Since this is supposed to be a newsletter, I thought it would be appropriate to give you the news. And now ... the news, with Neil Peart reporting:
"Thank you Neil." Well, we finished up our American tour in Hawaii last November, the last two shows in Honolulu ending a tour that began last spring in Albuquerque, spanning much of the United States, some of Canada, and our first trip to Japan.
It was interesting to finally play there, we have been trying to get there for years now. We played in Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka (spell that if you dare!), and at the well-known "Budokan" in Tokyo. Interesting!
The best part of the trip was a brief trip to Hong Kong, Macao, and a day-long bus trip into China. Amazing! Of course what we saw was such a small part of such an enormous country, so many images and ideas to try and absorb and evaluate - it's really not possible. Geddy and I were discussing on the plane to Hawaii whether or not it was a "set-up", but decided that it wasn't really nice enough to be a special "tourist trip".
It's no wonder that they have no unemployment there, there is no mechanical aid except for these ancient little garden tractors, people were quarrying stone with hammers and chisels, and I counted nine people down on their hands and knees in the middle of a road painting white lines on it - by hand. One with a little brush would outline it, then the medium and large brushes would fill it in, one by one. Wild!
Right now we're working on material for a new album, which is always an exciting time. For the first time in a while we will be working away from "Le Studio" this time, and also we have decided to go for yet another different producer, (Peter Collins) so there should be some interesting changes as ever. The new album will be called "Power Window" and should be out in October!
The "Backstage Club" has sent me a pile of questions that people have asked, and I thought it might be interesting to take the more interesting of them, and make it into kind of an interview - you the members, interview me, a member, as it were. So here it is - from around the country and around the world:
Q. I recently got the new album from Rush, and I think it is the best, but I do not understand what "part one of Fear" means on the song "Enemy Within". I noticed that on the Moving Pictures album that the song "Witch Hunt" has "part three of Fear", and on Signals, it says "part two of Fear" on the song "Weapon"~ The parts go in order: 3 - 2 - 1. Does this mean this is Rush's last album?
A. Well Paul, I'm not quite sure where you got that last bit, but I assure you we have no plans to break up right now. The three parts of "Fear" were all conceived as themes at the same time, but some of them were easier to think out and putdown, consequently "Witch Hunt" happened to be the first one completed, consequently the first one put to music and recorded. No more than that. Simple, huh?
Q. What is "Red Sector A" about?
A. This is more of a common question than I would have thought, so I thought it might be worth clarifying. It Is one of the "grace under pressure" themes which captured my imagination on the last album, and is not meant to portray a specific human atrocity, although many of the historical accounts which inspired it were of course set in World War II. There have been many periods of slavery and mass imprisonment in the world and also many fictional accounts of the future. I was thinking of all these things, and wanted to try to express something timeless enough to encompass them all.
Q. How did you come up with the pentabon (?) for your symbol? And also did Alex's guitar get stepped on by an elephant?
A. As I have been at pains to explain, it is not a pentaBON, it is not a pentaGON, and most of all, it is not a pentaGRAM. It's just a plain little old five pointed star, innocent and inoffensive, and people keep trying to make it something it just plain AIN'T. Anyone who has heard or read the lyrics from "2112" will know the simple and equally innocent source of the symbol. - as to the second part of your question - almost!
Q. Have you, or are you yet to be approached by any film companies in connection with any soundtrack album work?
A. We have talked with people before about this possibility, but so far we have not made any commitments. It's hard to set aside the main thrust of "Rush" and our lives, and divert ourselves down a different avenue. Perhaps one day we'll have the luxury of doing that. It would definitely be fun and interesting.
Q. Can you tell me what book by Ayn Rand that Neil used to take "2112" from?
A. Well, you asked the right guy! "2112" was based upon the novel "Anthem".
Q. Is Neil writing a poetry book and when might it be published?
A. Hey, you asked the right guy too! The answer at the moment is no, though I would like to do something some day like that. More likely prose than poetry, I would think, although a combination of the two might be interesting. Another one of those "some day" projects.
Q. The album cover for "Grace Under Pressure" remains a mystery in my mind and in the minds of my friends, could you shed some light on the cover?
A. Gladly. This is another one of those things that is much simpler than it appears. The background imagery simply mirrors the P/G symbol; grace UNDER pressure In a physical sense. Abstract, but simple. The head represents the onlooker perhaps, or an "everyman" symbol facing the world, and perhaps a hint of the character In "The Body Electric". That's about it really.
Q. In the song "Red Barchetta" it talks about a car that his uncle saved for fifty-odd years. Is it talking about a 166 Ferrari?
Port Angeles, Washington
A. Yes indeed.
Q. What are crotales, and what kind of sound do they produce? What songs do you use them in?
A. Crotales are small, tuned cymbals which used to sit on top of my tubular bells, and are now mounted on the rack to the side. I have used them in quite a few songs, notably the Intro to "YYZ" or in the "Prelude" from "Hemispheres".
Q. I would like to know about Neil Peart's novel "Fear" that is used in your albums.
A. Well, just because you're from Turkey. As I explained earlier, "Fear" was just an overall theme, that I decided to break down and treat as three individual approaches to the theme. Okay?
Q. What is the exact drum and percussion outfit of Neil Peart (measures, kind of basic set, etc.)?
A. That's a big question you ask Thoos! Usually I only figure out exactly what I have once a year-when I have to put together the credits for the Tour Program. it's too much to get into here, but I'm sure you could get hold of a recent tour book and get the information in exacting detail. And with pictures!
Q. Do all of the group contribute to the cover of the album and is there anyone else who has a hand in it?
A. Well of course, Hugh Syme has a very big couple of hands in our album covers. Since our "Caress of Steel" album he has been the art director on every cover. We all might contribute ideas or suggestions, but he is the artist in that department.
And that's all for now, folks. I hope you've enjoyed this little interview conducted by yourselves. Perhaps we can do it again sometime. Until then, stay well and stay excited!!!