Genesis: A Biography by David Bowler and Bryan Dray. Review by Alan Hewitt.
In view of the unwillingness of anyone else to say anything kind or otherwise about this latest biography of the band, I thought I should get a few things off my chest about it. I approached the book itself with some trepidation, after all, what could be added to Armando Gallo’s sterling work documenting the rise and rise of Genesis? The answer was soon apparent - NOTHING. Unfortumately this book is about as appealing as an evening spent in cutting your toenails. There is little ‘new’ information on the bands in spite of the twelve year gap since Armando’s update of his original book (I am not including the From One Fan To Another book in this category) and there are some GLARING omissions from two so-called “experts” especially in the discography section at the end; what about Phil’s Separate Lives single for instance? NOT listed anywhere. I also take personal exception to a remark on page three, and I quote…”that typical schzophrenic scouser personality - which can have you in stitches from hilarious one-liners, then in stitches from a knife wound…” Now, as a proud Scouser myself I take great exception to that categorisation of my fellow Liverpudlians and indeed the inane ramblings about The Beatles and lesser alumni including The Sex Pistols in a book supposedly about Genesis.
The book tackles no new ground and indeed most of the material in it is filched from previous books and radio interviews. One other item which is particularly galling to me although it may not be the fault of the authors, is the mention of the BBC/Virgin documentaries on the band which both authors are credited with researching. For anyone’s general information, I carried out a lot of the groundwork for both projects including the loocation of the clip of Lamb… footage that was used and received not even a credit in the finished projects!
All in all, this book had the potential to fill in several gaps which are still in desparate need of being filled but has been found wanting in every category buy this reader and in case anyone is thinking that my review is a tad biased, of course you’re right - the real EXPERTS could and hopefully WILL do a better job than this one.
Two out of ten for information. Minus ten for effort!