When you have been with two of your best friends in a band, then one of them dies, your heart is torn into pieces, and continuing to play without him becomes impossible. That was the case of three bandmates who had been making music together for four decades until death snatched one of them away. Therefore, when Alex Lifeson explains why “there’s no way Rush will ever exist again,” you can understand it is due to the void in his heart knowing that no one can ever replace Neil Peart. Lifeson and Geddy Lee no longer have the heart to play without their friend, but they still are proud of what they accomplished as Rush. Let’s tell you more about why the guitarist thinks Rush is dead.
Band Died in 2015
On Live for Live Music, Lifeson explained there’s no way Rush will ever exist again because the band has been dead since 2015 when they did their final tour. The guitarist said that after the tour, they all started doing their own things; while he focused on writing his own music, Lee worked on a book. A few months down the line, Peart was diagnosed with cancer and told he had at most 18 months to live. Although the drummer never wanted the news to be public, he had to inform his bandmates, who took it harder than Peart. Unfortunately, although Lee and Lifeson kept saying they would come together and make music once again, they were all busy, and the music never was produced.
After Peart’s cancer diagnosis, everything changed. Even before the diagnosis, as Rush did its final tour, Peart’s energy had gone significantly low. According to NME, they were all feeling fatigued, but their drummer’s energy had decreased, and he knew it. Therefore, Peart said that unless he could play at 100% level, he did not want to perform any more shows. Of course, being sick made it worse; hence Rush had to take a hiatus which turned out to be a breakup.
Lifeson Lacks the Motivation
On January 7, 2020, the drummer passed away, leaving a void that Lee and Lifeson felt could never be filled. Without their longtime friend and bandmate, Lee and Lifeson never had the motivation to play. Lifeson said since Peart’s passed away, he hardly plays guitar; every time he picks it up to play, he plays for 10 minutes then stops. It is entirely in contrast to before the drummer died when Lifeson could spend two or more hours strumming his instrument without even realizing so much time had passed.
The three bandmates were like brothers whose bond could never be severed by distance; hence even with Peart’s absence, Lifeson still feels like it would be wrong to play without him. Without Peart, Rush does not exist, and Lifeson is unsure if he will collaborate with Lee musically, but he is okay if they remain best friends. Lee agreed that he also doesn’t know what he would do in music anymore because he doesn’t have the heart to play. For now, as he told Ultimate Classic, Lifeson is concentrating on his projects with Envy of None. However, touring is out of the question. He explained that for 40 years, he was away from his family; thus, that life is behind him now. Therefore, as much as Envy of None singer would love for the band to do a proper tour, Lifeson cannot picture himself being cramped up in a hotel room for 22 hours watching TV. He added that he does not mind doing live shows for charity events. Without music, the guitarist keeps himself preoccupied playing golf, a sport he learned at 37, and since Rush took up most of his time, he is now making up for it.
How Rush Came to Be
When Lifeson and Lee met in junior high school, there was an instant spark. The two come from immigrant families; Lifeson is a first-generation Canadian, his parents having met in Canada where they had gone as refugees. Lee’s parents were Holocaust survivors who met at a work camp. His mother had such a strong Jewish accent that although Lee’s name at birth was Gary, she kept calling him “Geddy,” which stuck. Therefore, when the two teenagers met in high school, they knew they were different from the rest and that connection led them to become best friends. As they told Louder Sound, they wanted to be rebellious and gravitated towards music.
The guitarist and singer were okay without having a drummer, so all they did was play along to any record they could find. Before long, they began thinking about taking up music professionally. Lifeson formed a band by enrolling one of his friends John Rutsey to be on the drums and a neighbor, Gary Cooper, the bassist. Together, they created The Projection, a band that mainly played in the basement, but they would get invited to perform at parties during summer. They later changed the band’s name to Rush. Since Cooper had left, Lifeson asked another friend, Jeff Jones, to be the bassist and singer. They performed their first gig as Rush in 1968, and their audience was 20 people.
Unfortunately, Jones could not be around for the band’s next gig, so Lifeson called Lee, his best friend, to be the frontman. Although Lee was shy, he was the only one who could sing, so even if it felt unnatural, he fronted the band. Rush continued getting gigs once in a while, but when Ontario lowered the legal drinking age to 18 from 21, the band finally could perform in bars and clubs, which helped them become full-time musicians. In 1974, they fired Rutsey because they had different views; while Lifeson and Lee wanted progressive music, Rutsey was more into rock. He was replaced by Peart, whose drumming skills impressed Lifeson and Lee during an audition. The three men became the trio that would comprise Rush until its disbandment.