Rush Face Up To Retirement
Rush know they’re living through their final decade as a touring band, guitarist Alex Lifeson hints.
As drummer Neil Peart turns 60 he’s admitted he’s not sure how long he can keep delivering the kind of high-energy performance required of him.
The band have other commitments outside music – and Lifeson says there soon will come a time to focus on those.
“One day we’re not going to be able to do it any more,” the axeman tells Premier Guitar. “That’s a reality and I don’t think we should get too caught up in it.
“We’ve had a great run, we’ve left a great legacy that we’re proud of, and who knows what will come after that? I think my fingers will still work for a little while longer; I like to do stuff at home, to work with other people and continue to be musical.
“But there are other things in life, too, especially when you’ve dedicated your life to touring. We love what we do, but eventually it does come to an end. I don’t want to be 70 years old jumping around on stage. If we’re still making good music, sure – but I doubt it: most 70-year-old rock musicians I see are not really that enjoyable to watch.”
Peart recently said he wasn’t sure how much longer his stamina would last. Frontman Geddy Lee takes his point: “How much longer can we go out there and play three-hour shows at that peak level?
“I can see it in him. I don’t think we’ve ever worked so hard prepping for touring and I could see he was tired. There comes a point when you have to accept you’re approaching 60 and that three hours of blistering rock is for a younger man. That’s what he’s getting at.”
Lifeson adds: “He has a young daughter. We have all given up a lot being on the road, away from our families. I have two grandsons who I adore and love being with as much as I can be. I’m fortunate they feel the same way, so it kills me to be away from them.
“I know it kills Neil to be away from his daughter and miss those formative years. It’s tough for her as well. These things kind of eat away at you.”
In the meantime, Rush are riding high with an acclaimed new tour in support of their Clockwork Angels album, and – finally – nomination for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Lifeson says: “This has really been hard work this time. I know why: it’s not the physicality so much as the mental work. Plus working with a string section, two cellos and six violins, which is absolutely awesome.
“Hopefully we’ll get through this tour with no problems. I’d like to think we will, and that’s certainly our plan.”
Lee suggests: “Maybe it’s just inevitable that Rush tours down the road – if all goes well and there are Rush tours – won’t be three hours long.”
Meanwhile, some members of the band’s touring string section played some snippets of their concert scores on Toronto radio station Q107. View the video below.