When Rush opened for Kiss in 1974-75, one of them was the biggest band in the world and the other had Geddy Lee on vocals. In fact, during a June 1975 date at the Winterland in San Francisco, Kiss had to intervene just to get the guys in Rush something to eat before show time.
On those particular dates, Gene Simmons says in this Kiss Kruise Q&A, the two bands were sharing a bill at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco with the Tubes — a band managed by venue owner Bill Graham. To perhaps no one’s surprise, the Tubes had a huge array of snacks, while Rush (then just breaking into the national scene on their Fly By Night tour) were roundly ignored.
The headliners stepped in: “You’re going to feed these guys,” Simmons told the promoter, “or we’re not getting up on stage.” Everybody, he adds, got fed.
“They were nobody,” Simmons says, in the clip above. “Nobody knew them, and they were from Canada, too. In those days, Canada meant: ‘We don’t care.’ We liked them. ‘Working Man,’ you know that song?”
Simmons goes on to do a dead-on impression — not just of Lee’s distinctive sky-high voice, but also the classic Rush track’s distinctive rhythmic signature — to huge laughs. Kiss bandmate Paul Stanley interupts then to say: “Hold on, Geddy’s on the phone,” to still bigger laughs.