Rush singer Geddy Lee: 'I wasn't the nerd I thought I was'
Being lead singer and bassist of one of the world's most pioneering rock bands, Geddy Lee of Rush is no stranger to the stage, but when he appears at Wolverhampton's The Civic at The Halls next month, it is to be a "whole new experience" for the Canadian rocker.
Geddy Lee spent more than 50 years with Rush, the Canadian three-piece band famed for producing some of rock's most unique and progressive sounds, but after decades of hits such as Tom Sawyer and The Spirit of Radio, the group finally called it a day when drummer Neil Peart died in 2020.
Now the band's 70-year-old lead singer, who also played bass for Rush, along with keyboard - and quite often at the same time - has now written a memoir titled 'My Effin’ Life', which is to be accompanied by a spoken word tour that visits Wolverhampton on December 10.
"We are going to have some fun," Lee told the Star.
"There will be a different host to interview me every night, but I want to open it up to the audience as much as possible, so it is a chance for fans to get the answers they always wanted.
"It is whole new experience for me but that is the great thing about my life, I always get these opportunities to do something different."
He said that looking back on his life when writing the book has proved to be a helpful experience, especially as he began it not long after close friend and the band's drummer Neil Peart died.
"Writing helped in a number of ways. I started this during the pandemic and it was not long after Neil had passed so I was grappling with that," he said.
"Neil was always the missing piece of the puzzle," he said. "His his death was a very difficult thing to deal with."
He said that after Peart died, Lee and fellow Rush bandmate Alex Lifeson had "no spirit to play music" but the pair have since played a couple of tribute shows for Taylor Hawkins, the Foo Fighters' drummer who died last year, but have no plans to reform.
Another of singer's major influences in his life feature in his book - his mother, Mary Weinrib, a holocaust survivor who died in 2021, aged 95, but whose experiences and past Lee says helped shape his personality.
"With this book I took the classic auto-biographical approach so I started with my early memories, of being a child of a holocaust survivor," he said.
"I wanted to pay homage to my mom who raised me but also tell the experience of growing up with a survivor's outlook on life. Things happen as a child and music is a great escape so I went head-first into music."
Lee said that as a Jewish Canadian, he has strong feelings on the current "sickening" situation in the Middle East
"It is a sickening and awful situation. As human being that is also a Jewish person it is very distressing," he said, adding that he and Lifeson issued a statement following the attacks on October 7.
"It is just brutal. I do not know what the answer is but releasing the hostages may be a start," said Lee.
He added that looking back on his life also held some revelations for a musician whose type of progressive rock style has drawn a worldwide fanbase keen on its themes of science fiction, fantasy and philosophy.
"Looking back into my life and reliving losses of my childhood. I got to see myself with better, sharper lenses," said Lee.
"It helped that I am a hoarder. I've kept everything from tickets stubs and photos, notes and I even tried keeping a diary three or four times. So I had a lot of material."
He continued: "I thought I was quite a nerdy kid, yet time and time again I saw I had some chutzpah and ballsiness that I did not attribute to myself.
"I saw these examples of a young kid that knew what he wanted to do and would not stop, so I got to know that person that I was way back when."
Geddy Lee's autobiography My Effin' Life is released on Nov 24.
My Effin' Life In Conversation visits Wolverhampton's The Civic at The Halls on December 10.