Alex Lifeson practises Rush’s tracks with Geddy Lee

Author Benedetta Baldin - 7.5.2024

Alex Lifeson has recently adopted an innovative practice routine to maintain his musical skills: jamming on Rush songs with his former bandmate Geddy Lee. This is a departure from their regular routine over the past decade, as Rush concluded their final performance in 2015 and disbanded following the passing of drummer Neil Peart in January 2020. However, Lifeson has found enjoyment in casually revisiting the band’s extensive repertoire with Lee.

We decided that we would play some Rush songs. Because, you know, we haven’t played these songs in 10 years. We started that a couple of weeks ago. 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. Trying to figure out the songs, I’m thinking, ‘Why did we write that so difficult? Why is this so hard to play?’ 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.’ By the way, Rush songs are hard! So our fingers are getting limber and our calluses are building up again.

While Lifeson and Lee are thoroughly enjoying revisiting their catalogue, fans shouldn’t anticipate any further developments. Lifeson is occupied with promoting his new line of Lerxst guitars, amplifiers, and pedals, and is deeply engrossed in the production of Envy of None‘s second album.

We have 11 or 12 songs, and I think we have four that are sort of at that 85% stage. I really love this material and it’s sounding great.

Continuing on the subject of rehearsing Rush‘s tracks Lifeson states:

I’m 70. It’s not as easy to get my fingers to do what my brain tells me to do. 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. That’s it. The whole thing was that in the beginning, it was just fun. We’re having a riot together doing that. There’s no rhyme or reason. We’re not planning on going back on the road, finding a new drummer or anything like that. It’s just fun to do it.

When asked what track of Rush is the most daunting, Lifeson responds:

‘Freewill.’ There’s a lot of notes. 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.