The conclusion to the definitive biography of the rock ’n’ roll kings of the North.
Includes two full-colour photo inserts, with unearthed photos of the band.
“Popoff’s long-time access to the three band members, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart, and their associates continues to provide a phenomenal treasure trove of insight and detail. ” — Library Journal
In this conclusion to his trilogy of authoritative books on Canada’s most beloved and successful rock band, Martin Popoff takes us through three decades of “life at the top” for Rush’s Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart. Though this era begins with the brisk-selling Roll the Bones and sees throngs of fans sell out international tours, there is also unimaginable tragedy, with Peart losing his daughter and his wife within the space of ten months and, two decades later, succumbing to cancer himself. In between, however, there is a gorgeous and heartbreaking album of reflection and bereavement, as well as a triumphant trip to Brazil, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, and — some say surprisingly — the band’s first full-blown concept album to close an immense career marked by integrity and idealism.
“Neil had to do what he needed to do, just find some sort of peace,” begins Alex, recapping the events of renewal that led to the return of Rush — new record, new tour, new Neil. “He had embarked on a long journey, a long and very painful journey on his motorcycle, basically just going and going and going, and never really knowing where he was going. But it’s what he needed to do. That whole process took a few years.
“And we had a meeting, he came up to Toronto and we talked. We talked about how we would go through this process. He wasn’t sure if he could do it, but he was willing to try. You know, he hadn’t played his drums for almost four years, so it was a very difficult time. He was a little apprehensive, and he was afraid, I think. He wasn’t sure how he felt about it, but it was a new start. He was starting to find a little bit of happiness for the first time in many years. He had to go through that.
“But he was a little nervous. He hadn’t played in a long time and he didn’t know if his heart could go into the music as it once did. Because he just didn’t look at music that way anymore. He had lost too much. It was a very, tentative fragile thing from the very beginning. From that meeting, it was a very fragile, tentative thing.
“We went into the studio with just us in there,” continues Lifeson. “Four block bookings for months and months and months. We were in there from January of 2001 until basically Christmas, and then we went into another studio to mix and spent a few months there. The project took thirteen or fourteen months altogether. It was a delicate time and everything happened slowly. Neil practiced a lot and played a lot while we were writing in another room.
“We would only take four to six months to make a record, six being the outside. To spend fourteen months on a record is a long, long time. But Geddy, after spending a year on his solo record, really believed that we shouldn’t have any deadlines. We’ve always been anal about the way we work; you know, six weeks for writing, one week for drums, five days for bass, two weeks guitar, two weeks vocals, mix. It’s always been like that. We’ve been doing that for decades, and with his solo record, Geddy said, ‘I played so much with my songs, and I could really see how they developed and how important it was to the growth of the material. ’ He said with Vapor Trails, we had to not worry about deadlines, take as long as it takes to work that way. I was antsy for the first couple of months; I had that four-month to six-month thing in my head, and it was three months before we even had anything written. By that point I realized that he was right — forget deadlines; this record is going to take as long as it takes. ”