Why Rush’s Geddy Lee Felt Vulnerable In Neil Peart’s Absence

Considering Neil Peart’s importance to Rush, his technical proficiency and drumming patterns became a hallmark of the band’s sound. The late musician was also responsible for the majority of the group’s lyrics, which often featured complex themes and narratives. So, the absence of a bandmate like him was indeed an emotional burden for Geddy Lee in his solo career.

The bassist released his debut solo record, ‘My Favourite Headache,’ on November 14, 2000. Following that, he sat down with Global Bass in December of the same year to reflect on the making process of his first album.

Geddy’s Songwriting Journey

When the interviewer Christopher Buttner asked Lee if he felt insecure about presenting his own lyrics and personal ideas in his music after having Peart in Rush, who had been the main lyricist for the band, he replied by saying: 

“Sure! It was a very exposing process.  I think that is what I liked about it.  I liked the fact that I was forced to get inside of my emotions and to really try to figure out a lot of what I was going through.  Most people are like this: They think of stuff during the day.  The mind goes to certain places, they remember things, and they try to figure things out.”

Explaining why writing everything down is so helpful, he continued:

“To remind yourself to write that stuff down is a great benefit.  Then you come back to it and you analyze it days later, and lyrically shape what you felt when you wrote it down.  For me, how I feel about what I wrote down turns into a song.  Above all, forget the songwriter, forget the end result.”

The Therapeutic Power Of Writing For Lee

The bassist also shared how the introspective aspects of writing felt to him, stating:

“That was a very interesting learning process for me as a person!  Just to learn how to do that was something that was pretty key for me.  Then, once I have lyrics, being able to shape them around a song is nothing new for me, I’ve been doing that for 25 years.  The soul searching part of it, the spontaneous part of it, that was, and remains, a really terrific process.”

Embracing The Challenge Of Solo Songwriting

Although the sound of Geddy’s solo record was not so far from Rush’s, writing his own lyrics was a new experience for the rocker. Talking about how the songwriting process was for him in a 2018 conversation with Rolling Stone, he expressed:

“For me, the hardest part was starting to write lyrics and then it became the most fun for me of anything to do with this project.”

In the electronic press kit for the album, Lee also disclosed that he didn’t initially set out with a strong intention to start his own project. He didn’t feel a need to stand out on his own or seek additional attention because he was already content with his musical experiences in Rush. However, he was curious about what it would be like to work outside of his band and collaborate with different people.

You can listen to the whole album below.