Gene Simmons Shares How Geddy Lee Doesn’t Know About Bass Basics
via Rush / Youtube
The divide between American hard rock icons Kiss and Canadian progressive rock legends Rush appears immense. Kiss, known for their riff-heavy tunes, and Rush, masters of intricate compositions, seem worlds apart in their musical styles. Yet, in the mid-1970s, these seemingly contrasting worlds collided as Kiss and Rush shared stages during their early struggling years.
Recalling those days, Geddy Lee of Rush reminisced about their touring experiences with Kiss, a time when the two bands were striving to break into mainstream audiences.
An amusing incident arose during a casual jam session between Geddy Lee and Gene Simmons, the iconic bassist of Kiss.
“One night back at the hotel or backstage someplace, Geddy and I were sitting down, trading licks,” Simmons shared in a recent interview. “I asked Geddy if he wanted to play a blues scale. I said, ‘You go first, and then I’ll continue the chord pattern.’ To my surprise, Geddy replied, ‘I don’t know what you mean.’”
View this post on Instagram
Simmons went on to explain that Lee seemed unfamiliar with basic music theory concepts like a blues scale or the notation ‘1, 4, 5’.
According to Simmons, Geddy’s knowledge was so rudimentary that he wasn’t even sure where certain notes were on the bass.
“I told him to hit a G note, either octave or low,” Simmons continued, “and he asked, ‘Which one is that?’ It turned out Geddy played purely by ear. Later on, he learned about notes and chords, but at that time, he was purely intuitive.”
This surprising revelation from Simmons might raise eyebrows, especially given his reputation for colorful storytelling.
After all, Geddy Lee began his musical journey as a guitar player, making it hard to believe he wouldn’t know the basics. However, in the unpredictable world of music, stranger things have happened. Perhaps, in this instance, Simmons is sharing an authentic, albeit amusing, tale from their musical encounters.
Regardless of the truth behind this anecdote, it serves as a reminder that even the most renowned musicians had their learning moments. Music, in its essence, is about the journey of discovery, and sometimes, even the pros have surprising encounters along the way.