TORONTO - LIKE everything else about Rush, its 19th album, Counterparts, isn't as simple as it first seems.
Neil Peart, the drummer who writes the lyrics for the Canadian rock trio, says some of the ideas behind Counterparts come from two highly unlikely sources: the CIA and T.S. Eliot.
Peart, a mile-a-minute talker who sprinkles his conversation with references to such intellects as Jung and Eliot, explains that a song, Double Agent, is based on a forthcoming book by an author friend: "It's on the secret war between the CIA and the FBl."
The 41-year-old Peart tries hard to make his listeners think, even if he knows Rush is appreciated more by Wayne and Garth metalheads than by serious Puccini scholars.
He's got something for both types in the new song Everyday Glory, which includes a line about a house where "nobody laughs and nobody sleeps."
It works great as a rock tune, but Peart says the inspiration came from "an opera piece I've always loved, by Puccini, called Nessun dorma, which an Italian girl told me translates as 'nobody sleeps,' and I thought, ah, what a beautiful phrase."
Counterparts refers to a concept Peart explores on the album about the similarities and differences of the many dualities in life, in particular the male/female duality, which is studied in the song Alien Shore.
Heavy stuff for a band that can fill New York's Madison Square Garden two nights running with devil-salute-waving rockers, as Rush did during its Roll The Bones tour in '91.
What people recognize and value most about Rush, Peart ventures, is the band's attention to detail.