RUSH bassist and frontman Geddy Lee has at long last published his memoir, My Effin' Life, where the beloved but private Rock and Roll Hall of Famer opens up about his youth, his family and his iconic career with The Holy Triumvirate.
A great deal of the book tackles the challenges Lee faced early in his music career, including when Rush fired him, reconstituted as the blues-rock outfit Hadrian, broke up after two gigs and came crawling back in just a few months time.
Speaking with Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke, Lee recalls that cofounding Rush drummer John Rutsey was convinced to give him the boot by the band's would-be booking agent. The rest of the band conceded, and none other than Lee's future brother-in-law Lindy Young (Rush's keyboardist at the time) was tasked with breaking the news.
While a frustrated Lee quickly set about forming a new band, he still had a vested interest in Hadrian; his best friend, guitarist Alex Lifeson, was still a member. So when Lee had to choose between using his tickets to see the Jimi Hendrix Experience or supporting Hadrian at another local venue the same night, he chose his friends.
"It's a terrible confession, but the band that I did not go to see was the Jimi Hendrix Experience," he admitted with a laugh. "...The show did go on, but I wasn't there. I just assumed, you know, 'He'll come back sometime and I'll see him then.' Unfortunately for the world, [Jimi] passed away not long after that.
"I went to see this crappy version of Rush that [Rutsey and Lifeson] had put together that called themselves Hadrian. It was painful to watch, because they weren't very good. It didn't make me feel any better. In fact, it made me feel worse that they'd replaced me with someone who couldn't really handle the gig. It wasn't long before they just fell apart. I think that's called karma."
It took only two public performances for Rutsey and Lifeson to come to their senses. Lee says within months of his dismissal from Rush, Rutsey invited him to resurrect Rush.
"Of course, I said yes because I really missed Alex, I missed playing with Alex," Lee said. "He's been my BFF from the time I was 16. That was a good decision."
Watch the full conversation via the player above!