Rush has a good head start on its next album, "Clockwork Angels," which is due out in 2011. But the group's three members are hoping that this summer's tour will prime them for a strong finish when they return to the studio.
"We've never afforded ourselves the luxury of coming off tour and then going straight into the studio when you're in top playing form," guitarist Alex Lifeson tells Billboard.com. "We usually finish a tour and then we take some time off and we slowly get back into writing and then into the studio, recording. This time we'll go straight back into the studio and continue recording and writing while we're still in top form from the road."
Lifeson says Rush is "a little more than halfway done" recording "Clockwork Angels" with producer Nick Raskulinecz, who also helmed 2007`s "Snakes & Arrows." Two of the songs, "Caravan" and "BU2B," have been released online, and four others were recorded during sessions at Blackbird Studios in Nashville. "Certainly these two songs are pretty heavy indications of where the record's going," Lifeson says, "but there are a lot of different tonalities and soundscapes on the material that we've written so far, so I'm interested to see where we go on these next few songs."
Lifeson says Rush hopes to finish recording during the fall in time for a release in the spring of 2011, followed by a more extensive world tour. Meanwhile the group is now busy gearing up for the summer shows, which kick off June 29 in Albuquerque, N.M., and will feature performances of the 1980 album "Moving Pictures" in its entirety.
"That was the album that took us to the next level," notes Lifeson, who credits drummer Neil Peart with the full-album idea. "After the release of that album we were headlining everywhere and our audiences increased by a large percentage and it gave us that push forward. Plus, 'Camera Eye' has been probably the top song on our request list from fans for several years, so it really gives us an opportunity to include it in the set and to present it with the full album."
The tour will also undoubtably give a push behind the award-winning documentary "Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage," which premieres on VH1, VH1 Classic and Palladia at 9 p.m. EST on June 26 and is released on DVD three days later. Lifeson says Rush is "very pleased" with both the film and its early success and predicts that as "it will be interesting to see how broad the appeal is for non-Rush fans. Will it pique the interest of people who just want to go see a documentary that might be interesting rather than being Rush fans and going for that reason? It's an interesting story that a lot of people can relate to, and at the same time it's kind of unique and different."