Rockckline's Interview with Alex Lifeson

[Steve Downes (announcer)]: Tonight, Rockline is very proud give you the opportunity to speak with Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson.
Well, if an idle mind is the Devil's workshop, then old Beelzebub's got nothing on Alex Lifeson.

What does he do on his first extended vacation from Rush in about twenty years? What else - goes back into the studio to make an album. This time, however, it is to fulfill a personal desire to write and record music that is uniquely his own. Hence, Victor, Alex Lifeson's first ever solo project.

We're going to be hearing what Alex did on his vacation as he joins us live from our Canadian flagship station Q107 in Toronto tonight. Good evening, Alex.

[Alex Lifeson]: How ya doin', Steve?

[SD]: Very good, thank you. I hope the new year finds you well.

[AL]: Very, very well.

[SD]: Do you recall, Alex, when it was that the idea, or, more exactly, the desire to do a solo album first came upon you?

[AL]: I remember thinking about it in the late 70's. I think we all thought about it at that time, um, without making any kind of real definite movement towards it. After all these years of recording and touring, I realize now, after doing my project, that it would've been impossible until I had a length of time like I did to work on it. I worked ten months on the record. The last three months, I worked every day on it, and I didn't stop thinking about it for some minute of that whole time.

[SD]: Wow.

[AL]: So, it really required that sort of a commitment.

[SD]: And really being able to step back from the band completely, as you all did.

[AL]: Yeah, I think we needed to do that, regardless. At the end of the last tour, Geddy and his wife Nancy had a baby girl, which was about a week after the tour ended, so their timing was perfect. But, I couldn't see myself sitting around for a year and a half not doing anything more constructive than working on my golf game. So, I kind of dove into it at that point.

[SD]: You know, all three of you in Rush participate equally in the creation of the music, and the execution of the music of that band. But, I think a case could be made that of the three of you, we probably know the least about who Alex Lifeson is. Would you agree with that?

[AL]: Um, possibly. I suppose in some ways I've been a little bit more in the background, but I think I'm certainly an integral part of Rush and the sound of Rush. Uh, the other two guys happen to be brilliant at what they do, so...

[SD] Well, there's no question about that part of it, but I think it's more in terms of how much you choose to reveal about yourself.

[AL]: Well, exactly. I think for all three of us, we're very protective of our private lives. You know, when you do something like we do, and you're always on the road, and you're always in somebody's face, it's important to have something that's not really accessible to a lot of people.

[SD]: Right, that doesn't belong to everyone else. But -

[AL]: Exactly. I was just going to say that our private lives have been that thing. It's been an anchor for us, really, in this sea of craziness that touring and being in a rock band is.

[SD]: Delighted to be playing some tracks from the album. This, as a matter of fact, is the first single from Victor. It is called "Promise". Alex Lifeson, on Rockline.

["Promise" from Victor plays]

[SD]: Yeah, how 'bout all them new years resolutions? [laughs] Keep that promise. That is from the album Victor. That's the name of Alex Lifeson's new solo CD project.

Alex is joining us tonight to talk about that, and anything else that might be on your mind.

[SD]: We are back live tonight, the phone ringin' off the hook for your calls for Alex Lifeson.

Alex Lifeson with us, our first stop, San Diego, tonight. Taylin (sp?) is on the line listening to ROC 102.1. Taylin, you're on with Alex Lifeson.

[Caller]: Hey, how ya doin', Alex? Good evening.

[AL]: Good, Taylina (sic), how you doin'?

[Caller]: Pretty good. I'm just kind of wondering what the inspiration or the driving force behind "Promise" is. Like, um, are these songs that you've like, been, holding onto, like, during the course of Rush, and just decided to make an album now, or is it just something that's, like, hit you now?

[AL]: No, none of the songs were things that I had in my own little catalog. I kind of approached everything fresh. I co-wrote a number of songs with Bill Bell who is another guitar player friend of mine that I'd met working on something else a couple of years ago, and uh.. [in funny, high voice] Pooky! and I have become very close, good friends. [laughs]

[SD]: [laughs] You must be, if you can call him "Pooky". [laughs]

[AL]: [laughs] Yeah, well that is kinda weird when we're in public. We stopped holding hands, so it's not quite as difficult as it was.

[SD]: Oh, good. [laughs]

[AL]: But, we wrote a number of songs, ["Promise"] being one of them. Really, it was just fresh, and it was nice to work with somebody else; I love working with Geddy and Neil very, very much, but it was, again, I think really good for me to be around other influences and around other people, and to be in a different situation completely.

[SD]: Those of you who are familiar with the work of another fine Canadian artist, Tom Cochrane, might recognize the name Bill Bell. The two of them have worked together over the years, have they not, Alex?

[AL]: Yeah, that's right. Actually, Bill did a lot of work on Tom's record last summer, as well as a couple of other records at the same time - Larry Gowan (another Canadian artist), and Jim Stockwood (?) as well, who he's been working with quite extensively. So, Bill's been quite busy. He's a fabulous guitarist, and a terrific person to be with; full of life and energy. I really like his company.

[SD]: Down to Florida we go. Robert is in Coral Springs tonight, listening to 94.9 ZETA in Miami this evening. Hi, Robert.

[Caller]: Hi. Yeah, I was wondering if Alex had recorded a song last year with Skid Row's Sebastian Bach, and I have another question... You might want to answer [that one] first?

[AL]: OK, that one first?

[SD]: Yup.

[AL]: Actually, when we first wrote "Promise", Sebastian was in town for Christmas. He's from the - well, fairly close to Toronto. He popped by my place and put a vocal on that song. The problem was that as things developed, and as I wrote the rest of the material for the record, I really wanted to have one single voice on there - one single male voice. So, when I talked to Edwin about working on the record and we got focused on all the songs, I decided to go with him. The take that Sebastian did on the song was really, really great, and Sebastian is a fabulous singer. Talk about energy! The whole studio at home was shaking when he was out there jumping around, bouncing off the walls doing it. I really felt really badly about not using him on the record, because I know that it meant something to him, and he really enjoyed working on it. Unfortunately, I had to make that call, and I did.

[SD]: Robert, what's your other question?

[Caller]: I heard Alex was also in Car Stereo Review magazine back in '94. I was wondering if he had some sort of special system? [SD]: I've heard that the word "killer" may be applied to you system. [laughs] Perhaps literally, Alex.

[AL]: That was in my wife's car. I didn't have anything special, but it was quite a monstrous system, and I can't even remember all the things that went into it. It was quite a system - you could hear the car a hundred miles away, actually, at mid-volume. My son currently is driving around in that car, and he's blown the speakers a couple times, and I thought that was impossible. But, again, he takes after his father, so...

[SD]: Blown the speakers? I think the doors came off, didn't they? [laughs]

[AL]: Yeah. [laughs]

[SD]: Robert, thanks for the call. Jack in the McAllen Brownsville, Texas area listening to the new Q94.5. Jack, you're on with Alex.

[Caller]: [cheerful voice] Hey! What's goin' on?

[AL]: OK, Jack, how are you?

[Caller]: I'm doin' pretty good. I'm actually in a pretty good mood. I was wondering - I've got two questions for you. What do you like most about working solo?

[AL]: Well, it was a very new experience for me. I think, when I look back on the whole thing, I think just being in charge of it, and the fact that I pushed myself much harder than I think I've ever done before. I've come out of it with a new sense of who I am and what I want to accomplish, and a whole new work ethic. I love work now, and I can't get enough of it.

[SD]: And Jack, your other question?

[Caller]: OK, and did you find it easier or harder than working with the rest of Rush?

[AL]: In a lot of ways, it was harder, only because the full responsibility was mine. I wrote the material, I played guitar, I played bass, I played some keyboards, I did some programming, I worked on the cover, I payed for the thing! [laughs] You know, every aspect of it, I did. So, in that sense, it was harder in some ways than what we do with Rush. It was a very different thing for me, and I'm glad of the experience. It doesn't affect anything that I feel about Rush, and what I want to do in the band.

[SD]: Alex Lifeson on Rockline here with Rush and "Stick It Out".

["Stick It Out" from Counterparts plays]

[SD]: That's Rush from their most recent release, back in '93,
Counterparts and "Stick It Out". Alex Lifeson with us tonight.

To the RIFF in Detroit, we go. Jeff (sp?) is in Rochester, Michigan, this evening. Your on with Alex Lifeson, Jeff.

[Caller]: Hey.. I just want to say I'm a huge Rush fan, and I really enjoy Victor, also.

[AL]: Thank you.

[Caller]: My question is, in the songwriting process, is it the music that usually comes first, or was it the lyrics? What inspired you?

[AL]: In the case of Victor, I wrote the music first. I wrote, I think, five songs, and kinda spent some time on that. I worked lyrics for those songs, and then continued writing music, and then took a chunk of time off and worked on lyrics for those songs. I have to say that I was pretty nervous about writing lyrics. I hadn't done it in about eighteen years, and I don't remember it being a particularly great experience eighteen years ago. I was afraid I couldn't do it, and that it would sound a little corny, or whatever. But, once I settled on thematically what I wanted to do with it, it seemed to come fairly quickly. With Rush, it goes both ways. Quite often, Neil will submit a whole pile of lyrics, and Ged and I will go through them, and kind of pick what we'd like to get started on. Other days we just feel musically inclined, and start working on the music, and then fit the lyrics to it afterwards.

[SD]: Thanks, Jeff, for the call. We are spending the evening with Alex Lifeson tonight taking your calls. We'll be playing more of his album, Victor, some more Rush, and of course, more of your phone calls coming up on the Global Satellite Network. Stick around.

[SD]: My name is Steve Downes here in Hollywood. Alex Lifeson, lead guitarist for Rush, at our Rockline affiliate, Q107 in Toronto, Canada tonight. From his first solo album released just last week entitled Victor, this is "Don't Care".

["Don't Care" from Victor plays, complete with profanity.]

[SD]: Victor, Alex Lifeson. There's a song, that's the opening track from the album, as a matter of fact. Lyrically, that's sort of cuttin' right to the chase, isn't it, Alex? [laughs]

[AL]: Yeah, he's not - that guy's not feeling too good. [laughs]

[SD]: Apparently not. [laughs]

[AL]: He's a little p'd off.

[SD]: "Don't Care" is the name of the track from Victor. Let's talk to Andy now in Wichita, Kansas. He's listening to T95. Hi, Andy.

[Caller]: Hi. My question is, how did you get hooked up with Edwin from I Mother Earth to play in Victor? [AL]: I Mother Earth opened the last show that we did on the last tour, which was here in Toronto. Although I didn't get a chance to meet [Edwin] that night, I met some of the other guys in the band. When it came time to think about vocalists for Victor, I had to listen to their CD, and thought that Edwin would really suit the material well. He just has a certain quality and a menace in his voice. For song's like "Don't Care", for example, or "The Big Dance", I just thought he'd be perfect. I called him up, and he said that he'd love to give it a whirl. We got together, and we've become quite good friends. I think he's done just a fabulous job on it. I thought it was great.. performances.

[SD]: No question. And I Mother Earth, did I hear you say earlier that they
have a new album coming out this spring?

[AL]: Yeah, they're just finishing up now. They may, in fact, be done. I think they're talking about a release in the next month or two, with a tour beginning in April. So, look out for that, they'll be great. I played on one of the songs on the record, and the material is really strong. It's going to be a really good album for them, I think.

[SD]: Look forward to that. Let's head to the Chicago area. Chris, listening to 103.9, "The Wabbit", in Chicago. He's in Grey's Lake, Illinois. Chris, you're on with Alex.

[Caller]: Hi Alex, hi Steve, how ya doin'?

[SD]: Fine. What's your question?

[AL]: Hi, Chris.

[Caller]: I wasn't supposed to say "how ya doin?", but, oh well. I actually got a request and a question. The request is, the song "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" hasn't been played in about 50 tours, so can you maybe do it next time?

[AL]: Yeah, we were holding out for the 51st.

[SD]: [laughs]

[Caller]: And my question is, the Auden poem, Victor, is obviously pretty dark and disturbing. What got you interested in Victor, and why'd you decide to put it to music?

[AD]: I was fiddling around with the music. I wanted to have something on the record that was a little different than the other songs. I really wanted to have some variety overall on the record. I thought it'd be kinda cool to do a song where I didn't actually play guitar on, and just did all the programming. I thought, also, once the music had been written, that it'd be kinda fun to do a spoken word thing - sort of a pseudo-beatnik kinda reading. I opened a book that I had of [Auden's] collected poems to Victor, and I read it through. Although Victor the poem is very, very long, I condensed it for the song. It really caught the essence of what the record was about, dealing with the dark side of love and how it can push you to do things that are pretty horrific. So, it seemed to suit the record quite well.

[SD]: Not only - and I want to make sure I'm correct on this, Alex - but not only is the album named Victor, but the project, and indeed the people you were working with collectively are also being called Victor. Am I right about that?

[AL]: That's right. I didn't want to call it "The Alex Lifeson Project" or the "Big Shot, Big Deal Project".

[SD]: [laughs]

[AL] I mean, these - everybody that worked on the record was so into it, and I just felt that it would be fairer to have everyone involved as more of a band project, and to salute them for it.

[SD]: Let's talk to Tom, now, in Springfield, Ohio, listening to 104.7 WTUE
in Dayton this evening. Hey, Tom.

[Caller]: Hey. Alex, I'm happy to be able to talk to you tonight.

[AL]: Thanks.

[Caller]: I have two questions for you. First, let me say, I think the record is absolutely brilliant. I think only the first three songs is there a hint of your work with Rush, and the balance of the record seems to lean toward a more modern rock, or a more alternative side of rock. I was wondering if there was ever any discussion about marketing the album to other than traditional rock stations.

[AL]: No, we never really talked about that, and I never really thought about that. When I set out to do the record, I really just wanted to wing it. Whatever I felt that day instinctively is what I kinda followed up on. So, there was no gameplan for it. As far as I was concerned, once I finished the record, it was done, and if no one heard it, that's OK - at least I did it. All of that stuff comes later, and it's usually in someone else's hands [who is] better suited for that sort of thing.

[SD]: Yeah. There's really a myriad of styles on this record. You cover a lot of ground here. There's a lot of different places to go.

Amanda in Hill's Shore, New Hampshire, listening to 100.3 WHEB in in Portsmouth tonight. Hi, Amanda.

[Caller]: Hi, Alex.

[AL]: Hi, Amanda.

[Caller]: I have two questions. First, I was wondering, what kind of feedback have you gotten from Geddy and Neil on this album?

[AL]: They were both very, very positive and supportive. They, I don't think, wanted to get involved in it in the early stages of it while I was writing and recording. I mean, they always asked how things were going, but I think they wanted to basically stay fairly neutral on it, and didn't want to affect at all what I was doing.

After I finished, they were the first two people that I gave copies to, of course. The feedback that I've gotten from them has been very positive and very supportive, and I love them for that.

[SD]: Alex is at Q107 in Toronto tonight, near his own hometown there. Stan is in Branghton (sp?), Ontario, this evening. Stan, you're on Rockline.

[Caller]: Hey, Alex. Happy new year.[AL]: Hey, same to you, Stan.

[Caller]: I was wondering if stuff you'll do in the studio with Rush will bring you new, and maybe a different style of playing because of the solo album?

[AL]: Well, for me personally, I think that my level of playing is quite high right now, just because I've been working on this project for so much of last year, and I had two weeks off, and then started this new Rush record. So, I'm feeling like I'm in really good shape playing-wise.

The fact that we had a year and a half off, and we all did other things - I mean, Geddy made this beautiful baby girl. Everybody came into the project feeling so good. We had, I think the best time we've ever had writing the material for the new Rush record. We started recording it this past week. I think it's going to be great. I really have high hopes for this one. It just feels so good.

[SD]: We'll be looking forward to that. Here is the title track from 1991's Roll the Bones. From Rush on Rockline.

["Roll the Bones" plays]

[SD]: Title track to another platinum seller from Rush, that is "Roll the Bones". Alex Lifeson, our guest for the full 90 minutes, we'll be hearing more of his record, Victor, coming up in just a few minutes.

[SD]: Back live with Alex Lifeson on Rockline. And this reminder: everybody who gets on the air with Alex tonight will receive a copy of Victor courtesy of Atlantic Records.

Back to the phones, now, for Alex Lifeson. Robert in Louing (sp?) Louisiana listening to 92.3 WCKW in New Orleans this evening. Robert, say hello to Alex Lifeson.

[Caller]: Hello, Alex. How you doin'?

[AL]: Good Robert, and you?

[Caller]: Yes, I'm doing just fine. Good weather down here today.

[AL]: Not so up here.

[Caller]: I have a couple quick questions. Years ago, you worked with Rik Emmett on a project, Beyond Borders.

[AL]: Right.

[Caller]: Was that kind of the impetus for this project? Did you want to work more as a solo artist?

[AL]: Not really. That didn't have anything to do with it. I've worked on a couple of projects here and there whenever I've had the opportunity, and I enjoyed doing that very much. But, no, specifically that project had nothing to do with this.

[SD]: Rik Emmett, of course, the driving force behind Triumph for many, many years.
Kevin in Virginia Beach, Virginia, listening to FM99 WNOR in Norfolk, Virginia, this evening. Hi, Kevin.

[Caller]: Hello. Hey, Alex, how you doin'?

[AL]: Great.

[Caller]: OK. First of all, I wanna thank you, and the other guys from Rush for inspiring me to pick up the bass 15 years ago. I think you're the most underrated guitarist I've ever heard. What I'd like to ask you is, have you thought about recording with the old Gibsons and Hiwatts you used to use?

[AL]: Actually, I've got a Hiwatt that I picked up for recording on this album that we're working on now, as well as my stacks after stacks of Marshalls. And I'm using the Gibsons quite a bit in the studio, but I do like using the Paul Reed Smith guitars live and also in the studio. So, I have a whole pile of stuff that I go through.

[SD]: Quite a setup in your own home there, I understand, too. Quite a studio there in the homestead, right?

[AL]: Yeah, we had a lot of fun. We managed to knock pictures off the wall, and other things that were sitting on a desk out there. It became a contest after awhile - can we turn up loud enough to knock things over? [laughs]

[SD]: [laughs] Vibrate it right to the floor, there.

[AL]: Absolutely.

[SD]: Let's talk to Ed now in Madison, Wisconsin, listening to 101.5 WIBA FM. Ed, you're on with Alex.

[Caller]: Hi, Alex.

[AL]: Hi, Ed.

[Caller]: Love your work.

[AL]: Thank you.

[Caller]: Very strong album. As I'm listening along to it, I see your sense of humor cropping up in "Shut Up Shuttin' Up". I was just wondering what possessed you to put that on the album? I got a kick out of it.

[AL]: Well, the album was developing into quite a dark record, and I just wanted to inject a little bit of levity in it. So, I got my wife, Charlene, and her best friend, Esther, who's a real character, in to do this little bit of nagging about the funny little habits that some of us have, and the silly little things that we argue about that end up becoming big things in the overall picture. We had them in there for about seven hours going through so many different things, and they were well lubricated with a couple bottles of wine. By the end of it, of course, we couldn't get them to shut up.

[SD]: [laughs] Of course, right.

[AL]: So, we had a lot of fun with that one, though.

[SD]: [laughs] Yeah, it sounded like Charlene might've been having a little bit too much fun there towards the end. [laughs]

[AL]: Yeah, well, Charlene's the straight girl. It's Esther that really takes over.

[SD]: Oh, is that right? [laughs] That was a great story.

[AL]: But, that's Esther. Right Michael? [laughs]

[SD]: You gotta hear that track on the Victor record.

Let's talk to Jerry in Jacksonville, Florida, listening to ROC105 tonight. Hi, Jerry. [Caller]: Hiya doin'? It's a pleasure to be talking to Big Al Dexter of the Orbit Room.

[AL]: Now you got it.

[Caller]: I have one question for you, Alex. Your son, Adrian, co-wrote the music and did the program for "At the End" and "The Big Dance". My question would be, could we possibly see a CD from him in the future?

[AL]: I sure hope so. He's written some stuff that just blows my mind. I mean, he's got a handle on creating moods and colors with music that is overwhelming. He's eighteen years old, he's going to be nineteen in March. I think that he has a future in music, and I know that what he wants to do. I support him and stand by him 100%.

[SD]: Is he a player as well? Does he play an instrument?

[AL]: He's been playing guitar for four years. He's very good, even though I don't get a chance to hear him much. He's very secretive about his playing, but I sneak around the house and catch him when he's practicing. He's a good player, but he's a really good songwriter, and he's developing those skills right now. I think that perhaps in a couple of years, we might actually hear something from him.

[SD]: Great skill to have. Good question, Jerry. Thanks for the call.

Let's see if you can guess who's singing lead vocals on this track. This is from Victor on Rockline, the first solo record from Alex Lifeson.

["Start Today" from Victor plays]

[SD]: The song is called "Start Today" from Alex Lifeson's album, Victor. On vocals... well, it's not who you think it is, let's put it that way. As a matter of fact, George listening to Q104 in New York has a question about that particular vocalist. George?

[Caller]: Hi. How are you?

[AL]: Great.

[SD]: Fine, what's you're question for Alex?

[Caller]: I just wanted to know, where did you find Dalbello? Her sound is great; she sounds a lot like Geddy from the earlier days. I read about that in the guitar magazine, but I guess it was just a coincidence?

[AL]: Well, you know, it didn't occur to me when she did it, because I was sitting there in the control room staring at her in the studio doing it. We spent quite a bit of time on the song. She's been around - she's a Canadian singer - she's been around for quite awhile here in Canada. She has a few records out here, and she's got a record coming out very shortly, if it's not out already. She was just completing it when I was finishing up Victor. But, she is just amazing. I mean, even when I hear that song today, it just gives me goosebumps. She's got such power and such a sense of character in her voice. I loved working with her, and I think I fell totally in love with her on that day working together. [laughs] She was great. A really smart, excellent person, and wonderful to work with.

[SD]: Hopefully, this will give her some exposure down here in the states, and we can get clued in on what a lot of Canada has known for a number of years here. Dalbello is her name.

Thanks, George, for the call. Scott in Miami, listening to 94.9 ZETA, tonight. Scott?

[Caller]: Yeah, hello. I'm a flight instructor down here in Miami, and I had read somewhere that you used to do some flying. Just wondering if you're still sticking to it.

[AL]: Yeah, as a matter of fact, I just picked up a little bit of time on a Navaho going down to Bearsville on a friends plane. But, more importantly, over the last couple of years, I've been flying with the Canadian Air Force on the F-5.

[SD]: Wow.

[AL]: I've got a couple of hours on F-18, but I've picked up, I guess about four hours on the F-5.

So, that was one of my thrills of my life to do that.

[SD]: I bet. How many G's were you pulling at one time?

[AL]: I think the max we pulled was 6.2 in the 18.

[SD]: Wow!

[AL]: Yeah, that was a lot.

[SD]: That's a whole new way of looking at life, isn't it? [laughs]

[AL]: It sure is! [laughs]

[SD]: Scott, good call. Chris in Oceanside, California, listening to ROC102.1 in San Diego this evening. Chris?

[Caller]: Hey, how's it goin', Alex?

[AL]: Good, Chris.

[Caller]: You know what? I think Rush and you guys are one of the best bands ever. Your acoustical guitar work is beautiful.

[AL]: [laughs] Thank you.

[Caller]: My question for you is, is it possible that in the near future, or anytime in the future, that Rush might do an acoustic collection of songs?

[AL]: Sort of an unplugged thing, I guess you mean. You know, I think we're kinda really plugged in. I would think that we'd probably like to keep it that way. We've never felt a desire to really do that. I think I'd rather try to play more of the older songs that we haven't played in a long time as they were recorded, or as they should be played live, than spend the time to work out an acoustic set.

[SD]: Wow, so do them in their original arrangements. Boy, that would make a lot of the old fans thrilled to hear that.

[AL]: Yeah, it would be fun to do that, I think.

[SD]: Yeah. Alex Lifeson from Rush on Rockline with "Dreamline".

["Dreamline" from Roll the Bones plays]

[SD]: I love that one. "Dreamline" from Rush. Alex Lifeson with us for the full 90 tonight. Mark is listening to us in beautiful Bamph (sp?), Alberta. CJ95 in Calgary is our station there. Hey, Mark.

[Caller]: Hey.

[SD]: You're on with Alex Lifeson.

[Caller]: Alright, Alex, I've been a big fan of yours for a few years now. I've been following your last six tours. A lot of Canadian bands have been influenced by you, among like Tragically Hip. I was wondering if you were doing anything with any bands like that, especially the Hip, in the next little while.

[AL]: I'm sorry, we lost you there for just a second. Can you repeat -

[SD]: He said that so many Canadian bands have been influenced by you and Rush, and he mentioned specifically Tragically Hip, and if you may have been, or foresee in the future, perhaps being involved with that band on any level.

[AL]: Not at this point. The Hip are a very big band in Canada; they're a terrific band, and they tour and do everything in their own right. Perhaps in the future we might have the opportunity to work together. I'd love to go out every show and watch them play, but as far as working together, no plans for it.

[SD]: That would be a nice bill, wouldn't it? Rush and the Tragically Hip. Love to see that.

[AL]: Yeah, it would be great, actually.

[SD]: We're speaking with Alex Lifeson. We'll have more from the Victor album and more of your phone calls coming up on the Global Satellite Network.

[SD]: That is "Mr. X", one of two instrumental tracks you'll find on the
Victor album that not only showcases the stellar guitar work of Alex Lifeson, but also some great work by Peter Cardioli (sic) on bass - is that the right way to say that there, Alex? Cardioli?

[AL]: Cardinali.

[SD]: Cardinali. And also, Blake Manning on drums, there. That song is called "Mr. X". Terry in Columbus, Ohio, listening to QFM96, tonight. Terry, you're on with Alex Lifeson.

[Caller]: Hey, Alex. Thanks for all the great music all these years, and thanks for taking a call from my brother earlier, actually. My question was a frequent topic on the National Midnight Star [nice plug, Terry!] is your nightmares, and how they've inspired some of the things you've written over the years. Are any of the things on this album from nightmares?

[AL]: Well, this was a nightmare working on it, at times, but, no, they haven't been inspired by anything like that. They're not so much nightmares as they are just very unusual dreams, but I've made promises to both Ged and Neil that I would never talk about it, because they're so sick of hearing it.

[SD]: Is that right? [laughs] One of those dreams where you wake up and go "hmmm..."

[AL]: "What the hell was that?!"

[SD]: That's right. [laughs]

Steven in Lowell, Massachusetts, listening to ROCK101 WGIR FM in Manchester, New Hampshire, this evening. Steven.

[Caller]: Hello, Alex?

[AL]: Hi.

[Caller]: Just wondering if you still keep in touch with the B-Man; the author of Rush: Visions - Bill Banasiewicz [pronounces it Bana-SHEV-itz]? I'm not sure of the pronunciation, uh..

[AL]: No, not really.

[SD]: There ya go. [laughs] That one answered.

Matt in - is that Denton? - Texas, listening to Q102 in Dallas, home of the soon-to-be-going-to-the-Superbowl Dallas Cowboys, there. Hey, Matt.

[Caller]: Hello.

[SD]: You're on with Alex Lifeson.

[AL]: Hi, Matt.

[Caller]: Alex, I'm a huge Rush fan, and you created a really super album. It stands up really well on its own, congratulations.

[AL]: Great. Thank you very much.

[Caller]: I'd like to ask you, doing all the work on the album, on your own, did it change the dynamics of recording with Rush at all? I mean, did it change your input level that you might have given on a Rush album considering you've done all this on your own now, and you have the experience behind you?

[AL]: Yeah, I think I feel a little more self confident, having done what I did. I think if I brought anything into this new writing session, it's been that. I'm a little more definite in what I'm doing and the way I hear things. I think when Ged and I worked together, that has just helped us work a little more efficiently. We seem to be getting all our results much quicker than we have in the past, and the results seem to be much more definite. Now, I'm not saying that it's all because of this. The fact that we had the time off and everybody was in such a great headspace really added to that whole experience being as good as it was. But, for me personally, I do feel more confidence having done this.

[SD]: Thanks, Matt. Once again, Alex Lifeson from his album Victor on Rockline. This is the final track on that CD, "I Am the Spirit".

["I Am the Spirit" from Victor plays]

[SD]: From the album Victor, Alex Lifeson and "I Am the Spirit". We'll be back with some closing thoughts from Alex in just a minute on the Global Satellite Network. Don't go away.

[SD]: [holding back laughter] Thanks to everyone for listening and calling tonight.

...and to our guest this evening, Alex Lifeson. Always a pleasure, Alex. We talked about it very briefly, and I know you guys - Rush has just gone back into the studio. Can you give us any sort of idea of the direction of the new Rush album?

[AL]: Um, no, I can't. But, I can say that we started recording last week, and everything sounds great, and the material is really strong, and we really feel strongly about this record. I think it's going to be one of the best records we've ever made. I always think that with each record, but this time, I really believe it. There's a feel to this record that I don't think we've had on any other Rush record, and I can't wait to hear this record finished.

[SD]: Nor can we.

[AL]: Really looking forward to it.

[SD]: Congratulations on some great work with Victor, and I hope you get a chance to take that out on the road one of these days, as well.

[AL]: Thank you so much, it's been a pleasure.

[SD]: I'm Steve Downes, see ya!

[show ends]