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Thu, Nov 30, 2023

Classic Rock presents ... Prog Alex Lifeson interview details: Rush in the studio this Fall!

Tue, Aug 18, 2009@6:34PM | comments removed/disabled

UPDATE - 10/20@9:20AM: A full transcription of the article is now available online at this link.

The Classic Rock presents ... Prog special Rush issue became available earlier this month. The issue's tagline reads Everything's Fun Again Now! Alex Lifeson on RUSH & the story of Prog Metal and the issue features 4 separate collectible Rush covers each representing a different era of the band. The issue contains a 9-page feature on Rush titled Making Waves where Alex Lifeson is interviewed, giving a retrospective history of the band. Before diving into the history, Alex talks about what he's been up to during Rush's break. One thing he discusses in detail is how he's involved with Apple's Garageband software:

... The Apple thing was fun", he says by way of explanation. "They have this new thing on the Garageband software [the mini-home studio affair that is part of Apple's iLife bundle] where songwriters and musicians teach people how to play their songs. It's great,
you'll be able to download me. I went in and they filmed me for four days doing a song a day: Tom Sawyer, Limelight, The Spirit of Radio and Working Man. It's really comprehensive stuff and you can slow it down to really watch what I'm doing.

"It was odd, you realise how difficult it is to play some of those solos slowly, especially on something like Working Man."

We imagine it's quite difficult to master at its normal pace.

"I guess," and there's another laugh, "I'm not sure how much time I spent on that solo originally, I didn't know better, I was a kid when I wrote that. But I loved doing the Garageband stuff, though, and the end result is just great. When you're learning to play with just notation it's not the same - what the right hand is doing is so important and you never get to see that stuff. ...

Alex goes on to discuss Rush's early days and then breaks into a discussion about the recording of Snakes & Arrows along with their recent tour.

... "Also, you know, getting to do songs like Entre Nous again, there was the demand to do stuff like that, the crowds really seemed to like hearing it, that makes everything fun again too. After we'd done the R30 tour and drew a line under things like Closer To The Heart, it was good to look at different parts of our catalogue and experiment with some of the less well=know material, the stuff that we haven't aired for years. I know Ged was knocked out when he went back to listen to Permanent Waves and it was so much fun to rearrange those songs in the way we did, I hope we get to do a lot more of that, to tinker a little with some of those old songs when we play them again". ...

Lerxst then discusses the few low points in Rush's career; post-Hemispheres, post-Hold Your Fire and Neil Peart's trajedies of the late 90s. He then had this to say regarding Vapor Trails:

... Then when we did reconvene for Vapor Trails and it became this most emotional and powerful record. We think very highly of that record, but there are things wrong with it, the way it sounds, it could have been better recorded, we would have done things in a different way, but I suppose we weren't thinking straight, no, not that, it was just very raw, very visceral, you know."

Normally very effusive, Lifeson struggles with the words momentarily: "A lot of that stuff on there is first takes and demos, but because of what had happened and how we felt, we didn't want to re-record, they felt too precious in a way, we were very protective of those songs at that time, we were all feeling very tender about it. Rich [Chycki] - my engineer - re-remixed One Little Victory and Earthshine for Retrospective III and they sounded just great. ...

And here's the meat of the article; Alex talks about going into the studio this fall, as was previously rumored!

... "Tentatively, we start work on the next album in the fall - I did mention it to Ged before he went away on holiday and he sort of looked the other way. Come September and we'll certainly have some plans, we did the last record, or we started on the last album in the fall and I'd like to do that again, start recording maybe. I don't know who might produce, that's some ways off yet." ...

Lerxst also mentions his guest appearance at a concert with The Tragically Hip in Toronto this past May, and his cameo in the Canadian vampire horror-comedy film Suck due out later this year. And he has some news regarding the next Trailer Park Boys movie: Countdown to Liquor Day...:

... I'm also in the second ... Trailer Park Boys film, I really enjoy working with those guys, they hand-picked the part for me, I'm usually in some kind of uniform, this time I get to play a cross-dressing cop, how hard can it be?" ...

As an added bonus, there's a sidebar article discussing many juicy details regarding the upcoming Rush documentary which I'll post about in the next couple of days. Many thanks to Chris W for all the info! You can purchase the magazine online via this link.

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