Instead Of Amps The Bassist And Lead Singer Of The Band Rush, Geddy Lee, Plays In Front Of ?
Answer: Household Appliances
We love trivia of all shapes and sizes, but we especially love trivia that combines something interesting and educational with something entertaining. The story of how famed rock and roll front man and bass guitarist Geddy Lee, of the iconic progressive rock band Rush, came to play his sets in front of a bunch of household appliances is exactly that kind of trivia.
Why is Lee’s side of the stage always filled with bulky stuff that isn’t traditional music gear? To understand that, you first need to understand what used to be there. Up until the mid 1990s Lee, like many musicians, had a big wall of amplifiers behind him. The purpose of this arrangement was so that the musician (who was behind the main speakers directed at the audience) could hear their own instrument over the sound of the crowd, other musicians, and echoes off the back wall of the stage.
During the 1996 Test for Echo tour, however, Lee had a new sound system rig that allowed him to tap his guitar directly into the front-of-house console and use a simple in-ear monitor in place of larger on-stage rear amplifier cabinets. Lee certainly wasn’t the first musician to do so, but historically, when guitarists switched to in-ear monitors, they still kept (entirely for show) a giant bank of amps behind them that were either not even plugged in, or literally just stage props with hollow interiors.
Faced with a dilemma of what to do with the now empty space behind him, Geddy Lee chose to decorate and fill up the space with… household appliances. On the Test for Echo tour, he had an old-fashioned household refrigerator that was actually plugged in and stocked with food. On a later tour, he had three coin-operated Maytag dryers, which were loaded with specially-designed Rush t-shirts the band would throw out to the audience at the end of each show. Over time, the gear behind Lee has grown in size and complexity, and in recent tours, even includes large steampunk-like machinery that incorporates pieces of previous set props.