Rush’s Geddy Lee Points At What Makes RHCP’s Flea Special
MusicRadar recently asked Rush bassist and lead vocalist, Geddy Lee, to list his top ten bassist players. Lee mentioned Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea as his best No. 9 bassist and then explained why he is such an extraordinary musician.
It is common for prominent musicians to be asked about their favorite artists, those who impacted their lives, but it is usually hard for them to decide or boil it down to a specific number. It is an object of curiosity for most of us since we regard these names as competent music critics.
When Rush’s Geddy Lee was asked about his favorite bassists, he started by mentioning the names of Jack Casady, Jack Bruce, and Joh Entwistle. When it came to his ninth choice, he named RHCP’s Flea. Lee said he wanted to have Flea in his book, ‘Big Beautiful Book of Bass,’ but he didn’t have enough space and time. Then, Geddy Lee explained what makes Flea such an exceptional bassist and recalled when he heard Flea playing in ‘Give It Away.’
Lee stated that Flea is such a good player that he never gets ahead of the vocals. Quite the contrary, he manages to uplift the vocalist’s performance with his technical virtuosity. Geddy Lee stressed that the transitions Flea makes from low to high sounds are amazing, and his solos are also excellent as he combines different elements while playing. Lee also added that it is always evident that Flea really enjoys playing, which is one of the most important things he is looking for in a bassist.
Geddy Lee’s views on Flea:
“I was in the gym just the other day and heard ‘Give It Away’ playing. He’s such an original player; he can play up top in a way that doesn’t get in the way of the vocal – in fact, it enhances the vocal. It helps that Chad can lay such a fantastic, solid rhythmic backbone for him, and John or whoever is playing guitar has such a clear sound. The bass has full license to be expansive; he can go low and high – and I’m a massive fan of how he works it up high as a counterpoint to the melody of the song.
His solos are insane from a technical point of view. Like Les, he has this rhythmic thing that is from a different generation to mine, but he combines it with all these other things. You can see how much he loves to play – he’s having the best time, and I love to see that in a bass player. He never takes for granted the opportunity to get out there and wind it up. Any bass player that’s allowed to play too much has the best gig in the world.”
Below, you can listen to Flea’s playing in ‘Give It Away.’