RUSH Guitarist On Touring With KISS, Playing More Obscure Songs And Future Plans

Greg Prato of UGO.com recently conducted an interview with RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

UGO.com: Any obscure songs that you'd like to see make their way into the set in the future?

Alex Lifeson: I'm always toying with that idea — of really doing a tour, or a set, of more obscure stuff. Kind of stay away from "Tom Sawyer" and "The Spirit of Radio", and explore some more obscure songs. I think the thing with us is, it's "An Evening With", and these are RUSH fans that are there to see us play, and I think we can play just about anything we've written, and it would be accepted and there would be great interested in it. It would be really great to play those songs — for us to go on tour and play material that we haven't played in 20 or 30 years... or ever. It would be a different tour, and something I hope we'll consider seriously. It would be really interesting for us, I think. Playing "Ghost of a Chance" live, I felt like the song was reborn. There was a power, intensity, and dynamics to the song, that don't come across quite the same as the recorded version. And when you play it now — or any of these older songs — we attack it differently. It's kind of cool.

UGO.com: Looking back on the early years, I've read that RUSH toured with KISS in 1975.

Alex Lifeson: That was our first kind of "big tour." We had started touring in '74 - we were opening for a few different bands. But the KISS tour...and this was the start of their career, as well. The tour that we did with them, we opened for them, and we were playing 3,000-5,000 seat halls. They were a new band, and no one had really heard of them. So we did a lot of work with them — we probably toured with them for 60 or 70 shows. Back in those days, we were doing 200 to 250 shows a year anyways. But we toured with them over a fairly long period of time. We were very close and we had a lot of fun. We were both young bands, and quite different from each other - I think that was a nice compliment playing together. But like a lot of things, you sort of drift apart over the years. We stayed in touch for a while, but not so much in the past ten years or so.

UGO.com: Any specific memories of that tour?

Alex Lifeson: It was always a crazy scene at the end of tours — they'd plaster us with cream pies, there was always some sort of surprise lurking around a corner! And certainly, there were some fun nights — parties and things like that. They lived a little more of a "rock n' roll lifestyle" than we did.

UGO.com: Recently, Rolling Stone featured the band in its magazine — how does it feel to be embraced all these years later by magazines and media that were once not so kind to the band?

Alex Lifeson: That's nice, it's a nice compliment. It was nice to do the interview for that - the writer was really a very pleasant guy and smart. We spent the better part of a week during rehearsals, and Chris [Norris] got into different aspects of our lives — I thought he did quite a good job. We didn't have a very good relationship with Rolling Stone for a long time, so it was nice to be over that, and we couldn't even remember why it was like that in the first place. Maybe it's because we've been around for as long as we've been, and we're still at it, and we like to think of ourselves as a "vital" kind of a band. We don't do these nostalgia tours — there's nothing wrong with that, but that's not for us. I think begrudgingly, a lot of these non-supporters give us a little bit of respect for sticking around for so long.

UGO.com: What are RUSH's future plans? A new studio album?

Alex Lifeson: We finished the tour in July, and we were exhausted. We had been working hard for the last seven or eight years — I think we'd done four tours, four albums, and a bunch of DVDs. Constantly working. And we all just need to get away from it. So our plan for the next year is to not even think about the band. And then jump into it fresh. I mean, there's a bunch of stuff that we have coming out — the DVD, and we were part of a film called "I Love You, Man" that is coming out in the new year. A couple of other film things. There's lots to keep us "plugged in" for the next little while, but we just want to clear our minds of the whole business for a little bit, and jump into it with a renewed energy. Maybe not this late next year, but sometime in the fall of next year, I think we'll get together. Having said that, Ged [Lee] and I have this habit of getting together sooner than later, and casually starting to do some work. So if we get bored in the New Year, we might advance that schedule a little bit. But right now, we're thinking about next fall.

Read the entire interview from UGO.com.

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