Inspire. Inform. Involve.  

Alex Lifeson Biography,Career and Awards

Alex  Lifeson Biography

Alexandar Zivojinovich commonly known by his stage name  Alex Lifeson is a Canadian musician, best known as a guitarist of the Canadian rock band Rush. Alex was born on the 27th of August 1953 to his parents  Nenad and Melanija Zivojinovic and raised in Toronto, Ontario. His first exposure to music training came in the form  of the viola, which he renounced for guitar at the age of 12. His first guitar was a gift from his father.

Alex Lifeson Career

In the year 1963 Lifeson met the future Rush drummer John Rutsey in school. Both interested in music, they decided to form a band. John began experimenting on a drum kit. Later that year they formed a projection,which eventually became Rush in August 1968 following the recruitment of original bassist and vocalist Jeff Jones. Geddy Lee,  a high school friend of  Alex, assumed this role soon after. Instrumentally,  Lifeson is renowned for his signature riffing, electronic effects and processing, unorthodox chord structures ,and the copious arsenal of equipment he has used over the years.

Rush was on hiatus for several years starting in 1997 owing to personal tragedies in Neil Peart’s life, and Lifeson had not picked up the guitar for at least a year following those events.  After some work in his home studio and on various side projects, Lifeson return to the studio with Rush to begin work on 2002’s Vapors Trails,which was the bands first album since the 1970s . Due to lack of keyboard Lifeson used over 50 different guitars in what Shawn Hammond of Guitar Player called “his most rabid and experimental playing ever “. Geddy Lee was amenable to leaving keyboards off the album due in part to Lifeson’s ongoing concern about their use.

Though the bulk of Lifeson’s work in music has been with Rush, his first major outside work was his solo project, Victor, released in 1996. Victor was attributed as a self-titled work.  This was done deliberately as an alternative to issuing the album explicitly under Lifeson’s name. The title track is from the W. H. Auden poem, also entitled “Victor ” . Both  son Adrian and wife Charlene also  contributed to the album. A follow -up album, possibly including vocals by Sarah McLachlan, was rumoured in the late 1990s,but was apparently shelved due to Atlantic Record’s lack of support for the first album.

Lifeson has also contributed to a body of work outside of his involvement with the band in the form of instrumental contributions to other musical outfits. He made a guest appearance on the 1985 platinum blonde album Alien Shores performing guitar solos on the songs  “crying over you ”  and “holy water ” .Later, in 1990, he appeared on Lawrence Gowan’s album, Lost Brotherhood to play guitar. In 1995, he guested on two tracks on Tom Cochrane’s Ragged Ass Road album and then in 1996 on I Mother Earth’s “Like a Girl” from the Scenery and Fish album. In 1997 he appeared on the Merry Axemas: A Guitar Christmas album. Lifeson played “the Little Drummer Boy” which was released as track 9 on the album.

In 2006, Lifeson founded The Big Dirty Band, which he created for the purpose of providing original soundtrack material for Trailer Park Boys: The Movie. Lifeson jammed regularly with The Dexters (The Orbit Room house band from 1994 to 2004). Lifeson made a guest appearance on the 2007 album Fear of a Blank Planet by UK progressive rock band, Porcupine Tree, contributing a solo during the song Anesthetize. He also appeared on the 2008 album Fly Paper by Detroit progressive rockers Tiles. He plays on the track “Sacred and Mundane”. Outside of band related endeavours, Lifeson composed the theme for the first season of the science-fiction TV series Andromeda. He also produced 3 songs from the album Away from the Sun by 3 Doors Down.

Alex Lifeson Awards

  1. “Best Rock Talent” by Guitar for the Practicing Musician in 1983
  2. “Best Rock Guitarist” by Guitar Player Magazine in 1984 and May 2008
  3. Runner-up for “Best Rock Guitarist” in Guitar Player in 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986
  4. Inducted into the Guitar for the Practicing Musician Hall of Fame, 1991
  5. 1996 – Officer of the Order of Canada, along with bandmates Geddy Lee and Neil Peart
  6. “Best Article” for “Different Strings” in Guitar Player (September issue).
  7. Most Ferociously Brilliant Guitar Album (Snakes & Arrows) – Guitar Player Magazine, May 2008
  8. 2013 – With Rush, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee
Alex  Lifeson Photo

Alex  Lifeson Photo