Lee and Lifeson Talk Rush History on CBC’s ‘The Hour’

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What the hell are you listening to? Although probably not verbatim, that may have been pretty close to what I said to a couple of friends who happened to be Rush fans. The year was probably 1978 or 1979, or somewhere in that vicinity. Geddy Lee’s high-register vocals were somewhat off-putting at first, but the musicianship and creativity of Rush was recognized and acknowledged pretty quickly, and both myself and my younger brother became life-long Rush fans.

As members of an unofficial, and occasional under-the-garage (literally!) band, my brother and I were — like so many other musicians –  drawn almost immediately into the inescapable web that is Rush. Although I was a pretty dedicated prog rock fan at the time, and spent a lot of time playing along with Kansas and Yes albums, Rush was unlike anything I had ever heard before.

The video interview below that aired on the CBC show The Hour a few days ago will be interesting to fans of all ages, although I suspect the emotional reaction will differ depending on what’s stamped on your birth certificate.

Hearing Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson talk about the early years of Rush really took me back, and to an extent, made me feel like it was a journey we all took together. I am as mortified as those guys seemed to be when they own up to the fact that they have been playing music for 40 years. For 50-ish folks like myself, it’s a little scary to realize how fast the “other side” is approaching, but comforting when one considers that guys like Lee, Lifeson and Peart are along for the ride.

You may be asking yourself at this point, something like: “Why the hell am I reading this crap?” If that’s the case, jump right to the interview footage below. It’s well-worth it. Anyway, I never promised this site’s content would not degenerate into the incoherent rants of an aging rock fan.

Seriously though, as a side note, there’s a big change coming for this site thanks to a genuine and generous guy who has signed on to help make this a better and more entertaining site. Look for his contributions to make their debut in the near future.

I have not yet seen the new Rush documentary, Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage, but am anxiously awaiting the opportunity.

The video of the interview below covers well the feelings Lee and Lifeson have about laying so much of their lives open for the public, so I will refrain from parroting their comments this time.

I know I say this too frequently, but much of my respect for Rush is a result of the kind of guys they are. Unless they are the best actors in the world, they have to be some of the nicest, down-to-earth rock stars in history. This was confirmed by an acquaintance of my brother who actually worked as a sound guy for Rush on at least one tour.

How many of us could keep our feet firmly planted on the ground, and treat mere mortals with respect after selling millions of albums and performing in front of who-knows-how-many adoring fans? Rush is exceptional not just for their music, but for their character as well. I’m not at all surprised that the makers of this new documentary pushed as hard as they did to get it made. They get it.

Kudos to host George Stroumboulopoulos for a fine job during this interview.

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