Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee on Rockline for Counterparts

Rockline, January 24, 1994, transcribed by Matt Masi

Steve Downes: Tonight, first of all, we are delighted to be on the tera firma of Austin, TX with a band that has few, if any equals to match their consistent success. Speaking of course, of Rush. Whatever musical styles that have come and gone over the last 20 years, Rush has blazed their own trail; a trail that has garnered them the respect and admiration of millions of fans worldwide. Rush's 19th album is Counterparts, and it's the musical combination (if you will) of spontaneity and refinement; perhaps two of the key elements that account for their success over the past two decades. They began their tour last Saturday in Pensacola, FL, and we're joining the band tonight here in Austin (home of Rockline affiliate KLBJ) on the eve of their concert here at the Frank Erwin Center. I understand there are still some tickets left for that show tomorrow night for those of you in the Austin city limits. We are proud to welcome back to Rockline Geddy Lee. Geddy, it's good to see you...

Geddy: Thank you very much. It's great to be here.

SD: And also Alex Lifeson. Alex, it's good to have you here.

Alex: Hi.

SD: Let me throw out a question here first (Geddy, I'll let you field this one). The goals (as I understand it) on Counterparts were to be somewhat of a more organic feel, if you will. Uh...

Geddy: Yeah... Organic is kind of a nebulous word, I guess, in terms of describing music, but I guess what we'd been going through over the last few years was a period of extreme involvement with high-tech equipment (writing on computers and so-forth). When Alex and I started writing this record, we kind of looked at these mountains of synthesizers that were being brought into the writing room, and we kinda had this reaction; it was almost like an allergic reaction: 'I think it's time maybe we stepped back from this stuff.' So, we went back to a more simpler, basic way of writing, which just... guitar, bass, vocals, and drums. A lot of the material was written in that way, so in that sense it was kind of a purer sound.

SD: Would you describe the new record as conceptual in nature? The Counterparts theme isn't just an abstract title; I hear that theme sort of running through a lot of the songs. Would you call this a concept album, or...?

Geddy: Well, I'd call this one of our looser concept albums, you know? [laughter]

We have concept albums that kind of hit you right over the head and shout at you as to what we're trying to say. Some of the other records that we've done are sort of loosely related to each other. So, I would say that there are a number of tunes on this record that do kind of get into the concept of counterparts. Whether they'd be songs that deal with one person to another person, or songs that deal with one person to a different side of himself...

So, you know, that is kind of a loose thread that goes through the record.

SD: Right. Let's get to a track here and then we'll be taking some phone calls from around the country or live from Austin, TX, tonight. From Counterparts, this is "Cold Fire" on Rockline.

["Cold Fire" plays]

Alright, that's Rush from Counterparts on Rockline. We are live from Austin, TX with our very special evening of music and conversation tonight with Geddy Lee and Alex from Rush. Rockline is the only radio program that'll give you the chance to speak with these guys live and nationwide.

[commercial break]

SD: We are back live and nationwide with 90 minutes with Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee from Rush. Let's get to the phones now, and our first call is from Lansing, MI. John is listening to us on Q106 in Lansing. John, you're on with Geddy and Alex from Rush.

Geddy: Hello?

SD: John, can you hear us? [pause] Yello? Okay, we've lost John (we'll try to get him back). Patrick is in PIX106 in Albany, NY. Patrick, can you hear us?

Hello Pat? Okay... we are having some technical difficulties. As I said, with the earthquake last week, we did get... We got rocked and rolled a little bit [laughter], and so we still have a few bugs to straighten out, and perhaps a few things to plug in here, so we'll get back to the phones. Tell you what, why don't we go to a cut. The song we want to play is from Power Windows. Alex, PW was the first Rush album that was produced by Peter Collins who also did Hold Your Fire, and also Counterparts. What influence do you think he brought to the band that perhaps had been something new and different from PW and in through the new album?

Alex: I think, uh, Peter clued in to something that we wanted to experiment with and try that was a little bit different, and that was to put a little more emphasis on keyboards and production, and we did that with those two records. The interesting thing is that after that long break between HYF and this current record, um, Peter's had the opportunity to work with a lot of other artists, and a lot of other bands. When we wanted to take this more straight ahead approach with Counterparts, he was tuned right in to what we wanted to. Peter's a fantastic person just to have around. He's a very stable influence in the control room, and just during the whole project, which allows you to concentrate more on what you're supposed to be doing.

SD: Sounds something like this from the Power Windows CD. This is "Big Money" -- Rush, on Rockline.

["The Big Money" plays]

That's "The Big Money" from Rush. PW is the CD, and we are live on Rockline with... Let me try to explain the situation here, so the rest of North America knows what's going on. Geddy and Alex and I are here in Austin, TX where things are relatively calm. They have a little fog, and that's about it. I understand back in Los Angeles, why we couldn't bring those calls up is that they experienced another aftershock there, which has been going on now for the last week. The aftershocks, I can tell you from experience, are quite unnerving when they get to be as high as they have been in the last... I don't know what they just had out there, but I imagine it was a 4. or something in that area, and it just shakes you up (not to mention the equipment). Also, I understand that they're having a lightning storm in southern CA, which is also highly unusual.

Geddy, as you said, the karmic ramifications here are...

Geddy: Yes... they're very dubious.

SD: Absolutely incredible. I think we're payed up, though, karmically.

Geddy: Yeah, it's easy to joke in the comfort of this studio, but...

SD: Indeed.

Geddy: It's a scary prospect.

SD: It really is. So, at any rate, we are persevering and I know that the folks back in LA are working feverishly to get things right, and we will, certainly. We're going to try to take another call now, if we can. John, in Lansing, can you hear us?

Caller: I can hear you!

SD: Oh, fantastic.

Geddy: Alright, John, he's here.

Alex: Hey, John!

Caller: [laughs] I'm here!

SD: John, are you having any earthquakes in Lansing by any chance?

Caller: No, it's relatively calm tonight.

SD: Very glad to hear that. John is listening to us on Q106 in Lansing. John, you are on, thank God, with Rush.

Caller: Hi, good evening.

Geddy: Hi.

Alex: Hey, John.

Caller: It's a pleasure to be speaking with you.

Geddy: Nice to speak with you.

Caller: Thank you. I have a question about the sound of Counterparts. It seems to have, as you mentioned earlier, a leaner, more aggressive sound than the last couple of albums. I wondered to what degree that was deliberate, and what (if anything) influenced that change?

[Geddy (to Alex)]: Would you like to take that?

Alex: Yeah, sure... We talked a lot about this when we were sitting on the bus for millions of hours on the last tour driving around most of North America. We really wanted to take an approach that was stripped down a little more; that got to the nature of this 3-piece band that we are. Once we got into the studio and started writing the material, Geddy and I sort of naturally gravitated to that kind of bass, guitar approach, and it just really developed from there. Once we got into the studio to start recording, the engineer that we used... that was just his particular style. It was a very basic approach to recording, rather than hunting around for bass, treble, or any kind of EQ on the console, he would just move the mic around until it sounded right to him, and it just catches a more natural sound, both in terms of the guitar as well as the drums.

Geddy: Sure.

Alex: Just put that all together, and it was...

Geddy: Yeah, and also... I'm sorry to...

Alex: Sure, go ahead.

Geddy: One thing that kind of started the ball rolling was when we finished Roll the Bones, there were a couple of tracks on that record that we felt when we recorded it, we thought we had a more aggressive sound going down to tape. When we got the final mixes, and we were listening to a couple of the tracks, we felt, 'You know, you know... we thought we had more here than we really have.' That kinda started the wheels turning as to, 'Maybe we're going about recording in a way that needs to change. Maybe there's an aspect of our sound that we're not capturing the way we used to capture it', so that spurred this search for the right engineer.

SD: John, thanks for the call. We're going to go to the home of SuperBowl... what is it, 28? SuperBowl 28 I believe, this coming Sunday. Mark is listening to us on 96ROCK in Atlanta. Mark, are you there?

Caller: Yeah.

SD: Mark, what's your question for Rush?

Caller: Well, first I wanted to congratulate them on the Pensacola show. I saw that, and it was great; tons of surprises. And I love the tourbook, too, so I give my condolences to Jay Allec.

Alex: Yeah... [laughs]

Caller: And, the first question: I'm probably not going to be able to go to the Atlanta show, 'cuz that's the way that lady luck dances. I wanted to know how extensive the tour would be (particularly in the southeastern U.S.), and second: Seeing as you did two albums without Peter Collins, but yet returned to him, then listening to Counterparts, I noticed that there's got to be some sort of magic you guys have with him. I was wondering if you could explain that.

Geddy: Well, first question first, I guess... We will be touring the United States until May, although not all the dates are set. Hopefully we'll be able to reach most parts of the country. The second question, I guess relates more to Peter Collins. Peter was someone we enjoyed working with when we did PW and HYF, and we didn't stop working with him for any reasons of dissatisfaction. If was just that after working with the same producer for our first 10 albums or so, we figured that it's kind of a good theory to just do a couple of records with a producer, and then change. Just keep increasing our kind of ability to learn more about making records. When Peter was available (like Alex said earlier) it was just kind of a treat for us to get back to work with him. He's a producer that's constantly learning, and works very hard to stay in touch. It is a very happy marriage, I think; we have a great respect for him, and I think that goes both ways. I look forward to working with him again.

SD: Let me pass along... Mark had some questions about some dates. As I said, tomorrow you'll be playing here in Austin.

[runs down some tour dates]

We'll have some more dates to pass along to you in just a bit when we return with Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee from Rush. They are our guests for the full 90 minutes here on the Global Satellite Network.

[commercial break]

Welcome back. Tonight we're in Austin, TX with the guys from Rush.

[plug for next show]

Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson here with us in Austin TX, and we go to the phones to Andy who is in Timmons Ontario listening to Q92. Andy, you're on with Rush.

Caller: Alex, Geddy... how are you guys doing? [pause]

SD: Andy?

Caller: Hello!

SD: Hello!

Caller: Hello... Geddy, Alex?

Geddy: Hello.

Alex: Hey, Andy, how's it going?

Caller: How's it going?

Geddy: Not too bad.

Caller: Just got a question for you guys about... I know it's your 20th year; I just wondered if you guys were planning a 20th anniversary tour, sans I'm wondering what we can expect.

Alex: Well, actually, this... it's not our 20th anniversary until this August, so technically, it doesn't really start until then. As Geddy mentioned earlier, we're gonna be out until the beginning of May, and then we're going to take a bit of a break. The plan at this point... the tentative plan is to go out in January of '95 and do a 20th anniversary coinciding with the 20th album release. We've talked about some ideas that we've had. One idea that we had was to do an evening with... break it up between the two decades of the history of the band, and have a little bit of a film presentation in between... during a short intermission, and do a set that's made up of songs from the first album right through to the last album in chronological order. Just make it kind of a special presentation.

SD: Wow.

Geddy: Or not.

Geddy: Or we might do something else.

Alex: Well, this is one thing that we've talked about.

SD: That sounds very exciting, and I would love to see that. Andy, thanks for the call. We're gonna go to Dalls, TX, just up the road a piece. Congratulations do 'dem Cowboys, winning yesterday. Dan is in Dallas listening to Q102. You're on with Rush, Dan.

Caller: Geddy, Alex... congratulations on your 20th anniversary again, and I've been a big fan for 19 of those years.

Geddy: Well, thank you very much.

Caller: You bet. I've got a couple of questions, real quick. Since you guys are such accomplished musicians, I was wondering if you have any plans on doing any sort of instructional video tapes in the future to share your talent with everybody, and also, will there be a live video or solo albums in your near future?

Geddy: Well, in terms of instructional videos, I'm too busy watching them to have any time to do one myself.

We have been talking about, sometime in the future, perhaps doing another live video of some sort. In terms of solo albums, nothing that Alex has told me about, but it's possible.

Alex: Well, it's actually coming out next week, but I didn't mention it.

All the same songs from Counterparts are on it, though. So...

Geddy: But your versions.

Alex: My versions.

SD: The directors cut.

Alex: Yeah... it's on accordian, with a little bit of fuzz tone.


SD: Oh, great. That'd be interesting. Hey, Dan, thanks for the call. We're gonna play a track from the new album. This song, I think lyrically... I know Neil's not with us tonight, but this one certainly...

Alex: Oh, we kicked him out!

SD: Did you?

Alex: Yeah, that's why he's not here.

Geddy: We haven't told him yet.

SD: [laughs] I see...

Geddy: So, if he's listening, then he'll know...

SD: Ya, and he'll be doing another solo record, too. [laughter] Anyway, "Nobody's Hero", I think is a very powerful statement lyrically, as well as musically, but I think there's some real powerful statements going on here. This is "Nobody's Hero" on Rockline.

["Nobody's Hero" plays]

That's "Nobody's Hero" from Counterparts, the latest effort (the 19th) from Rush, and Geddy and Alex are with us here in our studios. Actually, we are coming to you live from the campus of the University of Texas. We're going to take it now to St. Louis. KSHE is the station, and Ron is listening to us there. Ron, you're on with Geddy and Alex.

Caller: Hey! Uh, I was wondering.... I noticed on Roll the Bones you have a song called "Where's My Thing?" were it says the "Gangster of Boats Trilogy". I was wondering what that was?

Alex: Part IV of the Gangster of Boats Trilogy.

Geddy: Yes, you have to read carefully, because it's the 4th part of the trilogy. The 1st part, I don't even think we wrote, so...

Alex: We wrote it, but we forgot it before we actually recorded it, and that was the problem that time.

Geddy: Yeah. The problem is that we aren't really sure what it is, and I think we did know, but we kind of forgot...

Alex: We were asked not to talk about it by the actual captain of the Gangster of Boats.

Geddy: The Canadian secret service has asked us not to divulge it because it's kind of sensitive material.

Alex: We'd love to talk about it, but we just can't -- that's the problem.

Geddy: Is there anything else we can help you with, though?

SD: [laughs] Ron, thank you for that. We're gonna take it to Colombus, OH. QFM96 is the station Bob is listening to us in Colombus. Bob, you're on Rockline with Rush.

Caller: Hey, Geddy and Alex... you guys are the greatest. We're looking forward to see you March 23rd in Cleveland. My question is: is it any harder for you guys to get up and go on tour now with your family situation back home?

Geddy: Well, yeah. In some ways it is really difficult because we've been touring for quite a few years now, and it's a luxury for us to be able to spend a block of time at home, and actually assemble some sort of normal part of the community life (where you actually establish permanent friendships and social order). Then suddenly it's back to the studio and back out on the road. So, I do feel some upheavel, and I'd say that it's probably a little harder to deal with the older you get. There's definitely its benefits when you come back on the road, though. It's something that's in your blood, and it's something that's an important part of you.

Alex: It's certainly a unique, unusual, strange kinda lifestyle that very few people get the chance to experience.

SD: I think Neil said, 'The only thing worse than touring is not touring.'

SD: That sort of sums it up.

Alex: Well, that's too bad for him, now.

SD: That's right... because he won't be doing any more of that. If that's the way you feel about it...

We're gonna go to Tallahasse now. Bruce is listening to us on ROC104 in Tallahasse down in Florida. Bruce, you're on with Rush.

Caller: Alright. Geddy and Alex, um... [low, slow voice]

Alex: Hey, Bruce.

Caller: A couple of quick questions for ya. First of all, I was privileged enough to see you in Pensacola and really, thoroughly enjoyed myself. Just to ask some questions... On Exit.... Stage Left, just before Jacob's Ladder, Geddy makes mention of a T.C. Broonsie. I was wondering who that was. Also, on your bass stacks behind you this show, what was the characters on that lunchbox sitting on the right hand side facing out? I looked with binoculars, and I couldn't see it, and would like to know.

Geddy: Very astute. Very good eyes to pick my little lunchbox out.

SD: Really? Now exactly what was in that lunchbox?

Geddy: That's my Mystery Science Theatre lunchbox. If you're familiar with the show Mystery Science Theatre 3000, one of the most excellent shows ever...

SD: Indeed.

Geddy: I was fortunate enough to have a very good friend give me that for my birthday last year, which is a prized possession. I take it with me everywhere. T.C. Broonsie, [uses funny accent] he is our old producer, Terry Brown, whose nickname was Broon, and I can't remember the circumstances that the T.C. Broonsie was invented under, but I'm sure it was some derogatory comment of some sort.

Alex: I think it should be mentioned here too, that one of the high points of Geddy's career, and Neil's career (before he got kicked out of the group)..

Geddy: [finishing Alex's sentence] Was meeting you.

Alex: Well, no... besides meeting me, was knowing me for as long as you have after meeting me.

SD: ...was the fact that they both have been mentioned on Mystery Science Theatre.

Geddy: That's true.

Alex: I haven't, because...

Geddy: Because you don't rate.

Alex: I'm a bum.

SD: Now that's a Canadian science fiction-type...

Geddy: No, it's not Canadian..

Alex: No, from Minneapolis, I believe.

Geddy: It's on Comedy Central, I believe. It's based in..

SD: Oh, that's right... that's right. Yes, indeed.

Geddy: It's, you know, with.... These guys sit in front of a... they watch these..

SD: That's right, they comment on the...

Geddy: Really bad movies..

Alex: That's right.

Geddy: Just like we do on the bus when we watch our videos played back.

SD: Yeah... alright, thanks for the call, we're going to go to a cut now that's to my knowledge the only Rush song that appears actually on 3 different albums. It's ah..

Alex: Ooh, how did we do that?

SD: It was recorded in studio of course, and then twice on live albums. We're gonna play it from Exit.... Stage Left. Rush, on Rockline -- "Closer to the Heart".

["Closer to the Heart" from ESL plays]

SD: "Closer to the Heart" from Rush from the ESL CD. While we're on the subject of live music, let me pass on some more concert dates for Rush. [runs down more tour dates]

We'll pass along some more dates if we have time a little later on in the show.

[commercial break]

SD: Welcome back, and let me remind everyone who gets on the air tonight with the members of Rush here will all receive a copy of the Counterparts CD courtesy of our very good friends at Atlantic Records.

Alex: Oh, cool. We get those?

Geddy: Ya, we get them.

SD: Well, there will be a small service charge, of course, for you guys.

To cover postage and handling. At any rate... Also, just.... Neil Peart [pronounces last name wrong] is not with us tonight, and just to make sure that no one is taking us too seriously, Neil is still very much a part of the band, and...

Geddy: Yeah, I guess so... for now.

SD: I understand, Geddy, that there have been some rather bizzare rumors concerning Neil, that, uh...

Geddy: Yeah, actually, this is a good opportunity to kind of dispel those rumors. We get a lot of fans coming up to us concerned about Neil's health. I guess there are some rumors floating around that he's of ill health. They're taking the fact that he wears bandanas on stage to keep the sweat out of his eyes while he's drumming as a sign that he's under some sort of therapy, which I'd like to say is completely false; he's in very good health, and hopefully fans can pass the word around that he's okay, and on with it.

SD: Yes. Sort of like the rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.

Geddy: That's right... It's, uh...

Alex: I didn't hear about that, Steve.

SD: [laughs] Well, it's another story I'll tell you about. We're gonna go now to Muskigan, MI. Greg is listening to us on KLQ94.5 on Grand Rapids. Greg, you're on with Alex and Geddy.

Caller: Um, yeah... I have a question for Geddy.

Geddy: That's alright.

Caller: I really wanted to know what it was like for him to sing the national anthem at the All-Star game. I thought that was great; it sounded really good.

Geddy: Well, thank you. It was a tremendous thrill for me. I'd been asked on a couple of occasions to sing the national anthems, and I was always holding out to throw out the first pitch. I thought that would be more fun than actually working.

SD: Yeah.

Geddy: [laughs] But, when they called me and asked me to do the All-Star game - especially at Camden Yards - such a beautiful place, such a special game. I'm a big baseball fan as a lot of people know. It was a great thrill for me, and it was probably the most nervous I'd ever been..

SD: Really?

Geddy: ...before doing a concert, and I was appreciative of someone from one of the networks telling me before I went on that it was going live to like 80 countries. They told me that just before I...

SD: Good.

Geddy: .... kind of walked out, which is a nice thing to be reminded of before go to sing a cappella at a microphone. You know?

SD: Yeah.

Geddy: But, thank you for asking - I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was a great thrill for me.

SD: Well, for a baseball fan, you have to be delighted with the outcome of the last to years of baseball.

Geddy: Oh, yes... being a Toronto baseball fan, it was a good couple of years.

SD: Indeed. Indeed. From baseball to football, we're gonna go to Buffalo now. Carl is listening to us on 97ROC. Carl, how 'bout 'dem Bills up there, huh?

Caller: Oh, we love the Bills in Buffalo.

SD: There you go.

Caller: They're the best.

SD: What's your question?

Caller: Yeah, I've been a fan of you guys for many, many years, and I enjoy your music. Also, another thing I enjoy is your liner notes. I noticed over some previous albums, you mentioned the Omega Concern. I was just wondering what that is, and how I can find out more about it.

Alex: Oh, the Omega Concern is an organization that's semi-top-secret.

Alex: Sort of a medium secret.

SD: Another top-secret thing?

Alex: The Omega Concern's major concern is to develop and manufacture things that are either totally useless, or have a very specific use. The designs have to be very interesting (that's pretty broad), and most import- antly, it has to be made of wood.

Geddy: An- Wha- C'mon. You have to fess up here. Alex is the chief inventor of the Omega Concern.

Alex: And the CEO, and, uh...

Geddy: Him and Jimmy Johnson, the two..

Alex: That's right, J.J.

Geddy: ...very important members, and they make stuff. I have a.... First of all, your guitar stand that you use..

Alex: Which is an actual, real thing.

Geddy: An actual, real product that people can purchase. Alex has designed an acoustic guitar stand for stage, he's designed a brilliant light box for me ('cause I'm getting older now, and I can put my lyrics on there when I'm in the studio, and turn on a light that shines through the paper). He's also designed a spectacular book holder for Neil in the morning when he's having his breakfast ('cause he's reading 24 hours a day). When he's eating, it's hard to hold a book.

Alex: And not get food on the pages.

Geddy: And not get food on book, so Alex designed a fantastic, collapsible stand that he can put his book on and he can eat his cereal in the morning. So, you have to take some credit for being this genius inventor that you are, Alex.

Alex: If you like, after.... at the end of the show, I'll give you an address that you can send a $40 check to... in care of me.

SD: Of course. Alright, from Buffalo, we go (not coincidentally at all) to Dallas, TX. Andy is listening to us on Q102. Andy, you're on with Rush.

Caller: Yes, my question is: I wanna know who the dominant composer was on this album.

Geddy: The dom- That sounds kind of...

SD: Who had the whips and chains?

Geddy: ...strange. The dominant composer...

Alex: Well, let me tell you this! [funny accent]

Geddy: We are equal composers, Alex and I. Especially while he's sitting here beside me, I must say that we share all the responsibilities right down the middle.

Alex: It's true... We both work together on everything. We work equally. It's just that my ideas are much better than his.

Geddy: It's true... his ideas *are* much better than mine; that's why we don't use many of them.

SD: I see. Makes all the sense in the world to me. It sounds like the reason why you've been together for 20 years, I guess.

Alex: Well, I'd like to mention my solo project, which starts tomorrow.

Alex: I think I'm getting kicked out of the group.

Geddy: You already mentioned that.

SD: We're gonna go to the last album, Roll the Bones, and play a track from that on Rockline. From Rockline.... to "Dreamline".

["Dreamline" plays]

SD: That's Rush, and "Dreamline" from RtB. We have Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson with us here in Austin, TX. By the way, we mentioned that aftershock a little bit ago in LA that caused a little disruption - I understand that was about a 4.3 - which for those of you who are not familiar with earthquakes, that's a fairly good little rocker.

Geddy: It's plenty.

SD: Yeah... it's plenty... that'll do. [laughs]

Geddy: As they say in technical terms, 'it's plenty'.

SD: We're going to head back to the phones. Jeff is listening to us from right here in the Austin city limits (if you will). Jeff, you're on with Geddy and Alex.

Caller: Hey, real great listening to you guys tonight. Just two quick questions: 1.) on the new album, just wondering if you used any audio toys that you consider kind of breakthroughs, and 2.) with the invent of music videos and CD interactives and all that stuff - do you think that has changed the face of rock 'n roll?

Geddy: Okay... [to Alex] Do you want to take this... shall I take it?

Alex: I'll take the first one.

Geddy: Take it!

Alex: Ah, no.

No, we didn't really use anything new. As a matter of fact, we were pulling in some old gear that we had in storage. Some - I f-f-f-with- from-from my point of..

Geddy: Spit it out! Spit it out.

Alex: ...view, I brought in a couple of old effects that hadn't been used in years sitting in storage, collecting dust. When we got into mixing, nothing really new, or...

Geddy: Really, it was a move in the other direction, if anything.

Alex: Yeah.

Geddy: Cause, I mean Alex recording his guitars in the studio, in front of his amps, so that the amps can vibrate the pickups, like the old days - using the old Les Pauls. I went back to using my Fender bass, and I used an old Ampeg head - all this old stuff. So, really, it was quite opposite than previous records. As far as interactive CDs and videos, I think it's a very important thing. It's still a-ways off, but I know that Peter Gabriel has an interactive thing available, where you can actually remix a part of his record.

SD: Right.

Geddy: If you do it correctly, the producer appears, and says, 'good job' and stuff like that. I think that's a really intriguing part of the future of what's gonna happen with music. Hopefully, we'll be able to get into some of that.

SD: Yeah. Todd Rungren had an album like that, where you could literally make your own songs - it had his versions of it, then you could change it around, program the CD, and it would make a new song.

Geddy: Yeah, that's exciting stuff, I think. It's really a lot of fun.

SD: I wondered about the publishing aspects of that, you know?

That could be very interesting. What if Joe here in Austin does a remix, and it turns out to be a number 1 hit? Who exactly gets the credit on that one?

Geddy: Well, I think Peter Gabriel will still get paid, and that'll probably keep him happy.

SD: That'll do it. We're gonna go to Minot, ND. Scott is listening to KBQQ up in Minot. Scott, you're on with Rush.

Caller: Good evening, gentlemen.

Alex: Hi, Scott. Good evening.

Caller: First of all, I'd like to thank you for keeping your integrity from your first album all the way through Counterparts, and even though he's not there, I'd like to thank Neil for writing "The Pass". I think that is an absolutely fantastic record. I have 2 questions for you: First of all, after so many albums and tours, how do you decide which songs to play on the road? Apparently, if you were to tell me the true meaning behind the Part IV of the Gangster of Boats Trilogy you'd have to kill me.

I'll just ask you, uh, if "YYZ", "La Villa Strangiato", and "Leave That Thing Alone" are all part of that.

Geddy: Ah, many questions; such little time. No, the Gangster of Boats thing is just... it's a joke. We've decided tonight that it's not a very funny joke because because people keep asking serious questions about it.

We'll try harder next time to get the jokes funnier. Thank you for your compliments on those many things you talked about. I can't recall what the first part of your question wa-

SD: How do you decide which songs to do on the tour?

Alex: Oh, yeah... that's a tough one.

Geddy: Well, we arm wrestle a lot, it's...

Alex: Like this time, we learned a whole bunch of songs, played them, and then decided that we weren't going to do them.

So, we learned a whole bunch of other ones, and played them.

Geddy: It's.... you just try to whittle it down, and try to keep the songs that you think are important and exciting to play (the new material) and then you take into consideration that there's fans coming to you from various parts of your past, so you try to keep as many people happy as possible, and still try to do it in under 2 1/2 hours. It's a hard job to do, and it's sometimes painful because you get a great show and then you realize that this song's got to go and that song's got to go.

SD: Wow. Alright, Scott... thank you very much for the call. Melanie is in Cleavland OH listening to WMMS 100.7. Melanie, you're on with Rush.

Caller: Hi, guys! It's great to talk to you.

Alex: Hi, Melanie.

Caller: I have a question if there's any significance to all the pictures that are on the back of the CD cover. I've been racking my brain - I think I've figured some of them out, but I don't know if there's meaning behind all of them.

Geddy: Well, uh... [laughs] the album's called Counterparts, and all those pictures are counterparts of a different kind. So, they all have various meanings... their only real connection is the fact that they're all counterparts.

SD: From the CD Counterparts, this is "Stick it Out".

["Stick It Out" plays]

SD: That's from Counterparts - "Stick it Out" from Rush who are with us tonight. Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson with us for the full 90 minutes here on Rockline. Let me pass on a few more concert dates for Rush...[runs down more tour dates]

We'll be back with more of your calls, and more from Rush on the Global Satellite Network.

SD: Steve Downs here... back with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson from Rush. We are all live from Austin, TX tonight. We were just talking about - during the break - what a fine town Austin is musically. There's so much happening here.

Alex: Yeah, a lot of history here.

Geddy: Absolutely.

Alex: Great town.

SD: Yeah, and just some great music going on. We're gonna go to Indianapolis now. Jim is listening to Q95 in Indianapolis. Jim, you're on with Rush.

Caller: How ya doing Alex? Hi Geddy.

Alex: Hi, Jim.

Geddy: Hi.

Caller: I've got a question - first of all I want to tell you that I'm a fire fighter here back in Indy, and we're always jamming to you in the fire house and having a good time watching your videos. My question is about one of your videos - "A Show of Hands" - towards the end there, before "La Villa Strangiato", as you're playing, Alex, you step up to the mic and say few things, and on the video it's, uh, some sort of censorship there. I was always - since it's been out - been wondering what the heck you were saying, and if you can indulge that...

Alex: I've often wondered the same thing. You know, it was just a joke, really - actually, this was Ged's big idea.

When we came to that point in the show, I quite often just stepped up to the mic and made a complete idiot of myself. [laughter] And, ah...

Geddy: And on that particular night, it didn't get recorded.

Alex: Yeah.

Geddy: Which was the whole reason we put this joke in there. We didn't have anything on tape, and we just thought it was such a great shot - seeing you come up to the mic and babbling away. So, we thought, 'Well, what can we do?' Somebody suggested putting a radioactive...

Alex: Warning, ah...

Geddy: Danger - warning, radioactive...

Alex: I guess it's...

Geddy: We thought it would be kind of obvious, but I guess it's not so funny, now.

Alex: One of those funny things like Gangster of Boats.

Geddy: It's like Gangster of Boats trilogy. Wha- you know, so...

SD: Alright, Jim... thanks for the call. Cindy is in Louisberg, WV listening to ROC105 in Charleston, WV. Cindy, you're on with Alex and Geddy.

Caller: Uh, hi... I was wondering how much more music that you felt that you were going to be able to come out with.

SD: How much more music?

Caller: Mmm-hmm.

Geddy: You mean ever? I don't know.... I hope some more.

Alex: I hope a lot more.

Geddy: I hope a lot more... Um...

Alex: It's.... you know, you kind of do what you do, and when it's time, you do it. [pause] Whatever he said.

Geddy: What does that mean?

SD: Hello!

Geddy: I guess if you're question really is relating to how long can we keep going, then that's something that we don't really know, and we try to take every record just kind of one at a time, and see. As long as we're enjoying what we're doing and as long as we're able to make some music that people think is valid in some way or another, then I guess we'll keep carrying on.

SD: And the fact that all three of you have been able to satisfy your creative desires within the structure of the band, and not really felt the need to go outside of it. Obviously in Counterparts, that well of creativity - the bottom has not been reached. I mean, there seems to be a lot more...

Geddy: Yeah, I guess it kind of serves us well that we don't do a lot of other projects, because when we do get together to write, we are just like...

Alex: Charged.

Geddy: .... ready to go and charged.

SD: Right. Now, going back to the 1982 release, Signals on Rockline - Here is an ode to that little slice of Americana - "Subdivisions".

["Subdivisions" plays]

SD: That's Rush on Rockline... From Subdivisions, and.... Or, no - that was "Subdivisions" from Signals, okay? I had...

Alex: From a subdivision.

SD: [laughs] That's right, I had all the right words - they were just in the wrong places.

[makes mention of technical difficulties, show will be running 10min late]

Stick around. We've got a lot more coming from Rush on the Global Satellite Network.

[commercial break]

SD: We are back on Rockline with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson from Rush. As I said, we're running just a little bit long tonight because we had so many calls, and wanted to see if we could take care of as many people as possible.

Let me give you some more tour dates for Rush.

[finishes tour dates list (available via ftp or email)]

Those are the dates as we know them. We are up to date on..

Geddy: Up to date.

SD: ...on the Rush shows coming to your area, hopefully. Let's go right now to Willows, CA. Donna is listening to us in the Sacramento area to 99.9 KRFD. Donna, you're on with Rush.

Caller: Hi! It's a thrill to be speaking to such geniusness as Rush!

Alex: Thank you, Donna.

Caller: [laughs] My question is for Geddy Lee. If you weren't a musician, would you have considered a career in science & technology, or perhaps philosophy?

Geddy: Well. That's a meaty question. If my mother had her way, I would have probably been a scientist. She tells me that when I was a child, all I wanted to be was a scientist.

SD: Really?

Geddy: Somehow, I can't see myself as a scientist. [laughs]

Alex: You're a real Einstein.

Geddy: A regular Albert Einstein. That's a cheese to say...

Geddy: but, it's really hard to say which way your life would've gone if you hadn't done this. It's kinda one of those impossible things. There's so many things you want to accomplish in your life.... I didn't really choose music, I feel like it kinda chose me, in a way. I feel fortunate in that fact, because I know a lot of friends that were talented musicians, and grew up not really sure what they wanted to do with their lives - whether they wanted to be musicians or not - and they spent a number of years wondering kind of which direction to go. I was kind of lucky cause I fell into this music thing, and I liked it a lot. It kind of took care of itself, but, ah.... So, who knows where I would've been?

SD: The road not taken.

[laughter] Donna, thanks for the call. Jeff is in Minneapolis listening to 93X up there. Jeff, I hope you're thawed out a little bit. Ask us a question.

Caller: Yeah, how are you guys doing?

Alex: Good, Jeff.

Geddy: Good, how are you?

Caller: Good. I'm doing great. My question is: have any of your recent songs, according to the public's eye - not necessarily on the newest album - has it ever been an old frustration to the band that, over the years, has finally grown into something, and you had finally put it on an album?

Geddy: Actually, not really. All the songs we write for each particular record are written specifically for that record at that time. We don't really keep old material around, and we don't really have any old songs that we're dying to put somewhere. Usually, if it's not good enough to go on an album, we just kinda trash it.

SD: Really?

Alex: Yeah.

SD: Literally get rid of it, or is it...

Geddy: Yeah. We don't - I don't think we have anything recorded that we didn't end up putting on our records.

Alex: No.

Geddy: Usually, if we don't think it's good enough to go on an album, halfway through making it, we'll just lose interest in it, and we'll never get it done.

SD: Wow. That's interesting. Jeff, thanks for that call. We're gonna go up to London Ontario. Steve is listening to us on FM96. Steve, you're on with Alex and Geddy.

Caller: Hiya doin Alex and Geddy?

Alex: Good, Steve. How are you?

Geddy: Good.

Caller: Fine, thank you. I just had a quick question about your fan club. I've just recently become a member, and I was wondering: how come they're based way out in Las Vegas, Nevada and not Toronto?

Geddy: Actually, it started being run by a Canadian fella who works closely with us. He happens to live in Las Vegas part of the time, so...

Alex: Yeah, he's originally from the Burlington area, I think...

Geddy: Yeah. And, so he just moved there, and that's why it's there.

SD: Well, there you go; that answers that. The tour has just started - you've just done your second date. Here at Austin tomorrow will be your 3rd date. Tell us about the stage show... Is there - Can you, without giving away anything for people who are going to be going to the show - but are we doing anything stagewise, effectswise, is it, ah...

Geddy: Well, we're hoping to have a few aftershocks around 4.3, in that range.

SD: That'll go big in Southern California.

Geddy: Actually, it's tough to talk about the show without giving the surprises away. To a large degree, that's what's kind of fun for a lot of people to not expect. We've played around with various audio/visual things that we always do - we've expanded on that to a certain degree. We have our old lighting designer, Howard Underleider, who designed - partially designed the last show, but was not operating the last tour. He's back with us this year, and he's doing some exciting things with the lights. I hope people are pleased with what we'll be bringing along.

SD: Yup, we'll look forward to it. It's gonna be great.

...and Candlebox, who, by the way are opening up the first part of the Rush tour.

Alex: Yes.

SD: For folks who, you know.... get there early. Get to see the opening act; they're quite good.

Alex: Yeah, they're a good band.

SD: Once again, we appreciate everyone's patience. [announces toll free disaster relief number, thanks SRO and Atlantic records, etc.] ...and to our guests tonight, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. It's been a gas, and I've got to say that as you approach your 20th anniversary, I think you guys represent some of the highest ideals of advancing the state of the art. Each album is a new adventure, and it's exciting for us as listeners and as fans to hear what you're coming up with.

Alex: Thank you very much.

Geddy: Why, thank you very much. That's kind of you to say that.

SD: Great to have you on the show. Again, we'll look forward to doing it again real soon.

Geddy: [says something inaudible]

Alex: Okay, go to bed now.

SD: My name is Steve Downs, C-ya!

[show ends]