Genesis

ARTICLE ABOUT Phil Collins (Genesis) FROM SOUNDS, March 13, 1976

Just as the NME did, the music paper Sounds also had a regular column for the musicians out there. The column that Sounds did were named “Blowin`” and it is from there this article comes. One for the drummers out there, and especially those of you trying to emulate Genesis. Here you have the name and the size of Phil`s drums! Not too much tech-talk in this one, so it should be readable for other people too.
The journalist, Dave Fudger, also played bass for the punk band Snivelling Shits – a band that also had a couple of his pals from Sounds playing in it, among them a certain Mr. Pete Makowski. Great name for a band by the way!

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Which xciting, xtravagant, xtremely x-rated, xquisitely xtroverted band sends you into flights of xtasy?

By Dave Fudger

Phil Collins, not content with being the rhytmic mainstay and now vocalist/frontman with Genesis, likes to spread his talents around. While the world was chewing its nails in troubled anticipation of the future of the band after Peter Gabriel`s departure last year, Mr. Collins was busy.
From the summer up until November Phil`s wide percussive talents were being applied to eight albums including the new Argent album, Eno`s `Another Green World`, John Cale`s `Helen Of Troy`, `Peter & The Wolf`, the Tommy Bolin album as well as `Trick Of The Trail`. He also contributed to two film soundtracks – one, `Operation Daybreak`, is currently doing the ABC circuit.
On top of all this stuff, apart from rehearsing the new four-piece Genesis he has been taking out on the road an adventurous instrumental jazz-rock combo, Brand X, which demands from the man a totally different role from his part in Genesis.
Collins names influences that include Billy Cobham, Harvey Mason, Steve Gadd and Tony Williams. These influences are amply evidenced in the exciting direction that Phil`s playing and the music of Brand X are taking.
Phil explains the cause and effect of his `other` full-time musical departure:
“Well it started around Christmas `74. A friend of mine who was working at Island Records at that time said to me `Do you want to come down and have a blow with a group? They need a drummer,` and I wasn`t thinking of leaving Genesis, really. But I wasn`t pushing myself with Genesis like I wanted to and this seemed like a good idea.
“So I went down and had a blow with the guys.

“At that time it was a five-piece group and the drummer would have been the sixth guy. There was a singer who played percussion, two guitarists, and a keyboard player and myself; oh, and Percy on bass. They were basically doing songs, funky songs, and they had a deal with Island Records and I started having a blow with them and it really worked well.
“We got together quite regularly to rehearse, to do an album. They knew that I was in Genesis and they knew that nothing could really come of it.
“Anyway, we made this album and the backing tracks were great but I don`t think that Island really liked the vocalist. He`s a friend of mine and I don`t want to say too much on the hard side about him but he was probably the weak link in the group.
“Island decided not to release that album, so we decided to go back and write some more material. But at this time there was a split in the group. There was the four of us who are now in Brand X veering towards the more instrumental, adventurous things and Pete (the old second guitarist) and Phil, the singer they wanted to write songs.
“I think basically we`d like to be thought of as session musicians that come together as often as possible, but it has to be fitted in with the Genesis commitments.”

I put it to Phil that when this interview was originally mooted his publicist, to give weight to the idea, proposed that Phil was in fact playing in two full-time bands prompting visions of Mr Collins tearing from Genesis gig to Brand X gig.
“Well I am in as much as when Brand X is on the road it`s full-time. Genesis, since November when we finished the album, have been pretty inactive. We did a few weeks rehearsing, for the tour, in January but apart from that and a few press things there`s been a bit of inactivity. So at that point we decided to get a few Brand X dates in.
“We`ve done about twelve dates, I suppose. But we won`t be playing again until May. The band, God willing, will stay together. Percy, Rob and John have got things to do while I`m away with Genesis. They`ll write some new material and providing the album comes out we`ll record it, in fact we`ve got most of it already.”
Anyone fortune enough to have caught any of Brand X`s gigs will have heard this new material which for the uninitiated will come as quite a surprise as it`s just about as far from Genesis as you can get – tight, punchy jazz-rock instrumentals, leaning heavily on Percy Jones` fretless bass mastery and Phil`s high-speed precision to cue the changes in the arrangements.
Being essentially a non-vocal concept Brand X is a far more rythmically based operation than Genesis and consequently Phil utilises different technique and equipment with the band to the requirements of Genesis.

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“Well, I think with Genesis in the future I`m going to keep it as loose as I do with Brand X, in terms of what I use. I`ve got two kits – one is a Premier kit and the other is a Gretsch kit. The Premier I use for stage work with Genesis. It sounds good but the Gretsch one I feel more personal with and so feel more at home with it on music that is more experimental.
“The Premier kit is the Kenny Clare outfit which has got double shells and there`s a 20X15 bass drum, 14X5 snare drum, wooden, and 12X8, 13X9, 14X14, 16X16 tom-toms. On the Gretsch kit there`s a Gretsch 20×15 bass drum, a Premier 12X8 tom-tom and 13X9, 14X14, 16X16 Gretsch tom-toms.
“I`ve also got a custom-built perspex snare drum which is 14X6 1/2 which was built for a friend of mine. The cymbals, I`ve got a deal with Paiste and I`ve just recently got a couple of sets, but I`ve also got some old Zildjians so I kind of use what I feel like at the time. But I`ve got a range from the four-inch Chinese gong up to the 26-inch sizzle. So I`ve got a cross-section of the kinds of cymbals that I`m likely to need.
The pedals I use are Speed Kings. I`ve never used anything else. I`ve tried changing recently to something that I thought might be faster. I tried using these Japanese pedals which Percussion Services are changing to have chains on instead of the leather straps but they didn`t really suit me.
“I`ve been playing with Speed Kings since I was 15 and I changed to try and get better but I wasn`t getting any better. I`ve got Slingerland hi-hat pedals, which are the best that I`ve tried.

“The timbales that I`ve been using are Slingerland – a 13-inch and a 14-inch, and a 14-inch and a 16-inch Shaftesbury cos they`re the only ones that I could get that were that big. I`ve been trying to get someone to make 16-inch metal timbales because I reckon they`ll be incredible.
“I`ve got a lot of stuff from Premier. I`ve got a set of vibes and tubular bells – they`re very good, they`ve got a very good service. Premier had a sort of face-lift two or three years ago, and Eddie Haynes, who`s the promotions manager is very good.
“I use the Gretsch kit in the studio, and on the Eno album and all the Genesis albums. I`ve never had any damping on the kit for recording. The tom-toms are live, tuned really tight, and I`ve got the see-through heads, I used to use the black dot ones and I got hold of some that are completely clear and they sound like deep timbale which is the kind of sound I like. When you go round the kit when you do a roll they sound like a tuned instrument.
“So I just have the drums without any damping at all in the studio and that`s including the snare drum; the bass drum usually has something in it. The see-through heads are very bright and that`s the sound I like.
“I tend to throw myself around a bit more with Brand X but, with Genesis I`m more disciplined because there are things like `Reliant` where I have to do certain cues at a certain pace and it`s a different kind of game.”

With his changed role in Genesis, following the departure of Peter Gabriel, Phil will now have the responsibility of fitting another drummer into the established Genesis constitution.
“It`s hard really because some of the songs we`ve been doing for three or four years and it`s hard to imagine them in a different vein. We`re not really up-dating the old material apart from the odd rearrangement here and there. And whoever the drummer will be they`ll be left to work their own devices as long as it stays within a certain framework.
“I`m not trying to restrict anybody`s style but I want to have the feeling that I don`t want to have to get up there and do it myself and there are only a few drummers that I could let do it.
“I`m probably less bothered about playing drums all the time with Genesis now cos I do have sessions and I do have Brand X. I still want to be thought of as a drummer. I`m still going to be playing the more demanding pieces like `Cinema Show` and `Los Endos` from the new album.
“For things like that which are basically instrumental tunes I`ll be nipping back and playing my kit and whoever it is will be percussing or playing with me. I will be a front man but I want to do it in a drummer`s way not in a sort of sexy singer`s way.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Evelyn Thomas & Ian Levine, Shaun Cassidy, Jimmy Page, Cate Brothers, Julie Tippetts, Adam Faith, Pat Travers, Yes, Jesse Winchester, Deep Purple.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
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ARTICLE ABOUT Steve Hackett from New Musical Express, October 25, 1975

It must be frustrating to release a solo album and all what the journalists wants to know is: “How about your other band?”
Such is life when you play in one of the biggest bands around – you will never be bigger than the band. Even though it may be up for debate whether Phil Collins became bigger than Genesis was for a little while there.
As a Norwegian, I often wonder what would have happened if our “own” Mr. Jahn Teigen had accepted the bands invitation for him to try out as a vocalist. We often speculate about this in Norway, as Teigen was a very theatrical minded person with a voice that could handle almost everything from ballads to rock to opera and so on… What if?
Enjoy this one.

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Are you ready for a concept LP about the Tarot?

You mean, you never heard of the Major Arcana?
Well, Steve Hackett has. Which means that
Steve Clarke has as well. Now it`s your turn.

Four hundred applications later and Genesis still haven`t found a replacement for Peter Gabriel.
Or have they? Seems the band`s guitarist – Steve Hackett, up at 128 Long Acre essentially to rap about his just-released solo album “Voyage Of The Acolyte” – is being a little, er, shall we say evasive about the whole affair…
“There could be someone,” he hedges, sipping at a papercupful of Long Acre coffee, perhaps thinking of Just How Many Beans He Should Spill. “We haven`t definitely decided on somebody but someone is under consideration. It wouldn`t be fair to him to build it up.”
Naturally therefore, Hackett refuses to give away the name of the prime contender, merely stating that the man is at present working with another band and it`s unlikely that any of us would have heard of him anyway.
It`s not Jon Anderson, if you know what I mean.
The main problem, it seems, in finding a replacement for Gabriel is in coming across a singer who displays a diversity of vocal styles the way Gabriel did. “We`re not looking for a replacement As Such. We`re not looking for a singer with the same vocal style. Peter had a number of different voices and it`s not easy to find a singer like that.”

How about 15 different singers?
Undeterred, Hackett says there won`t be an official announcement as to who is actually replacing Gabriel until the end of the year. Meantime, the four-piece band are heavily into recording the Next Genesis Album, each group member contributing to the material and to the singing. Is this L.P. a major departure?
No, says Hackett, it`s still recognisable as Genesis. “The number of people who`ve come in and heard it say it sounds very Genesis. It`s a popular misconception that Peter was entirely responsible for our material; whereas it was only on the last album that Peter wrote all the lyrics.
“Also, Peter used to pull humour out of the band. The rest of us are trying to do that now. It would be an awful drag if the band became bogged down entirely with serious music. In the past that was offset by Peter`s silliness.”
Hackett says that Gabriel`s going will have its biggest effect not in terms of Genesis`s music, but with regard to their stage show. Yes, they will continue to be a presentation-conscious band. And it`s possible that a number of people will augment the band on stage to make up for Gabriel.

On their last tour the slides which acted as a back-drop to the band were based entirely on Gabriel`s lyrics and Gabriel`s costumes were his own ideas. The slides were, however, designed by an Amsterdam-based artist, Geoffrey Shore, who`ll more than likely collaborate with Genesis for their next series of tours – which won`t be until Spring, O punters.
Hackett says the band are interested in using moving pictures on stage. “We wouldn`t want it to become dependent on one thing visually,” says Hackett. “It will go through as many changes as the music.
“We could never only get up onstage with three Marshall stacks and get on with it. We wouldn`t like to do that. There have been exceptions in the past when our equipment has broken down and we`ve had to go on and just play. It`s not that we`re entirely dependent on the props, it`s just that some of the music is difficult to digest and this is offset by the way we present it.”
So far there is no title for the next album, but as things look at the moment, one side will feature an entire piece while the other side will be made up of shorter songs. Hackett emphasises there`s no shortgage of material. We didn`t really think there was.

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Now to the official interview. Hackett`s own album was recorded over a month, includes material which dates back to pre-Genesis days and is by no means a guitar album.
“I feel no more close to the guitar than I do to any other instrument. On the album I dabbled around with keyboards. I hadn`t played keyboards before and it was almost like how you would compose a sentence in foreign language. I`d learn a chord shape that sounded nice. I wouldn`t be fluent but it would sound convincing.
“The only instrument I`m proficient in to any extent is the guitar.”
So why did he make the album? “That`s the hardest question of all. I didn`t feel obliged to make it. I really wanted to make an album. I`d written songs for various instruments. I`d written a song for a lady to sing” (Mike Oldfield`s sister Sally sings one song on the elpee), “I`d wanted to produce, I wanted to see if I could rely on myself. Every musician feels that. I got a lot of pleasure out of doing it.
“The thing started out as a gamble, but just about everything came off, except for a couple of things which didn`t.”
So is it a rock album? “I`d say the first track is a rock song with a few things thrown in which don`t fit in with rock. I wouldn`t say that the album owed any more to rock than any other form of music.
“I don`t know what rock music is. I`ve always associated it with Elvis Presley.
“It (the album) doesn`t have much to do with that – it`s too pastoral and yet…in places there`s that drive and urgency.

“I grew up on The Stones and Bach. I used to copy Keith Richard`s early solos note for note; at the time I didn`t know that the two bore any resemblance to each other. It makes perfect sense to me now, putting the two together in some numbers.
“I should think a rock audience would be able to get into it.
“I wouldn`t say `Tubular Bells` was rock music.”
Neither would a lot of us, old sport. Mind you, I wonder if Hackett subscribes to the point of view that symphonic-rock actually widens the boundaries of rock. “It`s a more eclectic music. It`s widening the boundaries of classical music more than rock. It`s got a really long way to go.”
Not unsurprisingly `Tubular Bells` dips into the conversation again. Hackett can understand why people liked it so much, “It`s a very pleasant album which doesn`t jar too much dynamically. If you`re holding a conversation, `Tubular Bells` wouldn`t interrupt it. If you take the most successful albums over the last two years, `Tubular Bells` and `Dark Side Of The Moon`, they don`t have those vast dynamic ranges. I don`t want to say it`s high class muzak but it`s approaching that.

“Me, I don`t feel happy making background music. I hope people will listen to my album at least once, really listen,” he emphasises. “You couldn`t hold an unbroken conversation while its playing. Neither could you to a Genesis album. We require more from an audience point of view than Mike Oldfield or the Pink Floyd both in terms of selectivity and why they listen.”
Finally the conversation reverts back to Hackett`s own album – which, as it turns out, was inspired to a certain extent by The Tarot, “I`m into it, but I`m not preaching the gospel, quote. There`s a track called `Star Of Sirius` on the album which is a very good card to get since it`s optimistic. Therefore the song is very poppy. Likewise `The Hermit` is introspective-sounding music. I wrote about the cards which came over strongest to me.
“I`m very possessive about the album, just like a parent is about a child. But not everyone`s going to dig it: there`s a universal spirit but there isn`t a universal music.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Black Sabbath, Elton John, David Bowie, Roxy Music, I Roy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Milt Jackson, Mason, Larry Coryell.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Genesis from New Musical Express, September 13, 1975

Been a busy week and I was also laid flat for a couple of days by that very dangerous (for us men at least) disease called “Winter Cold”. I was incredibly sick for a while, but now I`m feeling better. So here we go again with a post written in a very special period of time for this band. What to do without Gabriel? The journalist didn`t seem to know that the solution to this problem sat right there in front of him. Really enjoyed reading this quite funny interview. Hope you do too!

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While shock waves of the GENESIS cataclysm still re-echo around the world, we bring you this report direct from the disaster area. And drummer PHIL COLLINS, one of the few men alive today who can fully assess the situation, offers words of assurance to the many, many people who must feel that their very raison d`etre hovers on the brink.

By TONY TYLER.

So Genesis` Peter Gabriel flitted from the popular group on the Friday and by the following Monday Genesis-watchers among the plebiscite were still unaware that The Man in the Papier-mache Mask was re-affirming, in his own published words, “my bondage to cabbages.”
At the same time – and on the same Monday – news-desks on the Music Weeklies were throbbing with speculation and we-predicted-it-first-so-we`re-not-exactly-caught-bare-assed-isms.
Inky scribes scratched armpits reflectively and murmured, in a 72 pt. trance, EXODUS FROM GENESIS. (“No – too obvious. The opposition are bound to use it.”)… GABRIEL HORNS OUT (“I like it”), finally settling for GABRIEL QUITS GENESIS (“Not exactly John Donne but the point gets across, don`t it?”).
And while Gabriel was horning out or exodising or even quitting Genesis, the other four members, who`d tended to be somewhat overlooked both before and during the Announcement (not to speak of The Letter), were coolly adjusting to their amputated state and putting into effect certain contingency plans drawn up when Gabriel had told his colleagues that, yes, it was Back To The Land For Him.

When did he tell `em? One year ago. SO, PHIL Collins – neatly-bearded and athletic drummer with Genesis, crisply austere Princeling of the Paradiddle – you mean to tell us that for a solid twelvemonth you and Michael Rutherford and Steve Hackett and Tony Banks – not to speak of your record company Top Brass and your own Manager – have been living and working under the shadow of this Departure (or even Exodus?) that during the most important year of your professional lives, cramful of U.S. tours, Eurotours, lauded albums and poll victories et al (not to speak of The Rest), you guys have had this to look forward to?
You mean you`ve been grafting away like coca-leaf-chewing Bolivian peons just waiting for your lead protagonist, ringmaster of kooky effects and composer of stuccoed lyrics to be finally seduced Away From It All by… cabbages?
“Yes.”
Actually, Phil Collins is by no means a taciturn man. Nor is he a gabbler. Sort of somewhere in the middle – but by no means inhibited from letting fly with the verbals when he`s got a ready answer to the question, which he usually – but not always – has. Bless him, he`s taken a tube ride all the way to Long Acre, canvas bag over T-shirted shoulder, just to talk about things with NME. This is absolutely unconnected with the fact that he didn`t go to Public School.

“In fact, Peter first said he was going to be leaving about a year ago, just after `Lamb Lies Down`. I don`t want to go into his reasons too much – he did that himself in the Press last week – but for several reasons he decided to stay on until now.
“Actually, I was planning to leave myself at that time. I didn`t leave either. Neither am I planning to.”
At this point it`s only fair to point out certain minor but important tensions that lie around the circumstances of this interview.
NME – with its aggrieved Gasbag punters (yours sorrowfully – Genesis Freak, Accrington) to think about – is primarily (but by no means exclusively) interested in the circumstances of The Gabriel Split, Genesis` reaction, Genesis` plans (i.e., will there still be a Genesis?) – and most of all Do they Plan To Replace Gabriel And If So How Do They Propose To Swing It?
On the other hand, Genesis` management, and the group themselves, while conceding that public attention is primarily focused on the etceteras above, are also mad keen to promote an image of Unity And Optimism In The Face Of A Long-Foreseen Setback.
So near and yet so far, and so on: Could still be a great life if we don`t weaken. And anyway there`s always the solo albums.

So Phil Collins is gamely and honestly and frankly (he even said “I dunno” when I asked him why Genesis, despite loud and consistent acclaim for their elaborate stage presentation job, had never reflected this in album sales – but more on that later) fielding the Gabriel Questions and simultaneously vibing up a good deal when the conversation swivels over to his own wide-ranging musical projects (which it isn`t going to just yet because we haven`t quite finished with Peter Gabriel).
So what are you fellers going to do? I mean, Gabriel isn`t exactly a forgettable visual experience, is he? You going to secure a replacement or you going to revibe the Act? If so, how?
“Peter`s leaving isn`t the blow that some people seem to think it is,” says Collins. “Like – the Press have always seized upon Peter and sort of pushed him more than everybody else, when really-”
But he was your front man. And he did ascend heavenwards like his demiurgic namesake…and he did address the audience between numbers in a highly idiosyncratic way… and he did write an awful lot of lyrics.
“Not all of them. People have always misunderstood that. Mike and Tony write nearly as much and very much in the same style – it`s a band style of writing, not Peter`s alone; it`s a product of all of us and the fact that we`ve been together for five – ”
Count `em.
“- years. We`ve been auditioning singers just recently, in fact.”

You have? Aha! Who?
“Well, as some of them are in name bands it wouldn`t be fair to say. We`ve tried out quite a lot though. I`ll say this: they could all sing alright; it`s more a question of finding the right combination of voice, personality and stage presence.”
And?
Silence and a deep pull of coffee.
Have you found The Man?
(Sure a lot of coffee in that cup.)
Well, will you attempt to keep The Act as it was so far as you can – and therefore in effect find another PG from the substitutes` bench?
Or will you use the different circumstances, the different mix of personalities (Headmasters` Conference Schools 3, Workies 2) in order to effect certain long-yearned-for but hitherto-unattainable revibings?
In other words, are you keeping it going – if you can – or planning a New Deal?
“We`re planning a tour of England next spring or in the New Year,” says Collins. “And what people will see, I should think, will be very close to what they saw before.”

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I see – so the opportunity to break down the Meccano and construct a new model is being passed over then? You guys are going to stick with the investment? (Which is reported to be pretty substantial, and not yet really covered by albums sales. Face it, silver is OK but gold is better – and when you have a roadshow like Genesis`, absolutely bloody essential.)
In other words, you`re looking for another Peter Gabriel?
Actually, I didn`t ask that. What I did do was light a cheap cigar and pause for thought.
Genesis have been going for about five years, maybe a bit longer. For at least three-fifths of that time they`ve been a massive crowd-puller, a Punters` Delight.
In an era of Symphonic Rock bands gone spare with theatre props and Day-glo Plaster-of-Paris footlight fittings, Genesis`ve held their own with the ELPs and the Yesses, equalled and frequently surpassed the Floyds, and totally blitzed the Barclay James Harvests.
This ferociously assiduous attention to visual detail, carefully cued in with the ornately-varnished lyrics and musical patterns, has been wowing `em in the three-and-nines (pounds, that is) so effortlessly for so long that their election to the Top Slot (Stage Bands) in most major music paper dolls has become as predictable as the 3.10 tide at Wapping Dock.
And during all this they haven`t really got much richer. In fact, if Rumour is to be believed (and the Dame can be problematic alright), the bread sunk in the band by various individuals and companies totals… a fair slice.

Normally, Sympho-rock bands With The Trimmings, expensive tho` they come, can manage to sell such an excess of long-players that with the first six-month audit period the mazuma comes rolling gleefully home to Mama. It happened with ELP, with Yes, with the Fluid, with Tull … but it hasn`t happened with Genesis, whose music is certainly no worse (to say the least) and whose presentation is vastly superior (to say the least).
This is the situation: Genesis don`t sell albums. Not in sufficient quantity, that is. Not in sufficient quantity in America, that is.
Why?
“I dunno,” says Collins, and for a second he looks almost despondent. But it doesn`t last. “I know a lot of musicians don`t get off on the presentation we have,” he says. “Even though they respect us as individual musicians.”
You mean, the sight of Peter Gabriel being hoisted up to Heaven while Tony Banks plays post-psychedelic Hosannas on Hammond doesn`t seem like rock `n` roll to these insensitive guys?
“Well, no … I can understand it to a certain extent, mind you.”
(So can I – but did Genesis ever claim to be playing rock? I don`t recall it.)
MIND YOU, Phil Collins is the last bloke to be worrying about his rock credentials. In fact, his papers are in such good order that a list of his recent sessions reads like a Who`s Who of This Year`s Thing.
I`ll mention no names.

Oh, all right – Eno (new album), John Cale (new album), Dave Hentschell (film score), Eddie Howell (album), Steve Hackett and Michael Rutherford of Genesis (new albums).
Collins himself is currently rehearsing/recording/thinking about composing for no less than three albums: the new Genesis LP, an album by his own second-string interest, a band called (for the time being) Brand X; and The Phil Collins Solo Album.
First, the Genesis album, which does not feature Peter Gabriel.
“We started writing for it right after `The Lamb Lies Down`.” says Collins. “I do most of the singing, actually – there`s just the four of us. We start recording soon… and we may feature one or two singers, as guest vocalists sort of, on a few tracks. And when we next go on the road I should think the concert will be drawn from this new LP`s material.”
Out in the Spring, folks.
“The group I`ve got… well, as soon as Genesis finish rehearsing this afternoon,” (he was en route for Trident Studios as soon as our interview finished). “I`ll be turning right round and going right back in the studio with Brand X.
“They`re all mates of mine, actually.
“We play sort of loose, funky stuff. Very loose. We sound a bit like Lifetime.”

And the solo album?
“I`ll start that later this year. It`s mainly stuff that for one reason or another didn`t make its way into Brand X Songs.”
Not “suites”, or even “movements”?
“Songs.”
Great. But say, isn`t there some danger of spreading yourself – yourselves, come to think of all those other solo LPs – too thin? I mean, shouldn`t all possible musical options be going into Genesis, which could still very definitely pay off with a hit LP? Even though, as yet, it hasn`t?
“I don`t think so. Almost everything any of us write goes to Genesis as first choice. If we all like it, then it gets in the repertoire. If it doesn`t take, it ends up on a solo album. By listening to Mike`s album you`ll be able to isolate his particular contribution to Genesis more clearly, by listening to Steve`s and mine the same.”
Time moves on and studio time don`t come cheap. Tell me, Phil, why didn`t “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” Do It in the US? As heavily praised as it was? With Rael and all that spooky sociological stuff? Jungian psychology an` that?

“The trouble was it was a double,” says Collins, with the air of a man who`s thrashed this particular bone of c. out many, many times in private with others more directly concerned. “That album should have been a single and our next could`ve been a double.”
You mean it was a slightly top heavy proposition for the East Coast punters – and a no-hoper for the West Coast, where the group have been far less exposed?
“Yeah.”
A bad move, eh? Tactically, I mean?
“Yeah.”
Do you regard all this as a setback?
“No… I`ve got to say, we`re all very optimistic. It`s a challenge, a different situation.”
You`re going to hang in there, right?
“Right.”
As much like before as you can make it, huh?
“That`s right.”
And in the meantime there`s Brand X, the solo album and all that prestigious and lucrative session work?
“Right.”
Do you think it`ll come to that? You know what I mean…
“Don`t know. Can`t tell. Don`t think so. Hope it won`t. I`m sure it won`t.
“We`re all really very optimistic.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Procul Harum, Suzi Quatro, Andy Pratt, Uriah Heep, Buddy Holly.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Peter Gabriel (Genesis) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, March 15, 1975

This is the first post on this blog with Genesis as the main subject. A fine band, but quite different with or without the primary interview object in this article. We feel the tensions between Gabriel and the rest of the band quite clearly here. Only a few months later, Mr. Gabriel was out of the band.

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Gabriel`s Cosmic Juice

(not to be taken internally)

MAX BELL attempts to form substance from negativity with philosophisin` PETE GABRIEL of GENESIS. Also contains: “The Rock Journalist As Superstar – A Post-Grad Thesis.”

Rael strolled nonchalanty out of the Manhattan subway, wiping a spray gun on his white tee-shirt. The self-elected graffiti king rolled and pouted down the sidewalk cursing the wops and blacks, the whites and chicanos who had him numbered as a nothing, the ultimate outcast.
“So you think that I`m a tough kid? Well, I am and I don`t give a shit.”
Rael is all Peter Gabriel`s creation. One hundred and one per cent virgin violence, he`d boot your teeth down the back of your throat as soon as look at you.
That such a character should evolve at all and become the subject for examination under the rock `n` roll microscope isn`t surprising. He has roots in the most obvious territory: a mixture of James Dean, Sal Mineo and Warren Beattie with a fair measure of Rod Steiger thrown in on top. A Lee Strasberg wet-dream.
But, come on – Peter Gabriel?
A nice middle-class boy. Very shy and super polite. Withdrawn to the point of anonymity. Mention the word “interview” to him and he backs off like a startled rabbit.

Trying to put him at ease required nearly all of the two days with Genesis I was allowed.
But once pinned to a schedule he`ll acquiesce meekly – the lamb lies down.
He has a problem; it`s indicated at breakfast time. As various members of the party troop into the Hilton klatsch he greets them warmly, waving a friendly hand. Trouble is, they ignore him. Not deliberately, he`s just not there.
Grinning and shrugging he returns to his porridge:
“And I`m supposed to be a communicator. Oh well.”
Onstage it`s very different. Whether he`s the “Watcher”, “Cynthia”, “Narcissus”, or “Rael”, Gabriel strides the boards like Sir Henry Irving, an acting colossus with the audience in the palm of his hand. Ironically, he unwinds only in performance, bolting straight out of that shell.

Projecting one major character is his role in “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”, Genesis` most ambitious work to date.
The story of Rael – condemned to life on the streets; subterranean adventures in a fantasy world populated by misfits and nightmares Edgar Allen Poe would have been proud to entertain.
“I got the story last summer and tossed the idea, in synopsis form, around in the usual manner until they agreed to do the whole thing. A lot of the music was already written. There`s a few influences which I couldn`t pin down. Dreams particularly.”
Guitarist Steve Hackett seems to have a better idea of what eats Gabriel:
“Everyone has skeletons in the cupboard. Peter`s got more than most. Mine are schoolgirls, his are snakes, Adam and Eve and the destruction of the apple.”
This ain`t rock `n` roll, this is insecticide.
Corruption and sexual deviation have always played a large part in most of Gabriel`s writings – only this time it`s less oblique and you can understand the message on several levels. One very kinky sequence involves the mythical Lamia, a voluptuous monster that preys on human flesh and sucks children`s blood.

It`s an obvious allusion to oral sex, but Peter seems to have prepared for any analysis by providing ready-made Freudian suggestion:
“Actually I`d been reading Jung at that period, so it was deliberate to a certain extent. I think the main thing I was striving for was the contrast between character and fantasy. It`s the idea of him being an outcast in a totally alien situation. I identify with him to a certain extent.”
But why the title? The Lamb is something of a throwaway and hardly plays a significant part in proceedings:
“You see, the lamb isn`t a symbol, so I was a bit worried about the title. He`s a catalyst for peculiarities that take place. The result is experiences Rael wouldn`t be expected to go through because he`s the least likely person to fall into all this pansy claptrap.”
In one way Rael`s mishaps are nothing more than the grotesque extremes of real life against which he rebels – anti -conformist, anti-society, anti-establishment. The discoveries he makes are painful and mostly by default:
“It isn`t quite `I saw God in bed`, but it amounts to the same thing. Like the Lamia uncovering his hidden personality. He`s not as butch as he hoped he would be. There`s a masculine and feminine in everybody and that brings out his romantic side.”

Gabriel smiles sheepishly and continues muttering through his porridge:
“He gets to discover more possibilities in his make-up than just flesh and blood, although in physical terms there`s no way he should survive.”
The eventual outcome of Rael`s adventures isn`t quite clear. Gabriel deliberately left him in limbo in the final and cryptic “It”:
“I don`t think he`s dead. Just going through the cosmic juice, man.”
So what`s `It` about, man?
“An attempt to form substance from negatives.”
Come again?
“For example, it`s like me saying I have a six-inch diameter red ball and it isn`t blue, green or yellow and it isn`t bigger than 12 inches or smaller than nine…er…well…my reasoning is a bit out there, never mind.
“You know how they approach drama in good suspense movies. You never see what`s so terrifying because they leave it up in the air without moulding or labelling it.”

That`s better, he`s opening up now and having, at last, managed to catch the waitress` eye, he surreptitiously tips a pot of honey into his coffee:
“My stomach works before my brain. Where was I? Oh yes, the Press.”
We kicked around the possibility that the more popular a band becomes the more likely the Press are to nail the poor bastards` heads to the floor and stamp on them:
“Huh. I`m surprised to hear anyone from the N.M.E. say that because in England it`s definitely true, the only place where we didn`t get good reviews last time. They haven`t exactly been noted for their enthusiasm before, either.
“It`s obvious to me that there`s a lot more to music criticism than criticising music. The elevation of rock journalists to superstars proves that. But this concept of the musical elite isn`t accurate. Once they hear a mellotron they close up, finished.”
But haven`t Genesis always laid themselves open to allegations of pretention?
“Your paper`s exposed it if it`s there. (Laughs quietly). We`re easy to put down. You can say the characters are far-fetched, the music over ornate, that we`re riding on my costume success. There – I`ve done it for you.
“However, in maybe ten years a group will emerge to take what we do a lot further. I look upon us as an early, clumsy prototype.”

The stonewall barrier Genesis are thrown up against has always been built on the attitude that condemns anything which tries to make rock `n` roll something more…important. Surprisingly Gabriel goes along with that viewpoint:
“I don`t like the arty tag we`ve got. There`s a vitality and an earthiness, too. I`ve always disliked `culture` and the snobbery that surrounds it. I believe in getting art out of the galleries and on to the streets, something which has begun to happen in this century.
“Anyone can relate to art forms now – there doesn`t have to be a separation between culture and non-culture.”
Now hold on. What you`re saying amounts to a deflation of the so-called creative process in order to get down to the grits:
“True. Status Quo are just as cultural as Wagner`s Ring Cycle. As to the pleasure people derive from the two I don`t know, but in terms of entertainment they are the same.”
So where would we be if Shakespeare had said “enough of this Hamlet nonsense, I think I`ll write a limerick instead”?
“Er…you take your craft to the best of your ability. Maybe what we do appeals to those with complicated tastes, I dunno. In Atlanta they billed us as the `Hottest Thing To Come Out Of England`s New Intellectual Rock Movement`. Didn`t like that at all.”

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It`s impossible to tell when Gabriel is being completely serious and when he`s taking the piss.
The fact that he`s intelligent enough to parody the rock circus makes me wary of that spiel about art-on-the-streets. After all, he wrote “Get `Em Out By Friday” because he said social comment was getting to be unfashionable.
While lyrically he is a gas, the humour employed in the songs is essentially English (despite the visuals) – so why should Genesis` success be greater on the Continent where they can`t possibly understand the content?
Still the putsch continues – France, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, all taken by storm:
“I know what the N.M.E. would say. They`d say it was because they can`t understand the lyrics! I think Continentals like the exaggeration and the sense of festival, whereas the English are more reserved. People having a good time is the purpose of our gigs; that`s where fun and art coincide.”
Another aspect of Gabriel that often passes unnoticed is the tendency towards self-parody whilst wiping up the remains left by other rock stars` questionable achievements. For example, the final line of “The Lamb Lies Down”: “It`s only knock and knowall, but I like it.” In a sense completely destroying the created atmosphere:
“Well, that`s partly aimed at the Press and it`s partly a throwaway in story terms. It gets back to the thing about art. While it`s fun to be pompous and sermonise it`s still an illusion, a grand illusion. If you can retain your sense of humour and be cynical, it`s better.
“I go right inside my lyrics and laugh at them at the same time.”

Only in Britain does a refusal to take Genesis seriously border on active distrust of their motives:
“In America I find it much healthier. There`s room for different opinions and you don`t have to justify yourself when you like a band. Here you do, they make you feel guilty or something. Americans didn`t mind that I was telling them about an American. I didn`t pretend to be anything other than an observer there for short periods, I wasn`t unleashing the secrets of New York.”
Anyone who still holds the precious opinion that Genesis ain`t a rock band has their head well buried. There`s going to be a big ownup when the new show hits perfidious Albion because it`s mostly as legit as any other breed of rock being toted for the public`s edification.
Gabriel has even started borrowing from ancient Jagger and enjoys every minute of it, obviously:
“Of course – who doesn`t? Is there a man alive who hasn`t performed his Jaggerisms in front of a mirror? I know I have.”
Can`t tell if Gabriel is worried by criticism or whether he remains aloof. Particularly as he`s getting bleary-eyed again and groping for the toast:
“Sorry…” (croak, splutter) “I`m not being very…” (here my tape indicates a general running-down noise, somewhat akin to a rusty wheelchair being pushed off Beachy Head with the occupant still strapped in) “communicative.
“Although no artist enjoys being slagged, it doesn`t matter if the Press never accepts us.”
And when might that day come?
“Not until we can afford the outrageous bribes you journalists charge.”

I left Gabriel contemplating a plate of scrambled eggs, and proceeded to track down another band member. Eventually I unearthed Steve Hackett, who was delighted to natter.
Recently, the rest of the group have grown increasingly pissed off at Peter getting the lion`s share of publicity. But while they grumble in private, they`re too reserved to force the issue.
Phil Collins, The Working-Class Drummer, used to act wild. Breaking glasses and spraying toothpaste at foreign waiters.
But he`s settled down to the quiet life as well.
While the rest of us hotfooted it for a meal with the three-headed Labelle, Phil settled down for the night with a cup of Horlicks. In fact, apart from one brief appearance in the hotel lobby, no-one saw Collins until he played the show as extrovertly as usual. According to Gabriel, Phil is a much-changed man and wanders lonely as a cloud, mumbling “Nobody likes a smart-ass” to himself.
Steve Hackett, minus beard and glasses, is perhaps the most talkative and easy-going. Rather apart from the others, but aware of his right to speak out:

“On-stage, it`s true – we choose to make ourselves anonymous. But it annoys me when people think Peter did everything right down to writing all the songs and designing the stage. On the last album he wrote less of the music than us.”
Was he concerned at the lukewarm reception Genesis generally received in this country? (Even down to the level where, because of their backgrounds, it was claimed they hadn`t, indeed couldn`t, pay their dues!).
“We`ve only made it through audiences. Any Press accolade has been a by-product.
“As for that dues thing – crap. We`ve been the most available band in the world for seven years. Available to the situation where everybody thinks they own a part of us when they don`t. We`ve played to half a million people on this European tour, and we`re still bloody making it.”
For once the facts are inescapable. Genesis in Europe is THE major thing. Neither the Stones nor The Who (not even Led Zeppelin) can outdistance their box-office receipts.
Young blades and old-timers alike were agreed that the Palais Des Sports gig was the best, response-wise, that they`d ever heard in gay Paree.
Hackett points out where the poor kids have been misunderstood.
“Too often they criticise the form without being able to perceive the spirit. We use a lot of establishment ideas that others don`t. Not values but instrumentation, a lot of traditional elements.
“See, the Stones stood for everything that was negative, they were always putting down. We`re not like that.”

Hackett`s loner stance doesn`t stop him enjoying the fruits of touring, but he`s never exactly anxious to walk on stage. Before gigs his guts churn and he`s often physically sick.
Once in Detroit eight guns were removed from various members of the audience as they entered the hall:
“If I`d known that before, that would have been it. Anything like that and I`m off, I don`t want to know. We were in Leicester once and there was a bloke throwing bottles at the stage. Mike (Rutherford) just stopped playing – crunch – looked at him – y`know, really shocked – and the guy got up and smashed him in the face. So we walked off.
“I was shaken for hours.”
The question of violence affects the group in varying degrees, but performing “The Knife” (particularly in Italy and France where all major gigs become political events) brings problems. What the swarthy Mediterraneans don`t realise is that “The Knife” is a send-up of revolutionary attitudes, a satire – as in joke.
Banks, at the best of times is nervous about it all, but Rutherford, very tall and laconic, enjoys the experience in a masochistic way.

None of them are prepared to let trouble interfere with their safety. After they refused to encore in Brussels there was a riot which Rutherford reckons changed policy a lot:
“Encores don`t mean so much that we`ll watch them tear the hall apart. It`s not such a big thing after all.”
One half of Hackett would rather be playing in the Marquee on Friday night – but the other half wins every time, despite the aggravation:
“In the past I`ve had days of supreme confidence and days of supreme depression. The only key to success is persistence and, if I want something, I don`t give up.
“At school they asked me what I wanted to be. I said `famous`. In a way it hasn`t taken me by storm. It`s slightly calculated but involves a lot of emotion, too.
“I`ve got there on my own terms.”

So Genesis are going to carry on writing their self-contained vignettes and using their mellotrons.
They`re making no attempt to compromise either their intelligence or their potential. They are a group, a unit, with equal say and variable influence – though, whether they like it or not, Gabriel will always attract the most publicity because he has to. He`s the star around which the others revolve.
Then again, as lyricist and vocalist his is the personality that hits you first.
For a brief moment Gabriel-as-Rael and Rael-as-Gabriel coalesce into one person speaking with a common voice:
“I`ll tell you something. We`re not going to be a band to sit still. We`ll self-destruct before we stop running.”

A nice full-page ad from Yes.

A nice full-page ad from Yes.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Lol Creme, Pilot, Ramases, David Bowie, Pub Rock Special, Charlie Parker, Alice Cooper.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

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