12 November 2006

Turn it on again -veteran rock group Genesis reunites

After years of rumors, egos and other set-backs, the rock group Genesis is reuniting for a small tour for 2007.

But not everyone will be back.

Genesis was formed by Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford in the late 1960s, with their first album From Genesis to Revelation coming out in March of 1969. Heavily album oriented, with deep cuts full of long instrumentals and epic length songs, their music struck a cord with many fans both here and especially in the UK where they were based. They had a theatrical vein, also, thanks to Gabriel’s Ziggy Stardust style of performing on stage.

Guitarist Steve Hackett joined the band for the third LP, Trespass, along with Phil Collins. The group’s popularity increased during this time, as each new record - Foxtrot, Genesis: Live and Selling England by the Pound - was released, but as typical in most bands during the era, each persons individuality began to surface causing a schism that would lead to Gabriel’s departure in 1975, after the successful Lamb Lies Down on Broadway album and tour.

Collins was promoted to lead-singer, and while they tried to maintain the Gabriel style -with a sometime scary precision - with Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering, but Phil Collins more pop influence began to creep in by 1977's Seconds Out, which would also be Steve Hackett’s last album with the band. 1978's And then there Were Three scored the new trio its first top 50 song, Follow You Follow Me. The new commercial Genesis continued with 1980's Duke, which spawned another pop hit, Turn it on Again. Abacab followed in 1981, generating two hit singles, the title track and No Reply at All. The popular Three Sides Live followed next, cementing them more into commercial radio play. But it was 1983's self titled album Genesis that put them on the edge of major pop success, with hits like Mama and That’s All and Illegal Alien. And, of course, 1986's Invisible Touch would be their most successful album ever and giving them their first number 1 single.

By 1986, Phil Collins had a successful solo career, and his 3rd solo effort, No Jacket Required made him more popular than the time he spent with Genesis. Their last effort as a group was 1992's We Can’t Dance, a good album, but not a worthy successor to Invisible Touch.

Collins left the band after that last album to continue to focus on his solo career, which would eventually lead him to score the songs for the 1999 Disney film Tarzan, which would garner him an Oscar for Song of the Year. The remaining two members -Rutherford and Banks - recruited former Stiltskin vocalist Ray Wilson for the 1997 release Calling All Stations, which fared so poorly that the group was forced to cancel their American tour. They quietly folded in 1998.

Since then, the band has had a strong cult following -especially the early Gabriel years -and its old catalog continues to sell. And a reunion rumor tour has been around almost since the time that Gabriel left in 1975. They did get together in briefly 1982, but the notorious perfectionist Gabriel warned a few years ago that any reunion concert in the future would require serious preparation time. "When we got back together in 1982, I don't think we rehearsed, he says. To really do it properly, we'd have to take more time. It's quite a commitment."

But now, the former frontman will not be participating in the reunion. "Tony, Mike and Phil are rehearsing now," he said in a recent video message on his Web site. "I'm not involved in this round or this year. I haven't ruled out the possibility of doing something in the future, but right now I'm going to focus on my own work."

Also apparently not involved is guitarist Steve Hackett, though last month, he told the Chicago Sun-Times that he received a phone call from Genesis management. "There's a movement to put us all together again," he said. "I do think it will happen."

Now back to a three-piece line-up (supplemented by Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson) after Gabriel’s decision not to participate, they’ve revealed the songs for the 2007 tour. Included will be songs as far back to 1973 and will include some of the longer instrumental pieces and, of course, the double drums that became synonymous with the Genesis tours of the late '70s to early '90s. Among some of the older songs the band is rehearsing are Afterglow and Los Endos. Other songs Tony Banks mentioned during the November 8th press conference included In The Cage and Domino as well as the hits most people would come to expect.

And while he now seems ready to tour with Genesis again, Collins sang quite a different tune in a 1996 interview with Billboard, when he declared, How interested am I in old Genesis material? Not very interested, to be honest.

If I'm to be completely candid, I've never been our biggest fan, he continued. I have no reverence for the older material, apart from the fun we had making it. I never really felt like we quite got it right on record, especially in the olden days. I can see Genesis fans sticking pins in my effigy as I say this, but you know, I have to be honest -- there's no point in being anything else in life. I'm very proud of some of it, and I could take or leave some other stuff.

In the meantime, here in 2006, Genesis shared with the press that they have been actively rehearsing for the past few weeks in New York, but said there are no plans to do any new studio material at this time. In addition to the dates for Europe, the band plan to play about 20 dates in North America. There have been talks about releasing the tour later as a live album or video, but nothing is officially confirmed yet. Collins also acknowledged that he still has some hearing loss since getting a rare viral infection in the late '90s but wants to do a series of shows anyway, and commented that Genesis stated that the tour is purely for their own enjoyment and not for financial gain, sharing that if the motivation was money that there would be more dates of the tour.


David Amulet said...

One correction--Hackett and Collins joined for Nursery Cryme, the third album. I think Phil's comments about his views of the early days are sad, because some of that music is exceptional!

-- david

Perry/Chicago said...

There actually was a conversation between the five (Steve Hackett being the fifth) to go forth and perform "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway," but at a second meeting, PG decided the meetings purpose was to think about it a little longer not only disappointing the band but fans worldwide.
He hasn't closed the door for the future however.

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