RUSH Drummer: 'We've Just Started Working On New Material'

Darryl Sterdan of QMI Agency recently conducted an interview with RUSH drummer Neil Peart. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

QMI Agency: What's happening with RUSH? I read on your blog that you were going to meet in November to discuss your future. What happened?

Peart: Well, in fact, we've just started working on new material. So we plan to get some writing and recording done. And we're considering doing everything this year — maybe even a bit of touring. We are in action. And we feel a bit liberated by the state of the music business. Even since 2006, when we started "Snakes & Arrows", the album has become less significant in these times of iTunes and shuffle settings and whatnot. But perhaps we can take advantage of that and work in a whole different way. So we decided, when we did meet, that we're not constrained by the patterns of the past, where you spend a year writing and recording, and the next year touring. Anything's possible now; we can record a couple of songs and put them out and then go on tour if we want. So at this point, we're just embarking on writing, but keeping ourselves open to all those other possibilities. One of our early titles for this year was "Research and Development". That's where we’re at.

QMI Agency: So you might start making music in smaller increments?

Peart: Or larger. I went to see a band called PORCUPINE TREE not long ago. And I was talking with (singer-guitarist) Steven Wilson. They just put out a 55-minute piece. That's a finger to the whole iTunes shuffle thing, and he intended it as such. And I thought, "Yeah, that's another way of rebelling against it — by just saying no." There's too much lost in giving up the integrity of an album — what it represents to you as a musician, and as a human being, for that matter. So I like that approach. That's very possible for a band like us. So there are no limitations; we might go big or we might go small.

QMI Agency: Tell me about the new material — are there songs, or is it just ideas at this point?

Peart: Oh, we just literally started. There's nothing to tell, really, except that we're doing it.

QMI Agency: Yours doesn't strike me as a band where someone comes in with an entire song. I imagine there’s a lot of back and forth.

Peart: Remarkably so, yeah. We're so unique in that regard — all three of us are equally involved. I tend just to give them a whole bunch of lyrics. I don't walk in and say, "Here's the song I just wrote, what do you think?" I give them choices, and genuine opportunities to respond. Geddy and Alex are getting together now on the musical side, so I just sent them a whole bunch of lyrical ideas. Anything they respond to, I'll get inspired by. That's what I've found in the past; if Geddy says, "I like these four lines," that to me is great. It's not a rejection of the rest of it; it's that those four lines happened to reach him. So I'll build on that.

Read the entire interview at this location.

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