GEDDY LEE On Making New Music With ALEX LIFESON: 'People Would Love For Us To Carry On'
December 4, 2023
Geddy Lee's "My Effin' Life In Conversation" tour made a stop last night (Sunday, December 3) at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. The trek sees the RUSH singer/bassist bring to life his memoir "My Effin' Life", which was released on November 14 on HarperCollins. Produced by Live Nation, the 14-city tour is making additional stops across North America before wrapping up in Toronto at Massey Hall on December 7.
Asked by special guest interviewer at the Chicago tour stop, SOUNDGARDEN guitarist Kim Thayil, about the possibility of new music from him and RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson, Geddy said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "People would love for us to carry on. I understand, I appreciate that. I'm very careful with my words when I talk about it, because life has changed a lot since our last gig, and I'm not getting any younger. And so, yeah, of course, I would love to sit down with Al and write, but it was very important for me…
"I could not imagine playing music after Neil [Peart, RUSH drummer] passed," Geddy continued. "When that has happened before in my life, I turned to music, but there was no, there was no — what's the word I'm looking for? — there was no comfort in music for me after he passed. It was just such a strange series of events that led to that finality that I needed to do some work on my own, on myself. And I needed to express myself independently. That's when I made the first book I was making when Neil was ill, my '[Big Beautiful] Book Of Bass', which I'm sure you all have. And that was beautiful because I was paying homage to the instrument that brought me everything, that brought me this, that brought me everything in life, was my bass and I felt like I owed it to my bass to do justice to it. And so [I did] a glorious bit of research into my instrument and I felt I needed to correctly put the bass guitar up there with guitars.
"I was in a band with the same people for almost 45 years and just to turn around and continue to do it with another person in the hot seat just felt wrong to me," Lee explained. "It just felt incorrect, and I couldn't process that. So I needed to do some other things. I needed to spend more time with my family and I needed to exercise some other artistic ideas that I had. And so now that this rare and unusual tour is underway, I'm putting my life back into a new perspective. I do believe there's a future for writing music with Al again. And if we like it, we'll release it. But it all remains to be seen. Because if I've learned one thing in the last ten years, I've learned that life is impossible to predict. But I'm hopeful, so I remain hopeful."
Earlier this month, Lee was asked by "CBS News Sunday Morning" correspondent Jim Axelrod whether he and Alex have ever talked about, "Let's go get one of the great drummers and tour again." Geddy said: "Have we talked about it? Yeah." As for whether it will happen, Lee said: "It's not impossible, but at this point, I can't guarantee it."
Last month, Geddy was asked by the Los Angeles Times if there could ever be another RUSH show. Geddy said: "There could be a show that paid tribute to the songs of RUSH. I would never say there will never be another RUSH show. We get approached all the time."
Pressed about whether drummers ever say, "If you continue without Neil, I'm available", Geddy said: "Again, all the time. At the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert [in September 2022], Alex and I played with Dave Grohl and a bunch of other drummers. Neil would have loved it. I know he was looking down at us — or looking up at us [laughs] — and thinking, 'Fuck, that would have been fun.'"
Lee previously discussed the possibility of making new music in a separate interview with Long Island Weekly. During that chat, he said: "I recently discovered a couple of songs that had been left off my solo album [2000's 'My Favourite Headache'). Listening to them was really quite fun and I decided that I wanted to see about fixing those up and just breathing some fresh air into them. And that experience reminded me of how much fun I have in the studio. So of course, my lifelong buddy and bandmate Alex and I would like to get back into the studio together and see what might happen. I have ideas that I'd like to flesh out on my own too. Once I finish all this crazy crap that I agreed to do — the book tour and the TV show and find some space for myself — I'd certainly like to start playing something. But I can't tell you right now because I'm just book touring it until I drop. And then I'll see where I land after I have a nice holiday with my wife and we'll go from there. I don't like to plan too far ahead anymore. I was scheduled up the wazoo with my partners in RUSH for over 45 years. Now, I have to prioritize other things."
To date, Lee has only released one solo album, the aforementioned "My Favourite Headache". The disc was recorded during a time when RUSH's future was uncertain. The band was in the midst of what would be a five-year break from the road following the tragic deaths of drummer Neil Peart's daughter and wife in 1997 and 1998, respectively.
In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Lee spoke about reuniting with Lifeson for last year's star-studded tribute concerts — one in London, one in Los Angeles — to pay tribute to late FOO FIGHTERS drummer Taylor Hawkins. They enlisted a few drummers — TOOL's Danny Carey, Omar Hakim, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS' Chad Smith and Dave Grohl — to join them at the gigs. At the after-party, Paul McCartney congratulated them and urged them to get back on the road.
"It had been a taboo subject, and playing those songs again with a third person was the elephant in the room, and that kind of disappeared," Lee told The Washington Post. "It was nice to know that if we decide to go out, Alex and I, whether we went out as part of a new thing, or whether we just wanted to go out and play RUSH as RUSH, we could do that now."
Geddy also revealed that in October 2022, for the first time in years, Lee and Lifeson went down into Lee's home studio and jammed.
Although Lifeson was "excited as offers rolled in after the Hawkins shows," he ended up undergoing surgery in July for his long-standing stomach problems.
Asked if he plans on nudging his pal to get back onstage, Lee told The Washington Post: "He needs to feel good and feel healthy and strong. And then maybe we have a discussion."
A year and a half ago, Lifeson told Guitar World in an interview that he hadn't ruled out making new music with Lee. "We're not putting any pressure on it or anything," he said. "We had a lot of good years together and we still love each other very much. I talk to Geddy every other day — we're best friends. There's more to our life together than just writing music. So if it happens, it happens. And it'll happen when it happens."
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.
"My Effin' Life", which was edited Noah Eaker, is 512 pages and is available as a hardcover or as an e-book.
BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).