Writers’ Workshop 7/8
I’m willing to bet that most of y’all have heard rock music, maybe Eric Clapton, ACDC, etcetera, but let me introduce you to Geddy Lee, the frontman for the revolutionary progressive rock band Rush. Geddy Lee is a phenomenal role model change maker, as he has inspired a large group of people to pick up instruments and play, completely renovated bass playing, and perfected a popular style of music.
Gary Lee Weinrib (Professionally called Geddy Lee) was born on July 25, 1953 in Toronto, Ontario. His parents, Morris and Mary Weinrib, were holocaust survivors. His father was a talented pianist who unfortunately died a year before Gary’s Bar Mitzvah, which inspired him to pursue music. He got his first acoustic guitar at 14. In school, he played drums, trumpet, and clarinet. Those didn’t satisfy him, so he ended up taking piano lessons, and ended up also playing the bass guitar. In high school, he joined a band with his high school friends, but ultimately ended up dropping out to pursue and play rock and roll professionally. Since then he had been switching bands, until he and his friends formed a band called Rush, which he has stuck with for 41 years.
We all have inspirations; maybe a young baseball player will be inspired by Jackie Chan, or a young guitarist might be inspired by Eddie Van Halen, but let me introduce you to Geddy Lee. Geddy Lee is a phonomeonal bass player that inspired an entire generation of kids to pick up bass guitar, singing, and piano/synth. He didn’t just inspire people to take it as a hobby, lots of musicians, such as Dave Grohl, knew who Geddy Lee and Rush were, were inspired to pursue music professionally.
Bass playing was considered just a background hobby, but when Geddy Lee started playing, he completely transformed it into a flashy, front-and-center art. Playing bass was a simple art, with the exceptions of people like Larry Graham, who renovated somewhat new techniques that guitarists used. But Geddy Lee (and James Jamerson) both brought a new technique to bass playing where rather than using their fingers in a walking motion, they used a single finger, which surprisingly allowed to play some fast riffs, runs, and lines, likely because they could easily focus upon their fretting hand rather than their plucking hand.
Geddy Lee, just like Thomas Edison didn’t invent their own thing, but got the credit for it. Geddy Lee wasn’t the one to invent progressive rock, but he perfected it, and got credit for it. Progressive rock was originally created in 1969, just after Rush was founded. The album that actually created progressive rock was called Abbey Road, a legendary album by a legendary band called The Beatles. After the release of Rush’s self titled album, they got an extreme amount of recognition as ‘the guys who were inspired by The Beatles’, as the majority of their songs sounded similar to The Beatles’ songs, with strong parts for every instrument that work together harmonically. As Rush released more albums, they started experimenting and finding their own sound, straying away from straight inspiration from The Beatles, and started being known as ‘the guys who changed rock’ and even among the younger generations as ‘the guys who started progressive rock’.
Unfortunately, as of late January 2018, Rush’s Alex Lifeson confirmed that “after 41 years, we’re done”, and they have no more plans to record or tour. But, all in all, Geddy Lee, even though he may be retired, is still a phenomenal change maker because he inspired a generation, renovated bass playing, and perfected progressive rock along with his fellow bandmates.
Filcman, Debra: “Geddy Lee.” Ultimate Classic Rock, https://ultimateclassicrock.com/tags/geddy-lee/
“Geddy Lee.” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/name/nm1441958/
“Rush.com.” Geddy Lee | Rush.com, www.rush.com/band/geddy-lee/