Alex Lifeson’s Admiration Of Pete Townshend

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The progressive rock legend Rush was founded in 1968 in Canada. The original band members were Alex Lifeson, John Rutsey, and Jeff Jones. Soon after, Geddy Lee replaced Jeff Jones, and in 1974, Neil Peart joined them. The band achieved great success with this trio. Rush is particularly known for their eclectic lyrics, often with references to science fiction and philosophy, innovative melodic styles, and complex rhythms.

This complex rhythm is undoubtedly owed to Alex Lifeson. The musician has provided the band with a strong foundation since the very beginning with his inventive riffs. Lifeson not only lent his guitar skills to the band but also played other string instruments such as mandolin and bouzouki, constantly experimenting with the sound.

Rush, which has maintained its solid place in the music scene for many years, disbanded in 2018 after drummer Neil Peart passed away from brain cancer. However, Lifeson did not leave the stage and embarked on new musical projects.

Why Was Alex Lifeson So Inspired By Pete Townshend?

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Rush’s guitarist has been playing the guitar for nearly 50 years, and his sound and tone have undoubtedly evolved over the years. Known for both his riffs and solos, Alex experimented with the guitar in various ways. In an interview with Guitar World in 2020, the guitarist revealed the name that taught him to play the rhythm guitar and how he inspired him.

Lifeson stated that Pete Townshend, the legendary member of the Who, is one of the names that influenced him the most. The Who has already inspired many bands and figures throughout music history, but it holds a special place for Lifeson. Praising Pete Townshend’s guitar style, the guitarist said he was the musician who taught him how to play the instrument. He also stated that Pete helped him understand the importance of rhythm guitar in a three-member band.

The Rush icon said the following about Townshend’s impact on his career:

“Pete Townshend is one of my greatest influences. More than any other guitarist, he taught me how to play rhythm guitar and demonstrated its importance, particularly in a three-piece band.

His chording and strumming always took up the right amount of space. The first time I heard this song was in the basement of Rush’s original drummer, John Rutsey. John had two older brothers, both of whom were music fiends, and they always had whatever new album had just come out.”

Alex continues to experiment with music. In 2022, the guitarist released a self-titled debut album with his new band, Envy Of None.

You can listen to Envy Of None’s single ‘Liar’ on Youtube below.