With their successful Clockwork Angels tour well underway, Alex Lifeson of Rush recently told Guitar World magazine that things were not always so upbeat. When recalling the band’s Caress of Steel tour he said, “We were already extremely in debt, and it was just getting worse and worse. The crowds were getting smaller and there didn’t seem to be much interest in the album at the time. Everybody around was concerned about what the future was going to be. So there was a lot of reflection. I thought, Well, you know, I guess I could be a plumber again if I had to…”
The band persevered despite the dwindling support. Eventually, they struck a production deal with Mercury label and the band itself became “responsible for delivering the record, the artwork — everything — in its completed form. It was really up to us. But they [Mercury] did lament the fact that we seemed to no longer have the same interests as we had initially. And they were concerned about that. Of course they were concerned about that—they had invested a lot of money and time and effort in us. And they wanted only what was best for the band, which was for us to make them a lot of money! And that’s fine. They’re a business and that’s what they do. I get it. That’s okay. Truthfully, I think it lit a fire under us.”
The album delivered, of course, was the groundbreaking conceptual epic, 2112. Fans responded positively to the music and lyrics, garnering the band larger and larger audiences at time when the fate of the band was at stake. The rest is history.