Rush has penned eight songs for its next studio album, which should be out in early 2007, according to drummer Neil Peart.

Rush has penned eight songs for its next studio album, which should be out in early 2007, according to drummer Neil Peart. The artist tells Billboard.com his lyrics for the as-yet-untitled set were greatly influenced by his motorcycle journeys throughout the United States, chronicled in the new book "Roadshow: Landscape With Drums."

Peart says he was struck by the ubiquity of religious billboards that have sprung up on America's highways, which got him thinking about some weighty topics. "Just seeing the power of evangelical Christianity and contrasting that with the power of fundamentalist religion all over the world in its different forms had a big effect on me," he says.

"You try to put your own way of seeing the world into some kind of congruence with other peoples, and that's difficult for me," he admits. "I mean, I see the world in what I think to be a perfectly obvious and rational way, but when you go out into it and see the way other people think and behave, and express themselves on church signs, you realize, 'Well, I'm not really part of this club.'"

"I looked for the good side of faith," Peart says. "To me it ought to be your armor, something to protect you and something to console you in dark times. But it's more often being turned into a sword, and that's one big theme I'm messing with."

Musically, the new album is continuing in much the same vein as 2002's "Vapor Trails," which returned Rush to a more guitar/bass/drums-driven sound. But Peart is quick to add that the music is "remarkably organic in a way that I haven't heard [from Rush] before. We spent a month together in May working on those songs and developing our individual instrument parts for them. It's early to characterize it, but it's definitely fresh and different and that's certainly satisfying."

Peart, bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson will regroup next month to finish pre-production and will begin recording in November. However, as Peart writes at the conclusion of "Roadshow," he is ambivalent about putting himself through yet another massive world tour.

"It is true that in 1989 I announced that I wasn't going to tour anymore, and have said that every time since and have gone back and decided [to do it] for all good reasons," he says. "One of the main ones to me is that a band plays live, so if I want to consider our band as a living, working thing then that's the case. I haven't in my own mind committed to [another tour] yet, but of course I haven't ruled it out, either."