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Interview Adam Kromelow

Genesis Piano Project - the interview

Adam Kromelow inconversation about Genesis and his Piano Project

Though he also hails from New York, renowned pianist Adam Kromelow hates Billy Joel’s reputation as The Piano Man. “He’s written some unbelievable songs and I really think he’s got a great singing voice, but if we’re talking piano it’s Elton John over Billy Joel for me.” His musical interests are very diverse. He lists Thelonious Monk, Erroll Garner and Duke Ellington and classic jazz pianists as some of his biggest influences. He loves the great songwriting of Carole King, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel solo, as well as Stevie Wonder, Simon and Garfunkel, but he also enjoys contemporary outfits like The 1975, bits of Coldplay, a hip-hop artist called Anderson Paak. His favourite band, however, is Genesis. We spoke with him on the day Genesis played Washington DC on their The Last Domino? tour.

GNC: Today there’s a Genesis concert on at Washington DC, but I assume you’re not going. Are you  going to see them in New York?

Adam: Yes, and I saw them in Chicago, actually, a few nights ago.

GNC: So what do you think about it?

Adam: You know, it’s my first Genesis concert ever, so I mostly am just so grateful that I got to see them live at all. I thought for a while that I was never going to get to see them, and I regret missing the 2007 tour. I loved the show. It’s really special for me to see them all doing their thing, to see Tony playing his parts, to see Mike playing his parts. I think, Phil, all things considered, sounds very good. I think he still has his natural flow and phrasing and nice tone. He just doesn’t have the bells, the high notes anymore because he is an old man who has been singing his ass off for forty years. Obviously that’s a little different, but that didn’t really bother me. I think it sounded great.

GNC: Did you attend the first night or the second night?

Adam: The first night.

GNC: I see. I’m asking because there was a huge mistake in Tony’s keyboards during the second night, during Mama (I can send you the Youtube link). Had I been the keyboard player it would have been a nightmare for me. There’s no sound at first, and then you have, like, beep-beep-beep.

Adam: Oh God. That *is* a nightmare. So Tony switched to digital, right? He’s using MIDI (musical instrument digital interface). It’s the modern way of doing all your sounds and patches. Sometimes you can have computer errors, and that will happen. I’ve done pop tours where I’ve played those kind of keyboards, MIDI controllers, and I’ve had the the same kind of thing happen to me. It is a nightmare. I feel bad when that happens. It’s really frustrating.

GNC: It’s a live event, so it could happen anytime...

Adam: Back in the day they’d have to stop the show so he could retune the mellotron. It’s the modern-day version of that.

GNC: Let’s talk about you. For starters, how did you get into music and made you want to be a piano player.

Adam: I think Genesis is part of it, to be honest. I started with piano lessons before I’d ever heard Genesis. I was six years old. Maybe I’d heard them around the house, but I wasn’t aware of specific musicians yet at that age. I think I had a friend who was taking piano lessons, so I wanted to do it because he was doing it. Maybe just a few years later, when I was eight or nine years old, my dad started playing Genesis for me when he’d drive me to school. He was a big Genesis fan. My uncle was a big Genesis fan. I really latched on to it. It made me want to continue with piano. It made me fall in love with the piano, because I heard the capabilities of the piano that I didn’t quite know existed!

Adam KromelowI stuck with it. And I started playing jazz piano. Improvising and jazz was my other love, aside from playing Genesis and prog music, was improvising and jazz. That developed my ear, so I could really hear more advanced chord progressions and understand what was going on. I understood theory and harmony very well because of jazz. That made me appreciate Genesis even more because now I would go back and listen to a song like Seven Stones. I maybe thought that was a little bit boring when I was younger, but now I could appreciate how brilliant it is. Or Mad Man Moon, or some of the songs that are a little bit more sophisticated but a little less show-off-y, a little less exciting than maybe [The Fountain Of] Salmacis or The Musical Box.

The two things always went together. Genesis made me love piano, and then jazz piano made me love Genesis even more. I went off to Manhattan School Of Music to major in Jazz Piano Performance, but I knew I always wanted to keep playing pop and rock, and I still have. That’s also where I met Angelo. He didn’t know Genesis, but I’d hang out in his dorm room every night and play him different Genesis songs. He became a fan really quickly, and we set up our project together way back then in, like 2010.

GNC: May I ask how old you are?

Adam: I am 32.

GNC: I’m asking because I was wondering which tours you might have seen. My first Genesis tour was in ’92, and I consider myself a late-born...

Adam: I would have been three years old at the ’92 tour. I should have gone to the 2007 tour and I didn’t. I regret that.

GNC: Roger King, the keyboarder in Steve Hackett’s band, once told me he has quite a lot of respect for the intro to Firth Of Fifth. How old were you when you could play that properly?

Adam: I think thirteen or fourteen. It’s funny. That is not *the* most technically challenging for me. I’ve learned that everyone’s hands and muscles are a little different. Certain things might be easy for one person that are hard for another person. For me, the hardest parts were always fast left-hand parts, when my left hand has to play very fast. That’s where I need to practise the most. Right hand playing fast was always no problem for me. Also, jumps were never a problem for me.

The reason the Firth Of Fifth intro is difficult is because of jumps. For some people – maybe Roger King is one of those people… To me, he’s good at everything, I love his playing, but maybe he’s better at fast playing in the left hand and less comfortable with jumps in the left hand, so he feels the pressure when he’s playing the Firth Of Fifth intro. I’m not usually worried about that moment, it’s not super-difficult. But there’s other stuff that is more of a challenge for me.

GNC: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway maybe?

Adam: Yes! The intro. Angelo and I never played that song. I don’t know if I could play it solo, there’s too much going on, but I have learned the intro, and it’s very hard. Just the cross-hand thing that Tony always does…. It’s very natural to him, the cross-hand thing, he’s been doing that his whole career. He gravitates towards that technique often. I would never choose to do that. For me it’s so uncomfortable. I have to do Tony’s cross-hand technique when I do the middle section in One For The Vine. That’s a scary moment for me in my shows. Technically, everyone has their different things. The Lamb his hard for me, and there is the moment – the hardest thing for me on our album is the middle of The Fountain Of Salmacis. When the band stops and the guitar and keyboards are going [imitates the melody]. I’m doing that with two hands. It was always my left hand falling behind my right hand, and that was the part during the shows that I was worried was going to fall apart for me.

GNC: So you met Angelo at the music school, and he didn’t know Genesis at all...

Adam: I think he knew the hits, he knew Invisible Touch and Hold On My Heart.

GNC: When did you decide to form a project together, professionally?

Adam: It came very naturally, in stages. First it was just two friends hanging out and showing each other their favourite music, which is quite a common thing to do in music school -  “hey, have you checked this out, have you checked that out?”  - and show each other stuff they may have missed. That was all I wanted to do: Hang out and make a Genesis fan out of him. And then – I forgot which song we were listening to; it might have been The Cinema Show – he said: “This would be really fun to play. Let’s go play it.” There were lots of practise rooms that had two pianos at the school. So we just found a room with two pianos. They weren’t in tune with each other, it wasn’t great, but we just wanted to jam and have fun. Sometimes you’re hearing music as a player, and you love it so much you’re like: “I gotta go. I gotta go and try to play this.”

We made a kind of arrangement of The Cinema Show in that moment, later polished it and made it a lot better. – It could also have been Dance On A Volcano. I know it was either one of those songs. Maybe we did both in the same day. I wish I remembered exactly. It was one of the epic prog ones. – After we made our arrangement and jammed on it that day we said: “This is really fun. Let’s make an arrangement of seven or eight songs and perform a recital at the school." Because you were always welcome to reserve a small concert hall and perform a recital. That’s what we did. We performed it thinking it was just going to be one time, just for fun, performing Genesis music. We had so much fun and thought it sounded really good, we knew we were on to something so we decided then to try and book ourselves some concerts and make ourselves a Genesis tribute act.

GNC: Were you aware that there were similar projects to yours, like Genesis For Two Grand Pianos or David Myers?

Adam: I knew David Myers. I actually knew him personally through some mutual friends who were Musical Box fans. I met David before the Genesis piano project started. I loved his albums. I did not know about the two Norwegian guys who did the Genesis For Two Grand Pianos – I forget their names [Guddal and Matte]. It was funny because I was searching Youtube for Genesis on piano to see what was out there when we were booking our shows, and that’s when I found them. I said: “Oh my God, it’s been done before!” [laughs] But they had made their album so long ago at that point that I didn’t they were performing anymore that so I thought it was okay. At the time that we started I wasn’t aware of them..

GNC: You went on to record an album at Charterhouse. How did that come about?

Adam: It was our producer Giovanni’s idea. We started playing in the United States in the years 2010, 2011, 2012. We made some videos and put them on Youtube. Then our friend and now record producer and the guys who sets up most of our Italy shows, Giovanni – he worked for RealWorld Records as well as other record labels as a producer – he found our videos and brought us out to Italy for some shows. That’s how it grew.

When we decided it was time to make an album he said we should record this not in a studio but treat it like a classical chamber album where you record in a location that is significant. It is significant in part for the story but also for its sound. So maybe there’s a famous cathedral and you have a violin string quartet and you want to record there because it’s known for having a beautiful sound in the cathedral and there’s a lot of history with classical music there. Instead of the perfect studio thing you want that live feel. Giovanni said: “Where could we go that is significant for Genesis?” We thought about trying The Farm or RealWorld studios, but then we thought: “Let’s do it more live.” Then he suggested Charterhouse. He had a British musical connection, a guy named Nigel Sanders, a very nice guy and a cool musician. He acted as a liaison for us, he contacted Charterhouse and we rented it. I think anyone is welcome to rent their auditorium when it’s not in use. We did it during the summer when school was not in session. We rented two pianos and had them brought to the auditorium. It was really cool.

Interview with Adam Kromelow

GNC: So you have recorded the whole album there?

Adam: Yes, that was in 2018.

GNC: … and then it wasn’t released until this year. I think you did a pre-release or something two years ago, but that was just a small one. What’s the story behind this?

Adam: It did take a little longer to mix and master, just because, I think, our engineer had a few other projects that he had to do first, that he had recorded before ours, for the mixing, and we went back and forth a lot of times trying to get everything just right. It’s a challenge with the two pianos because you want to make sure that some parts are always speaking over the other parts, that you can always hear the melody but then you want to make sure you can hear this Rutherford bassline, this… whatever it is. It was a long mix process. And then we wanted to release the album when we could do a tour.
The mixing was done a year later, mid 2019. We couldn’t do a tour that fall. The mix was done around the fall. So we said we’ll save it. We don’t want to tour in the winter because it’s difficult with the travel, the cold and the snow, so we said: “Let’s wait till spring 2020. Then we’ll release the album and do a tour.” And then, of course, Covid happened, so we had to push back. We were going to try for the fall of 2020. Covid would have stopped that either way, but that’s also when Angelo passed away in October 2020. I just didn’t think about Genesis piano projects for a while. I didn’t quite know what I was going to do next. After some time when I decided to continue the project I decided to release the album and do a really quick mini-tour in Europe. That’s what I did in October [2021].

GNC: So you were performing alone on stage?

Adam: Yes.

GNC: Angelo passed away quite unexpectedly, you told me, and you didn’t think about Genesis piano projects for a while. Quite apart from the fact, obviously that you have lost a friend, it is a piano project for two pianos that is connected with both of you. How do you deal with this situation?

Adam: Yes, Angelo died very suddenly. He had a heart condition that no-one, not even him, knew about. It’s not that I -chose- not to think of the Genesis piano project but … He was one of my very best friends. The grief process of losing him kind of took over. For a few months I was trying to process not having Angelo around anymore.

When I started to come out of the grief a little bit more after a few months I started to think: What will I do about this album? What do I do about the Genesis piano project? And I thought: I don’t want to lose performing Genesis as well, because it’s one of my favourite things in the world. I wanted to try and keep it going, but I didn’t feel comfortable. I still don’t feel comfortable replacing Angelo with another pianist.

For a while I thought about, maybe, other instruments? Could I do piano/guitar, piano/drums? And then I thought: I don’t even want to bring in another person at all. Maybe guests – I like playing with guests on a song or two, that‘s really fun. So the option was to play solo piano versions of Genesis instead, like David Myers does. I didn’t know if that was going to work or not. The special thing about the Genesis piano project was the two pianos. But right now the only option for me is to play solo. I worked really hard and re-arranged a lot of our arrangements for one piano. I had to un-learn the old ways and learn the new ways. I made a few new arrangements of some new songs. I’ve also added a bit more singing. We would always sing More Fool Me on our tours. We didn’t ever post videos of it, but we did that. We were alright singers, it was a cute moment in the show, a nice break from just the piano, but I definitely wouldn’t call us professional-level singers. I’ve been working on that to bring in two or three vocal songs in the shows.

I just did five concerts in Europe to see if the audience would react the same way, if they would like it. And they did! For now, this is definitely going to work. I’m proud of the solo arrangements. I enjoy playing them. Maybe some time down the road I’m going to bring in a duo partner again, but for now I’m doing the solo thing and I imagine I’ll do an album of the solo arrangements before I ever bring someone else on, if I do.

GNC: I listened to the old album today, and I had the impression that one of you is obviously playing the melody lines and the other is playing the backing track. Bringing all this together on one piano must be very hard because you have to leave out something. How did that process affect your approach to playing this material?

Adam: Yes, that’s exactly it. We would split it up a little bit more than that. Maybe one person’s playing the melody and they’re also playing the guitar counter-melody in the left hand, and then the other guy’s playing Tony’s organ chords and the drums in the left hand. But regardless of that, I can’t do everything that the two of us covered. I have to prioritise the moments that I know a true Genesis listener is going to be expecting in the songs. If I can’t do all of those moments I can’t do the song.

One example of that is In The Cage, which I am very sad now that we didn’t put on our album. It’s not the synth solo, but it’s the verses of the song. Tony’s organ part needs two hands. You can’t possibly play the organ chords and the melody and the drums. We always had to do drums with the left hand, keeping a beat, because we do rock versions, not classical versions, I always say. So drums, the banging of the left hand is important for us to mimic the drum patterns, so I had to stop playing In The Cage.

I did Watcher Of The Skies as the opener on this tour. That was a song he and I played a lot, too, even though it’s not on the album. There is a way of playing the vocal melody in the right hand plus chords at the same time, and in the left hand playing bass and keeping that famous Watcher Of The Skies rhythm going. Whenever I can combine moments with my two hands I can do the song.

The same goes for the second half of The Cinema Show. I can do the drums and the rhythm guitar rhythm in the left hand, but in the right hand I can play Tony’s solo plus adding some chords whenever I need the rhythm guitar chords or the organ chords, so I can get away with everything I need there. And then I use a technique I use often which I steal from jazz, which is called “stride”. The old ragtime piano went bass – chord – bass – chord. I do versions of that as well. It doesn’t sound like jazz but it is the same idea. I’ll hit a little bass note and then I’ll follow it up with a chord in the middle of the piano. This is all with the left hand while the right hand is doing a solo or a melody. I’ll go back and forth so I’m covering the bass, I’m covering the harmony and chords in the left hand and covering the melody information on the right hand. But I do the bass and the chords in the left hand, too, the same rhythm of the drums so I’m getting everything.

I have a video of Colony Of Slippermen from my recent tour a few weeks ago that I just posted to Youtube that is a good example of that. I’m also going to post Firth Of Fifth and Cinema Show soon, and Mad Man Moon. You can see my hands on this video, it’s just one angle. There wasn’t a video crew, it’s just a stationary camera in the theatre. You can see my methods there. I’m very picky, so I only do a song if I think I can really do it justice. That means I have to ditch a lot of my favourite songs but there’s still plenty of good ones that I can still do.

GNC: The songs on your album stop with Wind And Wuthering, so I’m wondering whether the selection of songs has more to do with Steve Hackett rather than Tony Banks..

Adam: [laughs] It’s actually not about Steve. I like all of Genesis, even up to We Can’t Dance. On the later albums there are more songs that I might skip when I’m listening, but up to Wind & Wuthering I never skip any songs. I still love plenty of songs from all of their records. The pop songs … I just don’t think there’s a reason to hear them on piano. If I were to play… Well, some of the songs I couldn’t because they’re so reliant on the drums and production. You can’t play Mama on the piano without the drum machine. But maybe another song, a cool song from that record is Home By The Sea. That song is only verses and choruses. Without the different words of each verse every verse is going to sound the same. And then every chorus is going to sound the same, and I don’t know how to make four minutes of that just on piano sound interesting. The earlier songs up to Wind & Wuthering have more movements, have more new sections. They feel more structured like a classical song, a prog song. The piano helps bring out those different sections and those nuances. The pop songs… you know, I think my version of Throwing It All Away would just be a worse version than the Genesis version. But I hope my version of One For The Vine is an interesting complement to the Wind & Wuthering version.

GNC: I was thinking about Duke’s Travels, perhaps, or the middle section of Fading Lights. How about those?

Adam: I would love to do those! It’s on my to-do list. Actually, Burning Rope is one that I really want to do pretty soon. Duke’s Travels I think I could do. That one is very drum-heavy so I’d have to try a couple of parts. I think there’s part I could do with my left hand. It needs to groove as well as it does on Duke. I did it with Colony Of Slippermen, it’s the same kind of time signature, a 6/8 feel, so I think I could do that. I’d love to do that song. Maybe Domino could be cool. There are definitely later-era Genesis songs that might work. I just haven’t done them yet. The other thing I’m very conscientious about is: There are some fans who really hate that period, so I don’t really want to do too much, but throwing a couple in there would be nice.

GNC: Looking at the tracklist of your album, I’d think people wouldn’t mind a song like Burning Rope or Duke’s Travels or also Second Home By The Sea. Those are the typical songs from the later periods, and Domino and Fading Lights are also valued by fans of the earlier years. Since you mention the divide between, let’s say, the fans of the Hackett-era and those of what came later. Now I’ve been running this fanclub for a number of years and I, for one, am sick of that debate..

Adam: Me too. I never participate.

GNC: I was wondering if later songs were out of the question – of course you just said you might throw in some of them. Did you consider any material from the guys’ solo albums as well?

Adam: Yes and no. I won’t go too deep into the solo stuff because I like it being a Genesis project, but every once in a while – sure. On this last tour I decided to encore with Washing Of The Water, a Peter Gabriel song from Us, and sing it. The reason I did that was because we were all coming out of Covid, I’m starting a new phase with this Genesis piano project without Angelo. I think Washing Of The Water is about rebirth and about healing. It is a kind of break-up song on the surface as well, but beyond that it’s about new beginnings. So thematically I thought it would be a nice encore to my show. I think people did like it. Yes, I could see myself doing a little bit more from the solo careers, but on an album it would be a bonus track. In a concert it would be an encore. It’s never going to be the main thing.

GNC: Why did you decide not to release the album as a physical medium, like on CD or vinyl?

CoverAdam: I had a discussion with our producer Giovanni. He said: “Most people aren’t buying CDs anymore." Purely from the music industry point of view there’s no point to make them. New cars don’t have CD players, new computers don’t have CD players. You have to try to listen to CDs now, and so most new acts don’t put out physical CDs. What we weren’t considering enough is a lot of people of the generation of Genesis fans still like collecting a physical representation of the music. Even if they don’t listen to the CD they still like to have the CD. So I think we will probably do a limited run of CDs. It was important to gauge the demands, too. It could have been a really bad wasted cost if we did print a thousand CDs and then no-one wanted them. But I think enough people would like a physical copy that I will – and I think I’ll have to do something special, like a bonus track, so it’s a little different from what’s available now.
Definitely no decisions have been made, but we’re talking about it.

GNC: There are also plenty of vinyl lovers amongst Genesis fans.

Adam: Yes, we always talked doing about that. So I wonder if it’ll be both or just one. We’ll have to see.

GNC: Even though I am not a musician and can’t dig very deep into it, let’s talk about the music. When you listen to the album you recognize the melody lines quite easily.  And then you realize they’re doing stuff on the piano that has been done on the bass, on the drums, or the guitars. At what point do you decide: Alright, we can have the bass line played on the piano but we skip the drum part. Or let’s have the guitar and drop the bass. How do you arrange the music? Obviously, you have to make a decision at some point as you can’t have everything. It’s just four hands, not sixteen..

Adam: I appreciate that question, it’s a very good question. It’s always been trial and error. Making the arrangements was so fun for us. I have really fond memories of those kind of workshopping moments when Angelo and I would pick a new song and try to figure out what to do. Certain songs were easier to arrange. Entangled doesn’t have so many instruments happening, so we knew what we wanted to do.

But with, for example, The Fountain Of Salmacis… First you see what’s possible. What do you need? Okay, you need the vocal melody, a hundred percent. After that, there’s Mike’s bass line, there’s Phil’s bass drum floor-thumping groove, there’s Tony’s counterpoint-moving organ line underneath. So we decided: Let’s have one person play four on the floor, like picturing the lowest piano notes that we can on the bass, and with the other hand they’ll play the bass part. The other one of us will try Tony’s organ in the left hand and the melody in the right hand. We heard it – and it was way too busy. It was just too much. It works when it’s different instruments, but when it’s piano it’s all the same timbre, it’s just chaos. So we said what can we get rid of? Let’s get rid of the bass drum. The bass is covering the beat, the melody even kinda sticks to the beat, so what ended up happening instead was: I just played the melody. Angelo played Tony’s organ line and Mike’s bass line. And we said: That’s too much. Maybe for the third verse we can build up to this, but we need to chill out even more. So for the first verse we decided I would play the melody with no chords, just single notes in each hand, octaves melody, and Angelo would just jam, just play bass notes but not Mike’s bass line, and he’d just play chords as if Tony was playing blocked organ chords instead of his moving part. That’s how we did the first verse.

For the second verse, we said: We need to add an element. We traded places, so Angelo now had the melody for the second verse. I played a version of Mike’s bassline that was a little bit pared down, and I played Tony’s organ melody in my right hand. That felt more energetic and nice as the second verse.

Finally, for the third verse we wanted to really jam out, so we brought in Mike’s exact bass line, and it felt really powerful and really good, but against Tony’s organ line: too busy. So we switched back. I played the melody, this time with full chords in both hands, not just the single notes. Angelo played Mike’s exact bassline plus chords in the right hand, but not Tony’s organ melody, just chords.

Adam KromelowIt was all listening and deciding what’s going to work and what not. There are moments where there’s so much happening like that where you have to pick and choose, and there are moments where it’s pretty clear. Like the organ solo in Stagnation (to pick one from the album). Obviously we know that one person’s going to do the organ solo. That was Angelo. We decided he would do it in two hands to make it feel like an organ, so you can get more overtones and it would cut through more, it would feel bigger. That left me with whatever else we need. So I copied – I don’t know who’s playing rhythm guitar at that moment, it’s probably Anthony Phillips, but maybe Mike is, too, and they’re playing together; I don’t know – I copied the rhythm guitar part and played it in my right hand. In the left hand the whole thing is just over these two chords, so I just played the bass notes of those two chords in a beat that’s similar to the drums. That’s all the music in that part, so it wasn’t really hard. We needed a beat, we needed a rhythm guitar, we needed an organ – done. Sometimes it was a little easier, sometimes it was quite a challenge. .

GNC: I assume that, as professional musicians, you don’t have problems playing all these strange and difficult time signatures.

Adam: No, as jazz musicians we’re very used to that. We can improvise in 7/8 or 9/8 if we have to, and we’ve written our own music in those time signatures. There were always moments that were technically challenging, that we’d have to practise in our arrangements, but for the most part we didn’t have any problems, rhythmically.

GNC: When you listen to the old Genesis albums, who do you think is the best musician in the band?

Adam: Do you mean the best player? Because I feel Tony and Mike got better as they got older, so there’s a bit of sloppiness coming from them in the early records, which is fine. I always think they were some of the best composers that I’ve ever heard, so that makes them brilliant musicians to me but maybe not the best players or instrumentalists, although I do think that later on they got very good. – I think it was Phil. Phil was an amazing drummer right from the start, so in terms of the playing I think he brought the level up. Peter wasn’t a trained singer and he wasn’t always perfectly in tune, but his energy and his phrasing, his whole vibe, his frontman leadership, his theatrical nature – I think all of that was really strong, too. Maybe Peter and Phil were really bringing it on a performance level, and Mike and Tony were bringing it on a compositional level. All that evened out over time. I think Phil got to be a very good song-writer, and Mike and Tony got to be very strong players.

GNC: You know, Peter once said to Phil: “You may sing my songs better than me, but you can’t sing them like I do.”

Adam: Yeah. I agree with that. I think Phil would probably agree with that, too.

GNC: Let’s get back to your recent live performances. I don’t mean to be picky, but they were far away from Germany or central Europe. How did they come about? Do you have a special contact in Sicily?

Adam: It was very last-minute. We were going to release the album, we should do some shows, try to get some press. The Genesis Piano Project was already established in Portugal and in Italy, so we went back to concert promoters that we’d used before who were able to, at the last minute, set up some shows for us, er, for me, so that’s what I did. I used the same two guys, Manuel and Pedro de Mello Breyner are their names, in Lisbon. They also book other Genesis-related acts, they book Steve Hackett concerts and Musical Box concerts. They were very happy to help me out and find a theatre for me at two or three months’s notice. In Sicily I’ve played at that theatre before in Catania. Giovanni, our producer, was actually booking a music festival in Parma, so I played that festival as well. That was it. It was just a mini-tour. The Lisbon shows were “invite only”, they weren’t even open to the public. I mean to do a longer tour, hopefully, this summer, in Europe. We are trying to expand into Germany and into France and hopefully the UK as well, and even Spain, if I’m lucky. I’m trying to do a full album-release tour now in summer, hopefully the longest tour that I’ve ever done..

GNC: But you don’t bring your own piano from New York, do you?

Adam: We rent a piano for each theatre. We don’t rent one and bring it along. Maybe one day if I have the budget for that, that would be very nice. I’m at the mercy of whatever kind of piano I get for that show. It is easier to rent one piano than two pianos because the two pianos have to be identical, and that can limit you. It’s not hard for me to find a good enough piano to do the job.

GNC: So you are comfortable playing a piano that’s not yours?

Adam: Yes. With very rare exceptions, yes. The piano I have in my apartment isn’t even so great a piano, it’s an upright – in Europe you call them vertical pianos, I think. Vertical piano is different in that when you press a key, when you want to press it again you have to lift it all the way up before you press it again. If you need to be playing very fast that can be a challenge because often on a grand piano you can just lift up the key halfway and then press it again and you’re going to get the same sound. It’s a bit of a disadvantage. So if my home base is playing on that kinda difficult type of piano where I really need to release carefully and I don’t have as smooth a motion, whenever I get to play a grand piano I feel like a baseball player who just took the weights off their bat. Does that make sense? I get rid of the handicap, so to speak. Even on a baby grand piano it’s easier than what I’ve got here at home.

GNC: Did you get some feedback from some of the guys in the band? Tony, maybe?

Adam: I wish! No. I would love to hear from them. I haven’t. I have met Steve Hackett once but that was before I even started the project. I met him in a different capacity, it was a musical capacity, but a different one. So I have not. But I have been thinking about trying to find ways to reach out to some of them to show them the record and just thank them for the inspiration, for the music.

GNC: Adam, that was a lovely chat - thanks for taking some

Adam: You're welcome, I have to thank you!

Interview: Christian Gerhardts (via ZOOM)
Transkription und Übersetzung: Martin Klinkhardt
Fotos: Zoom-Intervew & Piano Project Website