Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy birthday, Alex Lifeson!

Alex Lifeson, guitarist for Rush, turns 58 today. Happy birthday, Alex, and try not to get arrested again, okay?

Working with both one of the greatest bass players of the age and arguably the greatest drummer alive today, Lifeson's contributions to the band sometimes get overlooked, which is unfair.  He doesn't get as much attention as he should, in part because he's not an Eddie Van Halen style guitar shredder.  Musically, Alex is something of a chameleon as a guitarist, adapting his playing to the needs of any given song.  That, and his ego doesn't demand that the guitar always hog the spotlight, but rather will pull back to let Neil and Geddy take control if that's what works best for the song (the fact that, unlike most bands, there is no clear lead/rhythm divide between the guitar and the bass is just one of the many elements that make Rush so musically unique).

And so, to celebrate let's listen to La Villa Strangiato, an extended instrumental piece that was inspired by a dream/nightmare that Alex had, and really showcases his range and talent as a guitarist.  Also, as a bonus, you get the hear Alex's stream-of-consciousness rant near the end (during this tour it was customary to go off into his own little world near the end of the piece, which would change from night to night - Peart and Lee had no idea what he would be saying any given show, as it just depended on whatever the aliens decided to beam into his head that night).

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