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Subject: 06/28/91 - The National Midnight Star #277  ** Special Edition **

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          The National Midnight Star, Number 277

                   Friday, 28 June 1991
Today's Topics:
  Alex Lifeson interview 4/86 from Guitar Player magazine
----------------------------------------------------------

From: stedmant@LONEX.RADC.AF.MIL (Terrance A. Stedman)
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 91 23:53:51 EDT
Subject: Alex Lifeson interview 4/86 from Guitar Player magazine


             Alex Lifeson of Rush   The Evolving Art of Rock Guitar
                                 by Jas Obrecht

  [ From Guitar Player magazine (April '86).  Reproduced without permission. ]

     Alex Lifeson has a sharp ear for tones and a talent for editing to
essentials.  He shrouds Rush's lyrics with biting chords, chorused arpeggios,
and striking sonic flourishes.  Jagged yet lyrical, his solos are studies
in innovation.  He's unafraid to venture outside of well-paved blues-rock
territories, using thick harmonics, whammy-inflected feedback, legato riffing,
and other techniques to create a taut, textural approach that has its closest
parallels in U2's The Edge and ex-Policeman Andy Summers.
     On the Power Windows album and tour, Lifeson proves his strength as
an ensemble player, smoothly managing Rush's complex rhythms and time changes.
His sophisticated setup enables him to create a huge spectrum of sound.
For years, he's played bass pedals in addition to guitar, and when he steps
out to solo, it's with the confidence of one who know he's supported by
two of rock's best musicians--bassist/keyboardist Geddy Lee and drummer
Neil Peart.
     Throughout its 18-year history, Canada's premier power trio has maintained
a prominent place on the cutting edge of techno-rock.  Its audience is doggedly
loyal, consistently packing stadiums and sending albums into the Top 10.
In addition, Lifeson has won first or second place in the Rock Guitar category
of every Guitar Player Readers Poll since 1980.  He was the magazine's
cover-story artist in Jan. '80, and detailed the making of Rush's acclaimed
Grace Under Pressure LP for the Oct. '84 issue.  Rush was sharing a tour
with the Steve Morse Band when the following interview took place.

                                  *   *   *   *

>How has your style changed since Grace Under Pressure?

For me, it's always been very important to be a cohesive part of the _band_,
not to be just one element of it.  With Power Windows, I finally achieved
that.  I'm very satisfied with it.  I think the sounds that we got were
great and quite different for me--much cleaner, crisper sounds than I've
ever had before.  With the way the songs were written and arranged, I felt
much more tied in with the whole band, instead of being a single musical
unit.  My style has developed more in that way.  It's nothing incredibly
new or different, but it's probably a little more matured and evolved.

>Is your musical development a result of your own evolution, or are portions
of it suggested by your bandmates?

It's probably my own evolution.  When we're in the studio, we all have ideas
about each other's parts, and we make suggestions to each other.  There
were a couple of songs on the new album that required a complete guitar
rewrite; once the keyboards were put on, it changed the whole character
of the song.  "Manhattan Project" was one, and "Middletown Dreams," especially.
With that one, the original guitar part was laid down, and then Ged redid
his bass.  Because he had some time to spend, he changed some of the bass
patterns.  Then the keyboards came on, and suddenly the mood of the song
was totally different.  So, it was a bit of experimenting when it came to
putting down the basic tracks for the guitar.  And that one took a couple
of rewrites.  I'd do something, come back the next day, and they'd say,
"You know, as the night went along, we got a little bit better towards the
end there.  Why don't we go back to the beginning and look at the guitar
part and maybe think about rewriting it?"  This was constantly happening.

>Did the "Middletown Dreams" solo change?

No.  With solos, I normally like to just go in and do them.  I don't really
pre-prepare for them.  But with this album, I had spare time when we were
in England doing basic tracks, so I worked something out for "Emotion Detector,"
"Middletown Dreams," and the middle section of "Mystic Rhythms," where the
backwards guitar comes in and repeats the line.  So I actually had quite
a good idea of what I was going to do solowise for those songs.  "Middletown
Dreams" was a fairly quick one.

>Were any of the Power Windows guitar tracks especially difficult to cut?

It's funny.  There's always one song that you're terrified of doing.  You
think it's going to be really tough, and "Marathon" was the one.  We wrote
it and thought, "This song is going to be like pulling teeth once we get
in the studio."  Of course, we get into the studio and it's a breeze.  And
a song like "Emotion Detector," which we thought would be a breeze, was
the killer.  It was very, very difficult to get the mood right.  I'm still
not really sold on that song.  It never ended up sounding the way I had
hoped it would.  But the "Marathon" solo was probably the easiest of all the
solos to do.

>How do you record solos?

I like to play about eight or ten tracks of solos, and then I get kicked
out of the control room [laughs].  Everybody sort of dives in.  Geddy likes
to really get into doing that.  He and the engineer sit down, and Neil makes
some suggestions.  Of course, the producer is there, too, and they piece
together a solo.  I come back in after a couple of hours when they have
something assembled, and if I like it, then we either stick with it or we
keep that as a starting point and go for another whirl over some of the
older tracks.

>Were any of the Power Windows solos played in one pass?

I don't thinks so.  Half of "Emotion Detector" was done in one pass.  Actually,
that song had a whole different solo that took quite a bit of work.  We
left it, went ahead with some other parts, lived with it for four or five
days, and Neil didn't feel quite right about it.  He didn't think that it
made the proper kind of statement to the song, so we re-examined it and I
gave it another whirl.  That was tough.  It's one thing to rewrite a rhythm
guitar part--you've got stuff to lock onto.  But it was so hard to divorce
what had been in my head as a solo for three months and come up with something
that was a totally different feel.  But I am satisfied with the results.

>Do Geddy and the others ever assemble a solo that's unlike anything you
would usually come up with?

Yeah, often.  Well, to me it always sounds like I did it, or that it would
have just been a matter of time before I'd gotten around to something like
that.  But I would have gone through a lot of different directions before
getting to it.  So I don't ever think it's _that_ different.  Often, I pick
up a lot of neat little parts with this method.  Otherwise, it's too hard
most times because I'm too engrossed in it, too involved.  I'm concentrating
so hard on what I'm doing that I can't possibly be objective.  So I'm better
off if I go crazy on eight tracks, take a break from it, and then come in
and listen to what they've assembled.

>Do you have to learn the solo for concerts?

Yeah, but that's not a problem.  It's usually quite easy.

>Was there much experimenting with equipment on the new album?

No.  I knew pretty well what I wanted.  I was pretty happy with my Marshall
amps, and I had the Dean Markley CD-212 with me, as well, plus we had another
Dean Markley CD-120 and a Roland Jazz Chorus.  Actually, we used the Roland
amp for just about all the chorusing effects; the last time I used it was
on A Farewell To Kings.  We mixed amps.  On "Middletown Dreams," for instance,
we used the Dean Markley CD-212, as well as a Gallien-Krueger driving two
Celestion speakers in a Marshall cabinet.  I also had a Rockman on the Edge
setting, and I just combined the whole bunch.

>What were your main guitars on the Power Windows sessions?

I used an Ovation Adamas for "Mystic Rhythms" and all the other acoustic
guitar parts, and had pretty good success with it.  For a lot of the electric
parts, I used a Fender Tele.  It appeared on a couple of songs on Grace
Under Pressure--the first section of "Body Electric" and parts of "Red Sector
A."  But on this record, I think I used the Tele on just about every song.
That guitar is a reissue of one of the early models; it's about three or
four years old.  I always disliked Teles, but I had a look at one and thought,
"Well, this could come in handy."  I spent a little time with it, and I
got to really enjoy it.  It's become invaluable in the studio; for all that
clean, arpeggiated stuff, it's perfect.

>Are there any non-guitar sounds on the Power Windows album that listeners
might mistake for guitar?

Yeah.  There are a couple during the first verse of "Big Money."  It sounds
like they're played with a vibrato arm and a really gritty sort of tone.
And that's actually Geddy playing the PPG synthesizer with a guitar sound
sampled into it.

>You often have wide pan in the stereo spectrum.  The doubled scratch guitars
in "Grand Designs" and "Middletown Dreams," for instance, produce a bigger-
than-life effect.

Yeah.  I think that's due to painstaking patience, hard work, and attention
to detail in the mixing mode.  We always spend a lot of time mixing.  Our
producer, Peter Collins, thought maybe we'd spend 10 days mixing, and we
spent a month.  It's all those little things that everybody gets fired up
about--moments that go by that don't really do anything for the song, but
if you listen to it on headphones or in your car, suddenly you notice them.
It makes the song that much more special, and those are the sorts of things
that we like to get in at the production stage.  Peter helped us arrange
"Manhattan Project," and he suggested things that opened up directions that
we wouldn't normally pursue.  It was really an eye-opening experience to
work with him.  He's much more a musical-type producer rather than an engineer-
type producer, and that's really what we were looking for.  He had his own
engineer, Jimbo Barton, who is a great guy, as well as a fantastic engineer.
He's got a great approach to doing things, especially when it comes to guitars.
He can very quickly translate a guitar sound you have in your mind to the
console, so that you can actually hear it.  We used four or five amps at
the same time, and he set up different balances within that whole group.
Then he compressed the sound and brought out those things like harmonics
and the little moments and effects that go by.

>Do you still record at stage-level volume?

I probably played a little bit louder in the studio than what my stage volume
is.  It doesn't hurt to drive your amps a little bit harder, any you may
want to crunch them with compression to get the desired effect.  Not all
the amps were set up exactly the same.  The Roland, the Gallien-Krueger, and
one of the Marshalls were always very clean, and the Dean Markley was on
a tough-but-clean sound.  So, we had everything spread out really well.

>What's your setup for clean, chorused sounds?

Right now, as the primary amps, I'm using two Dean Markley CD-212s and two
of my Marshall Combos.  I switch back and forth between channel A and channel
B.  Channel A is a very clean setup on the CD-212; the volume is on about
4 1/2 or 5, with about 7 on treble, 5 on midrange, and about 7 on bass.
That's the clean, crisp sound.  Channel B is set up a little bit different.
It has two gains: a dirty, distorted one, and a clean gain that's on a Spinal
Tap setting of 11 [laughs].  The distorted gain's on about 3, with the actual
gain for the distortion level on about 7, and then treble's close to 6,
mid's about 4 1/2, and bass about 6.  Master volume is on about 3 1/2, no
reverb, and presence is on 7 or 8.  And that gives me a good bit of crunch
on that channel.  I've also been using a Roland Dimension D [stereo imager]
on this whole tour.  I've been happy with it, but I'm almost afraid that
I'm getting a bit of cancellation somewhere.  For solos, there doesn't seem
to be quite enough of the sustain that used to be there.  I don't know if
it's in my head or if it's because they're new amps, or what.

>Are there many guitar tracks in "Grand Designs"?

I don't think that there are.  Most of "Grand Designs" is one guitar that's
not even doubled.  We may have put it through an AMS [digital processor]
at about 40 milliseconds and split it left and right.  I know we did that
with the bouncing echoes in the first verse, where the main guitar is in
the middle and the harmonic line is on the outside.  That one's fairly
straightforward, except for the acoustic guitars in the second chorus.

>Parts of "Grand Designs" almost sound like slide guitar.

Yeah.  It's whammy.  I was very much influenced by Allan Holdsworth a number
of years ago, the way he uses the whammy bar to slur notes and move around.
That got me interested in using one and trying to develop a style with one.
So many people use it now that it's not that unique, and actually I've started
to move away from it a bit.  I've gotten a bit lazy with my natural vibrato
since I've been relying a lot more on the whammy bar.  It's time for a change.

>In your solo near the end of "Emotion Detector," for instance, are you
using a whammy bar or bends and finger vibrato?

It's mostly the tremolo bar.

>As you play, do you palm the bar and rock it gently?

Yeah, that's exactly what I do.  I hold it in the lower section of my fingers
at the palm--at the little creases behind the knuckles.  The movement is
very gentle.  Because the whammy bar itself is kind of loose, it absorbs
some of the movement from my hand, so I get even less of a movement on the
actual assembly.  Primarily, I used my black '78 Fender Strat for whammy.
All of my Strats have Floyd Rose tailpieces, but I don't have locking nuts
on any of them.  I find I don't really need them to stay in tune.

>One of your Strats says "Hentor" on the headstock.

"Hentor" was the name that we had for Peter Henderson, the producer of Grace
Under Pressure.  When he wrote his name out to leave us his number, it looked
like Peter Hentor instead of Peter Henderson, so we nicknamed him Hentor
The Barbarian.  I got some Letraset and put it on this white Strat that
I had.  It has a Shark neck--these are unlabeled replacement necks--so I
threw "Hentor Sportscaster" on there.  Amazing all the mail we used to get
over that [laughs]: "Where can I buy a Hentor?  How much does a Hentor cost?"

>What causes the Far Eastern tone in the opening of "Territories"?

That's just the Ibanez HD-1000 Harmonics/Delay set at an octave above with
a little bit of modulation.  The harmonics level is set at about 70%, the
direct is set at the full 100%, and I was on the middle pickup on the black
Strat.  I used left-hand finger-pulls.  After that, it switches to a much
crisper tone, and to do that in concert, I just switch to the back pickup.

>How does the Power Windows material come across onstage?

Great.  It's no problem.  We were a bit apprehensive.  I mean, we wanted
to stretch out on this record, but we didn't want to go too overboard.
We've never been that kind of a group.  We've always held the stage show
as being very important and as we got into it, Peter suggested going a little
bit further and further, adding more tracks to the record.  We'd go a little
more out on keyboards and sounds and effects.  So, when we started preparing
for concert rehearsals, Geddy went in with Jim Burgess, a programmer in
Toronto that we use for a lot of stuff, and he set it up so that we got
a lot of the sequenced parts down on Emulator [sampling digital keyboard].
They're constantly being programmed throughout the evening for the different
songs.  We put all the old synth sounds from the Oberheims and the Minimoogs
onto the Emulator.  We condensed the whole keyboard setup and made it a
little more sophisticated.  It's really not a problem to get all that stuff
back on there.  We just put them on a disk and call them up as we go through
the song.

>Are you playing bass pedals on this tour?

Yeah, I've been playing them for a long time.  I think with this tour, Geddy's
really got his hands full with a lot of parts.  He's always complaining
that he doesn't have enough time to play bass anymore, which is really his
first instrument.  Through the years, he's been forced into playing keyboards,
doing that whole end of it.

>Have you considered getting a keyboardist for the road?

We talked about that a long time ago and decided that rather than disrupt
the chemistry between the three of us, we would just learn other instruments
on our own.  And the world of synthesizers is very fast-paced; it's constantly
changing.  It's amazing what you can do with your big toe; you can have
incredible string sounds, all kinds of sounds.  No limit to it now.

>In concert, which songs do you play bass pedals on?

"Subdivisions," "Spirit of Radio," "Manhattan Project," "Marathon," and "Mystic
Rhythms."  I would say on probably 40% or 50% of the songs.  But a lot of those
times, Geddy's playing bass pedals at the same time, so it's not like it's
taking over a bass guitar part in all instances.  It sort of restricts where
you end up onstage.  I have a pretty vast array of things now with the Korg
MIDI pedals, the Moog Taurus bass pedals, and my effects devices.  It covers
just about a fifth of the stage.  [Ed. Note: For details on Alex's equipment,
see the diagram at the end of this document]

>When do you play your best?

[Laughs.]  It's kind of weird.  When I'm hung over, I always have my best
nights.  It seems like I end up taking it easy all day and conserving my
energy, and when I go onstage, I'm fired up.  I get my second wind, and
often those are the nights I play best.  Or if I've been getting some exercise
and I happen to be in a good, healthy frame of mind, my whole approach to
everything is better and I end up playing better and having a good time.

>Do you ever take chances onstage and play something that you haven't tried
before?

No.  We're so regimented in all our parts, and we depend on each other for
cues for the next parts.  If somebody does one thing different, it could
screw up somebody else's part.  So we just stay away from that.

>Have you ever lost your confidence during a show?

Yeah.  There have been a couple of times.  I mean, I never have a perfect
night.  I always make a few mistakes, but they go by so fast and they're
often quite unnoticeable.  A lot of times, what's a big, glaring mistake
to you is nothing to the audience.  Either they haven't noticed it, or it
just sounded different.  Sometimes hitting the wrong note can lead to something
that works out, like little slides or sort of jazzy pieces.

>What aspects of music theory should young players learn?

That's hard for me to say because I don't really have a background in it.
I studied classical guitar for about a year-and-a-half, but outside of that
I don't really have any formal training.

>What advice could you give guitarists who are locked into playing fast
patterns?

So many people play like that now.  For a young, aspiring guitarist who
looks to other guitarists for inspiration, it's difficult to find somebody
who doesn't play a million miles an hour.  It was different for me.  I came
up from more of a bluesy background, so I always like playing bluesy little
licks, nice vibratos, and hitting those single notes, series of harmonics,
and things like that.  I would say that to slow down, it takes a change
of attitude.  For somebody who's used to playing fast, the best route would
be to just experiment with a few notes or developing more of a vibrato or
more of a sense of harmony.  You can practice little tricks, like sliding
down on the A string, hitting, say, the A, D, and C notes, and you hit both
the C and the open G string at the same time with a little bit of vibrato,
so you get this really nice harmony.  It's no big deal--just a few notes--but
it sounds beautiful and it can be a stepping stone to other things.  I like
to just hit a few notes with a little bit of echo on or maybe a repeat and
put in a little bit of whammy.  Your eyes start to water; it's that kind
of stuff.  It really grabs you, and that's a good starting point.  Then
you can combine the two.  You can get a nice blend of fast technique with
a slower, really melodic, emotional technique.

>How can players avoid repetitious soloing patterns?

There again, it's really a matter of experimenting with intervals, putting
in sharps and flats, using different scales and things.  Try to get a sense
of what's happening in a song outside of your role as a soloist.  Get a
sense of what the mood is, what's being put across.  You can gain a sense
of direction.  Also work on developing interesting sounds.  You can do a
lot of stuff with just a couple of basic effects, like a chorus and an echo.

>Can you suggest an example of how to get more out of an echo unit?

Rather than as a repeat, I've always liked using an echo more like a reverb.
For years, I played that way because there weren't any valid reverb units
around.  Now, of course, there are millions of them, and they all sound
great and they're studio-quality and fairly inexpensive.  I used to use
two echo units--one set at about 200 milliseconds and the other set at about
325 or 350.  The combination of the two bouncing around creates a fairly
realistic reverb, so it gives the guitar a little more depth and dimension.
But once you add something like a chorus--which changes the real character
of the guitar--to the echos, you have a big swirling blob of sound.

>How do you use digital delays?

I use the delays as timed repeats more than anything else.  I use them to
set up a particular effect where the bounce is at maybe 150 milliseconds,
so it creates a real quick little da-da-da sort of thing.  There's a bounce
in "Grand Designs."  In "Manhattan Project," there's a longer delay of about
700 milliseconds on a couple of notes in the last chorus.  I found this
really picked up the track and moved it along.  I've gotten rid of all my
old analog delays, and I'm also using a digital reverb now.  So, I'm moving
away from bouncing echoes a little more.

>There have been some amazing advances in guitar technology in the past
10 years.

You don't even have to go back that far.  If you could imagine what it was
like three or four years ago, where every 14 months something would happen
that was new and revolutionary.  Now, it's like every three or four months
there's something else coming out.

>Could you see yourself ever going back to a straight guitar-and-amp setup?

No.  I was never like that, really.  At a very early age, I got a Fuzz Face
distortion.  Even before I could really play guitar, I had an effect.  But
I had my guitar plugged directly into our TV set; I didn't have an amp.
That sounded pretty lousy, but with the Fuzz Face, I thought I was hot stuff
[laughs].  But I've always liked doing something to the guitar sound, trying
to develop a style around that.  And I think I have.  Now, I'm using effects
a little less than I have in the past.  I'm starting to lean more towards
a cleaner guitar sound.  And I learned on this record that that can go a
long way for certain things.

>With the advent of MIDI and other breakthroughs, do you think the days
of the stock electric guitar are numbered?

I don't think so.  Not for a long time yet.  Roland's been doing guitar
synthesizers for several years, and it's developing.  It's getting better,
but it's not really taking off.  There's a company in Victoria called IVL
that's building a MIDI pickup that you can install on any guitar.  I spent
a little time with that, and it's a very delicate, touchy thing.  It's got
to be set up just right; otherwise it won't work.  They're talking about
developing a piezo pickup.  You'd just take off your bridge and put this
bridge on, and it will work much more efficiently.  This will be great when
they get it together, but right now it's not that much better than the Roland.
And with the Roland, you don't have the option of using the guitar of your
choice.

>Do you own a guitar synthesizer?

I have one of the Rolands.  I got it because I thought it would come in
handy for some things, but I haven't really felt comfortable with it in
an everyday kind of application.  I don't mind tooling around with it and
experimenting and doing stuff at home, but I'm not ready for all the hassles
of using it on the road.  It's a lot easier for me to play guitar and program
things on an Emulator or a sequencer that can be triggered with a bass pedal,
rather than trying to achieve those two things on a single instrument.

>Is your playing expanding?

To be quite honest, I don't feel that it is right now.  Maybe that's because
we've just been on a long break and I'm just getting back into the swing
of things.  While I was home, I didn't really play that much.  I had just
spent six months playing almost every day, and I was tired of the guitar
and needed to get away from it.  Otherwise, it would really be a boring
thing for me.  When I got home, I really didn't do anything for a month.
I just relaxed and hung around the house.  And then I started to clean up
some of the guitars I had at home and in the studio, changing strings and
polishing, little things like that.  I sat in the studio and played for
a couple of hours each day and got back into it.  When we got closer to
rehearsal time, I got more serious about getting back into shape.  A good
indicator for me is what I do in the tuning room, and at this point, I'm
not doing anything that's really too fantastically different.  It's just
going through the motions of getting warmed up and limber.

>How long do you play to warm up?

I spend about 40 minutes.  I don't have any set things I play; it depends
on my mood.  I'm always by myself.

>The band doesn't have a little jam before the show?

We do during soundcheck.  On this tour, we've been so tight with soundcheck
that we go in and just have enough time to do four songs, and then we make
time available for Steve Morse to get a soundcheck.

>How do you like touring with Steve?

First of all, he's one of the nicest guys I've ever met in my life.  He's
very sincere and straightforward.  There's nothing pretentious about him
at all.  All the guys in the Steve Morse Band are great, actually.  When
we come in for soundcheck at 4:00, Steve's walking around playing his unplugged
guitar.  While their gear is being set up, he's still playing.  They do
their soundcheck, he walks offstage, kids come to talk to him, and he's
still playing his guitar.  He does clinics just about every day.  Then,
when we go on after his set, he's still playing his guitar while he watches
our show.  He's constantly playing, and it shows.  He's an incredible
guitarist.  The audience reaction is good, and it's usually tough for our
opening act.  People who come to see us, come to see _us_.  It's never been
that important who's been the opening act, because it's mostly our audience.
So it's a bonus for them to get a good opening act like the Steve Morse
Band.  The band is respected for their musicianship, and that's the reason
that they do as well as they do.

>Are there other current players that you admire?

"Win This Record" [Elektra, 60178-1] by David Lindley is a real favorite
of mine.  I really like listening to that.  He's such a happy guitarist.

>Could you give some advice on surviving the road with talent and health
intact?  Some performers tend to get burned out.

I'd say the majority of them; it's so easy to fall into that.  The biggest
problem I find after 11 years of touring is being bored.  Once you get bored,
it's easy to depend on something else, whether it's drinking a lot or dope
or whatever.  It's really easy to fall into those things, and ultimately
they go absolutely nowhere.  Everybody likes to have a good time, but when
it ends up taking over all your time, then that's a real problem.  Geddy
and I like to get up early and play racquetball or tennis.  Exercise wakes
you up and makes you feel a little healthier.  Maybe you can go down for
a swim, work out once or twice a week if the hotel has a gym, or go out
to movies.  I have watercolors with me, and I get into painting on the road.
Neil rides his bike like mad when the weather's good.  So, there are all
sorts of things to do that keep your mind active and stimulated.  I got
"Shogun"--not because I wanted to read the book, but because it was long.
I thought that it would keep me busy for a few weeks.  Unfortunately, I
got so into reading it, I'd get three hours of sleep and wake up at 7:00 in
the morning to read.  I finished it in a week, which is quite fast for me,
so I just picked up "Noble House."  It's always a search for something to
do.  I'm terrified of being bored.

>A big-time rock career is often different from what kids imagine.

Oh definitely!  But I don't want to complain.  Geddy and I were talking
about this just the other night.  We talked about what the time at home
was like and what we would be doing if we weren't doing this.  And we decided
that we're really, really lucky.  If you're going to have a job, this is
a great job to have.  It's got some downfalls and some problems--one being
boredom--but it's a great thing.  It's not as glamorous or exciting as some
people like to believe it is.  But it's an illusion that they want to have,
so that's fine.  Let them have it.

>Can too much commercial success endanger artistic skill?

It can, it has, and it always will--depending on the artist.  I think a
lot of bands that have become very successful like the taste of that stuff.
They don't want to do anything to risk losing that, so they become stale
and don't do anything that's new or exciting.  We try to do it another way.

[end interview]


Electric -> VHF 700----Effects Switch-----------------------------+
Guitar In                Pedalboard\                              |
                                   |                              |
                                   +---Digital Switch*            |
House <----  Moog                    / |     |                    |
            Taurus                   | |     |                    >  4140
            Pedals                   | | Dimension------CD 212    |(MD 421)
                                     | |     D*---+    (MD 421)	  |
Acoustic                             | |          |               |   Yamaha
Guitar In -> Direct                  | |          +-----CD 212    >    2x12
House     <-  Box                    | |              /(MD 421)   |(Stage Left)
                                     | |            /             |
                                     | |            |    4140      \Rockman*
                                     | |            \(Beyer M201)      |
                                     | |                             Direct
             Korg                    | +----------------------+       Box
            MPK 130                  >SDE 3000*----------/ ---|        |
               |                     |                        |       \|/
               |                     >SDE 3000*----------/ ---|      House
House <-- Emulator II                |                        |
                                     >SDE 3000*----------/ ---|
                                     |                        |
                                     >SRV 2000*----------/ ---|
                                     |                        |
                                     >SDD 3000*----------/ ---|
                                     |                        |
                                     >HD  1000*----------/ ---|
                                     |                        |
                                     >Loft 450*----------/ ---|
                                     |                        |
                                     >Loft 450*----------/ ---|
                                     |                        |
                                     >ADM 2048*----------/ ---|
            Trigger                  |                        |
               |                     >Super-------Micro--/ ---|
              QX1                    |Distortion*  Amp*       |
               |                     |                        |
House <-- Emulator II                \Octaver*-----------/ ---+


SCHEMATIC DIAGRAM OF LIFESON'S ONSTAGE GEAR: Alex runs his guitar via a Nady
VHF 700 wireless transmitter to an effects switching pedal that either
activates or bypasses his effects rack (shown here with asterisks next to
the appropriate components).  The rack houses three Roland SDE-3000 digital
delays, a Roland SRV-2000 digital reverb, a Roland SDD-3000 digital delay,
an Ibanez HD-1000 Harmonics/Delay, two Loft 450 digital delays, a DeltaLab
ADM-2048 digital delay set up as a flanger, a Boss Super Distortion, a Boss
Octaver, an MXR Micro Amp, and a Roland Dimension D stereo imager.
     From the rack, Alex' signal routes to a single Dean Markley CD-212
amp or to a CD-212 linked to a Marshall 4140 amp.  (Specific microphones
are used with each amp/speaker combination: Sennheiser MD421s for all but
the Marshall 4140, which has a Beyer M201.  The Yamaha extension cabinet
has no mike.)  When bypassing the rack, Alex activates a 100-watt Marshall
4140 with two 12s and a Yamaha 2x12 cabinet--as well as a Scholz Rockman
and a direct box that goes out to the house.  His Moog Taurus pedals run
straight to the house PA system, and his Ovation Adamas' signal runs through
a direct box to the house.  Alex' Korg MPK-130 MIDI bass pedals control
an Emulator II synthesizer, which is sent to the house.  A Yamaha QX-1
sequencer controls another Emulator II (which is also connected to the house)
and is activated by a trigger footswitch.

----------------------------------------------------------

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Copyright The Rush Fans Mailing List, 1991.

Editor, The National Midnight Star
(Rush Fans Mailing List)

********************************************
End of The National Midnight Star Number 277
********************************************



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