Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee of Rush: (not so) happy Trails
Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson has explained why the band’s 2002 album Vapor Trails is being reissued in a remixed form – and why, 11 years on, drummer Neil Peart still can’t bear to listen to the record.
Words: Paul Eliott
Vapor Trails was always a problematic album for Rush. It marked a comeback for the band, and for Peart in particular. It was the first album they had made together since the double tragedy that Peart suffered in the late 90s – his 19-year-old daughter Selena killed in a car crash, and his wife Jacqueline succumbing to cancer.
In the aftermath, Peart told Lifeson and bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee that he was retired. He didn’t play drums for three years. But when he agreed to rejoin the band, they spent 15 months working on Vapor Trails, and the result was an album described by Lifeson as “filled with raw emotion”. In his lyrics, Peart wrote about the pain he had experienced. And the music had a similarly heavy vibe. “We wanted it to be hard-hitting,” Geddy Lee said.
But over time, both Lee and Lifeson have felt that Vapor Trails didn’t sound right. “It really bothered us that it didn’t sound like it did when we were making it,” Lifeson says. “Now we’ve remixed it, it’s the way it should always have been. But Neil still won’t listen to the record.”