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 Three Rounds With...Geddy Lee

Blacklight Bar

Rush's resident wine expert discusses his band's new hits collection and movie cameo.

by Rob Brunner in Entertainment Weekly

Geddy Lee
ush singer Geddy Lee is the high-note-hitting bass monster behind classics like "Tom Sawyer." He's also, it turns out, a wine fanatic. (His home cellars hold almost 5,000 bottles.) "I don't like talking about it in public because I worry I will come off like some pretentious f---ing bozo," he says. "But I do love wine." Over a four-hour binge at Manhattan restaurant (and wine mecca) Del Posto, Lee proves to be a fantastic dinner companion, dropping tidbits about hiking in Patagonia, A.J. Liebling and the new Sigur Rós album. Here's a taste.

Rush - Retrospective 3ROUND 1: BASTIANICH VESPA BIANCO 2006 AND THE NEW CD "It's got a nice complex nose." Rush just released Retrospective 3 (left), which distills the past 19 years into 14 tracks (plus a DVD). "We don't have a lot of disagreements," Lee says about the selection process. "We're ridiculously sensible. We sent a few e-mails and everyone said, 'Sure, thumbs up.' It was painless."

ROUND 2: VIETTE BAROLO VILLERO RISERVA 1997 AND COLBERT "Delicious, but I would say it's not the perfect moment to drink it yet." The highlight of the new collection is Rush's surprisingly funny appearance on The Colbert Report last summer; included at the end of the DVD. It was their first U.S. TV performance in three decades. "As we've gotten older, we've lightened up," says Lee. "When we went through that terrible period [after drummer Neil Peart's wife and daughter died in the late '90s], we really did believe that [the band] was over. Since then we appreciate what we have more. Anyway, cheers. Enough of that."

ROUND 3: BASTIANICH PERLIDIA 2003 AND THE MOVIE "This, to me, is the superstar of the night." Rush's lighter attitude also helps explain their first-ever movie appearance, performing "Limelight" in the new comedy I Love You, Man. "It was a blast," says Lee. "We just played the same song over and over again. It came at a tough time, because we were on tour and that was our day off. It was nice that it was such fun, because we were pretty beat." No wonder: Rush played more than 100 shows in 18 months, and they're currently in the middle of a well-earned "deep holiday." But eventually Lee plans to get back to work. "Road burnout is not to be underestimated, but every human being needs to feel productive. That's the key to a long life. That and good wine."  

 


The Rush star's enthusiasms are hardly limited to fine wine. Here are just a few of the things he raved about over the course of an epic restaurant meal. - RB

FANTASY BASEBALL

"Sometimes I go backstage during the drum solo and check my fantasy standings."

FLEET FOXES


"My favorite album right now. It reminds me of English folk bands I liked years ago."

RIGA, LATVIA


"Its a stunning city. Architecturally, it's one of the most important cities in Europe."

THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION


"I love the book. They should put me in the Coen brothers movie."






 Thanks for the memories

Blacklight Bar

Former 'Saturday Night Live' comic Tom Davis recalls the show's raucous early days.

by Clark Collis in Entertainment Weekly

Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss
The Early Days of SNL From Someone Who Was There
Tom Davis
MEMOIR

'Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss' - Tom Davis
om Davis made his name in the '70s as one-half of the comedy duo (and Saturday Night Live writing team) Franken and Davis. His partner, Al Franken, became even more famous in the two decades after the pair split, first as a best-selling political humorist and now as a Minnesota politician. Davis fell back into obscurity. In his new memoir, he recalls watching Jeopardy! one night when the following mind-bender appeared on screen: "He was the comedy partner of Al Franken." "Everyone was stumped," Davis writes, "including Ken Jennings, the greatest Jeopardy! champ ever."

Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss doesn't pretend that the routinely drug-blasted Davis is an important cultural figure -- but it abundantly demonstrates that he has been friends with a lot of them, including Dan Aykroyd, Timothy Leary, Grateful Dead honcho Jerry Garcia, and Chris Farley, whose drug consumption alarmed Davis so much he attempted an intervention ("and," he notes, "you know you're in trouble when I'm the one intervening"). There aren't many people who can claim to have jammed in an impromptu band with John Belushi and Keith Richards, but the guitar-playing Davis is among them. It also reveals why this self-confessed "hippie with an attitude" is one of comedy's forgotten men, beyond his narcotic intake. Yes, he co-created the Coneheads with Aykroyd and evocatively recalls the rush -- in every sense -- of working on the early SNL. But he also wrote a never-broadcast skit called "Sexoffenderville" and teamed up with Garcia on a screenplay based on Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan at a time when Garcia was addicted to heroin. That script remains unfilmed and, one suspects, unfilmable. However, Davis' tales, particularly those about hanging out with Garcia, are engrossing and darkly humorous. With this funny, spiky, and twistedly entertaining autobiography, he has transformed his failure of a career into a minor triumph. B+  

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