Why Alex Lifeson got kicked out of a music store every week
Alex Lifeson used to haunt his local music store, coveting a Gibson guitar he couldn’t afford.
Long before he rose to fame with Rush, he dreamed of owning an instrument built by the famous maker – and ever since he finally got one, Lifeson has stuck with the brand.
“The first guitar I got was an acoustic guitar,” Lifeson said in a video announcing his new signing Epiphone Les Paul. “It was a cheap Japanese guitar; it was $ 10 and I got it for Christmas in 1966. I’ve been playing this guitar all year, as painful as it is – the action on it was terrible.
“I begged for another guitar and got an electric the next Christmas, and it was also a Japanese guitar… which I think cost my parents $ 59,” he added. “I played them as much as I could but always wanted to have a Gibson. They looked so beautiful and so out of reach.”
So he went every weekend to Long & McQuade’s, a music store in Toronto.
“I was spending a Saturday sitting on an amp and shooting a 335, or maybe a Les Paul, or an SG,” Lifeson recalls. “I was playing for about an hour until the salesman came by and said, ‘Okay, get lost, kid.’ And I would come back the next weekend, then the next weekend, and then the next weekend, and he let me play for an hour and then he fired me. But it’s the dream we all have, isn’t it? Always a Gibson. “
Lifeson made his first pilgrimage to the Gibson factory in 1976, taking the opportunity to order three guitars. He is most often seen playing a white 355 on this trip.
“As the years went by and we continued to tour at an insane rate, my collection of Gibsons just got bigger and bigger,” Lifeson said. “I developed a very close relationship with the people at Gibson and they asked me to get involved in a guitar model that really suited my needs.”
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