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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Excerpts from Alex Lifeson Ontario Golf Magazine interview
10:25PM EST | comments (20) |

Ontario Golf Mag - smallEarlier this week I mentioned that Alex Lifeson was interviewed for Ontario Golf Magazine's Early Summer 2006 issue. I've obtained a copy of the article (thanks again Pat!) and thought I'd share some of it here. The cover tagline reads WHAT A RUSH. Rocker Alex Lifeson plays a hand in Ontario's next great golf course. Most of the article understandably talks about golf. Alex relates about how he wasn't much into the game most of his life, but once he started playing back in 1989 he was hooked:

... When I finally started playing I became completely addicted to it. After a few weeks I played all the time and I would lie in bed thinking about my swing. ...

He also talks about the friendships he's developed with professional golfers such as Rocco Mediate. Rocco gave him some advice to improve his swing:

... [Rocco] says if I could apply the way I think about my guitar playing to golf, I'd imporve immensely. It is just a question of how you clear your head. That's my problem - I have so many swing thoughts before I even take the club back. ...

On his involvement with Toronto businessman Syd Menashy in the creation of a the new Coppinwood golf club, Alex says:

... Syd and I began talking about how nice it would be to own our own golf club. He got Paul McLean involved and Al Chud (a partner at Wooden Sticks) and Tom Fazio as a designer. Syd came to me and said, "Al, we're building this Tom Fazio course and it'll be the best in Canada." And I said, "Where do I sign up?" He wasn't looking for investors - there were no openings at the time - but he sold me half of one of his shares. I was really excited about working with Syd and being involved in such an exciting golf course. When the hockey strike occurred, an investor got cold feet, so a full share came up and I bought it ...

Here are the portions of the interview where Rush is discussed:

Back to music. What is an average day for you on tour?

My days start early, often around 6:30 am. I do about an hour or so of yoga, get a nice stretch and then go to the golf course. Since they're largely private courses, they tend to be very quiet. I'm usually done by 11 am. I head back to the hotel, have a light lunch, go for a workout or a swim, then head to the gig for sound check at 5 pm for an hour, and then have a light meal. Then we do the show, which is over three hours. I have some quiet time with Geddy after the show with a nice bottle of wine in the dressing room. We also have a chef on the road with us and he'll make us something to eat.

It doesn't sound very rock 'n' roll. It sounds very professional.

It is. You have to travel professionally at this stage. It's very intense and you need to stay in shape. All three of us train regularly when we go on the road for two or three months. There's not as much structure there, so you've got to make time. Our chef helps by making things that are fresh and organic. It's very civilized. And you have a wonderful 20 minutes or so after the show where it's just the band, sitting around in our underwear with a nice glass of wine. Touring like we do now is pretty good. But jumping onto a bus after a show, like we used to do, and getting into the hotel at 6 am and having no life once you were on the road- that wasn't great. For the last couple of tours we've chartered planes and fly everywhere. It's made things much easier.

But Neil doesn't fly, does he?

No, he's not crazy about flying, so he'll take his motorcycle and he and our security guy will ride together. On the last tour he rode 25,000 miles across America.

...

Rush has had so much success in the past few years with the 30th anniversary tour, a book that chronicled the history of the band and a DVD. But many felt you'd never get back together after the death of Neil's daughter, Selena (who was killed in a car accident in 1997) and his wife's death from cancer a year later.

It was so devastating when that happened that we didn't even worry about the band. It was about helping Neil. When Jackie died, it was almost too much. He needed people with him for a bit, and then he needed people to leave him alone for a bit. Eventually he decided if he stayed, he'd wither away to nothing. He had to leave, which is what book, Ghost Rider, is about. He took his motorcycle and just left to find whatever it was he needed to find. It was a ballsy, great thing to do. He just drove and thought. He just saw the road ahead of him, and that kept him distracted until he got to whatever town he hit that night. He'd go to bed and wake up every hour, night after night. Finally he met his new wife, Carrie.

Eventually, we thought about reconvening the band. We didn't want to push it, but we called Neil and asked if he'd consider it. He said he didn't know whether he could, but he'd try. Geddy and I were pretty convinced that the band was over. We started to think about addressing our equipment issue, which had been in storage the whole time. We wondered if we needed to wind things down. But Neil wanted to give it a try and we ended up spending 14 months making Vapor Trails, as opposed to the four or five months it usually takes us.

And now Rush is back in the studio recording yet another record. Has the process of writing and recording changed over the years?

We sometimes write some material on our own, but it is way more fun showing up on that first day and seeing what happens. You don't know where the music is going to go, and I'll grab a guitar I haven't played in five or six years. It is really exciting. We're like kids again.

There's also a mini article which talks about the Ritz Carlton New Year's Eve incident. I'll try and post that in the next couple days.

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Comments

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#20 - Posted 6/9/09 @3:08PM by xanadurush [contact]

AAAAaaahhhhh, that was really nice - thank you!!
#19 - Posted 7/21/06 @2:53PM by ItsNotTheHeatItsTheInhumanity [contact]

My initial reaction to the pic of Alex with the guitar was "wow he's dropped 20 pounds" - either that of its from another era. Great to see him looking fit (regardless of the wax factor:-)

He'll always be 'Big Al' but its nice that he is somewhat smaller.

#18 - Posted 7/7/06 @4:42PM by patrick [contact]

Too bad there seems to be some lingering damage from the Khaler pro tremelo he had installed on the Howard Roberts Fusion sometime in the 80's. Notice the weird spot between the tailpiece and the bridge?...what a shame.
#17 - Posted 6/27/06 @12:44AM by teresa [contact]

Backstage club sells RUSH putters and golf balls.. I got that!!
#16 - Posted 6/25/06 @9:47PM by xanadu2112 [contact]

how could i off been so blind i wasnt tihnking i just looked at the headstock and was thnking of the only other headstock that looked like that, i should of known lifeson does not use cheap korean knocks offs
#15 - Posted 6/25/06 @4:18PM by Lerxst2112 [contact]

Sorry guys but that is indeed a Gibson guitar Alex is holding. It's his Howard Roberts Fusion. It's the one he played a fair bit on Exit...Stage Left. It's also featured on the cover of a Guitar Player Magazine with a feature article on Alex.
#14 - Posted 6/25/06 @8:58AM by bork [contact]

i hate that they are getting to the age where touring will probably cease in less than a decade. i hate to see them getting older overall as well; entering the decline of their lives. i'm 29, so i wasn't able to get into this great band until about '90, and only got to see them live from counterparts on (5 shows now). i'm so thankful that i wasn't born later and have been able to enjoy them for 15 years now while they are still active as a band. the vt tour was the best i've seen yet, and i'm sure they can still play insanely well live for awhile to come, and i realize other bands play live into their 60's, but Rush has, i think, a much more intense sound and just simply an faster song tempo than most other bands. Rush is pure energy 90% of the time (they are named Rush for a reason you know ;) ), and i'm amazed they can still play these "young musican's songs" as well as they still do. i'm not saying they are ready for the nursing home, just that their intense and fast-paced sound are better suited for bands 45 and under.

anyway, long live Rush in any case, as a band and individually!

and Jay, as for the memory thing, reading is a great way to stay sharp. the brain is like a muscle in the sense that it gets stronger the more often it is used (nueral connections are created and strengthened). i regulary read philosophy, science, and history to try to keep my mind functioning as well as it can (hence my long windedness), but any reading will do. there have been studies which show that people more active intellectually are less likely to suffer memory loss and difficulty concentrating at any age, and less likely to develop the dreaded alzheimers disease.

oh, and exercise is good to for the brain as well as the body. :)
#13 - Posted 6/24/06 @11:56AM by Joe Saggio [contact]

Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed it.

Alex Lifeson is a monsterously large living guitar legend. He has created some unforgettable sounds on the guitar and most of all, great music.

Can't wait for the next recording and tour.
#12 - Posted 6/24/06 @9:54AM by Jay [contact]

"Either that or Lerxst's memory is starting to fade. :)"

As someone almost his age, I can say it happens.

Too bad there's no way to add RAM to the brain :-)
#11 - Posted 6/24/06 @9:19AM by Jac [contact]

In one of the interviews on the R30 disc, Geddy and Alex says that Neil called them up and said " I think it's time for me to seek some gainful employment", if memory serves.

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