RUSH's GEDDY LEE: 'It Always Bugged Us' When Critics Would Call Us 'Pretentious'

December 10, 2023

On December 5, RUSH's Geddy Lee was interviewed by PRIMUS's Les Claypool as part of a virtual event to promote the release of Lee's memoir, "My Effin' Life". Asked by Les why it was important for him to talk in the book about how much it annoyed him and his RUSH bandmates when they were dismissed by some music critics as "pretentious", Geddy said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Neil [Peart, RUSH drummer] and I would talk about this. We would talk about, what the fuck does that word ['pretentious'] mean? Who's pretending here? When you're playing to your ability and you're striving for more and you're not faking it… It's real, it's a real desire to get better. And so we didn't understand when people would call us pretentious. Just because our reach perhaps exceeded our grasp, that didn't mean that it wasn't an honest effort to grab the rein. It's not like we were doing it to acquire some sort of glory; we were doing it to acquire a better handle on our music and to break down barriers to our musicianship and improve. So it always bugged us when some writer would just toss us off as some pretentious three-piece band from Canada with progressive ideals and all that stuff."

He continued: "And so I just thought it was interesting to review, in the full spectrum of my career and where we've gone and where we came from, and try to understand why that is such an easy word to toss at a band that has high ambitions. So that's kind of what I was getting at in the book, to discuss it. And I think it's helpful to examine bad criticism, because I was as skeptical of bad reviews as I was of overly good reviews. You know what it's like — some person waxing on about how great you are, you go, 'That guy didn't hear all the bad shit we played last night.'"

"My Effin' Life" was released on November 14 on HarperCollins.

As previously reported, Claypool is featured in Lee's new docuseries which sets out to answer one question: Are bass players human, too? Geddy visits Claypool and other fellow bass players Melissa Auf Der Maur of HOLE, Robert Trujillo of METALLICA and Krist Novoselic of NIRVANA to explore their expansive worlds beyond music.

"Geddy Lee Asks: Are Bass Players Human Too?" is available to stream exclusively on Paramount+.

"My Effin' Life", which was edited Noah Eaker, is 512 pages and is available as a hardcover or as an e-book.

In a recent interview with the Toronto Star, Lee was asked if he has any regrets. He replied: "I do have regrets. I regret how much time I spent away from my son. I regret what I put my wife through and how much she had to carry. And that plays into where I'm at now. I will not do anything without her consideration. Our time together is untouchable."

As for career regrets, Geddy said he didn't have any. "I was the luckiest effin' guy to be able to work with the greatest partners and play the exact kind of music we wanted to play and get away with it for over 40 years," he explained.

Photo credit: Andrew MacNaughtan (2011 press photo courtesy of Atlantic Records)

Don't miss this very special virtual event with Geddy Lee of RUSH. For more details:

Politics and Prose Bookstore, Books & Books, BookPeople, Left Bank Books, Warwick's

Posted by Harper Books on Tuesday, November 28, 2023

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