Alex Lifeson on Status of Rush: ‘We Don’t Have Any Plans for Anything’
Rush shook the rock world to its core late last year when drummer Neil Peart had suggested that he had retired from performing live. The band's three hour performances and grueling tours had begun to take a toll on the legendary stickman, but his words were noncommittal and the status of the band has been largely up in the air ever since. Frontman Geddy Lee stated the words were taken out of context and now he and guitarist Alex Lifeson have offered an update.
"I think right now we don't have any plans for anything," Alex Lifeson told the Sound Opinions podcast, deflating immediate hopes of Rush fans around the world. Following it up with an explanation, he offered, "Keep in mind that we had a year and a half off after the Clockwork Angels tour; we didn't talk about anything to do with the band in a year and a half. So I think we're just in a stage now where we're just kind of taking some time, reconnecting with our families and friends and pursuing some other interests, and having some fun, really." Bringing a lighthearted mood to the conversation, Lifeson added, "I know Geddy and I love writing together; we've been doing it since we were young teenagers. And I'd like to think that we'll do it until we're very old men instead of just mostly old men."
Speaking partially on behalf of his drummer, Lee stated, "I think for Neil it's become too hard. And that's a phrase he likes to use. To play for three hours, to play the way we feel is being Rush, the way Rush plays is a three-hour show that's very complicated. And that has taken its physical toll on his body. During the course of any of the last few tours, he's gone through periods that he's having problems — whether it's tendonitis or whether it's some other thing." With that being said, the frontman conceded, "So I think for him it's enough; he can't go through all that again. So that's gonna dictate, obviously, what performing live is gonna mean for Rush. And whether that happens or not, I can't really say at this point."
Keeping things on the brighter side, Lifeson spoke to Peart's current state of mind, saying, "I know Neil's in a great headspace now; he's really enjoying his life and feels great. He's spending a lot of time with his daughter and his family and doing the things that he loves to do, with his health intact. So that's a very positive thing."
On Dec. 7, 2015 it was revealed that Peart had stated, “Lately Olivia [Peart's daughter] has been introducing me to new friends at school as, 'My dad — He’s a retired drummer.' True to say, funny to hear. And it does not pain me to realize that, like all athletes, there comes a time to… take yourself out of the game. I would rather set it aside then face the predicament described in our song 'Losing It,' 'Sadder still to watch it die, than never to have known it.'”
Rush last album, Clockwork Angels, was released in 2012, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard 200 charts. Their last tour, the R40 tour which celebrated Peart's 40th year in the band, was advertised that it would "most likely be their last major tour of this magnitude.”
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