RUSH drummer Neil Peart has commented on the cover art and title of the band's new album, "Snakes and Arrows", which comes out May 1 via Anthem/Atlantic.
Said Peart, "To my surprise, 'snakes and arrows' called up several links to something called 'Leela, The Game of Self Knowledge', or, incredibly, 'The Game of Snakes and Arrows'. Long story short, I followed that trail with growing enthusiasm, and learned that Leela (Hindi for 'the game') was at least 2,000 years old, and had been created by Buddhist saints and sages as a game of karma-like many games, a metaphor for life...The Leela player rolls a single die, said to be affected by his or her karma, and moves around the board. Each square on the grid represents a stage of consciousness or existence, and the player is raised to higher levels by arrows, and brought low by snakes. The children's game 'Snakes and Ladders' (sometimes called 'Chutes and Ladders') was adapted from Leela by the British during the 19th century Colonial period. After that, the original game almost disappeared-apparently only two gameboards existed in India when scholar Harish Johari revived the game and brought it to America in the 1970s...When I told Alex and Geddy about the Leela connection, and showed them the gameboard painted by Harish Johari, they were as excited by all that serendipity as I was, and we agreed to use his painting for the cover."
As previously reported, RUSH's brand new single, "Far Cry", is available for streaming in its entirety at www.rush.com.
"Snakes & Arrows" track listing:
01. Far Cry
02. Armor and Sword
03. Workin’ Them Angels
04. The Larger Bowl
06. The Main Monkey Business
07. The Way The Wind Blows
10. Bravest Face
11. Good News First
12. Malignant Narcissism
13. We Hold On
In a recent interview with Revolver magazine (web site), RUSH vocalist/bassist Geddy Lee stated about the upcoming CD, "It's hard to describe. It's big, it's bold, and I think it's some of the best work we've done in years. I'm really pleased with the quality of the songs, and there's lots of playing on it."
"Snakes & Arrows" promises to be the most organic-sounding RUSH effort in decades, having been influenced by their experience of making "Feedback", the band's 2004 EP of classic-rock covers.
"Playing those songs that we loved and grew up on, I think it helped us remember how sometimes it's the simplicity or the directness of an arrangement that really makes a great song," Lee told Revolver. "And the other thing is, we played all together in the studio for a lot of the 'Feedback' stuff. That's something that a lot of producers had been pushing us to do for a while but which we hadn't done in years. It was great to turn off the click and just play — you know, not worry so much about being so, quote, metronomic — and that definitely carried over into this record."