Ask Big Al

With Alex Lifeson, A Show Of Fans #14, Summer 1996, transcribed by pwrwindows

click to enlarge

Here is installment one of Ask Big Al. We hope you will all send in your questions (please limit it to 3-5 and we'll pick the best ones). In haste to get this first batch of questions to Big Al, we did not include the fans names who sent them in! Sheesh! Sorry 'bout that! Call us airheads - whatever we will not let this happen again. We will include your name and city & state for use in print and so Alex knows who he's talking to! Keep those questions coming! And now without further ado it's on to the questions.

1) On stage, are you using any effects processors, or are you going strictly amp? I've been using a Digitech RP-1 and find it beneficial. How do you feel about these neat little "toys" today?

I've always used effects in my stage sound, from a Cry Baby Wah Wah in the early days, to the piles of stuff I use now. The dimension and depth created by these effects can be beneficial to a live sound. However, I prefer to record directly in the studio unless there is something specifically I want to do with a particular sound.

2) A "What If" question. If you were not doing Rush, what do you think you would be doing. I would guess either a pilot or a comedian.

An accountant or a train conductor.

3) You and Ged go WAAAAAY back. Can you give us any insight as to what got you two together? And as you grew up, when did you realize that you really had something very special and unique?

Ged and I both loved playing music, and loved it more when we did it together. As for growing up, we haven't had a chance to do that yet.

4) Ever entertain the thought of space flight (i.e. space shuttle)? Did you recently get a new rank in your flying hobby (or should I say side job??)

I was offered a position on the last shuttle flight as the Washer Technician. He's the guy who goes out into space and washes and waxes the spacecraft before re-entry. Unfortunately, I had a dentist appointment that day and couldn't make it.

5) If I am to understand it correctly, cartoons, namely classic Warner Bothers Tunes, were the raw skeleton for pieces of La Villa. Are you a cartoon fan and what are some of your favorites?

Not really. As the song developed, we decided to flavour certain sections after some cartoon ideas.