May and September - October, 2006
Engineered by Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee, assisted by Inaam Haq

Mastered by Brian "Big Bass" Gardner
Management by Ray Danniels, SRO/Anthem, Toronto
Executive Production: Pegi Cecconi, Andy Curran, Lorne Wheaton
Equipment Supervision: Lorne Wheaton and Russ Ryan

Art direction, design, and illustrations by Hugh Syme
Cover painting The Leela of Self-Knowledge by Harish Johari, courtesy of Inner Traditions, Bear & Co.
"Workin' Them Angels" illustration created by Hugh Syme with the assistance of George Eastman House, who supplied the original Lewis Hine photograph on which the illustration is based
"Bravest Face" illustration by Hugh Syme and Andrew MacNaughtan
Band photograph by Andrew MacNaughtan

All songs composed by Lee and Lifeson, with lyrics by Peart,
except "Hope", composed and performed by Lerxst Lifeson, all by his own self

Geddy would like to thank: Fender Musical Instruments and the Fender Custom Shop, Jim Burgess and Frank Szabo of Saved By Technology, Coll Audio, Tech 21, and Rotosound Bass Strings for their technical contributions, Duke and Ewan for their exceptional canine behavior in a supporting role, and last but certainly not least, my crowd at home: Nancy, Kyla, Julian and Lauren, for their unequivocal and loving support.

Alex would like to thank: Hans, Dennis, Paul, and Rudiger at H&K Amplification, Cara and Pat at GMI, Chris and Glen at Garrison Guitars, Dave at Dean Markley, Joel Singer and Audio Technica, Mike and Nina, Jerry, John and Nikki, Stephen Bennett, David Gilmour, Clatty, JP, Rob, Mike, Lukie, and especially Ade, Justin, Michelle, Taylor, and Chuckie.

Neil would like to thank: John Good, Don Lombardi, and Garrison at Drum Workshop, Mark Love and Chris Stankee at Sabian, Pat Brown and Kevin Radomski at Promark, Darren Shoepp at Roland, Michelle Jacoby at Remo, Greg Russell at neilpeart.net. Freddie Gruber, Matt Scannell, Lorne "Gump" Wheaton, all my "circle of brothers" (too many to list - you know who you are), and on the home front, Keith, Claudia, Jennifer, Adela. Winston, and - at the heart of it all - Carrie.

Our collective appreciation goes to Inaam, Shannon, Carmine, Chris, and David Godfrey Catering at Cherry Beach; Matt, Mark, Susan, Ken, Lisa, Rachel, Annalee, Thorn, Jay, Stephanie, Colby, and Julia at Allaire; Andrew and Jen at Grandmaster; Scott, Kelly, and Jessica at Ocean Way; Barry and Clint at BZ Brokers; and - Ω?

Extremely special thanks to our great support group at SRO/Anthem: Ray Danniels, Pegi Cecconi, Sheila Posner, Anna LeCoche, Cynthia Barry, Shelley Nott, Bob Farmer, Andy Curran, and Randy and Frances Rolfe.

Brought to you by the letter "sssss"

© 2007 Atlantic Records © 2007 Anthem Entertainment

Miscellaneous

Far Cry Workin' Them Angels Live Single
  • Highest Billboard Chart Position: debuted at #3 and dropped off after 14 weeks; click here for full history.
  • Snakes & Arrows was released on CD May 1st, 2007.
  • Released as a double album on June 19th, it was limited to 5,000 copies, pressed on 180-gram HQ audiophile vinyl at RTI for the best possible sound.
  • Released June 26, 2007, the MVI includes: hi-resolution audio; the entire album in 5.1 surround sound; video documentary "RUSH: The Game Of Snakes & Arrows", an intimate look at the making of the new album; create your own ringtones; plus wallpapers, buddy icons, and more. A "Special UK tour Edition" was released September 3rd, including the oringial CD, and a bonus DVD containing the content previously released on the MVI.
  • Reissued January 15, 2016 by Universal Music Enterprises on 200-gram, heavyweight vinyl with a download code for a 320kbps MP4 vinyl ripped Digital Audio album download as well as high resolution Digital Audio editions in DSD (2.8mHz), 192khz / 24-bit, 96kHz / 24-bit.
  • "Far Cry", the first single, including a 4:34 radio edit and 5:21 album version, was released to radio stations March 12th, 2007, and the video directed by Chris Mills was released May 8th, 2007. "Far Cry" peaked at #22 on Billboard's "Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks".
  • "Spin Drift", the second single, was released on June 1st, 2007, but did not chart. The promo copy submitted to radio stations includes both the album version and a radio edit.
  • "The Main Monkey Business", drums only master, was added to the front page at NeilPeart.net on June 6th, 2007.
  • "The Larger Bowl", the third single, was released to Heritage Rock, Adult Contemporary, and Country (yes, country!) radio stations June 25th, 2007.
  • Chapter 5 of Neil Peart's The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa is titled "The Larger Bowl" and refers to the title of a song from a dream he had at the Happy Hotel in Cameroon in 1988. Neil suffered dysentery and had what he described as a "weird dream"; in that dream he heard a song, a ballad called "A Larger Bowl" about loneliness and the misfortunes in life. He could not recall ever hearing of this song before. "But I like the title" he said.
  • Bobby Standridge, creator of the "YYZ" animated video, dropped us a line sharing that he was hired by Rush to create a video to support Snakes & Arrows. The result is "Malignant Narcissism", with a very interesting demonstration of religion through history. See it at BobbysBrane.com, by clicking the "Animation Fun" link on the homepage. - July 27, 2007
  • "Workin' Them Angels" was released as a single March 10th, 2008. The promo copy submitted to radio stations includes three versions of the song; the radio-edit (4:19), the live version from their forthcoming Snakes & Arrows Live album (5:03) and the original album version (4:55). In addition, the live track was made available on iTunes in advance of the album's release. In its second week of rotation, it landed at #30 on the Mediabase Mainstream Rock Chart.
  • "Malignant Narcissism" was nominated for the Best Rock Instrumental Performance Grammy in 2008 (their fifth nomination). The winner was "Once Upon A Time In The West" by Bruce Springsteen, from We All Love Ennio Morricone.
  • A live version of "Hope", subtitled "Live For The Art Of Peace", was included on the Songs For Tibet - The Art Of Peace benefit album released August 12, 2008. The performance was recorded May 25th, 2008, in Regina, Saskatchewan; click here for more information. This version was nominated for the Best Rock Instrumental Performance Grammy in 2009 (their sixth nomination). The winner was "Peaches En Regalia" by Dweezil Zappa, from Zappa Plays Zappa.
  • Click here for the 'Snakes & Arrows' Transcript Archive.

In Their Own Words

"We're going to go in the studio early next year and start writing. Its time for a new record, time to move forward...we're going to hopefully finish the record by the summer, and think about hitting the road around this time next year." - Alex Lifeson on Detriot's WRIF, November 30, 2005
"We're planning to work on small groups of songs at a time, writing them, then recording them and starting again. It's a different way of working for us...I consciously held back on (Vapor Trails)...next time I'll be a lot more elaborate." - Alex Lifeson, Classic Rock, February 2006
"...just this past week Alex and Geddy and I have started work on some new songs. Although we are 3000 miles apart, the two of them at home in Toronto and me in California, last week I received an e-mail from Geddy saying that he and Alex had spent the day in his home studio, and not only did they have fun, but they also thought they'd written something good...Alex and Geddy and I plan to get together soon in person and make some serious plans for writing and recording this year. Hopefully we'll also get together soon with guitars and drums...However we resolve that this time, the actual work is sure to take most of 2006 to accomplish..." - Neil Peart, NeilPeart.net, January 20, 2006
"It's early stages. We have nine songs written so far. We're going to continue until we have about 12 songs and finish up preproduction at the end of October, so we'll be really well prepared and then go in the studio in November and start recording." - Alex Lifeson, Jam! Music, September 29, 2006
"There's a quality about this record that's very expansive and musically lyrical. It's very melodic. I've written almost exclusively on acoustic guitar. When Geddy and I write, I'm playing acoustic and he's playing bass, so there's a different character to the way the writing is developing. To me, it seems so apparent immediately whether a piece of music works or not when it's written on acoustic. You're not fooled by some distorted sound or some effect you put on guitar or something like that. This is pure in its essence and you know right away whether this chorus works or whether this verse works." - Alex Lifeson, Jam! Music, September 29, 2006
"In early March, winter still ruled the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. I picked up Alex and Geddy at the local airport...As recounted in my previous news report, back in January I had sent Alex and Geddy some lyrics. I knew they had been working with some of them, but I hadn't heard anything yet...We gathered before the fire in the living room and started listening. As the songs played out, the response we all shared was a sense of clarity - for Alex and Geddy, playing the songs for me that first time threw their strengths and weaknesses into sharp contrast, and they kept saying things like, "I know what we have to do here." Same for me, lyrically - I was very gratified to hear parts that worked, saying "Yeah" when I heard Geddy sing a line just perfectly, while also knowing right away what I could improve upon. There were five song sketches - guitar, vocals, and drum machine - and I liked them all. I also noticed those songs already seemed to have a sort of unity, a stylistic approach of chord structures, rhythms, and vocal delivery that I could only describe as "spiritual." I'll say no more about that aspect until we get farther into it, but it was wonderful that after thirty years of working together, we could still find different paths to explore together...So now I'm going to spend the month of May in Toronto, where we have rented a small studio. It will be great to have the opportunity to work together on those songs, and hopefully some new ones, too." - Neil Peart, NeilPeart.net, April 26, 2006
"By the end of May, we had eight songs that we all liked, and I had worked out drum parts for six of them...at the end of our month together, I was driving from Toronto to Quebec for a few days rest, and I was able to listen to the songs we had been working on in the familiar, pleasurable space of a car cruising down the long, straight highway. The next day I wrote to Alex and Geddy, 'On the drive back yesterday, I did have the opportunity to listen to the new songs with some objectivity, in my favorite listening environment, and I wanted to tell you I think they are great! The freshest stuff we have done since - well, ever! As I intuited when I first heard your song sketches, there is something very different about the character of these songs, and I'm really pleased by that. I mean to say - at our ages!'...
"While considering the logistics of getting my drums from Toronto to Los Angeles and back, I was talking with my friends at Drum Workshop, and they pointed out that some busy drummers have a different drumset for each coast, stored and ready when they need it. Since I lived on the West Coast now, maybe I should have a 'West Coast kit.' Well, yeah, obviously. So in talking to John Good at DW, we decided to build a pure 'recording' kit, with basic chrome hardware and a natural wood finish. John designed an elaborate combination of laminates and reinforcement hoops for each individual shell...Lorne and I had decided on a 'tobacco sunburst' finish, like a classic guitar, but when John chose 'curly maple' for the base of it, and master painter Louie applied his artistry, they looked way better than I had imagined." - Neil Peart, NeilPeart.net, June 17, 2006
"Rush. That would be my dream album to make. Nobody plays like those guys anymore.'" - Nick Raskulinecz, EQ Magazine, June 2006
"Rush has penned eight songs for its next studio album, which should be out in early 2007, according to drummer Neil Peart. The artist tells Billboard.com his lyrics for the as-yet-untitled set were greatly influenced by his motorcycle journeys throughout the United States...Peart says he was struck by the ubiquity of religious billboards that have sprung up on America's highways, which got him thinking about some weighty topics...'I looked for the good side of faith,' Peart says. 'To me it ought to be your armor, something to protect you and something to console you in dark times. But it's more often being turned into a sword, and that's one big theme I'm messing with.' Musically, the new album is continuing in much the same vein as 2002's 'Vapor Trails,' which returned Rush to a more guitar/bass/drums-driven sound. But Peart is quick to add that the music is 'remarkably organic in a way that I haven't heard [from Rush] before. We spent a month together in May working on those songs and developing our individual instrument parts for them. It's early to characterize it, but it's definitely fresh and different and that's certainly satisfying.' Peart, bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson will regroup next month to finish pre-production and will begin recording in November." - Billboard.com, September 11, 2006
"Actually, it was thanks to the Internet. I was cruising around online and saw that Rush were getting ready to make a new record. No producer was named, so I called my manager and asked him to throw my hat in the ring. He sent them a press kit and some samples of my work. I was taking a total chance, to be quite honest, because I thought, No way will Rush even listen to my stuff, let alone call me. A few days later, I got a call from my manager, and he told me they were already working with somebody else. They loved my reel, which knocked me out - 'Rush loves my reel? Amazing!' [laughs] - but they were already deep into things. So I thought, OK, maybe next time. At least they know of me, you know? [laughs] Two months later, though, my manager called to tell me that things went south between Rush and the other producer, and they wanted to meet with me. I was out shopping with my wife when I got the call, and I was completely floored. [laughs] You have to understand, they're one of my favorite all-time bands in the world. I am a Rush head big-time! I flew up to meet them the next day, on my own dime, and I met Geddy and Alex at Geddy's house. We spent hours talking about life! I don't think we even mentioned the word 'music' until a couple of hours into our meeting. They asked me tons of questions; they were really checking me out, what kind of person I was. Then I went down to Geddy's basement to hear some of the stuff they had been working on. After six or seven songs, they asked me what I thought, and I was as honest as I could be about anything. I said, 'I think this song is great, but the first chorus is too long. I think the drums could do something different here. Al, why don't you try this here?' I must have passed the test, because the next day I met with Neil. Again, we didn't speak about Rush at first. We talked Shakespeare, hiking, poetry, all kinds of things. It wasn't until the very end that we talked about drums." - Nick Raskulinecz, MusicRadar.com, November 3, 2010
"Canadian rock legends Rush will be co-producing their new studio album for Anthem Records with Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters). The American producer will be flying up to Toronto next week to meet with the band, which is in the demo phase right now. 'It's early stages. We have nine songs written so far,' says guitarist Alex Lifeson. 'We're going to continue until we have about 12 songs and finish up preproduction at the end of October, so we'll be really well prepared and then go in the studio in November and start recording...there's a quality about this record that's very expansive and musically lyrical. It's very melodic. I've written almost exclusively on acoustic guitar. When Geddy and I write, I'm playing acoustic and he's playing bass, so there's a different character to the way the writing is developing.'" - Jam! Music, September 29, 2006
"I started on viola in Junior High School and over the years I'd picked up a mandolin or mandola and kinda learned my way around. The bouzouki was really kinda cool. I was visiting a friend in Mykonos last summer and he has a really beautiful place on the edge of a cliff. I'm an early riser, so I'd get up, make a cup of coffee and go and sit on the wall overlooking the Aegean. So I'd be just sitting there playing this bouzouki, feeling my way around it and, I swear to you, these little fishing boats would go by and they'd wave at me and it was like (affects Harry Enfield-style Mediterranean accent): 'That's a good Greek boy up there!' If they only knew!" - Alex Lifeson, Guitarist, August 2007
"...I was playing a lot of acoustic before making the record and my head was stuck in that world. Plus, I had recently seen Tommy Emmanuel and Stephen Bennett perform, and I was very taken with what they were doing. In fact, Stephen gave me a half capo, which I'd never seen before [, and I thought it was really cool. You can move it around but still have open strings - what an awesome little thing! I used it on the song Bravest Face." - Musicradar.com, July 24, 2008
"Peart revealed few details about the record, except to say that reflections on faith emerged as a clear theme from the very beginning. 'I tried hard to look at it as a subject - what's good about it - and tried to balance that against what I saw as not being a good thing,' said Peart, noting his experience as a Canadian living in the United States for the past six years has given him a unique perspective on world events. 'All we're seeing, especially in the world today, is a very malevolent kind of faith, in fundamentalism of all kinds, on both sides. One of the lines I use in the new songs equates Middle East and Middle West, because this stuff is going on in both localities, although both would probably be insulted by the comparison."" - Macleans.ca, October 19, 2006
"Meanwhile, a certain young producer and engineer in California heard we were working on new material, and asked his manager to contact our office, and send us some of his work. His name-Nick Raskulinecz-remained unspellable and unpronounceable for a while, but we liked what we heard. Nick was best known for his highly successful work with the Foo Fighters, but before that he had a long history as a musician, engineer, and producer. He had started out in Knoxville, Tennessee, and more-or-less worked his way west, studio by studio. When we met Nick, we all liked his youthful, unbridled enthusiasm, but at 36, he was also experienced enough to have a strong background in music and recording. We agreed with the comments and suggestions he had for our new songs, and loved his excitement about them, so we signed him up...Nick was an irrepressible air drummer, and he would describe his suggestions for my drum parts with wild flailing arms and vocalizations: 'bloppida-bloppida-batu-batu-whirrrrr-blop-booujze.' That last syllable is onomatopoeic for a combination of bass drum and crash cymbal (of course), and before long it became Nick's, er, 'nick' name: 'Booujze.'" - Neil Peart, NeilPeart.net, December 8, 2006
"By October, Toronto's days were often chilly, damp, and gloomy, with cold rains and occasional spells of glittering autumn sunshine, darkening earlier every day. Nick joined us in the little studio down by the old waterfront, and together we continued refining the arrangements and our individual parts. We had ten songs finished by then, and were working on one of our typical 'mental-instrumentals' to be the eleventh." - Neil Peart, NeilPeart.net, December 8, 2006
"...the new set of purpose-built 'recording' drums that my friends at Drum Workshop put together for me, which were intended to be used on Matt's project and become my 'West Coast kit,' sounded so good that I had them sent straight east, to use on the new Rush album....by November, when we moved to Allaire Studios in New York's Catskill Mountains to start the 'serious' recording...As I said to Rich and Nick when my last drum track was finished, 'I have never enjoyed the recording process so much, nor been so satisfied with the results.'...all of that energy, excitement, and activity have sped the project along, and now it looks as though the recording will be finished by the end of the year-far ahead of schedule. We are planning on doing the final mixing early in the New Year" - Neil Peart, NeilPeart.net, December 8, 2006
"Nick Raskulinecz was a Rush freak when he was playing bass and guitar in local Knox rock bands circa 1990...imagine the excitement for Raskulinecz-now a well-regarded record producer living in L.A.-when the band's management called last year and offered him the chance to produce the venerable outfit's 19th studio album. Raskulinecz accepted, needless to say, and spent five weeks living and working with the trio in a remote woodland studio on a mountaintop in upstate New York...'It was a dream come true, because they were one of my favorite bands since I started listening to music when I was 10 years old...Suddenly, I was sitting in Geddy Lee's kitchen, Alex Lifeson is there drinking coffee, and we're talking about preproduction. I think they needed someone to kind of come in and kick them in the ass, and I was able to do that. We had a great time, and I think we made their best record in 15 years...For a few weeks, I was basically the fourth member of Rush,' Raskulinecz says of his production method. 'I become part of it. I have to really be able to get inside the songs; when I make a record, I can't just be casual about it.' He adds that the upcoming release will have 'the sound and vibe of an old Rush record'-i.e. one of those gloriously overwrought sci-fi prog-metal epics he grew up with, albums like 2112 and Hemispheres and Permanent Waves." - Nick Raskulinecz, Knoxville's MetroPulse.com, January 10, 2007
"In the space of five weeks, we recorded the whole record. I think this is the first record we've recorded in about 30 days since A Farewell To Kings. We're finally learning to do this right, 30 years later!...We're in Los Angeles right now, we got here this week, on Monday (January 15th), and we're mixing until the end of the month, and then we should be done." - Alex Lifeson, therock951.com, January 17, 2007
"Since the late fall, I've been in the studio recording and mixing a new CD for Rush with Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Stone Sour) producing. Recording was completed at Allaire Studios in Shokan, New York during November/December 2006. I mixed the CD in the Neve 88R room (Studio D) at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles. Experiencing their immense musical talent and personal integrity over the course of an entire CD was truly inspirational. And Nick is such an enthusiastic, focused talent as well -- a rocker through and through too. A small snippet of the first single 'Far Cry' is posted at rush.com .... enjoy the 'hemispheres chord' ... heh heh heh." - Rich Chycki's News Blog, February 18, 2007
"Rush returns with its first studio album in five years, as Snakes & Arrows bows at No. 3 with 93,000 units. Its last studio set, 2002's Vapor Trails, began at No. 6 with 108,000. All told, the new set is the act's 27th album to reach The Billboard 200. Its highest-charting effort remains 1993's Counterparts, which debuted and peaked at No. 2" - Billboard.com, May 9, 2007
"['The Main Monkey Business'] was a pet project of mine. Once we had most of the material written, we did this big monster jam. We had a ton of great parts, and I spent four days trying to create the most self-indulgent piece I could think of. I changed parts when I felt like it, and I put it together in a really selfish way, not considering whether someone else would be able to understand it or not. I had a lot fun chopping up Alex's guitar parts." - Geddy Lee, Bass Player, August 2007
"'Malignant Narcissism' was the very last thing we did we on the record; we wrote it in the studio after we were pretty much done with everything. I was in the middle of doing vocal tracks when a friend visited and told me about Fender's Jaco Pastorius Tribute Bass. I checked it out online and thought it looked cool, so I asked Fender to send me one. I'd just plink on it in between vocal takes. it's a glorious bass to play-it just feels special. I was jamming with it one day, and unbeknownst to me, Nick was recording the jam. At one point I was playing a little riff, and he came in and went, 'Dude, that's a song- you've got to make a song out of that!' Neil happened to be there-we had finished his drums by then and torn down his regular kit, but we had left a little four-piece kit set up for us to jam on. We threw the song together with just bass and drums, playing live. Later, Alex came back and put his parts down. It took just a couple of days to throw together." - Geddy Lee, Bass Player, August 2007
"It's hard to describe, it's big, it's bold, and I think it's some of the best work we've done in years. I'm really pleased with the quality of the songs, and there's lots of playing on it...Playing those songs [from Feedback] that we loved and grew up on, I think it helped us remember how sometimes it's the simplicity or the directness of an arrangement that really makes a great song. And the other thing is, we played all together in the studio for a lot of the 'Feedback' stuff. That's something that a lot of producers had been pushing us to do for a while but which we hadn't done in years. It was great to turn off the click and just play - you know, not worry so much about being so, quote, metronomic - and that definitely carried over into this record." - Geddy Lee, Revolver Magazine, February 26, 2007
"To my surprise, 'snakes and arrows' called up several links to something called 'Leela, The Game of Self Knowledge,' or, incredibly, 'The Game of Snakes and Arrows.' Long story short, I followed that trail with growing enthusiasm, and learned that Leela (Hindi for 'the game') was at least 2,000 years old, and had been created by Buddhist saints and sages as a game of karma-like many games, a metaphor for life...The Leela player rolls a single die, said to be affected by his or her karma, and moves around the board. Each square on the grid represents a stage of consciousness or existence, and the player is raised to higher levels by arrows, and brought low by snakes. The children's game 'Snakes and Ladders' (sometimes called 'Chutes and Ladders') was adapted from Leela by the British during the 19th century Colonial period. After that, the original game almost disappeared-apparently only two gameboards existed in India when scholar Harish Johari revived the game and brought it to America in the 1970s...When I told Alex and Geddy about the Leela connection, and showed them the gameboard painted by Harish Johari, they were as excited by all that serendipity as I was, and we agreed to use his painting for the cover." - Neil Peart, "The Game of Snakes & Arrows"
"The songs on this album are very powerful and very positive. I think it's the best work we have ever done. And that says a lot to still be excited about what I am doing after more than 30 years. This material is really classic Rush." - Geddy Lee, ESPN.com, March 14, 2007
"For years, I've wanted to make a documentary of Rush in the recording studio, and tell the story of the process of making an album. So, it was the opportunity of a lifetime to be a 'fly on the wall' and capture rare footage of the guys at work on their upcoming release, Snakes & Arrows. The documentary, entitled The Game of Snakes & Arrows, was filmed over the course of 20 days at a beautiful studio in New York's Catskill Mountains." - Andrew MacNaughtan, andrewmacnaughtan.net, April 17, 2007
"Both producer Nick Raskulinecz and engineer Rick Chycki were armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of Rush's 30- years-plus recording career: 'They're quoting lyrics all the time and having a hoot,' says Lee, 'and I'm going, 'Jeez, I don't remember that one. How do they remember it?'" - National Post, April 23, 2007
"We're all big Matt Stone fans, and South Park fans, so we we were all fans of that movie," Rush singer-bassist Geddy Lee said yesterday in Toronto. "And (Rush drummer-lyricist) Neil (Peart) is friends with Matt Stone. And Matt and Trey Parker were both Rush fans at some point. So they keep in contact. And (Neil) said, "Look, we want to do this song called Malignant Narcissism, and (Matt) was thrilled. He said, 'Great!' " - Jam! Music, April 27, 2007
"All of these well-armed religions start with children," Peart explains, mentioning Richard Dawkins' bestselling book The God Delusion. "A Christian child, a Muslim child - there's no such thing. They're made that way by their parents....Faithless was born out of the same reflection..Faith, for some people, can be a consolation, an answer to the big questions or solace when they're feeling hurt and lonely. It's a kind of armour. But bad faith, that's a kind of sword." - Neil Peart, GlobeAndMail.com, April 28, 2007
"It came from traveling through all these back roads and small towns and seeing these church signs everywhere...I tried to imagine going by one with the crescent and star saying, 'There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.' Or one with the Star of David saying, 'That carpenter wasn't our messiah.' It makes me laugh, in a way, but in another, this is so f--ked up...I didn't want to make enemies gratuitously, but I decided I had to say something because if I didn't I was just allowing that to happen. It's worth speaking out despite the vilification and stuff that might come back at you. If you're not speaking for reason, you're speaking for unreason." - Neil Peart, Toronto Star, April 28, 2007
"'He [Raskulinecz] was a very stealth fan, I didn't really know he was that big a fan when we met him...He kept it quiet. He was very professional. And slowly as we got working together, it started to seep out. And the engineer we worked with Canadian Rich Chickie, also knew a lot more about our music than he initially led me to believe. So throughout the making of the record there was this little relationship they were having, little obscurities, like certain lyrics would be quoted out of the blue, and they'd be riffing on our songs from the past that I couldn't even remember. And I'm going, 'What's that from?' And they'd go, 'That's from one your songs, dude!' You couldn't help but smile because they very sweet.'" - Geddy Lee, TorontoSun.com, May 6, 2007
"I recorded and mixed Snakes & Arrows, Nick Raskulinecz produced it. We both had a common goal to make a modern yet more vintage sounding Rush CD so it was a very complementary relationship. Nick's an accomplished engineer in his own right having worked with the Foo Fighters, so I very much respect the trust he put in me. Regardless of which band I'm working with, I never feel like my gig is just a job. I'm not the weekend nightshift boy at 7-11 so I'm very grateful. But I will say that in between all the listening and meter watching, once in a while you look up and see Geddy riffing out and the thought crosses your mind - 'Holy Fuck! I'm recording Rush!'" - Richard Chycki, Bravewords.com, November 22, 2007
"Neil Peart proves that he is still percussively pertinent to a younger generation of drummers by winning DRUM! magazine's 'Drummies 2007' 'Drummer Of The Year'. He also won four other awards. Neil Peart, who turned 55 on September 12, received some pretty cool belated birthday presents from Enter Music Publishing, publishers of hip/percussion magazines worldwide, such as DRUM! and Traps magazines. During this year's 'Drummies', Peart was named 'Drummer Of The Year' by 4000 drummers, who participated in the readership survey conducted by DRUM! for the Drummies. The runners-up were: Danny Carey, Vinnie Colaiuta, Thomas Lang. Additionally Peart won four more 'Drummies' for 'Progressive Rock Drummer,' 'Live Performer,' 'DVD' ('Anatomy Of A Drum Solo'), and 'Drumming Album' ('Snakes & Arrows' by RUSH). While Peart has received numerous awards for his drumming over his career, this marks the first time that he has won DRUM!'s prestigious 'Drummer Of The Year'. 'Neil Peart was on our June cover because we suspected this would be a big album for RUSH,' said Phil Hood, publisher of Enter Music Publishing. Even though our audience skews younger than RUSH's fan base, he's a huge influence on all drummers, so it's not surprising he finally won this award from DRUM!'s readers,' continued Hood." - Blabbermouth.com December 25, 2007
"Snakes & Arrows made a triumphant debut on the Billboard 200 upon its release May 2007, entering the chart in the #3 spot. The album's popular success marked Rush's highest chart debut since 1993, as well as the group's eleventh top ten album in the U.S. Snakes & Arrows also debuted at #3 in the band's native Canada and at #13 in the UK - the band's highest British chart ranking in 16 years. In addition, the album premiered in the top ten in Sweden and Finland, and in the top twenty in Norway, the Netherlands, and Japan." - Snakes & Arrows Live Press Release, September 22, 2008
"Leaving the park at Twentynine Palms, I continued north on the road to the ghost town of Amboy, and Roy's Motel, which appeared in Ghost Rider. In fact, unknown to most people, Amboy also appears on the booklet cover of the Snakes and Arrows CD, and lately, on the new concert DVD, plus at the beginning of the 'What's That Smell?' film that played before 'Far Cry' during our concerts this past summer. I watched it every night from my 'waiting-chair' behind Geddy's ampline (er, rotisseries), before the second set, and it always gave me a smile. Back in 2006, when Hugh Syme and I were trading ideas for that Snakes and Arrows cover, we discussed a surreal desert highway scene. As a reference, I sent him one of my Ghost Rider photographs, taken on a stretch of old Route 66, looking west toward the cluster of crumbling buildings at Amboy, with the unmistakable Amboy Crater in the distance. Hugh ended up 'building' the scene on that original photo, which had been taken in 1998 (as a slide, in those days). Like the Monument Valley ten-years-apart photo that appeared in a story earlier this year, 'South by Southwest,' I decided to pause for a ten-year anniversary shot of Route 66 and Amboy." - Neil Peart, News Weather & Sports, December 2008

Video Interviews

Promos

The Games Of Snakes And Arrows; Prize Every Time

by Neil Peart

Snakes & Arrows (first leg) Tourbook, click to enlarge Snakes & Arrows (second leg) Tourbook, click to enlarge

"PRIZE EVERY TIME!" I used to have to call that out, over and over, one long-ago summer on the midway at Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie, Ontario. "Catch a bubble, prize every time!" The "bubbles" were ping-pong balls with painted numbers that floated on a jet of forced air, like popcorn. You had to catch one with a tiny net, and its number would match the array of shelves behind me, rewarding the bubble catcher with a stuffed animal, keychain, or "magic trick." Prize every time.

Back then I was about twelve, and I'm older now, but speaking of prizes (and startling segues), I will never forget first hearing the initial few songs for this album. On a snowy day in March 2006, Alex and Geddy came to visit me at my house in Quebec, and brought a CD of a handful of songs they'd put together in Geddy's home studio in Toronto, with some lyrics I'd sent up from California.

It is always a thrill to hear my words sung for the first time, when those dry, printed lines I've labored over finally become charged with life. "Prize every time." Plus, there's a sense of affirmation in knowing that Geddy found those words worth singing (many are sent; few are chosen).

When I first listen to a rough sketch of guitar, bass, vocal, and drum machine, I am hearing it as the lyricist, seeing how the words work, and I am also listening as the drummer, knowing I will have to learn that song and play it, maybe hundreds of times. In a larger sense, though, I'm really listening as a "fan"- someone who wants to love that song. Even on first listen, I felt that way about "Bravest Face" and "The Way the Wind Blows," and I was especially excited by how different they were from anything we had done before?fresh and vital, yet rooted in some deeper musical streams.

Three decades of working together have given us wells of experience to draw upon, sure, but perhaps more important are the longer intervals between songwriting sessions, when we can let those aquifers fill. In the early years, it was an album every six months, then every year, then every two years, but in the past decade, for one reason and another, it's been five years between projects. And it seems that with more time to learn and grow, we can still surprise ourselves.

At the time of hearing the first few songs, the only word I could think of for their essence was "spiritual." Another quality might be the almost oxymoronic sense of "raw sophistication" (good name for an oyster bar). They demonstrated our band's characteristic alloy of driving rhythms behind soaring melodies and harmonies, all set in a framework that was complex, and crafted with care. But this time, while the arrangements remained intricate and dynamic, the elements were often simple and direct - basic hard rock and blues forms. The Raw and the Cooked. (Still thinking up names for oyster bars.)

In May 2006, the three of us moved into a small studio in Toronto to work together for a month. In that northern season of riotous bloom, the city was bright with flowers and spreading leaves, washed in warm sun and sudden thunderstorms. Our work was blossoming, too, and by the beginning of June we had eight songs we all liked. We adjourned for the summer, planning to pick up again in September, and keep working until it was finished.

We had also made some production decisions that would be fruitful later. Engineer Rich Chycki had worked with Alex on the mixes for the R30 DVD, and we felt he had done a perfect job of maximizing our live sound. We signed him up to be our recording and mixing engineer.

Earlier that year, a young American producer heard we were back working on new material, and asked his manager to send our office a CD of some of the music he had worked on. We always like to have a coproducer, and many times we?re looking for somebody we haven't worked with before, for fresh input and new directions. We listened to that CD one afternoon while we sat around the control room of the Toronto studio, reviewing a selection of production work by several candidates. Right away we were drawn to the work of that young American, Nick Raskulinecz, and when we met him soon after, we were drawn to him even more.

At thirty-six, Nick was a little younger than us (his mother was a little younger than us!), but he was also experienced enough, as both musician and producer, to have strong opinions and creative ideas. The three of us quickly agreed to hire him, and once we started work again in September, and had sketched out a few more songs, Nick joined us to review our work so far. He was a powerhouse of enthusiasm, and offered suggestions for the arrangements (one of his frequent lines, "I'd be curious to hear . . ."), helping us to shape the songs more effectively. He also encouraged and elevated our individual performances, challenging us to keep reaching higher (another typical line, "Hey, I wouldn?t ask if I didn't know you could do it!").

Nick is a master "air musician," equally virtuosic on all instruments (some of them for real, too; he had started as a drummer, then played both guitar and bass in bands, until he gravitated to the production side). While suggesting an idea for a drum part to me, Nick would use a combination of physical and vocal emulation, arms flailing to something like, "Bloppida-bloppida-batu-batuwhirrrrr-blop-booujze."

"Booujze" was Nick's vocalization of a bass drum and cymbal crash at the end of that incredible air-drumming fill, and we heard it often. One day I walked into the control room to see Geddy behind the computer screen, moving the sections of a song around on the digital recording. He looked up at me, then nodded toward Nick, "Booujze here wants us to try changing the chorus in 'Spindrift.'"

Everybody laughed, and from then on, he was Booujze. (The proper spelling determined after considerable discussion.)

By October we had eleven songs completed in rough form, and some dominant lyrical themes were evident. Thoughts on spirituality and faith were woven into several songs: "Whirlwind life of faith and betrayal," as hinted in "Far Cry," and further expressed in "Armor and Sword," "The Way the Wind Blows," and "Faithless."

Other lyrical themes include a twist on the time-honored "relationship songs," framed along the lines of Robert Frost's epitaph, "I Had a Lover's Quarrel With the World." In "Spindrift" and "Good News First," for example, the lyrics are deliberately presented in the context of a "lover's quarrel." The addressee, though, is not a "significant other," but a significant proportion of the whole, wide world-as expressed in "The Way the Wind Blows," all those people "Who don't seem to see things the way you do."

The same "lover's quarrel" device colors the album's final statement, "We Hold On." (With a nod to T.S. Eliot for "measured out in coffee breaks.") If many of the other lyrics illuminate the struggles we all have to face, in love and in life, this one shows how we deal with it: We hold on.

Geddy adapted "Workin' Them Angels" from the verses that open my book Traveling Music, which closed that circle nicely. In a similar loop, the title for "The Larger Bowl" came from a bicycle trip in West Africa, as described in The Masked Rider, when a song with that title wafted through a feverish, hallucinatory "dysentery dream." Waking in a sweaty tangle of twisted sheets, I only remembered the title, but I knew I had to write that song. Make a dream come true, as it were.

Back in the early '90s, I gave that title to some words partly inspired by the dream's location, Africa, about life's unequal "fortunes and fates." The front of my rhyming dictionary had an index of traditional verse patterns, and I tried writing in some of them - as an exercise, like solving a crossword puzzle. Among sonnets, villanelles, and sestinas, I particularly liked a Malay form called the pantoum, and wrote several lyrics using that scheme, including "The Larger Bowl." However, I never even submitted them to my bandmates until this album - fifteen years later.

It must have been the right time, because, to my delight, Alex and Geddy responded to the challenge of "The Larger Bowl," and its unusual construction. Musically, the song seemed to benefit from stylistic influences we discovered, or recovered, during our Feedback project, when we recorded a number of cover tunes from our earliest influences. That spirit of youthful enthusiasm, and the spirit of the '60s, is alive in several of these songs, from the blues sections in "The Way the Wind Blows" to the "feedback solo" in "Far Cry," and the simple rhythm section backing for the melodic guitar solo in "The Larger Bowl."

And speaking of the all-important rhythm section, I had been working hard on my drum parts, too. While Alex and Geddy wrote and arranged in the control room, I could play my drums in the recording room without disturbing them. Several times a day I took a break from lyric writing and went in to play along with CDs of their song sketches, and two nights a week Alex stayed late to be my "producer," so I could record my ideas and see how they worked.

As a drummer, it has become apparent to me that am I more of a "composer" than an "improviser," yet I still face every new song by imagining everything that might possibly fit. Determined not to repeat myself if I can avoid it, I search for new approaches to parts, and different kinds of fills. In that spirit, I played through all of the songs many times while I experimented, and that helped to "groom" my performances, make them smoother and more finely detailed.

In November we began the final recording at Allaire Studios, a rambling residential studio in the Catskill Mountains of New York. In the summer of 2005, I had filmed an instructional DVD, Anatomy of a Drum Solo, at Allaire, and had loved both the recording facilities (a large room of wood and stone, the estate's former Great Hall, sounded terrific for drums) and the friendly, comfortable atmosphere of the place. The view from the studio windows looked down over a forested valley and far across to receding round peaks - and the food was good!

After a little scientific mic-placing and knob-twiddling, and some impromptu jam sessions, we got down to work. After more than thirty years of recording together, the three of us felt we achieved our best results by concentrating on one performance at a time. Even if we were playing alone to a recorded guide track, it was still us, and we "meshed" automatically. Still, we remained open to other methods, and at Booujze's direction, sometimes I recorded the drum track to the guide by myself; sometimes Geddy and I played together; and sometimes Booujze wanted all three of us out there. Once he was satisfied that we were getting the most from each part of every song, we concentrated on getting the best drum performances. Then Geddy could take a similarly focused approach to rerecording his bass parts to them.

We had only planned to stay at Allaire for two weeks to get those basic tracks done, then move back to Toronto to overdub final guitars and vocals. However, everybody found the atmosphere at Allaire so comfortable, and so conducive to getting good work done, that we ended up staying for six weeks, and recording everything there?often all at once. Allaire was equipped with two complete studios in different parts of the compound, and thus Rich and Alex were recording guitars in one room, while Booujze and Geddy worked on vocals in the other.

In a single, inspired performance, Alex recorded his eclectic and poignant solo guitar piece, "Hope," which also has qualities of spirituality, and raw sophistication. He chose the title from the line in "Faithless," "I still cling to hope," and like that song, "Hope" is a kind of secular prayer.

Toward the end of the sessions, Geddy was playing with a fretless bass between vocal takes, just riffing aimlessly, and Booujze was getting excited. He started recording some of those figures over the vocal mic, and fired us up with the idea of putting them together to create a short, quirky instrumental. This inspired the thirteenth track, for luck, "Malignant Narcissism" (an apt title for an instrumental with bass and drum solos, it came from Team America: World Police). For everyday use, that mouthful was soon abbreviated to "MalNar" (cue robot voice, "We are from the planet Malnar"). I had left a little four-piece drumset in the studio for Booujze to play around on, and I ended up recording "Malignant Narcissism" on that. Just for fun.

Nearing the end of December, that spirit of fun, inspiration, perspiration, spontaneity, efficiency, and isolation (little to do but work) had sped the recording along, and we were done months ahead of our best-case scenario. More importantly, we enjoyed our time working together more than we have in years (maybe ever), thanks to the great conditions at Allaire and our "dream team" of Rich and Booujze. As I said to them on the day the drum tracks were finished, "I have never enjoyed the recording process so much, nor felt so satisfied by the results." That's saying something, believe me, after nearly thirty-three years and I don't know how many recordings.

In January 2007, we started the mixing at Ocean Way in Hollywood, California. That made quite a change from the rustic surroundings of Allaire, but it was pleasant for me. All through the six years I had been living in Los Angeles, I had commuted to Toronto for rehearsing, writing, and recording, so it was nice to have Alex and Geddy come to me for a change.

And they didn't seem to mind escaping January in Toronto for Southern California. One day Geddy reported that Toronto was exactly a hundred degrees colder?a balmy 80 degrees in Los Angeles, and a 20-below wind chill in Toronto. While waiting for Rich (now "Arch," for his spot-on imitations of Archie Bunker) and Booujze to put together a mix for our approval, there was plenty of time for, say, tennis and golf.

By then we had settled on the album title, Snakes and Arrows, which came about when I was working on the lyrics for "Armor and Sword." In turn, that title metaphor had been developed for my book, Roadshow, to describe the "good" kind of faith as being armor, while the "bad" kind of faith is a sword.

While I was working on those lyrics for "Armor and Sword," the battlefield imagery reminded me of a line, "Where ignorant armies clash by night," from a poem I half-remembered. It turned out to be Matthew Arnold's magnificent "Dover Beach," and I was so excited by its synchronicity with my own preoccupations in many of these songs that I had to put in one line from the poem, as a tribute, "Confused alarms of struggle and flight."

I was also thinking, like Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, about how children are usually imprinted with a particular faith, along with their other early blessings and scars. People who actively choose their faith are vanishingly few; most simply receive it, with their mother's milk, language, and customs. Thinking also of people being shaped by early abuse of one kind or another, I felt a connection with friends who had adopted rescue dogs as puppies, and given them unlimited love, care, and security. If those puppies had been "damaged" by their earlier treatment?made nervous, timid, or worse?they would always remain that way, no matter how smooth the rest of their life might be. It seemed the same for children.

To express that notion, I came up with, "The snakes and arrows a child is heir to/ Are enough to leave a thousand cuts." I thought I was only combining Hamlet's "slings and arrows" with the childhood game "Snakes and Ladders," to make something less clichéd. And indeed, when we were discussing Snakes and Arrows as a possible album title, Geddy remarked, "I like it because it sounds familiar, but isn't."

One thing I have always done when we decide on a title is check to see if it's been used already. In the old millennium, that would involve a visit to the local record store and a flip through their master list, the Phonolog. These days, of course, it's a perfect job for a search engine.

To my surprise, "snakes and arrows" called up several links to something called "Leela, The Game of Self Knowledge," or, incredibly, "The Game of Snakes and Arrows." Long story short, I followed that trail with growing enthusiasm, and learned that Leela (Hindi for "the game") was at least 2,000 years old, and had been created by Buddhist saints and sages as a game of karma?like many games, a metaphor for life. (And an accidental but deep connection with the tarot cards we used on Vapor Trails, or the dice on Roll the Bones?both ancient games, and metaphors for life.)

The Leela player rolls a single die, said to be affected by his or her karma, and moves around the board. Each square on the grid represents a stage of consciousness or existence, and the player is raised to higher levels by arrows, and brought low by snakes. The children's game "Snakes and Ladders" (sometimes "Chutes and Ladders") was adapted from Leela by the British during the 19th century Colonial period. After that, the original game almost disappeared? apparently only two gameboards existed in India when scholar Harish Johari revived the game and brought it to America in the 1970s. The Sanskrit chants that once accompanied each of the squares were lost, but a cosmos of spirituality (there's that word again) survived.

When I told Alex and Geddy about the Leela connection, and showed them the gameboard painted by Harish Johari, they were as excited by all that serendipity as I was, and we agreed to use his painting for the cover. Hugh Syme and I began our always enjoyable collaboration of creating the other elements for the packaging - the presentation - and images for each of the songs.

So, from the first demo to the final cover, that's the story of Snakes and Arrows. Or a few of them, anyway. If every song is a story, every song has many stories, too. The elaborate instrumental, "The Main Monkey Business," was certainly the most painstaking song of all to write, arrange, and record (it took me three days just to learn it). Its title comes from a conversation Geddy had with his Polish mother. Talking about a cousin of theirs, she said, "I have a feeling he's up to some monkey business."

Geddy laughed, saying, "What kind of monkey business?"

"You know," she said, with Old World wisdom, "The main monkey business."

Everybody knows about that.

And so it can be said that Snakes and Arrows offers some monkey business, some spirituality, some lover's quarrels with the world, some raw sophistication, some dysentery dreams, some malignant narcissism, the spirit of the '60s, and the Tao of Booujze. It combines everything we know about making music with everything we love about making music.

Naturally, we hope listeners will feel that spirit-all those spirits-and have a rewarding musical experience, not just once, but again and again.

With a prize every time.


Management by Ray Danniels, SRO Management Inc. Toronto
Tour Manager & Tour Accountant - Liam Birt
Production Manager - Craig Blazier
Production Assistant - Karin Blazier
Road Manager - Donovan Lundstrom
Artist Liaison - Shelley Nott
Concert Sound Engineer - Brad Madix
Lighting Director - Howard Ungerleider
Keyboard Technician -Tony Geranios
Drum Technician - Lorne Wheaton
Bass Technician - Russ Ryan
Guitar Technician - Bobby Huck
Stage Monitor Engineer - Brent Carpenter
Carpenter - George Steinert
Security Director - Michael Mosbach
Nutritionist - Bruce French
Programming - Jim Burgess of Saved by Technology and Ed Wilson
Concert Rigging by Five Points Rigging - John Fletcher, Jacques Richard
Concert Sound by MD Clair Bros. - Jo Ravitch, Anson Moore
Lighting by Premier Global Productions - Rich Vinyard, Greg Haygood, Randy Garrett, Matt Tucker
Video equipment by Screenworks - David Davidian, Bob Larkin, Nick Strand, Bill Quinn
Lasers by Production Design - Andrew Seabeck
Pyrotechnics by Pyrotek - John Arrowsmith
Trucking by Ego Trips - Arthur [Mac] McLear, Jon Cordes, Don Johnson, Tom Hartmann, Dick Albrecht, John Stephenson, David Vancil
Buses by Hemphill Brothers - David Burnette, Lashawn Lundstrom, Marty Beeler, Joe C. Bush, Bob Reetz
Tour Merchandise - Pat McLoughlin
Booking Agencies - Writer & Artist Group International, NYC,
The Agency Group, London, S.L. Feldman & Associates, Toronto
Art Direction, Design and Digital Illustration by Hugh Syme
Photography by Andrew MacNaughtan


Executive Production
all rear-screen films - Allan Weinrib

Set One Introduction Film
Animation and VFX by SPIN
Creative Director/Animator - Mike Spicer
Executive Producer - Lisa Hemeon
Designer/Animator - Rodrigo Santas

Live action segments:
Imported Artists
Director - Dale Heslip
Producer ?Jill Waters
Editor - Mark Paiva

Circumstances, Mission, Secret Touch, Between The Wheels, The Main Monkey Business, Spindrift, Witch Hunt, Natural Science,
by Derivative - Rachel Villuens, Markus Heckmann, Greg Hermanovic, Geoff Marshall

Set Two Introduction Film
Animation and VFX by SPIN
Creative Director - Colin Davies
Executive Producer - Lisa Hemeon
Flame Artist - Steve Lowry
3D Artist - Kye Yong Peck

Live action segments
Imported Artists
Director - Dale Heslip
Producer - Jill Waters
Editor - Mark Paiva

Far Cry
Animation and VFX by SPIN
V.P./Director/lnferno Artist - Steven Lewis
Creative Director - Colin Davies
Executive Producer - Lisa Hemeon
3D Artist - Kye Yong Peck
Assistant Designer - Sean Lewis

Armor and Sword
Visuals by Christopher Mills

Workin' Them Angels
Lewis Hine photos courtesy of George Eastman Kodak and U.S. Photo Archives
Illustrations by Hugh Syme
Editorial by Mark Paiva/School Editorial

The Larger Bowl
Steve Mykolyn & Meldmedia Inc.
Art Director - Ken Reddick
Producer - Michael Dobell
Motion Graphics Artists - Ken Reddick, James Hackett, Mat Den Boer, Milica Stefancic, Sebastian Grebing

The Way the Wind Blows
Electric Company
Visuals by Crankbunny

The Main Monkey Business
Andrew MacNaughtan & School Editing
Editor - Mark Paiva

Swingin' Serpents
Tandem Digital
Creative Direction & Design,
Motion Graphics - Greg Russell
Motion Graphics - Nick Chomicki

A Passage to Bangkok
School Editing
Editor - Mark Paiva


Alex Lifeson

Snakes & Arrows Tourbook, click to enlarge

Excerpt from an interview of Alex by Alex dated May 13, 2007.

Let me begin by saying how lovely it is to see you.
Yes, I know, and it's terrific to see you too.

I dunno, but did you get a haircut or something because, wow!
I trimmed my ears last week, maybe that? It makes a big difference.

Yes.
...
Um.

Tell me, what goes on behind those eyes, deep in your brain, out the back of your head and down your leg, around the corner and so on?

What? LOL... did I actually say LOL? I promised I'd never do that.

No, it's okay, you just typed it. Tell us a little about how you prepare for one of your lively concerts, just the parts while you're awake.
Well, it takes hours of intense thinking and questioning... yes, questioning why you're thinking so intensely so intensely. It's like a giant circular circle or a snake that's been man-made into a circle-like circle snake-but definitely not like a flying shark snake, which is usually on days off.
From there it just gets intense.

I see. Fascinating. As are your shoes! They are absolutely to die for. Prada?
Pravda, actually. I bought them in Prague from a street vendor who was having a closing out sale on Soviet footwear. Placing the heel on the front of the shoe was revolutionary.

How Bohemian. LOL.
LOL too.

So, Alexandar, let's go deep for a moment and travel back to May 12. It's 7 am and you're getting up. You walk down the hall, pass a mirror, glance fleetingly. You arrive in the kitchen to the prospect of a coffee. You have the coffee, shake your head and smile, you think, 'this is a good coffee day' when suddenly you stub your toe, drop the coffee cup, spill scorching hot coffee on your hot pants, slip on the wet floor, go flying, smash a vase when you crush the coffee table and coffee break the door off the dishwasher and totally break all the coffee cups ever. What was it you saw in the mirror? What?
Where do you get all this stuff? That is amazing. Your research department is to be commended. I'm just blown away that you have all that. It's as if you were there. No really, that's something else.

The mirror, Alex. The mirror.
Huh? The mirror? What mirror? I didn't look into a mirror.

The... mirror... Alex.
No really. There was no mirror. I glanced out the window.

What the, no, I, wait...
You're SOL, buddy

Why you SOB!
Hey.FU!

ICUP!!
SO?!

Getting back to something I'd like to explore with you. I've watched ice melt and seen the wind die, the Leafs blow, I've been a wailin' on the high seas. If you could be a friendly insect, what would you be, and not hairy or anything?
I've always had a hard time answering that question. There are so many insects, maybe hundreds, and really, how do you choose? What are the criterion? It's not easy, for sure. Maybe a salamander.

You mean like Sal, a man, 'der? LOL again.
FU.

Continuing on that train of thought for a moment, ask yourself this: where did I leave my keys, you idiot?
In the car at the gas station while you were filling up an hour ago and you went in to get a coffee and... oh oh.

If you could go back in time to just that last, say, hour and a half, what would you do differently?
Quit drinking coffee.

I couldn't do that. I'd go crazy and I don't even like coffee but no one can make me quit if I don't want to, though I'm not saying I don't want to or quit wanting to or just plain wanting to quit.
Exactly. I've been saying that for years and I'm finally relieved to know other serious, smart in brain people are making the think in headvoice ideas too. It's time to take a coffee stand and deciding stuff to make the world a faster place to live in.

Well, we seem to have run out of time. I've quite enjoyed our conversation, as usual, and would leave you with this thought to ponder... but don't ponder too long, and when I say 'ponder,' I don't mean, like, PONDER, just think about it with your eyebrows scrunched up and like you're pondering around. Okay then, what is the absolutely best day of your life?
Next week.

Bold and brilliant! It's been a great pleasure. Thank you.
Charmed, I'm sure.


Neil Peart

Snakes & Arrows Tourbook, click to enlarge

After the 30th anniversary tour, the guys at Drum Workshop and I agreed that the R30 kit ought to be retired. I felt that way because it had been a true centerpiece of that tour (sitting center stage every night, after all), and I wanted to keep that "specialness". The DW guys, led by John Good ("the Wood Whisperer"), felt that way because they thought they could do better.

In 2006, they built me a "West Coast kit" on which I recorded a few songs for my friend Matt Scannell, as well as Snakes and Arrows. Everybody who heard those drums was blown away by their sound, but John continued to develop his ideas-combining different combinations of laminates for the shells, like his "Vertical Low Timbre" innovations. Just as the West Coast kit had eclipsed the R30 drums in tonality and resonance, these new ones take it to what my teacher, Freddie Gruber, would call "another place." After I had rehearsed for a couple of weeks on the West Coast kit, my drum tech, Lome "Gump" Wheaton, put up the new ones, and I truly couldn't believe how different they sounded-how much bigger and warmer.

One of these drums actually is bigger-the 23" bass drum, which is another unique innovation of John Good's. Back in the 70s, when Rush were opening shows, I used to be able to go out front and listen to other drummers. I noticed then that 24" bass drums had a particular "kick" (for once that word is apt), but I preferred the playability and dynamics of a 22". John suspected that the 23" would combine the best of both, and he was right.

The "VLT" approach was also applied to the snare drum's shell, and it was another revelation-the best I have ever played, for both response and sound. The toms are 8", 10", 12", 13", two 15", 16", and 18", with DW's Coated Clear heads. Remo supplies some of the other heads, while the drumsticks are Pro-Mark signature models.

In an earlier Web story, I hinted that "black is the new gold," and this time the hardware is plated in black nickel. Likewise, "red is the new black," the finish is Aztec Red, inset with a pair of logos Hugh Syme and I created for the CD package. The Greek symbol ouroboros, or snake eating its tail, surrounds a calligraphic rendering of my favorite road sign: the universal symbol for "winding road" (On a motorcycle or in a fast car, that's the best kind of "snake and arrow" you can see.) The repeating motif, in gold leaf and metallic gray satin over the Aztec Red, was created by DW's master painter, Louie Garcia (a true artist).

The cymbals are my signature Paragons, by Sabian, with a 22" ride, 20", 18", and two 16" crashes, 13" high-hats, 14" "x-hats," 8" and 10" splashes, 19" and 20" China types-plus our new innovation, the "Diamondback," with tambourine jingles.

DW once again provided custom shells for the Roland V-drums (the TD-20s), and the electronic stuff includes a MalletKAT, KAT trigger pedals, and a Dauz pad, all running through a Roland XV5080 sampler and Project X Glyph hard drives.


Geddy Lee

Snakes & Arrows Tourbook, click to enlarge

O.K. It's that time when I am supposed to list the ekwiptment that I will be using on the Snakes and Arrows tour. But... does anyone really care what devices I use?

Isn't the real question of interest, "Will you be using your dryers on tour again?"

That was the question I was most often asked during the last two tours. I mean, what is it with this obsession with laundry, folks?

Rather than put myself through all of that once again, I knew I had no choice but to abandon the warm, dry sound of my Maytags, and go into an entirely new direction in onstage amplification.

So, between rehearsals and preparing for my Rotisserie Baseball drafts, I decided to get professional help. After a few sessions, I started to feel much better. (Apparently it has something to do with my childhood... I dunno.) In any event, I contacted the ridiculously fashionable new amp designer, Henry Spencer, with the company, Un Peu de Poulet, for the absolute latest in cutting-edge stage gear. Together we have designed what I feel will set a new standard by which all other rock 'n' roll shows will henceforth be judged.

I'm sure I don't need to remind you that this is the man who brought you such famous amps as the the HENHOUSE and the MAN-MADE CHlCKEN-which in fact was no bigger than your fist! And he also developed the roasting hot KAPON, which guitarists (especially our own lovely and rapacious Alex Lifeson) have been using with gusto for many years. Despite the obvious negative side effects.

So, I sincerely hope my new amps will finally satisfy my endless hunger for the newest and most perfectly tasty sound source, and I also hope that you, our dedicated audience, will be able to digest the audacity with which we have been devouring this new technology, and appreciate the sheer bravado of such a bold step forward in the ongoing search for revolutionary new ideas with which to whet your cumulative appetites!!

Cheers, santé, down the hatch, and bon appetit, mes amis!

Guitars
1972 Fender Jazz bass
Fender Jazz Geddy Lee model
Fender Jazz Custom Shop bass
Fender Jaco Pastorius Tribute fretless bass
Fender Jaco Pastorius Tribute Custom Shop fretted version
Garrison acoustic guitars

Amplification
Avalon direct boxes, model U5
SansAmp RPM pre-amps
Palmer speaker simulator, model PDI-05
Trace Elliot Quatra valve amps
Sampson UR-5D wireless system

Keyboards and Samplers
Roland XV-5080 sampler/ synthesizers
Roland Fantom-X7 synthesizer
Moog Little Fatty digital synthesizer
Korg MIDI pedals

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