(Credits: Far Out / YouTube Still)
Rush frontman Geddy Lee was a party to everything the band’s career entailed, ranging from their most influential highlights to the misfires that all fans, let alone the trio themselves, would rather forget.
While Rush might be one of the most successful outfits of their era, this route to the top featured several notable flops. Perhaps the most egregious of the lot is 1975’s Caress of Steel. Although the album saw the band establish what would become their distinctive prog-rock formula, the world wasn’t ready for it. It was such a critical and commercial failure that their label, Mercury, seriously considered dropping Rush.
However, Mercury persevered, and the band’s follow-up, 2112, was a perfect reaction to the negativity and is now hailed as one of the group’s finest efforts. Despite Caress of Steel opening Rush up to such a bountiful new period, the members are still realistic about the nature of the record. Late drummer Neil Peart described it as “weird as hell” when appearing on Classic Albums. He said: “There was a certain gelling that took place in 1976 between us. And Caress of Steel, I can say now was weird as hell, but we loved it so much.”
Given their overarching prog spirit and their individual desires to constantly push themselves as musicians, Rush’s career would continue to throw up weird moments as it went on, ranging from the nine-minute instrumental ‘La Villa Strangiato’ to the cheesy Aimee-Mann featuring ‘Time Stand Still’. One of the most colourful produced by this side of Rush is ‘Double Agent’ from 1993’s Counterparts, one of the most bombastic and stadium-oriented compositions by the group.
It’s a strange one, as although Rush’s 1991 effort Roll the Bones is one of their best and brought them up to date, Counterparts sounds like it’s stuck in rock’s hair-metal chapter at the end of the previous decade. Alas, Geddy Lee describes it as one of the “goofiest songs” the trio ever wrote.
On the Counterparts World Radio Premiere, he said: “‘Double Agent’ was a complete exercise in self-indulgence, and really, it was one of the last things we wrote on the record. We’d written all these songs that were heavily structured and were crafted and meticulously worked on: this note and that note, and this is a song we just wanted to kind of get our yah-yahs out and just have a bit of a rave”.
Lee added: “Really, it’s one of the goofiest songs I think we’ve ever written, but I’m quite happy with the result. In its own way, I think it’s an interesting little piece of lunacy.”
Listen to ‘Double Agent’ below.