In a thrilling new episode of the “Shred With Shifty” podcast series, FOO FIGHTERS guitarist Chris Shiflett receives an awe-inspiring guitar lesson from none other than RUSH’s legendary Alex Lifeson. Together, they delve into the intricacies of the iconic solo from RUSH’s timeless classic, “Limelight.” The episode showcases Lifeson’s masterful playing and offers a glimpse into the creation of one of rock’s most emotional and dynamic solos.
RUSH: Pioneers of Progressive Rock
The early 1980s marked a groundbreaking era for rock music, and RUSH’s album “Moving Pictures,” which featured “Limelight,” became a defining moment for the band. In contrast to the rock ‘n’ roll sound prevalent at the time, RUSH’s distinct brand of Canadian prog-rock brought a fresh, avant-garde vibe to the music scene. “Limelight” stood as a testament to RUSH’s stylistic and structural departure, showcasing the band’s musical innovation and virtuosity.
The Solo: A Scene Change of Emotions
Chris Shiflett aptly describes Alex Lifeson’s lead on “Limelight” as a solo that does everything a great solo should. With emotional intensity, seamless build-up, and impressive shredding, the solo serves as a powerful scene change within the song. Lifeson’s solo not only complements the track but also conveys the emotions of living in the limelight, reflecting a sense of isolation and fragility.
“I really wanted to echo that feeling and that sense of loneliness.”
A Journey into the Making of “Limelight” Solo
In the “Shred With Shifty” podcast, Alex Lifeson shares fascinating insights into the recording process of “Limelight.” Reminiscing about those sessions, Lifeson recalls using a modified Stratocaster with a vibrato arm, which contributed to the unique sound of the solo. He reveals that the solo was recorded in five or six takes and then skillfully assembled into the final version by bassist and vocalist Geddy Lee and producer Terry Brown.
“I’ve always been a little bit insecure about my playing,” he says. “I always felt like I could be better than I was.”
A Guitar Hero’s Journey Unveiled
The “Shred With Shifty” podcast delves deeper into Alex Lifeson’s musical journey, exploring his early influences from guitar legends like Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Beck, and Andy Summers. Despite RUSH’s international success and their reputation for complex arrangements and technical prowess, Lifeson humbly admits to feeling a sense of insecurity about his own playing. He opens up about the challenges of performing intricate arrangements live, acknowledging that RUSH’s music could lead to occasional “trainwrecks” on stage.