Alex Lifeson Says He And Geddy Lee Could Have Continued With Rush But Neil Peart Was Exhausted


Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson joined an interview with Music Radar and talked about the band’s disbanding after playing for 50 years. The musician highlighted that he and the band’s frontman Geddy Lee could continue playing and creating together, but it was hard for their late drummer Neil Peart. 

Rush’s first lineup consisted of guitarist Alex Lifeson, drummer John Rutsey, and singer Jeff Jones but Jones was replaced by Geddy Lee while Rutsey left the band because of his health problems. The remaining band members hired drummer Neil Peart after a successful audition. Finally, Rush’s power trio started composing, recording, and playing together, contributing to their success.

Rush released nineteen studio albums and countless concerts and tours throughout their career, but sadly, everything had an end. The band announced their final tour, The R40 Live Tour, which started on May 8, 2015, in Tulsa and ended in Inglewood on August 1, 2015. Following the tour, the band members stated that they could continue to work on musical projects, but it was their last major tour. However, Peart’s health worsened, so they didn’t work on new projects.

Later, Peart announced his retirement, and in 2018, the Rush members officially said they wouldn’t play and release new works anymore. Their decision devastated their dedicated fans, but they understood the reason behind their decision considering Peart’s cancer battle. Lifeson said he and Lee were willing to go on during his interview, but Peart was too exhausted, and playing less better wasn’t for a perfectionist man like Peart. The guitarist also drew attention to his new band, Envy of None’s becoming his lifesaver after Rush’s end.

Lifeson stated in his interview that:

“Well, the Rush tour ended in 2015, and that’s when we called it quits. Neil became ill about a year later and fought that battle for three and a half years. So for me, the realization that it was over was not easy.

Both Geddy and I felt we still had a lot of gas in the tank, and we could have continued, but Neil was exhausted, and with the way he played, it wasn’t surprising. He wouldn’t settle for 1% less in his performance. So it all made sense, and after 41 years, who could argue that we’d earned it? However, I have to say, and I think this is a common thing with people who reach retirement, that you look for things to do that are as exciting and as challenging as the thing that you did for all of those decades.”

He added:

“Certainly, golf is not one of those, and you know, you still need to be driven. You still need to have the desire, motivation, and enthusiasm to do whatever it is that’s going to light your fire. I came to realize, with this project – especially in the last year where we’ve focused on it – for me. It was a lifesaver. It was a kind of Renaissance for me.

I got back into playing on a much more regular basis; I looked forward to the songwriting. I wanted to do my very best and be innovative with what I was doing. All of those things that relit my reason for living happened, and now I’m clearing the past of a lot of things in my life, and I’m looking forward to the sparkly things on the horizon that are catching my interest. This has definitely been the key for me.”

Unfortunately, Neil Peart passed away because of a very aggressive type of cancer, glioblastoma, on January 7, 2020, after battling with it for three years. Lifeson and Lee emphasized that they didn’t have any plan about playing without their close friend and bandmate.