In the current Volkswagen television commercial in North America, the driver sitting stopped at an intersection does some spirited “air drumming” while the Rush song “Fly By Night” plays over the car sound system…complete with a simulated Neil Peart toss & catch of the invisible drumstick into the air! It’s so funny because I’ve watched guys doing that for thirty years now. By 1981, Rush had built a fiercely loyal fan base through eight albums, only one of which did not sell more than its predecessor, and road-dog touring, all the while honing their chops, their arrangements, and lyrical themes into a laser-tight focus. These efforts finally resulted in Rush’s worldwide blockbuster Moving Pictures. So what did the band do for the follow-up when all of their hard work paid off ?
Rush changed. Because the album also contained the the Top Ten hit “New World Man” and sold over a million copies in its first two months, there is tendency to assume that Signals was easily embraced by all of the Rush faithful.
It wasn’t. With back-to-back million sellers Permanent Waves in 1980 and then the massive Moving Pictures, Rush risked their new-found fame and fortune with the 1982 album Signals, expanding their sound with new instrumentation and additional layers of sound on songs “Subdivisions”,”The Analog Kid”,”Chemistry”, and “The Weapon”. But if Rush had not challenged themselves and their fans by continuing to innovate and explore all four corners of the studio with their evolving sound with Signals in Fall 1982 , would there even be a Rush in the 21st century? Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart all weigh in for this classic rock interview.- Redbeard