Rush kicked have kicked off 2012 with a brand new album - Clockwork Angels - and receiving the prestigious Governor General's Performing Arts Award in Ottawa on May 5.
The band were presented the award alongside icons like Pete Townshend and a choir performed Spirit of the Radio followed by an orchestral version of Tom Sawyer.
Geddy Lee was still beaming with pride when he met up with TAPEtoTAPE last week.
"That was great, it was fun and it made me proud to live in a country that recognises the performing arts and celebrates excellence in various fields. A lot of the people were not mainstream artists but they've been working their whole lives perfecting their craft. In Canada we're always fighting for support of the arts. In a lot of countries they subsidies a lot of industries but when it comes to the arts they view it as a gift. Yet the arts can be a very profitable thing to invest in. It's as valid as investing in the car industry or whatever. So when you see an event like that which celebrates excellence in the performing arts, it sends a very positive message to the artist and the country and it informs young people that the arts matters and don't be discouraged and follow your passion. Which is what we did."
For years fans have been petitioning to get the band recognised by the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in the America and when asked about this Lee responded with his usual humour: "No, no we're still young. That's for old-timers."
Geddy was in town to promote Clockwork Angels during which time it was also announced that Rush will be touring the UK next May. Angels... follows on from Snake and Arrows and has been greeted by fans as being a return to form.
"We were attempting to bring that back with Snakes and Arrows and in retrospect before we did this record I felt we were still leaning a little too heavily on production with Snakes & Arrows", says Lee. "Even though the songs on Clockwork Angels are still very complex, they're leaner in the terms of the way we recorded them. We tried to make the essence of this album more reflective of the three piece."
"The built-to-be-performed quality is clearly eveident on all the songs on Clockwork Angels", declares Neil Peart on the notes he wrote for a press sheet. "Like the nineteen albums that have come before, these songs are 'Made 2 B Played' again and again for years."