Rush- Counterparts 30th Anniversary- Alex Lifeson

“You know, I think that a lot of Rush fans always wanted to hear us play like we used to play, if I can use that phrase,” Rush guitarist/co-writer Alex Lifeson told me a couple of years after the October 1993 Counterparts album release. “Bringing back that certain quality that we had in our earlier days, of the three-piece core of the band. And being more forceful with it, and more focused and direct. I think it (Counterparts) was something Rush fans really welcomed.”

The sheer amount of Alex Lifeson’s powerful electric guitar was immediately noticeable, for sure, but the “live off the floor” approach Rush returned to on Counterparts is really apparent now on the way that legendary drummer the late Neil Peart really swings in his playing. Peart adapted jazzy, dare I say even dancey time signatures to his prodigious arsenal on songs including “Animate”,”Stick It Out”,”Cut to the Chase”, and “Cold Fire”, providing a pocket for Lifeson and Rush bass player/singer Geddy Lee to really show their chops. ( Geddy Lee (l), Neil Peart, and Alex Lifeson (r) in one of their last selfies)

Counterparts also contains “Nobody’s Hero”, a stunning high point not only thirty years ago for Rush but also for the whole of the Nineties. The late maestro Michael Kamen was brought in to impart the sweeping Imax grandeur that Neil Peart’s compassionate lyrics, and Geddy’s singing of same, required. The result was a #2 Billboard magazine album sales debut, Rush’s highest American appeal since Moving Pictures over a decade earlier. Alex Lifeson is my guest here In the Studio on the thirtieth anniversary of Counterparts. –Redbeard