Alex Lifeson Says He’d Have to ‘Go Back to Plumbing’ If Rush Were Starting Out Today
Rush's rise to the top took a lot of time — and record company patience — that Alex Lifeson knows today's young bands aren't often afforded.
"Our first deal, for example, was for five records, so there was development there," the guitarist tells Spin. "They looked at it as: 'Let’s invest in these first two records, and if nothing happens, no big deal. Maybe the third record will be the turning point, and then four and five we’re on the gravy train.' I think that was the record company’s perspective."
Those early albums didn't attract the level of attention subsequent releases enjoyed, but Lifeson argues they were crucial to Rush's musical growth: "If we were to release those same three records now: Fly By Night – the record company would’ve gone, 'Okay, let’s hang on.' With Caress of Steel, they would’ve dropped us right away, because it was a commercially unsuccessful record, but we needed to make that record to make 2112. So there would be no 2112 for Rush in 2015. I’d go back to plumbing or some other job. That just doesn’t exist now, whereas back then, as nervous as they were, they still were there to support us."
Lifeson has said he feels relief regarding the band's plans to scale back future tours following the completion of its current R40 trek, but he also admits to Spin that these dates have found the band members in a more reflective mood.
"I think we all have. In the past when we’ve celebrated our anniversary — like, for example, our 30 tour 10 years ago, it was a bit of a retrospective as well. We kind of tried to reach back and balance the live set with material from our entire career," he noted. "But this time we focused a lot more on looking back from the present right back to the very beginning."
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