Victor


Victor
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Don't Care (4:04)

Promise (5:44)
Start Today (3:48)
Mr. X (2:21)
At The End (6:07)
Sending Out A Warning (4:11)
Shut Up Shuttin' Up (4:02)
Strip And Go Naked (3:57)
The Big Dance (4:14)
Victor (6:25)
I Am The Spirit(5:31)

Alex Lifeson - Guitar, bass, mandola, keyboards, programming, vocals, yelling
Edwin - Vocals
Bill Bell: Black Hole guitar, twelve-string guitar, guitar, E-Bow, wah guitar, slide guitar, wobble, background vocals
Blake Manning: Drums, darbuka
Dalbello: Vocals (Track 3)
Peter Cardinali: Bass (Tracks 4, 7 & 10)
Adrian Zivojinovich: Programming (Tracks 5 & 9)
Les Claypool: Bass (Track 9)
Colleen Allen: Horns (Track 10)

Produced by Alex Lifeson

Recorded by Alex Lifeson
At Lerxst Sound, Oct. 1994 - July 1995, Assisted by Bill Bell
Mixed by Alex Lifeson
At McClear Pathe, Toronto, Assisted by Denis Tougas
Arrangements by Alex Lifeson

Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, Maine
Management by Ray Danniels, SRO, Toronto
Executive Production by Lerxst

Art Direction by Andrew MacNaughtan
Photography by Andrew MacNaughtan
Design by Megan Oldfield, Coolaide Design

Edwin appears courtesy of Capital Records, Inc.
Dalbello appears courtesy of EMI Electrola Gmbh., Germany
Les Claypool appears courtesy of Interscope Records, Inc.

Special thanks to nobody in particular.

Grateful acknowledgements for the technical assistance of Coll Audio, Saved by Technology, P.R.S. Guitars, Zurba, DOD Digitech, Dean Markley Strings, and of course, The Omega Concern.

Dedicated to Charlene for her inspiration, spirit and loving support.

In Memory of Randy Knox

January 9, 1996
1996 Atlantic/Anthem/Lerxt Music Inc.


Notes

In Their Own Words

"I'm starting to work on my own solo project. We finished the last tour in May, and Geddy and his wife had a baby a week after - talk about timing! He really wants to be home for a bit and spend some time with his new daughter, which we all understand and gratefully accept. We've been so busy over the years that you come home after a tour or recording and kick back and veg out. But after a lengthy summer of just hanging around, I thought that I had to do something. I have a recording studio at home. Bill Bell, a guitarist who works with Tom Cochrane and a lot of other local people, is helping out. We met at the first Kumbaya and played together and really got along quite well and thought that we'd get together. We had fun on Guitar World's Guitars That Ruled The World compilation CD, and just continued writing. I've been doing it since the end of October; I get up in the morning, grab a coffee and go down and I'm there 'til about 7:00 p.m., when I come out all bleary-eyed and shaking! But I'm really enjoying it a lot, and it affords me a little bit of freedom, but with it comes responsibility that I wasn't quite prepared for (laughter)! I've come to appreciate what we do in Rush, where everyone takes on a share of the workload through the course of writing and recording. Here I'm on the line - some days I think it's terrible and other days I think it's great - I'm going through one of those terrible periods right now (howls of laughter)! Tom Cochrane came in, and Sebastian Bach put down a vocal on one song. I'm enjoying it - it's been quite challenging and satisfying so far." - Alex Lifeson, Canadian Musician, June 1995
"I didn't want to call it 'The Alex Lifeson Project' or the 'Big Shot, Big Deal Project'. Everybody that worked on the record was so into it, and I just felt that it would be fairer to have everyone involved as more of a band project, and to salute them for it." - Alex Lifeson, "Rockline", January 15, 1996
"I didn't want to make a record that would typically be made by someone like me from a band like Rush, where you'd expect 50 minutes of all this textural stuff and wailing away. I really wanted to downplay that." - Alex Lifeson, Guitar School, February 1996
"I opened a book that I had of [Auden's] collected poems to 'Victor', and I read it through. Although 'Victor' the poem is very, very long, I condensed it for the song. [Webmaster note: all but 8 of the original 36 stanzas are included verbatim in the song.] It really caught the essence of what the record was about, dealing with the dark side of love and how it can push you to do things that are pretty horrific. So, it seemed to suit the record quite well." - Alex Lifeson, "Rockline", January 15, 1996
"As for the anger on the album, there were relationships breaking down all around me, I was having problems in my relationship. My wife and I realised that we'd started to take each other for granted; there'd been a lot of work, I'd been away a lot. It's uncommon to have stayed together as long as we have stayed together. We'd reached a crisis in our relationship and we needed to strip it down and analyse it and find where we were going. Other relationships around me were breaking down also, a lot of my friends who are the same age were really reaching a mid-life crisis. ... All this stuff was happening around me, and I just thought about the darker side of relationships and love. By nature I'm very optimistic, a little romantic, a little funny maybe, but I felt really impassioned by all the stuff that was going around, and that was reflected in that album." - Alex Lifeson, Classic Rock, July 2002
"I Mother Earth opened the last show that we did on the last tour, which was here in Toronto. Although I didn't get a chance to meet [Edwin] that night, I met some of the other guys in the band. When it came time to think about vocalists for Victor, I had to listen to their CD, and thought that Edwin would really suit the material well. He just has a certain quality and a menace in his voice. For song's like 'Don't Care', for example, or 'The Big Dance', I just thought he'd be perfect. I called him up, and he said that he'd love to give it a whirl. We got together, and we've become quite good friends. I think he's done just a fabulous job on it. I thought it was great." - Alex Lifeson, "Rockline", January 15, 1996
"When we first wrote 'Promise', Sebastian was in town for Christmas. He's from fairly close to Toronto. He popped by my place and put a vocal on that song. The problem was that as things developed, and as I wrote the rest of the material for the record, I really wanted to have one single voice on there - one single male voice. So, when I talked to Edwin about working on the record and we got focused on all the songs, I decided to go with him. The take that Sebastian did on the song was really, really great, and Sebastian is a fabulous singer. Talk about energy! The whole studio at home was shaking when he was out there jumping around, bouncing off the walls doing it. I really felt really badly about not using him on the record, because I know that it meant something to him, and he really enjoyed working on it. Unfortunately, I had to make that call, and I did." - Alex Lifeson, "Rockline", January 15, 1996
"There's a drink that [Bill Bell] invented called 'Strip and Go Naked,' which after you've had a couple, that basically is what happens. On the other side, we thought that was kind of what the song was about. We stripped the whole song down to very basic elements - it goes through a lot of different changes musically, but it's basically stripped down." - Alex Lifeson, Jam Music, February 8, 1996
"'Strip...' was more of an exercise because it's going to be for this guitar CD (Part II of The Guitars That Rule The World album, set for release in the spring). Bill and I talked about it and we decided to get as many elements as possible into the song. Start off with some twelve-string acoustic and use some electric, then some bottle-neck so it takes it to a bluesy sort of thing from a folky Celtic thing, and then into this soaring guitar line. We just wanted to create a lot of different textures and levels. It's really honest and pure and it came very quickly. We basically wrote and recorded it in a day." - Alex Lifeson, Access, January/February 1996
"...my solo work in 'At the End' - all of that bluesy stuff, especially at the end of it, is really emotion-packed. Actually, there's a really good story behind that one. I had a rough day that day. I'd had a couple of meetings that didn't go so well, and I was feeling uptight; I was really pissed off. So I plugged the guitar straight into the amp, said, 'Screw this,' and started working. It got really edgy. Bill Bell was there, and I said to him, 'We need a drink.' I went upstairs and got half a bottle of Jack Daniels and a sixpack of beer, and we sat there and drank the stuff down in a matter of minutes. Then we did some more takes. The next day, I came back downstairs to listen to it and I'm thinking, 'Well, we had quite a bit to drink last night, so maybe this one didn't turn out so well.' But I listened to it and went, 'Wow, this is great!'" - Alex Lifeson, Guitar For The Practicing Musician, February 1996
"For a lot of these songs, I imagined what the situation would be like from a screenwriters point of view, or as a novelist who can write a passage in a book that's so horrific that you think this guy's nuts-he's gotta be twisted. But then you realize that, through your imagination, you can create a scenario that doesn't really exist in your own life, but it's so graphic that you can still relate to it in a weird sort of way. And that's what I wanted to do with the songs here". - Alex Lifeson, Guitar, February 1996
"Alex is a complete sweetheart. I was just finishing mixing the Whore CD at a studio where as it happens Alex was recording his solo record, and not long after I was finished with my record, I got a call from him asking if I'd be interested in coming in and having a listen to one of his songs with the idea of having me sing the lead vocal and hey - I said yeah right away. It was a great day and the song is intense and personal for Alex and being given the privilege step inside of his world and allowed to be his 'voice' and represent his feelings by singing 'Start Today' was something I'll not forget. What a rush - no pun intended." - Lisa Dalbello, rockreunion.com, 2001
"Atlantic...could possibly create a Victor screen saver based on the album's photo/collage motif cover". - Billboard Magazine, December 2, 1995
"Jimmy Page has always been my absolute guitar hero. From the first time I heard Zeppelin's first album, I wanted to play just like him. I wanted to dress just like him. When I finally got to meet him in '98, I was so nervous, like a little kid. My hand was shaking when I handed him a copy of my solo album, Victor, on which I had written something saying how much he meant to me." - Alex Lifeson, Vintage Guitar, September 2011
"Andrew photographed Alex in a number of different ways - wearing make up, with water on his face, darkening his eyes, 'aging' his face, etc. He then painstakingly hand cut each photo and finally put Alex' face back together like a puzzle... At one point, a coffee cup was inadvertently placed on one of the photos leaving behind its mark. By then Andrew said 'the hell with it!', took a cigarette and burned a mark on another of the photos." - "An Introduction to Andrew MacNaughtan", TriNet, December 2002

It is rumored that lack of support from Atlantic records meant the end of a followup album to Victor, which was rumored to have have featured at least some vocals by Sarah McLachlan. When asked in 1998 if there would be a followup, Alex replied:

"I wouldn't say soon. But I'd like to do something like that. I had a lot of fun. It was a very satisfying experience for me and rewarding because I did it all by myself. I worked very hard on it and got to play with some other people which was kinda fun. But it seems that it was something that I needed at that time in my life and sort of satisfied that urge that I had...I have no overwhelming desire right now to get into that kind of a project. It's a very time consuming thing that takes a lot out of you. I'd like to pursue some other things." - Alex Lifeson, Different Stages Fancast, November 1998
"I've got an hour or two of songs that I've written and recorded over the years for the sake of doing it and having fun with it. I might do another one day, but there are a lot of other things that I want to do in life, and it really was quite a commitment." - Alex Lifeson, Goldmine, September 2012

In 2014 when promoting R40, Alex addressed future solo work, and also the previous rumor that Sarah McLachlan had contributed vocals to songs slated for a followup Victor album:

"[laughs] This is me laughing. Sarah McLachlan? She's a very different artist, who lives in a different world. If she was to call me and ask me to play on one of her tracks, I'd be like, 'Yeah, sure!' But to put her on a Victor record, that doesn't make sense to me. Regardless, as far as side projects, if I was to go through all the little bits of tape and cassettes and DATS and files, I'd probably have enough for five or six albums. I really enjoy doing it for my own sake. Most of it I keep for myself. It's a fun exercise: It's like a painting that you keep for yourself. Maybe I would consider something on the next long break. I've been playing a lot of acoustic guitar lately, and it's been a lot of fun. I've also been playing in alternate tunings. That'd be a cool thing to explore." - Alex Lifeson, Radio.com, November 18, 2014