Rush: The Making of Snakes and Arrows

Snakes and Arrows is a 2007 studio album by the Canadian rock band Rush. It was their 18th full-length studio album and their first studio outing since 2004's Feedback. It was also their first complete studio album since Vapor Trails in 2002. The album was recorded in 5 weeks between November and December 2006 at Allaire Studios in New York’s Catskill Mountains and mixed and mastered at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, California. Snakes and Arrows debuted at #3 on the The Billboard 200 chart where it remained for 14 weeks. It was certified gold in Canada in September 2007. The track "Malignant Narcissism" was nominated for a Grammy Award under the category Best Rock Instrumental Performance. The album was named as one of Classic Rock's 10 essential progressive rock albums of the decade.


According to drummer and lyricist Neil Peart, inspiration for the title of the album was conceived after considerable research from several sources; the 2000-year-old Buddhist game called "Leela, the Game of Self Knowledge," the related children's game Snakes and Ladders (also known as Chutes and Ladders), and Hamlet's quote "slings and arrows". This information helped convince bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson to adopt the original painting of the age old game board as the cover for the new album.

Writing for Snakes and Arrows began in January 2006 with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson working at their home studio in Toronto. During this process, Neil Peart wrote preliminary lyrics for the songs, a creative method the band has frequently employed on their earlier works. By March 2006, rough versions of 6 songs had been completed. The three band members met in Quebec to listen to the material recorded thus far. In May 2006, they refined the songs in a small professional studio in Toronto. After the first 6 songs were recorded, the band set out to write and record additional songs in September. American producer Nick Raskulinecz, who worked with Foo Fighters, was hired to assist the band in producing the album. Raskulinecz, a self-proclaimed fan of the band, volunteered to work on the album after hearing about its production on the internet, and two months later was invited to meet the band. Raskulinecz reportedly encouraged the band members to explore the limits of their renowned talents and enthusiastically encouraged the band to incorporate the complex rhythmic and melodic patterns that characterized their earlier works. According to Alex Lifeson, musical themes for the album were written and developed using acoustic guitars to work out the major parts. These parts were ultimately recorded using acoustic or electric guitars, or other instruments. Both Lifeson and Lee used this as an alternative to more traditional methods of song development, which saw the use of amplified electric guitars and the assistance of electronic instruments. The final tracking of the album was recorded at Allaire Studios in Shokan, New York; mixed by Richard Chycki at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, California and mastered by Brian Gardner. This album contains multiple instrumental tracks: "The Main Monkey Business", "Hope," and "Malignant Narcissism".  Neil Peart's customary essay on the writing and recording of the album, called The Game of Snakes and Arrows, has been released on the Rush website.

Malignant Narcissism

On March 12, 2007 the first single from the album, "Far Cry", was posted as on-demand streaming audio on the official Rush website. On May 8, 2007, the band announced the release of a video for "Far Cry" and on June 1, 2007, "Spindrift" was released to radio stations as the album's official second single. The third single for the album, "The Larger Bowl (A Pantoum)" was released June 25 to North American radio where it positioned within the top 30 of the Mainstream Rock and Media Base Mainstream charts. In promotion of Snakes and Arrows, Rush kicked off their planned intercontinental tour on June 13, 2007, in Atlanta, Georgia, which ran through October and covered most of North America and Europe. The 2008 leg of the tour started on April 11, 2008, in San Juan, Puerto Rico at José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum and came to a close July 24, 2008, in Noblesville, Indiana.

Track listing:

1. Far Cry
2. Armor and Sword
3. Workin' Them Angels
4. The Larger Bowl (A Pantoum)
5. Spindrift
6. The Main Monkey Business
7. The Way the Wind Blows
8. Hope
9. Faithless
10. Bravest Face
11. Good News First
12. Malignant Narcissism
13. We Hold On

Band members:

Geddy Lee–vocals, bass, mellotron, bass pedal
Alex Lifeson–electric guitars, acoustic guitars, twelve-string guitars, mandolin, bouzouki
Neil Peart–drums, percussion

Snakes and Arrows is one of the first albums released on Warner Music's MVI (Music Video Interactive) format. This format is a 25,000 copy limited edition. The album comes in a deluxe box, and includes the 13 songs on the album in hi-resolution audio, the entire album in 5.1 surround sound, a 40 minute video documentary on the making of the album, 26-page booklet (4 pages more than the otherwise identical CD booklet), wallpapers, buddy icons and an exclusive poster for fans that register the MVI copy. After several production delays, the MVI was released on June 26, 2007. This is the documentary on the making of the Snakes and Arrows, filmed during the recording of the album in 2006.