Alex Lifeson and Geddy have been playing Rush songs: “We sound like a really, really bad Rush tribute band”

Alex Lifeson and Geddy have been playing Rush songs: “We sound like a really, really bad Rush tribute band”

After the death of drummer Neil Peart in January 2020, Rush decided to call it quits. The trio hadn’t performed live since 2015, but the loss of Peart made the band’s split official; Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee couldn’t continue without their legendary drummer.
However, that doesn’t mean Lifeson and frontman Lee have entirely waved off their Rush glory days. In a recent interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Lifeson says he and Lee have started jamming together again. “We decided that we would play some Rush songs – because, you know, we haven’t played these songs in 10 years,” he says.

READ MORE: “For a little while I thought it’d be good to get back out on tour. And then I thought… ‘Nah, not really’”: Alex Lifeson says he’s “not interested” in touring with Rush

“We started that a couple of weeks ago,” he continues. “We get together one day a week over at his place. We just picked some Rush songs and we started playing them and we sound like a really, really bad Rush tribute band.”
Considering Rush’s final tour was nearly a decade ago, it makes sense that the pair are rather rusty. “Trying to figure out the songs, I’m thinking, ‘Why did we write that so difficult? Why is this so hard to play?’” he laughs. “After about three run-throughs of all of these songs, muscle memory kicks in and your hand just goes to where it goes. You sort of get out of the way and you play and you go, ‘Thank God, I did make this simpler than it felt.’”
Lifeson even reveals the most difficult Rush song of the lot: Freewill. “There’s a lot of notes,” Lifeson explains. “The solo is crazy, the middle bass section is crazy and everything has to fit in at the right place. So that’s been a real challenge to play. But we’re getting there. We’re starting to sound like just a mediocre Rush tribute band now.”

Both musicians have now hit the grand age of 70, but their practice sessions are helping them hone their skill, reigniting the fire of their heyday. “I’m 70 – it’s not as easy to get my fingers to do what my brain tells me to do,” Lifeson admits to UCR. “They’re much lazier than they used to be and they have a poor memory – doing this really helps a lot, and it’s fun!”
Lifeson emphasises that the sessions are just for fun. “We’re not planning on going back on the road, finding a new drummer or anything like that,” he adds.
While Lifeson and Lee have performed together for the Taylor Hawkins Tribute shows in 2022, as well as at South Park’s 25th Anniversary, Lifeson has asserted that his touring days are long behind him. In his autobiography, My Effin’ Life, the guitarist confessed how, after 40 years on the road, he’s “not interested in touring anymore.”

“I enjoyed [touring] when we did it, there were lots of ups and downs,” Lifeson writes. “The gig is great… and for the other 21 hours in a day, you’re just waiting for those 3 hours. It gets tiring, especially when you have a family and you have loved ones at home that you’re estranged from for months and months and months at a time. I don’t miss that aspect of it.”
While the days of Rush are long gone, Lifeson and Lee are still pursuing their own projects. Lifeson has a brand new line of Lerxst guitars, as well as a selection of amplifiers and pedals coming. He’s also working on new Envy of None’s sophomore record. “We have 11 or 12 songs, and I think we have four that are sort of at that 85% stage,” he reveals to UCR. “I really love this material and it’s sounding great.”

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