Rush – 2012 New Album Preview
Rush has been teasing fans with tracks from their upcoming 19th full-length studio album, ‘Clockwork Angels,’ for nearly two years now — but after taking some time off to hit the road for the Time Machine Tour, it looks like the band is finally ready to add the last finishing touches and let the world hear what they’ve been up to in the studio.
We’ve already heard the album’s first single, ‘Caravan,’ as well as its B-side, ‘BU2B.’ But what else can we expect to get out of ‘Clockwork Angels’? Let’s take a look at what we’ve heard from the band members.
During an interview with Rolling Stone in October, Geddy Lee said the band was “almost finished writing” the new album, explaining that, “After a sluggish start, we’ve had a very fruitful couple of weeks in terms of writing. I’m very pleased with the direction that the material has taken. And I think we have one or two more songs that we’d like to write, and then we’ll start recording in earnest. Hopefully we’ll have all of the recording done before Christmas. Then we’ll mix it some time in the next year, and then get it out.”
“Some time in the next year” is pretty vague, but lest you worry that Rush plans to dawdle its way through the home stretch with the new record, take heart: Lee added, “I hope it’ll be out by the spring” and promised the band would tour in support of ‘Clockwork Angels.’ Although he couldn’t pin down a time for the tour, summer 2012 sounds like a pretty great time to hear some new Rush at an arena near you, doesn’t it?
As for what the new record will sound like, Lee offered that “It’s not finished so it’s hard to say exactly what it will sound like in totality.” However, he did say it’s “a little different” from their last outing, 2007’s ‘Snakes & Arrows,’ and added, “I think that the direction of ‘Caravan’ and ‘BU2B’ sort of points in the direction that we’re going.”
In another interview, Lee hinted at a return to the band’s progressive rock leanings: “We’re going in a conceptual direction on this record, for sure. We started with a 10-minute song idea that then turned into a concept and it’s feeding off itself. It’s like that question that Steven Colbert asked us, ‘Are your songs so long that by the end you’re influencing yourself?’ I think we’re doing that now. We’re like a feedback loop, influencing ourselves now. We’re spending so much time on this concept. It’s been fun, because we haven’t gone down that road in a while.”
According to lyricist and drummer Neil Peart, Rush’s recent work has been affected by the influence of ‘Clockwork Angels’ co-producer Nick Raskulinecz, who also worked with the band on ‘Snakes & Arrows.’ “Nick is a very bad influence,” Peart told Classic Rock Magazine. “He wants us to be more Rush than we are, it’s wonderful, he pushes me in ways I wouldn’t dare. In the middle of ‘Caravan’ there’s a ridiculous fill and it was Nick who wanted me to go all the way down the toms and back up again. Once I’d done it, my comment was, ‘I’m so ashamed!’ He was in the studio outlining his idea to me, and Geddy’s sitting down next to us and he looks up over his glasses and says, ‘Oh, he wants to make you famous’. I would have never have proposed some of Nick’s arrangement ideas to my bandmates, I’m not that brash, we’re not that brash … we’re Canadians.”
Still, for all that Canadian humility, Peart isn’t shy about expressing his ambition for the new material. “I feel a certain urgency,” he admitted during the interview. “I really want to get that record made while I’m still able to. It was hard for me to set the album aside to tour, this really means a lot to me, I intend it to be my highest achievement lyrically and drumming wise, so I really want to get it done while we still can.”