ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES And CROBOT Members Cover RUSH's 'Freewill' While In Quarantine (Video)
April 23, 2020
Charlie Benante (ANTHRAX),Alex Skolnick (TESTAMENT) and Roberto "Ra" Diaz (SUICIDAL TENDENCIES) have shared their version of another classic RUSH song, "Freewill", recorded with each member separated in their own homes.
Benante uploaded a video of the performance to his YouTube channel, writing in an accompanying message: "Dear friends: Once again, the three of us (Alex , Ra and myself) were completely knocked out by the responses to our latest video. As if your appreciation of the music wasn't enough, it's been humbling to hear from so many of you who've let us know how much this has been helping during this difficult period of quarantine and isolation. This brings us to the following conclusion: 'We can't stop now, can we?'
"Here is our follow up: 'Freewill'. 'Freewill' is about thinking for yourself, accepting difficult truths and avoiding superstition, magical thinking and herd mentality (most pertinent during these times). We now have a @rush trilogy. When we 'made a choice' (as the song says) to take on this tune, we had a new challenge on our hands: Our previous two ('YYZ' and 'La Villa Strangiato') are both instrumental and doing this one would require a vocalist who is up to the task (sadly that excludes the three of us). Fortunately, we know just the guy. On vocals, we proudly present Brandon Yeagley @brandoncrobot of @crobotband
"In addition to Neil Peart (the great RUSH drummer and composer of these lyrics, whom we lost in January),this song is dedicated to John Horton Conway, genius mathematician who recently left us due to Covid-19, whose influence extended beyond mathematical circles, including artists (such as musician/producer Brian Eno),software developers, game makers etc and whose achievements include a personal favorite entitled 'Free Will Theorem'.
"Special thanks to @blechugag for assisting with this audio mix and once again, @pieromedone who makes the video magic happen.
Peart died on January 7 in Santa Monica, California after a three-year battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The iconic RUSH drummer was 67 years old.
Skolnick told "The Blairing Out With Eric Blair Show" about Peart's passing: "It just came out of nowhere. I never knew him personally. Those who knew him personally knew for a while [that he was sick], so it wasn't that much of a shock, although, I tell you, how could it not be a shock?
"I had just recently started listening to RUSH more and intensely — more focused on the drums," he continued. "It was strange — I had this extra urge to airdrum. And then this happened.
"I'm just grateful for the music. I'm grateful I got to see them on the 'Clockwork Angels' tour. I had seen them only once before — back in high school. When I saw them, they were just in full form. And you would never know.
"I'm just thankful for the music and for him," Skolnick added. "What an amazing person, lyricist, thinker. A big inspiration. For those of us that don't always fit in, he's a huge inspiration — not just to drummers."
RUSH announced Peart's passing on January 10, setting off shockwaves and an outpouring of grief from fans and musicians all over the world.
RUSH's final show took place at the Forum in Los Angeles on August 1, 2015. Peart indicated at the time that he wanted to retire while he was still able to play well, along with a desire to spend more time at home with his young daughter.
Peart joined RUSH in 1974. He was considered one of the best rock drummers of all time, alongside John Bonham of LED ZEPPELIN; Keith Moon of THE WHO; and Ginger Baker of CREAM. Peart was also RUSH's primary lyricist, drawing inspiration from everything from sci-fi to Ayn Rand.