"Battle Scar" by Max Webster with Rush on Universal Juveniles
Rush with Max Webster on Universal Juveniles, October 1980. All three members of Rush perform on the track.
"Toronto, July 28, 1980. An intense thunderstorm raged outside all day
long, while indoors a storm of a different kind was brewing. In the studios
of Phase One, two complete sets of equipment crammed the room, and two
complete bands filled the air with a Wagnerian tumult, as Max Webster and
ourselves united to record a song for their album, called Battlescar."
- Neil Peart,
Moving Pictures Tourbook
"We set up both bands live and we had this producer Jack Richardson standing
in the middle with a baton, sort of conducting us. We were all in a circle
and he was in the middle, and we just recorded the tune." - Geddy Lee,
Geddy Lee's first solo production effort. Released by Anthem records, Wireless was also managed by SRO. This album was engineered by later Rush producer Paul Northfield and mixed by Terry Brown (the production team behind Permanent Waves), with additional voice credit to "Dirk", and "special thanks to Rush and crew" given in the liner notes. The album was recorded in December 1979 at Le Studio, where Rush had recently wrapped up recording Permanent Waves (Rush gave thanks to "Wireless & crew" in the Permanent Waves liner notes). Earlier that year Wireless was one of the opening bands on Rush's "Tour of the Hemispheres", in support of their 1978 album Positively Human, Relatively Sane (which also included a thank you to Geddy Lee). In addition, Wireless had opened for Rush on the All The World's a Stage tour.
"Take Off" by Bob and Doug McKenzie on The Great White North, 1981
Released on Anthem Records, this song was originally to have been included on Rush's Chronicles compilation album. "Take Off" was also a top 20 single, edited to remove the playful banter before and after the musical section, while the album made the US Top 10, higher than any Rush record. In 1983 the McKenzie Brothers drove a van with a Rush bumper sticker in the motion picture Strange Brew.
"Doug explained how Geddy was recruited. 'We were friends in school, and we were doing the record, so I called him up. We paid him a few bucks. He came in, put on his toque and sang it.' Geddy commented on the record. 'Canada has finally found an identity. I just came in, they paid me my 10 bucks to come in and sing a few words. It was different from any session I've ever done. These two guys were coaching me... telling me what to do.'" - Visions
"I went to school with Rick Moranis, and basically grew up with him. When they were doing the album, they called me up and asked me if I'd sing on one of the tracks. So I went down and it took me all of half an hour to do. It was fun; strictly a fun thing to do with some pals. Nobody had any idea it would get as big as it did." - Geddy Lee, Success Under Pressure
"He's a really nice guy. Very thoughtful and introspective. Rick went to school with him, which is why he appeared on that album. It was like, 'We don't sing. So we need a singer for our song. So why don't we ask Geddy?'" - Dave Thomas, LATimes.com, October 25, 2009
"Geddy Lee and I went to the same grade school. He moved away when we were still young but I remember him like I do all my friends from back then. Then in 1982 Dave Thomas and I were approached to do a record as the McKenzie Brothers on Anthem Records, the same label that Rush was on. So when we did the album we wound up having Geddy sing the vocal lead for the first single, 'Take Off.' That was the first time I had seen him since we were kids and the first time he had this enormous success. I've seen him subsequently a number of times and he always says, 'That's the only number one record I've ever had!' Which is insane to me because those guys have sold about a 150 zillion records." - Spin.com, June 7, 2013
"I remember it was my decision to go with that one [Great White North]. It was 1981, and we were doing so well. I think the album budget came in at 35k. I didn't think it'd sell anything, but I said to Ray, 'let's do it, so I can hang out with Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas for a couple of weeks. We can afford it.' And the thing went fuckin crazy. No-one could have foreseen that. It even sold a million copies in the States." - Pegi Cecconi, SRO/Anthem, FYIMusicNews, August 3, 2016
"Tough Break" by Jack Secret (aka Tony Geranios) with Rush (unreleased)
"Le Studio, September, 1981 - We were getting a little bored with inactivity. During the mixing of Exit...Stage Left there was really not much for us to do except say 'it sounds good' or 'it doesn't sound good'. I had been working down in the little studio, cleaning and renovating an old set of Hayman drums that were kicking around, and had started working on a 'Jack Secret' song with Jack and Skip from the crew. Geddy and Alex soon joined in on keyboards and rhythm guitar, and we later recorded the song ('Tough Break') up in the studio." - Neil Peart, "Stories From Signals", Signals Tourbook
Boys Brigade eponymous debut album produced by Geddy Lee
"Formed in 1981 in Toronto where they began as a pick-up act doing speak easies and underground clubs before debuting on Queen Street. Rush's light designer, Howard Ungerleider, took the band on as manager thereby putting them in direct contact with Rush's label, Anthem. Rush bassist, Geddy Lee, took an interest in the band and subsequently produced their debut album in 1983. The album spawned two hit singles "Melody" and "The Passion of Love". Critics predicted a long and prosperous career for the group but alas, their sheer size (three percussionists) and conflicting personalities led to a melt down." - Jam Showbiz Canadian Music Encyclopedia
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 SoloDVD, and 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
"Crying Over You" and "Holy Water" by Platinum Blonde on Alien Shores
"Platinum Blonde managed to infuse well-crafted intelligent modern rock with pop hooks that literally grafted themselves onto the airwaves. One of the first to acknowledge this fact was Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson who validated their efforts with solos on 'Crying Over You', 'Holy Water'; and a working relationship that continues to the present with Mark's new group, No 9." - Seven Year Itch linernotes
Due to personel changes, Platinum Blonde renamed themselves The Blondes for their 1990 album Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, which includes "thanks to Alex" in the linernotes. Alex later co-mixed a self-titled unreleased album for yet another incarnation of the band titled No. 9 (see separate entry below).
"Tears are Not Enough" by Northern Lights on We Are The World
Recorded in Toronto on February 10, 1985, Geddy sings one line: "You know that we'll be there."
"Our office got a call from David Foster, and he wanted me to come down and sing on it, and I was happy to. We were writing Power Windows at the time. I enjoyed it a lot, it was a nice chance to meet a lot of Canadian musicians that I had never met before and it was a real interesting experience singing ensemble with about 50 other people which I had never done before. So, the whole day turned out to be a very worthwhile experience for me and I'm glad it raised some money for a good cause. - Geddy Lee, Rockline, November 18, 1985
"I get so impatient with the pop side of causes, the whole sensibility of, 'Let's get together and change things' because these people just do not know what they're talking about and don't take the trouble to find out how they can really change something. It's a Sixties mentality - it had no action then, and has no action now. It's just sound and fury. And, let's be honest, how many of these people are only lending their names as a career move?! Geddy was involved with the 'Northern Lights' charity record here in Canada, although Rush weren't invited to participate in the 'Live Aid' event - mainly because if you look at the guest list, it was very much and 'in-crowd' situation. We didn't refuse to take part because of any principles...Some of those involved in 'Northern Lights' were actually quoted as saying that their managers told them to get down to the recording sessions because it would be a good career move! What a farce!...It's not a lack of food, nor a drought that's causing the problems, but civil war! People are starving others deliberately and how do you change that via a rock concert?! I don't decry charity causes, but if someone were to ask me to do a concert in aid of Ethiopia I'd say NO! I would quite happily donate some money or do anything else that might help, but I believe you have to get involved far more then just giving money to salve your conscience... even that type of charity is so negative because it's self-serving and shallow." - Neil Peart, Metal Hammer, April 25, 1988
"It was interesting. It was fairly comical to watch all these people being one by one brought to the mic and ordered around by David Foster. At the same time, it was a lot of fun to meet people like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell who are artists that I have had a lot of respect for, for many years, but I would say it was a very odd pairing of human beings...I remember [David Foster] asking Joni Mitchell to sing her line over and over again, and, to everyone standing around, every performance was wonderful, and yet he insisted on making her sing it over and over again--to most people's amazement. And then when Neil Young came in, he sang it once, and David Foster asked him to sing it again because it was a little out of tune, and Neil Young replied to him that that's his style and he's not going to do it again, to which a great swelling of pride welled up in all the onlookers!" Regarding singing his line, 'And you know that we'll be there', "It was one take." - Geddy Lee, The Nardwuar The Human Serviette Show, December 4, 1998
"A lot of people have compared my work with Bill Bruford to Neil and Geddy Lee's style as a rhythm section. Geddy used to listen to the Bruford band a lot and said some nice things about me in the press, so when Rush were playing out my way, I called him up, and he invited me backstage. So I was hanging out with the band, just enjoying one another 's company. And remember when you were in summer camp and would exchange phone numbers before leaving for home? That's what we did. I had some tunes in mind for Neil, phoned him up, and he spent a day and a half with me recording his parts." Jeff Berlin, Bass, December 1985
"On 'Mirabi', I got to play together with Steve Smith. Steve actually did most of the playing, I just came in on the choruses for that 'thunderous double-drum effect.' That was a lot of fun and a real exciting challenge. It was a major milestone for me to walk into a situation like that with no rehearsal. All I'd ever heard of the music before was a living-room demo with a beat box." - Neil Peart, Modern Drummer, January 1986
"'Mirabi' is tremendous. Jeff is one of the best bass players living today. His knowledge of the instrument is overwhelming. He doesn't have any gaps. he can run up and down that thing and knows where he can go. He knows what his options are. His precision and delivery is so precise he blows me away. He can play so many notes and make them sound so fluid. It's not easy to play but it's easy to listen to. His choice of notes and his taste is impeccable. That's what makes a great musician in the end anyway-how much taste they have and how they apply what they learn. He's got great taste. This song is taken from Cannonball Adderly and shows how he can do it all. Some of the things he did with Bill Bruford show him off even more. I think what he's trying to show on this solo album is that he's not just a bass player, he's a band leader and a composer as well. He can write arrangements for every instrument. He's saying, I'm a musician in the total sense. I consider to be a total musician. He's a mindblower." - Geddy Lee, Guitar For The Practicing Musician, June 1987
"I had a visit from Jeff Berlin, who's a friend, on the tour and I had the opportunity to watch him goofing around backstage with a bass, and was just amazed at his knowledge of bass chords. That's something I had never really exploited in my playing, so he inspired me to play around more with it. He probably doesn't know it, and would be embarrassed to hear it. I ended up using bass chords on 'Force Ten' and 'Turn The Page'. Not so much in the sense of strumming them as using my thumb more, almost like a finger picking style of playing, which is something that I'm still working on. Just plucking with my thumb and going back and forth between the thumb and the first two fingers and pulling. Almost like a snapping technique. It's opened up a bit more range for me. There's more melodic possibilities and rhythmic possibilities too, which is an important role for the bass player. If you can establish not only a melody but a rhythmic feel, that's an extra tool." - Geddy Lee, Bass Player, Nov/Dec 1988
Written by Triumph's Rik Emmett as a fusion of rock, jazz, and classical guitar, this instrumental was released as a 45 rpm flexidisk included in Guitar Player Magazine, July 1987. Performers include Emmett, Lifeson, Ed Bickert and Liona Boyd (who gave "special thanks to Alex Lifeson" on her 1991 album Dancing On the Edge).
"I approached my role from an atmospheric standpoint, and I tried to tie things together and do little things that I wouldn't normally do on a Rush record... When I got involved with this project, everything was just about finished, which enabled me to sit back and put my feet up and play whatever I wanted." - Alex Lifeson, Guitar Player, July 1987.
"One of the things I learned about Alex was the way he conceptually approaches a recording; he's able to look at a piece of music from the outside in, rather than from the inside out, which is my way of doing things. He thinks a lot in terms of flavors, colors, textures, and atmospheres. He refers to all of the little details that can be added to a performance to make a chill go up your spine as the 'GB factor,' which stands for goose bumps. In fact a couple of times during the mix he showed me how he was actually getting goose bumps on his arms from listening to the playback." - Rik Emmett, Guitar Player, July 1987
"After I heard Alex and Rik Emmett, I thought there must be something special in the Canadian water." - Steve Morse, Major Impacts linernotes.
"Hands of Man" by The Big Picture on Dream On The Horizon: A Tribute To The Olympic Spirit!
Recorded for the 1988 Winter Olympics held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Alex performs on two versions (vocal and instrumental version) of "Hands of Man" along with Rik Emmett and Liona Boyd (these three, along with jazz guitarist Ed Bickert, made up the Canadian Guitar Summit the previous year), with vocals by Joel Wade (who would later sing background vocals on Triumphs' Surveillance, 1989, and Rik Emmett's Absolutely, 1990). "Hands of Man" was also written by Boyd, who apparently sang the song during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Calgary on February 13th, 1988, along with special guests Lifeson and Emmett. Boyd later gave "special thanks to Alex Lifeson" on her album Dancing On the Edge, 1991. During the instrumental, Rik solos first, followed by Alex.
"Who's Missin Who" by Climb on Take A Chance, 1988
Geddy sings one line early in this Japanese release by professional baseball player Warren Cromartie's band, Climb (Cromartie is the drummer). Prior to a successful career in Japan, Warren Cromartie played for the Montreal Expos from 1974-1983. It was during that period that he became friends of Rush, who named the secondary school on the Signals back cover map after him, and also thanked both he and the Expos in the Signals linernotes.
"Look!... Here Comes The (Fat) Uncle" by Finjan on From Ship To Shore
Geddy has a small speaking role on this album by this Winnipeg klezmer band, which was produced by Ben Mink. Geddy plays the part of the Yiddish nephew, by the name of Grshn Lzr. The song is credited to Ben Mink, Jack Soberman and Joe Mendelson.
Alex Lifeson's first production effort, he is also credited as re-mix engineer. Released by Anthem Records with photography by Andrew MacNaughtan, this Toronto band was also managed by Ray Danniels (SRO Productions).
A benefit for the victims of the earthquake in Armenia on December 7, 1988, "Smoke on the Water" was newly recorded by an all-star group of performers; Rush's original studio recording of "The Spirit of Radio" is among the other tracks on the album. Also released as a single, at least five mixes of the song were original released: Album version, Mayem Mix, Mega Rock Remix, Radio Mix, Extended Mix (same as Album version). "Smoke On The Water" was recorded over five sessions from July 8th to September 24th, 1989. Neil Peart had agreed to take part but was unable due to scheduling conflicts. Alex was in attendance for the final session on September 24th:
"The one person from Rush who thankfully was able to make it was Alex Lifeson. He felt that there was enough solos on the record so he prepared some guitar lines that would underpin the song and give it some groove. You can hear his playing at the start of the guitar solos, in the Paul Rodgers verse and he's the one playing the crash chords at the end of the song. He did it all in one take. John Brough and I were producing the session that day and we were duly impressed. When Alex left the room we just stared at each other and raise our eyebrows in awe." - Jon Dee, Founder of Rock Aid Armenia, RockAidArmenia.com
Smoke on the Water includes the following artists: Lead guitarists: Richie Blackmore (Deep Purple), Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Alex Lifeson (Rush), Brian May (Queen) and Geoff Beauchamp. Vocalists: Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), Bryan Adams, Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company). Bass guitar: Chris Squire (Yes). Keyboards: Jon Lord (Deep Purple), Keith Emerson (ELP), Geoff Downes (Asia, ex-Yes). Drums: Roger Taylor (Queen).
"Rain Rain Rain", "Palomar" and "Guns" by The Rheostatics on Whale Music
Neil, who is pictured wearing a Rheostatics' t-shirt in the Counterparts tourbook, is credited with percussion on "Rain Rain Rain" and "Palomar", and co-drummer on "Guns".
"The Rheostatics recorded with Rush's Neil Peart in 1992. He came down to Reaction Studios while we were making Whale Music and set up a little yellow jazz kit in the corner. The Barenaked Ladies were there, too; they'd laid in their background vocal to 'California Dreamline' earlier in the day and together we watched Neil warm up, a chimeric figure in his beaded African hat under the low studio lights. Head lowered, torso centred, feet kicking, his hands glancing over the drums, Neil played all afternoon. His touch was soft when it had to be, but propulsive, too, like a distance runner tugging the flow of blood to his heart. It's one thing to see your hero perform from a distant seat in Maple Leaf Gardens, but it's something else to feel close to his work, as I did that day. At one time in my life, I'd dreamed of what it would be like to simply attend a Rush concert, and there I was at the studio, not 20 feet from where he was crafting a part for a song that would appear on our album.....As Neil commanded his kit, he painted my adolescence before me, evoking everything about it." - Dave Bidini (guitarist), Toronto Star, January 6, 2002
"I Nominate Dr. David" and "Some Dumb Machine" by Mendelson Joe on Women Are The Only Hope
Geddy Lee, credited as "G. L. Weinrib", performs on two tracks as confirmed by a postcard from the artist; violins, mandolin, electric guitar and mixing are credited to Ben Mink (who also received "special very special thanks" on this album, and is also known for collaborationg on My Favorite Headache and for performing on Signals' "Losing It"). A close friend of Geddy, Alex and Neil, Joe Mendelson opened for Rush during the Caress of Steel tour, and is a well known folk musician, painter, writer and left wing political activist. Anthem Records released two other Mendelson Joe albums commercially, Born to Cuddle, 1988, and Addicted, 1991.
"Cotton Tail" (drums) and "Pick Up the Pieces" (percussion) (also producer) on Burning for Buddy Vol. I
Produced by Neil Peart, he is credited with drums on "Cotton Tail" and percussion on "Pick Up the Pieces".
"After all the drummers had laid down their tracks, Peart had 39 completed songs on tape - considerably more than he needed for the single album he had originally envisioned. For that reason, Atlantic records decided to produce three separate CD's with release dates staggered several months apart, and then compile the three albums into a single boxed set at some point in the future." - DRUM!, November 1994
"One O'Clock Jump" (drums) (also producer) on Burning for Buddy Vol. II
"After all the drummers had laid down their tracks, Peart had 39 completed songs on tape - considerably more than he needed for the single album he had originally envisioned. For that reason, Atlantic records decided to produce three separate CD's with release dates staggered several months apart, and then compile the three albums into a single boxed set at some point in the future." - DRUM!, November 1994
Recorded live at Toronto's Molson Amphitheatre on September 4th, 1994, this was the second Kumbaya Festival, an AIDS benefit (also held in '93 and '95, Alex performed at all three). Alex performed on "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water" by Johnnie Taylor in 1993; in 1995 he performed on "Wishes" by The Boomers with Ian Thomas.
"All Along The Watchtower" includes Alex Lifeson, Tom Cochrane, Lawrence Gowan, Molly Johnson, John Webster, Bill Bell, Gordie Johnson, Stich Wynston, Gary Lowe, Don Freed, Michael Rosen, Richard Underhill, Annette Ducharm and Kim Stockwood. The first vocal is Cochrane and the second vocal part is Gowan. Bill Bell collaborated with Alex on his solo project, Victor (1996).
"Just Scream", "Crawl" and "Will of the Gun" by Tom Cochrane on Ragged Ass Road
Alex is credited with guitar on "Crawl" and "Will Of The Gun", and the guitar solo on "Just Scream". Tom Cochrane was formerly lead singer with Canadian rock group Red Rider. Cochrane's guitarist, Bill Bell, collaborated with Alex on his solo project, Victor (1996).
"Like A Girl" by I Mother Earth on Scenery and Fish
Produced by Paul Northfield (Vapor Trails). "I played on one of the songs on Scenery and Fish, and the material is really strong. It's going to be a really good album for them, I think." - Alex Lifeson, Rockline, January 15, 1996
"Born Under A Bad Sign", "All Along The Watch Tower" and "For What It's Worth/White Rabbit" on The Dexters' Second Anniversary At The Orbit Room
Recorded live at The Orbit Room (a bar in Toronto co-owned by Alex Lifeson) on November 15, 1996, this recording was sold through the now defunct Rush fanzine A Show Of Fans in 1997, in a limited edition of 200 cassette tapes. The Dexters were the house band which retired in 2004. Alex often made guest appearances, as captured on the other official release Hip To The Tip: Live At The Orbit Room (see seperate entry), which also includes a recording of "Born Under A Bad Sign".
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 map...in 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
Alex Lifeson on all instruments from Merry Axemas. 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, MusicRadar.com, December 5, 2011
Geddy and Alex featuring South Park's Terrance and Phillip from South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut soundtrack.
"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
"The Road" on the eponymous debut album by Euphoria
Geddy also received special thanks in the album's liner notes. Euphoria is the brain child of Toronto musician Ken Ramm. In the January 1986 issue of Modern Drummer magazine, while discussing his appearance on the Jeff Berlin's Champion, Neil Peart said he "... did a similar thing with a musician named Ken Ramm in Toronto. That record was released in Canada." However, an email from the artist confirms "the track with Neil Peart that he mentioned in Modern Drummer (January'86) is entitled 'Economy In Motion'. It was never released."
Co-mixed by "Lerxst", with a "Thank you to Alex," although the album was never officially released, a few copies were made and released independently. David Barrett (guitar) and Sascha (drums) were part of this lineup of Platinum Blonde, and later formed 2/3 of the David Barrett Trio. Previously, Lerxst performed on "Crying Over You" and "Holy Water" on the original Platinum Blonde's Alien Shores, 1984 (see separate entry).
In spring 2000, shortly after the release of Better Life, Alex Lifeson produced three 3 Doors Down tracks: "Wasted Me", "Dangerous Game" and "Dead Love". Although "Dead Love" remains unreleased, "Wasted Me" was released as a b-side while "Dangerous Game" was released on their followup album, Away From The Sun.
Although the "Kryptonite" single states that "Wasted Me" was produced and mixed by Alex Lifeson, as quoted below at least two of the three tracks also include Lifeson on guitar (although some 3 Doors Down fan sites state that he played on all three tracks).
"We just recorded three songs with him. There's not anything set for what we're going to do with them just yet, but it was three songs: 'Dangerous Game,' 'Dead Love,' and 'Wasted Me.' And we got the chance to work with him and record those three songs down in New Orleans, at the American Sectors studio down there, and man, he was a super guy. You would never know where he's been or what he's done just from looking at him. And he's such a nice guy, as cool as they come. He's got no ego--and he deserves one, you know what I'm saying? We got to kind of know him a little bit and became friends, and invited him to our CD release party in Biloxi. And he actually got up onstage and jammed on a song with us. That was pretty fun. I can die now. He played 'Dangerous Game' with us that night. It was definitely an honor. I was tripping." - Brad Arnold (vocalist), Yahoo Music, November 24, 2000
"And he actually did two guitar tracks on the B side. The coolest thing I ever really did, because I did an acoustic set with him and it was me on one side of the mike and him on the other playing the same thing at the same time, doubling it in one track. And that was like a pinnacle of idolizing him. It was a milestone in my life. - Chris Henderson (guitarist), RockPublication.com, October 25, 2001
"That was one of the coolest experiences I ever had. I'm from south Mississippi. We grew up with Rush. I'm a huge fan. Matter of fact, I'll tell you a Rush story. I had a girlfriend. I was engaged to her. We broke up after five years of being together. She went off and did whatever to get over it. I put in Rush Chronicles, got in my truck and drove around for five days. That's how I got over that relationship. After I listened to that record, I said, 'I don't need this crap. I've got Rush.' So needless to say, when Alex Lifeson's name came up as a producer, I was in, Jack. I didn't need to hear anybody else's name. I can't explain how nice a guy and how smart he was. How cultured he was and how great a musician he is. I can't put into words how much his influence brought to my life before I met him and after I met him. There's not a week that goes by that I don't think of that experience. I spent three weeks with him in the studio. He taught me that the technical aspect of being a producer is not the most important part. The most important part is the song and how to delegate. If you want to change someone's art, they are going to fight you on it. If it's all about the art becoming better, you've got to get your point across. That's what Alex taught me. Instead of saying 'I'm a producer. I'm from Rush. You need to listen to me.' He wasn't like that. He came in and was like,' Think about it like this: What does the fan think? From a radio listener's perspective, you have about 13 seconds. Then they hit that seek button. That's the way it works. He taught us that." - Chris Henderson (guitarist), MemphisFlyer.com, November 11, 2014
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." - www.andromedatv.com, 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." - Scifi.com's Andromeda Soundtrack Review
Lifer eponymous second album produced by Alex Lifeson
After releasing their debut album No Need in 2000 (as Strangers With Candy), Lifer landed a six-album record deal with Universal/Republic Records after winning first-place in February 2000's MTV Ultimate Cover Band Contest. A critical failure, the band disbanded after the bassist and guitarist left the band to join the group "Breaking Benjamin". Alex Lifeson commented on Rockline that album sales and promotion were nullified at the time by the 9/11 attacks.
"'We wanted a player, rather than just a standard producer,' said guitarist Aaron Fincke, and added that the band expects to 'sell a couple hundred thousand more copies' of their album because of Lifeson's reputation as a musician and performer. 'We can only do so much with our songs, but he helped to clean up all of them.'" - Susquehanna University's The Crusader Online, November 17, 2000.
Co-produced and recorded by Geddy Lee in his home studio, Rocket Science features his nephew Rob Higgins on bass and vocals. Guest appearances on the album include Ben Mink, members of Sticky Rice and of course, Geddy Lee (backing vocal on "Space Suit", previously available on Rocket Sciences' 5 song EP).
"It is rock, rock with a kind of technical edge to it. I have a home studio and we have been working here and gone into the smaller studios around town to do some sessions now and again. It has been fun for me and I think fun for them as well." - Geddy Lee, JAM! Showbiz, January 18, 2000
"He knew things that we wanted and just tried to help us get them...he likes things a little weird and out there." - Rob Higgins, on recording with 'Uncle Geddy', Chartattack.com, June 28, 2001
"Fascination Unknown (Alex Lifeson Remix)" by All Systems Go on the "Fascination Unknown" single
Singer/guitarist John Kastner was previously with The Doughboys, an alternative rock band from Montreal who opened for Rush on the Counterparts tour. After Lifeson remixed the "Fascination Unknown" single for Kastner's later band, All Systems Go! in 2003, he appeared live with Kastner and Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy at the June 2005 White Ribbon benefit concert, before performing Kastner's solo album Have You Seen Lucky in 2006.
According to Anthem Records, this "was just something fun he did that was for his own enjoyment and not be confused with 'work'". Alex later teamed up with All Systems Go guitarist/vocalist John Kastner and Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy to perform two covers, The Beatles' "Rain" and Neil Young's "Don't Cry No Tears", at the White Ribbon benefit concert against violence against women held at The Phoenix in Toronto on June 7, 2005. Alex then performed on Kastner's Have You Seen Lucky released May 11th, 2006 (see separate entry).
"Alex is simply a good friend of mine. We're both from Canada and have been friends for a long time. Because he also has a studio, I thought it would be a good idea to send him our single. He then re-mixed the track in his studio and sent me the result...his version is much different than the original. His mix has this Rush Feeling, meanders and has more effects. That's also precisely what I wanted, so yes, I am very satisfied." - John Kastner (guitarist/vocalist), purerock.de, March 6, 2003
"Everybody's Broken" and "Testify All Over Me" by John Kastner on Have You Seen Lucky, May 11, 2006
Singer/guitarist John Kastner was previously with The Doughboys, an alternative rock band from Montreal who opened for Rush on the Counterparts tour. After Lifeson remixed the "Fascination Unknown" single for Kastner's later band, All Systems Go! in 2003, he appeared live with Kastner and Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy at the June 2005 White Ribbon benefit concert, before performing Kastner's solo album Have You Seen Lucky in 2006.
"A cross between everything I've done over the past 20 years. Alex from Rush plays guitar on it and Lee Ving from Fear sings on it - so it's really all over the place. That's my crazy 70's upbringing in a nutshell". - John Kastner, Skiddle.com, May 18, 2006
"I Fought The Law" and "Liquor & Whores" by The Big Dirty Band and Bubbles & The Shit Rockers on Trailer Park Boys: The Big Dirty Soundtrack, October 3, 2006
The Big Dirty band is comprised of Geddy Lee (bass), Alex Lifeson (guitar), Thornley's Ian Thornley (vocals and guitar), Three Days Grace's Adam Gontier (vocals), Die Mannequin's Care Failure (vocals) and former Tea Party drummer Jeff Burrows (because Neil Peart was unavailable). The soundtrack also includes Rush's "The Spirit Of Radio". A video for "I Fought The Law", directed by long time Rush photographer Andrew MacNaughton featuring Geddy and Alex performing with the rest of the Big Dirty Band, was cut between scenes of the film. Trailer Park Boys fan Alex Lifeson is seen in a cameo role as a police officer in the movie, which also includes many Rush references. As part of the film's promotion, Lifeson hosted a Canadian TV special titled "Trailer Park Boys 101".
"Canadians all know the ubiquitous Trailer Park Boys, Finally, a movie is in the works. Al Lifeson of Rush fame produced an amazing version of 'I Fought The Law', which I had the opportunity of recording and mixing. The track features Al and Geddy, Adam from Three Days Grace, ex- Tea Party Jeff Burrows, Ian Thornley and a young promising talent from Die Mannequin named Care - she really tore up her parts in the vocal track. Also, Bubbles was in the studio to record an absolutely hilarious track called 'Liquor & Whores'." - RichardChycki.net, August 31, 2006
"Jeff Burrows is still pumped about getting the chance to play drums with Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee of Rush. Last month, the ex-Tea Party drummer joined Lifeson and Lee to record a song for the new Trailer Park Boys movie, The Big Dirty. 'When they called me about it, I was in Vancouver working on my new band,' said Burrows, 38. 'How could I say no?...That was the band that convinced me I wanted to be a rock musician,' he said. The song they did was the often-covered "I Fought The Law", by the Bobby Fuller Four. What could Burrows and two-thirds of Rush bring to it that others like The Clash and Green Day couldn't? 'It's got a real Rush feel to it because of Lifeson's guitar,' he said. Burrows was asked to play because Neil Peart was unavailable...Peart is one of Burrows's idols, so filling in for him was a daunting task, he said." - Windsor Star, Septermber 8, 2006
"Rush didn't just sign off on the inclusion of 'Spirit On The Radio,' they agreed to put the whole CD out on their own freakin' label while Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson hit the studio with contemporary Can-rock acolytes from the Tea Party, Three Days Grace, Thornley, and Die Mannequin to grind out an exclusive version of 'I Fought The Law'" - Toronto Star, October 1, 2006
"Another dedicated non-wanker who's had a big effect on [Die Mannequin's Care Failure] is Alex Lifeson. In one of those 'Here ya go, kid' moments, the legendary Rush guitarist presented her with one of his Paul Reed Smith guitars, just when she needed it most. 'There was like a six-month period where if I didn't have that guitar I don't know what I would have been doing,' she says. 'He gave me that guitar and a bag of pedals, and more importantly some real nice messages that trip through your head.' The helpful advice and colossal freebies from good samaritans like Lifeson, her 'musical sugar daddy', have helped Failure turn her once-troubled life around to the point where you question the validity of her stage name. But she has no regrets about choosing that moniker-or anything else." - Straight.com, November 19, 2009
"Never Over" and additional tracks by Edwin on Better Days, October 3, 2006
"Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson is on several tracks, including 'Never Over' which should be a single...Edwin and Lifeson go back 10 years. The Rush guitarist invited Edwin to sing on his 1996 solo project, Victor, and that same year played on 'Like A Girl' from I Mother Earth's second album, Scenery And Fish. 'He's only done me favors. I don't think I've done him any,' Edwin laughs. 'He was kind enough to let us work at his studio for a week and let us use everything we wanted - his guitars, his amps, whatever we wanted. He was great about it and he also did us the favor of coming in and doing some cameo guitar playing on a few songs. We ran the songs and he played what he felt, so we used his guitar stylings throughout the record.'" - Jam! Showbiz, May 10, 2006
"Star 24 (No Apologies)" by Jakalope on Born 4, October 3, 2006
"With Dave Rave Ogilvie (Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, David Bowie) once again at the helm of the project, Jakalope returned to the scene of the crime, recording Born4 at Vancouver's famed Warehouse Studio. NIN god Trent Reznor signed on as co-producer without question. Ogilvie and Phil Caivano (Blitzspeer, Monster Magnet) locked themselves away to create the music, coming together with Katie B for the lyrics and melodies...'Star 24 (No Apologies)' features Alex Lifeson of Rush." - Jakalope on MySpace, June 2006
"It was so neat hearing what we had started and then hearing what he [Alex Lifeson] added...When you're starting a song you're so involved and when you give it to somebody else who's coming in from the outside they're hearing their own thing and they can quickly add something that you never would have thought of." - Katie B (vocalist), VueWeekly.com, November 19, 2006
"Guide Me Master" by ESPN's Iron Diamond (commercial for fantasy baseball), March 2007
The ESPN Baseball Tonight crew and a slew of special guests including Geddy Lee, appear as the rock band "Iron Diamond" in a music-video-esque commercial for fantasy baseball on ESPN. When originally released, "Guide Me Master" was one of four tracks and a photo gallery shared on ESPN's Myspace page. The "official" full band complement is John Kruk: lead vocals, ESPN Baseball Tonight Cohost; Peter Gammons: vocals, (home-plate shaped) guitar, ESPN Baseball Tonight Cohost, writer; Bronson Arroyo: vocals, guitar, 2006 MLB All-Star Pitcher; Geddy Lee: vocals, bass, Rush frontman, fantasy baseball genius; Gary Sheffield: drums, MLB slugger with 455 career HR's and counting; Joe Borowski: keytar, closer, 2006 Comeback Player of the Year Finalist; Jennie Finch: vocals, ESPN Fantasy Analyst, Olympic Gold Medalist; Matthew Berry: vocals, Senior Director of Fantasy for ESPN.com; Eric Karabell: vocals, ESPN Fantasy Analyst, ESPN Radio Host; Buster Olney: vocals, ESPN the Magazine Senior Writer.
"John Kruk [Phillies portly outfielder-turned-ESPN analyst] was working the hardest of anyone. He had this leather suit; he had a bodysuit on underneath the leather that had all these fake tattoos, plus he had this breakaway business suit on. They would raise him on a platform, and he would tear it off, and of course it kept sticking, so he had to do it over and over and over again. I really felt for him - they put him to the grind. I think they were a little surprised that a long-haired Canadian musician was so deep into baseball. The shock value was working for me." - Geddy Lee, National Post, April 23, 2007
"Anesthetize" by Porcupine Tree on Fear Of A Blank Planet, April 24, 2007
"I really didn't know Alex Lifeson knew anything about Porcupine Tree until I read an interview with him in a British magazine. He mentioned really liking Porcupine Tree, and I fell out of my chair when I read that because I grew up listening to Rush and I've always thought Alex was one of the most underrated guitarists in rock. So, I got in touch with him through the journalist, who had also done an interview with me around the same time, coincidentally. And we were right in the middle of writing at that time, so it was kind of an obvious thing to invite him to play on the record. It's like it's come full circle for me now, as the people I grew up listening to are now playing on Porcupine Tree records. So you can imagine the buzz, its incredible!" - Steven Wilson (vocalist/guitarist), Prog Archives, April 22, 2007
"Alex Lifeson from Rush was in Canada recording his album when we wanted to record him, so we just sent him the files. But you go to these guys because you know and like what they do, so you tell them to do a few takes of their thing and you then have the luxury of compiling your favourite bits!" - Steven Wilson, SoundOnSound.com, June 2010
"I was in the process of writing and pre-production for Rush's Snakes & Arrows, but I loved the song and it gave me room to stretch out. I've yet to hear what Steve did with my work, but I'm sure to like it. Porcupine Tree are a great band and it was my pleasure to play a small role on Fear Of A Blank Planet." - Alex Lifeson, Classic Rock, July 2007
"Sacred & Mundane" by Tiles on Fly Paper, January 29, 2008
Alex Lifeson reunited with producer by Terry Brown (aka Broon) for the first time in 25 years to record this song.
"Terry had approached Alex about making a guest appearance - and played him some of our new songs. Alex liked what he heard and said he would have a chance to do 'something' before Rush began rehearsals for their 'Snakes and Arrows' tour. The window of opportunity arrived this past March - and Terry went to Alex' studio where the two proceeded to work their magic on 'Sacred and Mundane.' Listening to Alex' parts for the first time was amazing - and the amount of work he put into the song was beyond what we could have hoped for. He came up with a counter-riff that literally 'became' the song; he added acoustic guitars to the refrains; played an acoustic Celtic counter-melody in the bridge; came up with a cool backwards solo in the breakdown section; and added an assortment of guitar textures and effects from start to finish. Terry and Alex spent almost 12-hours recording." - Chris Herin (guitarist), Tiles-Music.com, August 2007
"Snacktime" by Barenaked Ladies on Snacktime, May 6, 2008
The title track of this children's album includes spoken guest appearances from various celebrities including Geddy Lee who is heard saying, "Hi I'm Geddy, and my favorite snack is barbecue potato chips." In addition, the final track, "Here Come The Geese", quotes "Subdivisions": when listing all the places one can find migratory geese, it includes "in the high school halls, in the shopping malls...".
Known to be Rush fans, "BNL" has been known to perform Rush covers live, and during their 2001 tour, drummer Tyler Stewart used a caricature of .
"Hope, Live For The Art Of Peace" by Rush on Songs For Tibet: The Art Of Peace, August 12, 2008
Recorded May 25th, 2008, in Regina, Saskatchewan on the "Snakes & Arrows" tour (according to the Art Of Peace website), this live version of "Hope" was nominated for the Best Rock Instrumental Performance Grammy in 2009 (Rush's sixth nomination). The winner was "Peaches En Regalia" by Dweezil Zappa, from Zappa Plays Zappa.
"'This album will focus people's attention on the importance of Tibet, the gifts of its culture, and the crisis the Tibetan people are facing today,' said one of the album's organisers, Michael Wohl. The album is due for global release on iTunes on August 5, three days before the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. It will then be available through other outlets the following week, the statement said. Wohl, from the Art of Peace Foundation, said the timing of the release was deliberate. 'We wanted to express our support for the Tibetan people and their message of peace through music, a fundamental means of expression, at a time when the eyes of the world are on China.'" - AFP News, July 22, 2008
"We also received a recording that Rush just did a few weeks back for us at a concert. Alex Lifeson did a rendition of 'Hope' that really breathes and let's you appreciate the subtleties of the composition. It differs from the studio version in tempo and tone. This was a fantastic contribution on so many levels (our only acoustic instrumental)." - ArtOfPeaceFoundation.org, July 26, 2008
"'I think this is our sixth [Grammy] nomination - we're, like, the Susan Luccis of rock 'n' roll...We try not to put too much emphasis on that kind of stuff, but at the same time it's always a huge compliment, so you do get excited when something like that happens. It's certainly better than being ignored'...Rush was on tour for their 2006 studio disc Snakes & Arrows when they were approached by Rupert Hine, who had produced the band's 1989 album Presto, about contributing a track to the Tibet compilation. 'We remembered this acoustic track Alex plays live and is different every night, he sort of improvises on it, so we thought that would be an easy and beautiful solution to the problem,' Lee said. 'We just recorded it live and sent it to them.'" - Toronto Sun, February 8, 2009
"Welcome To The Bottom", "Save Me From Myself" and "Even Now" by Vertical Horizon on Burning The Days, September 22, 2009
Neil Peart is credited with drums only on "Welcome To The Bottom" and "Save Me From Myself", and also provided the lyrics to "Even Now".
"Late in 2005, Matt and I started working on a song together, with lyrics I wrote especially for Matt's voice - literal and metaphorical. Matt suggested I might like to play drums on that song, and when I agreed to that, he started sending me demos of other songs he thought I might like to play on. (Trickster!). So while I was in Toronto working on Rush songs, I was also 'moonlighting' on three of Matt's songs, playing to his demos and working out drum parts for them...Through the miracle of modern technology, I was able to e-mail those recorded sketches to Matt, and collect his comments as I went along. Thus it came to pass...on June 14, 2006, at Capitol Records Studio B in Hollywood (Hollywood and Vine, in fact), I recorded three songs for Matt's upcoming Vertical Horizon album...The following day I told Matt that session had been one of the greatest challenges, experiences, and - now - rewards of my life. That's the way I have always felt about making Rush albums, and I have every faith the same will be true when Alex, Geddy, and I reconvene in September." - Neil Peart, NeilPeart.net, June 17, 2006
"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." - Rush.com 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." - TSN.ca (includes video), December 9, 2009
"When I Close My Eyes" and "March of the Shikker" by The Black Sea Station on Transylvania Avenue, March 29, 2011
Geddy Lee performs bass on "When I Close My Eyes", and speaks on "March of the Shikker". Another klezmer album produced by Ben Mink, Geddy also appeared on the Mink-produced klezmer album Ship To Shore by Finjan released in 1988 (see separate entry).
"Geddy had a little time on his hands, so he decided to get back to his roots and jam with some of North America's finest purveyors of Klezmer and Rumanian music, Black Sea Station. On ["March of the Shikker"], that's Geddy speaking in Yiddish. Not exactly 'rocking' in the sense we're used to, but it's Geddy Lee. The man is a living god. He can do what he wants." - Jewcy.com, May 18, 2011
"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
"Voices at 4 AM" by Tom Cochrane on the Voices, December 2, 2011
A collaboration between Tom Cochrane, Andrew Cole, Ken Greer and Alex Lifeson. This limited edition EP is no longer in print.
"The idea for 'Voices at 4 AM' came about when I went up to the cottage with Tom Cochrane and he was playing me a piece of music Ken Greer and he had been working on as part of the No Stranger album. Tom, did not want to use these cuts because they did not really fit the No Stranger disc. I told him this was great stuff and could I pull it apart and work with it. He said go ahead, what's the worst that could happen. Alex Lifeson is friends with Tom but of course he is super busy. I honestly have to say I really pursued him to play because I thought his huge guitar sound along with Ken Greer's work would propel the track once we started to get it down. And my persistence paid off. Chris Potter (mixing engineer) changed the whole vibe of the song, and it blew Tom Cochrane's mind. When we got the whole vocal thing about to go, I asked Tom to sing it, but he said no it's yours now. But once I got Alex to play and sing Tom went with the chorus and for me it was like watching two old friends create magic. That is basically the story of 'Voices at 4 AM'. What I'm going to do is record let's say five EPS' all called VOICES with 5 different artists and myself as a producer vocalist with the artist." - Andrew Cole, John Emms Music Review, December 17, 2011
"Losin'" by Jason Plumb And The Willing on All Is More Than Both, March 27, 2012
Click here for a video of Alex Lifeson in the studio recording his solo from September 2011.
"The Alex Lifeson thing, that happened by absolute fluke. We started going through the songs and wondering which iconic Canadian guitarist could make an appearance on the record...I thought, 'Well, Alex Lifeson, that would be really amazing. If we could get him that would be a real coup.' And he actually just happened to walk into the control room some days later." - Jason Plumb, Calgary Herald, May 9, 2012
"Instamatic" and "South For The Winter" by Vertical Horizon on Echoes From The Underground, October 8, 2013
Click here for a video of Neil Peart recording "Instamatic" with Matt Scannell on April 16, 2012.
"'Instamatic' was an absolute blast to record. Neil's drum performance is simply stellar. Lyrically, it's just your average spy thriller/espionage/blackmail/love song.” - Matt Scannell, Billboard.com, October 2, 2013
"Recording with Neil Peart, the legend, is actually just like recording with Neil Peart, one of your best friends. He's one of my favorite human beings. But what you quickly realize with Neil is that he's just a guy who has a job, and he's really good at his job. When we were doing our last record, Burning the Days, he and I decided to try to write a song together. It was a song called 'Even Now' and it went really well and he ended up playing drums on it. On Echoes From The Underground he plays on 'Instamatic' and 'South for the Winter.' One thing people might not realize about Neil's drumming is how much he plays for the singer. It's uncanny how sensitive he is to the voice. He wants to build you up as a singer and build up the vocal performance. As the singer in the band, it's really incredible to hear him propel me forward and raise me up. 'Instamatic,' to me, is one of the greatest performances of his incredible career. It's a master class in rock drumming and I was thrilled beyond belief to have him appear on our record." - Matt Scannell, GuitarPlayer.com, August 19, 2014
The David Barrett Trio, eponymous debut album produced by Alex Lifeson , February 26, 2013
Here is a pre-production session with Alex developing the ending for "Great Eastern Sun," the album's closing track (click here for part 1; part 2).
"In Jan. 2010, Alex listened to my latest acoustic album The Dead Arm and had some constructive criticism, but also offered to produce with the idea that I'd benefit from such an experience. Alex really insisted I use a band because he felt the music would develop more fully that way. I'm truly inspired because I'm working with a great rhythm section as a power trio, and my favorite guitar player is producing. I have Alex to thank not only for the production team, but also for renewing my interest in loud electric guitar, which is what I do best. I met Alex Lifeson's son Justin back in the early 1990's when I was recording with Mark Holmes at Jeff Healey's studio in Toronto. Justin's a great guy and an old Platinum Blonde fan, so he knew Mark from back in the day and dropped by the studio one evening to say hi. We became friends, and I got to know Alex sometime later. Over the years Alex has helped me out with gear, recording projects, and we've even jammed in his basement a couple times. The engineer on this project is Rich Chycki, and coincidentally, Rich was the house engineer at the Healey studio on all the sessions I did with Amanda Marshall and Mark Holmes. Rich also produced my first solo guitar record in 1995 called, Staring Into The Sun. I recommended Rich to Alex, ten years before he actually became Rush's main recording and mixing engineer!" - David Barrett, Rockethub, September 27, 2011
"Exactly a year ago, I played my new solo album The Dead Arm for guitar hero and mentor Alex Lifeson. He liked it and mentioned that maybe we should consider doing something together in the future. I agreed. He advised me to write a ton of music which we would then later sift through and pick the best tunes to develop. His other advice was to include some other musicians to further develop the songs. I asked Sascha Tukatsch to play drums and Jason Farrar to play bass. We arranged the music and worked really hard on it. Their contributions and enthusiasm have been truly outstanding! After the Rush Time Machine tour ended and Big Al was rested, we went into his studio and recorded three tunes: Hollowbody, Sonar, and Disappearance. Rich Chycki engineered. Rich produced my first solo album back in 1995, everything I've learned about recording I've learned from Rich, I don't think there's anyone better. And Big Al's approach to arranging, performance, and production was truly illuminating. We also had a lot of laughs in the studio, more than I can remember on any sessions I've ever done." - David Barrett, guitarplayyer.blogspot.com, January 10, 2011
"Alex brought so much to the table at every stage of the process. When he first offered to produce, I gave him a bunch of demos that had layers and layers of guitar parts that sounded good, but he said, 'Look, you're going to need to be able to play this material in the trio setting, so we're going to have to edit stuff down to what's most important.' ... The funny thing is, it wasn't just about the logistics of the format. As soon as I started writing with the trio in mind, the material got way better and the arrangements just came together, which is exactly what Alex said would happen. Another thing he's a master at is knowing how to take an otherwise pedestrian-sounding riff and change one little element - maybe the key or the time signature - to give it an extraordinary quality. A wonderful example of this is the end of 'Great Eastern Sun'. The last section was originally going to be based on the same riff as a previous section, but Alex suggested we change the time signature by adding bars of 5/8 in certain places, and then he had us put the riff in a minor key. Before long, the song had evolved into what I believe is the best track on the record. Also, at the end of 'Sonar' there's this abrupt key change and solo, suggested by Alex, that wasn't on the original demo. Aside from his input on arrangements, Alex also had a big influence on how I tracked my parts. In the past, I had always tended to record at low volumes and tried to cut out noise, but he encouraged me to turn things up - sometimes to the point of feeding back in the studio monitors like on 'Hollowbody' - and it really freed me psychologically to be a little more in the moment." - David Barrett, Guitar Player, August 2013
"7 years ago I was fortunate enough to meet and spend some time with one of my early guitar heroes, Alex Lifeson of RUSH. He's been a HUGE influence on my guitar playing throughout the years, and he's also one of the kindest human beings you'll ever meet. Now, 7 years later, he's performed a MIND-BLOWING guitar solo on my song, 'Once a Warrior.' I'm so happy to have Alex on my new album, Disconnect, and I can't wait for you to hear it!" - John Wesley, Facebook, February 6, 2014
"Alex Lifeson played on the Porcupine Tree track 'Anesthetize' and I would cover his solo live. During the 2007 tour, we learned Alex was going to attend the Toronto show. So many of my formative guitar influences came from Rush records. I remember warming up before the show thinking, 'Oh my god, he's going to watch me play and know I stole everything from him.' [Laughs.] But he was a lot of fun and gracious, and we became friends. At a subsequent Rush gig he asked me what I was up to and I said, 'I'm finishing up Disconnect.' He said, 'Got any space left for me?' I looked at him and said, 'Why, yes I do.' Dean and I then went back and created solo space in the track that would really allow Alex to breathe and do what he wants, while still serving the song. I sent the piece to Alex with no instructions other than, 'Just play.' Two weeks later, he sent it back and I thought it was such an appropriate solo. He really listened to the song, and you can hear its melodies reflected in his solo. He didn't just blast something out over the chord changes. He created something that really fit." - John Wesley, Guitar Player, October 2014
"Mr. Lifeson appears on 'Devil Knows Me Well,' 'Mary Magdalene' and 'Moving Dark Circles.'...Alex did more than just play on the record, he became a mentor and executive producer, and in turn brought mixer Rich Chycki (RUSH, Aerosmith, Jonny Lang, Pink) on to mix 'Mary Magdalene' which set a new standard for the rest of our mixes and mastering engineer Andy Vandette (Metric, David Bowie, Porcupine Tree) to master the songs, thus some of the most important people responsible for making Rush records sound like they do." - Indiegogo.com
"Territory" by Wintersleep on The Great Detachment, March 4, 2016
"When Canadian indie-rock band Wintersleep were recording their new album, The Great Detachment, they got sidetracked chatting about their love for one of their country's most famous musical exports. 'We were talking about how amazing Rush was, and how incredible Geddy Lee is,' Paul Murphy, the band's lead singer, told Rolling Stone. 'He can sing these incredibly complex melodies with complex lyrics, while playing perhaps even more incredibly complex bass parts, while also operating foot pedals. If there was an instrument he could play with his eyeballs, I'm sure he'd be able to!' Coincidentally, later that same night, the band ran into trouble while fine-tuning the bass line on one of the tracks, 'Territory.' 'It was cool but the song didn't feel as lively as it should in the end,' Murphy explains. 'Someone was like, 'What would Geddy Lee do?' jokingly, and Tony [Doogan, producer] was like, 'Oh, the best bass player in the world? He'd make it incredible. Why don't we just ask him?'' They did, and Wintersleep's 'what if ...?' fantasy quickly turned into reality. 'Wintersleep contacted me a while ago and asked me to play bass on this track,' Lee told RS. 'I had a listen and loved the song and the vibe of the band. I had a blast laying down a bunch of takes and sent them off to them. I'm happy to support a fellow Canadian band and wish them all the best with their new album.' The result is 'Territory' - no relation to the 1985 Rush song 'Territories' - a muscular, hard-driving track that builds to a bright, yearning chorus. Lee's trademark gritty tone and melodic inventiveness are easily identifiable, but there's nothing showy about the performance; his bass lines blend perfectly with Loel Campbell's drums and provide a firm anchor for the rest of the track. 'The bass line we originally had for 'Territory' was just kind of playing the roots of the song,' Murphy explains of Lee's contribution. 'There was a sort of hook-line melody in the choruses, but that melody sort of combated with Tim [D'eon]'s lead line in a weird way. It's kind of an odd time signature, so it sometimes is hard thinking more creatively when a riff is long and kind of odd like that. In the end, the song just felt a little sticky and maybe a bit too dark, lacking the energy it needed. With a relatively dark lyric and a generous amount of minor notes in the progression, you have to be careful because it can just feel a bit dark and a bit too stone-faced or something. Geddy's part was perfect because it had this great groove and locked into the vocal melody in the song from time to time, bringing more weight to the melody in important spots. It added a certain playful dimension to the equation because it's so dynamic. Also, Tony was able to strip the song down more in the mix in sections because the bass had such a neat character and fuller sound, which was huge for the song dynamically.'" - RollingStone.com, February 18, 2016
"Human Race" and "End of the Line" by Rik Emmett and the Resolution on Res 9
Alex Lifeson plays the 12 string guitar on "Human Race" and the third guitar solo on "End of the Line".
"When Rik asked me to play on his new album, I didn't hesitate for a second. He's the consummate musician, a wonderful guitarist, and a terrific person, and it's always my pleasure to work with him any chance I can get. There is a rock purity in his songwriting and performance, and it's just so much fun to get together and throw ideas around. He's always so up and open for anything - even a notoriously uncooperative Rickenbacker 12-string!" - Alex Lifeson, mascotlabelgroup.com, September 2016
Three unspecified tracks by Marco Minneman on Borrego
Alex Lifeson co-wrote one of the as of yet unspecified "center pieces" of the album, and plays on three tracks.
"The album also features Alex Lifeson from RUSH on guitar, who also co-wrote one of the center pieces of the album and delivered amazing and beautiful guitar arrangements on 3 of the tracks." - Marco Minneman
"Who's Got Your Belly?" by Bubbles & The Shit Rockers
Released the same day as the airing of the Netlix original series Trailer Park Boys: Out of the Park, season 2, episode 5 "Memphis": "Ricky has an unfortunate accident when the Boys get to Memphis. Then, they meet Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, who helps Bubbles record a song."
"Il Mostro Atomico" by Fu Manchu on Clone of the Universe
"Our manager is friends with his manager, and they were talking. Without asking us, our manager was like, "Hey, would Alex want to play on their new record?" His manager asked him and got back to our manager, like, "Oh yeah, he totally will. Send him a song!" When he told us, we were all like, "Holy shit!" We immediately reverted back to the Rush fans we were in seventh grade! [Laughs] So we sent him the four-track, which was a little lower than normal demo quality and he was like, 'This is great. What do you want me to do on it?' We were like, 'Holy shit, he's asking us?!? Dude, do whatever you want, wherever you want!' So we got in the studio and recorded the song, and then we sent it to him in Canada; he sent us back a bunch of stuff, and it all just sounded insane. He was like, 'Use whatever you want,' so we picked this one section of stuff that he did; it's in the first part where the band drops out - he's playing a really effected guitar riff along with the bass and drums, and then the bass and drums drop out. He's doing stuff with a bunch of different effects, all these sci-fi sounds and pick slides, and we were just flipping out listening to it. We still can't believe it! [Laughs]... he really added to it; that riff that he played, that wasn't even in the song! I remember leaving the studio that night after we first got it back from him, and we were all like, 'Fuck, this is insane!' [My favorite Rush song is] 'Subdivisions'. I would hear that song all the time at parties in the mid-Eighties. And from '80 - '87, all I listened to was hardcore punk rock stuff. That's it! No rock - but that Rush song, I would just listen to it all the time. I mean, I love 'Fly By Night,' I love 'Working Man,' I love all their songs with the gnarly riffs. But I really love 'Subdivisions,' I just love it." - Frontman Scott Hill, Revolvermag.com, February 5, 2018
"Soft In A Hard Place" by Jim McCarty on Walking in the Wild Land
Besides the guest appearance by Alex Lifeson, the album was produced by long time Rush-producer Terry Brown, and also includes keyboards on three songs by Rush's graphic artist and fellow muscian, Hugh Syme.
"I know the music scene [in Toronto] and have a lot of friends out here. Alex is a big fan of the Yardbirds and Rush did covers of 'Heart Full of Soul' and 'Shape of Things' on their Feedback EP a while ago and he also worked with Terry Brown who produced some of the older albums. Terry thought it'd be a good idea to ask him and Alex thought it'd be a great idea to do it. He recorded his parts in his own studio and sent them over. That's quite a softish song and he put that hard edge into it which worked well with the song. He basically did what he thought would go with the song and I think it turned out great. I'm really happy with it.
[On Hugh Syme adding keyboards and orchestration to 'Changing Times', 'Dancing Leaves' and 'So Many Questions'] "It was Terry's idea as I wanted some string parts and he said Hugh was very good at that. Hugh is actually an artist rather than a professional musician and he did a great job. I wanted something quite subtle and he did it just the way that I wanted. Hugh is English and he brought a real English feel to it." - Jim McCarty, MetalExpressRadio.com, June 9, 2018
"'Soft In A Hard Place' has a beautifully fluid guitar solo and on checking the sleeve notes we discover it's provided by none other than Rush's Alex Lifeson. In a way that sums up the album as a whole, quietly understated but unselfconsciously delivering something that is both elegant and meaningful." - getreadytorock.me.uk, April 3, 2018
"Evil And Here To Stay" by John Mayall on Nobody Told Me
Alex Lifeson is one of many guest performers to appear with veteran bluesman John Mayall; additional guest performers include Todd Rundgren, Joe Bonamassa, Larry McCray, Carolyn Wonderland and Steven Van Zandt.
"'Evil and Here to Stay' is just one of the star studded songs you'll be playing over and over," says Mayall. "On this particular track you get to hear some great guitar soloing from special guest Alex Lifeson, who feels right at home with this special groove."
"One of the first songs Rush learned to play as a band in front of an audience was Snowy Wood in 1968," says Lifeson. "So are influences go a long way back with John Mayall. When I was asked to do this particular project I was actually quite thrilled by it. Long being an admirer of the many amazing guitar players that have been a part of the Bluesbreakers and to be considered in that esteemed group I was very, very honoured, and it's been a real pleasure." - Loudersound.com, February 20, 2019
"One Day" by The Mute Guides on Atheists and Believers
"I'd worked on the 2112 re-release where we did a version of Twilight Zone. He came to the shows and we hung out and kept in contact. He was really up for contributing to the record. He was such a lovely man and a very funny man too....I'd recorded all of the guitar parts already [for 'One Day'] and I told him to do whatever he wanted. If he wanted to replace the guitar parts then he could but he did something completely different. He added Mandola, ambient guitar and 12-string acoustic and I liked so much what he'd done on the outro, that I edited it and made a whole new intro for the song so the first thing you hear is Alex strumming a 12-string guitar and me singing 'Life is a chemical reaction'. His chord inversions made the whole thing sing and that effected the way I arranged it in the end. I`d like to feature him more." - Bassist Nick Beggs, MetalExpressRadio.com, March 4, 2019
Alex Lifeson is one of many guest performers to appear with the former Eagles' guitarist and songwriter. Other guests include Sammy Hagar, Slash, Richie Sambora, Orianthi, Peter Frampton, Joe Satriani, Mick Fleetwood, Chad Smith, Bob Weir, David Paich and Steve Porcaro.
"Alex and I play golf every year at the same children's hospital out in Palm Springs, and as a matter of fact, we have a picture of him and me backstage where he used to play of double neck a song or two from Rush. I had my own double neck and was about to play and said, 'Alex, come over here. You play one neck and I'll play the other.' After I had heard from Neil Peart that Rush was pretty much done, I figured, 'God, Alex has got to be sitting around doing nothing, bored to death. I'd love him to play on this record.' So I contacted him. We wound up playing on a really fantastic song called 'Charmed.'" - Don Felder, KSHE.fm, April 9, 2019
"Fearless Girl" by Maiah Wynne(feat. Portland Cello Project)
"This song is about the battle to find inner strength in the aftermath of sexual assault," versatile singer-songwriter Maiah Wynne reveals about her new single "Fearless Girl," which features beautiful, symphonic instrumentation from the stellar Portland Cello Project and guitar from Alex Lifeson of Rush. It's "a #MeToo-era song that encourages strength for survivors as they encounter triggers and vulnerability in their day-to-day lives.
"I wrote 'Fearless Girl' a little over a year ago, after reconnecting with my best friend from middle school," Wynne tells. "We had a long heart to heart about everything we had been going through during the time of our friendship, but didn't have the ability to express. This realization of the pain we had both been experiencing during that time was saddening and frustrating. It reflected many of the emotions I had been feeling: fear, distrust, and a strange connection with millions of women - and men - around the world who had experienced these same things. At one point during that conversation she asked, 'What happened to those fearless girls we used to be?' As I reflected on that conversation later that night, those words stuck in my brain and I began writing this song. This song was my story, her story, the stories we hear every day, and a call for inner strength in a world where sexual assault and domestic violence prevail. This song is for anyone who needs a reminder to hold on to that inner spirit," she continues. "For anyone that needs to reconnect with the strength inside of them after experiencing this specific kind of pain. This is for her, for him, for them, for you." - Vortex, July 24, 2019
"That was not an accident! Alex Lifeson is on the title track. He's on the title track of my life and career trajectory. He was one of the first supporters of Big Sugar and one of the greatest mentors that I've had. And he's such a down-to-earth chill guy. He saw us coming up, liked our music, and would do things like 'Hey, man, here's a double-neck guitar. Why don't you take the Xanadu guitar and use it for a while?' Like, who does that? So I texted him and I had to explain myself because it's such a Rush knock-off. I got the Taurus Moog pedals in there and gave it the full Moving Pictures treatment. But he not only sent me a wicked guitar solo but a bunch of overdubs-acoustic guitars and banjos and all kinds of other production to put in the track. It got way Rushier. And I'm good with it. ... He still plays great. And when he sits down to play, only one sound comes out of that amp." - Global News, May 8, 2020