Geddy Lee was in the house Wednesday night at the TIFF Lightbox theatre in Toronto for a screening of his new docuseries Are Bass Players Human Too?
The answer, based on the first two of four episodes currently streaming on Paramount+, is hell yes. Strange fellas with cool if kooky interests and hobbies but still pretty effin’ human, as Lee himself might say.
For the series, the famed Rush bass player and vocalist visits other renowned bass players, including Krist Novoselic (Nirvana), Les Claypool (Primus), Melissa Auf der Maur (Hole, Smashing Pumpkins) and Rob Trujillo (Metallica).
He makes for a great guest and a pretty good narrator, injecting just enough humour and showing that he is up for a fair amount of adventure.
In the first episode, Lee visits Claypool, who takes him into a field and instructs his guest to don a pair of overalls to avoid poison oak. Lee then gamely climbs up into Claypool’s industrial machinery to do a little brush clearing. Talk about heavy metal.
The docuseries is a follow-up to Lee’s book, “The Big, Beautiful Book of Bass” and is part of his philosophy that all bass players are nerds at heart with many interests outside the music biz. Along the way Lee tries his hand at canning tomatoes and fishing (not for bass). He risks riding in Novoselic’s rusty Volkswagen bus as well as his vintage single-engine airplane. The two visit a historic church Novoselic is helping to restore and bump into a few of his orphaned animals.
In each episode, Lee works in a little jam time. The set where Novoselic rocks out Rush riffs on his accordion are Schmengie-licious.
The episodes looked beautiful on the giant TIFF Lightbox cinema screen. Before the episodes began, Lee sat on stage and answered questions from director Sam Dunn. When that ended, Lee decided, as he sang long ago on that Bob & Doug McKenzie album, to “Take Off!”
The series was produced by Banger Films and MTV Entertainment Studios.