Canadian Gold-Rush

By Richard Flohil, Canadian Composer, Winter 1991, transcribed by Jeff Faunce

One of the given facts of pop music success is that one can become very, very rich. So it's no suprise that Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart-the three members of Rush-are all millionaires, and, without being ostentatious about it, live in a style that only great wealth can bring. It is a suprise, however, that the three men are so normal when it comes to their daily work.

Right now, they spend each day in small recording studio outside Toronto; this is pre-production time for the new album. Peart had come in a few weeks back with some lyrics; Lifeson and Lee had some riffs they had honed and now the elements are slowly being stitched together into new material. In January, if all has gone well, the will have enough songs ready for producer Rupert Hine to listen to. He'll suggest changes and then the recording project will start. Time has already been booked at Le Studio in Morin Heights, McClear Place in Toronto, and Metropolis in London England. It is not the way most bands can afford to write music and make records, but then Rush is much more successful than most bands. Without the benefit of a single hit record, the band has toured endlessly for 18 years, and has sold more than 30 million albums. Rush's 19-album catalogue sells well over 1 million copies each year; the first six months of this year saw the 1981 album, Moving Pictures, sell 150,00 copies in the U.S. alone.

This year, the band played 70 dates in North America to support Presto, its latest album (not counting the best-of set Chronicles). In the past Rush has played as many as 250 dates a year, and in 1989 had emerged from a tour to support Hold Your Fire tired, bored and not anxious to do it again. The three took six months off.

It was a wonderful time; finally all three members had time to spend with their kids and wives, who had been too far away, far too often.

Of course, Rush doesn't have to tour as much these days, even though the demands to do so are increasing. Lee can continue his interest in architecture-and demonstrate it practically by supervising the building of his cottage on Georgian Bay. Lifeson can indulge his passion for flying (he's been a pilot for 100 years) and Peart can take time to cycle his way around China or Africa, and write about his travels to exotic places in lavish volumes with print-runs of about 100 copies. Once the new record is finished, he plans to cycle through rural Turkey.

The music these three men make is as vital as ever. Rush-two decades later-is a band with 30 million fans around the world.