While fans were largely amused by RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson's non-speech at his band's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2013, Lifeson explained in a new interview that his bandmates, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart, were not so fond of it the night of.
Peart, in particular, was "quite upset" with Lifeson's roguery, the guitarist recalls.
The Rush co-founder joined Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett's new Shred With Shifty podcast, via Premier Guitar, to break down his classic "Limelight" guitar solo. Then, towards the end of their conversation, Shiflett brought up how Lifeson's famous "blah blah blah" speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has become one of the ceremony's signature podium moments.
Lifeson confirmed that he had a speech written for the induction but decided to go off-script moments before being brought onstage. He remarked that the Rock Hall festivities tend to drag on for those in attendance, and he had gotten bored with the rote thank yous notes from the honorees.
"My [prepared] speech was sort of along the lines, the same thing [as Peart and Lee], why do I want to repeat it?" Lifeson recalls thinking to himself. "...The funny thing was Ged and Neil had no idea what I was doing; I was animating the whole history of the band and how we got to that point. I think, in the audience you could tell — certainly this is what I've heard from a lot of people ... but [Neil and Geddy] were behind me and they couldn't see all of this [gesturing], so they wanted to kill me. Like, really kill me with a knife or maybe an axe or something."
(At one point during the speech, Peart and Lee can be seen joking about bludgeoning Lifeson with their Rock Hall of Fame trophies.)
Peart let Lifeson know afterwards how let down he felt by the spectacle.
"It's funny because Neil was quite upset that night," Lifeson continued. "He was like, 'How could you do that? For all this crap that we went through to get here and they finally brought us here and you did that?'"
Lifeson defended his speech at the time, and he said Peart wrote him a note the following day, apologizing for being too sensitive.
"The next day, Neil sent me an email and he said, 'I owe you an apology the size of Texas,' because all of his friends and buddies were writing to him saying Alex's speech was amazing! And he got it, and I think once he saw it, you could see how the story [of the band] came about. But yeah, they were both kind of upset."
You can check out the full conversation and Lifeson's rare breakdown of the "Limelight" guitar solo via the player at the top of this page! Watch Lifeson's Rock Hall speech via the player above. (Appropriately, the band took the stage that night to "Limelight.")