Interview: Geddy Lee Talks New Rush Album

By on 21 May 2012

Rush frontman Geddy Lee spared a few minutes on a recent jaunt to the UK to tell Terrorizer all about their forthcoming album ‘Clockwork Angels’.

‘Clockwork Angels’ is a story about a man’s adventure through a world of steampunk and alchemy. What came first? The concept or the music?

“I think what came first actually was the visual image – the whole alchemic steampunk idea. We got very excited about writing something in that world, and I think after that we looked to make that kind of happen. So Neil [Peart, drummer] came up with this idea for the storyline, being influenced by other writers that he has noted, like Voltaire and Joseph Conrad. That helped him put together the character and push the story along, and the world of this kind of thing that we were talking about visually helped us get a style for the writing of the record.”

To what extent did you have an input into the concept and lyrics? Were steampunk and alchemy things you were personally interested in?

“I’ve always enjoyed steampunk as a visual genre. There are a lot of film makers that rely on that and borrow from it. It’s certainly not a new idea. So when Neil mentioned that he was interested in it, I was already familiar with that thing; it was very intriguing. As he was developing ideas for the story, he would send lyrics to me. As songwriter of melody, I have to be in sync with him, so we would go back and forth quite a lot, discussing every song. Some of the songs I felt were very close to what I needed to put a song around, and Alex [Lifeson, guitarist] agreed with me. I write the music with Alex but I write the vocal melodies myself. Other things needed much more talking through, much more discussion, because I didn’t want the songs and the music to be tied down by the story.  It needed to have that independence; each of those songs needed to feel like they could exist on their own.”

Neil collaborated with sci-fy writer Kevin J Anderson, who is now  turning the story into a book. Is that something you guys were endorsing?

“Yeah well, I liked that idea because it took a lot of pressure off of things [that] I had to include in the lyrics! I could say, ‘Well you can just put that in the book then, it’ll be fine’. So, that helped make it a better musical journey in that I wasn’t so restricted by plot twists and trying to make sense that he appears here, then he appears there. That’s something that can be flushed out in a novel, but not necessarily important for a musical journey because the music itself is what gives you some colour and paints the picture.”

‘Clockwork Angels’ is released June 11 on Roadrunner

Look out for more Rush in the next issue of Terrorizer


About Miranda Yardley

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