Geddy Lee Looks Back at Rush’s ‘Biggest Hindrance to Mass Success’
Geddy Lee said the approach Rush took to writing albums was their “biggest hindrance to mass success” while also being their “saving grace.”
Reflecting on the creation of their Hemispheres LP, as a 40th anniversary edition nears release, the singer and bassist was asked about making one of their “least accessible” albums just after their single “Closer to the Heart” had achieved chart success.
“We were not really practical thinkers,” Lee told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “We never knew what was going to come out until we sat down to write. I would say that was, in a way, the biggest hindrance to mass success, but at the same time it was also our saving grace in a sense, because everything we did was a natural reflection of who we were and what kind of players we were and what kind of dreams we had. Our albums really do reflect where our heads were at that particular moment.”
Lee noted that the band "didn’t put much stock into commercial single success. We didn’t really even know how to make a commercial single. Any time we attempted to do something shorter, it naturally became the single just by virtue of its length of time.”
The success of “Closer to the Heart” wasn’t something they considered, he added. Instead, they were more concerned that the long “The Fountain of Lamneth” from Caress of Steel had been “highly flawed” and they wanted to revisit the concept on Hemispheres – as they did with the 18-minute “Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres."
Listen to Rush's 'Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres'
Lee confirmed that, since their farewell tour, Rush had stopped discussing the possibility of continuing in any form, although they remained close friends and in regular contact. But “we don’t talk about work," he said.
He noted there was the likelihood of another solo album at some point in the future. “I would say there’s no chance of seeing Rush on tour again as Alex [Lifeson], Geddy, Neil [Peart],” he said. “But would you see one of us or two of us or three of us? That’s possible.”