Few bands have flourished as long as Rush. The Toronto-based band?s three members, guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist and vocalist Geddy Lee and drummer Neil Peart have played together since the 1970s-Alex and Geddy met in junior high.
Still one of of rock's top live acts, the band relies on flawless performance from its wireless. Alex Lifeson didn't take our word for the quality of A-T's Artist Elite 5000 Series wireless systems. He shopped around...and found A-T wireless "beyond compare.... Audio-Technica had a clarity that was above all the rest." Read on for more reflections from Rush's transcendent guitarist.
A-T: When did you get your first guitar?
I got my first guitar when I was 12 years old. It was a $25 acoustic guitar made by a Japanese company called Kent.
I understand you and Geddy met when you were young and that Rush is the only band you've ever been in. Can you talk a little about how you created a life's work and such phenomenal success from your childhood band?
Geddy and I met when we were in Junior High School. We started the band in September of 1968. We had been in jam/basement bands for a year or two before but they were really only excuses for getting together with other guys who played. Rush was for real from the beginning for us, despite our very young ages of 15 years. Neil auditioned after John Rutsey left and joined the band on July 29, 1974.
You began writing and performing original music when you were still a high-school band. How did your audience respond at the time?
Our audience at that time was quite small but it was very rewarding to write our own music, as simple as it was. Within the first year of our existence, we had written about half the music we were playing. It was difficult as most of our gigs were school dances where your audience preferred covers.
Can you talk a little about who your major influences are-and how they've affected your style over the years?
We were most influenced by the wave of blues based English hard rock of the late 60's. Bands like Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Who. They gave us challenging goals as musicians to aspire to.
With the completion of your latest live DVD, did you get a chance to listen to your guitar tone? What part does Audio-Technica wireless play in getting your sound across?
I have found the Audio-Technica wireless system to be beyond compare, and I did indeed compare it to many systems. Although all were quite good, the Audio-Technica had a clarity that was above all the rest, particularly in the high end response. There was a smoothness in the top end that really opened up the upper harmonics of the guitar and added pronounced clarity on very clean settings.
Any advice for performers who are just starting out?
It's always tough to start out in anything. Music can be so wonderfully satisfying just on a personal level. Try never to forget how much fun it is.
What about your interests outside of music-I understand you own your own restaurant as well as an invention company. Can you elaborate? Have you dreamed up any new products?
I've held a private pilot's license for 25 years and have had the houour to fly with the Canadian Air Force on quite a few occasions. I've enjoyed SCUBA with my sons for the past 20 years and have been on some memorable dives in Papua New Guinea and Chuuk Lagoon. I am hopelessly addicted to golf and play lots of tennis. I do own a night club with a partner in downtown Toronto and we specialize in Blues and R&B. It's called the Orbit Room. The invention company is top secret and I would have to kill myself if I told you about it.
What music do you listen to at home?
Lately I've been listening to Unkle's Never Neverland, Porcupine Tree's Deadwing, Pink Floyd's The Wall and The Mars Volta.