Alex Lifeson was born August 27, 1953 in Fernie, BC and grew up in Toronto, Canada. When Alex was thirteen, he received a guitar for Christmas and by the summer of 1968, he co-founded the band that would become Rush.
As Rush’s guitar player for more than 40 years, Lifeson played electric and acoustic guitars as well as other stringed instruments such as mandola, mandolin and bouzouki. He also performed backing vocals in live performances as well as keyboards and bass pedal synthesizers. Instrumentally, Lifeson is regarded as a guitarist whose strengths and notability rely primarily on his signature riffing, electronic effects and processing, unorthodox chord structures and a copious arsenal of equipment used over the years that has befitted him the title by his bandmates as “The Musical Scientist”.
While the bulk of Lifeson’s work in music has been with Rush, he has contributed to a body of work outside of the band as a guitarist, producer and with the release of his 1996 solo album Victor, a solo artist. In addition to music, Lifeson is a painter, an avid golfer and a licensed aircraft pilot. He is also known for his comedic virtues, which have been highlighted in various cameo film roles over the years, including the Canadian-cult mockumentary series The Trailer Park Boys.
Lifeson was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1996. In 2012, he received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, which is Canada’s highest artistic honour, and in 2013 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lifeson ranks third in the Guitar World Readers poll of ‘100 Greatest Guitarists’ and is also included in Rolling Stone’s ‘100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time’.
Lifeson plays an active role in various charities and causes close to his heart including Casey House, The Kidney Foundation of Canada and the SickKids Foundation.
Lifeson has been married to his high school sweetheart Charlene for over 45 years and has 2 sons and 2 grandsons.