Thursday 25 January 2024

Book ~ "My Effin' Life" (2023) Geddy Lee

From Goodreads ~ Geddy Lee is one of rock and roll's most respected bassists. For nearly five decades, his playing and work as co-writer, vocalist and keyboardist has been an essential part of the success story of Canadian progressive rock trio Rush. Here for the first time is his account of life inside and outside the band.

Long before Rush accumulated more consecutive gold and platinum records than any rock band after the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, before the seven Grammy nominations or the countless electrifying live performances across the globe, Geddy Lee was Gershon Eliezer Weinrib, named after his grandfather murdered in the Holocaust.

As he recounts the transformation, Lee looks back on his family, in particular his loving parents and their horrific experiences as teenagers during World War II.

He talks candidly about his childhood and the pursuit of music that led him to drop out of high school.

He tracks the history of Rush which, after early struggles, exploded into one of the most beloved bands of all time.

He shares intimate stories of his lifelong friendships with bandmates Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart - deeply mourning Peart’s recent passing - and reveals his obsessions in music and beyond.

I've never been a fan of Rush's music ... in fact, I usually turn it off when it comes on (sorry, Geddy and Alex!). But I enjoy reading bios/autobios and thought Geddy's would be an interesting one ... and it was.

Geddy starts by talking about his family's past ... his mother and father were survivors of the Holocaust who moved to Canada for a better life and settled in the Toronto area. A lot of Geddy's life was influenced by his family's past and he grew to appreciate what they had gone through as he got older. 

Geddy wasn't interested in school ... all he wanted to be, much to his mother's despair, was a musician. He joined a band called Rush when he was still in his teens along with his buddies, Alex Lifeson and John Rutsey, and they worked hard to make a living. John was the drummer and was replaced by Neil Peart when he dropped out a couple albums in. After years of playing gigs in high schools and bars in small towns, they started opening for other bands and eventually became the main draw.

I liked the conversational writing style. Not being a Rush fan, I found the details about individual concerts and tours a bit draggy but it was interesting to read about the people who were with them on the tours ... it's obvious they worked hard but were appreciated. Geddy is honest in telling about their experiences, including the drugs they'd used and their then partying, the trouble being on the road caused to his marriage and the impact of Neil's death in 2020.

It is a big book but it's full of pictures, both during the chapters and at the end. Not a big surprise but there is swearing.

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