LOS ANGELES, CA.-
Juliens Auctions, the world-record breaking auction house to the stars, will honor one of the most influential music icons and guitar heroes of the progressive rock metal genre with Property from the Archives of Alex Lifeson, a centerpiece of their premiere music auction event, Music Icons, taking place Friday, May 20th, Saturday, May 21st, with the Rush legends auction as the grand finale on Sunday, May 22nd, 2022 live at Hard Rock Cafe in New York and online at juliensauctions.com
More than 100 lots featuring signature guitars, instruments, wardrobe, gear and memorabilia owned and used by Alex Lifeson, the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist and co-founder of Rush, one of the best-selling progressive rock groups of all time, who have sold more than 40 million records worldwide in the groups four decade and counting history of record-breaking tours and performances, will be offered to the public for the first time.
With Geddy Lee on vocals, bass and keyboards, Neil Peart on drums and Lifeson on guitar, the band would become the enduring lineup of the iconic Canadian progressive rock band known to the world as Rush (photo left: Whitey Gibson electric guitar). After hitting the Toronto rock music scene and releasing their first single, a cover of Buddy Hollys Not Fade Away, the band released their self-titled debut album Rush in 1974 which contained their first hit single Working Man featuring Lifesons guitar work, hailed by Guitar World as one of the greatest guitar solos of all time. The popular fan favorite song brought them to the U.S. and a recording contract from Mercury Records who released their next two albums, Fly by Night and Caress of Steel. But it was in 1976 that the band would have their biggest breakthrough and worldwide recognition with the release of their album 2112, considered Rushs masterpiece and a rock music landmark with its 20-minute title track divided into seven sections. The platinum selling album began Rushs streak of sold-out arena tours in the U.S. and Canada and the phenomenon of its worldwide cult fan base. In 1976, the group released its first live album, All the Worlds a Stage, a double live album of their 1976 three-night stand at Massey Hall in Toronto during the bands epic 2112 tour. The bands sound evolved further into the direction of progressive rock inspired by the likes of the groups, Yes and King Crimson, with the U.K. recording of their next albums, 1977s A Farewell to Kings and 1978s Hemispheres. With the 1980 release of their Top Five U.S. charting album Permanent Waves, featuring their smash hit The Spirt of Radio, Rush became one of the most successful bands in the world with their popularity soaring to greater heights with the release of 1981s Moving Pictures. The blockbuster album featured their biggest and most revered classics, Limelight, Red Barchetta, YYZ and Tom Sawyer, one of the most played songs on classic rock radio in the world and Rushs most popular song of all time, which became the bands best-selling and most commercially successful album in the U.S. hitting Number Three on the Billboard Charts and selling four million copies.
In addition to playing electric and acoustic guitars with Rush, Lifeson is renowned for his multi-instrumental repertoire of playing other string instruments such as mandola, mandolin and bouzouki, as well as keyboards and bass pedal synthesizers throughout his musical work with and outside of the band, putting his own signature of sonic experimentation with riffing, electronic effects and processing and unorthodox chord structures. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, that experimentation and progression would be heard in the bands 1982 album, Signals, featuring their only U.S. Top 40 hit New World Man with the sound of synthesizers along with elements of ska, reggae and funk. They transitioned back to the bands core of guitar, bass and drums with Lifesons acclaimed work on the 1989 album Presto, 1993s Counterparts featuring their Grammy nominated song Leave That Thing Alone, 1996 album Test for Echo and 2002 album Vapor Trails, where Lifeson used over 50 different guitars and was hailed by Guitar Player as his most rabid and experimental playing ever.
In 1996, Lifeson released his first solo project Victor, named the title track from the W. H. Auden poem Victor with both his son Adrian and wife Charlene also contributing to the album. His dynamic body of work includes instrumental contributions and guest appearances such as the guitar solos of Crying Over You and Holy Water on Platinum Blondes 1985 album Alien Shores; Lawrence Gowans 1990 album Lost Brotherhood; guests tracks on Tom Cochranes 1995 album Ragged Ass Road, Like a Girl from I Mother Earths Scenery and Fish album; The Little Drummer Boy on the 1997 album Merry Axemas: A Guitar Christmas; Anesthetize on Porcupine Trees 2007 album Fear of a Blank Planet and Sacred and Mundane on the Tiles 2008 album Fly Paper. In 2006, Lifeson provided the original soundtrack material for the popular Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, where he would later guest appear in the franchises later films as well as voice the character Big Chunk in the animated series.
He is also a composer and producer whose credits include the theme for the science-fiction TV series Andromeda; songs on the 3 Doors Down album Away from the Sun; Keram Malicki-Sanchezs 2014 album Come to Life - playing guitar on the songs Mary Magdalene, Moving Dark Circles and The Devil Knows Me Well, and on Kerams subsequent singles Artificial Intelligence, That Light, and Rukh as well as being featured on Marco Minnemans 2017 release Borrego, Fu Manchus 2018 Clone of the Universe album and more. Subsequent Rush recordings and touring include their 30th anniversary 2004 EP Feedback which featured their covers of Cream, The Who and the Yardbirds songs, 2007s Snakes & Arrows, 2011 live album Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland and 2012s Clockwork Angels. Rush ranks fifth for most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums, after the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Kiss, and Aerosmith.
Lifesons awards and recognition include induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 with Rush; ranking third in the Guitar World Readers poll of 100 greatest guitarists and listing on Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time; as well as being made an Officer of the Order of Canada on May 9th, 1996, along with Rush bandmates Geddy Lee and Neil Peart, and receiving the Governor Generals Performing Arts Awards in 2012the highest artistic honor in Canada. Additionally, Lifeson is a painter, golfer and aircraft pilot.
In 2021, Lifeson released two new instrumental songs, Kabul Blues and Spy House, and recently made headlines with the news of his self-titled debut LP from new band Envy of None, featuring bassist Andy Curran, singer-songwriter Maiah Wynne, and producer Alfio Annibalini, to be released on April 18, featuring a song dedicated to late Rush band mate and drum legend Neil Peart.
Juliens Auctions is proud to present this magnificent collection of coveted artifacts of rock history directly from the legendary guitarist and pioneer, Alex Lifeson of Rush, the most influential and innovative progressive rock metal band of all time, said Darren Julien, President/Chief Executive Officer of Juliens Auctions. Lifesons mind blowing creativity, musical virtuosity and raw power will take center stage here in this epic auction of his legendary guitars, instruments, and rare memorabilia representing his enduring legacy as one of the godfathers of progressive rock metal music.
Highlights of this auction include Lifesons music arsenal of renowned instruments used on some of Rushs iconic recording sessions, hits, tours and performances such as a 1976 Whitey Gibson ES-355TD electric guitar custom-built for Alex Lifeson at the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo and Lifesons main guitar from 1976-2015, his entire time with Rush.
I purchased this guitar in 1976, it was custom-built in Kalamazoo just for me. It has been my main guitar and is the iconic Alex Lifeson guitar, said Lifeson.
Whitey is featured on all albums from A Farewell to Kings (1977) to Test for Echo (1996), and can be seen being played by Lifeson on stage during all tours from A Farewell to Kings (1977-1978) to R40 (2015) as well in most of Rushs music videos accompanying A Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres, and Moving Pictures, as well as Show Dont Tell from Presto (1989). This splendid guitar that was part of Rushs most explosive era of creativity and legendary music has a conservative estimate of $200,000 - $300,000.
Another notable Lifeson axehis 1980 custom-built Hentor Sportscaster electric guitar used on the recording of Rushs seminal albums since Moving Pictures, in particular Grace Under Pressure where it was the main recording guitar will head to the auction stage. This iconic guitar was Lifesons favorite for soloing, including the solo from Rushs Billboard hit Limelight. The Hentor Sportscasters heavy but versatile sound embodies Rushs bold sonic explorations of the 1980s and Lifesons growth as a soloist during this time. The Hentor Sportscaster can be seen in the music videos for Vital Signs, Countdown, and Enemy Within and has an estimate of $100,000 - $200,000.
A 1981 Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion electric guitar that served as Alex Lifesons main guitar on the 1981 Moving Pictures tour as well as on numerous tours through the 2007 Snakes and Arrows tour and a 1971 Jose Ramirez classical acoustic guitar used by Alex Lifeson on all classical-style recordings from the 1978 Rush album Hemispheres, including The Trees and La Villa Strangiato will rock the auction stage. Each of these extraordinary guitars come with an estimate of $100,000 - $200,000. (photo right: Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion electric guitar)
Headlining the auction are a 1976 Gibson Dove acoustic guitar used by Lifeson to write Closer to the Heart and other songs from the 1977 Rush album A Farewell to Kings and played on numerous tours including A Farewell to Kings (1977-1978), Hemispheres (1978-1979), and Moving Pictures (1981) as well as a 1970 Gibson Les Paul electric guitar acquired by Lifeson on Rushs inaugural tour in 1974, and played extensively by Lifeson on all Rush albums and tours from Fly By Night and 2112 to Hemispheres (each guitar estimate $100,000 - $200,000).
Other highlights include:
A 1976 Gibson J-55 acoustic guitar used by Lifeson to compose Rushs early 1976 platinum-selling album 2112, as well as 1977s A Farewell to Kings and served as the main acoustic guitar on Natural Science and Camera Eye from 1980s Permanent Waves and 1981s Moving Pictures (estimate: $80,000 - $100,000);
A 1990 Fender Stratocaster used by Alex Lifeson on most albums since Roll the Bones (1991) both on solos and for doubling Gibson guitar tracks and seen in the music video for Big Money, as well as live performances of One Little Victory from Vapor Trails (2002) (estimate: $60,000 - $80,000);
A 1992 Paul Reed Smith (bolt-on) CE electric guitar Alex Lifesons main guitar from its debut on the 1993 Rush album Counterparts and accompanying tour through Rushs tours in the early 2000s (estimate: $50,000 - $70,000). During this time, the 24 frets made this guitar a favorite for Lifesons distinctive and virtuosic soloing style. This was my main 90s era Paul Reed Smith guitar. I still use it a lot because of the 24 frets. It was a real workhorse and I loved it, said Lifeson.
A 2015 limited run Gibson EDS-1275 double-neck electric guitar created especially for Rushs 40th Anniversary R40 tour and played live by Alex Lifeson on songs requiring both a six-string and twelve-string guitar, including Xanadu from the 1977 album A Farewell to Kings (estimate: $20,000 - $40,000).
Special exhibitions in Los Angeles and New York for the public to view highlighted items prior to the auction will be held at Juliens Auctions in Beverly Hills April 11th- April 15th and in New York May TBD.