‘It’s always been a bee in my bonnet’: Geddy Lee explains why Rush returned to Vapor Trails

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For Rush’s Geddy Lee, the opportunity to get back into the studio in advance of Vapor Trails, after all that Neil Peart had been through, was its own reward.

They ended up mishandling the mix down, however, and Lee and Co. were forced to sit mostly in silence despite their unhappiness with the results.

Until now. With the release this week of what Lee calls a badly needed remix, the Hall of Fame frontman can now admit how he felt all along about this 2002 studio effort.

Lee says he brought in a friendly producer, someone who had worked on some previous Rush projects, simply to smooth the way for Peart — who had lost his 19-year-old daughter to a car accident and then his wife to cancer over a 10-month period. The process of creating again took longer than expected, however, and after a gestation period of some 14 months, the deadline pressure was mounting.

Vapor Trails was hurried out with a mix that he didn’t approved of, yet the members of Rush were — at least at first — helpless to complain too much about it.

After all, their ever-loyal fans and many in the media were so happy to see Rush return — it had been six years since the band’s most recent release — that those initial concerns were quickly papered over.

“By the time I had a couple of weeks off to hear it clearly,” Lee tells Rolling Stone, “I realized we had kind of over-cooked the record. The mixes were really loud and brash. The mastering job was harsh and distorted, but by then, it was out of my hands. It was already out. … But the songs are very strong and people really responded to the record and people were welcoming us back. The sonic defects of it got lost in the excitement of the bands return to functionality. It’s always been a bee in my bonnet. We had various people attempt to remix it and remaster it over the years, and it still didn’t satisfy.

This new Vapor Trails mix was completed by David Bottrill, who Lee says had been the group’s first choice for an outside producer: “I think he’s finally brought some completion and some justice to some of those songs we’d put so much of our heart and soul into.”

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