Somehow Toronto’s Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Rush have managed to maintain non-controversial low profiles, both individually and collectively, for the entire length of a prodigious forty year career, which is no minor feat while simultaneously selling more than an estimated forty-five million albums worldwide. Yet when observing potential song subjects for 1984’s Grace Under Pressure and Fall 1985’s Power Windows, Rush lyricist/ drummer Neil Peart saw an uncanny number of socio-political issues which have become front page headlines again thirty years later.For instance, “The Big Money” from Power Windows sounds custom made for Bernie Sanders‘ presidential campaign theme song; “Manhattan Project“is the world’s only sentimental song about history’s first Weapon of Mass Destruction; “Marathon” makes today’s fascination with extreme “Iron Man” endurance sports into a metaphor for both self-determination and self-realization; and the standout “Time, Stand Still” from 1987’s Hold Your Fire was one of the first rock songs to recognize that the Baby Boomers were beginning to see much more of life in the rear view mirror than in the road ahead.
For this classic rock interview my guests guitarist/ composer Alex Lifeson (c) and singer/ multi-instrumentalist Geddy Lee (r) thoughtfully illuminate a lot of what makes this intrepid rock trio unique, but the overheated rhetoric and politics of fear in today’s North American media megaphone have become so pernicious that even the normally apolitical Lee declares,”I don’t feel that because somebody’s an actor that they have any more right to speak on a political subject than somebody else. They’re an ACTOR, they’re not a politician…I wouldn’t feel comfortable about speaking publicly on anything that I wasn’t an expert about. So I feel very reticent to jump on bandwagons to start using my popularity ( in entertainment) as a political device to speak about a subject.” –Redbeard