On the eve of RUSH's 30th anniversary tour that opens May 26 outside Nashville, the members of the group — Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart — opened up to Billboard magazine in a discussion of their three decades together. Peart, who has not given an interview in several years, responded to questions via E-mail. The following are several excerpts from that interview:
Billboard: From a musical and personal standpoint, what has helped RUSH endure for so long?
Geddy Lee: "There's some balance between our personalities that really kind of clicked. Even when things are difficult or stressful — and there have been a lot of times when things don't go exactly right — somehow when we sit down to work together, it's a nice rapport. We seem to be able to talk easily, laugh a lot; we've always had the same desires in terms of what we've wanted to do as musicians.
"I think that a common musical vision [helps], even though our tastes are different and we argue from time to time about influences and styles and whatnot. We agree on what we want to play together 95% of the time. That's a huge advantage in staying together.
Alex Lifeson: "Musically, we've always stuck to our guns, and we've compromised our music very little. We're lucky in that we've had an audience that has grown with us and stayed with us for all these years, so it didn't matter if we had radio hits or huge sales in the early days.
"On the personal side, I think we're fortunate that we've got three guys in this band that love each other very much, who enjoy each other's company, have a similar sense of humor and vision and a dream that we shared when we were younger."
Billboard: How would you like RUSH to be remembered?
Geddy Lee: "Gee, I don't know. A band of good players that did some wacky material. Just a band that worked hard at trying to create their own piece of music.
Alex Lifeson: "I think the way I saw it in our fans' eyes, how they remember us, and that was there before we did that [most recent] tour. I'm sure that with so many of our fans, they'll grow into their 60s and 70s being RUSH fans. That's amazing.
"There's something about a RUSH fan that sets them apart from anybody else. It's really their dedication and their understanding. When I read the mail that Rush fans write generally and the kind of dialogue they have with other RUSH fans, it's very impressive. We have a real thinking audience and really have a lot of respect for them. That's what it has always been with us. It has always been about the relationship."
Read more of RUSH's interview with Billboard magazine at this location.