Geddy Lee (Rush)
Sometimes talent needs a little time in the bottle. Exhibit A is Geddy Lee. Early in his career, Geddy Lee troubled the world with his shrieking, ‘trannie witch of the north’ shtick. However as time wore on, his voice calmed down and his bass playing developed by leaps and bounds. Lee added keyboards to his studio and onstage to-do list as well. A typical Rush concert will find Lee playing ridiculously complicated bass parts against Neal Peart’s ridiculously complicated drum parts while playing keyboards and bass pedals against his own lead vocal. Lee carries the workload of three musicians and has led Rush to become one of the elite Progressive Rock units in history. They will be inducted into the R&R Hall of fame this year. An honor long overdue…
For some musicians, Rush falls into the category of guilty pleasure. I routinely find myself on the defensive in my circle of musician friends who still remember the band’s more excessive and prosaic moments early in their career. However, Rush has compiled a body of quality work that is truly impressive and self evident. For that reason, I have chosen one of their more restrained and nuanced pieces, “Dreamline”. It’s a deep cut from their fine album “Roll The Bones”. Bass purists will be happy to see that Lee is a “finger” player. Lee also uses harmonizers to add an orchestral aspect to the Rush ‘power trio’ format. If your wondering what the washing machines are all about, it’s interesting to note that Lee eschews onstage amplification in favor of direct input into the house P.A. The washing machines are just props to add some humor to Rush’s stage presentation.
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Authored by Dale Nickey:
Take a second and try that schoolyard trick of patting the top of your head while rubbing your tummy. After the expletives have died down, you can better appreciate the challenges of being a Lead Singer/Bassist. The Lead Singer/Bassist is another unique brand of musician that deserves a little extra combat pay. Singers who play guitar have the option of coasting, or burying their mediocrity in the mix. The Lead Singer/Bassist is the center of attention AND the center of gravity in the band dynamic. One false step and the house of cards comes tumbling down. No surprise that in successful bands, the Lead Singer/Bassist shows a distinct predilection for control freakery. Here then, is my top 10 list of the greatest down-low multi-taskers; The Lead Singer/Bassist.
Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy/Solo)
Best known as the singer/bassist/songwriter for the Irish pop-metal band Thin Lizzy; their best-selling 1976 single “The Boys Are Back In Town” was a smash on both sides of the Atlantic. American media would probably write him off as a one-hit wonder. However, he was a larger talent than that. Phil Lynott was a mixed-race baby at a time when such diversity was simply not accepted in Britain. This outsider status could account for his tortured Irish poet aesthetic and the drug and alcohol problems that dogged him until his death in 1986. Lynott’s trade mark was a mirrored pick-pick guard on his bass; a piece of stagemanship picked up from the many support gigs Thin Lizzy played with glam rockers Slade. Later years found Lynott enjoying notable solo success in Britain while at the same time battling substance abuse and ultimately, Heroin addiction. His legacy includes two books of poetry published in 1974 and 1977 that consist mainly of his song lyrics.