Rush Blazes A 'Vapor Trail'

It is and it isn't a coincidence that "One Little Victory" -- a song that celebrates personal triumph -- is the lead single from Rush's forthcoming album, "Vapor Trails" (due May 14 via Atlantic Recor

It is and it isn't a coincidence that "One Little Victory" -- a song that celebrates personal triumph -- is the lead single from Rush's forthcoming album, "Vapor Trails" (due May 14 via Atlantic Records), the first collection of new music from the Canadian progressive rock trio in six years.

"It's a coincidence in the sense that nobody planned to have a song like that," bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee explains. "The way the song turned out, there's so many kind of symbolic things about that song that relate to our condition that it seemed really appropriate to come out with that first."

The condition Lee refers to is the hiatus the band went on in 1997, when drummer/chief lyricist Neil Peart lost his daughter and then, not long afterward, his wife. All music business was put aside to give him the time he needed to recover before deciding when he wanted to return to Rush -- if he wanted to return at all.

Peart's health was the foremost concern of Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, but they did occasionally wonder if Rush would ever record again. "Generally, it was kind of best to put it out of your mind and focus on [Peart's] well-being and his recovery," Lee says of that time. "It was more important for us to be his friends at that point than his bandmates, and that's what we did."

In the interim, the pair contributed to 1999's "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" soundtrack, and Lee released a well-received solo album, "My Favorite Headache." Meanwhile, Lifeson produced Universal act Lifer and played guitar and produced a few as-yet-unreleased tracks for 3 Doors Down.

The sessions for "Vapor Trails" -- captured at Reaction Studios in Toronto -- spanned 14 months, beginning in early January 2001. Maintaining a comfortable atmosphere in which the trio could reconnect and work took precedence over finishing a record by a certain deadline.

The resulting 13-track album, produced by the band and Paul Northfield, is a non-stop wallop of energy that shows the trio still in perfect rhythmic step with each other. In fact, it sounds rejuvenated and more cohesive than ever. The cuts "Ceiling Unlimited," "Peaceable Kingdom," and "Out of the Cradle" recapture the vibe of the band's early '80s catalog, whereas "Secret Touch," "Nocturne," and "Freeze" contain pure power-rock jams that should keep fans hailing Rush as musical gods. Peart once again wrote most of the lyrics, and his humanist musings, coupled with some crafty time changes, make the songs "Sweet Miracle" and "Ghost Rider" especially poignant.

Rush kicks off a North American tour June 28 in Hartford, Conn. The tour is billed as "An Evening With Rush," and will not feature an opening act. Dates are expected to stretch into the fall and offer in the neighborhood of 30 songs each night.




Excerpted from the May 4, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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