Rush Spotlight

Much Music, 1997, transcribed by Matthew Sullivan

[Transcriber's note: Since the program was in the MuchMusic style there were many disjointed bits and cutting from this to that, in between the actual videos showed. This made it a bit difficult to transcribe, but here it is. Any errors are my fault....; Webmaster's note: Originally presented in two parts, they have been merged together for readability. ]

(Intro: Roll the Bones is played including graphic text as follows:)

- from Toronto, Ontario
- together since '69
- have released 19 albums
- breakthrough was '76's '2112'
- have sold over 30 million albums worldwide
- latest is '96's 'Test For Echo'

(Interview clip "1997":)

Geddy: I don't know, I think just being around this long is a milestone in itself.

(Interview clip "1997":)

Neil: It's astonishing to me that... that not only did we break through, but we have survived up till now. It's really lucky, and (laughs) I'm really glad it happened.

(Interview clip "1997":)

Alex: It's not the same anymore, like it was when we started, back in the 20's.

(Film clip, "Buffalo, 1979". The band is running onto stage while you hear the audience screaming in the background. A series of still photos from that era follows, while a bit of Closer to the Heart is played.)

(Interview clip "1990":)

Neil: We got the Juno for Most Promising Group in like... '74, '75, or something like that. We were astonished! (laughs)... because you know, we couldn't get a high school gig in Canada at the time.

(Interview clip "1979" - all three members in what looks like a studio:)

Interviewer: When you first started out, the Canadian music industry didn't have time for you - and now you're the biggest rock and roll band in Canada. Do you feel bitter about that; or how do you feel about that?

Neil: Just that you have to say it feels good to be right. Other than that, there's no resentment or bitterness.

(Video: A Farewell to Kings)

(Interview clip "1990":)

Interviewer: Is there a time when you thought that maybe Rush wouldn't be a hugely successful band? (laughs)

Geddy: (laughs) Is there a time?... well, let me count the ways. Um, a long time ago, yeah. Probably starting out playing clubs in Thunder Bay, Ontario, that thought crossed my mind quite a few times. (laughs) But once we started moving it never really crossed my mind, no... I always felt we were moving in a kind of positive direction. I guess around the time of Caress of Steel we kind of had a setback, and that was kind of a negative time, so maybe around that time we were pondering the future a bit. But it's always been very optimistic within the band, and myself too.

(Video: Closer to the Heart)

(Film clip, "1987 Metro Centre HALIFAX". A bit from a performance of Limelight.)

(Interview clip "1990":)

Interviewer: I think in a lot of ways, that your career, Rush's career, has been an anomaly.

Neil: Oh, no question about it, yeah. Even when I was talking before about having made three albums that didn't do that well; I mean not many bands get that shot. We just fell through the cracks, basically, and "anomaly" is the other way of saying that. Our record company, our American record company, was in tremendous disarray at the time, and we were just, you know, allowed to stumble around. And in every respect, yes, having really made our name on the stages really, rather than through radio or through press, and radio for us, was a response. You know, once we became popular enough as a live band the request lines started to light up often enough about us that radio stations played us. And again, that was a very well-defined turning point, was Moving Pictures. Our popularity reached a certain critical mass, basically (laughs), where it couldn't be held down that far anymore, and radio was forced into a very reluctant position of having to play us - I'm speaking of the United States mostly there, because Canadian radio, as long as we have been reasonably prominent, has supported us to some degree.

(Video: Tom Sawyer)

(Video: Subdivisions)

(Interview clip "1997":)

Geddy: Yeah, we have such a hard-core, dedicated core - you know - audience, that they've really kept us going over the years. And, I kind of look at it like that core is kind of always interested, and it is, I think, real interest and curiosity as to what we're going to do next, so they're really kind of involved in our growth. And regardless of which way we grow, I don't think they immediately turn off - they kind of listen and go 'Oh, this is what they're doing now. Interesting.'

(Film clip, "1991 Detroit, Michigan". A bit from a performance of Closer to the Heart - extended jam)

(Cut to interview clip with some enthusiastic concert-goers, perhaps somewhat inebriated, apparently at that Detroit show)

Interviewer: What's so special about Rush?

Fan #1: What's so special about Rush? - They're great man. Rush is great.

Interviewer: Why?

Fan #1: Why? - because Geddy's the best. Geddy Lee, Neil Peart (pronounced it "purt") - (inaudible) - Alex is the number one guitar player ever.

Fan #2: They have integrity. They're for the mind, they're not the stupid emotion shit.

Fan #3: (while his buddy is letting out a loud yell) They're not for simple-minded people at all. They're for intelligent people like us, that stand out here in the rain! (Continued yelling)

(Interview clip "1991, England":)

Interviewer: You guys seem to have such absolute fans; they'll just do anything for you.

Alex: Yeah, no, that's true. We have great fans, and I think they've grown up, in a lot of cases, with us, and now that they've grown up they bring their kids (laughs). So we have a very wide variety of fans, in age groups, definitely.

(Cut to later in the interview)

Alex: What we've noticed on the last two tours, and especially on this tour, is that there are a lot more female fans coming to our shows. When I say a lot, that's a very small percentage in the total, but certainly two or three times more than what it used to be, and they're very well versed in the music. They know the music, they know the lyrics - and it's great to see they're not just being dragged along with their boyfriends; I mean you do see those in the front rows quite often.

(Cut again)

Alex: I mean, it's hard rock, we've always been on maybe the progressive end of rock music. It's been something that musician-types have probably been more into, this band, and consequently, I think, that's mostly a male audience. We're not, you know, the cutest guys around, and we're certainly getting on in years, and I just think that for an audience, they look at us differently than they would with a younger audience, with bigger hair, and you know, more of a kind of trendy appearance to them.

(Video: Marathon [live])

(Interview clip "1990":)

Alex: We're a three-piece band. You get three people, it's often easier to work that way than more than three. You tend not to break into factions, obviously. We get along very well as friends, we really enjoy each other's company. We laugh an awful lot. I think that's probably been the key, is our collective sense of humour, over the years. And it's helped us to weather some of the tougher times - we've had, you know, disagreements over the years, but nothing that's ever been that critical, that's placed any sort of really intense pressure on the partnership of the three of us.

(Video: Nobody's Hero)

(Film clip. Concert footage; a bit from a performance of The Spirit of Radio)

(Interview clip "1991":)

Geddy: What makes us unique? The fact that we're a trio that sounds somewhat like an orchestra, at times, I think makes us unique. I think the strange combination of influences. The fact that we are a hard rock band, some times, but we're not afraid to bring other rhythmic influences, like reggae or whatever. The fact that there almost always seems to be a conceptual lyrical tone that's quite different than most bands that are playing harder rock music - I think that sets us apart a little bit. And the kind of internal complexities of our arrangements - the fact that within one song we go through, in sometimes very subtle ways, uh, you know, three deferent styles - which to the conventional songwriter, that would appear to be something you're not supposed to do. A lot of our songs are constructed in a way that you would probably be taught not to construct songs. And I think that combination of things is what makes us different.

(Video: Roll the Bones)

(Film clip "1996 Half the World video shoot". A guy holding the director's board that clacks (or whatever it's called) - it reads "RUSH REVOLVER":)

Voice (presumably the director): Okay, stand by Fraser - Roll video. Camera. Playback.

(Cut to Geddy and Alex pretending to play their instruments to the playback, in front of the wooden fence from the video. Cut to interview clip with Geddy, also in front of the fence.)

Geddy: Here we are on the set of... what are we doing here?

Interviewer: (laughing) Yeah, what are we doing here?

Geddy: An Irish Spring commercial?

(Cut to later in the interview)

Geddy: A little bit about the video... well, it's called 'Half the World', and we're on one half, and the other guy's on the other half. So, I don't know what to tell you about it, other than it's kind of about polarity.

Interviewer: What does the fence represent?

Geddy: Well, the fence represents, you know, the imaginary dividing line, you know, the whole idea of being... someone's perception of the grass being always greener on the other side. And it kind of toys with that question.

(Video: Half the World)