Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson admits to understandably mixed feelings regarding the prospect that the band's next tour could be its last extended run of live dates — but he knows it's probably for the best.

"In one way, I feel relief. I think that 40 years is a long time to be touring the way we tour," Lifeson told CTV News. "I really like being home with my grandkids. At 61, I don't feel there's anything we need to prove."

And even if the spirit is willing, the grind takes its toll on rockers of Rush's vintage. "I still love playing," he insisted, but there's no getting around the fact that the aches and pains add up, particularly for drummer Neil Peart. "His job is really tough. Playing the way he does is very, very difficult on his body. He has chronic tendonitis in his arms and he's had problems with his shoulders. It's just getting to the point, no matter how much we love doing it, that it's much more demanding and much more difficult."

Adding that he hates the idea "of being one of those guys who's just up there, old and barely able to move -- just doing it for fear of not doing it, or not making an extra buck or whatever," Lifeson expressed high hopes for this tour — specifically that if this is the last big one, they can "go out with flying colors, where everybody remembers the show they went to as the best."

And again, Lifeson reiterated that "We're not finished as a band," and said new material looms on the horizon, even if no one's quite sure exactly how far off it might be. "[Geddy Lee] and I are just itching to get back into writing. He just revamped his studio, and he's not a tech kind of studio guy," he noted. "He doesn't know how probably even one per cent of that stuff works. But he's had this renaissance of being a musician and wanting to play and study more — it's really inspiring to see. When things slow down we'll start to do some writing, for whatever purpose. We've always talked about doing some soundtrack work."

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