iTunes tells me there’s a new Rush album to be released on April 15: Snakes & Arrows (Live). Normally a new album from Rush would be good news, but not this time.
Rush used to have a pretty reliable schedule: four studio albums, then a live album. They stuck to it for almost twenty-five years, from their self-titled debut album in 1974 all the way to Different Stages in 1998. After that, the schedule changed:
2002 – Vapor Trails (studio)
2003 – Rush in Rio (live)
2004 – Feedback (studio)
2005 – R30 (live)
2007 – Snakes & Arrows (studio)
2008 – Snakes & Arrows (Live)
It may be just an irrational prejudice on my part, but when a band releases so many live albums in so little time, I begin to wonder whether it’s ceased to be an ongoing creative effort, and become instead a mere money-machine: a brand to be exploited.
That’s what happened to Pink Floyd in the 1980s. Gilmour & Co. even went so far as to go on tour to support the live album from the previous tour, which is just ridiculous.
If Rush goes on tour to support Snakes & Arrows (Live), we’ll know it’s all over.