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Rush’s Alex Lifeson on future tours and his “slowly worsening” arthritis: “If I can’t play it like I played it nine years ago, then I really have no interest in doing it”

“Do I like playing in front of people? Yeah. I still like that – maybe not to the point where I have to do it.”

Alex Lifeson playing a red Les Paul. He has his eyes closed and is playing with a passionate expression on his face.

Image: Scott Dudelson / Getty

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Alex Lifeson has said that he’s “not interested” in touring with Rush anymore, noting how difficult it would be to replicate the “high note” the band had ended on.

In a recent episode of SiriusXM’s Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk, the guitarist opens up about coping with psoriatic arthritis — a chronic, autoimmune form of arthritis – on a day-to-day basis, saying [via Blabbermouth], “I would say that’s slowly getting worse, as to be expected.”

Explaining that he’d been dealing with the condition for almost 20 years now, Lifeson says: “I’m on two biologics [biologic drugs for the treatment of arthritis], so sort of like a double whammy in dealing with it. And it’s been very, very effective.”

“Despite the side effects and all of that, it’s been a really effective regimen for me, and it’s really helped my hands. I have times where the inflammation has its own mind, and that’s when you’ll see me shaking my hands [while I am playing]. But it is what it is, and I can still get by, and I’m so used to it, I don’t really even think about it that much anymore.”

Elsewhere, Lifeson also discusses the (un)likelihood of him hitting the road again with his Rush bandmates, saying: “[After] 40 years of touring, I’m not interested in touring anymore. I enjoyed it when we did it. There were lots of ups and downs.”

“The gig is great, the show is great, and for the other 21 hours in a day, you’re just waiting for those three hours. And it gets tiring, especially when you have a family and you have loved ones at home that you’re estranged from for months and months and months at a time. I don’t miss that aspect of it.”

“Do I like playing in front of people? Yeah. I still like that – maybe not to the point where I have to do it,” he explains.

Looking back on Rush’s last tour, which Lifeson describes as “terrific”, the rocker says that many fans want them back out because of how “strong” the band had ended things, a legacy he isn’t keen on sullying.

“I thought we played really well. I thought the show was really fun. Going back in time to the beginning was a great way to celebrate the end of the band,” he says. “I don’t know if, at 70 years old, 10 years later, if I can play like I played back then. I haven’t played that material in nine years. And if I can’t play it like I played it nine years ago, then I really have no interest in doing it.”

“I think Rush has a strong legacy because of the way things ended. We ended on a high note, and that’s the way people remember us.”

“Physically, ten years later, at this stage, [after] these ten years, I don’t know if we can do that. I don’t know, can [Geddy] sing like he did? Can I play guitar? Can he play bass like he did? I don’t know. Unless we did a big rehearsal and tried to do all that stuff, we’ll never know. But just thinking intellectually how this would work, I’m not keen on doing it, really.”

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