Rush has gone down as one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Known for their vibrant performances, busy touring schedule and coherent virtuosity as a group, they became proficient in entertaining fans as well as themselves.
Guitarist Alex Lifeson recently reminisced about Rush’s tour with Primus in the early ’90s and how the two bands would often jam together to pass time on the road.
“We would do soundcheck at 4:30, and then Primus would set up and they’d do their sound check,” Lifeson told Guitar World. “We’d have dinner at 6, and then we would have a jam, usually in our dressing room or in a hallways that was nice and echoey.”
As amazing as it sounds now, it’s best that those sessions were never recorded. An uncanny feature of these gatherings was that musicians from both acts would often use instruments they didn’t know how to play or go a step further and use objects that weren’t meant to be played at all!
“At one point, the deal was that you had to go out and get an instrument you couldn’t play,” Lifeson added. “I got an accordion and a flute. We all played these instruments we had no idea how to play. We actually recorded these jams. I don’t know what happened to those recordings, but we did them everywhere.”
According to Q104.3, Primus guitarist Larry LaLonde bought a clarinet for one of the session. He told Guitar World that the quality of these jams was infantile and chaotic given that he didn’t even know how to play the instrument he had chosen. He also recalled Lifeson using a tortilla chip for a guitar pick when he did decide to play the guitar. Primus frontman Les Claypool even remembers watching the late, great Neil Peart “play the lockers as his percussive instrument.”
Primus is currently on tour now celebrating Rush with its A Tribute to Kings tour. They are performing Rush’s 1977 A Farewell to Kings album in its entirety as well as a range of original music.
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat