Adrenaline Rush

By Andy Coleman, Birmingham Evening Mail, September 10, 2004


He has been performing with rock legends Rush for 30 years and he's just celebrated his 51st birthday. So how does guitarist Alex Lifeson manage to still get up on stage night after night and play for over three hours?

"That's a good question," grins the amiable Canadian. "I practice yoga in my room for an hour every day, and for another 20 minutes before shows.

"I also play a lot of golf and tennis and regularly go the gym. Keep the body strong and tough, that's the secret."

Not that Rush, who play the NEC Arena tomorrow and next Wednesday, make things easy for themselves.

"On the last tour to promote our Vapor Trails album we played for three hours each show, this time we're performing for three hours 20 minutes, so we're certainly not cutting back like some acts do as they get older," says Alex, who formed Rush with vocalist Geddy Lee. They were later joined by drummer Neil Peart.

"It's quite an energetic set as well and in the summer when it's so humid we lose six to seven pounds in weight per show."

Alex promises the works when Rush perform in Britain - that means a spectacular light show and effects.

"We don't want to short change our fans," he says. "That's why the shows are so long; there's so much material it's tough knowing what to leave out. We want to make it satisyfying for us as well as the audience."

Among the songs we'll be hearing at the NEC shows are four from the Rush mini album, Feedback, a collection of covers of songs the band were influenced by when they were starting out 30 years ago.

"A friend of ours suggested we do it to mark our 30th anniversary and initially we said no because we write all our own material.

"But the more we thought and talked about it the better the idea sounded so we decided to try a few songs. We had so much fun!

"It was not a difficult project and we decked the studio out with candles, rugs and lava lamps to create the right atmosphere.

"We got to eight songs then ran out of time as we had other things scheduled. If we'd have had more time we'd like to have done 13 or 14 songs."

There are no plans for another covers album ("We don't like repeating ourselves") but the studio used for Feedback may be booked for the recording of the next original material record.

"It had all this vintage equipment and we learned that recording together does have its advantages. In the past we've been very analytical about the process but I think the Feedback sessions had more soul."

* Rush bring their 30th Anniversary World Tour to Birmingham NEC tomorrow and Wednesday September 15. Tickets priced 29.50 and 32.50 plus booking fee from 0870 909 4133 or www.necgroup.co.uk/boxoffice