Too often maligned as a dull instrument the role of a bass guitar to any band is vitally important. Setting the rhythm for the group and quietly guiding them and the audience to their chosen destination without much fuss or fanfare. But some bassists, like Geddy Lee, are capable of buckling up, putting the pedal to the metal and unleashing launching the song, band and audience into high gear.
Geddy Lee’s name may well be known across a certain section of the internet, and we imagine real life, but he is still a vastly overlooked contributor to one o the biggest rock bands of the 20th century, Rush. In the isolated bass tracks below, as well as melodic lines and noodling maturity, there is also genius.
Few artists are as intrinsically connected with their instrument as Geddy Lee is with the bass guitar. The Rush man, as well as being a part of perhaps the ultimate prog-rock group, has carved out his path in rock and roll using the instrument as a carefully sharpened and cultured tool.
Lee may well have become the ultimate bassist with his noodling hands and impressive ability to improvise lines on the spot but even he can admit that the instrument doesn’t have the greatest image. “Back in my day, nobody chose to be the bass player,” Lee says.
“You were always a guitarist, and somebody said, ‘Well, we need a bass player,’ so they had a vote and you became the bass player. That’s how I became a bass player: I was voted in. I think that was pretty common for the period, because everybody wanted to be Jimi Hendrix; everybody wanted to be Eric Clapton; everybody wanted to be Jimmy Page.”
There’s a very strong argument that Lee has now become that figure for a host of bass players across the globe. Like Clapton and Hendrix before him, what he can do with his guitar and, perhaps more importantly, his imagination is truly astounding. Whether it is the thumping driving line of ‘YYZ’ or the nuanced melody of ‘Limelight’, Lee has a habit of stealing the limelight from the traditionally flashier instruments.
Also included in the collection of isolated tracks below are ‘The Trees’, the astounding ‘La Villa Strangiato’ and of course, the simply fantastic ‘The Spirit of the Radio’, a that darts and spits at every occasion. When coupled up with Lee’s sincere ability to morph basslines and rhythm at the drop of that and you have unequivocal proof that Geddy Lee is one of the best bass players the rock world has ever seen.
Below, witness proof of Geddy Lee’s genius with 5 isolated bass tracks from Rush.