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Music

Why Geddy Lee believes Rush fans gave the band "freedom"

@TylerGolsen

In all of the most ardent and devoted fandoms within the dense history of music, few followings are as fervent or passionate as the Rush fandom. Bands like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin have cross-generational appeal, but no band has a cult surrounding them quite as feverish and obsessive as Rush. Nerds and geeks of all kinds could come together knowing they had a rock band for them.

During his induction of the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Dave Grohl took some necessary time to signal out just how incomparable the Rush fans were to any other audience. “Their influence is undeniable, and their devoted fanbase only rivalled by The Grateful Dead,” he said.

What follows is a roar so palpable that even Geddy Lee had to take his own moment in his speech to recognise the legions of fans who made their careers, and their induction into the hall, possible. “I have to thank the most passionate, most dedicated, incredible fanbase around the globe,” he commented. “For not only supporting and encouraging our musical progress over the years, but for the insistence of their voices, which has most certainly led us to this evening.”

As the group embarked on what would turn out to be their final tour in 2015, Rush brought along a camera crew to document the proceedings. The documentary that followed, Time Stand Still, is a loving window into one of the world’s biggest rock bands as they say goodbye one final time.

In that documentary, a significant amount of screen time is devoted to the legions of Rush fans who based their lives, their freedom, and even some of their careers around the band. Once again in awe of the supporters who make Rush the enigmatic draw that they still are today, Lee once again observed the crucial role that the band’s fans served in their musical development.

“They’ve kept us going, they’ve given me the life I have,” Lee reflects. “They’ve allowed the three of us freedom to be confident in our own way of doing things. A lot of people say, ‘Pat us on the back for not compromising.’ Well, we couldn’t do that if our fanbase wasn’t there for us. They’ve given us the freedom to be us.”

Lee has always found that, through the group’s ups and down, there has been a strong core that has remained attached to the group’s music in any direction they went. “Moving Pictures got us into a much broader world of rock fans, and when there was a shift, we lost some of those people,” Lee said in the Beyond the Lighted Stage documentary. “But we realised after time that there was a core of our fanbase that was as curious as to where we were going as we were. And those are the ones that have sustained us”.

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