Life can be a series of ups and downs, testing our resilience and ability to overcome obstacles. For some, the path to success is riddled with personal and professional setbacks. One such example is Geddy Lee, the iconic frontman, bassist, and keyboardist of Rush. Throughout his life, Geddy has faced his fair share of adversity, both within and beyond the band.
Despite these hardships, Lee has managed to carve a name for himself as an accomplished musician, an inspiration to others, and a symbol of resilience. In this listicle, we will explore five major tragedies that Geddy Lee had to survive in his life, shedding light on the challenges he faced and how he overcame them.
5. Geddy Gets The Boot
In the early days of Rush, Geddy Lee was actually kicked out of the band due to the influence of their then-new manager, Ray Danniels. The band continued with a new bassist and vocalist, Joe Perna, and renamed themselves Hadrian. However, after a disastrous gig, John Rutsey invited Lee back, and the band continued as Rush.
Interestingly, Geddy’s brief foray into a blues band during his time away may have played a role in his return, as he was ‘frankly speaking, doing better than they were.’ This period of uncertainty taught Lee the importance of perseverance and self-belief, qualities that would serve him well throughout his career.
4. John Rutsey’s Illness And Departure
Original Rush drummer John Rutsey faced multiple issues during the making of the band’s debut album, ultimately leading to his departure. Rutsey struggled with writing lyrics and eventually tore up his work, forcing Lee to hastily write the album’s lyrics himself.
Compounded by health concerns due to his diabetes and a general distaste for touring, Rutsey left the band shortly after the release of their debut album. This departure forced Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson to find a new drummer who would complement their evolving musical style. They ultimately found Neil Peart, whose intricate and innovative drumming would become a cornerstone of Rush’s signature sound.
3. Lee’s Mother Survived The Holocaust
Geddy Lee was born to Morris Weinrib and Mary ‘Manya’ Rubinstein, both Holocaust survivors who had endured the horrors of Auschwitz as teenagers. After the war, they reunited at a displaced persons camp and later emigrated to Canada.
The harrowing experiences of Lee’s parents have undoubtedly had a profound impact on his life and the values he holds dear. Growing up with their stories of survival and resilience likely instilled in Lee a deep appreciation for life and an unwavering determination to make the most of the opportunities available to him.
2. Neil Peart’s Illness And Passing
In January 2020, Rush drummer Neil Peart succumbed to an aggressive form of brain cancer after a three-and-a-half-year battle. Peart had already retired from touring with the band in 2015 due to his health issues. His death was a significant blow to the band and its fans, marking the end of an era for Rush.
Lee, Lifeson, and the Rush fanbase mourned the loss of their dear friend and musical partner. Throughout Peart’s illness, Lee remained a supportive friend, offering encouragement and understanding as Peart fought against the devastating disease.
1. The End Of Rush
Following Neil Peart’s retirement and subsequent passing, the remaining members of Rush announced their disbandment. The band had played their final show together in Los Angeles in August 2015, and with Peart’s death in 2020, the legendary rock group naturally came to an end.
The disbandment of Rush marked not only the end of a musical era but also a deeply emotional farewell for Lee and Lifeson. They were forced to confront the reality of moving on from a project that had been their life’s work, spanning more than four decades. The end of Rush left fans and musicians alike reflecting on the incredible impact the band had made on the world of rock music.
Resilience And Determination
Geddy Lee’s life has been marked by various tragedies, from being kicked out of his own band to the loss of a beloved bandmate. Despite these challenges, Lee has shown immense resilience and strength, continuing to create music and inspire others.
His story serves as a reminder that even in the face of adversity, it is possible to rise above and leave a lasting legacy. As we look back on Rush’s incredible journey and Lee’s ability to overcome these obstacles, we can take comfort in knowing that the music they created and the lessons they imparted will continue to resonate with generations to come.