Rush, the Canadian progressive rock trio, has found the rhythm that works best. As drummer Neil Peart described it by phone from St. John's, Newfoundland, the day before the group launched its latest North American tour, it's a two-year cycle of resting. writing, recording and hitting the road. No longer do they work two weeks in a row, like they did in the late '70s.
"That period was like a tunnel to me," Peart said. "It was all work. Your show never suffers, but inside you start to crumble. I wish someone would write a guidebook for bands about this. People want you to work all the time. The hardest thing to do is say no."
Now they do no more than three consecutive nights ("Three builds you up nicely," Peart noted) and spend their spare time playing tennis and, in Peart's case, bicycling. He'd just taken a spin out to the easternmost point in North America. Having devoted most of the past year to composing and putting together their 12th studio album, "Hold Your Fire," they're now following through by taking it to the stage. They play Memorial Auditorium Saturday night.
The latest Rush show contains half a dozen songs from the new LP, a carefully chosen forgotten favorite and, for visuals, a rear-screen projection show.
"The change in the music is very much the important thing," Peart reported. "We worked hard this year and because we extended ourselves in the studio more, it's that much harder to produce live. I started by myself and Geddy (Lee, the bassist and singer) started by himself two weeks before we rehearsed together. We needed the time to develop the hardware and the software. And the stamina. 'Force Ten' was probably the most successful of our experiments on this album. We took two textures and made them work together. And for 'Time Stand Still,' we really wanted a female voice. Someone sent us a Til Tuesday album and we decided their singer, Aimee Mann, had the range to do it. She came up and worked hard for it. In concert, we have a film of her singing, so that we have her presence. It was the most honest way we could think of to do it live."