Geddy Lee Says a Lot of Rush's Lyrics Went Over His Head

By Andrew Magnotta

December 26, 2018

Lyrics in Rush songs can get pretty esoteric, and while no one would deny the pure poetry of the band's literary side, understanding what drummer and lyricist Neil Peart is trying to convey with his words is another task altogether.

Even the man who sang those words for over 40 years admits he's raised plenty of questions. 

Rush bassist and front man Geddy Lee told the Guardian that his relationship with Peart's lyrics is "odd at times."

Lee described himself as "an interpreter for Neil" throughout the band's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career. While he also described working with Peart's lyrics as "a singular pleasure," it was also a "really difficult job."

"As we grew as a band, I became trusted by him to be his sounding board and his editor, and if I couldn't get into a thing, he would leave it alone," Lee described. "That's the beauty of a relationship that lasts."

Oftentimes the musicality of Peart's words outweighed Lee's questions of what he was actually singing about. Lee says there are aspects of Rush's late-'70s concept albums that he's "barely" able to make sense of. But that never bothered him as a singer or as a fan of progressive rock in general.

"I grew up listening to Yes," he said. "I still can't tell you what any of those records are about, honestly. I don't think it matters, because the music and the lyrics create a sound, and that gives you a picture of meaning. Sometimes that's enough to make you love it."


Photo: Getty Images

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