Friday, September 30, 2005

What About Genesis?


Genesis sold 21.5 million albums in America during a thirty-year career, before quietly calling it quits in 1998, not long after frontman Phil Collins' departure. With the release of the new three-CD compilation, The Platinum Collection, Genesis trace their extensive journey from art rockers to hitmakers.

The Platinum Collection moves backwards in time -- starting with the 1991 single "No Son of Mine" and ending with "The Knife," off of 1970's Trespass, the second album by the Peter Gabriel-fronted Genesis. "Originally, it went from beginning to end," says guitarist Mike Rutherford. "But, with the early albums' sound quality, it was a little tough for the listener. So we start with the better-sounding stuff and end with the earlier stuff." The band plans to dust off some early live recordings for release as a bootleg series, possibly through its Web site. "These are raw recordings, and I like that," Rutherford says. "If someone makes a mistake or messes up, it's just part of the evening."

...While the Collins-helmed Genesis have not toured in thirteen years, they have performed together -- in more intimate settings. "We played Peter's wedding and his fiftieth birthday party, and Phil's wedding," Rutherford says with a laugh. "We did a very bad version of that 'Tequila' song." Rutherford remains optimistic that Genesis may one day follow Cream and the Pixies, as a long-dormant band that suddenly comes bursting back to life. "We talk about it," he says. (In 2000, Collins said of Genesis in an interview, "I would definitely see us doing something together again.") But Collins, currently on break from his First Final Farewell Tour, is now busy adapting his soundtrack to Disney's animated film Tarzan into a Broadway play.
I'm not sure about Genesis. The problem is, I guess, is that it is hard for someone of my age to appreciate the band's place in the art-rock world because I first became aware of them with "Abacab" and all that. I didn't come into contact with the mask-wearing Peter Gabriel until I had formed an opinion of both the band and Gabriel. My point is that I don't know how influential and important they really were in the beginning, so I have trouble giving them the (hard-won and very rare) carte blanche given to the Advanced artitst. If you are convinced they were up to the standard, then I guess you could have a pretty convincing case that Gabriel, Collins and Rutherford were Advanced, with maybe Rutherford being the most Advanced. It doesn't get much more Advanced than Mike and the Mechanics (if, in fact, Rutherford is Advanced). But Phil Collins has had some pretty Advanced moments himself, this recent Broadway project being a good example. Anyway, I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts about whether early Genesis was good enough to be considered for Advanced status.

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