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Geddy Lee’s opinion on Metallica

Geddy Lee
Images from Richard Sibbald and Jimmy Kimmel show


Geddy Lee’s opinion on Metallica

The Rush co-founder, bassist, keyboardist and vocalist Geddy Lee is one of the most influential artists of all time, that with the Canadian band inspired countless generations of musicians, especially the ones who liked to mix Progressive Rock with Hard Rock.


Over the decades he talked about many other bands, giving his true opinion on them. The legendary American Thrash Metal band Metallica is one of those groups. He once even rated the band’s classic track “For Whom The Bell Tolls”.

What is Geddy Lee’s opinion on Metallica

Back in 2019, when he was promoting his book “Geddy Lee’s Big Beautiful Book of Bass”, the Rush frontman was asked by CBC Music to be part of “It’s a jam or not a jam”. The channel played several tracks that he should analyze and say whether he liked it or not. One of the songs was Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” from the band’s second album “Ride The Lightning” (1984).

Geddy Lee listened to the track an said (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage): “I know that bell… Well, this one of those songs where the bass line is really doubling the guitar parts. So it’s not… it’s basically contributing to the heavyosity of the track.”

“The purpose of the bass line in this is to add weight. It’s got a bit of a twang, it’s got a lot of heaviness. So that genre requires that Heavy Metal pomp and that’s what the bass line does. It serves after it. So I would say it’s kind of a jam,” Geddy Lee said.

Geddy Lee was on the list of artists that Metallica wanted to produce their album “Master of Puppets”

As Geddy Lee told Vice in 2015, even though he doesn’t listen to a lot of Heavy Metal, he likes and has a great respect for Metallica. He also recalled that there was a conversation about the possibility to produce the band’s classic album “Master Of Puppets” (1986).

Metallica’s manager at the time, Cliff Bernstein, was the same one who had already managed Rush a few years before. So Geddy Lee knew the members of the Thrash Metal band and even went to their show.

“Well, I don’t listen to a lot of metal. Even though there’s an aspect of our sound that can be quite metal, I sort of attribute it more to early metal, in the way that Zeppelin were metal and in the way that Black Sabbath were metal, and Blue Cheer were metal. And that’s the sort of tradition of metal that we took on. I like Metallica. I’ve got great respect for them. But, you won’t hear too much speed metal or death metal in my house,” Geddy Lee said.

Geddy Lee continued talking about almost being the producer of “Master Of Puppets”

It’s sort of true. There was some discussion with Lars, back in the day, about working with them. This was before Master of Puppets came out, I think? There was talk, you know. I was friends with their management and I met Lars back in England.”

“I remember going to see them here in Toronto when they played at the Masonic Temple. That’s when the original bass player was still happening. You know, before that tragedy. And, you know, we talked about it and I liked their band a lot at that time. But it just never came together,” Geddy Lee said.

That connection between Rush and Metallica was done mainly by the manager Cliff Bernstein, that even gave Neil Peart‘s phone number to Lars Ulrich once so that he could ask for some advice about gear.

Cliff Burton was nervous when Geddy Lee went to see Metallica

As Geddy Lee said, he already went to see Metallica during the first years of their career and according to the band’s guitarist Kirk Hammett, that made the late bassist Cliff Burton get nervous.

He recalled that story in an interview with Steffan Chirazi. “Geddy Lee showed up at one of our shows on the ‘Ride The Lightning’ tour. We played Toronto, and all of a sudden we got a message backstage that Geddy Lee was in the audience. And Cliff Burton just freaked out.”

“He started pacing, he started smoking pot, and he was, like, ‘Oh my God! Geddy! Geddy Lee!’ He could not settle down; he was so nervous and just happy at the same time that Geddy Lee was there. And then Ross tells him that Geezer Butler  is out there one night. Same thing — he starts pacing around, super nervous, grabs a beer.” Kirk Hammett said.

Cliff Burton died too soon at the age of 24 back in 1986 when Metallica’s bus had an accident in Sweden. The late musician said many times in interviews that Geddy Lee was a big influence to him.
Curiously, Jason Newsted, who replaced Cliff Burton in Metallica from 1986 to 2001, also mentioned many times the Rush bassist as one of his biggest inspirations.

Metallica mentioned Rush at Rock Hall induction ceremony

Metallica also admires Rush, especially the guitarist Kirk Hammett who was even interviewed for the band’s 2010 documentary “Beyond the Lighted Stage”. The group was a huge influence to him, especially Alex Lifeson‘s guitar playing.

He even told Guitar Center back in 2014, that one of the times that he realized in his life that he really had “made it”, was when he had the chance to hang out with Lifeson after a Rush show.

“There was another time when I found myself thinking, ‘Holy sh*t. I’m living my high school fantasy’. And that was when I had gone to see Rush and then after the show I was hanging out with Alex Lifeson.”

“We were just hanging out, drinking wine, talking about guitars and I thought, “Yeah – I really made it. I’m really here, right now, hanging out with Alex Lifeson backstage drinking wine.” It doesn’t get much better than that,” Kirk Hammett said.

A few years before that, in 2009, before the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where Metallica was inducted, the musician had also defended that Rush should also be included. When asked before the ceremony, which band should be also part of the Hall of Fame, Hammett said: “In a perfect world, I would say Rush. They are one of the most consistent yet overlooked bands around. The amount of power and noise that they create out of just three musicians is really amazing. There’s no one like them. Rush is like a combination of a Phillip K. Dick novel and Cream (laughter).”

Kirk Hammett continued:

“When they came out, they were in between Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and us. They are so influential in the rock world. I hope that the people who vote for this stuff get the band in there soon, because they deserve it. If they do get voted in someday, I would be interested in being the person actually inducting them that night (laughter),” Kirk Hammett said. Kirk Hammett’s wish came true four years after Metallica, in 2013. The Canadian group was inducted by the Foo Fighters members Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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