So I’m driving from my weight loss surgery class to the Supercuts in Tewksbury and I’m listening to the Envy of None record.

Spy House is playing and it gets to that moment when the guitar launches out from under the mix and Alex Lifeson reminds us that he’s the greatest guitarist ever. That moment.

I may be in a fragile state right now and that might explain why I got super emotional and a smile lit my face and my eyes grew damp and I literally asked myself who would I even be without Alex Lifeson?

Yeah. That moment. Let’s all give thanks that Alex keeps blessing us with his presence.

Envy of None

Go. Now. Make this a part of your life.

Not being much of a synth-pop guy, when I listen to this I think of some of the Smashing Pumpkins stuff that Flood produced, or maybe some of the post-Actung Baby electronic stuff U2 did. Wait… wasn’t that Flood too? Or was that Brian Eno? I don’t know. I heard an interview with Andy Curran where he said it sounds like Depeche Mode or The Cure. That works too.

So there I am, listening for the first time and really enjoying it purely on a holy-shit-this-hook-is-infectious level. I wasn’t hearing any stand out guitar parts, but I knew that was coming. Alex Lifeson (as well as everyone else involved in the album) has made a big deal out of the fact that he’s playing the guitar without ever sounding like a guitar. He’s basically a guitar synth player rather than just a guitar player. Then you get to Spy House, track five, and there’s a stretch of about four bars where he just shreds like the Guitar God he is, and then it’s back to synthy stuff.

I imagine Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew sitting in a room together listening. They both nod their head in approval. Then they look at each other and nod their heads in agreement. Then they look over at Alex Lifeson and nod in solidarity. Yeah. I’m 100% sure that exact thing happened.

No go and listen to it.

Big Day for Prog Fans Tomorrow

Tomorrow is going to be a big day for prog rock fans.

I mentioned earlier that we are supposed to get a new Pink Floyd single tomorrow. We are also getting some new Alex Lifeson.

Envy of None’s album comes out tomorrow. It won’t sound even the tiniest bit like Rush, and based on the press they’ve been doing thus far, half the time you won’t hear guitar. Instead you’ll be hearing some other non-guitar sound that was actually played on a guitar.

I think the heroic Mr Lifeson may be embracing his inner Robert Fripp. Frankly, I am 100% here for it.

Yes indeed, it’s going to be a good day for prog fans.


I stayed up really late last night. I didn’t want to, but I was so busy all day that I never had a chance to do some of the things I wanted to do (laundry) and I ended up doing it all after Jen fell asleep. I finally fell asleep around 1:00am and given that I can say without any hesitation that I am ridiculously tired right now.

While I was up last night Harry sent me a text saying that he listened to a Rush album and really liked it. It was Moving Pictures, of course. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. Harry could be a Rush fan, oh glorious day!

He sent me a text a few minutes ago asking me which Rush records to listen to next.

My response was a 100,000,000 word essay.

As I said earlier, oh glorious day!

Here’s a summary of what I told him:

  • You’ve listened to Moving Pictures, now go to Permanent Waves. They both had a similar focus on trying to shorten their songs without sacrificing any musical craziness.
  • Most people who don’t think Moving Pictures is the best album think that 2112 is. It’s heavy and Geddy screams a lot, but it’s pretty much perfect.
  • For 80’s synth Rush go with Power Windows. I wish I could say Hold Your Fire, but the last two songs don’t really cut it.
  • For the 90’s they got heavy again. Go with Counterparts.
  • Clockwork Angels might be my favorite of all Rush albums.
  • Fly By Night is mostly a straight ahead rock record.
  • Hemispheres is amazing end to end, but it’s worth it just for La Villa Strangiato.

I Need to Practice

I haven’t touched a guitar in 20 days. I need to carve out some time this weekend. I have been thinking about bringing my Vox AC15 amplifier to the next Lizardfish practice, whenever that is, and I need to see how loud I can get it before the tone breaks up. I know my other 15 watt amp, the Fender Bassbreaker 15, can’t get terribly loud before it distorts. I think the AC15 handles it better, but if I can’t get it loud enough to compete with a drummer while still staying clean, then I can’t use it at practice. Really, I just want to bring my Fender Deluxe Reverb home again.

Speaking of Lizardfish, Mike the Bass Player is in Cleveland today. He sent us a bunch of pictures from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To quote Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Alex Lifeson, blah blah blah. Mike sent me a picture of the BB King display. It’s awesome. Thanks, Mike!

At our last discussion, Mike said he’d be away for a couple of weeks. After that we can try to set up a rehearsal date. I really want to play. I really want to play. I’m still scared shitless of getting sick, but I really want to play.

It’s going to be a couple of weeks before the kitchen updates are finished. Once that’s all done I am going to start looking for a guitar tech to hire to work on my stuff. I’ll go with the ES-335 first. Check the frets, check the neck joint, rewire the whole friggin’ thing. Four new pots, a new jack, maybe a new pickup switch, and all new wiring. Don’t touch the pickups, they are gold and need to live forever. Everything else that lives under the covers, replace.

I’m worried about the neck joint. It’s clearly pulling away from the body, but it’s been doing that at a glacial pace for at least 22 years. I’m worried, but I’m not that worried. I am really worried about the frets. I’ve never had a guitar refretted. If they need to be replaced, is it still going to feel the same way it did before? No, clearly, but will it be so different that I will fall out of love with one of my two favorite musical instruments on Earth*? I hope not. Especially given that the frets on my other favorite musical instrument, my Les Paul Custom, are in worse shape. We’ll find out.

Right. Lunch break over. Time to read that huge email a coworker just sent me. I’ve got some back story to get filled in on.

*Technically I should say it’s one of my three favorite musical instruments. My ’78 Les Paul, my ’79 ES-335, and the Selmer Mark VII tenor saxophone I played in high school. I haven’t seen that instrument since 1989. That sucker was in bad shape when it came to me, but it was glorious. Epically glorious. I loved that horn. It was brass magic.

Alex Lifeson to Auction His Guitar Collection

Oh to be fabulously wealthy. I missed out on Clapton’s ES-335 and Gilmour’s gold top Les Paul, and now I am going to miss out on Alex Lifeson’s custom made 1976 ES-355TD. Sweet Christmas, he’s going to auction off his guitar collection to raise money for charity. Read this article.

As with all guitar god auctions, the first thing I look for is random 1959 Les Pauls. The article only mentions one Les Paul, and it’s the 1970 he bought on the 1974 tour and used on 2112. I would imagine Al has collected a few more Les Pauls than that, especially since he played a bunch of them over the last few Rush tours and he actually has a signature model. The question though… are there bursts?

More important than that, He’s Selling The 355!

It’s not actually this ES-355…

#rush #r40bos #r40live #r40

It’s the one that guitar was copied from. It’s this one…

He’s also selling the Hentor. The guitar he used the shit out of in the early 80’s. It started out as a Fender Strat but he modded the holy hell out of it and turned it into something else.

He’s also selling the Howard Roberts Fusion. Off the top of my head, I don’t know anyone else who played one of those, but he used it all over Moving Pictures and it’s a hollow body legend.

If I were disgustingly wealthy I would buy them all. Seriously. I would have bought all of Clapton and Gilmour’s guitars too, but this is Lerxst’s collection! Epic!

Lerxst Amps Interview

I was feeling curious about the amplifier line Alex Lifeson released 2-3 years ago. They are way too powerful for my use (though I now know they can step down from 50 to 25 watts which makes them more interesting) so I didn’t look very close when they were first released.

Today I decided to poke around and I found this interview. Speaking as both a Rush fanatic and a gear nerd, this video is literally Gold.

He talks about stage volume and monitor mix preferences! Oh my god the gear dirt he shares! Can you believe it? Wow!

Lazy Sunday

It’s Sunday and Jen and I are just hanging out in the office. We’re in the midst of a grande experiment to improve one facet of our existence. It’s something incredibly important that everyone deals with every day……..


We’re trying to up our pillow game, big time. Jen ordered some pillows the other day and we used them last night. They were very firm. Much firmer than we’ve ever used before. Jen didn’t like them. I haven’t really decided yet. Too firm? Maybe. Too firm to use? I don’t know. We are trying another set of pillows next that are a little squishier. I expect they will be Goldilox: just right.

What else is going on? I am going to have a painful week at work this week, so I’m enjoying the calm today. I’ll pay for it later. I have another day off this week too. Wednesday. That’s three consecutive Wednesdays I’ve been out of work. The other two had actual reasons. This week is just because I had to burn eight hours of vacation time in order to avoid maxing out at the end of the month. I will likely have to do a couple of days in February too, but at least I can use the RPM Challenge as my excuse.

I am a little sad today. A few weeks ago I ordered a pile of new clothes. Two t-shirts didn’t come quickly, but they finally came at the end of last week. The two shirts came from the Rush Backstage store. Yup. I’m wearing my fav band on a t-shirt. Unfortunately, the first of the two that I’ve tried on is really small. It has made me sad. I guess I am going to have to go through a weight loss surgery process in order to get smaller so the shirt will fit. I’m guessing the second band shirt is going to be small too, but I haven’t tried it on yet.

I can’t think of anything else to write about. Jen picked up a copy of NHL ’22 and I started playing it yesterday. Maybe I’ll sneak in another game tonight. I’m playing through the Spengler Cup. I have no idea how that tournament works, but I haven’t lost a game yet. I have it on the lowest difficulty level though, so if I lose a game it means I royally suck.

Okay. Ms Patches just came into the room and she’s meowing for attention. I think I’ll post this and go pet her. Bye for now.