Geddy Lee Day post: Rush, “Second Nature”

Gary Lee Weinrib, born in suburban Toronto to Auschwitz survivors[*] from Poland, is known to prog-rock lovers (and geeks) as Geddy Lee, the frontman of Rush. Switching from guitar to bass when his teenage school band found itself without a bassist, he developed into an accomplished virtuoso on the instrument — and one of just a handful of people who can play complex bass parts while singing lead . Live, he juggles voice and bass with keyboards — modest as he is about his skill on the instrument, one song I used to this day to test a synthesizer is “Subdivisions” by Rush — a good instrument will sound powerful and warm at the same time.

Today is Geddy’s birthday, July 29. Here is one of the best interviews he ever gave, at his home in Toronto

From the comments, I was saddened to learn that his mother z”l had recently passed away — albeit at a ripe old age (Geddy himself is 68). Here is a Rush song that’s been on my mind a lot lately. Yes, I know Neil Peart (RIP) wrote the lyrics, but this is perhaps one of Geddy’s warmest vocal performances.

A memo to a higher office
Open letter to the powers that be
To a god, a king, a head of state
A captain of industry
To the movers and the shakers
Can’t everybody see?

It ought to be a second nature
I mean the places where we live
Let’s talk about this sensibly
We’re not insensitive
I know [“]progress[“] has no patience
But something’s got to give…

[CHORUS:]

I know you’re different
You know I’m the same
We’re both too busy
To be taking the blame

I’d like some changes
But you don’t have the time
We can’t go on thinking
It’s a victimless crime.

No one is blameless
But we’re all without shame
We fight the fire
While we’re feeding the flames….

[…]

[*] The surname Weinrib, Weinreb (standard German: Weinreib) means “Vine” [Hebrew: Geffen]. According to Wikipedia, Geddy’s mother Mary (Malka) Rubinstein z”l passed away just short of the age of 96. His parents had met in the ghetto of a small town in southeastern Poland, survived Auschwitz: eventually, Malka was liberated from Bergen-Belsen and Morris (Moshe) Weinrib z”l (d. 1965) a few weeks later from Dachau. He located her at a DP camp outside Bergen-Belsen, and they married and immigrated to Canada where a sister was living.

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