How The End Of Rush Let Alex Lifeson Be 'As Creative As I Want To Be'

Guitarist and charter member of the legendary Canadian prog-rock trio says he's actually been 'busier lately than I have been in a while' since the band stopped touring and recording

By Brad Wheeler, Toronto Globe & Mail, January 16, 2018
Illustration by Casey McGlynn from Alex Lifeson?s first column for the West End Phoenix newspaper in Toronto;

In Between the Acts, The Globe and Mail takes a look at how artists manage their time before and after a creative endeavour

After a distinguished career as a charter member of the legendary Canadian prog-rock trio Rush, the guitarist Alex Lifeson had a wide-open schedule when the band decided to hang up its amps, cymbals and elaborate lyricism in 2015. The musician, 64, speaks about his latest projects, musical and ;otherwise:

It's been a little over two years since Rush last toured. We have no plans to tour or record any more. We're basically done. After 41 years, we felt it was ;enough.

But I've actually been busier lately than I have been in a while. I'm writing a lot. I'm writing on four or five different little projects. I get these requests to do guitar work with other people. It's really a lot of fun for me. It's low pressure: I get to be as creative as I want to be and I can work a little outside of the box, which is really attractive to ;me.

I'm also writing for the West End Phoenix, a new monthly newspaper in Toronto. [Editor-in-chief and author and a founding member of the Rheostatics] Dave Bidini came to me and asked me if I'd wanted to have fun with a little column, and have artist Casey McGlynn do illustrations for it. It's been great. Casey's illustrations work really well together with what I'm ;writing.

For my first column, though, I was panicking. I thought, "What am I going to do? What can I do that's going to be funny or different or special in some way?" So, initially I wasn't sure about it. This is not my field. But Dave's a persuasive guy. He told me to write 150 words, that Casey would do his illustrations and that it would be great. I think I submitted 1,200 words. Apparently, I don't have a problem with ;content.

It's fun to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation. If you have a little bit of confidence and you just get out of your own way, these things can happen. The same thing happened when I got asked to do a small role in a TV show, Crawford, a new comedy on CBC from Mike Clattenburg, who created Trailer Park ;Boys.

I thought I couldn't do it ? that it was something for real actors. But I ended up doing a few episodes. It definitely was not in my comfort zone. But if you throw a challenge at yourself and dive into it, it can be really ;gratifying.