ALEX LIFESON Explains Why There Was Very Little Improvisation At RUSH Concerts

July 26, 2021

In a recent interview with Long & McQuade, RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson was asked whether he strove to recreate his recorded guitar solos live as accurately as possible or he tried to find room to improvise and do something different. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think traditionally we always tried to recreate what our albums were. So, certainly in the earlier days, what you heard on the record was what you were gonna hear live except that it's amplified and it's live. As things progressed, we became more complicated in our arrangements and our music, but we always tried to recreate what we did on a record live. Now, a lot of players or a lot of bands like to be quite loose in their arrangements, and certainly we loved to improvise, but for RUSH, we'd decide, 'Okay, this is where we're gonna improvise for two minutes or three minutes in the middle of this song,' and then the next time we played that song, it would be that same thing. So it was improvised for the first time. But that was the nature of the way we worked. We were very anal about being pretty accurate in whatever we did. We loosened up in the later years. But I think it was always more important to try to recreate something that people had been listening to and were used to. And certainly with solos, that's very much the case. If you play a song pretty faithfully and then you come to the solo, which can be a high point of the song, and it's not really related to the actual solo you've been listening to a million times, it's very, very disappointing, I think. So I always tried to be as close as I could to the solos that I originally did."

To mark the occasion of his collaboration with Epiphone and the release of the new Alex Lifeson Epiphone Les Paul Standard Axcess guitar, Lifeson recently debuted two brand new songs titled "Kabul Blues" and "Spy House". Fans can get a listen to "Kabul Blues" and "Spy House" in their entirety exclusively at These two instrumental songs mark the first new music from Lifeson in close to a decade.

RUSH drummer Neil Peart died in January 2020 in Santa Monica, California after a three-year battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. He was 67 years old.

RUSH's final show took place at the Forum in Los Angeles on August 1, 2015. Peart indicated at the time that he wanted to retire while he was still able to play well, along with a desire to spend more time at home with his young daughter.

Lifeson and bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee have repeatedly said that RUSH will never do a show unless all three musicians agree to take part. They haven't performed as RUSH without Peart since he joined the band in 1974.

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