Interview: Alex Lifeson Dissects 11 Key Rush Songs, from "Anthem" to "Test For Echo"
The guitarist dissects 11 key Rush songs in terms of guitars, amps, effects and more.
“THE SPIRIT OF RADIO”
Permanent Waves (1979)
“There was a radio station here in Toronto—it’s an alternative station now—and ‘the spirit of radio’ was the station’s catch phrase. The song was about the freedom of music and how commercialized radio was becoming. FM radio in the late Sixties and early Seventies was a bastion of free music, where you got to hear a lot of things that you wouldn’t have heard otherwise.
"It was much like MTV was in the beginning, before it became another big network that feeds a large but very specific segment of the viewing audience. Radio has become a lot more commercialized since then. Now, the station that we wrote that song about won’t play our music.
“By the time we cut this, I was using mainly a Strat that I had modified by putting humbuckers in the bridge position. I also used the 355, which I used in the studio for the next couple of records. My amps were Hiwatts, the Marshall and the Twin. I also had a Sixties Bassman head and cabinet. The flanger on that song was an Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress, which I still have. I used the Boss Chorus Ensemble, and I had graduated to the Roland Space Echo, which replaced my Echoplex.”
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