Geddy Lee

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Geddy Lee vomiting up a microphone and stand, while simultaneously wailing on his thunderbolt disguised as a bass.


~ Dogs on Geddy Lee

Gary Lee Weinrib, OC (born July 29, 1953), better known as Geddy Lee, is an accomplished singer, bass guitarist, John Myung impersonator, keyboardist, and owl-caller from the magical, unknown/uncared-about land known as Canada, where the sweet, precious syrup called "maple" flows from trees, people beat the crap out of each other with L-shaped sticks on a bed of ice over a tiny black disc, and mysterious, strange creatures called "moose" roam the land. Lee fronted Rush, a progressive rock/Dream Theater tribute band (progressive rock from the Latin term meaning "makes no sense to anyone") known for their revolutionary utilization of the East Polish folk music singing style "szkwał banshee", also known as "banshee squall". His bandmates were imaginary friend/invisible arpeggio sweeper/swordsman Alex Lifeson and drummer/fanfare player/flag hoister/cymbal cleaner Neil Peart. Though the style of the group has varied wildly in range — akin to the vocal range of singer Lee, Rush has contributed a large and rich volume of works to the public sphere, including 2112, a popular children's album based on mathematics that, in turn, heavenly influenced the onset of the genre math rock that followed in the wake of Dream Theater's revelation to the world.

Lee is best known for his big shnoz, stringy sensitive ponytail, penchant for baseball, favourite headache, and adventures through time and space. After briefly playing Christian music with Billy Graham, Geddy teamed up with Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart (who to this day has no knowledge of Lifeson's existence) to form Rush, and all the planets aligned; the two decided to make Geddy the vocalist for his distinctive singing voice, and he became the Lord of the Bass Players. Lee is credited with defeating the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx in the great Battle of 2112, when he lulled them to sleep with his soothing Barry White impression, then killed them with three red flaming balls (two of which were his own, explaining his castrati voice). Geddy sung historical songs while this history was happening for the group, and the three were influential in developing many of history's greatest events. When he is not landing gigs, doing joints, or practicing atheism, Geddy teaches at the Academy of the Flaming Arts, where he teaches his pupils the techniques he used to kill the Priests and other people, as well as other cool techniques with swords, fire, and ice.

Early Life[edit]

“ mold a new reality, closer to the heart...”

~ Geddy Lee on singing really high notes

Weinrib (baptized as Geddy Lee) was born on July 29, 1953 in Moosenosehair Valley, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His parents, Morris Weinrib and Mary "Manya" Rubinstein, were Polish Jews who escaped Poland during the Holocaust and moved to Canada several years before Geddy was born. They bonded over their shared love for the precious maple syrup which comes from the legendary tree of the same name, and is known by native Canadians to make everlasting delicious pancakes and waffles. Geddy's birth was a miraculous one, at first the doctors thought he was a false positive because he made no noise at all. After running tests they concluded that his voice was in fact too high-pitched for humans to hear.

This made Lee's childhood incredibly difficult, and his only friends were a trio of deaf white mice who taught him the bass guitar (as he was/is a semi-god, it only took him two weeks to master the instrument). They eventually got so annoyed with his high-pitched screeching that they committed suicide. Geddy was so traumatized by this he created an imaginary friend, which he named Alex "I Shred Guitar Good But Don't Get Recognized Often Enough" Zivajivjinjivajinajivavich Lifeson. Alex was created to laugh at his jokes, not make fun of his voice, and most importantly be the only person on the face of the planet with a worse haircut. Geddy at this time also rode a 50-year-old rusty, degraded, cheap Red Barchetta, which he had stolen from his wealthy land-owning uncle (even the car's screeching tires were not as annoying as Geddy's voice).


The Dawn of Rush[edit]

Lee experiencing religious ecstasy, pictured.

“And he spake unto me, 'His name is Neil.'”

~ Geddy Lee on his prophecy from John Myung

Thankfully, when Geddy reached puberty, his voice became audible to humans. Being a teenage working man, he joined a local band in attempt to attract girls. The original lineup and musical philosophy of the band named Billy Graham's All-Stars was similar to that of fellow Christian contemporary music group, Genesis. The All-Stars were originally intended to play Christian venues following the evangelist Billy Graham, though after Jewish–Polish–Canadian singer Lee was accused of attempting to sway the Southern Baptist Graham's congregations to the doctrine of the burgeoning Pentecostal charismatic movement (with one event led by Lee consisting of nothing but unintelligible, high-pitched shrieking being mistaken as speaking in unknown, foreign tongues that were prominent in Charismatic Christian doctrine), this iteration of the All-Stars was fast disbanded.

Lee, in a bout of spiritual depression, began to search for new answers in song. Coincidentally, Alex Lifeson, a longtime friend of Lee, was also touring his own band, named "Rushia". Lee was originally considered for the role of lead singer, though Lee felt that he would have been hindered by the lack of diversity in drummer John Rutsey's playing. After hearing that Lee had been ejected from Graham's personal accompaniment band, Lifeson personally extended the out-of-work singer an offer to join his band after their former bassist and frontman, Jeff Jones, became a born-again Christian and started a local franchise, Ocean, of the religious family camp Jonestown in the forests of Manitoba.

In the year of 1968, Geddy was inducted full-time as a member of Rushia as the band's sole vocalist. Their first gig was at a high school dance; those who survived the night described it as follows: "Most everyone ignored them completely. There were a few complaining about how the lyrics don't make any sense or whatever, but there were like five people in the front hypnotized." Afterward the band hoped that maybe their appeal would widen to more than five people. Geddy was more disappointed at the lack of girls hanging out afterward. He then went home and watched Lifetime movies until his manhood was restored.

Though originally intended as a straightforward rock band, the introduction of Lee had begun circulating new music philosophy in the group. As the blues-influenced hard rock sound of the late 1960s and early 1970s, led by groups such as Led Zeppelin, came into full swing, Rutsey had become fascinated by the sounds he was hearing. Lee, who was a fanatical devotee to the idea of a Slavic traditional folk band becoming nationally prominent, and Lifeson, who followed in with his rhythm guitar, objected when Rutsey suggested that they keep playing covers of The Who and writing lyrics consisting of "BABY BABY OOOH YEAH GIRL OH BABY I WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU BABY SEXYTIME YEAH NO YEAH GIRL YEAH WOO."

Rutsey, eventually caving to the mental pressures of being left alone in his choice, bowed out of the band on July 25, 1974. At this point in time, Lee and Lifeson were in crisis, but despite this rough start, they decided to continue the band until the universe ended or the revolution came. Lee, having nearly succumbed to depression by this point in time, began to pray nightly for an answer, earnestly seeking guidance from the muses. After many hours of prayer, meditation, and the ingestion of DMT concentrate, Lee received his answer. On the following day of July 26, John Myung, bass guitarist from the American supergroup, Dream Theater, appeared to Lee in a motel room he had rented for a night whilst playing a poorly-received, drummer-less show in Dayton Ohio.

According to Lee, Myung appeared to him in corporeal form and declared that His Majesty, Disciple of Keith Moon God of Percussion, He Who Is Holy and Above All Names, He Who Hath Giveth the Immortal Mike Portnoy Himself an Approving Thumbs-Up, Neil "The Fifteen-Armed Professor" Peart, would be his percussionist. Another prophecy was presented him that night: not only would Lee be the vocalist, but his skill would balloon to include the unprecedented tripartite role of keyboardist, bassist, and vocalist. Lee was then blinded for a period of three days, and on July 29, 1974, he awoke to Alex Lifeson standing before him with Neil Peart, Lee's sight restored and a faith found in a new god: John Myung.

Geddy's Travels[edit]

Geddy fighting atop his horse with wild vigour in 2112 AD. Oh, and backup swordsman Alex can be seen in the background.

“He sings like my grandmother: unwell. But he fights like my brother-in-law.”

~ Robert Christgau on General Lee's defence of Bangkok

As tribute to the Almighty Myung, Lee ventured forth with Lifeson and Peart, eventually persuading the pair to follow along as disciples of his new movement. After much prayer and meditation, Lee, Lifeson and Peart came to the conclusion that a band that adheres to faith should not share a name with a nation that shuns religious belief. Thus, the group "Rushia" was christened "Rush", named for the rush of blood to the head that occurs when one is crucified on an upside-down Latin cross.

The Trinity of Saints (as they would soon become called) began to proselytize. With Peart now taking over as head lyricist, their first major collection of psalms, Fly By Night, had a complete change in lyrical style from the previous album. It was written as tribute to the Saint Ayn Rand, a devout follower of the faith and holder of the Objective Truths; Peart had come across her writings whilst on a spiritual journey in the United Kingdom trying to become one with the Immortal God-King of Percussion and Duke of Cinema, Keith Moon. It was also inspired by a time where Geddy got his snowdog and his old enemy By-Tor to fight it out over a lost Sign of Eth, while they fought in candlelight right near the River Styx and the Tobes of Hades.

On the 24th of May, Geddy visited Lakeside Park to see the fireworks display and smoke by the pier. He also visited on Bastille Day to drink from the Fountain of Lamneth near the lighthouse with his friend the Necromancer, who thought Lee was going bald unfortunately. Peart would again use these situations as inspiration for their album Caress of Stainless British Steel.

As Peart drafted more of their music, Lee began his his training for the Battle of 2112, in which he fought with vigour, intensity, valiance, and lunacy. Lee was thrown into the future, where he brought rock and roll back to civilization and defeated the Solar Federation by merging with an electric guitar he had found behind a waterfall (he never satisfactorily explained how he got the guitar out from behind the waterfall without ruining it) and becoming a goliath mecha. His famous quote "LOOK AT MY FACE!!!!" is from during the battle, which he screamed at the top of his lungs. Every soldier in the battle did then look at his face at that very moment, and they all dropped dead on the spot, including the horrible Priests of the Temples of Syrinx. And that's how the Battle of 2112 was won...or lost. Upon victory, Geddy hosted a grand party in Jerusalem, exclaiming "Christianity is on a roll!...butter, that is." This event is now immortalized in the feast of Yom Kippur, a popular Jewish tradition. Lee would later recount his experiences to Peart, and Peart would use them as inspiration for the band's album 2112.

A year after the famous Battle of 2112, Geddy went questing the far east in search of Xanadu, a lost city which was built by Kublai Khan when our weary world was young. Kublai Khan was defeated by Wrathof Khan when the struggle of the ancients first began and subsequently moved his empire to Las Vegas. Geddy (or "Geddy Bear" as is his nickname) eventually uncovered the ancient Xanaduey ruins, expecting to find the sweet honeydew and milk of paradise that was the secret of immortality. He found them, but they only added five minutes to his life and gave him a lot of gas. This was because Kublai Khan's refrigerator of immortality had been without power for thousands of years, and the honeydew and milk had gone rotten and sour. Fortunately Lee's gas added extra low end to his bass sound, enabling him to discard his amps in exchange for washing machines and orange chicken rotisseries.

Another year later, Geddy continued his path as an avid explorer, determined to visit every Hemisphere in the solar system at least once, which he succeeded to do by taking an astronomical ride on his trusty and signature double-necked Rickenbacker bass guitar. When visiting the stars Cygnus X-1 and X-2, Geddy didn't make like a tree and "leaf"; he made like a tree and formed a union that demanded equal rights. According to Geddy himself, as well as other sources, no illegal drugs were involved in this undertaking.

Later Dog Years[edit]

Lee in 2004.

“We only wrote 'Tom Sawyer' to appeal more to American audiences.”

~ Geddy Lee on Rush's "Tom Sawyer"

Throughout the '70s, Geddy had often performed his vocals in a style reminiscent of a castrated pig, but it was the 1980s when he Geddy finally hit puberty and grew a pair (see HowTo:Be A Man), with his voice becoming lower-pitched and more tolerable. The band started putting out '80s pop efforts in an attempt to make the invisible airwaves crackle with life, and their keyboards went wild. At this point it was too late however, because many listeners had already been scared off by Geddy's '70s yodelling. In the '90s, Geddy briefly stepped out of his comfort zone when he played the role of "funny rapping skeleton" on Roll the Bones. The album was not very good.

In 2000, Geddy furthered his career and recorded the solo effort (term used loosely) My Favourite Headache, produced by Ben Mink (that guy who played violin on Signals). Allmusic's Greg Prato gave the album 3 stars out of 5, saying "Most of these songs sound the same as Geddy's works with Rush — which is to say they're headache-inducing, in a good way."

Geddy was involved in a political stunt during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Lee was blowing his huge nose outside of Trump Tower while playing "Freewill" backwards in 16.9/51 time signature, when he noticed that candidate Donald Trump had hired a toupee and gone just as bald as Geddy. Geddy quickly arose and struck the toupee off of Trump's head while screaming "OF SALESMEN!!" Following the incident, Trump remarked, "I really think that Goddo Leif Erikson is the real reason Canada is so behind in the world's economy. Fa la la la la la la la, Happy Chanook-eh-hah."

In 2018, it was announced that Geddy was losing his voice and would be retiring from the band. Neil Peart's unfortunate death in 2020 only further sealed the deal that Rush was no more. Every third Saturday of the year, a celebratory festival is held in honour of Ged, Rushday. The citizens of Toronto typically perform actions such as getting stoned, listening to that one song about the trees on repeat, sacrificing copies of 2112 and sometimes even real people, and bullying Tool fans from Quebec.

On August 10, 2022, Lee and Alex Lifeson reunited alongside Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Primus for the South Park 25th anniversary concert to perform "Closer to the Heart". Lee and Lifeson were no strangers to South Park, having guest-starred on the show on a number of times and also had concert videos animated for them by Stone and Parker. However, things didn't go to plan when they rushed the song for ten minutes.

Musical abilities[edit]

“You all want to hear 'Tom Sawyer' again, eh? Well, I AM GEDDY LEE, AND I WILL SING WHATEVER LYRICS I WANT!”

~ Eric Cartman Geddy Lee on mixing up song lyrics

Lee has a Fender bass named Dog, and a dog named Fender. His Fender Jazz Bass was crafted from unicorn blood by dwarfs in the ninth circle of hell. Geddy's bass is also known as "Cranathor, the Sun-Crusher" in some regions of the galaxy; its signature sound comes from the damned souls trapped within. It also functions as a time machine, activated when Geddy plays the 2112 Overture. Lee does not need a bass amp, as he plugs his bass into his bellybutton and amplifies it out of his mouth. Geddy's bass is the twin of Chris Frangou's black Fender Jazz Bass; which one is the evil twin is uncertain.

Geddy attributes his bass-playing abilities and ten-minute-long bass solos to the fact that he is polydactyl. He has seven fingers on each of his hands, which he uses to add frets and slappa' da bass! He also has a superfluous sixth toe on his right foot, but this does little to help his synthesizer skills, as his foot board rig consists of only one pedal board with two big buttons on it, which he mashes wildly in concert. Geddy was lined up for glory, but the tickets sold out in advance. When Geddy stands on top of a mountain and raises his hands, entire countries sing to him.

Geddy's golden pipes were widely recognized as a doomsday weapon equivalent to five atomic bombs when he sang after sucking helium out of a balloon (the pitch is too high for humans to hear, of course, but over 367,000 Canadian dogs exploded nationwide during the government tests). In order to control his erratic high-pitched vocals, he runs his vocals through a pitch shifter unit always dropped by an octave to ensure that nobody's head explodes during the performance. Mercury Records exec Ray Danniels often lamented Geddy being Rush's singer, and believed they would have done much better with a "real" singer like Sammy Hagar. But what Danniels didn't realize was that Lee's high-pitched voice has had a profound effect on mythical creatures of Ancient Greece, including that of Pan's lover, Syrinx. At a whim, it has been recorded that Lee can summon mythical animals by singing 92 cents above the highest E-flat, the exact opposite on the grand scale as the Brown Noise.

Canadian researchers have spent oodles in taxpayer money to find out how Geddy can sing and play the bass and the keyboard at the same time. They have made no progress and wrote it off as just one of those things we'll never understand, remarking, "Geddy Lee works in mysterious ways. It's just one of those things we'll never understand." Americans would be outraged by this but, as Canada uses Monopoly money as legal tender, most Canadians consider it money well spent.

Geddy, who sounds like a witch,[Citation not needed at all; thank you very much] was the only reason Rush hadn't gotten past the stage of landing gigs at high school dances such as Wembley Stadium. Contrary to popular belief, Geddy is not a witch, though many people are deceived by his high-pitched voice. Lee's witchiness has always been a question of debate in the rock community. In a 2008 Rolling Stone interview, Lee reportedly admitted to being a witch; "I can't believe nobody's figured it out all of these years," Lee said. "My singing style, plus the song 'Witch Hunt', are obvious evidence that I like paganism more than I should."

Personal life[edit]

“Fantasy baseball is freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! And it rocks!”

~ Geddy Lee on talking to John Kruk

“Hey Neil, 2112 in the corner pocket!”

~ Geddy Lee on playing pool and flying by night

Lee married Nancy Young in 1976; they have a son, Julian, and a daughter, Kyla. Geddy is an avid watch and wine collector, with a collection of 1,056 watches and 2,112 bottles. He takes annual trips to France, where he no sooner indulges in cheese and wine (the cuisine, not the attitude). Lee is also a master collector and lover of baseball collector. He always sits in Red Sector A at Toronto Blue Jays games.

See also[edit]