Prime Cuts: Rush
“ ‘Limelight’ is about being under the microscopic scrutiny of the public, the need for privacy—trying to separate the two and not always being successful at it. Because we’ve never been a high-profile band, we’ve managed to retain a lot of our privacy. But we’ve had to work at it. Neil’s very militant about his privacy.
“My guitar was a different modified Strat with a heavier and denser body. We set up a couple of amps outside of the studio as well as inside, so we got a nice long repeat with the echoing in the mountains. The approach on that solo was to try to make it as fluid as possible. There was a lot of bending with lots of long delay repeats and reverb so notes falling off would overlap with notes coming up. I spent a fair amount of time on that to get the character, but once we locked in on the sound, it came easily.”
Signals (Mercury, 1982)
“Most of Signals was completed, but we wanted to add one more song. Neil had been fooling around with the lyrics, so we wrote and recorded ‘New World Man’ in the studio all within one day. It has a very direct feel. Doing that in one day was a lot of fun. The pressure was on but off at the same time.
“It was almost compulsory to do solos at that time, but I didn’t want to feel that every song had to have that kind of structure. I wanted to get away from that, and to this day I feel that way. I enjoy playing solos and I feel that my soloing is quite unique to my style, but I’m bored with that structure.
“I used a Tele for the whole song through the Hiwatts with a little bit of reverb and chorus.”
“THE BIG MONEY”
“That was a tough one that took a long time to complete. It was recorded in Montserrat. The guitar was tuned up a whole step with the E string at F#, and I played a lot of open chords. I did a lot of drop-ins where I hit a chord and let it ring, then dropped in the next chord and let it ring and so on. When we started recording the song, it sounded too ordinary, so we tried dropping in those chords during the verses as an experiment.
“I remember doing the solo in this studio in England, SARM East, which is in the East End of London. We set aside a week for solos, last-minute vocals and mixing. The control room was tiny. There was barely enough room for me to turn my body around when I was playing. But I got a really great sound with the repeats and lots of reverb. I loved to be soaked in that kind of effect at the time.
“I used a white modified Fender Strat that I called the ‘Hentor Sportscaster.’ The name came from Peter Henderson, who co-produced Grace Under Pressure. The amp setup was a couple of Dean Markley 2x12 combos, two Marshall 2x12 combos, two Marshall 100-watt JCM 800 heads and two 4x12 cabinets. I also ran a direct signal. By that time I had a pretty comprehensive rack with two t.c. electronic 2290s and a 1210 that I used for phasing, and I had a Roland DEP-5.”
“TIME STAND STILL”
Hold Your Fire (Mercury, 1987)
“That was the year that I got the Signature guitars with single-coil active pickups. It’s very apparent on that song. The guitar has a clear, metallic sound to it that really sings. I got into that bright tone, and my sound was still very chorusy. I had gotten rid of all my Hiwatts and the Dean Markleys and was using primarily Marshalls again. I used 2x12 combos as well as the JCM 800.”
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