Geddy Lee Joined Rush Fifty Years Ago Today

Geddy Lee Joined Rush Fifty Years Ago TodayHaving just performed their first official public performance as Rush the week prior, the band's second paying gig, also at the Coff-In center at the St. Theodore of Canterbury Anglican Church, immediately ran into some "good" bad luck. As it turns out, Jeff Jones, the bass player and lead singer at the time, could not perform at the band's second show which, according to Alex, took place fifty years ago today.

From Alex Lifeson: "...Jeff couldn't make it - he had commitments to his actual band. So that's when I called Geddy and asked him if he could fill in. I'd known Ged for a couple of years. He might not have done the first gig as Rush, but he was there for the second one. And after that we would play at the Coff-Inn once a month..."

Rush, the trio made up of Alex Lifeson, John Rutsey, and Geddy Lee, had formed. However changes to the lineup were not over. In December of 1968, Lindy Young, who would later become Geddy Lee's brother-in-law, became Rush's fourth member. Lindy, who received the invitation to join the band from Alex Lifeson, was primarily a keyboard player but also handled guitars, lead and backing vocals, harmonica and even drums.

The next major change to the lineup occurred in May of 1969, when Geddy Lee was fired and replaced by bassist and vocalist Joe Perna. It was at this point that Rush's name was changed to Hadrian.

From Alex Lifeson: "...John wanted to get a different bass player, and I just sort of followed him. So we got Joe Perna on bass and we changed the name of the band to Hadrian..."

From Geddy Lee: "...The next thing I knew, they had reformed with another bass player and changed their name. So it was obvious that they just threw me out of the band. They didn't have the balls to tell me to my face, and that was typical of John and typical of Alex at the time.

"I suspect it was John who was behind it. He and I had a spotty relationship. My feelings were badly hurt. I didn't really understand it. But I knew lots of musicians and I just said, 'Okay, fuck you!' And I started another band, Ogilvie, with my friend Xavier Dangle - that was his real name, man! He was an excellent guitar player. And Sammy Roher was the drummer. We played a kind of white English-style blues: John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, early Yardbirds stuff. I don't know why we were called Ogilvie - we were probably high or something..."


Later, Geddy opted for the band name Judd in place of Ogilvie. Lee's new band had terrific success and was also being managed by Ray Danniels. Upon seeing their success, Lindy Young made the decision to leave Hadrian and join Judd, resulting in the final dissolution of Hadrian.

Nearly a year later, in September of 1969, the members of Judd disbanded. With the Rush/Hadrian band no longer together, Geddy, Alex and John Rutsey reconvened as a trio and resurrected the band name Rush.

From Geddy Lee: "...John said to me, 'We made a bad mistake and we'd like to have you back in the band.' I was kind of torn about it, but I really liked Alex a lot. I liked the idea of being in a band that was more rocky than bluesy. So I said, 'Yeah, let's try it again...'"

That turned out to be the last line-up change to the band until 1974, when "the new guy" joined Rush...but that's another story...

To learn more about the very early history of Rush, please visit the Rush Timeline.

Comments