Behind The Boards

By Ben Rayner, Toronto Star, Arts Section, April 28, 2007

A band feted for its meticulous playing, challenging arrangements and pristine recordings, Rush has historically placed great value on collective self-betterment through collaboration with outside producers. Here follows a brief history of the gents who have coaxed the Toronto trio to classic heights of studio greatness over the years:

TERRY BROWN: As the man who helped cultivate Rush's still-singular prog-metal sound over eight early albums - from 1975's Fly by Night through such classics as 1976's 2112, 1977's A Farewell to Kings and 1981's Moving Pictures until 1982's Signals - Brown could almost be considered a formative, phantom fourth member. He only parted ways with his friends, says Neil Peart, because "eventually we knew what he was going to tell us to do and we had adapted to that." Brown has gone on to work with a Who's Who of Canadian rockers, from Max Webster to Blue Rodeo to Voivod, as well as international acts such as Cutting Crew, Tony Levin and Dream Theater.

PETER HENDERSON: He presided over only one Rush album, 1984's synth-heavy Grace Under Pressure, but Henderson had a long track record of grandiose rock projects under his belt after a long association with Supertramp and King Crimson. He's also rubbed shoulders with Frank Zappa and Paul McCartney.

PETER COLLINS: He oversaw one of Rush's best mid-period, electronically infused statements, 1985's Power Windows, and stuck around for 1987's Hold Your Fire. Came back for the band's more metallic return to its roots on 1993's Counterparts and 1996's Test For Echo.

RUPERT HINE: Having made his name running with synth-pop types like Howard Jones and the Thompson Twins, Hine ironically arrived at Rush's side when the band put its synthesizers on the backburner with 1989's Presto and 1991's Roll the Bones. Perhaps he's the one to blame for suggesting Geddy Lee try his hand at "rapping" on the title track.

PAUL NORTHFIELD: Twiddled knobs on 2002's Vapor Trails after working on Rush-influenced records by Queensryche and Dream Theater before. Can-Con credits also include April Wine and Moist, while he's also presided over records by notable waste cases Ozzy Osbourne and Hole's Courtney Love.

NICK RASKULINECZ: A bassist, guitarist and drummer himself, this rising star can lay claim to helping define the sound of post-millennial modern-rock radio through his work on hard-rockin' hits by Velvet Revolver, Stone Sour and the Foo Fighters.