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Guitar World Interview: Rush Guitarist Alex Lifeson on ‘Clockwork Angels’

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You’re understandably very happy with the album, but at what point did you know that you had nailed it? Did you have to let it all sink in?

You know, it’s a funny thing. You’re so focused on a record the whole time you’re making it. The writing, the recording, the horror of mixing—you’re constantly second-guessing yourself. It can drive you crazy; you’re under the microscope so much. So when it’s all finished, after it’s mastered and everything is ready, it’s important to step away from it for a month or so and then listen to it. That’s what I did, and it allowed me to be very much at peace. Then I was very happy with it.

Clockwork Angels is an album that’s meant to be experienced in full. This flies in the face of the music business in 2012, where the emphasis is on singles.

People are getting away from the whole album experience, it’s true. I think that’s sad. Maybe I’m just saying that because I’m an old fart. [laughs] But I can’t help it—albums are what I grew up with, and I still love them.

And on top of everything, this is a concept album.

Well, you see, we’ve always been a little contrarian, I think. It is a concept record. We haven’t done something like this in a while. All of our albums are thematic, but this is a little more direct. I think the songs stand on their own, though. I can listen to them independent of the story, but when I hear everything from front to back, it really makes sense to me. The songs are linked by some really nice musical moments, which makes it very cinematic. So it works on lot of levels.

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