|Slaine mac Roth
Joined: 31 Mar 2004
Location: Mansfield, (UK)
|Posted: Sat May 29, 2004 2:52 pm Post subject: Rush at 30
|I had this emailed to me and thought it would be of interest:
At 30, Rush runs for cover(s)
The Charlotte Observer
Published: Friday, May 28, 2004
When arena-rock heroes Rush were asked to hit the road to celebrate their 30th anniversary together, the three original members were a bit apprehensive. But bassist and vocalist Geddy Lee, drummer Neil Peart and guitarist Alex Lifeson realized they had something to celebrate. The group has blazed its progressive-rock trail - with a few classic songs, including "Tom Sawyer" and "New World Man" - across four decades. Lifeson and Lee started the Toronto-based group in 1968, with Peart signing on in 1974, just in time for Rush's first album.
In June, the band releases "Feedback," an eight-song set of unlikely covers of songs that inspired them early on, including hippie folk-rock band Buffalo Springfield's 1967 hit "For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)," Eddie Cochran's '50s rockabilly hit "Summertime Blues" and the Who's "The Seeker."
Rush kicks off a five-month tour this week, stopping at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre tonight. During rehearsals in Nashville, Tenn., last week, Lee spoke with the Observer about cover songs, new music and staying together for so darn long.
Why were you anxious about a 30th-anniversary tour?
This is the first time we have gone out when we didn't have a project that we felt passionately about. We've been very successful not trading on that clich? where you're depending on your past. After I thought about it a while, I decided it's quite an accomplishment to stay productive for 30 years as a rock band, and having this cover project made it OK. It gave us something to occupy ourselves creatively and helped justify it to me.
How did the covers project come about?
We had no plans to do an album of any kind at first, then somebody approached us about doing the tour. A friend planted the idea: Wouldn't it be fun to play a few songs that we liked when we first were learning our instruments and release an EP?
Rush isn't known for covering other artists' material, although Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" (which isn't included) was your first single. How did you choose the songs for this disc?
We tried some, and sometimes it didn't sound convincing or we didn't feel like we were bringing anything of our own to the song. "Not Fade Away" was the first song we recorded - I forgot about that one. That was back in 1973, the first time we went into the studio. We should have recorded that one (for the new EP), too.
So you tried to put your own spin on these old songs?
The only way to convincingly record someone else's music is to make it your own in some way. Sometimes you're more successful than others...You're imposing your own style of playing on anybody's material. We tried a few Led Zeppelin songs and Hendrix songs, but those groups' personalities are so indelibly etched in the songs, it just doesn't work for somebody else (to attempt them).
Do you listen to new music?
I like to know what's going on in the British music scene, particularly the rock scene is interesting. I like a lot of electronic music and people like Bjork.
How has the band managed to stay together?
It's not been easy, but at the same time the three of us have always gotten along very well. We were always able to maintain our sense of humor and our sense of musical vision, which has remained remarkably similar. (Lifeson and I) live a couple blocks from each other in Toronto. We stay in touch with Neil, but he lives in California.
'Do not despise the snake for having no horns, for who is to say it will not become a dragon?'