Rush’s Geddy Lee On The ‘Challenge’ Of Singing And Playing Live At Same Time
Rush’s multi-instrumentalist Geddy Lee discussed in a recent interview the challenges he faced while singing and playing at the same time during the live performances of ‘A Farewell to Kings.’
Geddy Lee contributed to Rush with his vocals, bass, and keyboard playing for years. Especially his vocal range, which received many positive reviews, became the band’s signature. Lee’s bass playing has inspired many significant musicians like Les Claypool, Cliff Burton, and Steve Harris.
In 1977, Rush released the fifth studio album, ‘A Farewell to Kings,’ which included extensive songs. In this record, all band members experimented with playing different and new instruments than they played in other albums. The group gained massive recognition internationally with this release.
While the album reached number 11 in Canada, it also became the band’s first record that gained a place among the top-40 on the US and UK charts. Significantly, the single ‘Closer to the Heart’ earned popularity by reaching number 36 in the UK. The group toured prominent places in countries like Canada and the UK to promote the album and had a high attendance.
The album gained such an important place in the rock scene that it became the fans’ and other musicians’ favorite one from the Rush. Many people still praise it, although more than four decades have passed since its release. Primus announced they would hit the road for ‘Tribute to Kings Tour’ and cover the whole album. In a previous conversation, Primus’ Les Claypool shared Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson’s reaction when he asked permission to cover the album.
Recently, Geddy Lee detailed his challenges while singing and playing ‘A Farewell to Kings’ live. Lee revealed that playing the parts live was more challenging than recording the bass parts. The musician said they had fun while recording ‘Cygnus X-1.’ However, it was harder to handle during performing live. As Lee stated, when he was not singing, it was a more straightforward job to play even though the pieces were more complicated. The rocker explained that it was the most challenging part because he had to focus on two things while singing and playing simultaneously.
Lee responded when asked about the challenges during the recording process of the album:
“Recording my bass on ‘A Farewell To Kings’ was not as challenging as playing those same parts live. ‘Cygnus X-1,’ for example, was big fun to record, but onstage, Neil and I had to be feeling all the stops and starts in exactly the same time frame.
Singing and playing those parts is always more challenging than simply playing the instrument bits, regardless of their complexity because when I’m not singing, I can devote my full attention to playing them correctly. If anything, perhaps the most challenging parts to record were the funkier parts of ‘Cinderella Man,’ where I was pushing myself for the first time into a slightly different style of play.”
As Geddy Lee discussed in the interview, he did not face hardships while recording bass playing in ‘A Farewell to Kings.’ The live performances were more challenging because he focused on singing and playing simultaneously, which many musicians with two duties complain about during live shows.
You can listen to ‘A Farewell to Kings’ below.