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Alex Lifeson Recalls His Only Stoned Rush Rehearsal

Alex Lifeson recalled the only time he tried to play a Rush rehearsal while under the influence of marijuana.

The guitarist had a joint while preparing to run through a concert set with colleagues Geddy Lee and Neil Peart. In a new episode of House of Strombo (available below), he revealed the experience was enough to ensure he never repeated it.

“It was hard to play,” Lifeson said of Rush’s music. “We were very disciplined when it came to shows — not even a beer during the drum solo. … I smoked a joint before a rehearsal once, and we jammed for about 20 minutes, like psychedelic surf music. And it was so great. I was having such a great time, and then it was like, ‘Okay, let’s do the show now.’ We start playing, and it was like… everything sounded crazy, and my hands wouldn’t speak to my brain. Ged kept looking over at me like, ‘What the hell’s going on with you there?’

“We were making mistake after mistake,” Lifeson continued. “I couldn’t wait for it to be over. But I learned a very important lesson: Don’t smoke a joint before a gig.”

Lee admitted Rush lived through periods when they used too many drugs after shows, especially when they were “running on fumes” amid hectic schedules. “We had our moments where we were doing too many gigs in a row, and the drugs were coming at us fast and furious, but somehow or another we kept our shit together through it all,” he said. “In the end we valued our work. We valued the quality of our gigs. So we never let it interfere.”

When reminded that Kiss star Gene Simmons once visited Rush’s hotel room and was bewildered to see all three members quietly reading, Lee responded with a laugh, “Yeah, but we were really high.”

Watch Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee on ‘House of Strombo’

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We examine Rush’s 19 studio albums, from 1974’s muscular self-titled release to a series of remarkable late-career triumphs.




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