There’s a new interview with Geddy Lee in today’s issue of the Birmingham Post. Geddy talks about wine, the tour, having fun with his bandmates, the making of Moving Pictures and how he stays healthy while on tour:
… Honest to god I train and work really hard at staying healthy before a tour,” he says. “I really have a very strict regime during show days; my trainer has designed a way of keeping me healthy – it never works but I think he tries anyway!
“I have a lot of very strong memories [of making the album] – it was a real watershed moment in terms of how you make albums,” Lee recalls.
“It was a rather intense session that began in the winter and ended in the spring; it was a lot of fun and it was a great experience.
“We holed up in Morin Heights, Quebec in a kind of ski area about an hour north of Montreal; the studio was built in this beautiful setting and you stayed in a little house on the other end of a lake that you shared with the studio.
“It was the dead of winter, it was very cold and that’s why you tended towards cabin fever by the end of making that record,” says Lee.
“I don’t think we knew what the hell we were doing by the end,” he laughs. “I think we’d been up there so long and worked so hard on it you just lost all your objectivity.
“I remember when I had driven up there, the weather was okay and I had a sort of sports car at the time and the record took way longer than we expected ‘cos we had some technical issues with the mixing console – it was one of the first kind of computerised mixing consoles in Canada – and of course as the seasons changed it started going a bit wonky, so we were way overdue to deliver the record and it was very stressful.
“I remember driving back to Montreal and it was a terrible snowstorm and I’m in this little stupid sports car driving Terry Brown our producer and his dog in the back and I was supposed to go on a little holiday with my wife – who had already left for the holiday by the time I got back.
“I couldn’t believe I got back to Toronto in one piece; I grabbed a bag, went to the airport and flew to Barbados and my wife picked me up at the airport; I must have just looked like a melting lump of Geddy…”
Happily all the hard work paid off, and Moving Pictures is now rightly seen as a classic – and a massive seller, with more than four million copies sold worldwide.
Lee has his own theories on why the record has done – and survived – so well: “It’s interesting, you know, being one of the few bands that’s been around long enough to actually have some perspective on its past; Moving Pictures has survived rather well, especially for a hard rock album; there’s something about the melodies and the combination of the edginess of the record yet there’s a melodic content that has allowed it to age somewhat gracefully, which surprises me but is something I can see now playing some of these songs for the 30th year.
“Camera Eye was a song I really did not want to play live,” he confesses. “I just felt it hadn’t aged very well – yet when you bring your present day attitude to it, you can take it to another place and I have to say it’s now one of my favourite moments in the entire show.”
Lee admits playing for 210 minutes every night can take its toll, but experience and regime are key factors to ensuring they’re always at the top of their game:
“Honest to god I train and work really hard at staying healthy before a tour,” he says. “I really have a very strict regime during show days; my trainer has designed a way of keeping me healthy – it never works but I think he tries anyway!
“You learn what you can take and what you can’t take,” he adds. “For me it’s really important to get a lot of sleep. Being the primary singer it affects me in a different way from the other guys – but I don’t know how Neil drums for three hours the way he drums, and rides motorcycles – he’s a mad man – but for me the next day is all about sleep.
“After 40-plus years you learn who you are; I’m a bit paranoid, I’ve become a bit of a germaphobe because of how easy it is to get a throat infection.
“I’m fanatical with washing my hands and staying out of draughts and I do have a fear of hockey arenas because we’ve done a bunch on this tour already and sure enough I got a throat infection halfway through the tour – coming into these really cold buildings with so much ice on the ground, sooner or later it’s gonna get you because the path of least resistance is your poor tired voicebox!”