To mark the occasion of his collaboration with Epiphone and the release of the new Alex Lifeson Epiphone Les Paul Standard Axcess guitar, RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson recently debuted two brand new songs titled “Kabul Blues” and “Spy House”. Fans can get a listen to “Kabul Blues” and “Spy House” in the video below, and check out the songs in their entirety exclusively at AlexLifeson.com. These two instrumental songs mark the first new music from Lifeson in close to a decade.
Speaking to Sweetwater about how “Kabul Blues” and “Spy House” came about, Alex said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I’ve always had a home studio, and for me, obviously, it’s a great escape to just write and have fun in that room. I think after RUSH stopped touring, I really wanted to keep active, ’cause I didn’t wanna lose the chops and all of that. So I started writing shortly after the last tour, and I wrote maybe half a dozen songs. And they’re all very, very different from each other — one’s got a country feel; one’s got this trippy kind of psychedelic feel. So, ‘Kabul Blues’ was really just an experiment in playing a bluesy thing with this sort of psychedelic, trippy background. And the more I got into it… I first layered all the crazy, weird stuff in the background and then basically played the solo over it. And it was really a lot of fun to do that and create that — a very different approach to something that’s just very traditional in a form of music, to add these other influences. And then ‘Spy House’ is like two and a half minutes, but it’s really punchy and it’s a simple kind of riff, but I think it’s really effective. And it gave me a chance to stretch out on the solo at the end, which — I don’t know — maybe you don’t hear so much anymore these days. So it was really a fun thing.”
Regarding the recording process for “Kabul Blues” and “Spy House”, Alex said: “When I started with those songs years ago, I did everything — I used drum samples, vocal samples, whatever, ’cause I was working on my own. Obviously, I played bass on ‘Kabul’ as well as ‘Spy House’, but I always had in mind that a bass player would play those parts, ’cause a bass player has the sensibilities that maybe a guitarist who plays bass doesn’t. I’m in sort of that camp. But this was something different, and it required a different sensibility. Because Andy [Curran, former CONEY HATCH singer/bassist] and I were working together on [another project], I asked him to just have a look at those songs and come up with some more appropriate bass parts and performances, which he did do. For ‘Spy House’, I had a few drummers in mind, and I messed around with that song a little bit. But ultimately, it went to David Steinberg, who’s a close friend and my lawyer, actually, who played in a punk band in the ’80s and ’90s. So it was a real treat for him to get behind his skins and play some music.”
Lifeson also revealed more details about the project, tentatively dubbed ENVY OF NONE, that he is working on with Curran, saying: “Andy approached me about four years ago, shortly after the last RUSH tour, about just adding some guitar on some of the things that he was doing. And I did that. A few months later, he sent another one, and did that. And then we started getting more serious. And then we found a great singer, Maiah Wynne, from Portland, Oregon — just a fabulous, fabulous voice and a really smart songwriter and vocal performer. So we’ve basically done an album’s worth of material that we hope to release sometime soon. I’m really excited about that.”
Asked about a possible timeline for the release of his collaboration with Curran and Wynne, Alex said: “We’re just working on that part of it. All the music is recorded. We are mixing currently. We’re in a good place, but it’s very challenging. The industry is so, so very different than it was certainly 10 years ago, never mind last year. We’ll see. Hopefully late summer, early fall we might have something. But we are very, very excited about it. It’s pretty cool stuff, I think.”
Lifeson previously collaborated with Wynne on her 2019 solo single called “Fearless Girl”, which featured Alex and the Portland Cello Project. Wynne also laid down vocals on a May 2019 collaboration between multi-instrumentalist Marco Minnemann and Lifeson titled “Lovers Calling”.
RUSH drummer Neil Peart died in January 2020 in Santa Monica, California after a three-year battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. He was 67 years old.
RUSH‘s final show took place at the Forum in Los Angeles on August 1, 2015. Peart indicated at the time that he wanted to retire while he was still able to play well, along with a desire to spend more time at home with his young daughter.
Lifeson and bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee have repeatedly said that RUSH will never do a show unless all three musicians agree to take part. They haven’t performed as RUSH without Peart since he joined the band in 1974.