Following a (quickly shot-down) rumor suggesting Rush bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson are poised to start a new band together, fans like us are speculating on whom the two could choose to sit at the drum throne for them.
Yes, we know a spokeswoman for Rush refuted Eddie Trunk's story on Monday. Later in the day, another well-known DJ said she personally checked with Alex who said there are no plans for such a project.
But most importantly, it's way more fun to think of Lee and Lifeson playing music together than fantasy baseball!
So even if Lee-Lifeson is not imminent, it sure makes sense that it'll happen eventually. Lifeson told Premiere Networks earlier this year that he's been writing a lot of music since drummer Neil Peart retired in 2015. He's also expressed his wont for a collaborator on that music, and that he doesn't really want to do another solo album.
Lee himself is busy with a number of projects, none of which involved playing music at the moment. The last time he performed was during Yes' induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this past Spring. It's no leap of faith to think that maybe Lee is interested in performing again.
According to Trunk, the Lee-Lifeson project would record a new album and also incorporate Rush songs into their live shows. Including Rush music certainly thins the heard in terms of what drummers the pair could work with, so here are a few we think would be good matches for Lee-Lifeson...if the rumor comes to be, of course.
1. Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Flying Colors, Winery Dogs, etc.)
Rush's influence might not be more apparent in any of their contemporaries than Dream Theater, which drummer Mike Portney co-founded in 1986. Dream Theater followed Rush's lead in many ways, writing long, technically demanding songs and ambitious concept albums that inspired generations of musicians to follow them.
Dream Theater has been known to work Rush covers into their live sets, and Portnoy is such a huge fan, he's even played gigs as part of a Rush tribute band.
Since leaving Dream Theater in 2010, Portnoy has worked with dozens of bands, both live and in the studio. Whether Lee and Lifeson are looking for a full-time partner, a session man, a lyricist or a producer, Portnoy has every box checked.
2. Stewart Copeland (The Police)
Stewart Copeland of The Police is one of the most successful drummers of his generation, and he's also one of the most unique. While growing up in Lebanon and then Egypt, Copeland became intimately familiar with the pulse of African music. As a lefty who plays drums right-handed, Copeland incorporated reggae and jazz influences into his playing with The Police.
But Copeland is much more than a percussionist. He has composed solo albums, film soundtracks and symphonies. There's no question Lee-Lifeson and Copeland could create something seriously interesting. Of course, Copeland might be too busy launching his new career as the stratocaster-playing frontman for his new band, Gizmodrome, with Adrian Belew!
3. Carl Palmer (ELP, Asia)
Lee, Lifeson and Carl Palmer go back quite a ways. Palmer has been in two bands that were contemporaries of Rush and his name is often brought up in discussions of the best drummers to emerge in the 1970s alongside Peart.
With ELP, Palmer blurred the lines between rock and roll and jazz and pushed the envelope of what many drummers thought was physically possible. With Asia, Palmer employed a less experimental style that proved he could truly play anything, not matter how simple or complex.
There's also the matter of the state of his two best-known former bands. Palmer remains the only surviving member of ELP, and said recently that he's not sure what's next for Asia following the death of singer/bassist John Wetton earlier this year.
Palmer feels strongly about keeping ELP's legacy alive by reaching new audiences; what better way to do that than go all in on a classic prog rock super group and having Lee and Lifeson play some of those songs with him? Lee Lifeson Palmer? LLP? Sounds good to us!
4. Brann Dailor (Mastodon)
This is where it gets interesting. Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor is a driving creative force behind one of the biggest bands in modern progressive metal. Dailor made a name for himself a decade ago with his frenetic style, but in recent years he's turned to a more musical approach as Mastodon has drifted away from their thrashy beginnings.
Much like Peart in Rush, Dailor is his band's most prolific lyricist; he's also a great singer from the drum throne. Giving the gig to an accomplished young drummer full of ideas would create even more intrigue around any new music Lee-Lifeson release.
5. Bill Ward (Black Sabbath)
Founding Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward provided the backbeat for the first generation of heavy metal and by virtue of that fact is one of the most influential rock drummers of all-time. Ward's fit in a Lee-Lifeson project is a reach, however, given that Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi both had doubts about his health and ability to complete a tour in Black Sabbath.
That said, Sabbath and early-Rush had a lot in common sonically; "Working Man" could easily have been an Iommi/Geezer Butler riff with Ward bashing away instead of original Rush drummer John Rutsey. Pulling off late-'70s Rush material would be quite a task for Ward, though.
While most Rush fans are expecting more catchy, ambitious prog rock from their favorite bassist and guitarist, it would be fascinating to hear the pair collaborate with a power groove drummer like Ward.
6. Danny Carey (Tool)
Danny Carey is one of the most beloved drummers of all-time thanks to his work with mercurial prog rock band Tool. Carey is a monster drummer in every sense of the term; he switches between tempo and time signatures with an ease and fluidity that makes the most mind-bending passages look like a breeze.
Rush is a massive influence of Carey's and if he's at all interested in taking a break from writing the next Tool album to work with some of his heroes, Lee and Lifeson could do no better.
Photos: Getty Images
Graphic: Dempsey Murphy