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Alex Lifeson post-arrest video

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I thought I’d post a quick link to a Florida NBC station’s website which features some raw video footage of Alex Lifeson as he is released on bail following his arrest New Year’s Eve. Watching the video, something seems very odd – Lifeson is his usual calm, collected self, with no signs of the violent behavior that was noted the night before.

I don’t want to get biased because this is my favorite band, but something is very odd here. Why did police need to use a stun gun to subdue Lifeson? What exactly was his son doing that police needed to act so aggressively that Alex would feel the need to jump in. This is not a “typical” rock star here. No one in Rush has ever been known to have any run-ins with the law before, so this makes this a very odd incident indeed. And when you see some of the pictures of Alex after the incident, it looks like it was a lot more violent towards him than he could have been to the police. I urge you to watch the video – seeing Lifeson after the incident, acting as calm and cool as he does, something seems very odd – very wrong – with this whole situation.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this situation, of course. I can’t imagine how this will turn out, but I can only hope that it’s for the best, and that Rush’s 30th anniversary tour this year is not jeopardized because of it. I’m sure all Rush fans feel the same way.

(The fine folk at Unproductivity like Rush.)

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About Tom Johnson

  • Matthew Best

    The story you linked to states that he was released on Friday afternoon, after having spent two nights in jail. Just because he acts “calm and cool” when sober on Friday afternoon, does not mean he was acting calm and cool when drunk on Wednesday evening.

    I’m afraid your bias is showing.

  • Tom Johnson

    Oh no, my bias is showing for my favorite band! What will we do?!

    If you paid attention, you’d note that in the article it also says that fans were surprised by this because he’s not known for this kind of behavior. If he was truly a violent person, a violent drunk (and he’s known to enjoy the drink quite a bit) some other episode of similar violence likely would have happened in the past 30 years of his career. But there’s nothing. This is why I say there’s more to this than we’ve read so far.

    Read new article which presents Alex’s son’s point of view and see if it doesn’t change the details the police presented. I’m not saying it’s 100% true, but somewhere between the two sides is the truth. (Alex’s son does appear to be a little bit snotty in this article . . . hopefully they won’t have him speaking for them more than this.) From what I read here, it sounds like the police used excessive force – was a stun gun really necessary on a guy who was simply retrieving his belongings?

  • idflux

    This is the way it is:
    In Florida, cops protect rich people’s beach communities. They are glorified bouncers. They will rough you up and if you break your nose or fall down the stairs, they say you are acting crazy.
    They basically “Rodney Kinged” a guy and he turned out to be famous. On New Year’s Eve, bad cops can get away with murder. This happens all the time.

  • Gojira

    This is also the way it is: When cops in Florida go bad, the thing to do is complain to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. They will send investigators to the jurisdiction in question (especially if several thousand people complain) and make an “internal affairs” event look like a party to the cops that did the Rodney King job.

    My folks just bought a condo for the extended family down in that area. You can be damned sure that I’ll be making as much legal trouble for the officers involved in this as possible.

    Specifically the female member who allegedly went down the stairs? she’d better learn “would you like fries with that”.

  • Sarah Hoagland

    Being 13 and also being a huge Rush fan, I was really surprised by this. I think one of the greatest thing about Rush is that, before now they have had no scandalous background.I understand it is quite possible he could have been highly intoxicated and disorderly but I highly doubt a stun gun was apropriate. I also hope this does not mean they won’t tour.

  • Doug Clark

    Alex Lifeson a violent, drunken fool ?? I should think not. Maybe them Florida boys got too much sunshine on their tiny litle brains. If they have any at all. RUSH forever.

  • Dusty

    Man, RUSH just has to TOUR in 2004!!!!! Although Alex probably was highly intoxicated and inflicted violence upon the police officers, I do not see the need to break Alex’s nose or the need to use a freaking stun-gun on the man. I agree that this situation is very much like the beating of Rodney King. Sometimes police officers can be super pricks. RUSH has never had any trouble with the law in the past 30 years, so this catastrophic event in Alex’s life should hopefully end very soon. I’m still cheering for the 2004 tour! It’s gotta go on! RUSH FOREVER AND ALWAYS! I love you, RUSH!

  • RubyDave

    The cops said Lifeson spat blood on the officer before (allegedly) pushing her down the stairs. Why would he have blood in his mouth unless he had been struck in the face first? The natural reaction to being assaulted is self defense. If he did push the cop, it was probably a reflex action. I had an altercation with fascist Florida pigs at a concert, so I know first hand that they’re low life power-drunk scumbags.

  • Dave Rubinstein

    The cops said Lifeson spat blood on the officer before (allegedly) pushing her down the stairs. Why would he have blood in his mouth unless he had been struck in the face first? The natural reaction to being assaulted is self defense. If he did push the cop, it was probably a reflex action. I had an altercation with fascist Florida pigs at a concert, so I know first hand that they’re low life power-drunk scumbags.

  • Eric Olsen

    Tom, since Rush being your favorite band seems utterly alien to me, i’d like to hear why they are your favorite band, and I am not a Rush hater, just a Rush not-getter. I honestly haven’t really got what they were trying to do since the great holy noise of their very first album.

  • Mark Saleski

    since Rush being your favorite band seems utterly alien to me

    eric, why is this alien to you? i mean, since you’re a Rush-not-getter, that is.

  • Tom Johnson

    I agree with Mark, Eric, but for your sake I’ll start thinking about what it was that really grabbed me with them . . . I’ll try and work up something to post here in coming days or weeks . . . I’m on slow-brain mode lately.

  • Mark Saleski

    i’m going to do the same thing…then eric can call both of us weenies.


  • Eric Olsen

    I guess it’s alien to me because I’m a Rush not-getter, which is perhaps tautological, but I agree with both of you on music 75%+, or so it seems, and as a result of this wide commonality, when there is such a glaring disparity – I would literally never think of Rush one way or the other left to my own devices – I seek to understand it.

  • Mark Saleski

    ah well….i guess we’ll haveta learn ya.

  • Eric Olsen

    It would appear – I don’t even know how to categorize Rush. I have no conceptual framework in which to put them, which certainly is my problem, but not an uncommon one, I would guess.

  • TruthHurts

    I have been a long time Rush fan myself. However, one thing that people are mistakenly fixating on is the use of the Taser/ Stun Gun.

    Cops have a use of force guideline they have to follow and believe it or not, the Taser falls in the area of physical control against passive physical resistance. That’s pretty low resistance and doesn’t require Alex or anyone else to even ball up his fists. If he was drunk and belligerant 230 pound man and interfering with their escorting his son from the property (as requested by the hotel), then he probably met the criteria that justified his being shocked.

    Cops use the Taser to minimize physical resistance and facilitate arrest. Most agencies are pretty liberal with it’s use because they know it minimizes injury to officers as well as suspects. Someone who gets stunned with a Taser just freezes up and falls down. They are unable to move or resist for the duration of the charge but afterward are unharmed. Something to note is the fact that most officers take a voluntary 5 second shock with the Taser in training so that they are confident it works before they carry it. They do this knowing how unpleasant it is. That should tell you something.

    Alcohol brings out the worst in people and although many people think that the cops were heavy handed, the stun gun saved him from possibly getting hurt a lot worse than he did.

    Take care.

  • BB

    Eric please give “Sub Divisions” a good listen and then tell me you don’t get it. Granted some of their earlier stuff got a little noisy – not unlike early Genesis, but for a threesome band they puck quite a punch. They are an extremely talented band and there is no denying that. I used to play with Neil Peart’s young protégé, and with the exception of Phil Collins not many drummers even come close. As far as Geddy Lee is concerned have you ever played bass and tried to keep up with him? Even using a pick it is challenging to say the least (Geddy does not use a pick that I am aware of). And Alex, well.. his playing speaks for itself.

  • Eric Olsen

    BB, “Subdivisions” and much else discussed here. I like the noisy stuff.

  • Tom Johnson

    Geddy does not use a pick and, in fact, is reportedly “blessed” with an unusual wound to his index finger wherein he lost the very tip sometime during his childhood (I can’t remember how.) The healed-over skin is tough and hard, which (literally) gives him an edge over all other bassists. Now I know what I must do . . . where’s my knife?! (You Rush fans thought I was going to say “Where’s My Thing?” didn’t you?)

  • Eric Olsen

    It sure sounds like a pick.

    So why was my concluding remark so offensive – I thought it summarized my position rather well.

  • Tom Johnson

    I find nothing to be offended about, Eric. I might find something to poke fun at . . . but no offense is found.

    Hey, you should pick up the Rush In Rio DVD to check out Geddy’s pick-less play in action. It’s really impressive to see. The man’s fast.

  • Eric Olsen

    I wonder what our bassman Casper thinks of Geddy.

  • joe joe

    99.9% of the worlds population will never come close to achieving in “all aspects” what Rush has compiled in their careers. uneducated related comments will get you nowhere.

  • Courtney


  • Gedave

    Does anyone know the outcome of Alex’ hearing on Jan 26th? I know it must be positive because the tour will happen as scheduled. I was hoping to hear the actual outcome.
    And no, Geddy does “not” use a pick! :-)

  • JohnnyLunchBox

    Tom – Geddy did not lose a portion of his finger. He had an injury to his fourth finger on his right hand that involved his fingernail. The nail grew back extra thick which allows him to make some extra noise.

  • Sport Paolo

    We haven’t got to see Rush here in the U.K. for a long time. I’ve got tickets for all the shows, so send ‘em over. Those Florida police must be mean, what were they doing in Italy on new years eve anyway?

  • JohnnyLunchBox

    Paulo, it is a little known fact that Naples is the birthplace of the modern pizza, and since Florida police officers consume vast quantities of donuts, it should come as no surprise that their annual pilgrimage to Mongolia be dropped in favor of the more law enforcement friendly Naples. Am I making myself clear? In other words New Years Eve doesn’t even factor into the equation and you’ve been mislead like the rest of us. Email me for furhter clarification.

  • Sport Paolo

    Johnny, yes you Johnny Lunchbox, you talk of pizzas and donuts and even slip a ‘furhter’ in there. In England we call them sausages, in Italia le salsicce, I believe you crazy Yanks call them ‘dogs’. Do you know your onions? I suspect you do.

  • johnnylunchbox

    I never met a salsicca I didn’t like, unless of course it was attached to a man. In that case I like donuts better, or doughnuts, but never dognuts. Even an occasional Meat Pocket will suffice. I guess I am to blame for furthering the furhter fiasco. Per piacere non mi rompere i coglioni.

  • Sport Paolo

    I like your sense of humour, Johnny. However, your italian did cause me to raise my eyebrows. Naughty.

  • JohnnyLunchBox

    My Italian is almost as bad as my sense of humor.

  • ETtheExtraTesticle

    Big Rush Fan here!
    I am looking forward to those guys coming in July. Let me just say from the perspective of a longtime professional drummer and musician, that the talent that those 3 guys have harnessed and applied to rock and roll is paralelled by none. If you have ever seen Rush and witnessed an awesome Geddy Lee play bass with his left hand, sing, play keyboards with his right hand, and play the taurus pedals with his right foot simultaneously, then you can understand what the hub bub is. I would urge anybody who has never seen these guys to see them before they are finished. I think Rush has about 29 records with big labels to date. And I didn’t even go off on Neil Pearts incredible percussive talents. Last time I saw Rush about 4 years ago, I can say it was by far the best show I had ever seen. The whole second half was 2112. Mick Jager couldn’t hold a candle to the stamina and energy of these old timers. I think my ears rang for 2 days afterwards too.

    It is too bad about the whole situation. I hope it all works out for Alex. I don’t know him, but as far as I know, these guys have never caused too much of a rukus in public. I do know Neil Peart lost his wife and child to a deadly car accident. That seems pretty humbling to me.

  • Drew

    Geddy Lee listened to Jaco, Jeff Berlin, the guy from Yes(who uses a pick btw) and practiced alooot. You don’t get to be a good bass player by injuring a finger, that’s bullshit. As a matter of fact, a lighter touch will give you better tone…as will rotosound strings, which Geddy uses.

  • JohnnyLunchBox

    Drew – I know for a fact that Geddy injured his finger years ago. He spoke about it in an interview quite a few years ago. It cause the nail on his ring finger to grow back much thicker than normal. Childhood trauma to my ring finger on my left hand caused the same condition. He does not use it exclusively or incessantly. He uses it for the occasional extra pick-like sound that it can produce. By far most of his playing is with the pads of his fingers. I’ve seen the result of the injury up close. You can even see it sometimes on the ring finger of his right hand when they do close ups on the big screen during the acoustic rendition of “resist”.

  • paul

    it seems that blogcritics screens most of their comments, and if they dont like them, they dont keep them on very long. i find this sort of offensive and rude. we’re all being censored here on blogcritics. wow, big brother really is comming.

  • Eric Olsen

    not sure what you’re talking about Paul – first read the comment policy linked from every post: we edit out comment spam and direct personal attacks – that’s it

  • Steve

    Since presumably none of us were there to actually see what happened, it’s kind of tough to pass judgment. You can’t judge all cops as brutal because of one incident and you can’t judge Alex Lifeson as a tee-totaller role model either.

    I’ve been tased before and I’d rather get tased than get my rear end kicked and bones broken. It sounds brutal, but it’s a pretty humane way to take somebody down with minimal risk of injury.

  • JohnnylunchBox

    Steve – do you get tased regularly?

  • qasbotr

    Comment 4 posted by Gojira on January 5, 2004 11:23 PM:

    “…When cops in Florida go bad, the thing to do is complain to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.”

    Yeah right. They are way too cozy with the local PD’s. If you knew what goes on behind the scene, you’d puke your guts out.

  • mickey

    To get tased 6 times is excessive. To get tased twice while lying face down in your own blood is revolting. To get punched in the face twice and hard enough to shatter your nose is painful. To be grabbed by the neck and pushed down a flight of stairs by a female deputy is shocking. To read police statements after the incident and then compare them to the officer’s later sworn depositions is confusing. To discover that out of 16 hotel security cameras, 3 weren’t “operational”, the very 3 in the area where the family was attacked, is revealing. To read the 911 call transcript made by hotel security where they stated, “they’re standing on the tables throwing cutlery and tearing the place apart” when in fact the family was peacefully finishing their dinner, is infuriating. To find out that the deputy who tased Justin, and then Alex twice, was an employee of the Ritz just before entering the police force, and what a “coincidence” it is that he showed up, is disquieting. To read the dozen or so sworn statements of hotel dinner guests from that evening who say Alex was not intoxicated and the fact that the police have no evidence of intoxication, is curious. To read Judy’s comments when she had only met the family for brief seconds earlier that evening is thoughtful. To read the Ritz employee’s eyewitness account of the brutaliy instigated by the police is infuriating. To read comments from the ignorant who were not there and choose to base their speculation on personal biases is meaningless. To have the year probation terminated 6 months early is mildly restorative. To commit to action so that the many others who find themselves in this sort of authority-abuse situation is hopeful. This thing’s a long way from being over yet.

  • Asian Rush Fan

    it’s ironic how people assume just because Alex is a rock musician, violence is part and parcel of their lifestyle. That there is stereotype. Now the federal court found that there may have been violence? That Lifeson AKA Zivojinovich has a leg to stand on? And abuse by tasering is a pattern used and approved by the state? Even on six-year-olds who are unruly? No Tom, you are no biased, nor are the people wondering if Alex deserved what he deserved. Why? Because, like else, we never wait for the end to read what had happened. This is what happened:

    On New Year’s Eve 2003, Lifeson, his son, and his daughter-in-law were arrested at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Naples, Florida. Lifeson, after intervening in an altercation between his son and police, was accused of assaulting a sheriff’s deputy in what was described as a drunken brawl. In addition to suffering a broken nose at the hands of the officers, Lifeson was tasered six times. His son was also tasered repeatedly.

    On April 21, 2005 a plea deal was made between Lifeson and the prosecution by which he would be spared a custodial sentence if he agreed to plead no contest to a single charge of resisting arrest without violence. The plea was offered by the prosecution after the judge in his son Justin’s trial reduced the charge against Justin from resisting arrest with violence to resisting arrest without violence. The reduction was in response to a pre-trial defense motion to dismiss the charges entirely, and was made after the prosecution had presented their case, but before the defense had called any witnesses. According to Justin’s file in the Felony section of the Public Records database of Collier County, Florida,[9] the judge determined that, based on the testimony of the prosecution’s witnesses, including one of the police officers involved in the incident, that while the potential for violence existed, none was offered by Justin. As part of the plea agreement Lifeson and his son were each sentenced to 12 months of probation with the adjudication of that probation suspended. Upon successful completion of the probation, the matter is to be expunged from their records. In addition, they had to pay all court costs. In the fall of 2005, the court granted early dismissal from probation to both Lifeson and his son.

    Record sealed and no deportation order. That’s at the state level. Now the federal level is pending.

  • Margaret Marks

    RUSH is my all time favorite band, I listen to them all the time. What happened here made me sick and I can’t believe that these trigger happy cops did what they did. Wish I could find some way to get even. I believe everything that Justin and Alex said and I don’t believe they are guilty of anything!! The cops knew that Alex was in RUSH and they just wanted to make trouble and a name for themselves.

  • Jim Morrison

    I’m familiar with the cops in Florida. They kicked the crap out of me on several occasions, the last one resulting in my death. I would sue the city, but I can’t, being dead.

    I am typing this from bEyOnD tHe GrAvE.


  • Dr Dreadful

    There’s really only one thing you can say to that…

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