RUSH's ALEX LIFESON: PUTIN Has 'Gotta Be Stopped'

April 7, 2022

RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson was asked in a new interview with Steve Black of the Detroit radio station WRIF for his thoughts about what is happening in Ukraine right now. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "This thing that's going on in Ukraine right now is much more difficult to handle [than the pandemic]. I am just so heartbroken and I am so sick of watching these images. In 2022, what's happening in a sovereign country by the Russians, who are… You can't blame all the Russians. [Russian president Vladimir] Putin has plans, and he's gotta be stopped. It's come to the point where this is no longer acceptable in any manner, and we've gotta either be willing to sacrifice for the sake of the world than let someone like this do what he's doing and he will continue doing it because we're letting him get away with it."

Lifeson, whose parents were Serbian immigrants from Yugoslavia, previously discussed the situation in Ukraine earlier this month in a separate interview with Regina-Leader Post. At the time, he said: "When this all started happening a month ago, my mother said it was so shocking to her because she remembered when the Nazis came into her town in Serbia very early in the (Second World War) and how terrified they were and how brutal they were. It just seemed to go on and on and on. Then finally the Russians came and got rid of the Germans … and they were quite brutal in a different way. Any invading army is. We could say what the Americans did in Iraq was just as brutal as what we're seeing. But this is so seemingly uncalled for, so medieval and so wrong in so many ways.

"It's heartbreaking to see what happened and the frustrations of not being able to do something about it," the 68-year-old Canadian guitarist continued. "The politics that goes on behind closed doors that we don't know about between the major leaders of countries around the world — we have no idea. Everyone just says, 'Thoughts and prayers,' but what's that? It never amounts to anything. It's so hollow. But it's hard to know. Do we react emotionally and get involved in a level where it could lead to the end of the planet? I don't think it would ever get to that point. I don't think Putin is that dumb. I don't think he'd destroy Russia for one thing — along with the rest of the world. Or do we just keep trying to figure out to stop it? I don't know. It's a difficult issue."

Lifeson's awards and recognition include induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2013 with RUSH; ranking third in the Guitar World readers' poll of 100 greatest guitarists and listing on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time; as well as being made an Officer Of The Order Of Canada on May 9, 1996, along with RUSH bandmates Geddy Lee and Neil Peart, and receiving the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards in 2012 — the highest artistic honor in Canada. Additionally, Lifeson is a painter, golfer and aircraft pilot.

In 2021, Lifeson released two new instrumental songs, "Kabul Blues" and "Spy House", and recently made headlines with the news of his self-titled debut LP from new band ENVY OF NONE, featuring bassist Andy Curran, singer-songwriter Maiah Wynne, and producer Alfio Annibalini, to be released on April 18, featuring a song dedicated to late RUSH bandmate and drum legend Neil Peart.

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