Genesis started their work on one of their most famous albums around this time, the album later known as “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”. At this point the strains in the relationship between Peter Gabriel and the rest of the band started to show. He would leave the band a year later.
Looking for a back seat role
Peter Gabriel tells Jerry Gilbert about radical changes afoot for Genesis
Peter Gabriel returned from Genesis` recent American tour to take possession of a new house in Bath, and with no particular desire to go back across the water in a hurry.
“It seems like we had one US tour running straight into another and we`ve been away about six months in all, which is too long tours. “It`s not so productive; we come up with quite a lot of (Missing a line here? – Blog Ed.) Genesis was formed initially as a songwriting band back at Charterhouse public school, and the original concept has been lost by long tours. “It`s not so productive; we come up with quite a lot of ideas but it`s the actual growth of the ideas that`s stunted, and now it`s pretty well the same situation as we found ourselves in last year.”
So how does Peter envisage this year turning out? “I want to take more of a back seat role,” he said adamantly. “I hope that there will be opportunities to work with other artists this year.
“It`s not so much a rejection of that role, but Genesis has always been more than a live band in our minds and the other side hasn`t had a chance to be developed. For instance in the States people only know us as a performing band.”
The last two years has seen a complete reversal for Genesis – from being the carefully nurtured Charisma babes, the bulk of whose work was done on the drawing board, to one of the most exciting live bands in the country, especially when they are in full flight.
“We hope to get the chance to write for other people.” Peter went on, “There seems to have been a reversal whereby capable artists are using other people`s material, and I still feel there`s a lot we can do. I mean I think a lot of writers enjoy a much wider range of music than their public or press ever give them credit for.”
Whilst in the States, Peter was invited to take part in a TV chat show with John McLaughlin and the Beach Boys` Mike Love, and McLaughlin was voicing the same opinion about the coverage of good material. The result was that McLaughlin and Love ended up playing “California Girls” along with Charles Lloyd. Peter, it should be noted, did not participate. “Being of nervous disposition and totally overawed by the barrage of electric equipment, I made for the nearest corner on my stool….”
Quite how definite are the individual plans of the group remains to be seen. Peter has often spoken of his wishes to write and record with songwriter Martin Hall, and I brought this up again during the interview. “Yes, it`s a strong possibility. We`ve done a few songs together but not recorded anything.”
The idea, he emphasised, was not to extend egos but simply to provide a nucleus for a variation of ideas. Meanwhile Mike Rutherford is planning a project with the old Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips.
“We`ve been doing the stooge routine for long enough and we don`t really want to be tied. It`s not a case of `Now I`m going to do my own thing` routine but just the desire to be involved with other people. At the same time we are going into our own album with a strong feeling that a change is about to take place. It`s very easy to repeat your former glories if you think your appeal lies in a certain direction so we are going to work towards avoiding that on this album and introduce things that we haven`t tried before. We really want a radical change.”
And so in the Autumn Genesis plan their British return with a concert tour and a completely new stage act, more than likely another piece of theatrical extravagance destined to make them very little money overall when it comes to the final analysis. How much longer do they plan to throw their tour profits straight back into the hat?
Peter admitted to the frustrations that this situation inevitably induces, especially when they see small bands dividing the spoils at the end of a gig. But he feels that it`s all for the best.
“When Tony (Smith) takes his management percentage then that`s just about break even point. But the amount of money that changes hands is now greatly up, and the next American tour should put us into a profit area.
“The thing about America is that unless you`re very lucky with radio plays you have to go as many places as possible because everything is localised, so now we`re trying to remodel our tours to the point where we shouldn`t really play in any place twice with the same show. Instead we`d like to play medium size buildings and do about three consecutive nights there – several dates in one town, which would enable us to put on a better show, and then that would be it.”
But the band, like most, encountered their fair share of bad taste in the States. Firstly there was the press reception in Boston (“we`re not the kind of band to have a press reception for anyway”) where someone came up with the bright idea of having the group sit amongst the disciples in a painting of “The Last Supper”, the idea being to have the band flash across Christ`s head with the use of a generator and effects.
Then they had six guitars stolen, and although two were brought back there were some very funny stories going round, says Peter. This was at the Academy of Music, and it was there that Peter made his one and only attempt to “take off” Drury Lane style. The result was that the whole thing backfired, the timing was off and Peter was left out on stage, suspended, ignominiously, in mid-air.
“No-one really knew what they were doing,” he explained, predicting the axing of that particular facet from the show. “Flying was a gimmick – it doesn`t have any great aesthetic significance and I probably won`t do it again.”
Right now Genesis are down in Hindhead – close to where it all began for them some years ago. They`re rehearsing material for their new album at Led Zeppelin`s country retreat, and when they`ve completed their writing period they hope to bring in a mobile unit rightaway. “We might then be able to get some of the ideas down while they`re still fresh because we feel that it`s our one opportunity in the year to record and we`d better make it good!”
Not only good, but by the sounds of things thoroughly unique – a complete departure from all that`s gone before.
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: Bryan Ferry, Captain Beefheart, Jim Capaldi, Lee Jackson, Uriah Heep, Byzantium, Denny Cordell, Ronnie Lane, Blue, Nutz, Arthur Brown, Harry Chapin, Groundhogs.
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