“The Chief Mechanic Meets The Waiting Room” - Part Two of an Interview with Mike Rutherford at the Apollo Theatre Manchester on Sunday 5th March 1989. Interview conducted by Peter Morton, Ted Sayers and Alan Hewitt. Photographs by Ted Sayers.

TWR: Are the Mechanics an ongoing thing?

MR: Oh I think so. The more we do it the more we feel good about it.

TWR: But you said originally that you didn’t want to do a second album…

MR: I never said that. I said I wanted to do something that I could build upon.. The more it goes, the stronger it gets. It feels good. It’s like all these things you know, everyone has got other things they are doing; Peter’s going to produce an album and Paul (Carrack) is doing a solo album in the summer between the two US tours by the looks of it and it all works fine. It’s not hard, you just juggle dates. That’s all you have to do and say; ‘look, we’re starting an album here…’ I mean, remember The Mechanics album takes three or four months’ solid work and the others come down and do a bit. It’s three or four weeks here you know, so its not that time consuming.

TWR: Is there any other avenue of music you would like to explore in the future?

MR: I’d still like to write songs for other people. The Mechanics was meant to be that and when I couldn’t get anyone to do that I thought well sod it, I’ll do an album! But it’s a funny old world, writing other songs for other people, you sort of get into a… that world is not very nice. Everyone is sort of … it feels a bit too commercial to me. If I could do it … someone rings up and says ‘I’ve got a song. Do you want to do it?’ Rather than get publishers punting round, I don’t like that. It doesn’t feel good to me. And I can’t do demos either! It’s just me and a guitar unless you believe that you take someone’s word that it sounds good… trust me, then it’s fine but if you don’t then what you hear would terrify you probably.

TWR: Have you been approached to do any soundtrack work or things like that?

MR: Nothing is planned. What I try and do is avoid making commitments you know. If something comes up and in six months’ time I have finished touring and I don’t feel like doing it then I am going to get stuck. I’m a great one for getting home, shutting the door, having a few weeks off and thinking ‘what now?’ That’s when I get inspiration for what I do next.

TWR: Do you get much free time?

MR: Well, the polo season is coming up! (laughs) hence the gap in the touring schedule! I am a great believer … over the last four or five years… I have given myself a bit more time off. Well, actually not during the last Genesis tour but I have started over the last two years. It has been very important for me to spend some time with my family; Angie and the kids. I have neglected them quite badly over the years. The whole band has really and that has become very important. And I think time to think and time to grow up, you know what I mean. As a musician you can just keep doing this and thinking about nothing but music and THAT improves but as a human being … if you are not careful and leave yourself some time you end up not developing and I find that very important. And it helps me to switch off … I don’t think about it when I am playing polo! It is very important that a lot of musicians get into trouble later in life because they have never had anything else but music and you have to think about other things.

TWR: You mentioned about film soundtracks, Mike. Silent Running, was it actually written for the film On Dangerous Ground or was it the other way round?

MR: The song came afterwards. The film wanted to use it and I thought if they want to use it, fine. The more the merrier!

TWR: Because I have seen the film and it isn’t even in it!

MR: I haven’t seen the film. I’ve seen the film but I haven’t seen the end one. They changed it, they changed the title. It’s about a guy who finds companies dumping … it’s not a great film, is it?

TWR: I got the film out for the song and its not even in it! It was the same with Tony, they mutilated the music he wrote for films too.

MR: I think that’s why he has been put off doing them because he does a soundtrack and then they say; ‘where’s the hit single?’ you know (laughs). They get dodgy tracks from other groups. Soundtracks are depressing at the moment because they are just trying to be hit albums … they don’t really excite me.

TWR: Just to go back to the old days, Mike. Can you tell us what the two tracks Moss and Light were…?

MR: Moss and Light? I don’t remember Moss but The Light was the one that ended up as Lilywhite Lilith but it had a lot more in it then. It had a lot of six/eight.

TWR: We asked Ant about these when we interviewed him last year and he could remember Light but he couldn’t remember Moss at all.

MR: I can only remember Light because that was when Phil came in and Phil didn’t come in until Ant left did he? There might have been some bits and pieces there initially. Moss… I haven’t a clue! The track I would like to hear is Going Out To Get You … I can’t remember how it went! (laughs).

TWR: You don’t remember the Disco Two programme in 1970, do you?

MR: I do.

TWR: What was it you played?

MR: The Knife. It set us back two years actually, it was awful!

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Due to a very pressing schedule we had to curtail the interview here to allow Mike to prepare for the evening’s show. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mike, his tour manager; Alan Comer and Carol Willis for arranging things for us.