At a celebrity-studded ceremony held at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on April 18, 2013, Rush was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech by Alex Lifeson for Rush has become renowned. Nevertheless, the guitarist’s bandmates weren’t initially amused.
Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters, who both openly admit to being Rush fans, gave the band their induction into the Rock Hall. In his speech, Grohl explained how a “cool stoner older cousin” gave him a copy of 2112, an album he praised as “heavy shit,” and that was how he first heard of Rush. He then displayed a picture of the band wearing white kimonos and skin-tight “pants”—”the most notorious band shot of all time”—and made a joke about how Alex Lifeson’s picture could still be found on “CamelToe.org” all these years later.
Spin noted, “If you aren’t into Rush, the speech is basically like Homer Simpson describing the merits of Grand Funk Railroad. If you are into Rush, this is a validation of your life.”
One would have thought the evening’s “banter” would finish when Rush took the stage to give their acceptance remarks. The band’s road crew, co-producers, friends, and family were thanked by Neil Peart. Geddy Lee talked about the “pleasure” of playing music with his “two really amazing collaborators” in the band. The audience’s emotions ranged from confusion to hilarity as Alex Lifeson stood at the podium and said “Blah Blah Blah” in a variety of ways for more than two minutes.
His bandmates were unaware of the humor, despite their fake smiles. their response following? Lifeson said, “They wanted to kill me, They were really upset.”
Later on in 2019, while talking with writer James McNair, he talked about the incident. He said, “I didn’t know myself, We had a little rehearsal in the afternoon, just checking the teleprompter was working. I was reading my speech and trying to memorize it – no easy task when you get to this age. In the end I thought, ‘I should just get up and go blah, blah, blah or something.’ And then it was, ‘Oh my God! Do I actually have the balls to get up there and do that?’ So, during the actual show when we were sitting at the table I leaned over to my wife to tell her my plan. Then somebody gave this very serious and grand speech and she was like, ‘And you’re gonna blah, blah, blah?’”
He continued, “I committed to it as I was walking up to the podium, And, yeah, I did have a mischievous smile on my face, because I was thinking to myself, ‘Al. You’re gonna do this.’ All these people were getting up and giving these long-winded speeches, most of which were really fucking boring. I thought, ‘Here we are in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame – isn’t rock supposed to be irreverent?’”
“Geddy and Neil had no idea what was was going on. I think they were confused. I had my back to them and they couldn’t see that I was acting-out the whole story of Rush and how we got there.”
Lifeson continued by saying that his bandmates originally didn’t comprehend the joke but eventually realized its humor. He remembered, “They wanted to kill me, They were really upset. They were like, ‘What is the matter with you? How could you do that after our heartfelt speeches?’ Then the following day I got an email from Neil saying ‘I owe you and apology the size of Texas. I am so sorry that I got upset. I’ve been inundated with emails from everybody I know saying, Wasn’t Alex’s speech great?’ So I was vindicated!”