Alex Lifeson On Rush's Clockwork Angles Concept and 2112 Connection
What is most unexpected about Clockwork Angels is the band's return to a concept album. The album tells the story of a young man's quest to follow his dreams and all of the good, the bad, the magnificent and the horrible that he encounters along the way. "We did a number of strictly concept pieces, but a long time ago we decided that we'd run that format through. We moved away from that in the late 1970's," explained Lifeson," At the same time, all of our records are all thematic and loosely connected; sometimes it is broader and sometimes it is narrower. Nick [Raskulinecz, Producer] was really pushing for something like that; not specifically a concept but a story."
Clockwork Angels cover art is as fun and interesting as the music on the album. The cover shows a clock with the time 9:12. Hugh Syme, Rush's cover artist of choice, played a fun trick on the cover. If you make the time PM, then the military way of announcing the time is 21:12, as in the band's classic release from 1976. "Hugh Syme is a very clever and able designer," says Lifeson. "He works very closely with Neil on all of the artwork. He has done some really dramatic artwork for this record. It made me smile; I got it."
In reality, Clockwork Angles began years ago but Rush's touring schedule kept the project from being completed. Lifeson comments on working over such a long period of time, "We spread this one out over a couple of years and it ended up being a very nice way to work. It gave us a bit of breathing space, as we wrote in groups of songs. I think that always helps to get a little bit of variety. When you get into the studio and you record everything together then it brings that consistency through it. I think we really achieved an interesting dynamic. We have a lot of songs that are different from each other. I think a lot of the songs are very cinematic and part of the story.
"The first batch we did consisted of five songs that we wrote several years ago. When I think of the songs on the album I think of them in the little groups that we wrote them in." Read the rest of the feature here.