"As the tour wound down, the mood started to change and it split into two camps... we were quite divided by the end": Geddy Lee recalls the internal tensions on Rush's final tour, R40

Rush on the R40 tour
(Image credit: Brian Killian/Getty Images)

Rush vocalist/bassist Geddy Lee has admitted that there was a certain amount of internal tension on the band's final tour, with the Canadian trio "quite divided by the end."

Running from May 8, 2015, when it opened at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, through to August 1, 2015, when Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart brought down the curtain on their storied career at the Forum in Inglewood, California, the R40 trek commemorated the 40th anniversary of Peart joining the Toronto band. The drummer had already made it known to Lee and Lifeson that this would be his final tour.

In a new Guardian online article promoting his just-published memoir My Effin’ Life, Lee answers queries from Rush fans, and one question, from a reader posting as 'Lurkst' asks 'How was the mood in the camp, given that Neil wanted to stop performing?'

That tour started out in a very good mood," Lee responds. "We’d put a lot of effort into designing this theatrical retrospective in reverse. It was a lot of fun, but as the tour wound down, the mood started to change and it split into two camps. Neil was getting happier and Alex and I were getting sadder, because we really wanted to bring the tour to fans around the world, but Neil had agreed to do 30 shows. He felt as if he was approaching liberation, so we were quite divided by the end."

Elsewhere in the article, however, Lee adds, "I don’t have any regrets about the story arc of Rush. I was the luckiest bass player on Earth to play with a drummer like Neil Peart and a guitarist like Alex Lifeson. And I was even more blessed because they were my dear friends."

In the same feature, a reader posting as SmilinPeter asks, 'There will never be another Neil Peart, but which drummers do you really rate today?'

There are so many," Lee replies. "We’re living in a time rich with great drummers. I love [Tool’s] Danny Carey’s playing. I love [Red Hot Chili Peppers’] Chad Smith. Very different to Neil, but the man has so much power. [Both Carey and Smith were in attendance at Rush's final show on the R40 tour.] I heard this drummer the other day, I think her name is Anika [Nilles]. She played on the last Jeff Beck tour and I thought was she was terrific."

My Effin’ Life by Geddy Lee is out now, on Harper.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.