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German Genesis Fanclub: 25th anniversary

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Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford talk to it about the tour, new projects and plans for their solo career and for the band.



it: Now, that the tour is on a roll do you intend to change the setlist and also did you rehearse further songs since the last rehearsals in Brussels - others than you play now?


Tony: We may change it for America. At the moment we don’t intend to change the set. For the rest of the tour we probably will do what we’re doing now. Yes, we rehearsed some other tracks. We rehearsed Jesus He Knows Me, we did Abacab

Mike: And also In Too Deep.

Tony: Yes, In Too Deep, that’s the one we might do in America, because it’s much more popular in America than it was here while Ripples was less popular in America.


it: And regarding The Carpet Crawlers, is there a special reason why you start with the second verse – for the last 30 years now, you never perform the intro…


Tony: Yes we skip the intro, because it doesn’t really belong to the song, it’s an in between bit. It was an introduction to the song, the album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway had a lot of those bits between the songs and this one obviously was a reprise from the song The Lamb Lies Down itself. But then we also used it on the version with Trevor Horn for the Hits album and it sounded really nice. But it’s another song, it really starts this way. The intro makes it more complicated.

Mikeit: Are you in contact with either Steve or Peter, will they appear on stage at one point during this tour?

Mike: Do, I don’t think so. Peter is on tour himself so he won’t be around and I think Steve Hackett is not doing that…

Tony: It’s a difficult one, we just doing those 22 shows and every show is kind of important I think. We don’t know if they will be around, but also, we will do only two shows in England, so both will be very special. We just feel we would like to keep it to the group we got now, cause it just confuses the issue – everyone’s confused enough as it is, I think. So I don’t think there will be any appearances unless they rush on stage and we can’t keep them off…


it: You will record the Rome show for a DVD, but you will also record the Düsseldorf Shows, as they are used for a broadcast, so will you only use the Rome show for the DVD or are the Düsseldorf shows a backup?

Mike: Yes, Rome will be recorded for the DVD. Remember, they bring in eight more cameras for this and they will do post production on that. The cinema thing just came out as good fun really, a lot of people will be able to see us in countries we don’t play and also in England. For the DVD we concentrate on this one special show in Rome.

Tony: Well, obviously Düsseldorf will also be recorded and once the thing has been shown, as you well know, it will be available [laughs]. But we have no intention of making it officially available. Although, as Mike says, we are going to add some cameras as well, but it’s going to be kind of a live mix and everything, without the chance to rework it, in terms of either from the visual, or the sound point of view. Hopefully, it will be good but it is a different thing. It’s an extra.


it: Your tour is accompanied by the rerelease of your entire back-catalogue on SACD, regarding the second boxset that will come out in September, will the bonus disc include all the b-sides again like the first box set’s bonus disc – because there were some rumours that stuff like Banjo Man will not be included…

Tony: It won’t include all the b-sides from the Calling All Stations album. I think we just have to…first off, there’s a lot of them and I think it just gives a strange emphasis to the album. We are happy to put the three, some may call them the three main b-sides, Run Out Of Time, Anything Now and...

it: Sign Your Life Away.

Tony: Sign Your Life Away. Those three …

Mike: They know better than you do!

Tony: We feel quite strongly that those three as they are as good as anything on the album really, particularly the instrumental part of Anything Now – it’s a pity it couldn’t get on the album. So we definitely want to use that.

But things like Banjo Man and a couple of others, we just felt were not really up there. Given the fact that we’ve already got a certain number of b-sides from the other albums, except for the Genesis album, where there are no extras at all, which means the extras come from Invisible Touch and We Can’t Dance – so I think to have too many from Calling All Stations would be wrong. So we’ll see if there’s anything else we can find for that one.

[editor's note: We put it to Ray as well as the Genesis management that we think it makes no sense to have an incomplete bonus disc on the second boxset. We did point out that, like the 1976-1982 set, this one ought to be complete.]


it: Any news about the other bonus material, like bonus footage from the Invisible Touch tour, the Cage medley is very popular among fans.

Tony: Well, we might find some material. We did record the Hannover show of that tour, but just with the stage cameras and it was used for some kind of broadcast, don’t know if that includes In The Cage. The problem is, when we recorded the shows for the live-video, we didn’t record In The Cage. But I’m sure we will find something. We did some performances, such as TV-appearances and also shows where we didn’t use the screens, we’ll see.


it: Coming back to the question I already asked at the London press conference – will the Jackson Tape appear on the Trespass Bonus Disc in the third boxset?

Tony: We think that’s a possibility, so we might do that. It’s quite a funny thing. It was a left-over so it should have been on the Archive album, but at the time we didn’t have it so we might put it on that [Trespass bonus disc], it’s an interesting piece.


it: Have you discussed the bonus material for the third boxset?

Mike + Tony: No.


it: About the future: What will happen after this tour that may even include South America, we heared some rumours about that?

Mike: We don’t really know that now. We kind of avoid going down that road, we’re just doing this and North America and then we’ll see. So this year has been taken care of and then…who knows.


it: So no plans for a new album…

Mike: No…


it: …or a tour with Peter and Steve?

Mike: Well the idea to tour with Peter was discussed and is still out there, nobody has really said ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to it. So it’s still a possibility, but Peter is busy, he will release a new album next year I think and then he’s on tour again so he will be busy for the next couple of years. So for now it’s just an idea.


it: Mike, your last Mechanics album Rewired is now three years old. Do you intend to record another one after the Genesis tour?

Mike: Erm…I think that’s it probably. We had our time, we did the album without Paul Young and a tour and live we were better than I thought but there was a chemistry with the three of us, especially on stage with Paul Young performing and Carrack’s musicality and voice – it was a good combination. And then we did the tour without Paul, which was okay, but I think the time is right to say that’s it. And also, Paul Carrack is busy doing his own stuff. He tours every year anyway with his own band, playing some Mechanics songs as well. So I think that’s it although you never know.

Mike Rutherfordit: Any plans to record stuff on your own or maybe with other people?

Mike: I haven’t thought about that. I’m not worried, this year has been taken care of and then we’ll see.

it: Tony, a popular question among fans is: will you record another rock album?

Tony: I really don’t know. I felt I wanted to play in a band with some drums again but that obviously has now been satisfied by doing this tour. It’s difficult, I would need to work out how to do it and how to release it and I would also have to do some more songs and but you know – it’s quite difficult, you’re sort of fighting and going uphill a little bit, because obviously, it’s not going to see in vast numbers and I don’t think the record company…if I had a record company that was smaller, it might be interesting, sort of like the one that Daryl is using. I mean – who knows.

I am probably keener at the moment to do another classical album. Once I’ve done the first one you learn all those things and feel you can do it better and what you can do next time – although I was pretty happy with the result. So that’s probably what will come after the Genesis tour but I haven’t thought about it too much, although I’ve got quite a few songs tucked away. I’ve got some particular thoughts but I do need to see what happens. It’s possible, as you say, this tour might extend, maybe we will do something together or we do something with The Lamb and all of this would take a lot of time. And since we started talking about what we are doing now and also, I’ve been obviously heavily involved with all the 5.1 Mixes, I haven’t really written any new material for more than a year, it just takes so much time.

it: There will be a new book called Chapter & Verse, to be released later this year. We read a promotional text and also the cover artwork says “Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford”. Was Steve Hackett not involved or why is he missing?

Tony: It’s only on the sleeve…

Mike: Steve was part of it…

Tony: Yes, it’s rubbish, it was always the five of us. I just think that the publisher simply forgot about that. They don’t know much about Genesis. So the five of us mainly contributed, although a lot more people in fact contributed to the book. Also, there was a lot of time spent to put together the period until Steve left the band so he’s equally part of the book.

[editor's note: Upon enquiry we were assured that the cover of the book has been changed accordingly and Steve Hackett's name is now listed on the cover.]


it: So how was your contribution to the project, what kind of book is it?

Mike: It was all taken from interviews from all of us and managers, Ahmet Ertegun, different people, Richard Macphail – everyone - and then compiled and put together into chapters and a theme and a tempo to it. I think it’s great, we’ve been pretty much involved during the last month, reading it and commenting and it was in fact finished a couple of days ago, it’s gone to press in Italy.


it: Will the Audio-book contain your voices?

Mike: I don’t know really…

Tony: …well, if there’s an audio book, we won’t be reading it [laughs], obviously, when people do these, what you’re quoted as saying is, to some extent, editorial, where some things I said might be combined with other things. But it's pretty much how we said it. In the end, we just went through it to check that everything was something that one might have said, even if it wasn’t what one actually said. So I think it’s ok. In the early part of the book, you’ve got a lot of Anthony Phillips in there as well, there’s quite a lot emphasis given to the formative period, which is quite important, as well as obviously mentions of Chris Stewart, John Mayhew, John Silver and also later on Ray, Chester and Daryl.

So it’s pretty good, we have a round feel to it. I mean, particularly the early part of the work, there’s things – I mean, you guys know everything so it’s not going to tell people like you anything new – but for an average sort of fan there’s new stuff to learn. And I think it’s fun to hear things in people’s voices…

Mike: Well, there’s stuff that even you don’t know [laughter]

Tony: It just changes the…when Ant talks about his leaving it also tells me a lot of things. I mean he talked about that in the past but maybe never that clearly.


it: Regarding the old board-tapes / old live-shows. Any progress on that?

Mike: Not really, but it occurred to me since we’re doing the board-tapes now from this tour with live-microphones as well and I think maybe this will lead into something else.

Tony: The old stuff might be more interesting for them.

Mike: It might be nice to do it, for people who are kneen on it, you know? If it interests people, we might try and do a combination of something. If the demand is reasonable, we might do the same with previous tours


it: Speaking about the Encore stuff, there are rumours you won’t do that for the North American Leg of the tour, is that true?

Mike: It’s a problem with Atlantic Records, I’m not sure we will be able to do it, we’ll see.


it: If you compare this tour with the last tour you did with Phil 15 years ago – what’s the main difference?

Tony: The hair, and the color of the hair

Mike: This tour now is quite relaxed because it is quite short. There’s no new album so we’re only tal Tony Banksking about the tour, no album promotion. It’s quite nice, so we can spend more time on the music, lights, sound and the whole production. We definitely have more space in our heads to focus on this tour so it’s quite pleasurable.


Tony: I think the set is more demanding as it combines so many instrumental bits from various eras, like The Cinema Show and Duke’s Travels bits, Firth Of Fifth and Home By The Sea. It’s also demanding for the audience. Some of them you will lose during the instrumental bits as they don’t know them, while the big fans are less interested in the hits.

The other thing is, we don’t have anything to prove we’re just doing it. We’re playing to fans who know they like us. We’re not trying to convert them, perhaps in the past we did that.


it: We are actually quite pleased with the set, just to let you know

Tony: Good… [looks relieved]


it: Is there a reason why you don’t play in places like Spain, Portugal or more in Italy?

Mike: It’s a time thing, we’re doing 22 shows. Places like Spain take a lot of time to go there and come back – so the tour would have become longer.

Tony: We did think about starting in Portugal or Spain but we couldn’t find a place to rehearse inside in Portugal and you can’t do that outside. If we would start from scratch now we would do one or two in Spain and Portugal, one or two in Italy and obviously one or two shows in the UK, but we just worked it out this way, wanted to keep it manageable with not too many shows. And we wanted to avoid those big tours we did in the old days.


it: Last question: You know that we do fanclub events every year with special guests such as Ray Wilson, Richard Macphail, Armando Gallo or John Mayhew. Could you imagine to attend one of those meetings?

Mike: I’m not sure…

Tony: Well, you know…it’s not for me really…

Mike: I wouldn’t rule it out but I don’t think so. What was the last thing in Germany?

it: Yesterday we had a fan-meeting in Braunschweig, close to Hannover and we had Ray Wilson perform an acoustic set and last year we had Armando Gallo and John Mayhew.

Tony: Well, who knows – maybe in ten years we will change our minds.


it: Okay, thanks for taking some time for this interview.

Tony & Mike: Thanks, it was a pleasure…



interview: Christian Gerhardts

transcription: Christian Gerhardts + Michael Scott Miller

photos: Peter Schütz, Helmut Janisch,

>> transcript of the press conference in November 2006

>> interview with Chester Thompson (June 26, 2007)

>> interview with Daryl Stuermer (April 2007)


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