Today is Rush singer-bassist Geddy Lee's 58th birthday! In our attempts to entertain and educate those a bit light on their musical celebrity trivia, we present some interesting factoids you may not know about Canadian rock's pride and joy, as well as some of our personal favorite Geddy moments.
The holy trinities' castrato-ranged crooner was born Gary Lee Weinrib to a family of Polish migrants. His stage name of Geddy was actually given to him by a childhood friend who had misheard his real name of Gary filtered through Geddy's mum's heavy Polish accent. Apparently it stuck long enough for him to legally change his first name. Geddy's parents were also concentration camp survivors, living through the horrors of Dachau and Bergen-Belson. Mary Weinrib's stories of survival were actually a direct lyrical influence for the Rush album Grace Under Pressure, having recanted the tale of her day of liberation to Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart.
Anyhow, onward into Lee lore!
Geddy not only went to elementary school with Rick Moranis of SCTV/Honey, I Shrunk The Kids/Ghostbusters fame, but he was featured in the following gem from Rick Moranis' and Dave Thomas' comedy album, Great White North, which precedes what is arguably the greatest piece of Canadian comedy ever produced, Strange Brew, by two years.
In keeping with his knack for cameo appearances, you may remember his small role in fellow Canadian indie rock darlings Broken Social Scene's awesome and ridiculous video for "Fire Eye'd Boy."
In keeping with the theme of Geddy not taking himself too seriously, here we find him giving excellent advice on snow sport safety.
All joking aside, the man is an absolute legend and an extremely important contributor to the rock lexicon. It'd be an easy cop out for someone as highly revered and universally respected to take themselves far too seriously, especially considering that his own countrymen do take him, and more importantly Rush, that seriously. In 1996, all three members of Rush became the first rock band awarded the rank of officer in The Order of Canada. County Grind was on hand for Rush's most recent South Florida appearance, and can personally attest to the fact that Lee's impossibly high-pitched voice is still perfectly intact after all these years.
With that said, Happy Birthday Geddy, and here is to many more. We leave you with what we feel is the most appropriate birthday greeting -- someone else doing a pretty awesome impression of his signature vocals over Zakk Wylde's actual guitar shredding from what really should be the new universal birthday song, "Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary," from episode 14 of Aqua Teen Hunger Force's second season. Click here for the rest of the story.