When: Summer 1984
Where: Backstage at the Irvine Meadows in Orange County, California. The band performed here at this outdoor venue with The Moody Blues (whom I also interviewed that night) and following the trio’s set, I met backstage with the Canadian guitarist.
What: Grace Under Pressure had been released in April of this year and the band was out on the road supporting it. In all honesty, Rush sometimes left me a bit fatigued. Listening to all those insidious time changes and the helium-textured vocals of Geddy Lee took a lot out of you. But they did have their moments and certainly tracks from GUP such as "Kid Gloves" and "The Body Electric" rock in a pretty essential fashion.
, born Alexander Zivojinovich
, started the band in the summer of 1968. After original members Jeff Jones
and John Rutsey
were replaced by Geddy Lee
and Neil Peart
respectively over the course of the next 6 years, the band recorded the self-titled kickoff album in March 1974. Snakes & Arrows
, their 18th record, was released in May 2007.
Any band that could endure the malefic influences of the music world for so long must know something. Alex talked about what that "something" might be on this summer night about 23 years ago. When I first entered the backstage area, I noticed that Alex had a drink in his hand (I cannot remember if it was a beer or a cocktail). Maybe this was the secret. Actually, the guitarist had been visited by several friends who’d come to see the show and he was celebrating the reunion. UFO drummer Andy Parker, bassist Jeff Berlin and Allan Holdsworth had all come by to say hello.
So, Lifeson, a professional restaurateur, gourmet cook, licensed pilot, and motorcycle rider, was in an especially good mood. Some of his speech was marginally affected by the alcoholic intake, a slur here and there, but nothing really noticeable. Though, as the conversation wore on, his Canadian accent did become more pronounced. The word about really came out as a-boot, for example. It was funny.
With drink in hand, he explains, "I just had a couple of drinks here." And with his tongue maybe feeling a bit heavy in his mouth and motor skills probably diminished (can’t imagine he’d be flying or riding in this condition), we rushed headlong into the musical night.
Is it accurate to say that your playing and Rush’s music has gone through several stages? The initial records had more up-front guitars, while the middle period was a little more sophisticated and subtle. And now the latest stage again presents the guitar upfront but there is not as much soloing. Is this making any sense?
"I think with this record, though, the guitar has moved up front again and become a lead instrument."
Alex Lifeson: Yeah, I think it is. Certainly the first stage is accurate. We were basically a guitar band up until the time A Farewell To Kings (September 1977), where we added the keyboards in. At that point, the guitar playing took a different role. I think since then the guitars have become more a band-type instrument, a unit instrument if you will, that’s more in touch with the rhythm section of the band. It’s more in touch with what’s happening with the vocals. It’s not so much a lead instrument as it is a rhythm instrument. As far as the second stage goes, as we developed the keyboards in the band, the guitar took lesser of a lead role. We just really developed that.
I think with this record, though, the guitar has moved up front again and become a lead instrument. The balance between being a lead instrument and being in touch with the rhythm section – what it boils to, it’s the best of both, I think. I think that is accurate, though. I think that it has gone through 3 different stages and this is the beginning of the 3rd stage. I know for myself, my soloing has gone from trying to play as fast as I can and trying to play as bizarre solo as I can to more of a rhythm, chordal type song. I think that’s more of the direction generally for the future and for myself certainly.
Do you see your role in the band being similar to that of Andy Summers?
Yeah, actually I do. I respect him and I really enjoy his guitar playing because he is a guitarist in a band. He’s not a guitarist on his own, he’s not “the guitar player.” He’s the guitarist in the band, and the band is the unit. It’s one musical entity and he’s a part of it. I think that’s really important. I think adding all the keyboards and synthesizers and stuff with us, it taught me that. It’s not important to stand out. It’s more important to be a piece of the whole pie. Yeah, the “guitar hero” doesn’t jive with me.
Initially did you listen to those kinds of bands?
Oh, sure. That’s sort of my early influence. That’s pretty obvious on the first few albums, certainly the first album. Jimmy Page, early Clapton and Jeff Beck were my big influences. But if I was to cite any influences now, I would say people like Andy Summers, Midge Ure (Scottish guitarist who played, in the main, with The Rich Kids, Thin Lizzy, and Ultravox), people like that. They’re more a part of a band and see their role as being a part of a whole, really, rather than being lead guitarist of this group.
Have you always played in a trio?
Pretty much. As a band, Rush had a keyboard for a while – a long time ago. That was 15 years ago. He really didn’t last very long. He only lasted about 4 months. The only other time we had a 4th player was a guitarist. His name was Mitch Bossi and he was in the band in 1971, ’72. He was in the band for about 10 months. But it didn’t really work out.
Did you find yourselves getting in each other’s way?
He was more interested in picking up girls. It wasn’t a musical interest for him. When he realized that it was, it was too late.
When did you make the switch to Strat-type guitars?
Well, I got that black Strat in 1979. We were doing a show in the National Coliseum with Blue Oyster Cult. One of the horns from the PA fell on a doubleneck that I had, and then fell over on my 335, which was my original guitar. I prized it and I kept it as my second, as a backup guitar. When that happened, I decided to get the guitar fixed and retire it. I thought, “Well, I get a Strat.” I got the Strat and I felt it was the worst mistake I ever made. I couldn’t play it. I felt so uncomfortable that it was alien to me.
But after a couple of years, and it took that long, I got used to it. I got serious and made some changes on it. I put the humbucking on and put things where I wanted. I moved the toggle switch to the bottom horn where I felt more comfortable and took out one of the volume pots. I just kept one volume and one tone and moved it down a bit out of the way. I put a Floyd Rose on it and then I put a different neck on it, something that would look flatter and al little wider.
Something more Gibson-like?
More Gibson-like, yeah. Sharp is the name of the company that makes those. They’re in Ottawa in Canada. After making those changes, I felt comfortable with the instrument because I had made them for myself. So I felt good with it after that. The more I played it, the more I realized that this was a combination of a few things that I really liked all in one. It had the clarity of a Fender, but it had the power and punch of a Gibson without being too fat.
Since then, I’ve dropped the humbuckings, which were standard Gibson humbuckings. I put in Bill Lawrence old 500 lead pickups in the back position and kept the original Fender Strat pickups.
Is that just a single coil pickup?
No, it’s a humbucking pickup. It’s in the back position and then the other Fenders are the single coil, in the middle and the front – which allows me to get a good, beefy sound on the back position. But I can leave the volume at around 8, which I normally use recording between 7 and 8. I can just flick it to the middle or the front pickup, and it’s a nice, clean, clear sound for anything that I really want that kind of sound on.
What year was that Fender?
The black one is ’79. It’s not old. None of my guitars are really very old. They’re all fairly recent.
So you’re not of the school that plays older instruments?
No, not at all. I can see how a ’56 Les Paul sounds great if you want one kind of distorted, fuzzy, fat sound. That’s great. But if you try to get any other kind of sound with it, and it’s impossible. I’m not from that school. I was brought up with a 335, the whole ES line. It was semi-acoustic, so it had a clarity that was inherent in the design of the guitar. But set up a certain way, you could get a lot of sustain and a lot of drive out of it. So I had really the best of all things.
You also played a Les Paul early on, didn’t you?
I played a Les Paul for a while, but I tell you the truth, I never felt comfortable with that guitar. That guitar that I used, it sits in Neil’s basement. He’s got a little rehearsal room where he’s got his drums set up and a couple of amps. I gave him that guitar years and years and years ago because I knew I would never play it again.
You used it on the first records, didn’t you?
I used it on All The World’s A Stage (live album from September 1976); I used it on 2112 (April 1976). Primarily I used the 335, but I used the Les Paul for a few things and the Strat for a few things as well.
You used the Strat that long ago?
Yeah, actually I rented a Strat.
If you disliked the Les Paul so much, why did you stick with it?
"I used the black Strat on almost everything. I used the white Strat on a couple songs."
Well, I didn’t stick with it very long at all. I only stuck with it for 1 ½ tours and for 1 album, really. The other one was a live album. I stopped using it after that. It was around that time that I got the 335, which I felt really comfortable with. It was a heavier guitar. It had a more wooded side to house all the electronics. So it had an inherently more sustainable sound. Having the stereo setup with the filter, there are a whole bunch of sounds you can get out of that.
Jumping forward about a dozen years, can you talk a little about some of the guitars you played tonight?
Yeah; I used 3 Strats and they’re all basically set up the same way. They all have Floyd Rose tremolo. They all have shark necks, except the red one, which is a stock. Really the only change on that is the back pickup. The other guitars, the white one and the black one, both have shark necks and Bill Lawrence pickups. They all have Bill Lawrence. The Telecaster is a stock Telecaster, which I bought last year. An interesting thing about that guitar is I never liked Telecasters. I won’t say that I disliked the sound, but I never thought it sounded appropriate to what I was looking for. I never particularly liked the design of the guitar.
So last year I was sitting around at home – I remember this – and I thought, “Okay, I’m going to get rid of my SG.” I had an SG and I never used it. So I thought, “I’m going to get rid of mySG. I think I’ll pick up something else in its place to have kicking around the house and have a Fender at home. So, I’ll go get one.” I wanted a Fender to have at home because all my other Fenders were on the road. I thought, “I’ll get a Tele because I always hated them. I don’t like the way they look or sound, so I’ll go get one.”
I went out and I got one, and I took it on the road with me to Europe when we did our last European tour. I had my Rockman with me and I plugged it in. I started having fun with it and I really got used to that guitar. For a few songs like “New World Man,” it’s really the perfect guitar because that’s the sound I was going after. Even thought I used the Strat, that was the sound I wanted to get on it on that particular song. I thought, “I’ll bring it out and it will be a nice little change.” It’s fun to play. I took all the finish off the back of the neck and on the fretboard, and now it’s a much more enjoyable guitar.
It has a great sound. Do you use that on the record?
I used it on Grace Under Pressure on “Kid Gloves” and “The Enemy Within” as a double (track).
Are the guitars you used tonight the same ones you used on the record?
Yeah, primarily I used the black Strat. I used the black Strat on almost everything. I used the white Strat on a couple songs.
Could you talk a little bit about the amplifiers you’re using? You went stereo?
No, I’m not actually. I’m using Marshall 100-watt combos, they’re twin 12 combos; they are straightforward. The only changes made on them was because of the specifications and restrictions in North America for safety. They had to add a panel with all kinds of fuses on them inside. I don’t think they were too keen on it because they put the whole panel inside the chassis. So if you blow a fuse on these amps, you have to pull a whole chassis out to change a fuse, which is ridiculous. Anyways, the only modification we made on them was to put in circuit breakers on the back of the chassis. We just drilled holes and put in circuit breakers and attached them, 4 or 5 circuit breakers on the back. That’s really the only change we made. Otherwise, they’re stock Marshall combos.
Do you use 6 of them?
I use 4 of them and on Ged’s side of the stage, he uses a little Yamaha as a monitor. The 2 bottom ones are set up for a very clean sound and they’re both miked. Facing the top left hand Marshall is a much dirtier, grittier sound and is miked. Top right is more of a monitor for me; it’s not miked. And I have a Rockman II that is also direct through the PA. So in essence I have 4 guitar sends.
A Rockman, huh?
Yeah, right out the back. It goes through a locked parametric and we have EQ the way we wanted to have an EQ. And that’s it. Just turn it on and it’s right there.
It’s a really incredible guitar sound.
Yeah, well, I think when you do that, when you get a combination of a few things, too often you mike 1 amp or you mike 2 amps or 3 amps but you set them up the same and you get 1 basic sound. But if you mix it up, you get 1 amp that’s really screaming and another amp that’s crystal clear that you would never think of using that sounds direct almost. Another amp has got maybe more bass to it.
Then something like the Rockman, it’s got that limited compressed sound to it and you can throw them all together. You have a sound that you can fool around with and play with. In some halls, you might push more of the direct sound. In other halls, you might pull the direct sound down a bit. I really think that’s the way to go, and that’s what we ended up doing on this record. I think on Grace Under Pressure, it was a more accurate live guitar sound than we’ve had in the past because we used different miking techniques and whole different approach to sound.
What specifically did you do to get the sound on the record?
We used the Fostex, we used Bayers, and we used Sennheiser 421s, close-miking techniques. We had the microphone right up against the grill and set up basically like I do live. Whereas in the past, we used Neumann U87s; we used 414s. We used microphones that were not really warm-sounding microphones. We used a much broader miking technique. So we used more of the ambience of the room, more of that distance from the speaker to the microphone, which almost always tends to be a little brighter. I think it shows in the guitar sound. The guitar sound is more of what my guitar sound is on this record.
Recently I tried out a couple of Dean Markley amps, and I couldn’t believe how good they sounded. So I’m going to seriously consider those.
Have you used Marshalls pretty much your whole career now?
Well, I used Hiwatts for a few years. I started out with Marshalls and I switched over to Hiwatts. Then I went to Hiwatt cabinets and, I think, Marshall heads. I sort of bounced around. Now I’ve been using these Marshalls for a long time. Yeah, I like them.
What pedals are you using?
It’s all digital switching, so everything is out of the circuit unless it’s switched in. Basically, I’m using the Nady wireless system, so I’m getting a direct circuit of sound, no cable, direct to the amps until I switch in an effect. I’m using the Loft delays, two of ‘em, for chorus. I have 2 Loft parametrics. I only use one to send to the Rockman. I’m using the Korg DM3000 Digital Delay, and also using a Roland DME 3000 or something like that (Lifeson is probably referring to the Roland SDE3000) for flanging and some more digital delay. I’m using the Deltalab Timeline, a Super Timeline 2048, for short reverb type echoes and 2 different types of flanging. It’s a really nice unit; the Deltalab stuff is really top-notch. I’m using 2 Yamaha E1010 analog delays for my basic echo settings, which are on almost all of the time. I’m using an MXR Distortion Plus for distortion, which I only use in a couple of spots. I still have a Crybaby Wah Wah volume pedal and Morley volume pedal.
Did you use those tonight?
Yeah, the volume pedal I used in a couple of spots in “The Weapon” to get the … (sort of mimics the effect of a guitar swelling/lowering) with lots of echo. I’m using a Boss Octave Divider. I have an HD-1000 which is the Ibanez Harmonizer. I was using a DeltaLab DL-5 and I loved the DL-5 previous to this, but I like this one a little bit better.
So echoes and delays are truly a big part of your sound.
Yeah, I have quite a few of them. I’ve always been one to use delays and echo a lot. There is a whole new generation of digital reverb coming out, which I have some serious plans in utilizing. It’s a tough thing when you’re standing 20 feet in front of the amps and you hear it one way. If you put something like reverb on them, to hear the reverb 20 feet away, you have to really crank it. Of course, when it’s close-miked and it’s in the house, the reverb is right there. So it will take some playing around. There is a whole new generation to digital reverb and it’s going to be great. I can’t wait to see it.
In the studio, is the whole band recording at the same time?
Yeah, for our basic tracks, everybody goes up and records at the same time. What we’re really looking for is a good performance generally, but especially from Neil. It’s easy for Geddy and I to redo, and often we’ll do redo the bass or we’ll redo the guitar. You know, you have a little bit of time to fiddle around with it. That doesn’t usually take very long. It’s fresh and it only takes a couple of hours. But always, we always work together as a 3-piece to get the basic track down.
Do you usually record what you can conceivably recreate live?
Yeah; that goes back to many of our albums and that’s the golden rule with us. We’re a band that got to where we are now by touring a lot and I don’t think it’s correct not to be able to perform live what we do in the studio, and that’s the way we’ve always done it.
Do you use tapes while you’re playing live? Like sequencer parts?
No, all the sequencer stuff is done ourselves, all of it. The only time we use tapes are, for instance, at the beginning of “Witch Hunt.” It’s got a bunch of things and a vigilante screaming, building up to the beginning of the song. So we use that tape. But that’s all. All the sequencer parts are on sequencers, and we do all that live. We program that ourselves. It’s a matter of provide as well as being accurate.
Will the guitar sound suggest a song to you?
"We’re a band that got to where we are now by touring a lot and I don’t think it’s correct not to be able to perform live what we do in the studio."
Not really. I think when I sit down to do solos, a sound can be inspiring. It may not necessarily be correct for that solo or that song, but a sound can be inspiring. I think that’s what you mean: Can a sound inspire you to do something? I think that’s really the first step. You can’t do a solo for a song that’s calling for a bluesy, sad type solo. You can’t do a really dry, thin guitar sound. So you start putting on interesting echoes and reverb in the background. You make it so that you play 1 note, and that 1 notejust goes, “Oh!” The tears come to your eyes. So I think they work very closely together.
Do you take a lot of time to work your solos out?
I take a lot of time working on my solos. I don’t take a lot of time working them out. I don’t spend any time working them out. I do all my solos in the studio spontaneously, so we end up spending maybe 40 minutes or 2 days on doing the solo. But for me, it’s spontaneous. And I don’t know if it’s the best way. It’s the way I’ve always done it and the way I’ve always felt comfortable. Maybe I should take tapes home and work for 2 weeks and work on a solo and say, “Yeah, this is the solo.” And go to the studio and go (makes the hand motion of playing a very fast solo and mimics the sound of that). And that’s it.
On the last record I had done that to a point. I’ve taken tapes back to the house while Geddy was doing vocals. I thought, “Okay, I’m going to get a basic idea of what the solo is going to be.” “Red Sector A,” “Between The Wheels,” they are 2 examples of solos that I’ve worked on. “Body Electric,” I had an idea for “Electric” and I totally scrapped it when I got into the studio. But all those were only very basic ideas that changed quite a bit once I actually got into the studio.
What about the solo on “Kid Gloves”?
“Kid Gloves” was totally in the studio. It sounds like it was….Well, that one took hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of going nowhere at all. We took a break, we went into the kitchen, made a cup of tea, and sort of sat around. I was really frustrated and pissed off. We went back into the control room and everybody was sort of like, “Yeah? Well, screw it! Forget it! Just rage!” I went, “Yeah, okay! Rrrr.” I started and immediately it clicked in. After that, it took about 45 minutes to get the whole song. But I spent a whole day and night going nowhere at all. It was a difficult, frustrating situation on that solo. But once it locked in, it was just a matter of minutes. That can happen.
Attitude can make the difference.
Yeah, attitude. But you sort of look around like this. You know that it’s there somewhere, what you think is the ideal solo. I think on that song, that solo is ideal. It’s the perfect solo for that song. I think personally, it’s one of the best solos that I’ve ever played. It has a lot of elements in it and it’s quite different and that’s what I’m always looking for. I think I went like this and it went, “Beep, beep, beep…” (imitates the sound of a high-pitched, robotic type signal sound). And that’s why it only took 45 minutes to actually do the solo once I had locked in on a direction. It came very quickly.
On Signals the guitar seems to be less conspicuous.
That was because we were going for a different perspective on the sound in general as a band. The keyboards came up front a little more. The guitar sunk into the rhythm section a little more. That’s what we wanted to do, and we did do it. In retrospect, I don’t think it’s correct…Well, correct is not the right word. I wouldn’t do it like that again. I think we went too far in one direction. Again, it was an important stepping stone to this record, where the guitar has come back up. I don’t think it’s really come back with a vengeance. It seems to me that the guitar sits in its proper position relative to the other instruments. Whereas with Signals, it was down just a little bit. But we had to learn that.
When you come up with your guitar parts, do you know what the keyboards are going to be playing?
Yeah, Geddy and I work on that together. Often particular chordal patterns on the keyboards will be transposed to guitar and I’ll end up playing what the keyboards initially started playing. That’s right from the beginning, right from the writing stage.
Do you write on the guitar?
Yeah, I do. Geddy does both on bass and keyboards.
Talk more about any other thingsyou might have in the studio? Tricks?
It’s difficult to say because a lot of the things that you listen to and you go, “Wow, that’s a nice sound” or “That’s a nice echo” ended up taking days to achieve. But had you known, it would have only taken a few minutes. It’s just a matter of getting up to that point. So for us, I don’t think there are any real tricks. It’s all very straightforward recording. It’s just a matter of hunting around for the sound that thrills you and that hits you the right way. That only comes from experience.
Have you produced your records from the beginning?
Was there ever a desire to bring in another co-producer?
Oh yeah, sure. We had him with us for this last record. We decided to work with somebody else. And unfortunately, after they decided to work with us, they changed their mind before we went into the writing mode. So we were a little bit left out in the open. We talked with a number of other people that we wanted to work with. So really the idea was to give it to somebody else and have them deal with us with our music the way they thought they should.
There were obviously people that we respected a lot and we felt knew a lot about music and about sound in general. But unfortunately, these people are very busy people and you have to get in touch with them months in advance. None of them were available, so we went to our second list of up-and-coming engineers and producers. Not that Peter Henderson was an up-and-coming producer, he was an established producer (Supertramp; Frank Zappa; King Crimson). But when we sat down and talked to him, we realized that this guy had everything. He was a good guy and it would be interesting to work with him, and it was. I think the results Grace Under Pressure show that.
Who were some of the other producers you were considering?
We thought about Steve Lillywhite (who was going to replace longstanding producer Terry Brown, the person who had been there since Fly By Night, the trio’s second record). He was busy working with different bands at the time. Steve was the original producer that changed his mind and went on tour with Simple Minds. Rupert Hine. We spoke to Rupert and he was interested, but his schedule was very busy (Hine would later produce the 1989 Presto record). There were a few others.
Would you like to do outside producing?
Possibly. I can’t really look at it realistically unless I have the time. I’ve got a couple kids and my family life is very important to me. I really try to separate the two. So when we have time off, I like to spend it on my family and I don’t concern myself with the music business. I have a studio at home. I go down and I tool around, and that’s really nice. I don’t think of myself as a member of Rush at those times. I would like to work with other people, both as a musician and possibly as a producer, but it’s not a primary goal for me. Geddy as worked with a couple of bands as a producer. He’s enjoyed it and I certainly see a future for him as a producer.
Have you ever done any sessions where Geddy is a producer?
Nothing that became of anything.
Talk about the acoustic guitars that you play.
I use an Ovation Adonis and that’s about it live. In the studio, I didn’t use an acoustic on this last record. In the past I’ve used B45 Gibson Dove and (Martin) B-45 mostly.
What picks and strings do you use?
I use Kay picks; they’re nylon picks, hard to find. I use Dean Markleys: .009, .011, .014, .028, .038, .048 (this poses problems since the string company does not use these gauges – in fact they don’t even have a .028, .038 or .048 in their electric sets though they do use .038 and .048 gauges for the acoustic string assortment). I use a slightly heavier gauge on the Telecaster. I’ve used Dean Markleys for years and years and years; I swear by them.
And the Floyd Rose must keep them in tune.
The Floyd Rose, yeah. It’s the original Floyd Rose design, and I’m happy with that. I don’t really go for the new one.
It’s not the tunable?
It’s not the tunable. I will not use the tunable.
Why is that?
I don’t like it. I thought it scraped my wrist for one thing and I don’t need it. I don’t use a locking nut, so I don’t need a tunable bridge. I can do all of my tuning with my machine head. Once my nut works in, a little bit of graphite gets things in order.
So you don’t go out of tune?
"We don’t seem to have peaked quite yet. So there is still a little bit of life left in us – who knows how much."
No. Tonight I did a bit. I changed to these Fender string retainers, and they’ll take a little while to work in.
Is there anything special about your picking style?
I don’t think so. I think it’s a fairly up-and-down type of picking. For most things, I pick in a downward motion, and I use a lot of pulls and hammers.
Are there certain chords you’ll write in a section because they help lead into a solo.
I’m partial to suspended chords. I like the ringing of open strings. I find that you can simulate the sound of 2 guitars by doing things like that, versus playing an F major and just lifting up your far fingers so that you can play the bottom note. The F# with the B and the E ringing – I don’t know if you can imagine that?
The F barre chord?
It’s an F# - just holding down the F sharp on your E string and letting the B and E rise. It almost gives the impression of 2 chords there. I do that quite often.
Do you think that playing with Geddy and Neil has shaped your playing?
Yeah. Definitely. Geddy and Neil are a fantastic rhythm section, and with Signals I became more in tune with what Neil was doing. I realized that if this is going to work, I’m going to have to really pay attention to what Neil is doing. I’m going to have to pick up his cues – not only his cues, but his approach to the rhythm section or the song. I learned a lot from Signals in that respect and I’m always learning. I’m much more in tune to what he’s doing, and what he and Geddy are doing when they’re together. It’s not so much a counterpoint to what they’re doing or being off on your own, as being connected to it but aware what that is and yet stepping outside of it and always having that as the anchor.
This trio is definitely different than what Cream did.
Oh, yeah. The whole premise of this trio is different.
What are the plans for the band?
We’ll work into the middle of July and then take some time off. Go back out in September, work ‘till Christmas. Take a little bit of time off and start writing probably in the beginning of March for a couple of months, and then go into the studio and record. We should have a new album out by this time next year, around June, mid-June of next year.
How would you sum up Rush’s career so far?
I would say we’ve lived a lot longer than we ever expected to live. We don’t seem to have peaked quite yet. So there is still a little bit of life left in us – who knows how much. But I can tell you for sure that when we realize or when we feel that as a band, as a unit, as Rush, it’s not creatively mobile anymore. That will be the end of the band.
I look forward, not to the end of the band, but I look forward to that realization. I think at that point, whether it’s 5 albums from now, 1 album from now or 10 albums from now, I think we’ll sort of look back and be proud of ourselves. We’ll feel that we did it and we did it (singing) “our way.” We came to the end of it, and we realized that we came to the end of it. We said, “Guys, that’s it.” I don’t think you’ll see the last Rush tour 4 times over or any of that, but I think we’ve still got some juice left in us yet.
Interview by Steven Rosen
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