With the concert industry shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, musicians are keeping sharp by live-streaming and playing together while social distancing.
One great example of creativity during this difficult time comes from Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante, Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick, and Suicidal Tendencies bassist Roberto “Ra” Diaz. The three musicians jointly covered the Rush classic “YYZ” safely from their own homes, posting their version of instrumental prog opus to YouTube.
Each musician recorded their individual part separately and filmed themselves while doing it. When combined, it creates the illusion that they’re playing simultaneously. The cover is an appropriately thrashy rendition, given the pedigree of each artist.
Benante uploaded the video to his channel with the accompanying message: “Here is our version of the @Rush classic #YYZ – @rush inspired all 3 of us to be better musicians. #alexlifeson #geddylee and the great #neilpeart not only played amazing, they also wrote some of the best songs. We are honored to play a little #YYZ for you. Hope this magic music makes your morning/afternoon Alex Skolnick and Ra Diaz are so Amazing – I [love] RUSH.”
The cover comes nearly two months after the death of legendary Rush drummer Neil Peart on January 7th. The rock world mourned the loss of the virtuosic percussionist and songwriter, whose work influenced countless musicians.
“It just came out of nowhere,” Skolnick said of Peart’s passing on The Blairing Out With Eric Blair Show. “I had just recently started listening to Rush more and intensely — more focused on the drums. It was strange — I had this extra urge to airdrum. And then this happened. I’m just grateful for the music.”
Watch the thrash trio’s cover of “YYZ” below.