The show, which has a quasi-existentialist title of Geddy Lee Asks: Are Bass Players Human Too?, opens on the streaming platform on 5 December in the USA, the following day for other territories, and will feature conversations with Rob Trujillo of Metallica, Melissa auf Der Maur of Hole and Smashing Pumpkins fame, grunge icon Krist Novoselic and Les Claypool of Primus.
The inspiration for the show came from the former Rush bassist and frontman’s book on bass.
“The idea for this show was born out of interviews I did for my first book The Big, Beautiful Book Of Bass,” said Lee. “I was struck that these accomplished musicians also lived incredibly interesting, multifaceted lives offstage. Who knew bass players were so effin’ human?”
There are only four episodes in this series but, who knows, if it takes off, maybe there could be more. Lee has had more time on his hands after Rush were officially disbanded in 2018, performing on the odd occasion with his old bandmate and friend Alex Lifeson, but he has been keeping himself busy in recent months and welcomes the release of his memoir, My Effin’ Life, on 14 November.
He will embark on a 19-date speaking tour of the US, UK and Canada to discuss the book. For the Rush fan and bass player alike, it will be essential reading, offering an eye-witness account of life at the prow of one of rock’s most-loved institutions.
As for the show, well Lee is very easy company and he has an interesting mix of guests. He and Trujillo have previously bonded over their love for the late, great Jaco Pastorius, with Lee praising the Metallica bassist for telling the story of Pastorius’s life in his Jaco documentary, and helping to preserve his legendary fretless 1962 Jazz Bass, better known as the Bass Of Doom.
And Claypool, a long-time touring partner and Rush super-fan, is a player who makes Lee’s Top 10 bassists of all time, even edging out the likes of Victor Wooten and Paul McCartney. As Lee recalled to MusicRadar in 2021, they didn’t know who Primus were when they first took them out on tour, but soon fell under the Californian rockers’ weird spell.
“We started jamming before the shows in the dressing rooms,” said Lee. “[Les] always had these weird instruments and there was only one rule to the jams – you couldn’t play your main instrument! Then I started watching them from the side of the stage every night.”
If Claypool’s world had been shaped by Rush’s discography, those tours together returned the favour, giving Lee a new way of looking at his instrument. The influence went in both directions.
“I’d never heard a bass player do anything like that, doing single notes in a rock way then going to slapping and popping in this slinky, almost humorous way,” said Lee. “It was very effective rhythmically. So as much as he says I inspired him when he was young, he kinda inspired me in the middle of my career, making me realise I could get a lot more rhythm out of my playing.
“I started trying to bring that into my work in Rush. Listen to Jerry Was A Race Car Driver or any of those songs, and you’ll be hearing a pioneer of the bass guitar. He’s got this very original attitude and fresh approach with this highly creative, albeit quirky, player.”
You can watch the trailer for Geddy Lee Asks: Are Bass Players Human Too above. My Effin’ Life is available for pre-order now, and you can find dates and ticket details for Geddy Lee’s speaking tour over at the official Rush website.