"The A To Z Of Genesis - Part 4" - Tony Banks in conversation
with Peter Morton, Jonathan Dann and Alan Hewitt about his career with Genesis.
TWR: With A Trick Of The Tail, you returned to individual credits for the tracks. What was the reason for this?
TB: Basically it was just a different way of crediting people. I had said before that we got slightly fed up because obviously in the very early days there was a tendency through the whole of the period with Peter to suggest that he was obviously the dominant writer and who tended to write most of the lyrics. You got this impression that he was doing this while the rest of us were just sitting round watching him do this creative thing.
|Of course, Genesis was never like that; everybody was writing and some songs were written by individuals. So I had tried to suggest this almost with Foxtrot actually but no one else looked on it very favourably. When we got to A Trick Of The Tail I thought this was silly really because particularly since Peter had left ,there was no doubt that Mike and I were the dominant writers in the band. Before Peter had left it had been Peter, Mike and myself. So, I thought that there was fifty percent of the band who were the dominant writers and so I thought let's do it and that is what happened really. I just thought that people might have a better idea of where of where things actually came from.|
The trouble is, as a musician you tend to judge purely for your own musicianship
and people might come up and talk about things like Cinema Show because I play
the keyboard solo on it but they wouldn’t talk about things like Firth Of Fifth
like that maybe because it was a song. They tended to look at it like that and
I just wanted that. We did it for those albums so it wasn't perhaps all that
different on A Trick Of The Tail as it had been before.
TWR: Why did you choose Bill Bruford as the drummer for the tour?
TB: Well, Bill was an easy person to get along with; he is still a friend of mine in fact, and obviously he is a very versatile drummer. I wouldn't say that everything we did was natural to him really. He is very much a thinking drummer; he counts everything whereas we had never really counted so all these things came out in a different place where he would count two instead of our usual one. It has never really worried us to have someone count in "One, two, three; four" and with Bill you had to count everything. I think sometimes he had a bit of trouble with songs that were in seven all the way through such as Dance On A Volcano, for example, where he did the drum riff and you can’t always do a natural drum riff and come back on the beat. Sometimes he got carried away and maybe he wasn't such a natural for that sort of thing but he gave us so much really; because he was quite a name in his own right. When we got on stage there would be calls for "Bruford!". I think he helped us through what was, obviously, quite a difficult period trying to establish ourselves without Peter as a singer, and it was a novel thing that people could talk about and take away from the fact that we were finding our feet without Peter.
TWR: Do you remember the concert film that was made at Stafford and Glasgow on that tour?
TB: Yes, I remember doing the film. We actually did it primarily as a film for whatever it was and Tony Maylam used to go round saying "wonderful footage" and so on and then used dancing girls on a beach or something during Entangled (laughter). It was OK but I am not a great fan of live film. In recent years we have been able to get closer to what we want with those sort of things. A couple of things on it are quite nice to have a record of Bill's time with the band. I think things like Cinema Show were probably at their best when Bill was playing with us.
TWR: What did you decide to record Wind & Wuthering in Holland?
TB: It was down to financial reasons. I mean it was very stupid but if you recorded at home at that time the tax situation was such that if you recorded your album outside the country it was considered as foreign earnings. Now we are not particularly mercenarily motivated, but it didn’t worry us going to Holland. In fact we were quite happy going there and recording it. It didn't make that much difference to us and it was quite good too in a way; getting away from all the distractions and that helped give the album quite a strong identity.
TWR: Do you think there are any weaknesses on the album at all?
TB: The main weakness was that we couldn't include the tracks that ended up on the EP later; Match Of The Day and Pigeons so none of the lighter tracks got on. Pigeons itself was a great track; a humorous track that should have been on the album but we couldn’t fit them all on. Overall for me it is one of my favourite albums. I think that obviously One For The Vine and Afterglow for me are crucial moments in my own writing and they were realised quite well on that record. There were also things like Blood On The Rooftops which I didn't have that much to do with in terms of writing but quite a lot to do with in terms of arranging. That was the first time that Steve's writing had really fitted into the band and it was Phil's chorus with Steve's verse so it was both of them and the two of them didn't tend to write so much for the band. That was really strong; that's a great track.
Eleventh Earl Of Mar as well, which quite a lot of the chorus parts were Steve's as well. So, I was surprised that Steve decided to leave the band at that point when his major contributions to the group were at that point as a writer. As a guitarist he was always great. There are lots of things I like about that album; the opening to Eleventh Earl Of Mar is one of my favourite group of chords I suppose although I had been doing that before, it was the first time I had extended it and it immediately set an atmosphere and I think people knew they were in for quite a heavy album with Eleventh Earl Of Mar and One For The Vine. There was a lot to wade through which some people find too much.
It was the most extreme album in many ways; the most difficult of our albums, if you like bit I don't really think it has a weak point on it for me. Some of the songs I like more than others like taking the riff I had for One For The Vine and making something quite different of it, that was quite fun and I had never tried that before. Commercially The Lamb… was a bit of a dip but Wind & Wuthering was a bit of a lull. We had never been motivated by the success factor I think it is like your friends really, you can't help being affected by it; everything that happens to you affects you. When we go to the writing for And Then There Were Three with things like Burning Rope, I felt that we had already done this with One For The Vine and we should try and shorten it a bit.
And there we end our look at this phase of the band's history. Our thanks
again to Tony for giving up so much time to talk to us.