A decaying puppet king in entrance of a demolished home, a nude ballet dancer on a mind, a disoriented boy attempting to control his window with a remote control — Hugh Syme introduced grand conceptual designs to his early work with prog-rock trio Rush. In contrast, his cowl for 1993’s Counterparts was nearly punk in its stunning minimalism.
“That was a bravely, nearly impudently simplistic cowl,” Syme tells UCR. “Within the wake of so many extra elaborate Rush covers, I assumed, ‘I wish to maintain issues migrating into no matter path they ought to for a selected venture.’ That is the place the band and I shared the credo that we all the time endeavor to ‘deviate’ from any anticipated norms.”
The unique idea was — like many Rush designs, together with the overtly literal Moving Pictures — primarily based on a visible pun. “The quilt for Counterparts nearly turned an exploded mechanical diagram of a sink and a faucet and a drain lure,” Syme says. “It was going be a literal illustration of counter components — much more foolish.”
However the artwork director’s imaginative and prescient for the venture shifted after getting within the weeds with Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart.
“We handed on [the counter parts] as a result of we began discovering these dualities: yin and yang, salt and pepper, tortoise and hare, ribbed and lubricated, slap and tickle; lock, inventory and barrel,” he says. “We had a whole lot of enjoyable — Neil and I spent about six or eight weeks calling one another, saying, ‘I’ve acquired three extra. I’ve acquired two extra.’ We constructed an entire archive — it turned what I finally illustrated as ‘The Prayer.’ Contained in the package deal there was this massive, folded poster that confirmed all these visuals. We could not determine on any considered one of them, so we mentioned, ‘Let’s simply do all of them.'”
For the entrance cowl, Syme wished considered one of these photographs to mirror your entire “counterparts” idea. He landed on a nut and bolt.
“I simply preferred the diagram, and I preferred how cheeky it was in its simplicity,” he says. “I do not recall the way it turned the distillation of all these choices. Any of these components may have turn out to be the quilt. Come to consider it now, I wasn’t considering remotely sexual with the bolt going into the opening or the proverbial prepare and tunnel, however hindsight says that is a enjoyable apart. I used to be simply glad it wasn’t the sink and taps and drain lure.”
It was a drastic change from the lavish designs of previous Rush LPs, however it mirrored Syme’s need to evolve. “Even Neil resisted that simplicity at first,” he remembers. “He thought, ‘I find it irresistible, however actually? Ought to we?’ And I assumed, ‘Sure.'”