A backstage pass for Genesis
Here are some pictures andtext from the program.
Compared to the other top bands in the world, Genesis are outrageouslydifferent. None of them has been busted; the News of the World hasn't managedto unearth any groupie scandals involving the band; they don't drive theirRolls Royces into swimming pools (on account of the fact that they don'tdrive Rolls-Royces or own swimming pools); none of them has suffered a nervousbreakdown, and when it's all over tonight, they'll probably slip quietlyhome or unwind in front of the telly back at the hotel.
"There's a definite ordinary quality to us," says lead singerPhil Collins. "It took us ages to be persuaded to put our pictures on ouralbum sleeves because we were convinced we all looked too normal."
'We've never known anyone in the music business or rubbed shoulderswith the press down at the Speakeasy," says Mike Rutherford. "The musicpapers thrive on reporting exotic lifestyles, but in that respect we'vebeen a grave disappointment. "
In every other respect, however, thanks to their inventivevirtuosity, Genesis have brought nothing but excitement and pleasure totheir many thousands of fans . . . and what loyal fans they have when youconsider the many changes that the group has undergone during its metamorphicstruggle to the top.
Carving themselves a distinct identity, Genesis have finallydone away with erroneous public assumptions that they were like Yes andELP musically, Bowie and Alice Cooper visually. Exploring the realms ofone thousand melodies, Genesis swing between intelligent pop and sophisticatedprogressive sounds. Genesis are simply Genesis. And there is no one likethem.
"We're a very melodic band," Rutherford said humming a spappylittle tune, "not at all like other progressive bands. We're actually abit poppy. A lot of people have been put off by the underground image anda lot of those people could like us. We've never been at all like ELP,Yes or the Pink Floyd."
Tony Banks agreed. "We've never been comparable to Yes. Themelodies and chords we use are very thematic rather than describe the ecstasiesof any particular player. We don't particularly like solos anyways," Banksyawned. "We find them boring." ,,
Individual ego frustrations are kept at a well balanced minimumfor the overall well being of the group. Genesis are a band in the strictestsense of the word. Democratically run, they creatively feed off self-criticismand compromise. Sterility is avoided by changing motivations and a continualdesire to grow. No one person has ever been the guiding light behind thegroup just as no one person will ever be Genesis. Their strength is communal.
"The talent that is Genesis is -greater than the individual,"Banks gently rationalized. "It's always been a composite thing with usanyways. The whole is greater than any one individual"
On their last American tour, a Chicago promoter eagerly welcomedthe group. It had been a bad week at the box office. Peter Frampton unexpectedlydidn't sell out. Jesse Colin Young pulled a moderate crowd. J. Geils cancelleda scheduled appearance due to lack of public interest. Joe Cocker attracteda minuscule audience. Two sold out Genesis concerts saved the promoter'sweek. They have become what the fat businessmen with tight suits and largecigars would call a viable commercial product.
Genesis have changed. Onstage and on record. Cheap hotelsand greasy meals belong to the past. Tony Banks no longer wears Disneylandsweatshirts onstage. Phil Collins no longer hides exclusively behind hisdrum kit, often coming centre stage to flaunt his vocal drumming. MikeRutherford now rocks back and forth expertly switching from acoustics todouble necked electrics while operating a battery of bass pedals.
On the off stage, Genesis do not look like the average rockband. Nothing about their behaviour fits the archtype personality image.Tony Banks still wears Disneyland sweatshirts offstage. Despite the factthat Genesis are not orthodox rock stars, they are rather popular.
"My leaving brought a freshness and vitality to the othersand to myself," Peter Gabriel said recently. And he was right. An exuberantfreshness and vitality permeates all Genesis activity. This creative enthusiasmis contagious, spreading from the stage to the concert hall, from the speakersinto your own front room.
Genesis have triumphed. They have turned a possibly fatal personelchange into a healthy musical growth Refusing to look back, they have takenmore than the proverbial one step forward. While more established contemporariesstagnate, Genesis hit mature zeniths on target.
Genesis really are a new band. In their earlier days theyawkwardly tried to fuse theatrics with music. Onstage visuals were originallyconceived merely as a ploy to attract attention to the music, to the songs.But the visuals eventually obscured the music, coming dangerously closeto consuming the band. Peter Gabriel left but the audience remained. Nowthe theatre has become the music.
There are few thrills of discovery nowadays for a veteran rockand roller. Maybe he's jaded, but when he recalls the excitement of thefirst time he saw the Rolling Stones, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin,The Who, ELP, the Mothers of Invention and Alice Cooper, he can be pardonedfor thinking that no new group is going to overwhelm him as those did inthe past.
But never say never, at least until you've seen Genesis. Thereis nothing like them. Period. And not only are they among the most creativeand innovative musicians performing in pop music today, but they are mastersof the magic that Alice Cooper and David Bowie are crudely (by comparison)grasping toward—theatre.
. . . it's still in the beginning for Genesis in popularity,but in accomplishment, they are already superstars.
(A1 Radio Chicago Sunday Times)
Bruce Meyer of United Press International, in a syndicated column,described Genesis as: 'the most significant rock band to happen since theBeatles . . . One simply does not often get the chance to feel or experiencesomething wildly innovative, something that has never been done before.But that is precisely what Genesis does. . . The impact of Genesis's stageshow is difficult to describe and impossible to exaggerate. Let it be saidsimply that they have a habit of leaving their audiences stunned, limpin their seats.'
Jim Knippenberg also found it difficult to describe Genesis'smusic, as he wrote in the Cincinnati Enquirer:
It is not boogie stuff. It's not for foot-stomping or handclapping.Lousy for singalongs. Not good to get drunk to. Not much better to soberup to.
Nor is it hard-hitting, slammin' and smashin' English rockand roll like we get from so many other madmen across the waters.
It's something entirely different and completely unique ina world of imitation and mimicry. Tasty; tight; literate; diversified;serious without being pseudo-profound.
It's something you can listen to several hundred times without tiringout . . . music that no other rock and roll group is currently offering;music that is good for both the mind and
Richard Cromelin, reviewing the first gig of the three-night, six-concertengagement, described- Genesis in the Los Angeles Times as 'one of themost thoroughly sophisticated rock shows of all time', and he added:
The school of rock that it represents emphasizes control anddiscipline over spontaneity and release. Genesis's show is the most perfectlyrealized piece of rock theatre yet to come along . . . a breathtaking melangeof science fiction and fairy tale overlaid with a mythic dimension . .. it sweeps you with primitive gods and apocalyptic battles to futuristicwatchers from the skies, from not-so-innocent childhood to malevolent senility.One needn't hear all the words nor spend time analyzing, because it's goodtheatre and these striking images hit responsive chords on an instinctualplane.
Peter Thompson, Genesis's congenial press agent since Foxtrot, feltthat the band had really made it in December 1976. 'I knew it in some bizarreway when I put out a news story about the tour,' he told me, 'and it madea big picture in the final editions of the London Evening Standard. Usually,nobody sparks that kind of interest. And then they made the whole frontpage of the Standard just after Christmas.
'Finally, after years of trying to convince people to go andsee the band, the media picked up on them . . . I mean, as the kind ofband which was newsworthy.
'You could actually say something about them in the kind ofdaily newspapers that my mother reads—not just the rock papers. And thatdidn't even happen when Peter was with them.'