Veteran Rock Group Rush Tones Down Touring Style

By Sandi Davis, Daily Oklahoman, May 22, 1992

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LIFE on the road is a bit mellower these days for the three members of Rush.

The band, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart and Geddy Lee, with opening act Mr. Big, will be in concert at the Myriad Convention Center Monday night.

Rush went back on the road Thursday in Memphis after a short break.

Guitarist and backing vocalist Lifeson took some time from his break to speak from his Toronto home.

"We haven't really stopped touring, we just pace it differently," Lifeson said. "After 18 years we're a little worn out.

"We just returned from a month in Europe," he said. "It's a nice break in the middle of touring to go to England, Germany, Paris, Amsterdam and Scotland, then come back here." For the tour to support their current work, Roll The Bones, the band would perform for about a month, then take a week off. This leg of the tour is the exception. They'll be out for six weeks, coast to coast, border to border, before they get a break.

Band members figured they've been on the road for 13½ years of the 18 they've been together, and that's about the only down side to their years as a band, Lifeson said.

On the plus side, they've learned to enjoy their time on the road.

"Touring is basically sitting around 22 hours a day and playing for two," he said. "We've learned to enjoy, to balance the time on the road." Peart, a cyclist, trains for his worldwide treks when traveling with the band. Lee and Lifeson play tennis, and Lee is interested in art and visits museums.

Lifeson also has become addicted to golf.

"It takes up about four to five hours, and it's outside," he said. "I never thought I'd get into that till I was in my 80s or 90s." Rush, like many bands today, combines concerts with charitable causes. The band's performance Monday will benefit the Oklahoma City Food Bank.

"We've held food drives in Toronto for the past 12 or 13 years," Lifeson said. "It's a great way to do something for the community." Concertgoers need to bring a minimum of three non-perishable food items to the show.

They'll receive a number, and prior to the performance, 11 numbers will be drawn. Fans with the numbers will receive front-row tickets for themselves and their guests, plus a Rush tour program.

One number-holder and guests will receive the front-row seats and program, the latest releases by Rush and Mr. Big on CD and the chance to meet members of both bands.

"The benefits are a great thing to do on the final leg of the band's tour," Lifeson said. "It makes you feel good. It's a small thing and we do it in as many cities as we can."

Mr. Big had a hit single on the charts, "To Be With You." The group's current success has helped the show.

Rush has toured with Mr. Big before, and the members are friends.

"They've got a big single," Lifeson said. "They're seasoned veterans, so maybe people will wonder who's headlining."