Geddy Lee on Why Rush’s Rock Hall induction Was ‘Serious Moment’
Appropriately, the museum also debuted a new exhibit — curated by Lee — featuring eight iconic basses, spanning the musician's entire career with Rush. In addition to spending hours signing books for fans, Lee also had a casual onstage conversation in front of fans with Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson -- "my BFF from Toronto."
When Lifeson was asked by Rock Hall moderator Jason Hanley how it felt to interview Lee for the first time, the guitarist laughed. "It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be," he said. "I might do it more often. I might go on the road with him again." As the crowd hooted and hollered, Lifeson clarified his statement so there was no confusion whether he might be alluding to a Rush reunion: "As an interviewer. Hey, relax."
Later in the conversation, talk turned to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame itself — and what it meant to Lee and Lifeson for Rush to finally be inducted in 2013, at a ceremony in Los Angeles. "Is this, like, your Barbara Walters moment where you're trying to make us cry onstage?" Lee joked to Hanley, who asked the question, before turning to Lifeson. "I think I can speak for you — but you can speak for yourself."
The guitarist immediately interjected with an impish "blah, blah, blah" — a reference to his Rock Hall acceptance speech, which was nothing but him saying the word "blah" in a spirited fashion for several minutes. As Lifeson laughed and the crowd cheered, Lee deadpanned, with an amused look on his face, "Did everyone see that coming?"
Watch Rush at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction
Then his response turned serious — and spoke directly to Rush's loyal fans. "I think it took us by surprise, and I think it's largely due to you people," Lee explained. "We had become sort of — what would you say — indifferent about [induction], because it was a question that was asked for so many years. 'How do you feel about it? How do you feel about not being in the Hall?' So we had our tongues firmly in cheek when we arrived that day. We didn't know what to expect. And we thought, 'Okay, we'll see what happens.'"
Lee then referenced the reaction to Rush's induction: The entire audience in Los Angeles — including fans and musicians like Dave Grohl, Tom Morello, John Mayer and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith — roared with applause and a standing ovation for a full minute. "And when Jann Wenner got up there and just alluded to some band from Canada and you guys responded the way you did," Lee paused as the audience at the Rock Hall in Cleveland also started cheering. "It sort of took our breaths away."
Lifeson agreed, as Lee continued. "We couldn't believe how long it was going on," he recalled. "It felt like 20 minutes, [but] it was only a couple minutes. It suddenly said to me in that moment that why I'm there and what I have to pay heed to and who I have to appreciate for that honor. From that moment on, it became a very special and more serious moment than we had anticipated."
A video replay of the entire Q&A is available at the Rock Hall's Facebook page. Audio of the entire interview will air on several SiriusXM channels throughout January, including Classic Rewind, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Radio and Volume, and via SiriusXM On Demand.