GEDDY LEE: 'Anything To Do With Music Was The Farthest Thing From My Mind' After NEIL PEART's Death
November 29, 2023
In a new interview with Brazil's Veja, RUSH bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee was asked about the possibility of him recording and playing music again, more than eight years after the band played its final show. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Obviously, there was a complex set of feelings that followed after [RUSH drummer] Neil's [Peart] passing. And it wasn't just that he had passed away. It was that for three and a half years, we had been dealing with his illness. So these things really bring you closer together as people and also weigh heavily on your heart. So when he eventually did pass away in January 2020, it was hard for me to think about just picking up an instrument and start to sing. That didn't feel right to me. I didn't really have any heart for music. So, fortunately, I found something to do during the pandemic, which was writing. And that filled a gap for me in terms of, it was a challenge and I was challenging my memory and testing my skills as a writer and learning about writing. And so I found that quite satisfying, but it took much longer than I expected. And, of course, anything to do with music was the farthest thing from my mind at that time. But since Alex [Lifeson, RUSH guitarist] and I have gotten together last year for the Taylor Hawkins tributes and the little show we did with PRIMUS for 'South Park', I realized that those songs are still part of me. And I don't have a problem to play those songs again, but I have to find the right place and time, if that would ever happen, and I'm not sure that that's what I wanna do next. I have great interest to continue to play in some form, and I probably will, sooner or later, do something musically. And I would like to go back on the road and play live again at some point. But I'm not sure whether that will be with Alex or whether that will be on my own. Those are things that I'm still pondering at this moment."
Asked what his thoughts were when he realized that RUSH's August 1, 2015 concert at the Forum in Los Angeles would truly be the band's final concert ever, Geddy, who is promoting his just-released memoir, "My Effin' Life", said: "Well, I was very disappointed. I was really excited about that ['R40'] tour. I was really proud of it, because I thought we were playing really well, and I loved how the design of the show had come together and all these ideas that we had were working and it was just a beautiful thing. So I wanted to play everywhere, I wanted to take it all around the world, but it wasn't meant to be. And I still held out hope towards the end that [Neil] would change his mind, maybe, or after a few weeks off that he would say, 'Okay, guys, let's go back out and do some more shows.' But when I heard that he wanted to send his case home, his dressing room case, I knew that was it. And that was very hard for me, because I was resentful that someone else's decision was affecting what I wanted to do. But I had no choice because I had to respect his decision. We were always a democracy, and we always said, 'If all three don't wanna do something, we don't do it.' So, you can't have it both ways. You have to accept the good with the bad. And, so, when the tour ended, I was sad. I was frustrated. But there was nothing I could do about it, so my wife and I went walking. And that was how I tried to process it. And, unfortunately, within a year, we learned of his illness and in that moment, nothing else mattered and any resentment I had disappeared in a moment. And now it was time to be there for him and try to help him and his family in any way we could, which was very hard."
Peart died in January 2020 after a three-year battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. He was 67 years old.
RUSH waited three days to announce Peart's passing, setting off shockwaves and an outpouring of grief from fans and musicians all over the world.
Glioblastoma is the same disease that killed senators John McCain and Edward Kennedy, and Beau Biden, the son of U.S. president Joe Biden.
Peart was considered one of the best rock drummers of all time, alongside John Bonham of LED ZEPPELIN; Ringo Starr of THE BEATLES; Keith Moon of THE WHO; Ginger Baker of CREAM and Stewart Copeland of THE POLICE.
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