Thursday, April 12, 2007

Alex Lifeson


Alex LifesonAKA Alexander Zivojinovic

Born: 27-Aug-1953
Birthplace: Fernie, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Guitarist
Nationality: Canada
Executive summary: Guitarist for Rush

Father: Nenad Zivojinovich
Mother: Melka Zivojinovich
Wife: Michelle Zivojinovich
Son: Justin Zivojinovich

Filmography as Actor
Trailer Park Boys: The Movie (6-Oct-2006) =>>>>>>>>>>>

============ blogprock ============

@ Dinosaur Rock Guitar

Famous / Infamous for
Famous for: A pioneer in the art of guitar textures. Alex popularized the use of the chorus effect starting with A Farewell to Kings in 1977.

Infamous for: Alex Lifeson Disease, and having a different hairstyle and guitar rig on each Rush album and tour.

Obvious: Steve Howe of Yes, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett of Genesis, and Jimmy Page. Alex basically took the cerebral approach of prog rockers like Howe and Hackett, and crossed it with a big dose of hard rock and roll courtesy of Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin to create progressive music that rocked. And indeed, in the beginning, Rush sounded like the offspring of a Led Zeppelin/Yes marriage. Alex plays a lot of acoustic guitar; like Howe, much of it classical, and a lot of 12 string ala Rutherford and Page.

Not-so-obvious: Rush in general owes a huge debt to early King Crimson; the reason it isn't more obvious is that most people have never heard King Crimson! Take a listen to King Crimson's 1975 album Red, and then listen to Permanent Waves or Moving Pictures — the similarities are striking. Starting in the late 70s, Allan Holdsworth began to worm his atonal way into a lot of Alex's lead work. Andy Summers was also an 80s influence, as was the Edge from U2. These three guys stole so many ideas from each other in the 80s that it's not easy to tell who was influencing who; I think it's safe to say they were all very aware of each other's work.

Sound: Alex's style revolves around occupying a lot of space, and nobody does it better. Through the careful use of time-based effects as well as unusual, ambiguous chord voicings, Alex creates a wash of sound that is almost three dimensional.

Chord voicings: I honestly believe that many of the chords Alex plays didn't exist (at least in rock) before he created them. Take a listen to the Hemispheres album for a virtual clinic on Lifeson chords. You can analyze them from a theory standpoint but that won't do them justice; the approach to fingering them is so outside-the-box that a schooled player would NEVER think to do it that way.

Versatility: Alex is a very versatile player who employs many different tones, textures, and styles to get his point across while still maintaining his identity. No matter what gear he's playing through or what strange direction Rush may be heading with their music, when Alex comes in with his guitar it screams RUSH! every bit as characteristic as Geddy Lee's voice or Neil Peart's hyperkinetic drumming.

Solos: Alex basically gave up playing guitar hero style lead guitar about 20 years ago. What a sackless choice for a guy who can quite literally play his ass off! A quick spin of Freewill from Permanent Waves proves he can rip with the best of them. He has lost no ability. He can still play all the old songs and hot solos, and does so in every concert. But you just don't hear that player on the newer material. His soloing is usually very chaotic and as the years progressed Alex has became more atonal and less melodic. This is partly a function of the parts he has to solo over. Still, there's little in the way of melody or hooks in any of Alex's solo work post Moving Pictures. Blame Holdsworth.

Attitude: as in, there is no gunslinger attitude left in Alex. Starting with Signals in 1983, Rush morphed from a guitar based power trio with some keyboards here and there, to a keyboard based pop band with some guitar here and there. There are a lot of fantastic moments on 80s Rush albums, but the guitar hero went MIA in 1983 and hasn't been seen since. There are occasional reports of sightings. The player Alex once was, was spotted in a Cadillac with Elvis and the smoking man at a Stuckey's near area 51. Mulder and Scully are on it, but reports remain unconfirmed. We at have reason to believe that Geddy Lee had him abducted in 1982, and replaced by a MIDI controlled android with a bad haircut.

Alex's gear, like his hair, changes almost constantly. Describing either accurately is like trying to hit a moving target. In general, Alex's tone is actually pretty clean and has a good amount of low end in it. In the early days of the band, he used a variety of Gibson guitars, including Les Pauls, ES-335s, a Howard Roberts Fusion, and an ES-1275 doubleneck. In the 80s, Alex went for a more processed, thinner sound, often employing custom strat style guitars made by Lado in Canada. In the 90s, he switched over to PRS.

He has used just about every amp made and then some; for the early stuff, it was various Marshalls, Hiwatts, and Fenders; the 80s was primarily a solid state Gallien Kreuger setup; in the 90s, he went back to Marshalls. Alex's guitar sound has always been heavily processed compared to whatever else was going on at the time. In the mid-70s, he relied on phase shifters, tape delays, and a Cry Baby. This was expanded to include an Electric Mistress flanger, volume pedal, and a BOSS CE-1 chorus (the big gray box) by the end of the decade. With the advent of rack effects, Alex added banks of digital delays, Roland Dimension D chorus units, Lexicon reverbs, pitch transposers, and other sweetening to his sonic palette. You almost never hear a dry guitar on any Rush record. There is a good deal of chorus and delay on his basic sound. As Alex's sound has grown more and more high tech, the warm tube amp and woody guitar sound of the old days has been replaced by a brighter, harsher tone that really cuts through the band, but is much less pleasing to the ear. I attribute this to his choice of PRS guitars - they just aren't as warm sounding as the old Gibsons from the late 70s, although they're more versatile (and of course, Creed endorses them, so they must be cool).

The classic Farewell to Kings-era Lifeson tone formula is: a Gibson guitar with twin humbuckers through a BOSS Chorus into an EL-34 based British tube amp (Marshall or Hiwatt). Switch the Gibby to a Super Strat with a humbucker and Floyd, and you're pretty much covered through Moving Pictures. After that, do you really care?

Guitar Style
An entire book could be written on Alex's rhythm playing. He started out playing a lot of standard rock power chords with the occasional odd voicing tossed in. Gradually, the odd voicings took over. Alex arpeggiates many of his chords when playing cleaner passages. He lays down huge swathes of chorused guitars on the dirtier stuff. At this point in his career his rhythm playing is somewhere between the hard rocker he was in the 70s, and the limp-wristed Simple Minds fan he was in the 80s. Elements of both are present.

Alex's solos are a mixture of legato, sustained notes and chaotic runs. In his early work he relied primarily on both major and minor Pentatonic scales, with some Aeolian and Dorian thrown in for passing tones. The Page influence is fairly obvious but he was a much more precise player than Page even at age 20. Alex plays classical guitar like someone who spent time in formal studies at some point. As a classical player he takes a lot of cues from Steve Howe's work with Yes — think Mood for a Day. Around 1980, Alex started getting into Allan Holdsworth, and switched to a Super Strat so he could use the whammy bar to slide into various pitches, and add vibrato to notes. He also started playing a lot of really strange stuff. Listen to the solo on Tom Sawyer, for example. What the hell is that? What key is it in? (If you know, please tell me as I've been trying to figure it out for 20 years.) He's continued along this path since that album. Digital Man is another good example. Listen to how he slides around with the whammy to scoop into pitches and apply vibrato. And I don't know what key a lot of that solo is in either, although it reverts to a pentatonic feel towards the end. It's just bizarre.

Alex's picking attack sounds sloppy when he's soloing but that's probably the sound he's going for. There is a good mixture of legato and alternate picking in his playing. He can burn when he wants to. In his glory days, he tended to start his solos slow and low — opening with some sustained notes low on the neck and climbing up to build intensity. As he climbed in pitch, he usually kicked in the afterburners towards the end.

Chaotic, fast, fairly wide. Often uses the whammy bar to apply vibrato ala Holdsworth or David Gilmour. =>>>>>>>>>>>

============ blogprock ============

@ Wiki
Alex Lifeson OC (born Alexander Zivojinovich on August 27, 1953, in Fernie, British Columbia, Canada), is a Canadian musician, best known as the guitarist for the rock group Rush.

Lifeson founded Rush in the summer of 1968, and has been an integral member of the three-piece band ever since. For Rush, Lifeson plays electric and acoustic guitars as well as other stringed instruments. He also performs backing vocals in live performances, and occasionally plays keyboards. During live performances, Lifeson, like the other members of Rush, performs real-time triggering of sampled instruments, concurrently with his guitar playing.

The bulk of Lifeson's work in music has been with Rush, although Lifeson has contributed to a body of work outside of the band as well. Aside from music, Lifeson is part owner of the Toronto restaurant The Orbit Room, and is a licensed aircraft pilot and motorcycle rider.

Along with his bandmates Geddy Lee and Neil Peart, Lifeson was made an Officer of the Order of Canada on May 9, 1996. The trio was the first rock group so honoured.

Lifeson is currently working with Rush in preparation for the May 1, 2007 release of their latest album, Snakes & Arrows, and a concert tour to follow.

The son of Serbian immigrants, Nenad and Melka Zivojinovich, Lifeson was born in Fernie, British Columbia, Canada and raised in Toronto, Ontario.[citation needed] His assumed stage name of "Lifeson" is a semi-literal translation of the name "Zivojinovich", meaning "son of life".[citation needed]

Lifeson's nickname among his associates is "Lerxst". The name appears in the sub-titles of La Villa Strangiato, an instrumental based humorously on Lifeson's nightmares, from the Rush album Hemispheres.

Body of work
The bulk of Lifeson's work in music has been with Rush.

Lifeson's work outside of his involvement with the band includes the following:

* In 2006, Lifeson founded The Big Dirty Band, which he created for the purpose of providing original soundtrack material for Trailer Park Boys: The Movie.
* Victor, Lifeson's solo album released in 1996. Victor (the album) was attributed as a self-titled work (ie. "Victor" is attributed as the artist as well as the album title). This was done deliberately, as an alternative to issuing the album explicitly under Lifeson's name.
* Lifeson composed the theme for the first season of the science-fiction TV series Andromeda.
* Lifeson jammed regularly with The Dexters (The Orbit Room house band from 1994-2004). The Dexters' lead guitarist Bernie LaBarge nicknamed Alex "Big Al Dexter".
* Lifeson made a guest appearance on the 2007 album Fear of a Blank Planet by UK progressive rock band, Porcupine Tree.
* Lifeson was approached by Digitech for inclusion of his trademark sound in their 2120 Artist Studio Guitar System. Lifeson created one of the presets, calling it "New Lerxst."

Guitar equipment
In Rush's early career, Lifeson used a Gibson ES-335 for the first single and the first three albums: Rush, Fly By Night, and Caress Of Steel, and for the 2112 tour he used a Gibson Les Paul and Marshall amplification. Later on in the '70s he started using a Gibson EDS-1275 (similar to Jimmy Page) for songs like Xanadu. By the time of Hemispheres he had switched primarily to a cream-colored Gibson ES-355 guitar, with most of the amplification coming from Hiwatt amplifiers. Pedal wise he used various phaser and flanger pedals a Cry Baby Wah Wah, and a "Plexi" amplifier. Beginning in the late 1970s, he increasingly incorporated twelve-string guitar (acoustic and electric) and chorusing (Using the Boss Chorus Ensemble and later the Roland Dimension C) into his sound. By the time of the 1982 Rush album Signals, Lifeson's primary guitar had become a hot-rodded Stratocaster with a Bill Lawrence high-output humbucker L-500, (a type later made famous by Dimebag Darrell) in the bridge position and a Floyd Rose bridge, and as the '80s wore on he switched from passive to active pickups and from vacuum tube to solid-state amplification, all with an increasingly thick layer of digital signal processing. Lifeson used Stratocasters from 1980 to 1986, he used them on newer material from Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures on their respective tours and more predominantly from 1982's Signals up to 1985's Power Windows, with a small detour on the Grace Under Pressure CD to use Hentor Sportscasters, (These were Fender Strats with the Fender Strat name scraped off and replaced with the name Hentor Sportscaster. Strat in reality, Hentor by name only.) which were custom built for him. For the Moving Pictures and Signals albums and on several tours Alex used up to four quite rare brown Marshall 4140 Club & Country 100W combo amps, giving him his perhaps most characteristic guitar tone to date. Lifeson was also later on an endorser of the now all-but-forgotten Gallien-Krueger solid-state guitar amplifier line. In the late 1980s he switched to Carvin amplifiers in the studio and his short-lived Signature brand guitars onstage and in the studio.

Lifeson primarily used PRS guitars during the recording of Roll The Bones in 1990/1991. When recording 1993's Counterparts, Lifeson returned to rock guitar tradition: he continued to use PRS guitars and Marshall amplifiers to record the album, and for the subsequent tour. On one Counterparts song, Stick It Out, Lifeson used a Gibson Les Paul to create a deeper, more resonant tone for the song's signature riff but used a PRS on the guitar solo. He maintains this "classicist" stage rig today, although his signal processing chain is still so complicated as to make Pat Metheny's processing rack or Robert Fripp's "Lunar Module" look minimalist. Lifeson currently uses PRS, Fender, and Gibson guitars, two Hughes and Kettner Triamp MK II's, two Zantera amplifiers, and six Hughes and Kettner custom cabinets. In 2005, Hughes and Kettner introduced an Alex Lifeson signature series amplifier; $50 from every amplifier sold will be donated to UNICEF.

Other instruments played
During live Rush performances, Lifeson uses a MIDI controller that enables him to use his feet to trigger sounds from digital samplers, without taking his hands off of his guitar. Lifeson and his bandmates share a desire to accurately depict songs from their albums when playing live performances. Toward this goal, beginning in the late 1980s the band equipped their live performances with a capacious rack of samplers. The band members use these samplers in real-time to recreate the sounds of non-traditional instruments, accompaniments, vocal harmonies, and other sound "events" that are familiarly heard on the studio versions of the songs. In live performances, the band members share duties throughout most songs, with each member triggering certain sounds with his available limbs, while playing his primary instrument(s). It is with this technology that Lifeson and his bandmates are able to present their arrangements in a live setting with the level of complexity and fidelity that fans have come to expect, and without the need to resort to the use of backing tracks or employing an additional band member.

Lifeson's (and his bandmates') use of foot-pedal keyboards to trigger sampled instruments and audio events is visible on R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour concert DVD (2005).

In addition to 6- and 12-string guitars, Lifeson has played the Moog Taurus Bass Pedals, mandola and bouzouki on their albums. He has also been known to use alternative tunings such as Nashville tuning and Drop D tuning.

Television and film appearances
* In a 2003 episode of the Canadian smash hit mockumentary Trailer Park Boys, titled "Closer to the Heart", Lifeson plays a fictional version of himself. In the story, he is kidnapped by Ricky and held as punishment for his inability (or refusal) to provide the main characters with free tickets to a Rush concert. In the end of the episode, Alex reconciles with the characters, and performs a duet with Bubbles at the trailer park.
* Lifeson appears in Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, as a traffic cop in the opening scene.
* Lifeson appeared on The Golf Channel in 2006 with PGA Tour golfer Rocco Mediate for an entire episode of Personal Lessons.

* 1983 - "Best Rock Talent" - Guitar for the Practicing Musician
* 1991 - Inducted into the Guitar for the Practicing Musician Hall of Fame
* 1996 - Officer of the Order of Canada, along with fellow bandmates Geddy Lee and Neil Peart =>>>>>>>>>>>

============ blogprock ============

Alex Lifeson Of Rush Talks About His New Masterbilt EF-500R

Don Mitchell @ Epiphone

Few guitarists have garnered the respect of other guitarists like Alex Lifeson. What can I say about this musicians musician that hasn't already been said? He's just about accomplished every goal that any guitarist could have and he's won nearly every award you can think of, both as a guitarist and with his band Rush. On Thursday, July 22, 2004 I had the pleasure to chat with this legendary player about his career, family and his Masterbilt EF-500R. I found out there is much more to Alex Lifeson than guitar-god status. He is genuinely one of the nicest guys you will ever meet and has a great outlook on life in general.

EPI: Hey Alex, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me today. Tell me about your early guitar days. What was your first guitar and how did you begin to develop your playing?
ALEX: Well, when I was twelve, my parents bought me my first guitar. It was a Kent and then the following year I got a Conora which was my first electric. I'm basically self taught from listening to records. I was heavily influenced by Hendrix and Pete Townsend of the Who…Jimmy Page was a big influence as were Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, particularly the Cream era. We started Rush in 1968 when I was fifteen years old and started playing clubs, high schools, things like that in the Toronto area and Southern Ontario, the province that we live in. In 1974 we got our first record deal and started touring.

EPI: I didn't realize you and Geddy met at such a young age.
ALEX: Yeah, I actually met Ged a couple years before we started Rush and we would jam at his place or my place. We just released our Feedback CD that features some of the songs we played back then.

EPI: So Rush is really the only band you've ever been in?
ALEX: Pretty much, yeah…

EPI: Out of all those guys you cut your teeth on, who would you say was the single biggest influence on your playing?
ALEX: I would say that probably Jimmy Page was the greatest influence in my early days. Certainly Hendrix was just unbelievable but I never expected to be able to play like him! And….you know, I rediscovered during the production of this Feedback project that Pete Townsend was really an enormous influence on me. He was such a consummate rhythm guitarist. That's kind of where I developed a lot of my approach to the way I look at the band. The Who were really a three piece band instrumentally, similar to us in that they had a very active rhythm section. Between Geddy and Neil…those guys play like crazy all the time so I always felt that it was important for the guitar to play a broader foundation role. I tried to develop a style that was more chord based with suspended chords, open chords, etc., just to create more noise underneath this activity of the rhythm. Townsend used to do that a lot. He had such a great strumming technique and he had a really great guitar sound too. You know he never had that over-distorted, "buzzy" kind of heavy sound. It was always clear and "ringy" with all the power in his right hand. The way he strummed, how hard he hit the strings affected his tone and that's something I think I've developed into my style over the years. For example, in the studio I prefer to roll the volume back to 7 and just hit it a little harder or maybe even 5 or 6 and feel the power in my arm rather than in the vibration of the speaker.

EPI: Would you say the inspiration for the new CD was a return to your roots?
ALEX: Yes, in a way it was….into our deepest roots. We knew that we were going to do this 30th anniversary tour and we wanted to have something released. We talked about maybe doing a couple cover songs making them available on our website but once we got into it, we fell in love with the idea. We were having so much fun that we expanded it to 8 songs and if we'd had the time, we could easily have done 12 or 13 songs and made a full album. These are songs we played when we were kids just starting out and learning how to play our instruments. There's a "Crossroads" version similar to what Cream did, "For What Its Worth" and "Mr. Soul" from Buffalo Springfield, "Seven & Seven Is" by a band called Love with guitarist Arthur Lee. Every guitar player and every drummer had to learn that song when it came out….I think in '67. We really had a lot of fun with this project and it was a wonderful way for us to pay tribute to some of the music we grew up with.

We even recorded it with the spirit in mind. We went into a studio here in Toronto called Phase One. They've got an old Neve console, kind of from that era and we recorded everything off the floor with the three of us in the same room. Now days we tend to record everything separately but we were all in the same room, playing at the same time, no click track, all kinds of Lava Lamps in the studio, about ten thousand candles, a bunch of cool old carpets we threw down on the floor….it really had that vibe to it.

EPI: Sounds like a blast! Are you playing these tunes on the tour?
ALEX: We're doing four of them. "Heart Full Of Soul" by the Yardbirds, "Crossroads", "Summertime Blues", and "The Seeker" by the Who.

EPI: I noticed you are headed to the UK later this Fall. How has the overseas market played into your career?
ALEX: The first time we went to Europe was in 1976 when we did a relatively short British tour. It was in the Summer and it was so successful that we were back in February of 1977 to do a much more extended sold-out tour. So, we had pretty good success early on, particularly in the UK but we haven't been there in about 12 years. As we started to pull back on our touring schedule, that was kind of the first area that went. You know, after a while you just can't do the "200 shows a year" thing anymore. We typically now do somewhere between 60 and 70 on a tour so obviously we need to concentrate on only makes sense…but we decided to do this European tour because we hadn't been there in so long. As it turns out, the UK tour is sold out, half the dates in Europe are sold out and the other dates are doing very well…..and it's still a couple months off. It's nice to be reminded that we have a strong following in the UK and Europe.

EPI: Throughout your career, Rush has consistently broken the mold for what a successful rock band looks know, the three-and-a-half minute, hook-laden tune was not in your repertoire and yet you have been hugely successful selling tens-of-millions of records and CD's and creating an insanely huge, loyal fan base. What do you think it is about Rush that connects with people despite the fact that you don't fit the dictated pop music mold?
ALEX: Well, I think in the very early days there was something about Rush that was really non-radio, that set it apart from everybody else. We wrote longer songs, we were more interested in the musicianship and it was all about the band and not about the lifestyle. On top of that, our lyrics were a lot more serious than what a lot of rock bands were writing at the time so while we did get some good press, most of the press we got was not so good....and I think what happened was that people became attached to this band because we were different, unusual and not popular. It became kind of a cult thing and over the years our audience has just grown with us. We've tried to stay true to our original beliefs and we've been very uncompromising, satisfying ourselves before anyone else with our music.

We were fortunate enough to make a record that was successful, fairly early in our career…it was like 4 records in, called 2112 and the record company realized that hey, these guys have what they have and they know what it is, so we're not going to interfere and just let them do what they're doing because we're selling records. And management was the same way. We've never had anyone from the record company or management spend a day in the studio or even an hour in the studio when we've recorded! We've had total freedom to do what we want and I think our fans understand that and appreciate that….and expect that from us. We've really developed this relationship and the bottom line is that we try to play as best we can. We've always set a very high standard for ourselves and people appreciate that. People want to hear good players play and players that try hard. Modern music is all over the place right now but it's not well supported. Its hard to really find music that's challenging and compelling….and I'm not saying that music sucks…..there are a lot of great bands out there and lots of great players but you really have to look for them.

EPI: Are there any modern groups that you like or listen to?
ALEX: I've always been a huge fan of Tool. They haven't done anything in a while now but Adam Jones is a great guitarist. I really like his style of playing and they remind me of us in some ways. I know that we've been somewhat of an influence on them so I can hear that exchange in their music. Queens of the Stoneage, I really like a lot. Incubus, Mars Volta, you know that sort of thing. I don't really listen to a whole lot of music lately though.

EPI: With all your experience and your keen ear I am surprised that you haven't jumped into the producers chair yet.
ALEX: I've done some stuff, some small projects. Producing is something that I really enjoy doing and I'd like to do more of it but I know so many world class producers that are finding it difficult to get work now as it is. I'm not in a big hurry to step on their toes and right now my plate is pretty full anyway. We started working on this tour last September. It takes a lot of time and effort to get all the visual stuff together as well as the musical stuff. We'll be out until the beginning of October and then we'll take some time off, then start up with a new studio record and follow that with a tour. It's all a matter of how busy you really want to be. I really miss my family when I'm away. I was gone for 2 months before coming home this week and I treasure every minute I have at home.

EPI: Tell me about your family.
ALEX: I've been with my wife since we were fifteen. I have two grown sons but I have a grandson now who's coming up on nine months old, so that has become such an incredible experience for me. I love the fact that I'm getting a second chance at being around one of my kids, even if it's a generation apart. At least I'm seeing him grow and I can be an influence in his life. He's just a joy!

EPI: Wow! You've been with your wife since you were fifteen! How do you balance marriage and the grueling schedule of a world touring rock band?
ALEX: Well, you know it's become a way of life for us. We started touring, I mean really touring when I was 20 years old so it was certainly a difficult adjustment for us. We also had a family when we were very young but we just worked it out. No marriage is a smooth road. There are lots of bumps and curves but if you manage to get through all those bumps and curves early on you get a nice flat wide open road for the rest of the ride and it can be a wonderful thing, Certainly my wife and I have made many adjustments, many accommodations to each other and a marriage is fraught with many compromises that you have to accept but we've loved each other very deeply and that got us through any kind of rough patch.

EPI: That's a testament to your integrity and commitment to each other.
ALEX: Well it is, and you know Geddy and his wife have been together thirty four years. In fact I introduced her to him so I mean, that's kind of the way we are. We're from a very sort of normal middle class background with middle class values. We come from families that always had a good strong work ethic. You know my dad always had two or three jobs. He believed that if you needed something or you wanted to buy something then you had to be prepared to go out and work for it and I think I learned that from him. It was the same way with Geddy's family and Neil's as well.

EPI: That's refreshing to hear from someone that has reached your level of success in the rock music field, you know, not the norm.
ALEX: I think that it's the only way you get to be in a successful rock band thirty years later. I mean, I think you have to have your head screwed on pretty good and your values in the right place. It's so easy on the road and in the rock and roll world to start believing all the crap that people tell you and it will be your downfall if you start believing you're as great as everybody says. I've seen so many artists, so many musicians crash that way.

EPI: I understand you picked up one of our Masterbilt EF-500's recently. Have you had a chance to check it out?
ALEX: The day I got it, I took it out to sound check and I was using a Gibson J-150 that I really like. I mean I'm very happy with that Gibson and in the studio it's become one of my main acoustics. It has a really nice, sweet sound to it but when I plugged in the Masterbilt…It had that really clear bright top end but the real surprise was the depth of the bottom end and how tight the bottom end was on the guitar. We plugged it in and right off the bat, it required no EQ! I mean, it sounded great and I've been using it since. I'm really impressed with the way it sounds and the neck feels very interesting. It's got a bit of a V shape to it which is a little different for me and I like that. I have 14 guitars out on the road and we do 21 guitar changes through the course of the show. I'm doing that because I like having a different guitar in my hands so the Masterbilt adds one more dimension to that mix.

EPI: That's a lot of guitars. With so many guitar changes in the set, how important is your tech to you and what is his role?
ALEX: Very important. My tech is Rick Britton who has been with me since Vapor Trails. He does guitar set-up and he actually re-wired my whole rig. He's a bit of a genius and really good with that sort of thing. He made things a lot more efficient compared to how I was doing it and made the system a lot quieter and tighter. I do however like to do my own programming and I do my own switching. I know a lot of guys have it done off stage now but there are so many movements in the course of any one song and I like to be in control. I have a bit of a curse in that my pitch is very good and I hear things very easily so if something's not right, I can hear it right away. I'd rather be responsible for those sort of things than you know, screaming in frustration at someone else (laughs)….which I still do once in a while (laughs again).

EPI: Well listen man, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk and on behalf of a generation of players that have been and continue to be influenced by you....Thanks again!
ALEX: My pleasure. =>>>>>>>>>>>

============ blogprock ============

Transcript: Alex Lifeson of Rush


June 3, 2002 Posted: 9:43 PM EDT (0143 GMT)

(CNN) -- At age 15, fledgling guitarist Alex Lifeson teamed up with a couple of kids from his suburban Toronto neighborhood to form Rush. Now, more than 30 years and 17 studio albums later, the band is still going strong.

In a wide-ranging interview with CNN's Geneen Pipher, an enthusiastic Lifeson shared his thoughts on Rush's new album, "Vapor Trails," the musicians who inspired him and making music with his son.

CNN: Congratulations on your new album -- it sounds amazing ...
ALEX LIFESON: Thank you so much.

CNN: It (the album) sounds to me like ... I don't know ... my first impressions of the album were that it was just three old friends just getting together, jamming, having fun, letting it all hang out, I guess is the term ...
LIFESON: You know, you're not far off the mark, actually. It was very gradual. I think coming from, you know, everything that happened in the last five years with Neil ... and Geddy doing his solo record, me doing some other things it took a little while to get going, but once we did it took on a life of its own and we were just along for a ride. And, it felt very much like that, you know, like it was just us getting together and playing and having fun with it. We're really going back to a more organic three-piece kind of thing.

CNN: Can you tell me a little bit about how you approached coming back after such a long time off?
LIFESON: Well, Neil spent much of that time trying ... recovering ... from the tragedy in his life. Geddy had done his solo record, I'd ... actually, I am sort of repeating myself aren't I? (laughs)

I had done some work producing some different bands, done some work with television, we got a call from Neil ... and it was really up to him ... everything was suspended in terms of what Rush was about; there was just no joy in it anymore when all that stuff happened. [Ed. Note: In 1997, Rush's drummer, Neil Peart, lost his only child, Selena, in an auto accident. Less than a year later, his wife, Jackie, died of cancer.]

But about six or seven months before we actually started work we got a call from Neil and he said, "I think it's time that we sat down and started talking about what we're going to do as a band." We got together and we were all a little apprehensive and a little unsure about how to go about it. But he indicated that he was ready to try it at least working again and we slated January 2001 as our beginning. And we got together and it was very slow ... the first two weeks we spent just talking about everything ... I don't think we played a single note while we were in the studio-and this time around rather than going to some country location and writing for six or seven weeks and then going into the studio and recording we started in the studio from day one and the intention was to work in a way where we could keep everything that we did rather than view it as a demo period of writing and then the actual recording.

So that made things a lot less pressured. It was key, I think, for us to make everything very comfortable for Neil make it a stressless environment, and -- as I said -- it was a gradual, you know, move towards getting back in shape again. He hadn't played drums for a long time and he needed the time to just build up his chops again.

And for us, Geddy and I hadn't worked writing together in a while and because we'd been doing such diverse things we needed some time to get used to each other again.

CNN: So your hiatus was basically ended by Neil, you weren't going to approach him at any point?
LIFESON: No. No, not at all. In fact as far as we were concerned whatever happened with Rush was gonna happen. It was out of our control. For us the important thing was to support our friend and brother in a ... during a very, very difficult time.

CNN: How is he doing these days?
LIFESON: He's doing very well. He remarried a year and a half ago. His wife is great. She's very supportive of him and strong. And he's learned to find happiness in life again. It was a very long, painful recovery and it's not over. It's a lifelong thing and the scars are very, very deep, but they are healing. And he seems ... you know Neil's never been really big on touring ... at least not for the last 10 or 15 years anyways. He's a very private person and not particularly comfortable around crowds and ... I mean he's in the wrong job for sure ...

CNN: Yeah, he's always struck me as the solitary writer kind of guy ...
LIFESON: Absolutely. He is. And he's a wonderful person and he is very, very funny and great to be with, but he, you know, with strangers it's difficult for him. But I sense an excitement in his voice, and when he talks about the preparation he's been going through for the tour and his involvement with the set list and all of that. I sense an excitement and I think he is looking forward to it ... on one level anyways.

CNN: You mention the set list for the upcoming tour. Can you give us any hints on what you're thinking about? Are you going to delight fans with some old stuff?
LIFESON: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean we're aware of the Web sites ...

CNN: and the like?
LIFESON: (laughs) Yeah. And we're taking all of that into consideration, you know it is also important for us to pick songs that we won't get bored with over the course of a long-ish tour and we're talking about having some surplus songs where we'll just add them in on a nightly basis and switch [them] around to keep us on our toes. And I think we're going to drop some of the older classics that we've played for a long time and replace them with other old songs that we've never played before or at least haven't played in a long time. So until we actually get into rehearsals, I am not really sure what we'll do. We probably have about four and a half hours of material right now that we have to condense down into three hours.

CNN: So you're going to drop some of your old classics ... can you give me any idea of what those might be?
LIFESON: Well, "Closer to the Heart," for example. We've been playing it for, my God, 25 years -- every tour, every time! And I think we have like four different video versions of that song and its appeared on a few live records, so that's one I think it's time for retirement. And, I won't say what we'll replace those songs with but we are looking at older material to bring that at least into the first set ...

You know (on) this record there are no keyboards we really liked playing as a three-piece. It was very energetic and the music is very driving and quite intense. And when Geddy and I listened to all the old material when we were getting the set list together, we went back to "Fly By Night" and we spent an afternoon going through all our old records and it was WEIRD because we hadn't listened to these records in ages ... and we got off on a lot the very old stuff. We're really enamored with the idea of freeing ourselves up on stage a little bit. We've been trapped by the technology for quite a few years and we'd like to feel a little freer and have fun, you know? And feel like we're making a little more contact.
Alex Lifeson of Rush
Lifeson: The band's new song "Ceiling Unlimited" tells listeners "anything is possible."

CNN: It's interesting that you say that because my entire impression of the album was that it was just like you were having fun. There was a joy to it ...

CNN: I got a message of joy from it despite some pensive lyrics ...
LIFESON: Yes. You know the album is about hope and recovery and optimism and looking forward to a future. And there are moments that are ... very moving on this record. Lyrically, it is obviously autobiographical. But both Neil and Geddy worked hard to make sure that, certainly from Geddy's point of view, that it was a little bit more universal so that he could really get behind them and really sing them with the passion ... I think these are the best vocals he's done on any of the records and you come out of it feeling very positive.

CNN: I was particularly taken with "Ceiling Unlimited." Can you talk to me a little bit about that song?
LIFESON: Yeah. That came from one of the later jams. Most of the record was written in these groupings of jams that went on and would last like a week or so and then we would sift through all of these hours of jams that we'd do and we'd pick out bits and pieces that we really got off on and we'd start the song construction. And, "Ceiling Unlimited" came from the same grouping that "Peaceable Kingdom," "Freeze," and "Nocturne" came from. So they are all kind of related in that way. And, really, just the title is pretty obvious ... that anything is possible, and even out of the darkest darkness there's light. And, just reach for it.

CNN: You were mentioning the lack of keyboards. On this album you really seem to come alive.

CNN: You just seem to have come out of the woodwork. I was really struck by the stuff that you were doing on this album. He's out there. He rocks. Who knew?
LIFESON: Yeah, you know I am partly to blame for that. I'm a little bit lazy and I like ... I like things to be smooth. And in the past when we've worked on records, I've had strong feelings about keyboards and the competition between guitar and keyboards. I'd much rather spend time creating sounds on the guitar that are organic ... that would do the same job that keyboards do, which to me are very one-dimensional. ... And it is so much more fun to create these more unusual sounds.

To an extent, Geddy did that with his voice on this record too. He used his voice more as an instrument to create those same sort of backdrop sounds that we used keyboards on the past with. And, consequently, the album sounds bigger and more ... I don't know how to describe it ... more passionate. There's more "feel" to it.

I mean, I have been doing that for the past five years. The stuff that I do at home ... I have a studio at home, and for me it's like going to the gym. I go to my studio and I basically exercise at the studio and try a bunch of things and I write a lot of stuff that ends up being exercises, you know? I go back and I review it and I think "oh that's an interesting texture I got there," or "that doesn't sound like a guitar at all, I should keep that in mind." It's wonderful to be ... to have that flexibility and freedom to be creative.

CNN: How would you say that your guitar work on "Vapor Trails" differs from previous albums -- especially the ones in the later '80s and '90s?
LIFESON: Well certainly in the later '80s my guitar sound was much cleaner and brighter ... it had a very active sound rather than a passive sound. I think we were peaking on our keyboard explorations at that time too, so I gravitated to a sound that was a little more biting to get through that.

I think, in retrospect, one of the mistakes that we made with "Power Windows" and -- I won't say they were mistakes -- but with "Power Windows" and "Hold Your Fire," just because of time and scheduling we did the keyboards before we did the guitars and we just loaded those records with keyboards, particularly "Power Windows." When it came time to do guitars, I was ... I really had a tough time trying to fit pieces in ... and to me they are very fragmented and there isn't the kind of cohesion that, say, "Vapor Trails" has on it. It almost seemed to me like the guitar was secondary at times and that really has haunted me over the years, and I really wanted to get away from that.

Geddy knew full well by the time that we got to this record that I really wanted to get away from keyboards entirely. And, you know, his feeling is: if keyboards work for something, fine, let's use them, but if they don't work, fine, I don't care. I really don't want to play them.

And, you know, we do that stuff together so it became more natural with this one. And we've been moving in that direction for the last few records. And it was just a mindset to know that they weren't included at all on this record. I hope it stays that way.

CNN: So that was a conscious decision ...
LIFESON: Yeah. It was. It always is. And you know, I always go through that at the beginning of a record. For the last few records I have talked to Ged about getting away from the keyboards or using them much less ... and we try to ... or in the past we've tried to use more organic sounds ... in the recent past ... kind of organ sounds or piano sounds, rather than synthesized abstract sounds. But it was a ... this record was all about our hearts and it shows, I think.

CNN: This is something that could break wide open.
Alex Lifeson of Rush
Lifeson says he and his son, Adrian, enjoy playing music together.
LIFESON: Well, we've had terrific success so far with "One Little Victory." We came into Atlantic on Sunday night and they were all going crazy yesterday morning when we went to number one with the first single on, I guess, Heritage Rock Radio, and all the other charts, they have been up and up and up and up. So it's a really overwhelming feeling 'cause you know we're not a big radio band. It feels good.

CNN: Was there any point at which you thought Rush might not make another record and, if not, would you have been OK with that?
LIFESON: Yeah, I think were just so upset by the events that unfolded. For us music is a celebration and all of that left us when those events happened. And it was hard to get interested in music again. And certainly after a while with both Geddy and myself, we needed to move on and that was part of closure of that period.

With Neil it was a different story. We really had to wait for him ... before music could come back to him. And, really, he didn't listen to any music for four years really.

I think that, we felt unlikely that things would get back together ... and, yes, I think we were OK with it.

It was definitely a feeling of sadness. I think that there wasn't a sense of closure with the band, that it was a long history that we had, we'd accomplished a lot of things and if that's the way it was going to end, then so be it. We had no power to change it. And I think as we got further away from it and started pursuing some other things, we were more accepting of the possibility that we wouldn't get back together.

But when Neil called, I have to say that my heart soared. And the reason really was because it said so much about his recovery ... that he was coming back to the world of the living. I mean, even if he wasn't really ready for it, he was making an attempt and there was that little faint light in him that was glowing again.

CNN: It's interesting you say that because so many of the lyrics hint at that ... that he's still working on it and still coming through it all, but the glimmer is there ...
LIFESON: Yeah. It's the revival of spirit. And it's an ongoing work with him, but you know he's doing really good. He is really doing well.

CNN: I am glad to hear that.
LIFESON: Yeah. Everybody is, you know ...

CNN: Just as a human being, to say nothing of the music ...
LIFESON: Exactly! Exactly. It didn't matter about the band, a record or any of that. And it was great with our fans too because everybody was so hurt and pained by the experience and our fans really feel such a special association with the band and everybody was so ... you know, they handled it so well ... No one was pushy or prodding or anything like that. We were given some space and we really appreciated that.

CNN: That's another thing I wanted to ask you about. Your fans. What is it about your fans that makes them so incredibly loyal?
LIFESON: I guess we've always been outside of the mainstream. We've always been sort of a "cult" band. We haven't gotten much airplay over the years. It's been all about touring and playing live for our fans. And also lyrically, there's more to think about. We try to be thought-provoking, not, I don't think in Neil's lyrics it dictates one way or another of thinking but the important thing is just to think and make your own opinions and that's always been key with us. It's more of a thinking person's kind of music, I suppose, in an area of rock where it can either swing from partying like crazy to totally depressed (laughs) ... and basically nothing in between.

So I think as we've grown and our audience has grown and reaching different stages in their lives they've made that connection. It seems that we've provided something for a lot of people at different points in their lives when they needed some support or some kind of influence. And that's what we hear more than anything else. And, a lot of our fans they're doctors, airline pilots and engineers ... You know it's a really wide spectrum of people, but the common thing is that they all hold the band so dear to them. I mean we are so lucky. That has allowed us to do what we do and I don't know if we'd ever be able to do that today if we were a new band signing to a record company. I doubt it very, very much.

CNN: I was going to ask you if there was ever a point where you worried the fans might not be there after such a long time off, especially in today's flighty music climate ...
LIFESON: No I don't think I did worry about it. I mean I was ... I wondered how things would go and once we started the record we couldn't think about anything else ... the work was so intense. We couldn't come up for air for 14 months until it was finished. And then suddenly we were barraged with all this press and promotion to an extent we've never done before. It bowled us over. I mean we've been around a long time and we're used to this sort of thing. A little bit out of touch maybe, but we're used to it. But this is just crazy!

CNN: Are you glad?
LIFESON: I am totally flattered by it. It's a wonderful feeling. I'm a little tired by it that's for sure and I want to get into rehearsals. I think I'll feel a little more secure about things when we get into rehearsals. I mean today's a big day. The record is out finally, so that's one little hurdle that we've gone over and now it's preparing for the tour and then getting out on the road. But it feels wonderful. It just feels really wonderful to have all this interest in the band and it seems very, very heartfelt.

CNN: Can you tell me some of the songs or artists that would be on the soundtrack of your life?
LIFESON: Well for me I suppose Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin for sure. I mean Led Zeppelin had such a big impact, Jimmy Page in particular. I loved his style of guitar playing, I loved what he represented, I loved the looseness in his playing ... it was structured, yet it walked along an edge, that I found so full of life and so exciting. And so many different bits of music throughout my life when I think about it. When I was very young the Beach Boys, the sound of the Beach Boys, the joy in their music was really inspiring when I was 12 or 13 years old when I wanted to learn to play guitar and learn to play music. There have been many over the years.

CNN: What do your kids think of your music? Are you a hip dad?
LIFESON: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, they've liked the music for a long time. They've been on the road when they were very young, so their connection is a little different. You know, I don't know how they view me. I think to them I am just Dad. But they're not young kids, they're adults now. And my younger son, Adrian, does a lot of writing. He writes electronic music. It's beautiful. It's very dynamic and very emotional. And I've been doing a fair amount of work with him lately, he's asked me to come in and do guitar on some of the things he does. And it's very trancey kind of ambient music. So we're having a lot of fun. And he, you know, he guides me along, he tells me what he wants and what works and what doesn't really work and I love that. To be in that environment with your kid, where you're both creative and I feel like a kid still. I am 48 years old and I've been doing this since I was 15 in this band and I've been so lucky to be able to do that. And to have my son there with me, just hanging out together and getting off on the music and getting all excited is a wonderful experience.

CNN: Well, Alex, it's been an incredible pleasure to talk to you.
LIFESON: Thank you. =>>>>>>>>>>>

============ blogprock ============

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Search and you will understand why the lava lamps were in the heart of generations.
By combining the soft glow of colored light and sound interaction between lava and gravity, lava lamps cast an aura of relaxation in any room. Interestingly, in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui, lava lamps stimulate passion.
We have had many motion lamps on sale They are in the same era as disco balls and black lights. Buy lava lamps at an affordable rate and you just might have it for years to come. Light up a dark room today.
This page:
explains our process in detail.
If you want to find a black lava lamp feel free to contact us.
Visit our stor to find the best deals on home lighting See which lamp will look right in your room. This offers Plasma in a Contemporary way that brings attention and helps you relax. You might think about our high quality yellow lava lamps as a compliment to a black lava lamp. One of our most popular products in this category are black and white lava lamps. These lamps are amazing. We also have quite a few color choices available. Large Lava Lamps can really make a huge impact.
Lava lamps have fascinated and mesmerized the public for decades.