Alex Lifeson is probably the most
admired and followed guitarist by lovers of this instrument, no matter what
their musical taste may be. Just about everybody is an admirer of Rush, a band that has been a reference
in the progressive rock genre for
four decades. Going into the final straights of 2015, this fortieth year
landmark is being celebrated doubly: First off, we have a CD/DVD of two
concerts of the band playing in their own back yard at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, a fine reflection of their successful R40
tour which has seen them travel around the world (perhaps for the last time). Secondly,
we have a luxury re-release (200 grams!) of Roll the Bones (1991),
one of their greatest hits and the first of many under the Atlantic Records label. This year, Santa hasn't forsaken we lovers
of the six strings.
R40 is perfect for the uninitiated to the Ontario band's music and also to those who want to own what is, quite simply, the quintessential overview of what they are all about. Moreover, it is sure to soon be a collector's piece. Clearly, the Roll the Bones re-release is for Rush's most die-hard fans who are looking for that authentic and perfect sound. However, getting hold of the record in a more affordable format is more than sufficient to see exactly why Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart make up one of the most prestigious rock groups of all time.
It was clear that the band were destined for great things in 1976 with the release of 2112, but also of great merit was that fantastic live recording which will forever hold place of honour in our Jukebox. The former aroused the passion of the general public, while the second confirmed them as among the best guitarists to be found performing on stage.
Roll the Bones proved to mark a turning point in Rush's career, which had been hugely successful but was beginning to suffer from an identity crisis after more than 15 years out on the road. It is considered by many to be their 'darkest' work, with Neil Peart heavily fatalistic and not really up to having a laugh except for (and I say this with tongue placed firmly in cheek) his famous rap in the bridge of the album's title song. It has also been described as a return to their more heavy rock, less 'alternative' roots, with more instrumental parts and Lifeson (né Zivojinovich) definitively taking on the role of the flag-bearer, the man with a cause, object of millions of 'disciples' attempting to emulate his guitar solos that seemed to be made of cut glass.
Up until not long ago an electric guitar was an object of desire which could be afforded by precious few. Today, you can pick one up at your local department store… and at Guitars Exchange, of course.
Roll the Bones is a delicatessen that soon went platinum and is their biggest hit since 1981. On first listening, it was clear that this wasn't going to be just another hit in Rush's discography, but rather an indispensable classic in rock's most 'cult' genre. Tracks such as Dreamline allowed their fans to give a sigh of relief. The prodigal sons had come home at last.
Listen 'Roll the Bones' now on Spotify!