RUSH Frontman GEDDY LEE - "For 40 Years We Always Joked That NEIL PEART Was Still The New Guy"
November 17, 2023, 3 weeks ago
Rush singer/bassist, Geddy Lee, has released his memoir, My Effin’ Life, available via Harper Collins. The Guardian has published a fan-fuelled Q&A with Lee looking back on all things Rush. Following is an excerpt.
Q: You and Alex Lifeson (guitar) had already been friends for years when Neil Peart joined Rush in 1974. How did you succeed in making him feel an equal part of a trio rather than the drummer in your band?
Lee: "When Neil joined the band, we immediately discovered that we had a lot in common. Our sense of humour; he loved Monty Python’s Flying Circus. He loved The Lord of the Rings and so did we. A lot of the bands we liked were similar – he was big into Cream and Ginger Baker – and the commonality stood us in good stead when just two weeks later we were out on the road for our first American tour, which was quite overwhelming. I think the fact that we were all experiencing this wonderful thing as shy Canadians bonded us. But for 40 years we always joked that he was still the new guy."
Q: When punk arrived, I remember the sheer vitriol from most music journalists towards prog rock in general and Rush in particular. How do you remember this period and view it now?
Lee: "I remember it quite fondly, because we were mixing an album in London when the Sex Pistols were on TV. It was fascinating to watch. At the same time, the three-chord style of these bands instantly made us seem like Beethoven by comparison. So, in a sense, the punk movement legitimised our playing ability and more complex structures. I was all in favour of that."
Read the full Q&A here.
Geddy Lee is used to telling stories through music, but in his new autobiography, he shares his unlikely journey to rock ‘n roll success. In the video below, Lee talks to The National’s Ian Hanomansing about the transformative moments and the importance of telling his family’s Holocaust story.
Geddy Lee's North American My Effin’ Life In Conversation tour is underway. Produced by Live Nation, Lee's 14-city tour kicked off on November 13 at The Beacon Theatre in New York, making stops across North America in Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and more before wrapping up in Toronto at Massey Hall on December 7.
The evening promises to be a once-in-a-life-time event. After the curtain rises, Geddy Lee will give his fans a peek into the very fabric of his life: from a deep reflection of his family and childhood, to a dive into the history of Rush; from the determined pursuit of music, to the personal memories with his life-long friends and band-mates, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. Joined on stage by a special guest interviewer, Geddy Lee will be reading key passages from his forthcoming book My Effin’ Life; he will then share thoughts and stories taken from his experience. Furthermore, fans will then have the chance to participate in a special Q&A, with Geddy Lee answering their questions directly.
“Writing this book has meant spending so much time living in the past”. Lee continues: “I’ve never lived my life looking anywhere but forward, which is why I resisted doing this kind of thing for so long. Being in a band all those years was reassuring because it was an ongoing thing. It felt like it was forever. There was always unfinished business: the next record, the next set design, the next tour. It’s been the theme of my life. But you need a lot more determination to proceed in the world of music without the comfort of your bandmates, and I can only hope that finishing this book will release me to return to what I do and love best”.
Get tickets at Ticketmaster.com. Every ticket purchased includes a copy of Geddy Lee My Effin’ Life which will be provided to ticket holder upon entry into the venue. There is a 4 ticket limit per person.
$1 per ticket is going to the Neil Peart Memorial At Lakeside Park fund. The project and its timelines are contingent on the task force raising the $1 million fundraising goal established for the project. Donations of any size can be made towards the memorial project online at www.stcatharines.ca/neilpeart. The sooner the task force can achieve its fundraising objectives through the generosity of Peart’s fans, the sooner the community and his fans will be able to see the results.
17 - National Harbor, MD - The Theater at MGM National Harbor
18 - Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre presented by Citizens
19 - Cleveland, OH - State Theatre at Playhouse Square
21 - Montréal, QC - Théâtre Maisonneuve
23 - Vancouver, BC - The Centre in Vancouver
24 - Seattle, WA - Moore Theatre
26 - San Francisco, CA - The Masonic
28 - Los Angeles, CA - Orpheum Theatre
30 - Denver, CO - Paramount Theatre
3 - Chicago, IL - Auditorium Theatre
4 - Detroit, MI - The Fillmore Detroit
7 - Toronto, ON - Massey Hall
Lee previously announced the UK leg of the tour. Dates are below and tickets will be available here.
10 - Wolverhampton, UK - The Civic at The Halls
13 - Sheffield, UK - City Hall
14 - Glasgow, UK - Royal Concert Hall
17 - Portsmouth, UK - Guildhall
18 - London, UK - Barbican
Geddy Lee's My Effin' Life memoir can be ordered here.
The long-awaited memoir, generously illustrated with never-before-seen photos, from the iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Rush bassist, and bestselling author of Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book of Bass.
Geddy Lee is one of rock and roll's most respected bassists. For nearly five decades, his playing and work as co-writer, vocalist and keyboardist has been an essential part of the success story of Canadian progressive rock trio Rush. Here for the first time is his account of life inside and outside the band.
Long before Rush accumulated more consecutive gold and platinum records than any rock band after the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, before the seven Grammy nominations or the countless electrifying live performances across the globe, Geddy Lee was Gershon Eliezer Weinrib, after his grandfather murdered in the Holocaust.
As he recounts the transformation, Lee looks back on his family, in particular his loving parents and their horrific experiences as teenagers during World War II.
He talks candidly about his childhood and the pursuit of music that led him to drop out of high school.
He tracks the history of Rush which, after early struggles, exploded into one of the most beloved bands of all time.
He shares intimate stories of his lifelong friendships with bandmates Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart—deeply mourning Peart’s recent passing—and reveals his obsessions in music and beyond.
This rich brew of honesty, humor, and loss makes for a uniquely poignant memoir.