In the wake of the recent release of Rush's fourth live album, the three-CD Different Stages, singer-bassist Geddy Lee says that he and guitarist Alex Lifeson have been concentrating on musical interests outside the band. This development, in light of other circumstances, leaves the future of the group decidedly up in the air.
Drummer Neil Peart suffered the unspeakable loss over the last year-and-a-half of both his wife and his daughter in separate tragedies, putting all of the veteran group's activities on hold. Peart's wife, Jackie, died earlier this year after a battle with cancer, while their only child, 19-year-old daughter Selena, was killed last year in a car crash (myLAUNCH, 8/21/97). Different Stages is dedicated to both of the women.
While Rush is on hold, Lifeson is beginning work on a second solo album for Atlantic Records under the project name Victor that's due in stores sometime next year, and Lee is collaborating with a number of different Canadian musicians for still-undetermined projects.
"I've gotten back into doing some of that right now," says Lee, on the phone from his Toronto home. "I've been working with some young musicians in Toronto, and I've been enjoying it a lot. I think it's something I'm going to pursue for the next little while. I've also been doing some writing with other people, some friends of mine. So I've got a couple of little projects that I'm bringing along slowly, and starting to devote more and more time to."
Among the people Lee is collaborating with is Vancouver's Ben Mink, best known for his writing and recording work with K.D. Lang. Mink is no stranger to Lee; he recorded an electric violin solo for the 1982 Rush tune "Losing It," making him one of just a handful of musical guests who've appeared on a Rush album.
"We've been writing together for more than a year, on and off," Lee says of Mink. "We've started to assemble material. We have a lot of fun working together, and I think we write great stuff together. But we're not sure what we're going to do with it, whether we'll put it in an album form. It's early days yet for that."
It is unclear where these developments leave Rush, a band that's consistently recorded new albums and toured to promote them since 1974. It's also uncertain if the band will ever record or play live again.
"Right now there's no definitive plans for the band," whispers Lee in a voice that echoes with sadness. "No thought has been given to it. [For Neil], it's been the nightmare of all nightmares, and at the moment it's just one day at a time."