Act Natural, Lee

By Rob Brunner, Entertainment Weekly, December 15, 2000

Hating Rush is like coloring with a broken crayon: There's no point. Always more interested in structure than soulfulness, the band has spent the past 26 years ignoring naysayers, and you have to admire their dedication (and rock-radio staples like ''Tom Sawyer'' and ''New World Man''). With Rush temporarily on hiatus, bassist-singer Geddy Lee has dropped his first solo album, My Favorite Headache, which boasts drumming from Pearl Jam pounder Matt Cameron. So in the spirit of Pearl Jam's first album (that'd be Ten, kids), we threw our typical batch of stupid questions at him.

What about the voice of Geddy Lee? How did it get so high?

Delayed growing up, I guess. I was always a soprano in choirs in school, and that's just the way I sound.

That question's actually a quote from a song by Pavement. Heard it?

Oh! Yeah, I heard something about that. I haven't heard it, but somebody told me about it.

The longest song on your new album is only five minutes. That's not very prog-rock of you.

No. Well... even in Rush I don't think we've attacked anything longer than five or six minutes for quite some time. I don't know that prog-rock is always associated with the lengths of the songs.

Tell me the truth: [Rush drummer] Neil Peart's ticked about being replaced by some guy from a grunge band. I mean, the dude only has one bass drum!

[Laughs] I don't think so. He hasn't said that to me, anyway. And Matt's drums sound really big. It's a normal-sized kit if you're not playing double bass drums. And even Neil had a single bass drum on the last tour.

But didn't he have a double pedal?

That's true. Wow, you know stuff about music.

Does that surprise you?

Uh, yeah.

Which do you think is the best of Pearl Jam's 25 live discs?

Um... I couldn't tell you. I did my homework with Matt's stuff from when he was in Soundgarden.

Rush only put out, what, four live albums? What the hell is wrong with you guys?

Only four. They're younger. They got more energy.

''Tom Sawyer'' is featured in a Nissan commercial. Are you hard up for cash?

No. I don't know how that came about. They only wanted to use a little bit so we didn't think it was a big deal. I haven't seen it.

You're not touring, Rush is on hiatus. What does Geddy Lee actually do all day?

Mostly stuff like this. Answering 10 brilliant questions. I talk all day on the phone to promo guys and writers and then I go wash my mouth out with soap.