Prime Cuts: Rush
“SHOW DON’T TELL”
Presto (Atlantic, 1989)
“By then we were working with Rupert Hine as our producer. Oddly enough, I had been working on the basic ideas of that song at home and brought it to the studio when we started writing the record. We developed it from there. It was much heavier in the early version. The tempo had come up a little bit. Rupert’s approach to the guitar sound was a little lighter than I wanted. That was partly my fault, because I was still using the Signature a lot, which didn’t lend itself to a very thick sound. That amp lineup stayed the same as before, and effects would come and go. I was fiddling around with whatever was new at the time, as I’ve always done.
“We’d taken a seven-month break, which at that time had been our longest hiatus. We needed to clear the cobwebs and get away. We came into Presto feeling a lot more enthusiastic about working. The change to Atlantic Records was good because we felt like we needed a change all around. We were going into the Nineties, and it made everything fresher.”
“STICK IT OUT”
Counterparts (Atlantic, 1993)
“We had gone back to working with Peter Collins, who produced Hold Your Fire. We used a much more direct approach to recording, moving back towards the essence of what Rush was about as a three-piece. In retrospect, Counterparts didn’t work as well as we’d hoped, but it led us in the right direction. We’re much more satisfied with Test For Echo, which we view as a progression from Presto.”
“TEST FOR ECHO”
Test For Echo (Atlantic, 1996)
“There’s a lot of different stuff on there. I tuned the entire guitar down a whole step to a D standard tuning. I got a new Les Paul Custom with beautiful sustain, a heavy tone and a compact, but not too small, sound. In the choruses I used a Godin Acousti-Caster, which has a really interesting sound that is at the same time almost acoustic but definitely electric. I used primarily Marshalls: 50-watt and 100-watt JCM 800 heads and two 30th Anniversary models, with four cabinets—two vintage 4x12s and two new 1950 cabinets with Celestion 25-watt speakers. I used a DigiTech 2101 to knit everything together. The important thing with that is to use it through a good speaker simulator, like the Palmer. The compensated outputs on the 2101 don’t quite do it for me, but through the Palmer it has nice body and width.
“I feel like we’ve arrived with this record. There’s a particular feel that I don’t think we’ve had before, a nice groove and a lot of really good Rush songs. I feel like we were all really together on this album. Although we strive for that all the time, it’s not always achievable. The mood was so good in the studio, and we were so unified in direction.”
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