Rush’s Alex Lifeson on 40 Years of ‘2112’: ‘It Was Our Protest Album’
Speaking of heavy, “A Passage of Bangkok” was almost a guidebook to where the best marijuana was grown at the time. How much weed were you guys smoking back then?
Probably not as much as now [laughs]. We were average, maybe slightly above average smokers. Ged less so; he was never a heavy smoker. But Neil and I and a few guys in the crew were. We just thought that the whole idea of traveling the world to find the best [weed] that you can would be such a fun thing to do. It was a fantasy journey for all of us. But as Neil was putting it together, the lyrics were so great. It had a little exotic, kind of Eastern feel to it. Now you don’t have to go very far.
Lastly, the record ends with “Something for Nothing.”
Yeah, that, too, is one of my favorites. I loved playing that song during that period. And it ties into the whole concept of “2112.”
It’s kind of a coda.
That back cover of 2112 has a photo of the three of you in white medieval garb. What do you think when you look at your fashion back then?
[Laughs] We took that photo with a fashion photographer. We didn’t really know what we were doing, and those were the days where we were still wearing fashion robes and scarves and platform shoes and all of that stuff. I think the photographer made the suggestion to dress up all in white with a wind machine and take this pose. It was a very awkward thing, I remember.
The inside photo of me shows me with a Panama hat. I thought, “What the hell was I wearing that for? This is a space record [laughs]. I’m wearing a stupid Panama hat.” It was a very, very weird photo session. I don’t think my pants could’ve been tighter, either.
“I don’t know if we ever thought of ourselves as a progressive-rock band.”
Were you surprised the way that the “Starman” art, showing a nude man walking into a pentagram, took off?
No, I thought it was really powerful when Hugh [Syme] showed it to us. It just seemed so iconic that we knew then that this would last for a long time. I do remember some interviews where people thought it was some sort of occult association with the pentagram, and we were like, “What?!”
Yeah, Rush are total Satanists.
[Laughs] Yeah! It’s like, “Oh, OK. Where’s that honey oil again?” [Laughs]
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