In The Mood: The Favourite Albums Of Rush's Geddy Lee
, June 29th, 2012 08:44
Mick Middles speaks to Rush bassist and singer Geddy Lee about his favourite albums of all times... and finds surprises amidst the classic of the canon
"Rush? You are listening to Rush? Oh my God." Well that was a genuine response I received not too long ago, after informing my music-savvy companion of the contents of my iPod. I understood the bewilderment, for never have a band so warmly embraced the wholesome power of unfashionability. Back in the 80s, journalists would scatter at the mere mention of their name and only recently has that trend fully reversed. (For example, see Classic Rock magazine and its Rush themed 'fanpack', which proudly carries their first studio album in five years, Clockwork Angels).
Not that Rush seemed to care a jot. The more reviled in certain areas of the print media, the more intense their following became. Perennial outsiders, their following now verges on the semi-religious. Today they are hailed as "The world's biggest cult band", and it even now seems weirdly fashionable for rock luminaries to include one of their albums in their 'favourites' list - see Nicky Wire.
Whatever your personal history with their music, one thing cannot be denied: through an impressive legacy that only offers the occasional dud, Rush have virtually redefined the concept of the concept, adding a freshness and vigour that echoes back to the golden days of Gabriel's Genesis and yet settles so firmly in the contemporary. Clockwork Angels, which build on the band's steam punk fixations, is a case in point. The album, which edges close to fiction - and, indeed a book version will surface - is based around the vivid lyricism of drummer Neil Peart and, in the best Rush tradition, allows Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson the opportunity to freely experiment, tugging this way and that until the final version seems to defy gravity, flitting openly between the black and the white. How can such a gargantuan rock act manage to retain that level of integrity? It doesn't seem possible and yet, this is Rush, never more gloriously poised on the outside of everything.
Geddy Lee's Baker's Dozen is intriguing rather than surprising. Of course, the inclusion of adventuresome power trios like Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience might seem obvious and strongly reflect the blues rock of their formative years. Nevertheless, it seems a long road from there to Radiohead and Bjork. Hit the picture below to begin the countdown: