During a recent conversation with The Guardian, Rush singer/bassist Geddy Lee talked about the “La Villa Strangiato (An Exercise in Self Indulgence)” track off 1978’s “Hemispheres,” saying:
“That was a song where I would have to say our ideas exceeded our ability to play them. We thought: ‘We’re going to write this long piece and then we’ll just record it live off the floor and boom!’
“But it was really difficult. It was beyond us. I included it here because it surprised me how popular that song was among our fans. They just love it when we go into that crazy mode.
“Yes, it is an indulgence, but it seemed to be a pivotal moment for us in creating a fan base that wanted us to be that way.”
Asked on how “Rush’s commitment to noodling made them the dream band for an audience that was overwhelmingly male,” Geddy replied:
“There’s no getting around that. We would joke about it backstage. ‘See any girls in the front row?’ ‘No. Some attractive boys. A lot of ugly boys.’
“When things started changing – and they did – we noticed: ‘There’s girls in the front row.’ Or there’d be a sign in the back: ‘Mythbusters: Girls who love Rush.’ [Laughs]
“But we were too old to take advantage of it by that point.”
During the rest of the interview, Geddy also talked about not being the band’s lyricist but always “being the vehicle” for drummer Neil Peart’s words. The musician said:
“It has felt odd at times. It has felt very comfortable at times, at times very uncomfortable.
“Being an interpreter for Neil has been a singular pleasure of mine and a really difficult job at the same time because I’m not always on the same page as him.
“As we grew as a band, I became trusted by him to be his sounding board and his editor, and if I couldn’t get into a thing, he would leave it alone. That’s the beauty of a relationship that lasts.”
Asked if he’s “ever been able to make sense of any concept albums,” Geddy replied:
Not even your own?
“Barely. I grew up listening to Yes. I still can’t tell you what any of those records are about, honestly.
“I don’t think it matters, because the music and the lyrics create a sound, and that gives you a picture of a meaning. Sometimes that’s enough to make you love it.”