A Passage To Bangkok
by Rush

Album: 2112 (1976)
Charted: 41
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  • This song is about the travails of using marijuana and opium, which is grown in Bangkok. In a 2012 interview, Alex Lifeson told High Times that "A Passage to Bangkok" is "about a fun little journey to all the good place you could go to have a puff." He added that they thought the song would be fun to write and that he felt drummer/lyricist Neil Peart handled in a "very eloquent way." He also said that the song was most likely written and sketched out with an acoustic guitar in front of a cassette player in the farmhouse. Rush liked to make initial recordings in that way before going into the basement to rehearse.
  • In the book Contents Under Pressure: 30 years of Rush by Martin Popoff, Alex Lifeson admits to smoking hashish (a high-grade form of marijuana) after some dental work in the early '70s. In the book Traveling Music: The Soundtrack To My Life And Times by Neil Peart, he admits to using recreational drugs including marijuana and LSD as a youth. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington, for above 2
  • The title of the song is Neil Peart's play upon the E.M. Forster novel, A Passage to India.
  • In a 2009 Guitar World interview, Alex Lifeson cited "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin as an influence on the song.

Comments: 29

  • John from Chattanooga TnEven though many places made weed legal at that time there was a lot of weed use. At sometime it was everywhere and almost everyone partook. I went to my first Rush concert 1974 and 9 shows later was around 1984 . There was a strong weed smell at every show. Also all concerts we alway said it would save money if they would load all the fog machines with weed because it was there anyway!!!
  • Stukka63 from St.augustine, FlaAlex Lifeson admits to smoking some illegal substance.
    N heres the shocker.
    Then the drummer admits to using Lsd.
    I put their names all into my churches prayer circle.

    Praise the jesus
  • Marley from Concepcion, ChileZeke, Canada is in America! What's up with the US claiming the whole continent for themselves??
  • Zeke from Oregon, OrAbove comment states as RUSH being a great American band. Wish we could say that's true but it's not, a great Canadian band!
    sk-Forest Grove, OR.
  • Amber from San Francisco, CaOne of my favorite Rush songs.
  • Matt from Washington Township , NjRush is one of americas greatest bands ever. This is the best song about a ferrari ever made.
  • Matt from Washington Township , NjRush is one of americas greatest bands ever. This is the best song about a ferrari ever made.
  • Trey from Kalamazoo, MtRUSH is amazing. I love the guitar at the beginning of this song.
  • Jason from Denver, CoIf I were President of the United States, I would legalize weed and send everyone 18 and over a HEMPconomic stimulus dimebag. After all we need to support the HEMPconomy. Oh yeah, and a pack of wraps(rolling papers) too!
  • Matt from Hometown, PaThe whole 2112 album was written by Neil Peart, Heavy,Very Heavy!The best album to date!
  • Jeff from Chicago, IlRush... never been known to use illegal substances?

  • Malicious Matt from Squatney, -I love it. A song about getting stoned on some good smoke! Excellent! lol
  • Dan from London, United Kingdomthe song is about taking the old hippe trails that led down into bangkok, it is heavilly influenced by drugs, "the fragrence of afganistan" being an obvious lyric. I do prefer the stage left one, maily due to the cowbells at the beginning :)
  • John from Asheville, NcI love this song, probably the strongest on 2112. I much prefer this to the title track...(and most of side 2 for that matter). Really love the riff...the vocal melody, etc. Still enjoy it when they dig this one up and play it live.
  • Gregg from Coralville, IaDrugs? I thought the only thing Geddy snorted was helium! :o
  • William from Twin Falls, IdI agree with Jesse, the stage left version of this song is freakin awesome. i was curious about that sound and how it was produced as my friend and i have been trying to replicate it for years but couldnt get that deep resonance that geddy is filling into alex's solo..great call man thanks!

  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesYes, that 'songfact' about Coleridge using LSD really does need to be changed. Also, opium was commonly used in Coleridge's day and no one thought twice about it. As "laudanum" which is a small amount of opium mixed with water, it was used the way we would use aspirin to cure a headache or back pain, or as a sleep aid. Bet you won't have dreams like that on Lunesta!
  • Ryan from Seattle, Wa"Xanadu," which is based on a poem written by a poet who was on LSD at the time. (thanks, James - Los Angeles, CA)

    No, dumbass. It was written by samuel Taylor Coleridge, an 18th/19th century poet who was addicted to opium. LSD was invented in 1938.
  • Ruben Rodriguez from Miami, FlI have to agree with Jesse. The version on Exit Stage Left sounds better than the studio version. The other highlight of that polished up live album is the drum solo on YYZ.
  • Chow from Saint Louis, MoI remember driving down the road with my friend in his 86 mustang back in the day. And we were listening to this song on the radio while getting high and realized at the same time 'this is about drugs!'. Needless to say, he decided that it was wise to slow down from the 80 mph he was doing at the time.
    Best Regards, CHOW
  • Kyle from Lancaster, PaXanadu is based on the Poem "Kubla Kahn", By Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who died over 100 years before LSD was invented. The poem by his own admission was written after having fallen asleep after reading "The Travels of Marco Polo" and having an Opium induced Dream.
  • Jesse from L.a., CaLove the Exit Stage Left version of this song. During the live performances of this song Geddy Lee provided backing guitar during the guitar solo, using his Moog Taurus Pedals to supply the bottom end.
  • Brian from Taipei, TaiwanAbout a comment above, marijuana is not grown right in Bangkok (though a it's a big city--how could say 100% for sure...) I'll admit Bangkok has certainly changed dramatically over the years. No doubt, Bangkok (and Thailand in general) was mentioned in the 60s and 70s as a dope-smoker's paradise, but things have changed. Now it's a huge modern city, and like a true Rush nerd, as I was taking a train toward their recently, I had to slap on THE SONG for my arrival "aboard the Thailand Express."
  • Jeffrey from San Antonio, TxThe poem referred to above is called "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. However, the poet was not under the influence of LSD. It is a matter of speculation that he dreamed of this poem during a drug-induced/influenced sleep. If true, the drug was laudanum (an opiate derivative). He was an addict.
  • Domenic from Brantford, CanadaIf you listen closely, just before the guitar solo in the middle of the song, Geddy takes a long hard haul on a super-joint!!!!
  • Mike from Mountlake Terrace, WashingtonIn the book, "Contents Under Pressure: 30 years of Rush" by Martin Popoff, Alex Lifeson admits to smoking hashish (a high-grade form of marijuana) after some dental work in the early seventies.

    In the book "Traveling Music: The Soundtrack To My Life And Times" by Neil Peart, Neil Peart admits to using recreational drugs including marijuana and LSD as a youth.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThe term "Midnight Oil" does indeed refer to hashish, and later inspired the name of the Australian hard-rock act Midnight Oil, who had a massive hit with "Beds Are Burning" in 1990.
  • Jason from Monterrey, MexicoYup, this song is about colombian and mexican weed (acapulco gold) "sweet jamaican pipe dreams" refers to jamaicas #1 export=weed and the "oil" that they are burining is hashish.
  • Bill from Sacramento, CaIt's About traveling the world and smoking drugs from different countries.
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