Rush Member Solo Projects

Solo Albums

January 9, 1996

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My Favorite HeadacheMy Favorite Headache
November 14, 2000

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Solo Songs

Pieces of Eight"Pieces of Eight", Neil Peart on a 45rpm flexi-disk included as a sound supplement to "The Quest For New Drums", Modern Drummer, May 1987

This instrumental percussion piece is included as a bonus track on the Anatomy Of A Drum Solo DVD. Parts of this song are incorporated into Neil's live drum solo.
"Another thing I have been seeking for quite a while is a keyboard percussion synthesizer. I had been playing a marimba quite a lot and really wanted some kind of more portable instrument to use live and (hopefully) in the studio. Once again, Jim [Burgess] did some research and came up with a unit made by the KAT company in Massachusetts. It is available in modules of one octave and up, and basically consists of a set of soft rubber pads laid out as a keyboard. I decided on a three- octave range, and since the KAT is also a programmable MIDI controller, compatible with the Akai unit, I started collecting samples of marimbas, vibes, tubular bells, glockenspiel, tuned African percussion, harp arpeggios - again, you name it! Like many percussionists, I had long harbored a secret wish to create a piece of music using only percussion instruments, and this looked like the key to that dream! I practiced with the KAT for a few days and then, when I had a free day, recorded a 'demo' of a marimba piece I had been working on over the summer. I began with the marimba part, double-tracked it, and then overdubbed my acoustic drums on top (yes, the new Ludwigs!). I began experimenting with overdubbing different vibe sounds, a bass marimba, a cabasa, castanets, concert toms, metal sheets, African toms, and some highly tuned bongos. (All of this was played with mallets on the KAT unit.) I did use one of Geddy's keyboard sounds, but since it consisted of a marimba with a human voice mixed in, I decided that was close enough! The biggest difficulty was finding a good bass instrument in the percussion library. The bass marimba didn't provide the power in the bottom end that I was looking for, so we experimented with some other things. We ended up using an African drum called a Djembe - transposed to the keyboard - and I played the bass part with that! It made me laugh - a new definition of "bass drum"! The piece is entitled 'Pieces Of Eight' because of all the different time signatures it ended up meandering through. I hadn't thought about that too much just playing the marimba, until I had to learn it on drums! With only a day to record it all, I didn't really have time to play it more than a couple of times through, so that, too, was a good challenge." - Neil Peart, "The Quest For New Drums", Modern Drummer, May 1987

Drum Lessons With Greats"The Drum Also Waltzes" and "Leave That Thing Alone!" (drums only), Neil Peart from the cd accomanyment to the book Drum Lessons With The Greats Part 2, March 1997

Parts of "The Drum Also Waltzes" are also part of Neil's live drum solo.

A Work In Progress"Momo's Dance Party", Neil Peart from A Work In Progress, October 9, 1997 (VHS), April 23, 2002 (DVD)

This song was played as the credits rolled in this instructional video recorded during the making of Test For Echo, and a version with an extended intro was included as a bonus track on the Anatomy Of A Drum Solo DVD. Parts of this piece are incorporated into Neil's live drum solo.
"One hot night in a village in Togo called Assohoum, in November 1989, I laid out my sleeping bag on an adobe rooftop and lay looking up at the bright stars in the perfect silence of an African night - no traffic, no television, no radio, just scattered conversations or distant dogs. As I was dozing off, a drum rhythm echoed from across the valley, two hand-drummers playing an intrelocking pattern, and it stuck in my head, only to emerge months later as the basis for a rhythm I used in a Rush song called 'Heresy'...Later, the same rhythm became the foundation of a solo piece I created in the early '90s to serve as a backing track while I practiced my marimba playing, called 'Momo's Dance Party.' A version of that little étude appears at the end of my instructional video, A Work In Progress. 'Momo's Dance Party' was also inspired by a real-life experience on that same African journey...Momo, an ambitious young man who had received some education away from the village. Momo seemed to be the only villager who spoke the colonial language of French, and he seemed to be trying to put his village on the tourist the evening, the entire village gathered to put on a show for us. The children sang and dance while the men drummed, then the women performed graceful, narrative dances. The grand finale was the village choir, the rich voices of men and women harmonizing beautifully, accompanied only by one man playing a shaker, and annother playing a metal disk with a stick. This syncopated pattern hypnotized me at the time, and remains in my memory as one of the most musical performances I have ever heard." - Neil Peart, Traveling Music, pg. 297

Merry Axemas"Little Drummer Boy", Alex Lifeson on all instruments from Merry Axemas (cd/iTunes), October 14, 1997

Rumored to have been begun in Lifeson's home studio the day after returning home following the Test for Echo tour.
"I approached it in a Western-sort of 'Bonanza' kind of guitar presence, a big guitar with big, gigantic strings, if you could imagine." Alex Lifeson, "Rockline", May 15, 2002
"I just gravitated to the lonely Johnny Cash sound," Lifeson smiles, "and it was down to retuning the guitar to where the strings sound big and fat and carry the melody better. And I wanted it to feel that if you had a fire in the fireplace and were decorating the tree, you'd want to hear it again. It starts off feeling that stark lonely vibe-then you start tapping your foot, and it makes you feel good." - Merry Axemas linernotes
"I always liked the Little Drummer Boy because of the tonality of the song. There was always something very plaintive about it. It wasn't one of those 'up,' joyous Christmas songs, which tend to get a little overdone. Actually, I did a version of it a while ago that came out nice." - Alex Lifeson,, December 5, 2011

South Park"O Canada", Geddy and Alex featuring South Park's Terrance and Phillip from South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut soundtrack (cd/iTunes), June 22, 1999

"We loved it! The problem with it is we got in at the tail end. I know Matt wanted to work it into the movie itself. But, he didn't get in touch with us until the last couple of weeks of their production. So it was all kind of a 'rush' job but, ah - God I can't believe I just said that (laugh). But, it was great and he's a wonderful guy, very, very funny, very smart and it was really great." - Alex Lifeson, AT&T Celebrity Chat, February 10, 2003

Andromeda Soundtrack"March of the High Guard", Andromeda Theme, written and performed by Alex Lifeson, October 2, 2000, available on the Andromeda Soundtrack, February 26, 2002

This served as the theme music for the first season of Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, the Star Trek creator's final series which premiered the week of October 2, 2000. It is rumored that star/executive producer Kevin Sorbo never liked the theme, and had it changed after the first season. There are two versions, the original television theme and an alternate version released on the soundtrack.
"They gave me this napkin with what kind of character the song should have. I had no visuals, and written on it was 'Introduction of 20,000 guitars at this point'. I think I managed to give them around 19,856. That was great fun, a real challenge." - Alex Lifeson, Classic Rock, July 2002
"It all began when co-executive producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe was talking to executive story editor Ethlie Ann Vare, a former rock journalist (Hollywood Reporter, E! Entertainment Television, ROCK magazine). He said that the top band on his wish-list to do music for Andromeda would be Rush. Inspired, Vare made some strategically-placed calls. Since Alex Lifeson is as big a science fiction lover as some science fiction fans are Rush lovers, he seemed a good fit for the job. Lifeson composed and performed the Andromeda theme, "March of the High Guard". Lifeson created the whole piece in his home studio, overdubbing an astonishing 20,000 guitars for a sound quite unlike any other main title theme on television." -, August 2000.
"The strongest composition on this collection is actually Alex Lifeson's invigorating 'Season One Main Title (March of the High Guard).' The cue lasts for only 59 seconds, but it packs a punch that, for the most part, is lacking throughout the rest of the CD...With the exception of Lifeson's lone contribution, the 25 cues on the collection are all written and played by Matthew McCauley...While McCauley's artificial Andromeda arias are invariably expressive, his tunes are also consistently mediocre and, in many respects, surprisingly rough-edged." -'s Andromeda Soundtrack Review

R30"Bittersweet Bundle of Misery", Alex Lifeson on R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour, November 22, 2005

The instrumental piece which plays as the credits roll at the end of the R30 concert DVD, as well as in the "The Anthem Vault" menu on the second DVD, was written and performed by Alex Lifeson.

Hockey Theme"The Hockey Theme", performed by Neil Peart for TSN, January 19, 2010

"Peart and DW Drums are donating the custom kit to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, where it will be on display for hockey and music fans alike to enjoy...'Growing up in Southern Ontario in the '50s and '60s as 'a kid who couldn't skate right' was a serious handicap,' said Peart. 'Hockey totally dominated our lives for half the year - Sunday nights with my dad at the St. Catharines Arena cheering on the Junior A Blackhawks, anxiously watching NHL games on television, arguing in the schoolyard over favourite teams and players, trading hockey cards, putting them on our bicycle spokes, and playing on backyard rinks and frozen ponds, on the street, and on those old tabletop games. Hockey ruled. So, all these years later, being invited to create a new version of 'Canada's second national anthem' for TSN's NHL broadcasts was a huge honour to me, and an exciting musical challenge. The day of recording and filming it 'in the presence of the Stanley Cup' was truly one of the great experiences of my life. (Take that, bullies from 50 years ago!)' For the recording, Peart wore his trademark cap adorned with the logos of the original six NHL teams. He also wore a hockey jersey featuring his 'Bubba's Bar & Grill' logo on the front and the number three on the back, in reference to the three members of Rush. The band's name was also sewn onto the jersey's nameplate." - Newsletter, January 13, 2010
"In 2008, some complicated publishing maneuvers resulted in the CBC, Canada's government-sponsored network, losing the rights to that music to Canada's largest independent network, CTV... CTV planned to use the traditional theme for hockey broadcasts on their satellite sports network, TSN. A director at TSN, Eric Neuschwander, attended the Toronto performance of Rush's Snakes and Arrows tour, and at the climax of my drum solo, with the horn shots and big-band action, Eric thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool if Neil played like that on 'The Hockey Theme?' He brought the idea to Andy Curran at our office (who has since been promoted to Vice President of Hockey Operations); Andy mentioned it to our manager, Ray, who then conveyed the offer to me...So many unanswered questions already leap up, waving their hands frantically. What about those fancy drums? Why was the Stanley Cup there? What's with the hat?" - Neil Peart, News Weather & Sports, February 2010
"The year before last, [TSN] first approached me about doing something and we'd just finished a Rush tour...This year was just perfect. I had time off and I was reinvigorated,' he said. 'I knew the [Hockey Theme] arranger because he was at the Buddy Rich tribute show. We needed a whole orchestra [17 musicians in all] but I knew people who could arrange that. It all came together...We played the song a few hundred times. We filmed every step of the way as a documentary [for the Drum Channel website]. I'd go home and listen to it and we only had a minute for the song but I'd say: 'There's room for more drums in there.' I put everything I knew into that one minute,' Peart said. 'I start off with some Latin patterns I'd just been working on. There are three different rhythmic steps. There's a faster one at the start, then some slower rhythms, then the climax with the full Buddy Rich snare drum roll. As a band, we wanted to be true to the melody of the song. At the same time, I'm not going to play those parade drums.' All totalled, it took Peart 60 days to record 60 seconds worth of music..." - The Globe And Mail, January 13, 2010
"The fact that it was just one minute was a perfect inspiration, really. I wanted to get everything I knew into that one minute. I spent several days a week working on it. I'd listen back to a part and say, 'There's two beats with no drums in it - I can get more drums in there!' " he laughs. "We wanted to pay respect to the original, melodically and even orchestrally, but at the same time, I was going to be rocking it up quite a bit." - Neil Peart, Jam!Music, January 13, 2010
"The new rendition of The Hockey Theme features Peart accompanied by 17 musicians. The Stanley Cup was on hand to both inspire the musicians and to help symbolize The Hockey Theme's significance to the game. To further aid in instilling the hockey state of mind in his fellow musicians, Peart used a custom drum kit created by DW Drums that featured the logos of all 30 NHL teams. In addition, Peart's trademark cap was specially adorned with the logos of the original six NHL teams. He also wore a hockey jersey featuring his 'Bubba's Bar & Grill' logo on the front with 'RUSH' on the nameplate and the number three, in reference to the three members of Rush. 'Touring in Rush, we play all the same arenas as the hockey teams. Having traveled to and performed in nearly all of those arenas, some of them many times, and looking up at the championship banners and retired jerseys, you can't help but soak in the history of each city's team,' says Peart." - (includes video), December 9, 2009

The Double"Don't Look Back", end credits and additional incidental music from The Double, October 28, 2011

"Alex Lifeson played guitar on the score throughout the movie (the great John Debney composed it). We asked Alex to write a song for the closing credits and he wrote/recorded 'Don't Look Back.' How this came about: director Michael Brandt and I got to know Alex and Geddy when they were in LA finishing Snakes & Arrows. Alex is a movie-buff and literature-buff and he expressed interest in scoring films. (I hope you detect my admiration shining through...he's truly one of the greatest guys I've ever met. Geddy too, but that's a different story.) As we were putting The Double together, Michael and I told Alex we'd love for him to be included any way he wanted. We did the movie for very little money so we weren't going to be able to afford him but we wanted to throw it out there. He was between the two tours so he asked us to send him the latest cut of the film and he started talking to the composer (Debney) via email and the phone. Then he just went to town...the guy is astonishing. And generous. The single is definitely not a RUSH song but you can sure hear Alex's distinctive 'voice' all over it."- Screenwriter Derek Haas via The Rush Forum, August 15, 2011