The Genesis Years - July 2018

Mike, Peter, Tony Smith (manager), Tony, Steve and Phil - Photo by Armando Gallo

Mike, Peter, Tony Smith (manager), Tony, Steve and Phil
Photo © Armando Gallo

During the last few years I have been re-exploring much of the classic Genesis music through my Genesis Revisited albums and shows.

People often ask me questions about the albums I was involved with during my time with the band, so here are a few memories of my role, feelings and experiences.

Although I was new to the band during the recording of Nursery Cryme, I already realised I could add ideas. My approach gave additional colours to the existing Genesis sound, sometimes with atmosphere and other times giving the band a harder edge. With The Musical Box, I added various tinkly noises in the early part, but then helped to build up to that exciting, powerful sound with guitar. Fountain of Salmacis required a melodic, atmospheric approach, which perfectly suited my guitar part.

By the time we were doing Foxtrot, we were all well into our stride, and jumped to the challenge of creating the extraordinary "Supper's Ready" opus. I was happy to bring in my acoustic guitar for "Horizons", and it was a joy to write much of "Can-Utility and the Coastliners". I realised that by now I was a fully-fledged writer along with the other band members.

Selling England by the Pound has always been my favourite Genesis album. I particularly love "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", because of it's huge breadth of music, from Scottish Plainsong through to full throttle, filmic rock. Then when I play guitar on "Firth of Fifth", to this day it still feels like flying over a beautiful ocean. I came up with the riff that we based "I Know What I Like" on. I was enjoying the process of group writing at this time. We were by now all exchanging inspired ideas.

Although The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway period was a time of concern for the band's future because of Pete's imminent departure, we still reached some great high points on this amazing musical adventure. Pete wrote the words, but we were all fully engaged with co-writing the music. I was proud of my guitar on both "The Lamia" and "Fly on a Windshield". I wrote most of "Here comes the Supernatural Anaesthetist" and "Cuckoo Cocoon".

It was a relief for us all when Phil successfully took on the vocals after Pete left the band. A Trick of the Tail might not have had the same epic feel as the earlier albums, but it had some great moments and strong musicianship. Following the recording of my first album "Voyage of the Acolyte", I reconvened with the band in time to be closely involved with both writing and playing on the first song they worked on, "Dance on a Volcano". Tony and I enjoyed writing "Entangled", exploring the other-worldly atmosphere of the mind floating free beyond the world of harsh reality. We all kicked up a storm together with the creation of Los Endos!

Although Wind and Wuthering was the last studio album I was involved with, I enjoyed working on it. Phil and I wrote "Blood on the Rooftops" together. Adding the nylon guitar part on the front, I helped to give it that multi-faceted feel, and I enjoyed writing lyrics contrasting the claustrophobic, safe world of TV viewers with the range of world events they glimpse... Both "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers" and "In That Quiet Earth" gave great scope for both instrumentation and creation of atmosphere. My section in the middle of "Eleventh Earl of Mar" again added atmosphere, the dream-like sequence contrasting with the energy of the rest of the song, including my army-like stomp part.

I left Genesis because I had many ideas I could not move forwards otherwise and I needed autonomy, but my time with the band was special and the music we all created together was inspired. I'm proud to have been a part of it and I enjoy playing the music live to this day.