Episode 058: The Legacy of Geddy Lee

Check out our profile of the incredible Geddy Lee from Rush, and his influence on generations of rock bassists.

So in season 1 we picked a player who had influenced many, and dove into what we think makes them great. This request about Geddy Lee came via viewer mail — Paul Callaway wrote:

Given all the influence Geddy Lee has had on me and probably plenty of other listeners, would there be any possibility of a similar pod regarding his playing and influence on rock, music, and bass? I wouldn’t be playing bass (or music in general) if it wasn’t for him showing that bass can be badass if you want it to be. Also, he has a book coming out later this year about his huge bass collection. Perfect Christmas coffee table book gift for the bassists in your lives.

When did you first encounter his work with Rush?

  • Dave:
    • In college — roomed with a bunch of music aficionados
    • They ran the gamut but one guy was definitely a Rush head
    • Heard an amazing tone and couldn’t believe the same guy was singing at the same time
    • Didn’t become a big fanatic because I always had so many options to listen to
    • Later in life checking him out, just blown away
  • Paul:
    • In college, believe it or not. There was this weird period in the 80s where I listened to nothing but classical music. I knew a lot of Stravinsky but nothing about Stratocasters 🙂
    • I heard Hold Your Fire, a later album, first through a friend
    • Fans don’t consider this one of their really good albums, but I actually thought the songs were really strong, and that’s probably why I bothered to check out Moving Pictures, which is one of their masterpiece records
    • The bass BLEW MY MIND
    • That brought me to other progressive bands like Yes and King Crimson.

Anything you would associate him closely with?

  • Dave:
    • Incredible range in his voice
    • Filling so many roles — bassist, singer, keyboards, half the force in the songwriting
  • Paul:
    • He got this incredibly aggressive sound without a pick. For a while I wasn’t sure about that but then I saw the live and yup, all in his hands

Other notable points:

  • Enormous catalog of work, just so many albums over the decades
  • Geddy Lee has been a big influence on other modern influential bassists themselves, like Les Claypool, Tim Commerford, so many others…
  • If you’re in a band with the same people that long, and you’re all still friends, you have to be a good guy
  • Knack for building relationships and business, which was a key role in the band too

Photo courtesy Tankboy, via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0). Music: JahzzarPlease Listen Carefully; RushHeadlong Flight; spinningmerkabaUrbana-Metronica (wooh-yeah mix); David Rose & His OrchestraHoliday for Strings (1963 version).

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