Pierre Robert

Pierre Robert

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Pierre Robert hosts a fan Q+A at the Met with Geddy Lee

My Effin’ Life, the long-awaited memoir by Geddy Lee, was released this week, and Rush fans crowded the Met on Broad Street to hear him read aloud from his new book. It’s not his first; his Big Beautiful Book of Bass was published in 2018 as an ode to his beloved instrument and his fellow players. This memoir was a different undertaking, though, and throughout last night’s conversation he revealed why opening certain mental lockboxes and documenting their contents was challenging at times.

“I had gotten very good at compartmentalizing all of the crap of my life,” he said on stage, “and when you start examining your life to the degree that you do when you’re putting a memoir together, especially if you’re even this much honest with yourself, you start unlocking those compartments, and they do come out and you have to face them. But for me, that was a good thing.”

RELATED: Geddy Lee Recalls First Time Rush Heard Led Zeppelin

The new book encapsulates the humor and heartbreak that Lee has experienced along his journey. As one third of Canada’s biggest prog-rock export, he experienced all the splendor that comes with the rockstar lifestyle. Through all that, though, he struggled with his identity, distance from his family during long stretches of tour, and later in life, keeping the tragic secret that his bandmate and dear friend Neil Peart was terminally ill. At Peart’s request, both Lee and Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson kept the diagnosis quiet until after he had passed.

“It was really hard,” he commented, “and it’s unnatural, of course. But that’s what he wanted, and he was fierce about people not finding out. You have to make a choice: honesty or loyalty, and I chose loyalty.”

Despite the heavy reflections, Lee made it clear that chronicling his life on paper put him on a path of healing. It also helped him reclaim joy in one of the things he loves the most: “I finally feel I’m at the point where I can embrace music again.”

The first half of the evening was an insightful conversation hosted by director and producer Brian Koppelman. Geddy Lee read a couple of excerpts from his book, which all attendees got to take home a copy of. They were also shown the trailer for his quirky Paramount+ series Are Bass Players Human Too?


The event wrapped with a fan Q&A hosted by WMMR’s Pierre Robert, and the topics ranged from musical memories to Lee’s affinity for birds. Here’s what we learned when he answered your burning questions.

  • Geddy's earliest attraction to bass sound was in Motown music.

    Damien from South Jersey is a young bass player who wanted to know what sparked Geddy’s passion for the instrument. Geddy said that he fell in love with the sound while listening to Motown when he was very young: “The great thing about old Motown songs is the bass is really loud… You hear these beautiful, fluid, melodic (sounds), and if you imagine to take those parts away, the song would just not move in the same way.”

    Geddy Lee at the Met Philadelphia

  • The last time Geddy spoke with Neil, it was about their albums.

    A fan named Matthew asked what Rush albums he was most proud of. Geddy responded by telling the story of the last time he talked with Neil, and said that Neil had listened to Rush’s entire discography in the final months of his life. He made it a point to let Geddy know how proud he was of their music and all that they had accomplished together. A couple years later, when Geddy began writing My Effin’ Life, he listened to all the Rush records just as Neil had done, and appreciated them as full body of work without choosing a favorite.

    Geddy Lee at the Met Philadelphia

  • When the band met Charlie Watts, they almost blew him off.

    Neil Peart looked up to Charlie Watts, drummer of the Rolling Stones. Geddy told the crowd about how Charlie wanted to say hi to the band backstage at a festival, but since they were about to take the stage, they already had their in-ear monitors secured and were oblivious to their surroundings. Luckily, Geddy got Neil’s attention to let him know that the Charlie Watts was standing right next to him, before he missed his opportunity to say hello to a fellow drum legend!

    Geddy Lee at the Met Philadelphia

  • He owns a bass with his favorite bird painted on it.

    Tina in Atco asked “What is your favorite type of bird?” The answer is a Kea, a large parrot found in New Zealand, and Geddy is so fond of them that he had one painted onto a Fender Precision Bass.

    Geddy Lee at the Met Philadelphia

  • Five strings on a bass is too many.

    Tom from New Jersey is another bass player who asked Geddy’s opinion on bass strings, to which he replied: “Five strings is a lot. One too many!”

    Geddy Lee at the Met Philadelphia

  • He's selling off some of his music and baseball memorabilia.

    Mark in Warrington asked about Geddy’s collections, and we learned that he will be auctioning off some of his beloved items to let other collectors enjoy them. More info can be found on his Instagram.

    Geddy Lee at the Met Philadelphia


  • Those hats on the stage? They belong to WMMR's Pancake

    Geddy is a Toronto Blue Jays fan through and through, and we thought we’d bring some baseball-related Philadelphia flair to the Met (per his crew’s request). The vintage Phillies hats that you saw on stage that night belong to none other than our very own Mr. Pancake, Pierre Robert’s producer and the ultimate baseball cap collector.

    Geddy Lee at the Met Philadelphia

    Brian Koppelman hosts part of Geddy Lee’s appearance at the Met Philadelphia

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