Rush: we worked 15 months on Vapor Trails and it still wasn't right

“I felt so proud of the fact that we had all of those other musicians on stage with us.” Says Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson of the Clockwork Angels String Ensemble the band took on tour around the world.

Speaking to Philip Wilding on the Prog Magazine Show, Lifeson enthused: “We got very close with them, we’re still in touch, I’m even going to a stag with one of the guys in the spring in Ireland, that’ll be a fun event.”

Asked if it felt like taking a support band out again - something which Lifeson has admitted he’s missed in the past - he responded, “No, they felt like they were part of Rush, they were part of Rush! I think they felt the same way. They’re the kind of musicians who don’t even get lights on them when they play, they do their part and then they leave. But we got them up to Toronto to rehearse for a week, ate together, had a few drinks together and that kind of set the tone for how we were going to work together. I loved those shows every night.“

As well as the release of both the_ Clockwork Angels_ Tour DVD and live album, the band were also welcoming the long awaited remix of their comeback 2002 album, Vapor Trails. Recorded after an enforced six-year hiatus after drummer Neil Peart lost his daughter and wife barely twelve months apart, it had often been criticised for a lack of dynamics in its sound.

“That really drove us crazy,” says Lifeson. “Probably Geddy more than Neil or myself. It was a very, very dark period for Neil, so his involvement was minimal, he trusted that we’d do the right thing. Ged and I have talked about doing a new mix for years, was it the right thing to do? Should it stay as it was as a marker in that period of time?

“It was such a difficult record for us, fifteen months we worked on it, we rewrote half of it, Neil hadn’t even played drums for years, but we managed to get through it and that album deserved more than it got in the end. It’s a pleasure to listen to it now, the original was hard to listen to, too loud and undynamic. I’m glad we got past that.“

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For more on ‘Big Al’ and Geddy Lee of Rush then click the link below.

Rush: an epic interview with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson

Philip Wilding

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.