WHEN YOU hear a song you grew up with, it can magically whisk you back to the period you associate with the song. Based on their sales figures and decades of heavy rotation on radio stations all over the world, Rush, The
Who and The Moody
Blues—bands that have
been writing songs
since the 1960s—are
for loads of this sort of
time travel. The Connection recently spoke
with members of these
three iconic bands.
The Costco Connection: You’re Rush’s main
vocalist and bass player, but you also play keyboards,
control sequencers and work bass pedals with your
feet. Given the technical mastery all those duties
require and the sheer difficulty of it all, have you ever
thought about bringing in other musicians to share
some of your workload?
Members: Geddy Lee, lead vocals and bass; Alex
Lifeson, guitar; Neil Peart, drums and band’s lyricist
Place of origin: Toronto, Ontario, 1968
25 million in certified sales;
3 multi-platinum, 11 platinum and 10 gold records
Member interviewed: Geddy Lee
Geddy Lee: Oh yeah [laughs], I used to bring
it up at the beginning of every tour because there
were times when it felt quite daunting to have to
deal with all the electronic apparatus when I really
just wanted to sing and play bass. So, yeah, I’ve
had to wrestle with that question quite often. But,
in the end, we’re quite a tight unit, the three of us.
And we just kind of figure that our fans would
rather see us up there with our technology rather
than see us fill up the stage with sidemen. We
opted to go the difficult route. But I did get them
[guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart]
to share some of the sequencing responsibilities.
So that helps a bit.
CC: Even just singing and playing bass is very difficult for most musicians. Was that a trick for you in
GL: Yeah, especially on some of our songs.
Sometimes you write a song that has a really cool
riff, and then you write the melody later, and record
it separately. Then when you go to rehearse it, you
go, “How do I do this?” because one part has very
little in common with the other part. It’s hard to get
your brain synchronized … you kind of split your
brain in two, and, if you practice it enough, it starts
to come naturally. Sometimes you have to compromise a bass part a tiny bit to let it fit more comfortably into your brain pattern, but generally I’ve
found it’s like Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule
Just keep playing
it, [and you
will] eventually get it.
COURTESY OF FIN COSTELLO
catches up with
classic rock stars
(left to right) Geddy
Lee, Alex Lifeson,
Neil Peart of Rush.