Frequently Asked Questions

For inquiries or updates, please send E-mail to Randy Kaelber, the FAQ maintainer.
This is part 2 of 3 of the FAQ answers.
[Previous] [Next]
Back to top
The Rush FAQ (HTML version) was last generated:Tue Aug 9 21:34:12 MST 2005
33:I think I've heard <quote> in <song> somewhere else - is it a reference to something?

Corey Harbaugh <> sent me the following on June 1 1995:

   >Fellow page-turning Rush-Nuts:
   >I hesitate to claim that this is the complete list of literary allusions in
   >Rush, but it is as comprehensive a list as I'm willing to compile. I am
   >forwarding this info on to the FAQ section, so any additions, etc. should be
   >sent to the attention of the editor. This was an exhaustive, completely
   >worthwhile process because it married two passions- literature and Rush- but
   >the list of allusions is not valuable in and of itself. It will only be
   >valuable if it leads to your own exploration of their meaning and how
   >different texts and mediums interact. Please use this list not for the
   >answers it provides but rather for the questions it raises. It is as
   >*The story told on 2112 closely parallels the themes and narrative of
   >	Anthem by Ayn Rand. "Anthem" (FBN) shares the title of the same
   >	novel.
   >*"That's not what I meant at all" from "Open Secrets" (HYF) is also a line
   >	in the poem "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot.
   >*"The heart of a lonely hunter" (Lock and Key- HYF) is the title of a work
   >	by Carson McCullers.
   >*"Entre Nous" (song, PeW) is a phrase used many times in the novel _The
   >	Fountainhead_ by Ayn Rand.
   >*"Bastille Day" (song, COS) alludes to the events of the French Revolution,
   >	fictionalized in the novel A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
   >*"Let us not go gently..." (Red Tide- Presto) refers to the Dylan Thomas
   >	poem "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night."
   >*Hemispheres mentions the pantheon of Greek mythology and also reuses myths
   >	in ways similar to Friedrich Nietzsche in Birth of Tragedy.
   >*Rocinante (spaceship in Hemispheres and Cygnus X-1) is the horse of Zeus
   >	from Greek mythology, the horse of the title character in Don Quixote
   >	 by Miguel Cervantes and the motorhome in Travels with Charley by
   > 	John Steinbeck.
   >*"We will pay the price but we will not count the cost" (Bravado- RTB) is
   >	the line from John Barth's novel The Tidewater Tales that inspired
   >	the lyrics.
   >*"Wilderness of mirrors" (Double Agent- Counterparts) is a line from the
   >	poem "Gerontion" by T.S. Eliot.
   >*Xanadu (song, AFTK) is based on the poem "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor
   >	Coleridge.
   >*Tom Sawyer (song, MP) is the name of a character and novel created by Mark
   >	Twain.
   >*Jacob's Ladder (song, PeW) alludes to the Old Testament story of Jacob and
   >	his vision of a heavenly ladder. Genesis 27:12.
   >*Rivendell (song, FBN) is the name of a safe haven in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord
   >	of the Rings fantasy series.
   >*All The World's A Stage (both the album and the line from Limelight, song
   >	on MP) are from William Shakespeare's play "As You Like It."
   >*The Big Money (song, PoW) is the title of a novel by John Dos Passos.
   >*Grand Designs (song, PoW) is also the title of a novel by John Dos Passos.
   >*The Camera Eye (song, MP) the title of a section from the John Dos Passos
   >	USA series.
   >*Losing It (song, Signals) refers to author Ernest Hemingway and two of his
   >	novels The Sun Also Rises_ and _For Whom the Bell Tolls. The image 
   > 	of the ballerina was inspired by the movie The Turning Point starring
   >	Shirley Maclaine.
   >*Cold Fire (song, Counterparts) is an image introduced by Tom Robbins in his
   >	novel The Jitterbug Perfume.
   >*The motif of women archetypes in Animate (song, Counterparts) is a motif
   >	explored by Tom Robbins in his novel Skinny Legs and All. Carl Jung
   > 	also talks about male and female animas in his writings. (Incidentally,
   > 	Neil Peart is quoted praising Skinny Legs and All in the book's 
   >	opening page testimonials.)
   >*Between Sun & Moon (song, Counterparts) was inspired by a Pye Dubois poem.
   >	Dubois' poem is reminiscent of the poem "The Hollow Men" by T.S. Eliot.
   >*Red Barchetta (song, MP) is reminiscent of the short story "A Nice Morning
   >	Drive" by Richard Foster. (The story is available on syrinx in the
   >	ftp/gopher/web site.)
   >*"Nothing to fear but fear itself" (The Weapon, Signals) is a line from an
   >	inaugural address by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
   >*"Thy will be done" (The Weapon, Signals) is a line from The Lord's Prayer
   >	in the New Testament.
   >*Necromancer (song, COS) alludes to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series.
   >*Panacea (song, COS) is the name of a mythological cure all.
   >*Lotus Land (Freewill- PeW) is a land described in "The Odyssey" by Homer.
   >*Absalom (Distant Early Warning- GUP) is a name from the Old Testament story
   >	of King David. Absalom, Absalom is the title of a novel by William
   >	Faulkner.
   >*Tai Shan (song, HYF) is the name of a mountain in China. In Chinese legend,
   >	Tai Shan is a holy mountain.
   >*Cinderella Man (song, AFTK) parallels the movie "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town."
   >*Twilight Zone (song, 2112) refers specifically to two episodes from the
   >	television show of the same name.
   >*"If we burn our wings flying too close to the sun" (Bravado- RTB) refers to
   >	the Icarus myth from Greek mythology.
   >*"Rise from the ashes and blaze" (Everyday Glory, Counterparts) refers to
   >	the mythological death and rebirth of the Phoenix.
   >*Sections titles of By-tor and the Snow Dog (song, FBN) include references
   > 	to the underworld of Greek mythology.
   >*"Another lost generation" (Between the Wheels- GUP) is from a quote by 
   >	Gertrude Stein used by Ernest Hemingway at the beginning of 
   >	The Sun Also Rises.
   >While many allusions are quite direct (like Xanadu) and a reading of the
   >primary text would provide a clear connection to the song, most allusions
   >are indirect, subtle, or not central to the message of the song. For
   >instance, one does not need to read The Old Testament and Faulkner to "get"
   >the Absalom reference in Distant Early Warning. Again, the most important
   >thing that resources like the above list can provide is to help illuminate
   >the path. The walking is still up to each one of us.
   >I'll check out the next album for additions to the list, but for now, as in
   >"Froggie Went A-Courtin'", if you want anymore you'll have to sing it

And this, a letter from Jim McGrath, pointing out yet more allusions and references from our favorite lyricist:

   From jdmcgrat@COLBY.EDUSat Sep 14 22:51:19 1996
   Date: Sat, 14 Sep 1996 14:08:51 -0400
   From: Jim McGrath <jdmcgrat@COLBY.EDU>

> I have few additions to the "literary references" section of the >FAQ. If you get this, please let me know, since I'm not sure you're the >one who I'm supposed to be send this to anymore. The references are as >follows: > > In "No One At The Bridge" from "The Fountain of Lamneth," the line >"I'm lashed, helpless, to the mast" is a reference to Odysseus/Ulysses, of >Lotus-land fame, who when passing the Sirens had his crew members tie him >to the mast of the ship so he could hear their seductive melodies. (Think >"the x-ray is my siren song.") > > In 2112:Overture, "And the meek shall inherit the earth..." is a >quote from the Bible; the line is in both the Book of Psalms (37:11) and >the Gospel according to Matthew (5:5.) > > The following is a quote from Edith Hamilton's Mythology: " >story was...about the god Pan, how he loved a nymph named Syrinx who fled >from him and just as he was about to seize her was turned into a tuft of >reeds by her sister nymphs. Pan said, 'Still you shall be mine,' and he >made from what she had become 'A shepherd's pipe/ Of reeds with beeswax >joined.'" With reference to 2112: The Temples of Syrinx. > > The phrase "fool's paradise" appears in _Bartlett's Familiar >Quotations_ under "Anonymous." The source is given as "Paston Letters >[1462], no. 457." > > On the very last page of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations is the >heading "Anonymous: Spirituals." There is a spiritual entitled "Swing Low, >Sweet Chariot" containing the lines "Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for >to take me home." This is almost exactly the same as the line at the end >of "Totem," from Test for Echo. > > The phrase "every dog has his day" in "Dog Years" is from a >children's book called "Water Babies" by the English novelist and clergyman >Charles Kingsley, written in 1863. > > "I can resist everything except temptation," as in the line from >"Resist," is a quote from the play "Lady Windermere's Fan" by Oscar Wilde. > > With reference to "Carve Away The Stone:" The following is a quote >from Edith Hamilton's Mythology: "SISYPHUS was King of Corinth. One day >he chanced to see a mighty eagle, greater and more splendid than any mortal >bird, bearing a maiden to an island not far away. When the river god >Asopus came to him to tell him that his daughter Aegina had been carried >off, he strongly suspected by Zeus, and to ask his help in finding her, >Sisyphus told him what he had seen. Thereby he drew down on himself the >relentless wrath of Zeus. In Hades he was punished by having to try >forever to roll a rock uphill which forever rolled back upon him." > > Hope these are helpful! > Jim

There. More than you probably ever cared to know. :)

34:What is the marital status of the band members? Do any of the band members have kids?

Geddy has a son: Julian, a daughter: Kyla Avril, and a wife: Nancy. Alex has 2 sons: Justin and Adrian, and a wife: Charlene. Neil has a daughter: Selena, and a wife: Jacqueline. Selena was killed in a car crash in 1997, and Jacqeline passed away from cancer in 1998. Neil got married again to Carrie Nuttall, on September 9, 2000.

35:I've heard <rumor> about <band member>. Does anybody know anything about the truth of it? Does Neil Peart have cancer?

These rumors have been popping up for quite some time now. Here are some of the ones that have been shown to be wrong over the years by the activities of the band:

- Alex is dying of cancer

- Neil is dying of cancer

- Geddy is dying of cancer

- Geddy has throat cancer; he's not dying, but can never sing again

- Geddy is going blind from stage lights.

As of March 4 1993, the "Neil has cancer" and "Neil has AIDS" rumors have been "officially" stated to be just that: rumors with no basis in fact. In the February 1994 issue of Modern Drummer magazine, Neil states that he does not have cancer.

36:I've seen <nickname> being used. Who does it refer to?

Lerxst is the nickname of Alex Lifeson.

Ged and Neil also have nicknames, Dirk and Pratt. Hence "Lerxtwood Mall," "Olde Dirk Road" and "B.J. Pratt & Assoc." on the map on the back cover of Signals.

Also, Neil is mentioned as "The Professor (on the drum kit)" in All the World's a Stage.

37:What is the educational background of <band member>?

The rumor about Neil having a PhD in something is false. In Visions, Neil is quoted (on page 65) as saying that he is a high school dropout. I don't see how he would have had time to go to school and get a degree, what with being in Rush and all.

According to the COS press kit, Alex and Geddy "turned pro" after graduating from high school.

38:What are the birthdays of the band members?
   Geddy Lee          July 29, 1953 {according to Visions}
     {No, Geddy Lee's birthday is NOT June 29!}
   Neil Peart         September 12, 1952
   Alex Lifeson       August 27, 1953

39:But in "Thrice Told Tales," it says that Geddy's birthday is June 29!

Well, every article written on the subject agrees that Neil Peart joined Rush on Geddy's birthday. In Visions, Alex Lifeson says that Neil came down "on the second day of auditions." It has also been documented in several places (Visions and "Thrice Told Tales," to name a few) that when Neil joined the band, he had about 2 weeks to learn the show before his first gig with Rush, which took place in Pittsburgh, opening for Uriah Heep.

On June 28, 1974, Rush opened for ZZ Top in Cleveland. On July 1, 1974, Rush opened for Nazareth in Toronto, Ontario. On July 20, 1974, Rush played an "MZ Bennett summer dance." On August 14, Rush opened for Uriah Heep in Pittsburgh. This was Neil's first show with Rush.

Based on this information, I believe that the day that Neil joined the band, and therefore Geddy's birthday, is July 29, not June 29, and that the June 29 date is a typo.

Geddy Lee said that July 29th was his birthday in an interview taped before the May 31, 1992 show in Mountain View, California.

40:What are the real names of the band members?
   Geddy Lee          Gary Lee Weinrib
    { The book "Heart of Gold", a history of Canadian rock,
     provides this as Geddy Lee's real name.
     In 1971, Gary Lee Weinrib, Alex Zivojinovich, and
     John Rutsey all joined CAPAC, the Canadian
     writers/publishers/composers guild. }
   Neil Peart         Neil Peart
   Alex Lifeson       Alex Zivojinovic

41:What equipment does <band member> use/endorse?
   Geddy Lee:
    Rotosound Funkmaster strings
    Wal basses
    In the past, he has used:
     Rickenbacker basses
     Steinberger basses
     Fender Precision basses
     Fender Jazz basses
   Alex Lifeson:
    Paul Reed Smith guitars
    Dean Markley strings
    GK amps
   Neil Peart:
    Drum Workshop drums
     (Neil also plays a Slingerland snare drum.)
    Zildjian cymbals
    Pro-Mark sticks
    KAT triggers
    Akai samplers

42:How is "Peart" pronounced?

It rhymes with "near," according to Neil on the "Rush - Profiled!" CD, so I assume that's the correct pronunciation. I don't remember the exact wording off the top of my head, but the "Profiled!" CD contains a recording of Neil saying "Hi, this is Neil Peart of Rush." That also agrees with the way Geddy pronounced "Peart" when introducing Neil's solo during RTB shows. The "t" at the end is not silent.

43:Does anybody have an address I can use to write to the band?

This address was posted to TNMS, but I can't vouch for the correctness of it.

    41 Britan St. (#200)
    Toronto, ON
    M5A 1R7, CANADA
Also, their booking agent is ICM in New York - (212) 556-5600.

The Backstage Club will probably forward mail as well.

Modern Drummer magazine will forward mail to Neil. (Or other drummers, for that matter!)

     Modern Drummer
     870 Pompton Avenue
     Cedar Grove, NJ 07009
I have recently received mail from someone who stated that Modern Drummer no longer forwards mail to Neil, marked "Unable to forward at artist's request". Neil apparently blames the Internet for an unacceptable volume of mail. See the letter he wrote in the August, 1996 issue of Modern Drummer. Silly boy.

44:What's the story behind Alex's "Hentor Sportscaster" guitar?

"'Hentor' was the name that we had for Peter Henderson, the producer of 'Grace Under Pressure.' When he wrote his name out to leave us his number, it looked like Peter Hentor instead of Peter Henderson, so we nicknamed him Hentor The Barbarian. I got some Letraset and put it on this white Strat that I had. It has a Shark neck - these are unlabeled replacement necks - so I threw 'Hentor Sportscaster' on there. Amazing all the mail we used to get over that [laughs]: 'Where can I buy a Hentor? How much does a Hentor cost?'"

- Alex Lifeson, in the April 1986 Guitar Player magazine

45:What is The Omega Concern?

As Alex realized that he had to play acoustic guitar for some Rush tunes and then quickly switch to his electric ("Closer to the Heart," etc.), he crafted a stand (actually an attachment to a Tama Titan cymbal stand) that holds his acoustic in an adjustable playing position.

He soon began to sell this as a product (1st to Music Emporium) under the company label "The Omega Concern." Apparently, Alex's "company" also made Geddy a light-up lyric stand and Neil got a newspaper/book holder so he could read while he eats breakfast.

46:I recently saw an ad that said something about Alex Lifeson flying in a fighter plane. What's the story behind that?

The following was posted on March 1, 1994 by (Steve Struthers):

It's well known that Alex has a private pilot's licence, but he has never been a pilot in the RCAF. About a year and a half ago, Rush sold the rights to "Where's My Thing" to the Department of National Defence (the federal government department in Canada which handles defence-related matters) for use in a new recruiting video. As part of the deal, the military agreed to take Alex for a spin in a CF-5A fighter jet (The US Air Force and Air National Guard fly the same jet, which in US nomenclature is called the F-5A). Alex's experience as a "fighter-pilot-for-a-day" was detailed in a magazine called Sentinel , which is published by the Government of Canada for members of the Canadian military. Sentinel can also be found in public libraries, usually in medium to large-size Canadian cities. Apparently Alex had a blast up there in the wild blue yonder, but after the flight he was slightly dismayed about smelling as if he'd taken a swim in a pool filled with aviation fuel! I remember seeing something in the article (if memory serves me correctly) about Alex being given a RCAF flight suit (complete with insignia and wings) as a memento of his high-flying adventure.

This was sent to me on July 2, 1996:

   >Date: Tue, 02 Jul 1996 15:33:07 -0700
   >From: Stephane Ippersiel <>
   >Subject: Correction to an FAQ item

>A couple of corrections to this one : > >First, the "Royal" was dropped in the late sixties. It is now known >as the Canadian Air Force. [FAQ guy's Note: in fact, in 1968, the entire Canadian military was reorganized into a single military force.] > >Second, Rush did not "sell" the rights to Where's My Thing. They were >given to the Department of National Defence (DND) free of charge for an >information video (as opposed to a recruiting video), showing the >Canadian military in action in mostly humanitarian roles (peacekeeping, >humanitarian aid, the Snowbirds air demonstration squadron, the >Skyhawks parachute team, Communications, etc.), for use in exhibitions. > >Third, there was never a "deal" whereby DND would take Alex on a fighter >plane. There were no conditions attached to the rights given to DND. >Alex asked to go on a fighter, if at all possible. Something was >tried and, lo and behold, he made it on a CF-5 seat. > >As far as the jet fuel thing goes, that scent (imagine a huge Zippo >lighter burning under your nose) is everywhere at Canadian Forces Base >Cold Lake, AB. It is an overpowering smell that was in the air even >before Alex took off. > >As for the flight, piloted by Captain Gordon "Gordo" Cooper, everything >went very well. After the flight, Alex, exhausted and sweating, beamed, >describing the experience as being "like sex, only not as messy!" > >Yes, he got to keep the flight suit, which was originally decked out to >read "Captain Lerxst". 419 Squadron had an "Alex Lifeson" crest made, >which was sewn on during Alex's pre-flight briefing. In return, Alex >gave 419 Squadron a Canadian platinum certification for "Roll The >Bones", which was promptly mounted onto 419's "we love us" wall. > >The piece was indeed published in Sentinel, an internal magazine aimed at >Canada's military community. Sentinel has since been terminated. > >Photos taken at Cold Lake on that day were later sent to Paul Reed Smith >guitars for an ad campaign. > >My source is pretty good on this one. I'm the guy who got the idea >for the video, and subsequently produced it for DND. I also got to >escort Alex to Cold Lake for his trip and live to write about it in >Sentinel.

47:I heard that Alex Lifeson opened a restaurant. Can anybody tell me about it?

The Orbit Room 580 A College St. Toronto

48:Where did the name "Rush" come from?

Paraphrased Background: In August of 1968 the band's formal lineup was Alex on guitar, John Rutsey on drums, and Jeff Jones on bass and vocals. They got a job to play at the "Coff-In," a coffee house in the basement of an Anglican Church [great name, eh?] for $25/night. "The band was excited, but they had a big problem. While they had been dreaming of playing, they had neglected to come up with a name for their group. So a few days before the gig they sat around in John's basement trying to come up with an appropriate monicker. They weren't having much luck when John's older brother Bill piped up, 'Why don't you call the band Rush' and Rush it was." - from Visions

49:Why did John Rutsey leave the band?

He quit because he had different ideas about the band's future than Alex and Geddy did, and he just wasn't excited about playing in Rush any more. His diabetes were also a strong argument against extended tours.

50:Whatever happened to John Rutsey?

"John's still around. I see John quite often. He gave up playing shortly after he left the band and went into bodybuilding. He competed on an amateur level for a while, doing that for a few years, and has sort of been in and out of that, but he still works out, and I work out with him a few times a week at a local gym - at a Gold's, here in Toronto." - Alex Lifeson, in the 2/6/89 "Rockline" interview

John Rutsey died of an apparent heart attack, related to complications from diabetes, on May 11, 2008.

Questions about Fly By Night

51:Where did By-Tor's name come from?

Rush's road manager, Howard, came up with the title at a party. There were two dogs at the party, one a German shepherd and the other a tiny white nervous dog. Howard used to call the shepherd By-Tor because anyone that walked into the house was bitten. The other dog was a snow-dog (white ...). So from that night on Howard called the pair of dogs "By-Tor and the Snow Dog." - from

52:What is The Sign of Eth?

- This is what Muff ( posted to the NMS:

I remember looking up "eth" in the dictionary after I found my brother's FBN album in '74 or '75. In fact, I looked up a LOT of words from that album back then. :D From American Heritage:

eth n. Variant of edh.

edh n. 1. A letter appearing in Old English, Old Saxon, Old Norse, and modern Icelandic to represent an interdental fricative. 2. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet representing the interdental voiced fricative, as in /the/, /with/.

An edh looks like a lower-case "o" with a wavy propellor. What symbolism an edh has in By-Tor's tale, I have no idea.

- Also, Josh Beatty ( wrote the following:

"Eth" is a letter in the Old English alphabet that was dropped from the alphabet as it evolved into Middle and Modern English. It represented the sound /th/, as in "cloth" for example. It looked like a lower-case "o" with a cross on top. Capitalized, it was like a "D" with a horizontal line through the straight part. This was also the symbol used for a capitalized "Thorn", another Old English letter representing /th/.

"Thorn" was adapted into the Old English alphabet from a Germanic rune of the same name. The rune, in its turn, was associated with the Gothic (as in the tribe of the Goths, not cathedrals) word "thurisaz", which meant "demon".

So "Eth" itself has some historical background in representing demons and hell, obviously appropriate in the context of the song. I suppose I see "The sign of Eth is rising in the air..." in two ways: first, that it represents simply the demonic power in the Tobes of Hades, and secondly, that it represents By-Tor himself and that when the sign is, rising, By-Tor is coming forth from Hades to do battle with the Snow Dog (don't we assume usually that Hades is underground? By-Tor would have to rise to get out of there to most anyplace?)

53:Is Rivendell a real place?

Rivendell was a sage haven for travellers in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings".

Questions about Caress Of Steel

54:In "By-Tor And The Snow Dog" By-Tor is the bad guy, but he's a hero in "The Necromancer." What happened?

When asked about this on "Rockline," Geddy said something along the lines of, "He saw the light." Neil commented, "I guess he's like all of us - sometimes good, and sometimes he's bad!" in the December 1985 Backstage Club newsletter.

55:Where is Lakeside Park?

It's in St. Catherine's, on Lake Ontario. Don't email me directions if you went there a long time ago and think you remember how to get there.

56:What is the significance of May 24?

It's Victoria Day, commemorating Queen Victoria's birthday.

57:Has anybody noticed that "Didacts and Narpets" is an anagram for "Addicts and Parents"?


58:Does anybody know the lyrics to "Didacts and Narpets"?

Here's the best version I've seen:

   Deep Voice:  "Stay!"
   Geddy        "Go!"
   Deep         "Work!"
   Ged          "No!"
   Deep         "Think!"
   Ged          "Live!"
   Deep         "Earn!"
   Ged          "Give!"
   Deep/Ged     <Wait or Fight?>/<Right>
   Deep/Ged     <Laugh?>/<Right or Wait?>

All? Listen!

In the October 1991 news release from the Rush Backstage Club, Neil says:

"Okay, I may have answered this before, but if not, the shouted words in that song represent an argument between Our Hero and the Didacts and Narpets - teachers and parents. I honestly can't rememer what the actual words were, but they took up opposite positions like: "Work! Live! Earn! Give!" and like that."

59:In the COS liner notes, a city is mentioned in small print after each song. Why is this?

"Ah yes. This goes back to the 'bad old days' when all we did was tour, and consequently had to do most of our song writing on the road, with acoustic guitars and notebooks in hotel rooms. Not the best method of composition, you may imagine, but the only one available to us at the time. Those cities represent the places in which those songs were written." - Neil Peart, in the December 1985 Backstage Club newsletter

60:What does "Terminat hora diem, terminat auctor opus" mean?

It means something like: "As the hour ends the day, the author ends his work."

Assorted CoS trivia:

"The Necromancer"

- The song is based on J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings". The three travellers are Frodo, Sam and Gollum (more specific references wanted).

- Ambergris is a waxy substance from the intestines of the sperm whale, highly valued for making perfume with.

- Panacea is a supposed cure for everything.

- Bacchus was the Greek & Roman god of wine, earlier called Dionysus.

- Lakeside Park is mentioned in Strange Brew.

Questions about 2112

61:Has anybody noticed that you can hear part of the 1812 Overture in 2112?


62:Where did the story of 2112 come from?

"The inspiration behind it was ... It's difficult always to trace those lines because so many things tend to coalesce, and in fact it ended up being quite similar to a book called Anthem by the writer Ayn Rand. But I didn't realize that while I was working on it, and then eventually as the story came together, the parallels became obvious to me and I thought, 'Oh gee, I don't want to be a plagiarist here.' So I did give credit to her writings in the liner notes." - Neil Peart, in the December 2, 1991 "Rockline" interview

63:Has anybody noticed the whispering in the background in "The Twilight Zone"?


Questions about All The World's A Stage

64:What do the voices at the end of the album (vinyl only) say?

- According to Darryl Coombs (, this is it:

  Geddy:  Wow
  	  What a show
  	  Man oh man, I guess that's it
  	  I'm going <-- (not sure if Ged)
  	  Yeah, yeah, ok, ok.
  	  Door slam.

Questions about A Farewell To Kings

65:What is "Cinderella Man" about?

The song is loosely based on a movie called "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town", starring Gary Cooper as a man from a small town who inherits lots of money and moves to the big city.

66:I read that "Xanadu" was based on a famous poem. Does anybody have a copy?

The poem is "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Your local library probably has a copy. It appeared in TNMS issue #88.

67:Where does the name Cygnus X-1 come from?

It is the name given to an X-ray source in the constellation of Cygnus, believed to be a black hole.

68:Where does the name Rocinante come from?

In Greek mythology, Rocinante is the name of the horse that Zeus rides. It was the name of Steinbeck's motor home in Travels With Charlie. It was also the name of Don Quixote's horse.

Questions about Hemispheres

69:What do the French lyrics in "Circumstances" mean?

"The more that things change, the more they stay the same."

70:Is there a message in "The Trees"?

"No. It was just a flash. I was working on an entirely different thing when I saw a cartoon picture of these trees carrying on like fools. I thought, "What if trees acted like people?" So I saw it as a cartoon really, and wrote it that way. I think that's the image that it conjures up to a listener or a reader. A very simple statement." -- Neil Peart, in the April/May 1980 Modern Drummer magazine

71:What does "La Villa Strangiato" mean?

"Weird City" is a rough translation of the title, according to Visions.

Atthe Tossavainen <> has told me that "La villa, be it Spanish or Italian, doesn't mean a village or a city, but rather a HOUSE. Strangiato is probably just pidgin Spanish, a made-up word."

The song itself is based on several of Alex's nightmares and some cartoon themes. Much of this music can be heard on a CD called The Carl Stalling Project - "Music From Warner Bros. Cartoons 1936-1958." Warner Bros. - 26027-2 (approximately 77 minutes on CD). These are the original soundtracks from Loony Tunes/Merrie Melodies, mostly in the '40s and '50s. - thanks to for catalog info (Frank Schaapherder) gave me this information: The first part of "La Villa Strangiato," "Buenos Nochas, Mein Froinds!," is based on the German song "Gute Nacht, Freunde," written by A. Yondrascheck. I noted the resemblance between the two songs immediately when I first heard "La Villa." The notes until the fast part are almost identical. Also note the similarities in the titles - they have the same meaning, and the reference to German in Rush's title (Mein Froinds).

72:Where do the different parts of "La Villa Strangiato" start/end?

This chart was made up by Brad Armstrong <71161.1313@CompuServe.COM>. Thanks, Brad!

"La Villa Strangiato (An exercise in Self-Indulgence)"

                                               Studio    Live (ESL CD)
    I.    "Buenos Nochas, Mein Froinds!"       0.00      0.16
    II.   "To sleep, perchance to dream ..."   0.27      0.49
    III.  "Strangiato theme"                   2.00      2.18
    IV.   "A Lerxst in Wonderland"             3.16      3.36
    V.    "Monsters!"                          5.43      6.09
    VI.   "The Ghost of the Aragon"            6.09      6.30
    VII.  "Danforth and Pape"                  6.45      7.07
    VIII. "The Waltz of the Shreves"           7.26      7.48
    IX.   "Never turn your back on a Monster!" 7.52      8.14
    X.    "Monsters! (Reprise)"                8.03      8.24
    XI.   "Strangiato theme (Reprise)"         8.17      8.40
    XII.  "A Farewell to Things"               9.21      9.14

Danforth and Pape is an intersection in Toronto. Actually, it's Danforth Ave. and Pape St. This is a heavily Greek section of Toronto, and even the street names are written in English and Greek. The actual intersection has a donut place (there are LOTS in Canada) like two banks and a random store.

Questions about Permanent Waves

73:Has anybody ever noticed that the signs on the right side of the Permanent Waves cover say Lee, Lifeson and Peart?


74:Why was the headline on the newspaper on the cover of Permanent Waves blocked out? (Note: The Anthem Canadian release does not have this problem.)

"There are always the inevitable last minute crises, such as the Chicago Daily Tribune being still so embarrassed about their 'Dewey defeats Truman' error of more than thirty years ago that they actually refused to let us use it on the cover!" - Neil Peart, in the Permanent Waves tourbook

To clarify this: When Harry Truman ran against Thomas Dewey for president, Truman lost in most of the states with early returns. So, it looked like Dewey was going to win. The Tribune released an early morning paper the next day with a "Dewey defeats Truman" headline.

75:What is the "words of the profits" quote in "The Spirit Of Radio" about?

It's referring to "The Sounds of Silence," by Simon and Garfunkel. Here are the relevant lyrics:

   "The Sounds of Silence":
   "And the sign said:
     'The words of the prophets are
     written on the subway walls,
     and tenement halls
     And whispered in the sounds of silence'"

"The Spirit of Radio": "For the words of the profits, Are written on the studio wall, Concert hall - Echoes with the sounds ... Of salesmen."

76:What is "Free Will" about?

"The song is about freedom of choice and free will, and you believing in what you decide you believe in." - Geddy Lee, in the December 4, 1989 "Rockline" interview

77:In "Free Will" which lyrics are correct (the ones on the album sleeve or the ones Geddy sings)?

"That's a funny question. I've had a few lately from people who are so sure that what they hear is correct, that they disbelieve what I've put in the lyric sheets! Imagine! People have quoted me whole verses of what they hear, as opposed to what's printed, sure that they are right and the cover (me) is wrong. Scary stuff, these egocentric individuals. I assure you, other than perhaps dropping an "and" or a "but," we take great care to make the lyric sheets accurate." - Neil Peart, in the December 1985 Backstage Club newsletter

78:But I'm *sure* that what the lyric sheet says isn't what Geddy sings!

So what? People have argued about this far too much already. If it's really bothering you, write a letter to the band and complain. Lighten up - it's just a song!

Well, it looks as though someone took Dan's sage advice to heart. Check this E-mail that I got from Stevie Duda:

   From Sep 14 23:29:32 1996
   Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 21:43:07 -0500
   From: Stevie Duda <"">
   Subject: Rush

>Hi Randy. I'm a newbie so I'll try not to embarrass myself. I was >reading the FAQ list. I know you don't need corrections or anything. I >however wanted to share this.

Editor's Note: I ALWAYS need correction. That's why I got this nifty collar, you see....
   >I am a member of the Backstage Fan Club and saw what James in New York 
   >wrote to Neil about the lyrics of Freewill.  Well, having noticed the 
   >discrepancy myself, made copies of my album lyrics which were incorrect 
   >according to the lyrics in two song books I had.  So I did write to Neil 
   >about it.  In his letter he states, "You and James of New York are right 
   >about this thing.  I don't know how it happened- the lyrics are right on 
   >the Canadian sleeve- I can only imagine that our American record company 
   >got hold of an uncorrected typeset.  I hate that!"

>Anyway, cuss at me for writing to you if you want to...but I hope you >won't. I can always use another Rush friend.

79:Where is "Lotus-Land?"

"Lotus-land as it appears in 'Free Will' is simply a metaphor for an idealized background, a 'land of milk and honey.' It is sometimes also used as a pejorative name for Los Angeles, though that was not in my mind when I wrote it." - Neil Peart

Lotus-land is mentioned in an episode in "The Odyssey" where Odysseus goes to the land of the lotus-eaters, where the people hang out and eat lotus petals or some such and are perfectly happy but are basically brainless.

80:I heard something about a song called "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." Apparently it was supposed to be on Permanent Waves, but was dropped. Is there a way to get a tape of it?

According to Visions, it was never recorded. Some bits from it ended up in "Natural Science."

Questions about Moving Pictures

81:What building is on the cover of Moving Pictures?

According to (Ron Kleiner): The building on the cover of Moving Pictures is the current seat of the Government of Ontario, at Queen's Park.

82:What do the pictures on the MP cover mean?

"When Hugh Syme was developing the multitude of puns for the cover, he wanted the guys 'moving pictures' to have some 'moving pictures' to be moving past the people who were 'moved' by the 'picture' - get it? So he asked us to think of some ideas for these pictures. The 'man descending to hell' is actually a woman - Joan of Arc - being burned at the stake (as per 'Witch Hunt'), and the card-playing dogs are there because it was a funny, silly idea - one of the most cliche'd pictures we could think of - a different kind of 'moving picture.'" - Neil Peart, in the December 1985 Backstage Club newsletter

83:What is "Tom Sawyer" about?

"I've been avoiding most of the questions that ask for explanations for different songs, as really the song is meant to do the explaining for me! But since you ask so nicely ... 'Tom Sawyer' was a collaboration between myself and Pye Dubois, an excellent lyricist who wrote the lyrics for Max Webster. His original lyrics were kind of a portrait of a modern day rebel, a free-spirited individualist striding through the world wide-eyed and purposeful. I added the themes of reconciling the boy and man in myself, and the difference between what people are and what others perceive them to be - namely me I guess." - Neil Peart, in the December 1985 Backstage Club newsletter

84:My Moving Pictures CD is missing the first half second or so from "Tom Sawyer." Can I get a new one?

Yes. Here's the address for PolyGram QA:

  	  Cecilia E. Schultz
  	  Customer Service / Warranty Department
  	  PolyGram Group Distribution, Inc.
  	  6220 Churchman Bypass
  	  Indianapolis, IN 46203

Phone: (800) 428-4437 Fax: (317) 788-1803

The following was posted in TNMS #1092 by SGSNYDER@WNP2.COM (SNYDER, STEVE G.) and has not been verified by me:

I spoke to Polygram on April 26, 1995, and the address I was given to return the defective CDs to is:

  	Attn: Celie / Warranty Dept
  	9999 E 121 Street
  	Fishers, IN 46038

85:My Moving Pictures CD contains pictures of Geddy and Alex, but not Neil. Why is this? Can I get a CD with all 3 pictures?

I have no information about why the picture of Neil is missing from the Mercury CD of Moving Pictures. The missing picture is present in the liner notes for the MFSL gold CD of this album.

86:Who is Pye Dubois?

Pye Dubois was the lyricist for Max Webster. "Tom Sawyer" began life as a Max Webster song called "Louis The Warrior," but Pye gave the lyrics to Neil after "Battlescar" was recorded. Pye also helped Neil write "Force Ten."

87:What is a barchetta?

The barchetta is a type of Ferrari race car. Barchetta is actually pronounced "Barketta", according to 2 Italian friends of mine. Another source of information is: "The Complete Ferrari" by Godfrey Eaton; 1986 by Cadogan Books Ltd.

For more information, head your browser to (Thanks to Jerry Martinez)

88:Where can I get a copy of "A Nice Morning Drive," by Richard S. Foster?

It was printed in the November 1973 issue of "Road & Track" magazine.

89:What does "YYZ" mean?

YYZ is the transmitter code for Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport. Every airport is assigned a unique 3 letter code, and that code is always being transmitted so that pilots can tell, roughly, where they are and verify that their navigational radios are tuned properly. These codes are also written on your luggage tags when you fly. The intro to the song is Morse code for "YYZ."

John Ambrose <> has pointed out that "YYZ" is actually pronounced "Y Y Zed" in Canada. This is documented in Visions.

90:How does Neil play plywood?

"Well you wear gloves so as not to get splinters, you take a piece of 1/4" plywood, and smack it down HARD on the top of a wooden stool. Very demanding, technically - took years of practice." - Neil Peart

91:At 8:54 and 8:56 in "The Camera Eye," there are some mumblings that I can't quite make out. Does anybody know for sure what is being said? (These mumblings are at 8:55 and 8:57 in the MFSL gold pressing of Moving Pictures.)

No. {The first time I posted this FAQ, I received no fewer than 8 emails from people who claimed to know exactly what is being said there. Unfortunately, none of them agreed with each other, which tells me that at least 7 of them were wrong, so I'm only going to change this answer if somebody can come up with proof that they are right, such as an interview or magazine article. People don't seem to understand the last sentence very well, so here's the rephrased version:

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT send me mail saying "I've listened to "The Camera Eye" a zillion times, and I know you said you want proof, but I know what I hear." I will ignore your email unless you can say something like "In issue X of magazine Y, band member Z said that those mumblings were..." I'll repeat that. DO NOT send me mail on this subject without a written source to back up what you say. I will ignore your mail if you do not have a written source. I will not consider your email to be a correction to the FAQ. Sending me mail like this will be a waste of your time. Don't do it.}

Update: November 28, 1998: In case you think that because this question has not been updated in some time that my policy on this has changed: IT HAS NOT CHANGED. DON'T SEND ME E-MAIL unless you have SPECIFIC EVIDENCE in A PUBLISHED INTERVIEW with a member of Rush.

Naturally, if you are actually Geddy, Alex, or Neil, you are exempted from the published interview requirement.

92:What is the mob saying at the beginning of "Witch Hunt"?

"It is purposely mixed so that you cannot understand what is being said, but the tenor of the situation, the hatred, the ill will, and the fear comes through loud and clear. This effect was created by emptying the studio (in the middle of a snowy night) of production staff, road crew and band, and depositing everyone in the cold outside the isolated facility. With tape recorders rolling, Neil gave his best fanatic's speech, gradually getting more and more whipped up as everyone involved let themselves get carried away." - from Visions

Here's how Alex Lifeson described that session in an interview called "In The Studio" from the MP era.

"We went outside of Le Studio and it was so cold, it was really cold; we were well into December by then, I think. We were all out there. We put a couple of mics outside. We started ... rauw, raew, wrow ... (starts mumbling), ranting and raving. We did a couple of tracks of that. I think we had a bottle of Scotch or something with us to keep us warm. So as the contents of the bottle became less and less, the ranting and raving took on a different flavor and you got little lines of ... you remember Roger Ramjet (sp?), the cartoon Roger Ramjet? What was the bad guy's name ... his gang of hoods, they always had these little things they would say whenever they were mumbling ... mrrblaarrr ... mrrblaarrr ... crauss. It started to take all this ... we were in the control room after we had layed down about twelve tracks of mob - in hysterics. Every once in awhile you'd hear somebody say something really stupid."

93:What is that thing on Neil's chest in the "Vital Signs" video?

It's a microphone. A PZM, to be exact. It was used in an attempt to get the drums to be recorded the way Neil hears them.

94:Has anybody noticed that Geddy says "Everybody got to evelate from the norm" at the end of "Vital Signs"?


Questions about Exit ... Stage Left

95:Has anybody noticed that the ESL cover photo contains stuff from all of the band's previous studio albums?

Yes. Here's the list: "Rush" from the first album on the side of a box The owl from FBN Picture of back cover of COS Man w/star logo from 2112 The puppet king from AFTK The businessman from HEM The naked guy from HEM The lady off the cover of PEW Two movers from MP

96:What does Geddy say just before "Jacob's Ladder" on ESL?

"We'd like to do an old song for you right now ... This was done a long time ago by the [possibly "that"] old T.C. Broonsie. This is called 'Jacob's Ladder.'"

- thanks to Michael Sensor <>

97:Who is T.C. Broonsie?

Terry Brown.

Questions about Signals

98:What is the Signals cover supposed to mean?

"Well, I was given the word "Signals." It was such a broad concept that it was baffling for all of us. We really had trouble with that one, and I decided that, with such a phenomenally important word with the kind of potency it potentially had, to go with something really dumb, really inane. But something which would still tie in with songs such as "Chemistry," and the subdivision aspect of the fire hydrants, lawns, and neighborhood dogs." - Hugh Syme

In an effort to explain the Signals sleeve, Geddy states: "Well, we wanted the album to sound different and we also thought that the packaging should have a different feel. When we were talking about Signals, Hugh had this concept of taking the idea down to a basic human level - territorial or even sexual. So that's how the design with the dog and the fire hydrant came about. The little map on the back features make-believe subdivisions, with a lot of silly names and places. The red dots represent all the fire hydrants and basically the whole thing maps out a series of territories." - from Success Under Pressure

99:I just picked up the MFSL CD of Signals, and I've noticed that some lyrics are omitted in "The Weapon". Has anybody else noticed this, and why did this happen?

Yes, other people have noticed this. You're not the first one to notice it, and you're not imagining it.

I sent email to to find out the definitive word, and here is the reply I received:

   >The master tapes, which were provided to us directly from the Rush offices
   >in Canada, did not include these vocals.  Apparently, these vocals were
   >edited in at a later time.

100:Who is the writer in "Losing It" about?

Neil discusses this song in Modern Drummer magazine, in the April 1984 issue. The writer represents Ernest Hemingway. The dancer "... drew a bit from that film with Shirley MacLaine called _The Turning Point_ ..."

101:Who are Young and Crippen?

They were the astronauts on the first shuttle flight.

102:What are the voices at the end of "Countdown" saying?

- This is a combination of what several people (the list is getting too long) think the end sequence on 'Countdown' goes like...

   - Columbia is now reaching precise window in space for main engine cutoff
     Mark - 2 minutes, 40 seconds...Columbia now 39 nautical miles altitude,
     42 nautical miles downrange...
   - Columbia you're lookin' a little hot, and all your calls'll be a little
   - Young and Crippen really moving out now velocity now reading sixty-two
     hundred feet per second
   - What a view, what a view!
   - Glad you're enjoying it
   - Jay, how does it all look?
   - Columbia, Houston, er, we have forty seconds still... left; configure  
     LOS, you're looking good for an over the hill, we'll see you in Madrid.
     And we enjoyed the music Bob, thank ya.  
   - Ah, we enjoyed it, we just wanted to share something with ya
And Fletch says "LOS, if I remember my brief bout with 'shuttle & space frenzy', is Loss Of Signal". This apparently is when signal loses contact with ground control due to some kind of 'blind spot' - when the shuttle went somewhere over Madrid, in this case, they'd get signal back. None of us is really, totally certain about much of this, but I, for one, reckon it's about right.

Bob's comments: Fletch is generally right, but what really happened was back in the first days of the shuttle program, there were only ground based antennas for communications with the shuttle. (as opposed to satellites which provide communication about 80-90% of the time today) The shuttle would lift off and be in contact with the ground until it went over the horizon from the antenna site, hence the term "over the hill". The next station to contact the shuttle orbiter would be in Madrid, Spain. Therefore, "see you in Madrid" is the term used. "Configure LOS" means that the crew would throw a switch in the cockpit to stop the shuttle from receiving signals from the ground to its computers until such time as they knew they were over the next ground site. Why? Because the shuttle at that time didn't have the signal decryption equipment on board that it has today. Anyone could have sent commands to the shuttle (perhaps a soviet trawler in the Atlantic, or some genius kid who built a homemade radio to talk with the shuttle) If you can command to the shuttle you can do all sorts of undesirable things. Things have changed a lot today, we only go over the hill once per orbit, instead of five or six times, and there's encryption/decryption devices on board the orbiter to prevent undesired communications with it.

Another point: Astronaut Dan Brandenstein was the CAPCOM for the first shuttle launch.

[Previous] [Next]
Back to top