Rush’s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson teased some “recordings” in the studio, then played a game of pinball.
In the playful, behind-the-scenes “Back in the Studio with Rush” video, Lee and Lifeson, along with Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson, are recording voiceovers for upcoming custom Rush pinball machines.
The Rush Pinball Machine, created by the Chicago-based Stern Pinball, features a custom audio and visual layout that will let players immerse themselves in the band’s music, artwork, exclusive concert footage, and even connect with other players. Lee and Lifeson’s voiceovers for the game also incorporate more lighthearted references to Rush lyrics.
“Partnering with Rush, we created a musical pinball experience that every fan will want to explore,” said Stern chairman and CEO Gary Stern in a statement. “Incredible music, memorable toys, unique mechanical pinball action, and custom speech will make players feel like they are on tour with the band.”
Featured Rush songs that play on the machine throughout the game, include “Headlong Fight,” “Far Cry,” “One Little Victory,” “Working Man,” “2112,” “Tom Sawyer,” “The Spirit of Radio,” “Freewill,” the two-part “Cygnus X-1” series, “The Big Money,” “Subdivisions,” “Limelight,” “Fly by Night,” “La Villa Strangiato,” “Bastille Day” and “Red Barchetta.”
Stern Pinball also released a trailer featuring more of the intricate artwork featured on the machine, including the classic Rush logo, nods to albums Presto, Roll the Bones, and Test for Echo, in addition to a 2112 Starman, and the Fly by Night owl, among other Rush art.
Available in Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition (LE) formats, the machines also feature an Insider Connected system, which allows users to interact with the game and a global network of players. The Stern Insider Connected also features an operator-focused toolset that can remotely manage every aspect of the machines.
Other features of the game include more nods to Rush songs with “Red Barchetta,” “Subdivisions,” and “Fly By Night” multi-ball gameplay. The Premium and LE models include a motorized ramp with custom lighting effects, including a Clockwork Angels Clock, inspired by drummer Neil Peart’s bass drum from the band’s Time Machine tour, that illuminates when it strikes midnight and transports players into a “Headlong Flight” multi-ball game.
Additional features of the Premium and LE models—the latter limited to 1,000 pieces—include a custom subway system, locking pinballs that unlocks “Far Cry” multi-ball play, a “Dead End” vertical up kicker that propels pinballs through an additional wire form ramp, and a three-bank of musical drop targets guard a secret ball lock for “Freewill” multi-ball pinball.
“In the arcade halls, people hit pinballs,” says Lifeson in the band’s in-the-studio video, “Pretend the ball is a long-awaited friend, that owes you money.”
Robertson adds, “I particularly love it when a pinball machine taunts you, and a lot of good players do, so it’s a big part of the game when you’re being taunted.”
The video also shows Lifeson and Lee getting into the pinball gameplay. “Hey, Geddy, you owe me a quarter,” says Lifeson. “With interest, that’s almost two quarters.”
Lee responds, “He never calls me ‘Geddy’—shithead sometimes.”
In memory of late Rush drummer Neil Peart, who died on Jan. 7, 2020, after a battle with brain cancer, Stern Pinball will support the Neil Peart Research Award sponsored by the Glioblastoma Foundation, which researches cures for aggressive forms of the disease.
Photos: Stern Pinball