CANADIAN ROCK group Rush is on a much-needed break from its current world tour which last October and hits Europe in April.
TORONTO (CP) - On the other end of the phone, one of the most respected drummers on the planet is sounding, well, a little intense.
Neil Peart, who's also the lyricist for Toronto's legendary hard rock band Rush, is suffering from, what he calls, "mid-tour crisis."
"We have 46 people working for us, sort of like a travelling circus," says Peart, who was about to take off for Quebec's Laurentian Mountains.
"There's internal rivalries, spats, feuds . . . Somebody's quitting, somebody's getting fired, all those things go on in the middle."
Peart and the two other members of Rush - singer-bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson - are on a much-needed break from their current world tour which began last October and hits Europe in April.
The hiatus came just as Canada's music industry was gearing up for the 1992 Juno Awards, which were presented last Sunday.
Rush, renowned for its superior muscianship, received 38 Juno nominations but has won only six of the awards. The band was also named group of the decade (the '80s) by the Canadian Recording Industry Association.
"That did mean something," Peart says. "That was like contributing to the longevity and a body of work and that was special to us, definitely."
The group's single Where's My Thing was up for a Grammy Award last month in the best rock instrumental category but lost out to Eric Johnson's Cliffs of Dover.
Ironically, Johnson backed up Rush on the first part of the U.S. portion of the tour.
"We were glad for him," Peart says. "He's a lovely guy. We had no problem with that. He needs the attention more than we do."
Peart has a point.
Roll The Bones - Rush's 18th album - has sold more than 100,000 copies in Canada and close to one million copies in the United States. It also debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Top Album Chart, the highest showing ever since the band's 1981 release Moving Pictures.
The latest record has a more stripped-down sound for Rush, whose smart, progressive music has sometimes been criticized for being too busy and convoluted. There's even a brief rap section on the title cut.
"We thought of getting a real rapper in to do it or John Cleese to do a satire version of it," Peart says. "(But) on record, comedy dies fast."
In the end, Lee's trademark high voice was processed to sound almost Darth Vader-like.
English producer Rupert Hine, who has worked with The Fixx, Stevie Nicks and co-produced Rush's 1989 release Presto, was once again in the studio for Roll The Bones.
Peart says the experience revitalized the band.
"We do feel a new sense of longevity. Just the realization that we don't ever need any other band or any other people. The three of us are so fulfilled by this partnership - we're able to do everything we want."