John Mayhew - The lost Genesis drummer returns home. By Peter Morton.
During the summer months of 1970, Genesis not only lost their superb guitarist/writer in Anthony Phillips but also their drummer: John Mayhew. Unlike Phillips, who left the band because of stage fright among many other reasons, Mayhew, who had not really been successful as a drummer in the band thought it best to leave the band of his own accord.
Since that day almost twenty years ago, nothing had been heard of from John until around two years ago when the Daily Mirror reported that he was living in Australia and had taken up carpentry as a trade. A far cry from drumming!
On a rare visit to the UK to see his mother who had been ill recently, John was interviewed by Henrietta Knight of the Sunday People newspaper and was asked among other things, about his days with Genesis. This was what he had to say…
“I was a bit different from the rest of the band; they were from another class. They all went to public schools, while I was from a council estate. We had a great time but I don’t think I was a good enough drummer. I decided that I’d had enough and that I wanted to travel the world. When I told them over a cup of tea, they didn’t seem surprised. The last time I saw the band was at a gig fifteen years ago. They were playing the same songs and Phil Collins and I discussed spare parts for his drums. I know my life would be totally different if I hadn’t left, I would be living in a mansion. But I never had any regrets - even though someone from the band contacted my brother to say I am owed a lot of money in royalties.
After the trauma of two failed marriages I arrived in Australia, very hard up. I tried a few carpenter’s jobs but I didn’t earn much.. I have done a course in stage design so I have been earning a bit, but I’ve had very hard times….”
John returned to Australia at the end of April and is now living with four others in a rented flat.