TRIUMPH's RIK EMMETT: 'We Were Always Riding On RUSH's Coattails'

August 2, 2020

In a brand new interview with Meltdown of Detroit's WRIF radio station, TRIUMPH frontman Rik Emmett reflected on the passing of RUSH drummer Neil Peart and spoke about his personal relationship with his fellow legendary Canadian rockers.

He said: "I met Neil only on a couple of occasions. Neil was not the kind of man who liked to go to industry functions; he didn't do meet-and-greets; he didn't hang around after gigs. He was a very private kind of a guy, and I respected that — I admired that in him. Kinship-wise, Alex [Lifeson, RUSH guitarist] and I were always well suited to each other, I think. When TRIUMPH was just a bar band playing The Gasworks on Yonge Street in Toronto, Alex came down to the gig and had a couple of beers and introduced himself to me. We've done guitar workshops together. And, of course, he played on one of my records. I did a record for Mascot/Provogue a few years back — 2016, I think — and Alex played on a couple of tracks. He's a gentleman [and] he's a tremendous artist. If he had decided he wanted to be a painter, he would have been a great painter. If he'd have been a poet, he would have been a great poet. But he was a guy that picked up an electric guitar and eventually was in this band. And RUSH, we were always riding on their coattails. They were always a bigger thing than us, breaking other markets and playing all over the world. We owed a lot to them.

"I don't really know Geddy [Lee, RUSH bassist/vocalist] that well at all; I think I've only said hello to him once. He and I, we share something. He had a son that ended up playing baseball on a fairly high level, and my son also ended up playing NCAA Division I in the States on a scholarship. And I see Geddy at the ballgames — he's got great seats, so the centerfield camera shows him sitting in the second row. So we get to see Geddy, if you're in Canada, practically every night when they allow people into the stadiums. But I don't know him that well. Alex is kind of the guy who was my bud."

The first-ever feature documentary about TRIUMPH's dramatic career is tentatively due before the end of the year. Produced by Emmy and Peabody award-winning Banger Films, "Triumph: Lay It On The Line" covers TRIUMPH's humble beginnings as staples of the GTA circuit in the mid-'70s to their heyday as touring juggernauts, selling out arenas and stadiums all across North America with their legendary spectacular live shows.

Emmett, drummer Gil Moore and bassist Mike Levine formed TRIUMPH in 1975, and their blend of heavy riff-rockers with progressive odysseys, peppered with thoughtful, inspiring lyrics and virtuosic guitar playing quickly made them a household name in Canada. Anthems like "Lay It On The Line", "Magic Power" and "Fight The Good Fight" broke them in the USA, and they amassed a legion of fiercely passionate fans before suddenly splitting at the zenith of their popularity.

Back in 2016, Moore and Levine reunited with Rik as special guests on the "RES 9" album from Emmett's band RESOLUTION9.

After 20 years apart, Emmett, Levine and Moore played at the 2008 editions of the Sweden Rock Festival and Rocklahoma. A DVD of the historic Sweden performance was made available four years later.

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