How Rush's Alex Lifeson Was Recruited for New Fu Manchu Album

Rush may be done, but fans will be able to hear new guitar work from Alex Lifeson when the stoner rock band Fu Manchu release Clone of the Universe on Friday.

Lifeson was asked to appear on the 18-minute track “Il Mostro Atomico,” and Fu Manchu frontman Scott Hill admitted they couldn’t believe their luck when he agreed. “[I]f it all ended tomorrow, that would be a pretty good note to end on!” Hill told Revolver. “Our manager is friends with his manager, and they were talking. Without asking us, our manager was like, ‘Hey, would Alex want to play on their new record?’ His manager asked him and got back to our manager, like, ‘Oh yeah, he totally will. Send him a song!’ When he told us, we were all like, ‘Holy shit!’ We immediately reverted back to the Rush fans we were in seventh grade!”

Fu Manchu’s usual approach to record-making is to first lay down song ideas on a four-track recorder, so they sent the “lower than normal demo quality” version of “Il Mostro Atomico” to Lifeson, who reportedly told the band, “This is great. What do you want me to do on it?” recalled Hill. “We were like, ‘Holy shit, he’s asking us? Dude, do whatever you want, wherever you want!”

Lifeson sent back a series of ideas and told them to “use whatever you want.” “We picked this one section of stuff that he did; it’s in the first part where the band drops out,” Hill said. “He’s playing a really effected guitar riff along with the bass and drums, and then the bass and drums drop out. He’s doing stuff with a bunch of different effects, all these sci-fi sounds and pick slides, and we were just flipping out listening to it. We still can’t believe it!”

Hill, whose favorite Rush song is “Subdivisions,” said he and his bandmates would have been happy with anything Lifeson had given them, but they’re more appreciative of the fact that he took time to contribute seriously to their song. “He really added to it,” he noted. “That riff that he played, that wasn’t even in the song! I remember leaving the studio that night after we first got it back from him, and we were all like, ‘Fuck, this is insane!’”

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