Rush Vocalist Geddy Lee Praises Paul McCartney’s Basswork In New Interview

Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Press

 “Paul McCartney was quite an influential bass player,” Rush vocalist and bassist Geddy Lee shares in a new interview with Amazon Music.

If you listen to ‘Come Together’ that’s a bold bass part in that in song,” Geddy enthuses. “If you listen to ‘Taxman’, that’s heavy metal before there was heavy metal.”

A good part of Paul McCartney’s bass part, specifically the portion from 0:55 to 1:10, was performed in heavy imitation of the highly influential work of Motown session bassist James Jamerson, who Lee discusses next.

James Jamerson and a lot of the early Motown songs, they drove the song,” he reflects. “That bottom and moving line of the bass drove the song with an alternate melody that didn’t interfere with the main melody. I have always felt that’s the role of a bass player. You have got to get your melody in there somehow but you know you cannot draw attention away from the singer, you know, that’s the number one rule.”

Geddy then compares Paul McCartney’s basswork to that of The Red Hot Chilli PeppersFlea.

Flea is one of the great contemporary bass players and his influences are so funk-driven yet he can do anything,” Lee beams. “‘Give It Away, Give It Away’. Just like the bass in ‘Come Together, like, the bass in so many great pop songs. Flea is providing an alternate rhythm for the drums and an alternate melody, working the bottom of the neck as well as the top, going back and forth which I always love as a bass player.”

Listen to the whole interview here.


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