Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage is a documentary about one of the most successful independent businesses in Canada — a rock band. But to the three members of Toronto’s Rush, it’s their lives, just what they’ve chosen to do, just like anyone chooses an occupation and dedicates their lives to it.
Forty years and 40 million album sales later, lead vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart have a fascinating story about friendship, entrepreneurialism and the pursuit of excellence, and directors Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen tell it in a way that appeals to people who have never heard Rush, let alone want to know what the guys are like beyond the lighted stage.
“I don’t think we’ve ever looked at it as a big story, frankly,” says Lee, sitting in the downtown office of Alliance Films with Lifeson. “It’s hard to think of yourself in those terms. We just put one foot in front of the other and get on with it. To see it on a screen like that is a bit overwhelming for us because it’s 40 years of your life. And all those moments of putting one foot in front of the other have added up to be this big story.”
Among the astounding where-did-you-find-that footage is a teenage Lifeson moaning how he wants to quit school to a 1973 concert at Laura Secord Secondary School. The documentary serves as an example to any kid with a dream that might not be the norm.
Lee, Lifeson and Peart weren’t there for each other’s present-day interviews for the doc or for the guest interviews by fellow musicians such as Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins and Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan, so much of Beyond The Lighted Stage was a surprise to them as well.
“Certainly, it was good to hear the comments of other musicians that we look up to and admire and how they felt about our band,” says Lifeson.