The Bass Player Rush’s Geddy Lee Was ‘Nervous’ To Meet

Rush‘s bassist, Geddy Lee, is no stranger to the spotlight. Yet, there are moments when even famous musicians can get nervous sometimes, a sensation typically reserved for those on the other side of the stage. However, Lee’s interaction with one bassist was one of those times that managed to shake up this usually calm and collected music star.

In 2018, Geddy Lee embarked on a journey, not to another world tour, but towards an ambitious literary project— ‘Geddy Lee’s Big Beautiful Book of Bass.’ A passion project for Lee, this 400-page book showcased his vast bass collection, tracing its history and intertwining it with a series of interviews with some of the most renowned bassists from the world of rock, such as the likes of Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, U2’s Adam Clayton, and Metallica’s Robert Trujillo.

As Lee revealed in a 2019 interview with Toronto Sun, these encounters were memorable not only for the stories shared but also for the anticipation and nervousness leading up to them. One meeting, in particular, stood out among the rest.

This was a meeting that somehow made Lee feel nervous. His nervousness wasn’t about the fame of the person he was meeting, even though that person was a big deal in rock music, Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman. Instead, Lee’s worry came from something very personal: a memory from when he was a teenager and just starting out as a bass player.

Geddy Lee’s words about meeting Bill Wyman read:

“When I met first met Bill Wyman, I was a bit nervous because he was such a central figure to me when I first started playing. The very first song I had to sort of learn to be accepted in my local group of garage band players was a Rolling Stones song called ‘2120 South Michigan Avenue.’ And if you could learn that Bill Wyman bass part, then you were considered worthy. So that song got me my first gig with some of my local degenerates in my neighborhood. I must have been about 15 or 16.”

It was Wyman’s bass part in a Rolling Stones song, ‘2120 South Michigan Avenue,’ that first put Lee on the path to becoming a bassist. Bill’s part was the entry point for his first-ever gig. So, meeting Wyman, the man behind the bass line that launched his career, was a big deal for the musician, even if it was just an interview.

Lee’s ‘Big Beautiful Book of Bass’ is not just a deep dive into the world of bass guitars and their history but also a personal journey that maps out his evolution as a bassist. The candid revelations about his nervousness when meeting Bill Wyman underline the lasting influence that early musical experiences and idols can have on an artist.

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