"He came and sat and drank with us. We all got plastered together": it turns out Paul McCartney has instructed Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson to get back out on tour

Paul McCartney (left) plus Rush's Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee
(Image credit: Paul McCaertney: Don Arnold | Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee: Jim Spellman)

Paul McCartney has advised Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson to get back on tour. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Lee reveals that the Rush men met the former Beatle at last year's Taylor Hawkins tribute show in London.

"Dave [Grohl] was so sweet," says Lee. "He comes up to us at rehearsal and he goes, 'Paul McCartney’s up next to rehearse, and he’s outside, and he said to me, "Dave, I’ve never met anyone from Rush before."' And I said, 'I’ve never met him! Bring him in, please.' And he came in. He’s just a very lovely man. A very positive person."

Lee reveals that McCartney wasn't familiar with Rush's music, but was curious enough to watch the performance, during which Lifeson and Lee were joined by Grohl for versions of 2112 Part 1: Overture and Working Man, and by session drummer Omar Hakim for the instrumental YYZ

"After the show, he was incredible," says Lee. "He was so warm and embracing and positive. He came and sat and drank with us. We all got plastered together. And he was very emphatic, talking about, 'You know what Ringo always says: "It’s what we do."' And I said, 'Talk to Al, because he’s the stubborn one.' 

"And so he was lecturing Al about how great it is to tour. 'You have to do it, man. You have to get back out there, man.' And Alex said something like, 'I’ll do it, if you’ll be our manager.' 'I’ll manage you, mate!' It was really fun, really funny, but he had a point. That’s the way he looks at life. He’s ageless because he really, truly believes he was born to do this. That’s what you do. And you just do it. You don’t question it. And I think we all sometimes forget that."

Rush's last show was at the LA Forum in 2015, and three years later Lee told Rolling Stone that there was "zero chance" of the band ever touring again. In 2020, five months after the death of drummer Neil Peart, Lifeson told radio station WFAN that while he and Lee had discussed the possibility of playing live again, he was reluctant. "I'm so in love with golf during the summer," he said. "And I'm close to my family. It's a very good balance for me."

There's no word on how Lifeson and Lee might be billed if they toured together, but Lee says it's unlikely it'll be as Rush.

"I don’t know how comfortable we would be doing that, calling ourselves Rush, and it’s all speculation because… Honestly, it’s unlikely to happen," he says. "That’s a conversation for probably another time, but we might not be super comfortable. But we could always call ourselves some other stupid name, or Rash."

Lee is currently on a run of North American spoken word live dates, and will arrive in the UK on December 10. Full dates below.

Geddy Lee In Conversation tour dates

Nov 21: Montreal Théâtre Maisonneuve, QC, Canada
Nov 23: Vancouver The Centre In Vancouver, BC, Canada
Nov 24: Seattle Moore Theatre, WA, USA
Nov 26: San Francisco The Masonic, CA, USA
Nov 28: Los Angeles Orpheum Theatre, CA, USA
Nov 30: Denver Paramount Theatre, CO, USA
Dec 03: Chicago Auditorium Theatre, CO, USA
Dec 04: Detroit The Fillmore Detroit, MI, USA
Dec 07: Toronto Massey Hall, ON, Canada
Dec 10: Wolverhampton The Civic At The Halls, UK
Dec 13: Sheffield City Hall, UK
Dec 14: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, UK
Dec 17: Portsmouth Guildhall, UK
Dec 18: London Barbican, UK

Tickets are on sale now.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.