Monday, March 29, 2010

Rush In Canadian Songwriters HOF; New Songs & Tours 2010 and 2011

On the heels of yet another recent US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame snub, Rush took home the honor over the weekend of being inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame where they were recognized for the songs Limelight, Closer to the Heart, The Spirit of Radio, Tom Sawyer and Subdivisions.

There were some great quotes from the band leading up to the event, and new recordings and a rough touring schedule were discussed:

Geddy Lee from the Globe and Mail:

"It's not very often we get a chance to look back at what we've created. "It's humbling, frankly, to be joining a group that includes Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot and so many other great songwriters...When you have a great lyric the music becomes a natural extension of the mood and content. The `music first' method is more difficult, but often more rewarding. It relies a lot on craftsmanship, and on the magic of musical inspiration and improvisation...but the words have to match that special quality, and it's sometimes painstaking work to get that to happen...I understand why no one covers our songs. They sound daunting. When we tried to write songs that are simple and uncomplicated, it didn't work. One of our producers used to tell us, 'You'd have a lot of hits if only someone else recorded them.'"

Alex Lifeson from the Globe and Mail:

We were off for a year and a half, and now it's just pouring. Everything is totally crazy and there's not a minute left in the day. We've got these half-dozen songs, and we'll probably go in the studio and work on a couple of them and see how it goes, perhaps release something - and I say perhaps - and then we plan on being on the road in the middle of June. Ideally, we'd like to showcase a couple of these songs on the tour, come off tour in mid-October, go back in the studio and continue writing, then record through late this year and early next year, and then release the album in the spring of 2011 on a slightly more substantial tour. This [year's] tour will probably be about 45 dates. Most likely summer, 2011, would be more like 70.

Neil Peart from an interview from Jam! Music:

The band is about five songs into the record with co-producer Nick Raskulinecz, from 2007's Snakes and Arrows, but won't talk about the sound or how or when the tunes will be released or subsequent tour plans. "I stopped in Toronto a couple of weeks back and went over to Geddy's house and listened to what they've been working on from my lyrics and it's very exciting, we've got probably five very good songs there," ... "So we were saying, 'Well, I kind of just want to keep working on this and finish the record.' But on the other hand we were thinking, 'Well, something we haven't done since the '80s is write new songs and go out and play them.' It's interesting to be so deeply involved in songwriting right now with this honour coming up. It kind of puts a fresh observation on it for me."

At the Hall of Fame ceremony, other artists performed the songs being inducted, including a guy named Jacob Moon who did Subdivisions. Neil had this to say about it:

"It's a very unusual song construction lyrically and musically that we managed to make work," he said. "It was written at a time when we weren't working, so to speak. We were mixing a live album and we just started playing around and wrote a song for fun. Although it's very serious in it's musical structure, one of the most complicated actually that we've had in terms of arrangement drum part alone, it's a really intricate drum part to play and consequently I still love playing it almost 30 years later and that's a good testament."

"We all shared Jacob Moon's performance of Subdivisions quite a long time ago and sent it to each other, 'Hey have you seen this?' because it's such a beautiful cover. The imaginative way that he uses the little cassette player to get my voice in there. It's superb. And it is that kind of song. It's a singer-songwriter's song. I loved to see his version of it and I loved the idea that song has endured to his generation."

According to, Peart was to write and deliver the band's acceptance speech, and in addition to Moon doing Subdivisions, Primus frontman Les Claypool would be playing The Spirit of Radio and Canadian hardcore rockers Alexisonfire would be performing Tom Sawyer.

I am very stoked about the band hitting the road with a couple of new, unrecorded numbers. And who knows? Maybe we'd get Camera Eye or Jacob's Ladder this time?

Here is a Canadian TV report from the event, with some cool interviews.

Here is Jacob Moon doing Subdivisions. It's very cool!

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