Rush icon Alex Lifeson said he kissed each of his guitars goodbye— and even spoke to one of them — while preparing to send them to auction.

He revealed plans in March to part with over 100 music-related items in a charity sale, later explaining he wanted to pursue a “leaner” lifestyle and continue the “movement forward” represented by his new band, Envy of None.

“[M]y wife and I, we’re at a stage in our life where we just feel like we have too much stuff and we’re trying to get a little leaner,” Lifeson told in a recent interview. “I’m auctioning off the bulk of my guitar collection for charity. I’m looking forward to that. It was probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life; it was so emotionally difficult packing those guitars up. I cleaned them, polished them, did string changes. I made sure every single one was in tune when it went back in the case, and then I kissed it goodbye.”

He said it was particularly difficult to let go of a 1976 Gibson ES-355 that had been a mainstay of his Rush career.

“That was the last one that was left,” he recalled. “I was sitting in our mudroom, just off our garage, while the removal truck was waiting. I sat there with that case in between my legs and, maybe it sounds a little corny, but I was talking to it. I was reminiscing about gigs that we did together and kissing the bubble wrap.” He added: “But I know that, with the funds I’m hoping to raise, it gives it all another life and helps other people, and in some cases gives people another chance at life. Why wouldn’t you do that?"

Lifeson said he “completely” agreed that he feels creative freedom these days. “[A]fter working on [Envy of None's self-titled debut] for a year, [it] has just made me feel like the horizon has opened up,” he noted. “What we did with Rush was remarkable and there are few bands that have that kind of longevity. We worked hard and we were proud of the work we did, and I love it all. But I still have life in me. I still have a love of music. I still wanna explore other areas that make me a better musician.”

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