Why is Alex Lifeson so under-recognized, overlooked, underrated and overshadowed as a musician?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by MidnightRunner, May 7, 2021.

  1. MidnightRunner


    Mar 21, 2021
    What are your thoughts?
    Why is Lifeson generally not widely recognized and acclaimed as a great guitarist/musician as it's a case with his bandmates in Rush - Lee and Peart? Why is he overshadowed by them?
    Will_420, Fialka and Philip McAdam like this.
  2. Who?
    dougjwray, hwystar, mb94952 and 34 others like this.
  3. MidnightRunner


    Mar 21, 2021
    This guy:
  4. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    Geddy’s buddy.
  5. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Honestly, Neil didn't get recognized in public much, either. (Read his book "Ghost Rider".) Geddy has such a distinct look that people (Rush fans, at least) instantly recognize him. But Alex looks like the dad next door, so most people don't give him a second look.

    As a musician, though, guitarist definitely respect the guy. Heck, he was in the Guitar Player magazine polls for years.
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  6. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    As the featured instrumentalists in most rock and roll settings, I don’t think it surprises anybody to find talented guitarists in rock bands. Whether or not he got recognized in public much, Neil Peart was hailed as THE GOD of drumming for decades and also received recognition for writing more thoughtful lyrics than one hears in most rock songs. Geddy Lee has a distinctive look and voice, and shreds on bass AND keys WHILE singing. There’s no denying Alex Lifeson’s talent, but his role in Rush was by far the most conventional, and therefore the least noteworthy, of them all. I’m not surprised he’s somewhat overlooked—it’s even a bit refreshing in such a guitar-centric genre. And he seems happy enough, so no harm done.
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
  7. In general, I'd say Lifeson's work is more typical of a good (read: excellent) guitarist while Lee and Peart are closer to the top tier of their respective instruments. Alex = top 25% of guitarists, Geddy = Top 5-10% of bassist, Peart = Top 5-10% of drummers. Am I making any sense here?
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  8. This. Stated much more clearly than me.
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  9. ShawnG

    ShawnG Supporting Member

    May 2, 2020
    Ft Worth, TX
    Tough to stand out in a group that has arguably the best drummer/percussionist and one of the very best bass players ever.
    Alex is a fine guitarist, but not, IMO, at the level of Neil or Geddy.
    EddiePlaysBass and eriky4003 like this.
  10. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Really? He’s one of my favorite players. I’d buy him a beer if he pulled up a stool.
  11. BassGuyFL

    BassGuyFL Formerly known as RichardCranium

    Mar 9, 2009
    Boynton Bch FL
    Two words: Geddy and Neil. In any other band he’d be a superstar. In Rush he was the other guy. Not taking away at all from his talents.
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  12. thunesBARROW


    Apr 12, 2010
    I think he’s one of the all time greatest rock guitarists.
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  13. josephbass86

    josephbass86 Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2002
    He is definitely on the same level musically as Geddy and Neil IMO. However what he is doing is a lot more subtle and not as super up front and busy like they are.

    He is extremely inventive and creative with his chord voicings and arpeggios which is where I think he really shines. Not many guitarists in rock play chords like him.

    Also his solo/lead work is fantastic, he doesn’t sweep/shred at 100 mph like a lot of prog/rock guitarists do, but in terms of tone, texture, and phrasing he is as strong as anybody.
    Last edited: May 8, 2021
  14. No Malarky

    No Malarky

    May 27, 2010
    Poor guy.

    The "Rodney Dangerfield" of guitar players.
  15. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    12-16-year-old me: how come the rock world doesn't take Rush seriously?
    55-year-old me: how come the world takes Rush so seriously? :roflmao:

    Geddy and Neil wrote the songs and significantly raised the bar for rock songwriters, singers, bassists and drummers. Alex was a great rock guitarist. That pretty much explains it for me.
  16. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Freakin great
  17. I don't know what you're talking about. Not once I thought about this guy being overlooked/overshadowed.

    Rush was a STRONG unit, a PERFECT unit. One of the best definition of what is a band. Each member was unique and special. Together they were FIRE. That's the definition of a band.
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  18. BassGuyFL

    BassGuyFL Formerly known as RichardCranium

    Mar 9, 2009
    Boynton Bch FL
  19. josephbass86

    josephbass86 Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2002
    Also I’m pretty sure Geddy Lee is more well know for the simple fact that he is the lead singer, that’s just the way it has always been with bands and the general public.
    mjm666, Mickey666, Doug4321 and 5 others like this.
  20. coyote1


    Mar 23, 2012
    Because while Rush is a great 2nd generation prog band and Lifeson certainly is a great player, he’s not one of the great improvisers. Imagine a Steve Howe or Ritchie Blackmore - level improviser working with that material, a truly different show each night.....
    fokof and M0ses like this.
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