Michael Schenker and Alex Lifeson

I have always thought that Mad Mikey and Alex sounded kinda similar in their soloing styles, specially in their 70's recorded output. I think this is most noticeable in the solo of Working Man, but I can even hear traces as far as, say, Hemispheres. I know UFO and RUSH toured together, so they were aware of each other, but I always thought it was more a coincidence than anything else, or maybe even more likely, I am just hearing stuff it's not there.

Then someone at a Schenker facebook group posted the same, and a couple of members agreed, and I am thinking maybe it's not just me.

I am not saying they sound alike, or that one copied the other, it's just certain things, and Lifeson's old tone, than remind me of Mike's.

Or maybe it's just the Jimmy Page thing, who was a HUGE influence for them both...

Anyone has noticed, or feels the way I do?
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  • HaffnerHaffner Posts: 7,884
    edited February 11
    I have always thought that Mad Mikey and Alex sounded kinda similar in their soloing styles, specially in their 70's recorded output. I think this is most noticeable in the solo of Working Man, but I can even hear traces as far as, say, Hemispheres. I know UFO and RUSH toured together, so they were aware of each other, but I always thought it was more a coincidence than anything else, or maybe even more likely, I am just hearing stuff it's not there.

    Then someone at a Schenker facebook group posted the same, and a couple of members agreed, and I am thinking maybe it's not just me.

    I am not saying they sound alike, or that one copied the other, it's just certain things, and Lifeson's old tone, than remind me of Mike's.

    Or maybe it's just the Jimmy Page thing, who was a HUGE influence for them both...

    Anyone has noticed, or feels the way I do?
    I only hear some similarity in the abovementioned Working Man/Rock Bottom, and it probably is the Jimmy Page influence. I actually thought one specific lick (the most memorable one toward the end of the main solo) sounded more like something Tony Iommi would have played (ala National Acrobat or the era thereof). 

    Either way, Working Man is by far my favorite solo by Lifeson (not a big fan in general of his soloing). I just love how its length and style remind me of my youth...hearing it on the radio and just waiting for that solo to come up...
    Post edited by Haffner on
  • Tatosh GuitarTatosh Guitar Posts: 1,891
    Haffner said:
    I only hear some similarity in the abovementioned Working Man/Rock Bottom, and it probably is the Jimmy Page influence. I actually thought one specific lick (the most memorable one toward the end of the main solo) sounded more like something Tony Iommi would have played (ala National Acrobat or the era thereof). 

    Either way, Working Man is by far my favorite solo by Lifeson (not a big fan in general of his soloing). I just love how its length and style remind me of my youth...hearing it on the radio and just waiting for that solo to come up...
    Yeah, Working Man is the most obvious. I find it kinda funny both songs were released the same year, in 1974.

    I have never been too crazy for Lifeson's soloing, certainly not at the level Schenker's does it. But I like him. Working Man is probably his finest hour soloing wise. I suppose that sort of playing was what was expected of him, then took it down a notch when Peart entered the picture.

  • I don't actually hear the similarity other than the JP influence.  I know Lifeson (and or Rush) likes/liked Schenker enough to have UFO open for them on the Hemispheres tour (where UFO recorded Strangers in the Night) and then again on the Grace Under Pressure tour, MSG with McCauley opened.
    In the midst of the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.
  • Seven MoonsSeven Moons Posts: 8,770
    I'm not hearing it... On the 70s albums, I'm definitely hearing the Jimmy Page influence in the phrasing and vibrato, even in some parts of "La Villa Strangiato" which is one of Alex's most iconic moments IMO. At the same time, he also had more and more his own thing going (there's not much of Page in the solo of Freewill IMO). Sometimes it was obvious he had listened to the classic prog guys (the ending solo of "The Camera Eye" sounds a lot like something from the Steve Hackett textbook). 
  • Duojett71Duojett71 Posts: 9,450
    I don't actually hear the similarity other than the JP influence.  I know Lifeson (and or Rush) likes/liked Schenker enough to have UFO open for them on the Hemispheres tour (where UFO recorded Strangers in the Night) and then again on the Grace Under Pressure tour, MSG with McCauley opened.
    Not to split hairs...it was the Hold Your Fire tour in '87. I saw that show in Atlanta. First time for me seeing Rush and Schenker. Both bands were great. 

    I don't really see the Lifeson/Schenker similarities either. "Working Man" to me always sounded like Tony Iommi to my ears....especially the solos. 
  • Yeah, you're right.  GuP was the tour I was supposed to see Rush with Gary -- but I got Fastway instead. 
     :s 
    In the midst of the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.
  • HaffnerHaffner Posts: 7,884
    Duojett71 said:
    I don't actually hear the similarity other than the JP influence.  I know Lifeson (and or Rush) likes/liked Schenker enough to have UFO open for them on the Hemispheres tour (where UFO recorded Strangers in the Night) and then again on the Grace Under Pressure tour, MSG with McCauley opened.
    Not to split hairs...it was the Hold Your Fire tour in '87. I saw that show in Atlanta. First time for me seeing Rush and Schenker. Both bands were great. 

    I don't really see the Lifeson/Schenker similarities either. "Working Man" to me always sounded like Tony Iommi to my ears....especially the solos. 
    That main riff is like uptuned Iommi, for sure. 
  • Tatosh GuitarTatosh Guitar Posts: 1,891
    Haffner said:
    Duojett71 said:

    I don't really see the Lifeson/Schenker similarities either. "Working Man" to me always sounded like Tony Iommi to my ears....especially the solos. 
    That main riff is like uptuned Iommi, for sure. 

    I am not saying they sound alike. This is not a Norum / Gary thing, or even a DeMartini / Lynch thing.

    Just that certain spots, or certain parts of their soloing in the 70's remind me of one another, specially Working Man / Rock Bottom. I can still hear it by, say, 77, then it completly dissapears.

    Maybe I am just nuts, but as I said, it's something I saw mentioned by a couple other guys at a Schenker group, when I had already thought about that years ago.

    But yeah, I will concede it's probably too much of a stretch.

    That said, the Iommi thing I hadn't noticed, and now I can't unhear it. The opening lick to the solo is total Iommi.
  • Iommi's lead work has more of an influence than is often acknowledged  in my opinion, on Schenker also for example. 
  • I didn't really hear it in his playing much after he joined UFO (maybe a bit on Phenomenon) and beyond, but definitely thought there was a Page/Iommi influence on Schenker's playing on Lonesome Crow.  It makes sense, he was just 15 or so when that was recorded.
  • Tatosh GuitarTatosh Guitar Posts: 1,891
    Iommi's lead work has more of an influence than is often acknowledged  in my opinion, on Schenker also for example. 

    Yeah. People are always raving about, say, Blackmore's soloing prowess or the like. Iommi is usually not mentioned, specially compared to the way his rhythm playing is. I would venture to say that, aside of this site, I never see any comments on that anywhere.

    But here's another story. I don't think I have ever met a greater fan of his solos than Haffner. And I personally wouldn't change a single note to the entire Heaven and Hell album. I worship what he does there.
  • Yes, on Heaven he shows just how great an all round guitarist he is.
  • StitselStitsel Posts: 2,048
    I would say Sabbath Bloody Sabbath showed just how great an all around guitarist he is  ;)
  • HaffnerHaffner Posts: 7,884
    edited February 14

    But here's another story. I don't think I have ever met a greater fan of his solos than Haffner. And I personally wouldn't change a single note to the entire Heaven and Hell album. I worship what he does there.
    I started playing because of Tony's solos. He has what to me is most important in lead guitar: an immediate, unmistakable style. I can almost always tell when Tony is playing a lead. 

    His playing on the Ozzy, Ronnie, and Glenn albums has been massively influential to me. I carried around Live Evil and use to copy all the licks from it when I was homeless.

    I think he's a great lead guitar player and (though the following are great guitarists in their own right, and ones I overall admire), I never heard Friedman or Gilbert play a guitar solo as good as War Pigs, most especially in the context of making a song better. They played great solos, but not one of them ever did that imo. Granted, I don't think either of them had a song as great as War Pigs to play over (keep in mind, this is entirely my opinion, and I'm fully aware they've made some fantastic music. To me War Pigs is one of the top 20 greatest Rock/Metal songs, period).
    Post edited by Haffner on
  • Seven MoonsSeven Moons Posts: 8,770
    What Andy says, exactly.  Nowadays, there are legions power/prog metal players with impressive technique and admirable consistency, these guys are tremendously schooled and can play twice as fast as Blackmore or Tony, but...  they all sound like each other and play the same arpeggios and neoclassical licks ad nauseam --- as a player, I often wish I could achieve half of what they're doing, but as a listener, after a while, that kind of guitar solo becomes like a mandatory chore you have to endure within a song. And I think that's how it should be judged, because music is made to be listened to. 
    When you hear Tony, you unmistakably know it's him, the lead work is a personal statement and affirmation, it's memorable, emotional and full of attitude. in the early days of Sabbath he could take a bog standard pentatonic lick and turn it into something that sounded otherworldly, and later in his career he upped his game and became one of the most iconic lead players I can think of. Listen to "Neon Knights" or "Over and Over". Those solos are great art. 

    I could wax lyrical endlessly, he belongs to my holy trinity of guitar heroes (with Uli and Schenker). 
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