Solo Projects

"I'm not looking back, but I want to look around me now"

"Pieces of Eight", Neil Peart on a 45rpm flexi-disk included in Modern Drummer, May 1987

This instrumental percussion piece is included as a bonus track on the Anatomy Of A Drum Solo DVD. Parts of this song are incorporated into Neil's live drum solo.
"Like many percussionists, I had long harbored a secret wish to create a piece of music using only percussion instruments, and this looked like the key to that dream! I practiced with the KAT for a few days and then, when I had a free day, recorded a 'demo' of a marimba piece I had been working on over the summer. I began with the marimba part, double-tracked it, and then overdubbed my acoustic drums on top (yes, the new Ludwigs!). I began experimenting with overdubbing different vibe sounds, a bass marimba, a cabasa, castanets, concert toms, metal sheets, African toms, and some highly tuned bongos. (All of this was played with mallets on the KAT unit.) I did use one of Geddy's keyboard sounds, but since it consisted of a marimba with a human voice mixed in, I decided that was close enough! The biggest difficulty was finding a good bass instrument in the percussion library. The bass marimba didn't provide the power in the bottom end that I was looking for, so we experimented with some other things. We ended up using an African drum called a Djembe - transposed to the keyboard - and I played the bass part with that! It made me laugh - a new definition of "bass drum"! The piece is entitled 'Pieces Of Eight' because of all the different time signatures it ended up meandering through. I hadn't thought about that too much just playing the marimba, until I had to learn it on drums! With only a day to record it all, I didn't really have time to play it more than a couple of times through, so that, too, was a good challenge." - Neil Peart, "The Quest For New Drums", Modern Drummer, May 1987.

"O Canada", Geddy Lee acapella at the 64th Major League Baseball All Star Game, Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland, July 13, 1993

Click here to view the performance.
"It was so weird, it was so nerve wracking. I don't know whether the lady who told me that 80 million people were watching was the reason I was nervous, but going out there accapella just to sing to this echoey environment was definetly not easy. But it was thrilling to turn around and see all these great ball players, having to wait for you to finish!" - Geddy Lee, WMMR Interview, Dec. 18, 2000

Victor, Alex Lifeson's solo album, Jan. 9, 1996

For lyrics and additional information regarding this project, click here.

"The Drum Also Waltzes" and "Leave That Thing Alone!" (drums only), Neil Peart from the cd accomanyment to the book Drum Lessons With The Greats Part 2, Mar. 1997

Parts of "The Drum Also Waltzes" are also part of Neil's live drum solo.

"Momo's Dance Party", Neil Peart from A Work In Progress video, Oct. 9, 1997 (VHS), Apr. 23, 2002 (DVD)

This song was played as the credits rolled in this instructional video recorded during the making of Test For Echo, and a version with an extended intro was included as a bonus track on the Anatomy Of A Drum Solo DVD. Parts of this piece are incorporated into Neil's live drum solo.
"One hot night in a village in Togo called Assohoum, in November 1989, I laid out my sleeping bag on an adobe rooftop and lay looking up at the bright stars in the perfect silence of an African night - no traffic, no television, no radio, just scattered conversations or distant dogs. As I was dozing off, a drum rhythm echoed from across the valley, two hand-drummers playing an intrelocking pattern, and it stuck in my head, only to emerge months later as the basis for a rhythm I used in a Rush song called 'Heresy'...Later, the same rhythum became the foundation of a solo piece I created in the early '90s to serve as a backing track while I practiced my marimba playing, called 'Momo's Dance Party.' A version of that little étude appears at the end of my instructional video, A Work In Progress. 'Momo's Dance Party' was also inspired by a real-life experience on that same African journey...Momo, an ambitious young man who had received some education away from the village. Momo seemed to be the only villager who spoke the colonial language of French, and he seemed to be trying to put his village on the tourist the evening, the entire village gathered to put on a show for us. The children sang and dance while the men drummed, then the women performed graceful, narrative dances. The grand finale was the village choir, the rich voices of men and women harmonizing beautifully, accompanied only by one man playing a shaker, and annother playing a metal disk with a stick. This syncopated pattern hypnotized me at the time, and remains in my memory as one of the most musical performances I have ever heard." - Neil Peart, Traveling Music, pg. 297

"Little Drummer Boy", Alex Lifeson on all instruments from Merry Axemas, Oct. 14, 1997

Reported to have been begun in Lifeson's home studio the day after returning home following the Test for Echo tour.
"I just gravitated to the lonely Johnny Cash sound," Lifeson smiles, "and it was down to retuning the guitar to where the strings sound big and fat and carry the melody better. And I wanted it to feel that if you had a fire in the fireplace and were decorating the tree, you'd want to hear it again. It starts off feeling that stark lonely vibe-then you start tapping your foot, and it makes you feel good." - Merry Axemas linernotes

"I approached it in a Western-sort of 'Bonanza' kind of guitar presence, a big guitar with big, gigantic strings, if you could imagine." Alex Lifeson, Rockline, May 15, 2002

"O Canada", Geddy and Alex featuring South Park's Terrance and Phillip from South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut (soundtrack), June 22, 1999

"We loved it! The problem with it is we got in at the tail end. I know Matt wanted to work it into the movie itself. But, he didn't get in touch with us until the last couple of weeks of their production. So it was all kind of a 'rush' job but, ah - God I can't believe I just said that (laugh). But, it was great and he's a wonderful guy, very, very funny, very smart and it was really great." - Alex Lifeson, AT&T; Celebrity Chat, Feb. 10, 2003.

"March of the High Guard", Andromeda Theme, written and performed by Alex Lifeson, Oct. 2000, available on the Andromeda Soundtrack, Feb. 26, 2002

This served as the theme music for the first season of Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, the Star Trek creator's final series which premiered the week of Oct. 2, 2000. It is rumored that star/executive producer Kevin Sorbo never liked the theme, and had it changed after the first season. There are two versions, the original television theme and an alternate version released on the soundtrack.
"It all began when co-executive producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe was talking to executive story editor Ethlie Ann Vare, a former rock journalist (Hollywood Reporter, E! Entertainment Television, ROCK magazine). He said that the top band on his wish-list to do music for Andromeda would be Rush. Inspired, Vare made some strategically-placed calls. Since Alex Lifeson is as big a science fiction lover as some science fiction fans are Rush lovers, he seemed a good fit for the job. Lifeson composed and performed the Andromeda theme, "March of the High Guard". Lifeson created the whole piece in his home studio, overdubbing an astonishing 20,000 guitars for a sound quite unlike any other main title theme on television." -, Aug. 2000.

"They gave me this napkin with what kind of character the song should have. I had no visuals, and written on it was 'Introduction of 20,000 guitars at this point'. I think I managed to give them around 19,856. That was great fun, a real challenge." - Alex Lifeson, Classic Rock, July 2002

"The strongest composition on this collection is actually Alex Lifeson's invigorating 'Season One Main Title (March of the High Guard).' The cue lasts for only 59 seconds, but it packs a punch that, for the most part, is lacking throughout the rest of the CD...With the exception of Lifeson's lone contribution, the 25 cues on the collection are all written and played by Matthew McCauley...While McCauley's artificial Andromeda arias are invariably expressive, his tunes are also consistently mediocre and, in many respects, surprisingly rough-edged." -'s Andromeda Soundtrack Review

My Favorite Headache, Geddy Lee's solo album, Nov. 14th, 2000

For additional information regarding this project, click here.

"Bittersweet Bundle of Misery", Alex Lifeson on R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour, Nov. 22, 2005

The instrumental piece which plays as the credits roll at the end of the R30 concert DVD, as well as in the "The Anthem Vault" menu on the second DVD, was written and performed by Alex Lifeson.

"I Fought The Law", performed by The Big Dirty Band [Geddy Lee (bass) and Alex Lifeson (guitar), Thornley's Ian Thornley (vocals and guitar), Three Days Grace's Adam Gontier (vocals), Die Mannequin's Care Failure (vocals) and former Tea Party drummer Jeff Burrows], and "Liquor & Whores" by Bubbles & The Shit Rockers (including Alex Lifeson) on Trailer Park Boys: The Big Dirty Soundtrack, Oct. 3, 2006

The soundtrack also includes Rush's "The Spirit Of Radio". Both songs, as well as the video for "I Fought The Law" directed by long time Rush photographer Andrew MacNaughton featuring Geddy and Alex performing with the rest of the Big Dirty Band cut between scenes of the film, plus the film's trailers featuring Rush's "The Spirit of Radio", are available online at

Trailer Park Boys fan Alex Lifeson is seen in a cameo role as a police officer in the film, which also includes many Rush references. As part of the film's promotion, Lifeson hosted a Canadian TV special titled "Trailer Park Boys 101". For additional information regarding this release, click here.

"Jeff Burrows is still pumped about getting the chance to play drums with Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee of Rush. Last month, the ex-Tea Party drummer joined Lifeson and Lee to record a song for the new Trailer Park Boys movie, The Big Dirty. 'When they called me about it, I was in Vancouver working on my new band,' said Burrows, 38. 'How could I say no?...That was the band that convinced me I wanted to be a rock musician,' he said. The song they did was the often-covered "I Fought The Law", by the Bobby Fuller Four. What could Burrows and two-thirds of Rush bring to it that others like The Clash and Green Day couldn't? 'It's got a real Rush feel to it because of Lifeson's guitar,' he said. Burrows was asked to play because Neil Peart was unavailable...Peart is one of Burrows's idols, so filling in for him was a daunting task, he said." - Windsor Star, Sep. 8, 2006

"Another dedicated non-wanker who’s had a big effect on Failure is Alex Lifeson. In one of those 'Here ya go, kid' moments, the legendary Rush guitarist presented her with one of his Paul Reed Smith guitars, just when she needed it most. 'There was like a six-month period where if I didn’t have that guitar I don’t know what I would have been doing,' she says. 'He gave me that guitar and a bag of pedals, and more importantly some real nice messages that trip through your head.' The helpful advice and colossal freebies from good samaritans like Lifeson, her 'musical sugar daddy', have helped Failure turn her once-troubled life around to the point where you question the validity of her stage name. But she has no regrets about choosing that moniker—or anything else." -, November 19, 2009