Geddy Lee Recalls ‘Difficult’ Final Rush Concert
The bassist recalled that both of his bandmates, Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson, had been in pain during the R40 run of dates, and regretted that they hadn’t been able to play more shows before drummer Peart retired following their performance on Aug. 1, 2015.
“Neil is retired,” Lee told SiriusXM's Trunk Nation in a new interview. “He hasn't just retired from Rush, he's retired from drumming. He's not drumming anymore, and he's living his life. Which is fine. Alex and I are cool with it. We're all still total pals. In fact, Alex and I were there just a few weeks ago visiting him. … And, of course, Alex lives very near to me, so we're constantly going out to dinner, 'cause he loves to drink everything in my wine cellar. We're still pals and we all talk, but that period of our life is done.”
Asked about the band’s final tour, Lee recalled that the "last gig was a difficult night. But what you're talking about is really what was going through Neil's mind. He was struggling throughout that tour to play at his peak, because of physical ailments and other things that were going on with him. … He’s a perfectionist, and he didn’t want to go out and do anything less than what people expected of him. That's what drove him his whole career, and that's the way he wanted to go out, and I totally respect that.”
You can listen to part of the interview below.
Lee added that the physical toll wasn’t the same on himself and Lifeson. Still, “Alex does suffer from arthritis and he was having a very difficult time on that tour playing a three-hour show," he said. "So it was clear that, whatever happened in the future, it was not gonna be like that.”
His only cause of sadness, he said, was that he "would like to have had the rest of the world that couldn't come to those cities experience that. And that's really the only regret I have – that we couldn't do more shows. But in hindsight now, and with the benefit of time, I'm very happy with the way it went down. It just didn't sit right for me to do a farewell tour and try to capitalize on that word. It just didn't work for me. … It wasn't the easiest thing to pull off, but I feel good about our body of work, and I feel good about the way it ended.”
Lee’s most recent project is a book about the history of the bass guitar, which he said was “good fun” to work on and a “a really good break from everything that was going down with Rush” toward the end of their career. He repeated that he expected to start a musical project in the near future.
“Is there more music to come from myself and from Alex?" he asked. "I don't know when and what shape that will take. I don't know if Alex and I will do something together. People keep me asking me and they want me to be definitive, and I can't be, because I really haven't thought that far. … I will start thinking about what I'm gonna do next and I'll start playing all those [basses] that are staring at me when I go into my studio.”