He said he knew his desire to pick up the instrument would return, but doubted that his future would include a reunion with fellow survivor Geddy Lee, even though he had suggested it on a number of past occasions.
Rush broke up at the end of their R40 tour in 2015, which had been billed as likely their last; while Lifeson and Lee took part in other projects, drummer and lyricist Peart described himself as retired. He died after a three-year battle with cancer.
“I miss performing in its essence,” Lee told WFAN in a new interview. “Especially when you’re really in good shape, you’ve rehearsed and you know everything, it’s effortless. I do miss that aspect of it. I don’t miss the touring. The only thing of touring that I miss is not playing golf every day in a different fantastic golf club. But the rest of it – sitting in a hotel room, being away from my family, being away from friends – it’s a price you pay, and in the whole scope of things, it’s not that great a price for the return.”
He noted that “it’s been almost five years since the last tour. … I can’t say that I really miss it at this point. Maybe a year or two after we stopped, I probably missed it more. But I’ve settled into it now, and I quite like my life and what I’m doing. I keep active in music, and I’m so in love with golf during the summer, and I’m close to my family. It’s a very good balance for me.”
Asked if he and Lee had discussed working together again, LIfeson said, “Not really. It’s been difficult. After Neil passed in January, I’ve played very little guitar. I don’t feel inspired and motivated.”
He recalled he felt the same way after Peart’s daughter died in 1997. “I didn’t really play for about a year,” he explained. “Every time I pick up a guitar, I just aimlessly kind of mess around with it and put it down after 10 minutes. Normally, I would pick up a guitar and I would play for a couple of hours without even being aware that I’m spending that much time. So, I know it’ll come back.”
He said he suggested some form of reunion with Lee when the bassist and singer was busy with his book. “When he finished it, he went on a tour for a year promoting it,” Lifeson noted. “Every time I spoke to him about getting back together, he was like, ‘Yeah, when I get through this, when I get through this.’ And then always something come up, I guess. I don’t know if the motivation is there for us to really do anything now. We’re certainly proud of our track record, and we still love music. But it’s different now.”