The members of Rush and Primus reflect on their crazy jam sessions with instruments they did not know how to play
Rush became one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Known for their dynamic performances, packed touring schedule and consistent virtuosity as a band, they have become proficient at entertaining fans as well as themselves.
Guitarist Alex Lifeson recently recalled Rush touring with Primus in the early 90s and how the two bands often played together to pass the time on the road.
“We were doing a sound check at 4:30 p.m. and then Primus would set up and they would do their sound check,” Lifeson says Guitar World. “We would have dinner at 6 and then jam, usually in our dressing room or in a nice, resonant hallway.”
As unbelievable as it may seem now, it’s better that these sessions were never recorded. A strange feature of these gatherings was that the musicians of both bands often used instruments they didn’t know how to play or went further and used objects that weren’t meant to be played at all!
“At one point the deal was that you had to go out and get an instrument that you couldn’t play,” Lifeson added. “I have an accordion and a flute. We all played those instruments that we didn’t know how to play. We actually recorded those jams. I don’t know what happened to those recordings, but we made them everywhere.
According to Q104.3, Primus guitarist Larry LaLonde bought a clarinet for one of the sessions. He told Guitar World that the quality of these jams was childish and chaotic considering he couldn’t even play his chosen instrument. He also recalled that Lifeson used a tortilla as a guitar pick when he decided to play guitar. Primus frontman Les Claypool even remembers seeing the late great Neil Peart “play lockers as his percussion instrument”.
Primus are currently on tour to celebrate Rush with their A Tribute to Kings Tour. They perform Rush’s 1977 A farewell to kings album in its entirety as well as a range of original music.
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat