Geddy Lee Talks About Becoming Rush’s Bass Player

The great Geddy Lee welcomed Dan Rather into his Toronto home in 2017 to talk about how he transformed from a quiet, nerdy kid into the iconic bassist for Rush.

Lee spoke about his childhood in the Toronto suburbs, being the son of Holocaust survivors, the loss of his father, and the first time he picked up a guitar.

I first bought an acoustic guitar I begged my mom to loan me some money to buy the acoustic guitar from the guy who lived next door. …she relented loaned me the money to buy it. I had to work it off in the store of course, every Saturday and I taught myself ‘Pretty Woman’ by Roy Orbison on it and then was I was hooked.

Lee also talked about meeting Alex Lifeson and picking up a bass for the first time.

I bought my first electric bass guitar and sort of haven’t looked back. …There was a fellow in my class named Aleksandar Živojinovic and we both sat at the back of the class and he was really funny and we sort of connected.

Lee explained that Lifeson was in a band called Rush and needed a last-minute bass player for a gig. The rest was history.

I didn’t know at the time that I would spend the rest of my life with this crazy Serbian guy. He was actually in a band called Rush. …they were scheduled to do a a show at a local drop-in center which was in the basement of a church and their bass player couldn’t make it for some reason and Al called me up in apanic saying do you think you could play the gig with us and I said ‘well sure’. …And that’s how my career with Al started

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.