RUSH's GEDDY LEE: There Was A Period 'We Were Doing A Lot Of Cocaine Just To Keep The Energy Up'

November 15, 2023

In a new interview with Toronto Life, RUSH bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee was asked if he and his bandmates were cleaner than their contemporaries at the height of their commercial success or they were "just better at hiding it". He responded: "You mean, what drugs were we doing? Honestly, it was strange living out of a bus. We once played 23 cities in 23 nights. At that point, we were doing a lot of cocaine just to keep the energy up. In terms of wild nights, when a band stays in a town for two days you can bet there's going to be an intense amount of drinking. When we would open for bigger bands, people were constantly spraying beer and pie-ing each other in the face. One time, we pied KISS in the face and they did the same to us. The hotel we stayed in got totally trashed. Someone took a giant potted plant and threw it over the balcony. They could have killed someone! But it was what you were supposed to do, I guess."

Lee previously reflected on RUSH's partying days in a 2022 interview with "House Of Strombo". At the time, he said: "We had our moments where we were doing too many gigs, too many gigs in a row and the drugs were coming at us fast and furious, but somehow or another, we kept our shit together through it all. There was one leg of one tour that we did 23 one-nighters in a row. You're operating on fumes; you're doing whatever it takes to get through to the next show, get through that show. Whether it's smoking a joint afterwards or doing a line of coke or whatever it takes, you did it."

Lee clarified, however, that RUSH's main focus was making the shows as great as possible. "We valued our work," he explained. "We valued our quality of our gigs. So we never let [drugs] interfere. It couldn't interfere, otherwise there was no point to be there. [Laughs] What's the point of being here if you're gonna fuck up the gig?"

"[The music] was hard to play," RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson said. "We were very disciplined when it came to shows. There was not even a beer during the drum solo."

Geddy kicked off his "My Effin' Life In Conversation" tour Monday night (November 13) at The Beacon Theatre in New York. 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 will make additional stops across North America in Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and more before wrapping up in Toronto at Massey Hall on December 7.

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