Rush Canadian Golden Ale weighs in at 5.5 percent ABV, and the can features the Starman artwork from the classic album 2112, along with the tagline “Books are for tourists.” But in a new interview with Classic Rock, Lee revealed those words aren’t the ones they wanted to be inscribed above the graphic.
“Rush fans like beer,” he said. “Hendersons approached us during the pandemic and said, ‘If you’re interested, then we’ll send 15 beers to you and Alex. You can taste them and give us your notes.’ They came back with this golden ale, and we said, ‘Fuck, we like it!’ … Did you know the phrase ‘Drinking beer is better than being hit in the head with a hammer’ can’t be put on a beer can? Me neither. But that’s a no-no. We did ask.”
In the same interview, Lee reflected that “Rush 2.0,” which came about after a five-year hiatus following the death of drummer Neil Peart’s daughter in 1997, was a “different animal” from the earlier version of the trio. “That first tour back as a band, different world,” he recalled. “We took a different attitude on that tour; we were much more open and appreciative of the opportunity. Five years away from it took a lot of cynicism out of our behavior. When we did our first gig after all those years and were welcomed back so strongly, I think everyone was taken aback: ‘Wow, these people waited for us.’”
Lee said the final 11 years of the band’s career – which ended in 2018 with the retirement and later the death of Peart – were among the most enjoyable. “Snakes & Arrows and Clockwork Angels were probably the two most fulfilling recording experiences we’d ever had,” he noted. “It was the happiest period for the band since Permanent Waves [in 1980].”
Focusing on 2011’s Clockwork Angels, which turned out to be Rush’s last album, Lee said, “Al and I were just talking about this the other night, how, from a personal chemistry writing vibe, it was the happiest collaboration we’d had since we were kids. From a songwriter’s point of view, it’s probably the most accomplished piece of work we did in our entire history.”
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