Hugh Syme initially envisioned an much more grandiose cowl for Rush’s 1977 traditional, A Farewell to Kings. However in a growth not unusual within the analog period, suggestions from band administration altered these plans.
As he tells UCR, Syme, the prog-rock trio’s artwork director since Caress of Metal, grew up in England “on the flip-side of the British Invasion,” and he’d glimpsed some “stunning ruins” that will have been excellent to seize for his or her fifth LP.
“[I’d seen] Lindisfarne, which is the monastery on Holy Island,” he says. “This was all pre-Google, pre-accessing a wealth of photographs as potential backgrounds. You needed to suppose otherwise again then. I might have beloved to characteristic Lindisfarne — and I used it in my unique sketches. However as quickly as I confirmed that to the band’s administration, it was like, ‘Yeah, dream on.’ It was not a time for extra.”
As a substitute, Syme drew on his instant environment and got here up with a brand new plan. The vivid last cowl incorporates a puppet-looking king slumped on a throne in entrance of a demolished constructing, contrasted with the Toronto skyline within the background.
“I discovered a constructing that was in a state of spoil in Buffalo [N.Y.],” Syme says. “I lived within the Niagara area and went into the U.S. lots. I noticed this stunning, dilapidated constructing and thought, ‘Nicely, we’ll have entry to that.’ We crossed the border with Josh Onderison, the guitar participant from my band, the Ian Thomas Band, which was on the identical label as Rush and Max Webster. Our guitarist was of a skeletal stature — excellent for the puppet.”
He retouched some parts of the character — together with his mouth, jaw and eyes — in post-production, including the sky, smokestack and strings. “I created a prosthetic construction so his knee, exhibiting via the tear in his tights, appeared mechanical, like a marionette’s,” he says.
Syme was a large fan of Hipgnosis, the renown design group who labored often with Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, amongst many others. And that inspiration seeped into his method on A Farewell to Kings.
“I used to be impressed by composite work by these guys and endeavored to deliver a few of that to play in that album,” he says. “And Hemispheres too, fairly evidently, was affected by that inspiration.”