Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Alex Lifeson Discloses His Favorite Solos posted an interview with Alex Lifeson and, where Alex tells about his favorite three Rush guitar solos. Here are the complete answers in Alex's words:

1. Limelight (1981)
I love the elasticity of the solo. It's a very emotional piece of music for me to play. The song is about loneliness and isolation, and I think the solo reflects that. There's a lot of heart in it. It's a feel thing: you have to feel a solo as you play it, otherwise it's going to sound stiff. I never had that problem with Limelight. The first time I laid it down in the studio, I feel a real attachment to it and I could tell it was special. Even now, it's my favorite solo to perform live. I never get tired of it. Each time I'm about to play it, I take a deep breath and I exhale on that first note. I guess that sounds corny, but for me, it releases something.

2. Kid Gloves (1984)
That song is from our Grace Under Pressure album. What I like about the solo is, it's the opposite of Limelight: it's got a hip, kind of slinky attitude, a little goofy humor. When I play it, I feel a certain confidence, also like a prankster, which is not the way I am in real life at all. What's funny about it, too, is that it has a plot to it, and I only realized that after I recorded it for the first time - I never have a plot in mind when I'm recording solos; I always just kind of wing them. The Kid Gloves solo guided me; it's like it knew what it wanted to be and I just had to allow myself to follow.

3. Freewill (1980)
It's a really hard solo to play. I think I feel a certain amount of pride in that fact alone. Every time I play it, I'm amazed I got through it. It's so frenetic and exciting. The rhythm section too - Geddy and Neil are all over the place. It's probably one of the most ambitious pieces of music Rush has ever done. In a sense, everybody's soloing at the same time. Recording it, I didn't have anything planned; I was just responding to what the other guys did. Basically, I was just trying to keep up! But I think it worked out pretty well. I'm rather happy with it, and I can usually find fault with everything I do.

I have heard Alex talk about the solo in Emotion Detector off of Power Windows as one of his other faves. I think the short solo in Middletown Dreams from the same album is pretty great. That solo is the one moment on that whole album where just the three guys play with very little keyboard or sound effect augmentations and it's a refreshing moment, but it's pretty short.

Anyone have a favorite Alex Lifeson solo they want to tell me about?


Seano said...

Gotta put my votes in for Bastille Day and Red Barchetta....and 2112 of course.

VoxMoose said...

I'm partial to the main solo in La Villa. However, he has so many good (and unique!) solos it is hard to choose.

budd said...

The solo Alex performed on Porcupine Tree 's Anesthetize is one you all should hear if you haven't.

Great post, I immediately accessed the limelight solo from memory note for note, I guess that means that it is pretty damn good.