Rush Facing Retirement?

Guitarist Alex Lifeson sees the end for Canadian prog rockers.

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In an interview with Premier Guitar, Rush axe-man Alex Lifeson has stated that Rush are into their final years as a touring band. As Classic Rock notes, the guitarist has cited the band's other commitments outside of music, as well as drummer Neil Peart turing 60 as reasons that the band might not be around forever:

"One day we're not going to be able to do it any more. That's a reality and I don't think we should get too caught up in it.

We've had a great run, we've left a great legacy that we're proud of, and who knows what will come after that? I think my fingers will still work for a little while longer; I like to do stuff at home, to work with other people and continue to be musical.

But there are other things in life, too, especially when you've dedicated your life to touring. We love what we do, but eventually it does come to an end. I don't want to be 70 years old jumping around on stage. If we're still making good music, sure but I doubt it: most 70-year-old rock musicians I see are not really that enjoyable to watch."

Frontman Geddy Lee also notes that the band isn't sure how much longer they can go out and play at peak level, reflecting drummer Neil Peart's recent comment that he wasn't sure how much longer his stamina would last:

"How much longer can we go out there and play three-hour shows at that peak level?

I can see it in him. I don't think we've ever worked so hard prepping for touring and I could see he was tired. There comes a point when you have to accept you're approaching 60 and that three hours of blistering rock is for a younger man. That's what he's getting at."

64 comments sorted by best / new / date

    javdoc
    Saw them the other night in Philly and they were on fire. Sounded as good as ever. I would bet it drains them more than it used to, and the recovery is tougher, but their playing is still top-notch. I consider myself lucky to have seen them 8x now, since 1983. Will be a shame when they stop....
    yoman297
    i hope they continue to make music but not tour... as in just self-releasing their stuff in a similar way to say, Radiohead; the difference being not touring the album at all.
    Mack888
    People might hate on me for this but I really believe Clockwork Angels is gonna be their last album. Some of the lyrics in some of the songs seem to really ring with the band themselves, like in Headlong Flight and The Garden. Dunno if anyone else thinks this
    javdoc
    Agreed. Was thinking the same thing myself as they were playing "The Garden" the other night. If so (though I hope that's not the case), they are certainly going out on a high note.
    miahdoll
    I think you're totally right! That was a good album and some great songs on there, almost sounded like they were gettin better, but if I was them, I would go out on a high note.
    CollyOBrien
    I was lucky enough to see Rush last year, and being quite ignorant to most of their back catalogue (I know 2 albums well and a few other songs here & there) I enjoyed every second of it. Lovely too see men of their age still enjoying what they do.
    Mikethespud
    I'd be happy if they cut down on touring a bit but made more albums
    Chronologo
    Yeah that's something reasonable, Judas Priest is doing it, and Scorpions are going to do it too.
    iommi600
    You know, I don't blame them. I can't even put myself in the shoes of someone that has spent the last 40 years on the road, constantly touring. Still, it's sad news.
    butlerc777
    I can really respect them for going out well. It's awful to see bands just start to lose it before they quit...with Rush, people will miss and remember them, and that's a better ending than people not caring that they're gone.
    javdoc
    100% agree. Would rather remember and miss the greatness, than have it muddied with an embarassing decline.
    Northernmight
    This is great. Not that they choose to stop on the top, that is. Nearly all bands just keep going past their potential and end up fading into obscurity with worse and worse outings. If you wanna stay legend, stop on the top. It's the Floyd way.
    third(-)eye
    I'm glad they didn't go to the Floyd extreme... I regret every day that ill never get to see them.
    mradubz33
    Rush are amazing musicians and it seems they have a lot of integrity, so I don't think they would allow themselves to put out an album or go on a tour without being able to perform at the level that their fans have come to expect. I really hate so see such a good band retire, but I respect them a lot for going out at the top of their game and not allowing themselves to take the slow, painful downward slide into mediocrity or worse. I think Van Halen should take note.
    MacEspn
    This is just one of those things you don't say Like "Voldemort" you just don't say it
    chimaira033
    I just saw Rush for the first time last Wednesday, by far the greatest show I have ever seen. I really hope I can see them at least one more time.
    awesomeo4000
    i hope they do a big whizz bang final tour where they come to australia, i'd really like to see them
    reignofrock
    So? Don't play three hours! I mean, hell, they play far longer sets than bands half their age. I'd be perfectly content for a set half as long to have them still be touring. They certainly do give it their all.
    Asterix_13
    I just saw them here in Pittsburgh in September, they were great. Neil is the best at what he does and Geddy is so multi-talented that it's ridiculous. I wish them nothing but the best in whatever they decide to do.
    third(-)eye
    As saddening as this is, I could see it coming from a mile away. I was fortunate enough to see them twice on the Snakes and Arrows tour, and I never took that for granted at all; they can't play forever, and its pretty damn incredible that they lasted as long as they did. Like Alex said, they had an incredible run and made music that will live on forever. And somehow they kept doing that for 40+ years. Who could ask for more? So thank you, Rush. May your final touring years be enjoyable.
    goingnowhere21
    Great article, stop downvoting it. It is sad to hear, but I am still happy for them. I think they're a great band, and it is only natural that once they hit a certain age that they slow down. They have played their whole lives, and I'm sure there's plenty more outside of music that they would want to do. Best wishes to them in the future. They've given so much to us.
    M149CDeath08
    NO! NO! NOOOO!!!! I CANT BELIEVE I MISSED THEM IN CHICAGO AND THAT MIGHT BE MY ONLY CHANCE!!!!!
    Firebreather01
    I also wonder if their hall of fame nomination (and induction. We all know they're getting in) is a reason for this. Rush has done everything possible a major successful band could do, and going out with the induction might just be the cherry on top.
    javdoc
    Thing I wonder about is who could possibly induct them? For most bands, there's a handful of likely candidates who were directly influenced by them. But with Rush, it would be a roll-call of hard rock/prog/metal band superstars.... Any thoughts?
    miahdoll
    Coheed and Cambria....lol, only cause the singer sounds just like Geddy.
    TomWhaley
    Claudio and Geddy are two of my favorites. Although I know your comment was probably a joke, I would love that haha
    Firebreather01
    That is a a great question. If I could think of anyone, maybe Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta. I don't know if Cedric was directly influenced by Rush, but he definitely has the same high-pitched style as Geddy.
    javdoc
    Right. Maybe it will make the UG Question of the Week.... hint hint....
    vppark2
    Goddamnit, one of the few older bands I have never seen in concert before that I would like to see. These guys have so much talent, I mean if this is going to happen then there's not many other bands that I haven't seen yet that I would like to, as a metalhead.
    goingnowhere21
    I have only seen them once, but it was fantastic. Even if you're not the biggest fan, their shows are very fun to go to.
    ibanez124
    I just saw them in Philly as well. I am honored to say that I was able to see Rush twice in concert. Their commitment to rock, and their fans is commendable. I wish them nothing but the best in the future.
    SSaxdude
    If they do retire, I'm glad I was able to see them 3 times; twice on the Time Machine tour (2010 Chicago, 2011 Cleveland), Clockwork Angels tour (2012 Chicago). I understand the part about Neil losing his stamina. Maybe they should should play shorter shows, like 15 songs instead of the 25ish they have been doing lately. Then also have another prog band open for them
    Madferit420
    Of course no one wants it to happen, I certainly dont, but nothing lasts forever. theyve been goin at it since '68, they got nothing left to prove. Gods among men, i say cheers boys safe journey on
    Holmes0506
    Saw Rush in Philly 10/12/12. I'm still in awe! They are a class act and on top of their game. First time seeing them was in '82, and their recent show was the best yet! Just like fine wine, they have aged to perfection! Love the new album! They are flawless in their work both in the studio and onstage. Love you guys forever! Thanks for the music!
    SolitaryOne
    not even a huge rush fan, but im glad i didn't pass the opportunity to see them like a couple weeks ago in edmonton. was a amazing show to say the least.
    m4ss3 m/
    It's a bit sad that these classic rock bands are starting to get old, like literally.. and at the same time nobody takes bands seriously if they are under 25yo. I mean, look at Children of Bodom. They started when they were still in high school and were already playing Japan at the age of 19-20.
    Randomrings
    Judging from Clockwork Angels, I would say we still got a while. But I would rather see one of the greatest bands of all time come to a noble halt than for something bad to happen to Neil Peart, or Geddy or Alex for that matter
    Muffinz
    F#CK! First I realize that they're coming to Finland next summer too late to get tickets and now they might disband before I can see them again >:-(
    jthm_guitarist
    So any more albums or what? I've never seen Rush live because they are so expensive and I don't really dig the new stuff.
    metalladam97
    **** no! they can't, theyve NEVER toured or been in australia! i need to see you rush!
    Emilym80
    @metalladam97 I know, I feel exactly the same but I just don't think there's enough interest for them to come here, they're really a stadium band and I don't think they'd be able to sell out a stadium here, unfortunately...