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Contents Under Pressure: 30 Years of Rush at Home and Away Paperback – June 1, 2004
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"A refreshingly positive take on the life of a rock n roll band
. Fascinating, funny and spotless in execution." -- Altfresh
"For the devoted...who know every song, every shriek from Lee...guitar burst from Lifeson...drum fill from Peart" -- Toronto Sun
" A wealth of information and amusing first-account stories, even for those who think they know everything about the group." -- Electricbasement.com
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Top Customer Reviews
Popoffcshould be ashamed of this. This is D grade work. It is interviews with the band taken at face value with apparently little follow-up or cross checking with others to fill in some of the blanks in their collective memories.
If you are a die-hard fan, yes you should buy it, but don't expect to learn much from it other than that the band probably look back with disdain on one or more of your favorite albums.
Back to the book...
It's arranged chronologically, with each chapter covering an album/cd release and subsequent tour. The writing is mostly transcribed interviews, and I found that Alex Lifeson was quite talkative and provided the most insight. Funny considering Neil Peart is the lyricist and Geddy Lee is the vocalist. Lifeson also displayed great humor.
While the style proved to be breezy and chatty, as if the reader is sitting on a couch across from the guys, I wanted more meat on the bones. While the press release reads that every song is analyzed, this amounts to little more than a sentence or two on most tunes. I wanted more specifics than hearing that "Grace Under Pressure" was difficult to record. Why? What made it hard? There were other examples of this, but I did find that more time was spent with recent material, say the last five or so studio releases and the two recent live sets. This was good, since I'm less familiar with the newer material, being an old school Rush fan from back in the day.
What comes across is that the members of Rush are gracious, intelligent men committed to their craft, while also pursuing outside hobbies to enrich their lives. They avoid negative talk about other groups or music industry folks, save a veiled remarks. They are also intensely private about their families. I learned that Alex has a grown son, also a musician, and that Alex is now a grandfather. Very little is mentioned about Geddy Lee's family. Most Rush fans should by now be familiar with the tragedies of Neil Peart's family. Read "Ghost Rider" to learn more about that.
If you're looking from the road like the Led Zeppelin book "Hammer of the Gods" or Bill Wyman's "Stone Alone" this is not for you. This is a career overview that focuses on the music, with lots of band pictures that show the evolution of their fashion over the years.
The book is structured by chapters, which each one representing one of the band's CDs (in chronological order, including the 4 live albums). In that chapter, the band discusses their recollections about writing songs for the album, recording it (including gripes about several producers) and touring (with some anecdotes about their adventures with some of their support acts - or main acts (Kiss, Aerosmith) when they were just starting out.
You'll learn a lot about how the band goes about their business (for example, for almost every album, they write one song quickly at the end of their recording sessions and it invariably makes the record and is one of their favorites), but if you are looking for stuff about the three guys' family life, you'll be disappointed. I believe I remember one mention of Geddy's son and Alex briefly mentions that he is now a grandfather, but other than that, there isn't much about life outside the band (the death of Peart's wife and daughter within months of each other in the late 90s are mentioned, but other than a paragraph or two, are not discussed in detail).
So if you like Rush, get it for the novelty and the many great pictures.