Geddy Lee Is Trying to Get Alex Lifeson to Tour Again

"I think Al and I owe it to each other to have a serious sit-down and play together and see what happens"

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Nov 20, 2023

Continuing his press tour behind new memoir My Effin' Life, Geddy Lee has expanded on his previous comments about being open to touring with Alex Lifeson as Rush again.

Well, maybe not as Rush, exactly: "I don't know how comfortable we would be doing that," Lee admitted to Rolling Stone's Brian Hiatt in a new interview. "But we could always call ourselves some other stupid name, or Rash. [Laughs.]"

After initially telling The Washington Post about how Paul McCartney urged Lifeson and himself to tour again after their performance at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert, Lee gave Hiatt the full story behind his Macca encounter.

"Dave [Grohl] was so sweet," Lee said, recalling how McCartney told the Foo Fighters frontperson before his rehearsal that he had never met anyone from Rush before. While he didn't get the impression that the Beatle was familiar with Rush's music, Lee said that McCartney was so "warm and embracing and positive" after watching their set.

The singer-bassist reflected, "[McCartney] came and sat and drank with us. We all got plastered together," adding that, despite his urging, he was emphatic about the situation they were in and hypothetically touring in the absence of late drummer Neil Peart. "I said, 'Talk to Al, because he's the stubborn one.' And so he was lecturing Al about how great it is to tour."

"And Alex said something like, 'I'll do it, if you'll be our manager,'" to which McCartney reportedly replied, "I'll manage you, mate!" Lee continued, "It was really fun, really funny, but he had a point. That's the way he looks at life. He's ageless because he really, truly believes he was born to do this. That's what you do. And you just do it. You don't question it. And I think we all sometimes forget that."

Lee explained that Lifeson's health issues — stomach problems he had surgery for this year, as well as arthritis — weren't the only reason the guitarist was hesitant about touring again. "He was also never super happy in the last few tours on the road," his former bandmate deduced. "I think that's why he played so much golf, because he gets bored so quickly. For me, I would hole up in my room and I would work on photo albums, like I would play with my bird photography. So I was occupied. I'm quite happy because I knew that I had to stay quiet. I couldn't talk. So all day long I would work on my photo books and my photography."

He continued, "And in the evening I would meet Al after he's played 14 rounds of golf. And we would have dinner and drink too much wine. And then the next day was gig day. But I think being away and touring is more difficult for him to be happy. So that's a stumbling block and at this stage of his life, considering that he has some concerns about his health, it's very hard for him to get his head around the idea of doing a tour, you know. So I just keep working on him."

Lee went on to say that he still believes there are "endless possibilities" for their fruitful relationship. "Nothing's in the works, but this glorious thing of possibility exists," he said, adding, "I think Al and I owe it to each other to have a serious sit-down and play together and see what happens, and maybe all this hypothetical crap that we talked about…. Maybe that'll disappear if we get really excited, or maybe it won't, but I'm not banking on it, and Rush fans certainly should not bank on it. There's always hope."

The high-voiced purveyor of low-end frequencies added that, so far, he has nothing planned beyond surviving his book tour and then going on holiday with his wife.

"Would I like to write some more music? Now, yes, I would. I am ready for that," Lee said. "Does Alex want to write some more music with me? Yes, he does. He's made that very clear. And that's something I will try to do with him over the coming year. Would I like to write some songs on my own? Yes, I would. Again, it's something I would like to try over the coming year. And that's all I know. That's all I've planned." 

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