How did you establish a sense of equality among the trio, with Neil Peart as the new drummer, after you and Alex Lifeson had been friends for years prior to his joining Rush in 1974?
Upon Neil’s addition to the group, we quickly realized that we shared many similarities. Our shared sense of humor, particularly our love for Monty Python’s Flying Circus, was one of them. We also all had a fondness for The Lord of the Rings. Additionally, we had similar taste in music, with Neil being a big fan of Cream and Ginger Baker. These commonalities proved to be beneficial when, just two weeks later, we embarked on our first American tour, which was quite overwhelming. As shy Canadians, the fact that we were all experiencing this amazing journey together helped us bond even more. Despite being a member for 40 years, we would always joke that Neil was still the “new guy.”
What was the funniest experience you ever had on the road? DistantEarlyBlooper
During our trip to Manchester, UK, we returned to the bar at our hotel after our performance. Alex, who had recently become a father and was feeling homesick, was under some stress. He decided to challenge our 6ft 11in stage manager to a cognac-drinking competition. After consuming about 12 shots, he accidentally broke a glass in the bar. Our managers then escorted him back to his room, but he was not satisfied with staying put. He reappeared on a room service cart from the elevator and caused chaos in the bar for the next few hours.
I recall when punk emerged, there was a strong animosity among many music critics towards prog rock as a whole and Rush specifically. How do you reflect on this era and your perspective on it now? – eternalsceptic
I have a fond memory of this experience, as we were in London mixing an album while the Sex Pistols were on TV. It was captivating to watch. This style of music, with its simple three-chord structure, made our band seem like Beethoven in comparison. The punk movement, in a way, validated our skills as musicians and allowed for more complex musical structures. I fully supported this.
What is one tip you would recommend for a bass player looking to improve their skills from an intermediate level? Jamerson
Find riffs that are hard to play and just keep playing them. Get to know the parts of the fingerboard that seem like unknown spaces. I found it helpful to listen to players of differing styles. Trying to mimic them challenged me to be a better player.
Can you tell me about Rush’s sense of humor and how they got involved with South Park and I Love You, Man?
We always possessed a sense of humor, however, due to our young age and lack of self-assurance, we chose to keep it to ourselves. As we navigated through various stages, including some unhappy ones, by 2002 we reached the decision that it was acceptable to be our authentic selves. Our connection with South Park originated from Matt [Stone], who was a devoted fan of Rush. They began incorporating subtle references to Rush and over time, we developed a friendship. The creation of I Love You, Man coincided with a period of renewal for our band after Neil returned. We used to decline opportunities outside of our comfort zone, but since 2002, we have embraced them.
The standard of music and lyrics in Rush was always very high, but did Neil ever present you with lyrics that made you think: wow, you’ve outdone yourself? Drspankle
A number of times. Working on lyrics with Neil was an evolution of a partnership. In the early days, we were very hesitant to criticise anything he wrote, because he was the one willing to do that job. But as time went on, I became his trusted sounding board. There were many tracks – like Bravado, The Garden and Dreamline – that felt so relatable that the songs almost wrote themselves around Neil’s lyrics.
Could you provide information about the R40 tour, the final tour by Rush in 2015? How did the band members feel about it, especially since Neil had expressed a desire to retire from performing? Thank you.
The tour began on a positive note as we had worked hard to create a reverse theatrical retrospective. It was an enjoyable experience, but as the tour came to an end, the atmosphere shifted and we became divided into two groups. While Neil was becoming more content, Alex and I were feeling more melancholic because we had hoped to bring the tour to fans worldwide. However, Neil had only agreed to do 30 shows and felt as though he was nearing freedom, causing a split in our feelings by the end.
On your song The Spirit of Radio, you expressed the idea that modern music can still retain a sense of openness and sincerity, despite the use of technology. In your opinion, what defines genuine and truthful music in today’s music industry? ProfKaufman
Regardless of the genre, it is evident to the audience when an artist is genuine and truly believes in their music, rather than just going through the motions for profit. Our goal was to create music that brought us joy, and we hoped that there would be enough fans who shared our musical taste. Staying true to ourselves proved to be successful.
You have a reputation as a thoroughly amiable chap. I’ve never seen a bad word written about you. Is this assessment entirely accurate? Who was the last person you told to eff off? Bone67
I consider myself to be a decent person. If someone wrongs me, I may hold a grudge, and there have been a few individuals over time that I exposed in my book. However, overall, I strive to be a kind Canadian individual, having been raised with good values and avoiding making negative judgments about others.
Who are some drummers that you highly admire in the present, knowing that there will never be another Neil Peart? SmilinPeter
There are numerous talented drummers in this era. One of my favorites is Danny Carey from Tool. I also appreciate Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who has a different style from Neil but possesses great strength. Recently, I came across a drummer named Anika Nilles who played on the last Jeff Beck tour and I was impressed by her skills.
My name is Richard Geddy, which was chosen by my mother after she met my father with similar long hair at a rock bar and was smitten. Are you aware of anyone else in the world who shares your name? Username: richardgc
I feel self-conscious when someone introduces me to their young child, Geddy. I am more accustomed to people naming their pets Geddy. However, it is a great compliment, and I try to view it as such.
Have you ever used the washing machines on stage to actually wash something?
They were not functioning dryers because the heating element had been taken out. Instead, they were used as props for guests to act as if they were doing laundry. I cannot remember the exact year, but my favorite memory was when Jack Black joined us in Anaheim. He removed all of his clothes except for his white underwear, placed them in the dryer, climbed on top of it, and mimicked the man on the star from the 2112 album cover, exposing his plumber’s crack.
Who would be your ultimate musical idol and what burning question do you have for them?
I never had the opportunity to have a conversation with Chris Squire, the bassist for Yes. He was a significant and admirable bass player to me. He did attend one of our Rush concerts in London many years ago, but the backstage chaos prevented us from talking. I am curious to learn more about his influences and the evolution of his musical style.
Is it necessary to set boundaries for AI advancements? RDMiller
I do not particularly like this person, but I find relevance in Thomas Edison’s quote: “what the mind can imagine, the character must govern.” This sentiment is applicable in this situation. It would be ideal if there was a consensus on universal standards, but it is a challenging task to get everyone to agree on anything.
How did you come up with the idea for the incredible polyrhythm in the intro to The Spirit of Radio? Rockmanalive
This was a collaborative song written by the three of us in a practice space. Alex came up with the initial riff, which is the wild one that begins the song. Neil and I then discussed how we could incorporate counterpoint into it. We had Alex’s repeating riff and our goal was to make it as jarring and unique as possible before transitioning into a typical rock’n’roll riff. The intention was to showcase a wide range of musical styles that can be found on the radio.
Which album from Rush’s past releases would you choose to record again and why? Moryu
That’s a dangerous question! I never finished a record I was totally happy with, but I think it’s a fool’s errand. So I’m gonna say no, I would not want to redo anything. Let it stand for what it was, warts and all.
Will we be hearing any new music from you and Alex? CygnusX5
It is highly likely that both Alex and I will release new music. Is there a possibility of us collaborating on new music? I believe so.
While you, Alex and Neil clearly had a blast, do you have any regrets from your time with Rush? Richard2112
Show me someone without regrets and I’ll show you someone who’s full of crap. I have regrets about how much time I spent away from my son and how I was derelict in my marriage for so many years, because I always put the band first. But I don’t have any regrets about the story arc of Rush. I was the luckiest bass player on Earth to play with a drummer like Neil Peart and a guitarist like Alex Lifeson. And I was even more blessed because they were my dear friends.