If only they knew then what we know now. Well, it certainly seems as if a teenage Alex Lifeson did as he debates his future career in music with his parents. It’s a conversation many a guitar player (and parents of guitar players!) will be familiar with...
“I don’t see why I have to go through all the bullshit of high school to learn music,” he argues, bristling with frustration. “I’m just gonna hang around and feel it for a while. And then I’ll learn it… Right now, I feel a little angry… I notice a lot of parents have this great difficulty in listening to their kids.”
“I have said to you, Alex,” counters his father, “and I remember exactly: “I want you to be free, to expand.” I don’t want you to grow up with a fear, or some terror, of anything. What do you want? That’s what I want to know, really.”
Determined to succeed, Lifeson ultimately fulfilled his destiny. Having co-founded Rush in 1968, the guitarist persevered on the local gig circuit while the band put out their eponymous debut album on their own label, Moon Records, in 1974. Before long, Rush had signed to Mercury Records and their journey as Canada’s premier prog rock group really began to take off.
Decades later and Rush's album sales stand in the tens of millions. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
These days, with a new band project and signature model to his name – the fantastic Epiphone Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess Standard – Lifeson’s career in music shows no sign of slowing down. Few have the opportunity to look back on their formative years in as much detail, but this clip from Canadian film maker Allan King’s 1973 documentary Come on Children provides a rare glimpse into the past – and future – of one of music’s most influential electric guitar players.
Buy Rush here.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.