Geddy Lee Names Only Concert He’s Played With Big Name Talent That Had No Competition or Ego
When you enjoy a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career, there are plenty of shows that stand out, but during a recent chat with Jonathan "JC" Clarke on New York's Q104.3 (as seen below), Rush's Geddy Lee shared that one of his most memorable performances actually came in 2022, noting that it was "one of the greatest memories of my lifetime." That would be the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concerts put on by the Foo Fighters in honor of their late drummer.
Within the chat, Lee had nothing but high praise for how the event was handled and what it meant to himself and Alex Lifeson in terms of allowing them a platform to reclaim part of their legacy after Rush's touring retirement and the death of drummer Neil Peart in 2020.
Giving credit to Dave Grohl, Lee says after he accepted the invite to take part, the drummer had one key suggestion about how to handle their return. “He was very considerate and he was like, ‘I don’t think you should play with one drummer, because then everyone’s gonna say ‘That’s the new Rush.’ So play with at least two.’”
Speaking of Grohl's graciousness toward them, he recalled, “Then came the gig, but even before that Alex and I were like fish out of water. We hadn’t played in seven years …. He’s so amazing and generous, so he grabbed Omar Hakim and hopped on a plane and flew to Toronto. We had organized these rehearsals in Toronto and he did two days of rehearsals just to make us comfortable. Just to make us feel like this is a doable thing.”
As for the event itself, it provided a "first" for Lee, who recalled of sharing time with the other name players on the bill, “It’s the only gig I think I’ve ever done that had multiple musicians and multiple big name musicians that had no sense of competitiveness. There was no ego. Everyone was so welcoming and supportive to every other musician that it was really one of the greatest memories of my entire life.”
Lee says Grohl had set up a hotel room where everyone on the bill could meet and hang out. “We got to connect with all these people we never met. I got to meet Paul McCartney and he was so lovely and inspiring and encouraging. After the gig, we had a little group of us, Josh Homme, Alex, me and Dave would come in every once in a while so I could pour him a glass of wine and Will Forte was there and Luke Spiller. And Paul came and sat with us. And he had loved our set, which meant a lot to hear from someone of that stature. But he was insisting that we had to go out on the road and he was making a plea. I remember him saying to me, ‘You know what Ringo says, ’It’s what we do.’”
In reflecting on the event, Geddy explains how it impacted himself and Alex Lifeson in getting to perform at the Taylor Hawkins Tribute concerts.
“With all the sadness of what we were celebrating, it was a beautiful event and one that helped Alex and I realize that these were our songs. We have nothing to be ashamed of to go out and play them with another drummer or if we would ever decide to do that again and that was great to reclaim sort of ownership of our legacy in that regard," says Lee. "And I think Dave understood all that and that’s what makes me particularly grateful to him.”
Is There a Rush Future for Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson?
Earlier this month, Lee revealed in an interview with the Washington Post that potentially performing with Lifeson again under the Rush name is not something he would rule out. Pointing to the Hawkins tribute show, he explained how the experience helped him come to that possible outcome.
"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 explained. "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."
Following their September 2022 stage reunion, Lee noted that he and Lifeson got together in the studio for the first time in years and jammed.
The Rush singer-bassist also recently revealed he planned to write again with Lifeson, but he cautioned fans not to get too excited just yet. “If I say anything about working with Alex, people run to the conclusion that Rush is starting up again,” the frontman told CTV Morning Live in a recent interview. “That is not the case. Yes, Alex and I like each other a lot, still. We hang around with each other a lot. And we both have a desire to try to write songs together. We don’t know whether that will bear fruit or not."
“If it does bear fruit, great. Then we might release some songs. If – that's always an ‘if’ there; but when people publish articles about that, they leave the ‘if’ out. So, yeah, I plan to get together with Al, and we plan to write some songs, but we don’t know if they’ll be any damn good, so we’ll see what happens.”
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