Rush’s Alex Lifeson on 40 Years of ‘2112’: ‘It Was Our Protest Album’
What got you through that?
We had a strong fan base that was building and knew something different and cared for our music and for who we were. We didn’t really need to have the press. But, as I said, it is hurtful. You learn to let it roll off your back eventually, but at the same time it does hurt.
Let’s talk about Side Two, which was separate from the suite. What are your favorite songs there?
I really like “Twilight Zone.” It’s a quirky song with a lot of tempo changes. It had a really cool little atmosphere to it. It was a difficult song to put together, to have that feel about it. All the parts were awkward guitar stretches, so it was a real test.
The Twilight Zone TV series had been off the air for over a decade. Why did you write a song about it?
I think it was playing in reruns. Growing up, The Twilight Zone was probably the favorite TV show of all three of us. Rod Serling was just so cool. He wrote so many of those episodes. He was our total hero.
What are your favorite episodes?
The one where the woman was in the hospital having her face operated on [titled “The Eye of the Beholder”], and the doctors unwrap her face and she’s beautiful and everyone else is seriously grotesque. They all look at her, and they can’t even look at her ’cause she seems so ugly to them. I really like that one. And then [in “Time Enough at Last”] when Burgess Meredith was a bank clerk who’s a real loner, and he goes into the vault because he likes to read his book in peace and there’s a nuclear holocaust and he’s the only one left alive. He starts saying, “Yes! Finally, I’m alone with my books!” And as he goes to the library, his glasses fall off his face and smash [laughs]. They were brilliant.
“Lessons” is an interesting song because you wrote the lyrics. How did that come about?
We just thought it would be kind of cool if Ged and I wrote lyrics for at least one song. He wrote “Tears.” That was really the reason. I can’t say that I’m comfortable writing lyrics. Even later on with my solo record, Victor, it was the hardest part. It doesn’t flow for me the way I would like it to. And I’m not sure that would be different if I did it more often. You know, Ged’s “Tears” is so typical of the kind of stuff that he likes to write and do, even today. He likes those more ballad-y pieces that are emotive and sweet. I’m the dirty, heavy guy [laughs].
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