Drummer Neil Peart has written an essay reflecting on life in his 60th year.
Along with discussions on Christmas as a pagan ("it was ours first"), Neil shares recording updates on the new Rush album.
He says the biggest difference on this record is how he learns the tracks. In the past, he would count each section until it felt natural, but this time co-producer Booujzhe would "conduct" each section so Neil could perform with an improvisational style:
"I played through each song just a few times on my own, checking out patterns and fills that might work, then called in Booujzhe. He stood in the room with me, facing my drums, with a music stand and a single drumstickhe was my conductor, and I was his orchestra.
"His baton would conduct me into choruses, half-time bridges, and double-time outros and so onso I didn't have to worry about their durations. No counting, and no endless repetition. What a revelation! What a relief!"
By these methods, each song's drum part was composed, arranged, performed, and recorded in just a few hours, rather than many days, as in the past.
He goes on to pay tribute to his drum teacher and friend of twenty years, Freddie Gruber, and to the intellectual writer Christopher Hitchens who died of cancer in December.
Neil says Hitchens made him "braver" about speaking his own mind. It seems this bravery translated into speaking freely about his anti-Christian sentiments, which are scattered throughout the essay. In one scathing example, Neil tells readers that people do not need the moral framework of a religion to be a good person:
"It is arrogant to suggest that without religion we have no reason to feel 'goodwill toward men.' It isn't fear of godly punishment or promise of heavenly reward that makes generosity feel good - it's simple humanity."
You can read Neil's full 4,500 word essay here.
The 19th full-length studio album from Rush, "Clockwork Angels", is due for release in spring.