RUSH drummer Neil Peart has posted a lengthy update at his official web site. An excerpt from message follows:
"My bandmates and I had decided to spend May working together in a Toronto studio, to refine some of the songs we had worked on long-distance over the winter, and hopefully to write some new ones. The small studio was located in an old waterfront area, just a block or so from Lake Ontario, a remote little corner sidelined by more modern dock facilities elsewhere. The studio building itself had been a munitions factory around World War II, and out front, the wide boulevard of old warehouses was divided by abandoned railroad tracks. Rising above were the tall concrete cylinders of a concrete factory and the squat metal cylinders of petroleum storage tanks. Behind that industrial foreground, traffic moved across the elevated Gardiner Expressway, and above, in dramatic contrast, the modern skyline of Toronto's downtown rose up shining, dominated by the CN Tower.
"One afternoon the three of us and a couple of our crew members gathered by the glass doors to watch a thunderstorm loom in across that skyline, magnesium flares of lightning and simultaneous shockwaves of thunder. As I was passing by in the hallway, Alex [Lifeson] called out, 'Come on, we're having a storm party!' and we all crowded into the entranceway, sheltered from the teeming rain, for a better view of the fireworks — 'Wow, did you see that one?'
"For most of the past six years I have lived in Southern California, where thunderstorms are extremely rare — the Mediterranean climate lacks the necessary cold fronts colliding with warm air masses — and I miss those spectacular displays of son et lumière.
"When we weren't busy watching thunderstorms, or eating lunch, we did a lot of work. I had a little room in a corner of the building where I could tinker with lyrics; Alex and Geddy [Lee] were set up in the control room with guitars, computers, and vocal mic, and my drums were in the recording room. When I had had enough of struggling to put lyrical words together, I could escape to the drums and play along with rough versions of the songs when the guys were ready to hand them over. As I mentioned in the last report, I have been very enthusiastic about drumming lately, and I did find myself exploring new ways to put drum parts together, and new approaches to playing them. (Not really 'new,' of course, but 'new to me.')
"By the end of May, we had eight songs that we all liked, and I had worked out drum parts for six of them. So the work had gone well, but it had not been easy."
Read the rest of the message at NeilPeart.net.