Toronto, Ontario — In the summer of 1978, just after a long recording session, Rush lead vocalist and bassist Geddy Lee had a weird idea.
“We had just finished Hemispheres,” said Geddy Lee, reflecting on the grueling, two-month session, “And we were exhausted. During Cygnus [the first side of the album], Neil would sometimes joke around with all these funky beats to break up the monotony. Well, we recorded over 2 hours of these jam sessions. Now we have an entire album.”
The album, called Beat, will feature some of the catchiest, foot-tapping songs in Rush’s repertoire.
“At the time, we wanted to do what Chic was doing for the gay movement,” continued Lee, chuckling. “We were tapping into the Village People vibe, you know? It was all just for fun, of course. But here we are now, 40 years later and new material.”
The Band Went Searching
In late 2016, after drummer Neil Peart announced his retirement, the band went looking for material to produce a box set. During the search, they stumbled up what is now being called the ‘Long-lost Disco Sessions.’ Realizing they had a hipster goldmine on their hands, guitarist Alex Lifeson had the idea to reach out to producer Nile Rodgers to help them with the project.
“We couldn’t do this by ourselves,” said a soft-spoken Alex Lifeson reflecting on the decision to involve Nile Rodgers. “Nile is the best at this kind of stuff, and I think our fans will immediately get it.”
One of the side effects, according to Atlantic Records Vice President Jim “The Jeff” Bremfall, is that the record might attract badly needed female fans.
“We started noticing in the early 1980s that the women’s restrooms at Rush concerts were sparkling clean and going un-used,” said “The Jeff” via a speakerphone interview. “So since then, we’ve tried to increase the reach into the female demographic. Sadly, up until now, it’s been a failure. We’re hoping that Beat will change all that. And we’re confident it will.”
Beat will be released in February and will feature eight tracks averaging 8 minutes in length. The first single, the 14 minutes Descartes, is scheduled for release in late January.