The son of Yugoslavian immigrants, Lifeson was raised in Toronto, Ontario. Lifeson's solo album, Victor, was released in 1996. He plays guitar and composes for the rock group Rush, owns and operates a small consumer product design engineering and manufacturing firm (The Omega Concern), as a gourmet chef is part owner of a Toronto restaurant (The Orbit Room), and is a licensed aircraft pilot and motorcycle operator.
On New Year's Eve 2003-2004, Lifeson, his son, and his daughter-in-law were arrested at a Naples, Florida hotel. Lifeson was accused of assaulting a sherrif's deputy in what was described as a drunken brawl.