Genesis Archive 2: 1976-92(Virgin)
Mike Rutherford interview, internet 3/00
Immediately it was clear that any speculation about this project being buried as well is slightly premature! Mike even mentioned the possibility of including some studio rehearsals on there! And when I mentioned as an example a live "White Mountain", Mike first said that this was the PG-era wasn't it? So I pointed out its 1976 performance, and so it seems that from this developed the official request from Virgin to the German Genesis fanclub "it" to ask its members to come up with a list af "most wanted" for the boxset as well. So by early May 2000 Virgin should definitely have all the lists they need to finally pull this thing off!
Sven Kardelke, Internet 11/00
Sven: What has been the criteria for choosing the tracks, especially the live ones?
TB: Most of the tracks show themselves. We wanted to put on all the major studio tracks that didnęt make it to any of the albums, that obviously have been used as b-sides and possibly EPs and stuff. Thatęs about 30 or 40 per cent of the album. The rest of it it put up mainly of live tracks that have not been used on Genesis live albums before. There are a few 12"-mixes and the special version of "Mama", which was something we just discovered in the vaults.
Sven: Did you overdub some parts this time as well?
TB: I don't think we did any overdubbings on these. We were able to choose. We had three or four choices for each song and were able to choose the best one.
Sven: Who was involved in the choosing?
TB: Initially I did the shortlist, because Mike and Phil were both quite busy - and I wasn't. I went through all the tapes we actually had. The studio tracks were not a problem. We knew what was going on. We just decided to not include a couple that didn't appeal to us very much. With the live tracks I had to find out which one was good enough to use. In the end we were all pretty much involved in the decision.
Sven: Did Steve Hackett have a vote, too?
TB: No really, because we only had one or two tracks available from that era. We could have done a couple of tracks with Steve on, but the feeling was that none of that versions sounded very good. It's decided a bit by what's available.
Sven: Why didn't you include any B-side material from the "Calling All Stations" sessions?
TB: It was tighter just to stick to the era with Phil. We could have done it.
Sven: On VH-1 Phil Collins said recently " I would definitely see us doing something together again. But maybe not calling it Genesis." Is this just a statement or is there more behind it?
TB: I think it's just a statement. People always ask us this question. Phil was obviously saying that there is no reason why we shouldn't. Who knows? Maybe we might do something, but there is certainly nothing planned. It may well be that we'll never do it, while as people we always enjoyed each other's company. We've seen each other quite a lot recently for various reasons. So it's never impossible. To be honest: You can say that we done it once and it's maybe something not to revisit.
Sven: The success of Archive No. 1 proves that there is still a massive demand for your classic old material. In concerts you almost deny that period. If you go through the Genesis internet sites, almost all of them prefer songs like "Firth of Fifth" rather than "I Can't Dance". Did the work on the archive sets change your opinion of how fans think about the old material?
TB: That's not really true. Obviously a lot of people like the early stuff. I prefer "Firth of Fifth" to "I Can't Dance" as well, but that's not the point really. The "We Can't Dance" album sold almost 20 million times world-wide. "Selling England By The Pound" might have done 500,000. The audience is much bigger for the later stuff, whether one likes to believe it or not. I like it all. On stage we used to play quite a few bits and pieces from the early days. You just can't do everything.
Sven: You included the "Pigeons"-EP as well on the set. But the song "Match Of The Day" is missing. How is that?
TB: Because it's just too bad. We all agreed with that one. You've got to draw the line somewhere. On this particular song the lyrics is just embarrassing. Musically it's ok, but it doesn't nee to be on. We decided that we didn't want that.
Sven: The "Pigeons" lyrics are strange, too.
TB: Yes, but "Pigeons" is fun. The musical side is interesting. It was really a little experiment to try and do a song around one note really. We feel happier about that one. Mike Rutherford wrote the lyrics for "Pigeons". He doesn't like the lyrics anymore. But it's a good little song from that period. I like it.
Sven: How do you explain your retrospective view on your career that you express with the two archive sets, with the re-recording of "Carpet Crawlers" and - nothing to do with you - Steve Hackett's Genesis Revisited?
TB: I've never been that interested in going back, but I am very proud of what we've done. The "Carpet Crawlers" thing we thought was fun to do. It was a song from the early days that has always been a big favourite. We just thought we do it and see where it goes. We thought of getting a single out of it, but we didn't. In terms of Steve's stuff he suddenly got the feeling that he got to do it. Obviously, he did it alright. I'm not terribly interested in going back and looking at it.
Sven: After Phil left, do you feel it was wrong to try to start again with new singer Ray Wilson?
TB: I don't think it was wrong, it was just something we tried. It was a lot of fun to do. In terms of the album, it stands up with any Genesis material. I've got no problem with it. We really just felt that we would never really get a really fair response from the media. Rather than watching the whole thing go downhill, we really thought it was better to knock it on the head. But I had a great time. I really enjoyed the tour and to play with new musicians like Nir and Anthony Drenen. It was a wonderful thing for me, but I felt it was probably wasn't going much further.
Sven: Is the lack of success in America with "Calling All Stations" the only reason why you put the idea of a second album with Ray Wilson aside?
TB: No, it wasn't. It was a factor, but the feeling was that going down the hill on the other side was a bit unnecessary after being 30 years in the business. We didn't fell we got quite enough out of it. In musical terms, we were very happy and there could have been a slightly better response to it, perhaps. We were getting knocked left-right-centre by the media, whenever we do anything, especially in England. We just felt we would have enough of this. Can't stand it anymore. We have had 30 years of it, let's call it a day.
Sven: So is Ray Wilson still in the band?
TB: Well, the band isn't really on function at the moment. But if progressive music suddenly starts to become the thing again, perhaps we would come out again. Nothing is ever written off, but I am not pushing for it, really. I feel that it probably won't happen.
Sven: If Phil Collins come back again, you certainly would run straight into the studio.
TB: No, I wouldn't at all. If Phil was keen on doing something, we would probably meet and think about it. If we want to revisit the old feeling, then it's something we could decide to do, some retrospective view. I can't see it. I think it's unlikely to happen, personally. There is something about the way when we all were together and played together. We get on very well as people, as well as musicians. For us it would be very nostalgic, so you can never rule these things out. I promise you there are no plans to do it.
Sven: Are you still in contact with Ray Wilson as well, or was it just a working relationship?
TB: He lives up in Edinburgh. We've talked on the phone, and I saw him when I was up there a few months ago. But beyond that, not really. But I haven't seen much of anybody, really.
Sven: So is Genesis disbanded or put to sleep?
TB: It's resting.
Sven: And who's gonna wake it up?
TB: I don't know. You can't talk about the future. That's the problem. Anything can happen. Suddenly something strange can happen, and it might change things, but in the moment I can't see it. In terms of my own stuff, I carry on writing. Nothing can stop me doing that. I am quite keen on doing an album with an orchestra. That would be an interesting thing to try. So that's what I am working towards - unless there is something coming from the film world, which I like to do, but I can't get any work in that direction.
Sven: So is this writing a full-time job, or what do you do all day long without Genesis?
TB: What do I do all day? Well, I play a bit of golf. I play and write a lot of music, actually, but I do a lot of other things as well. I am 50 years old now, so I don't have to spend all my time doing things I don't want to. If a particular project came up, beyond this orchestral thing, I'll be back to work seven days a week.
Focus (weekly German news magazine) 11/00
Phil: "I could imagine to "put something on the legs" with Tony and Mike by time". In February there will be a kind of "Love Songs" CD with my best ballads - I am just writing one or two tracks for this. At the same time I am working on a new regular album which will be on the market in 2002. And in the year later the next Walt-Disney Soundtrack is waiting, probably "Tarzan 2". There is a lot to do. However, for Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford, my old friends, I would find some time to "put something on the legs" with them. It seems, that Genesis (comment: just before he said it wouldn't be called Genesis, - as Tony did) is an endless story for all people involved."
Wilco Barg, DPRP 12/2000
Two years ago Genesis surprised their fans with a boxset of nostalgia, which soon got the nick name "The Gabriel Years". Finally a complete concert of "The Lamb..." tour, and loads of unreleased tracks were covered on this boxset.
Now a new box has seen the light of day. This second box covers the period from 1976 till 1992, and probably soon will carry the nickname "The Collins Years". A boxset of an era which shows a band that changed their styles with almost every album. From their best progressive albums "A Trick of the Tail" and "Wind and Wuthering" through "And Then There Were Three" and "Duke" to the megaselling but mixed feeling pop albums "Genesis", "Abacab", "Invisible Touch" and "We Can't Dance". Although the latter albums contain various epic tracks the overall contribution is very pop orientated.
Probably this is the strongest thing about the Collins period, the period in which Genesis grew from a band on the verge of bankruptcy to megaselling superartists. The band changed their style which resulted in high ranking hits like "Mama", "Abacab", "Land Of Confusion", "I Can't Dance" and "Jesus He Knows Me". They were able to stay in the charts during an era in which the music industry was changing from long term well known names to nine days' wonders, from golden oldies to boy- and girl wonders, from radio- to TV age in which a good videoclip meant a great hit. So Genesis got along and the Spitting Image clip of "Land Of Cunfusion" resulted in a top ten hit. Later on they did the same with the ironic clips of "I Can't Dance" and "Jesus He Knows Me". This angle is reflected through tracks which are covered on this second boxset. A boxset filled with b-sides, live tracks and 12" versions which surprisingly contains tracks that have stand the test of time and still sound really fresh although others sound very outdated. Unfortunately this boxset doesn't contain any unreleased tracks, but it is really nice that for the first time all single b-sides from the pre-CD-era are covered. Songs like "It's Yourself", "Vancouver" and "The Day The Light Went Out" were up till now only available as b-sides from the "Many Too Many" and "Your Own Special Way" vinyl 7" singles. The same goes to the tracks "Naminanu" and "Submarine" the instrumental b-sides from the "Abacab" recording sessions, which show that even a band like Genesis is able to write material which at first listen deserve a place in a trashcan, and even after listening to it more often should have been left off this boxset. All the other studio tracks were covered on the earlier releases "Spot The Pigeon" ("Pigeons" and "Inside And Out") the fourth side of the "Three Sides Live" Vertigo version ("Paperlate", "Evidence Of Autumn", "Open Door" and "You Might Recall"). The missing tracks from those releases are "Match Of The Day" and "Me & Virgil", which deserve it more to be placed on this boxset instead of the instrumentals from the "Abacab" period.
The single b-sides from the "Invisible Touch" and "We Can't Dance" period, "On The Shoreline", "Hearts On Fire", "Do The Neurotic", "I'd Rather Be You", and the very poppy "Feeding The Fire" sound like distant echoes of the solowork of Phil Collins and like the "Abacab" period b-sides aren't their strongest work, although "On The Shoreline" and the instrumental "Do The Neurotic" probably can be called the best written b-sides of the eighties and nineties period of Genesis. The 12" versions of "I Can't Dance", "Invisble Touch", "Land Of Confusion" and "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" add nothing to the original songs, and to my opinion are only covered to fill up the CD's.
The most interesting tracks from this boxset, and covered on the second disc, are the first time official released live version of "Illegal Alien", "It's Gonna Get Better", "Deep In The Motherlode", "Ripples", "Burning Rope", "Entangled", "Duke's Travels", "No Reply At All", "Man on The Corner" and "The Lady Lies". Three other live tracks ("The Brazilian", "Dreaming While You Sleep" and "Your Own Special Way") were already covered on the "We Can't Dance" singles. It's nice to finally have those live versions from the late seventies, although no tracks of "Wind and Wuthering" are covered. Which to my opinion is a great mistake. In my opinion "Wind And Wuthering" is the best album with Collins fronting the band as their singer. The songs are epical, and lyricly very interesting. Just two tracks made it to official live albums. "Afterglow" is covered both on "Seconds Out" and "Three Sides Live" while "One For The Vine" made it to the fourth side of the "Three Sides Live" Virgin version. Which was later rereleased in the remastered series.
Genesis always had a really strong worldwide fan base, which bought almost everything the band was releasing. You only have to remember the hugh sales succes of the last year released greatest hits album "Turn It On Again" to know that their fans are really loyal to the threesome, even if an album covers tracks which already have been released in different formats.
So the final result of this boxset will keep a lot of fans with mixed feelings. Now you end up with a boxset which is filled for two-third with already available material. Although most from the Collins period is covered, in the end you wonder why a fourth CD wasn't spend on tracks like the earlier mentioned studio tracks "Match Of The Day" and "Me & Virgil", live versions of "All In A Mouse's Night", "Eleventh Earl Of Mar", "Inside And Out", "Down And Out", "Say It's Alright Joe" and the live-played Gabriel tracks "White Mountain" and "The Knife". The latter, in the single version, was a great and strong encore during the Duke tour. If you don't have all the singles this boxset is a great oppertunity to fill in the gaps of your Genesis collection. If you own most of all the stuff, well you probably still get it because you like to keep your collection complete, although you don't get all for your money. Even the nice 64 paged booklet which is included won't compensate this.
4 of 6 points.