Geddy Lee Confronts Alex Lifeson On Being Kicked Out Of Rush
via Rush / Youtube
In its formative years, prog rock icons Rush underwent numerous lineup alterations, with Lindy Young and Mitch Bossi joining the band at various junctures. Amidst this dynamic period, the managerial reins were taken over by Ray Danniels, a Toronto-based agent.
Danniels’ impact prompted a significant reshuffling, and the result almost led to a situation unimaginable today: a Rush without Geddy Lee. The bassist was temporarily removed from the band, with Joe Perna stepping in as his replacement.
Alex Lifeson, John Rutsey, and Perna ditched the name Rush and formed Hadrian. Following a disastrous performance with Perna, Rutsey extended an invitation to Geddy Lee to rejoin the group and continue being Rush.
In a recent insightful interview with The World Café, Lee opened up about this short stressful episode with the band and even revealed how he confronted Lifeson about the circumstances surrounding that chapter in their history.
Lee felt vindicated when Rutsey invited him back to Rush
Lee reflected on the unexpected turn of events that led to his removal from the band, remembering how his removal hit him hard.
“It’s interesting the way it all went down. You know, we were kids. We were really kids. So, that day, I was informed by our fourth member (Lindy Young) at that time, who ended up becoming my brother-in-law eventually, he told me that, ‘The band had broken up good, we broke up.’ I was like, ‘What?’ I was kind of reeling from that.”
When Rutsey invited him back to the band, Lee couldn’t forget the sense of validation he felt at that time. The bassist gladly embraced his return and did not chastise his friends about what happened.
“I felt sort of vindicated when John called and said, ‘Look, why don’t you come back?’ Al was my best friend still, in a weird way, and I wanted to play with them again. So I went back happily, and we just went at it. I never really put them on the hot seat as to what really occurred. So, it was really nice to do that finally.”
Geddy confronted Alex about his dismissal decades later
In the pages of his newly released memoir, My Effin’ Life, Lee shares an engaging account of a conversation with Lifeson about the confusing affair surrounding the bassist’s temporary departure from the band.
Infusing his narrative with his characteristic humor, Lee recounts how he playfully interrogated Lifeson during a casual visit to his home, seeking insights into the unjustified ousting.
“I asked Al to come over to my house because I wanted to interview him for my book. [Laughs] So, we’re having our usual laughs, kidding each other, and I just put it to him. I said, ‘So, Al, when I got kicked out of the band, who really was the motivating factor? Who was it? Was it the new manager Ray, or was it John? Where did you stand on all of this? Did you defend me?’”
This inquiry, set against the backdrop of their easygoing camaraderie, adds a layer of authenticity to Lee’s memoir as he dives into the complexities of band dynamics and friendships during challenging times.
Lifeson is “just a guy who went along with things”
In response to Lee’s probing inquiry, Lifeson’s candid admission unveiled a glimpse into his past demeanor. As revealed by the conversation, Lifeson candidly admitted that he just “went along with things”.
“He was looking at the ground a little bit, and he was saying, ‘Well, you know me back then, Ged, I was just a guy who went along with things, and John was such a dominant personality,’ which he was, he was a very strong personality. I just think that Al just went with the flow, and he didn’t really have an excuse or a strong reason.”
As he contemplated Lifeson’s then-passive disposition and the absence of a clear rationale, Lee recognized the subjective nature of memory and how emotions can influence the narrative, adding depth to his exploration of the band’s history and dynamics.
In this introspective moment, Lee offers readers a nuanced understanding of the complexities inherent in reconciling personal experiences within the tapestry of shared history.
A glimpse into the prog pioneer’s life
Peering ahead, Geddy, in a candid interview conducted in November 2023, conveyed his ongoing willingness to collaborate with Alex Lifeson, whether it be in a revitalized version of Rush or within the context of a fresh musical venture.
While discussions have circled around the prospect of a renewed incarnation of Rush featuring a new drummer, Lee emphasized that concrete plans have yet to take shape.
In My Effin’ Life, which was released on November 14, 2023, Lee not only unveils the intricacies of his personal and professional journey but also grants readers an insider’s perspective on the early challenges and transformative phases of Rush.
Beyond being a personal narrative, the memoir serves as a captivating window into the evolution of the iconic band. As the book gains momentum, a 19-date promotional tour has been launched, spanning the UK and North America, offering fans a chance to catch a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Lee’s experiences and the legacy of Rush.