"Genesis - A New Beginning?" - A fan's point of view by Alan Hewitt. Picture courtesy of Virgin Records.
Well, I suppose it had to happen eventually: Phil Collins has decided to vacate the drum kit and microphone stand in Genesis to concentrate on his solo career. And what a solo career it has been so far! I can still remember reading the announcement of his first solo album with a mixture of joy and trepidation. The joy was the fact that he could have the opportunity to prove himself outside the band; the trepidation was for the survival of the band itself. Did all of that rally happen that long ago?!
As editor of The Waiting Room for the last nine years, it has been my great pleasure to observe the band and its various off-shoots with a mixture of amazement and awe. How many other bands can you think of where the solo members have been as successful as the band itself? The sheer amount and quality of music produced by the band as a group and individuals defies imagination!
My own fascination with the band began in 1977 shortly after another much loved and respected member had decided to check out - Steve Hackett. In the nineteen or so years since that initial exposure to their music, I have followed each facet of their careers much to the growing despair of my bank manager who still cherishes the hope that now that I am thirty something, I may grow some sense. Those of you who know me however, will realise that hat will never happen!
The history of rock music is littered with tales of departures and reunions of bands and band members; any self respecting fan of Yes or Jethro Tull can tell you that. No doubt, to many fans the current announcement of Phil's departure will signal the end of the band. Well, maybe it is time we all re-learned a little Genesis history. There was a band called "Genesis" before Phil joined and I can see no reason why Tony and Mike and whoever they recruit into the ranks this time round, should quit doing what they are best at: writing and performing great music!
The press release announcing Phil's decision to leave is no sombre affair as such. I can see no reason to start writing obituaries of the band which may prove to be as premature as Chris Welch's was in 1975. In fact, Tony Banks' comments in the press release sum up the situation quite nicely... "This gives us the chance to take Genesis to the next stage..." The band have always maintained that they have yet to produce that "definitive" album, maybe this is the opportunity for them to do exactly that?
What does the future hold for Genesis? That is anyone's guess, really. Only the band members can answer that question. However, as an observer of their collective endeavours for over half a lifetime now, one thing I am sure of: Genesis fans will continue to be spoiled for choice by the variety of music that the greatest assemblage of rock musicians he world has ever seen, has produced and will continue to produce for along time to come yet. So dry those tears, the best is still to come!
In the meantime, both myself, Peter, Jonathan and Matthew will continue to chronicle that music in our own inimitable style, and as one famous rock journalist, whose name escapes me for the moment, once said: "Welcome to the wonderful world of Genesis".
I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of all of the readers of The Waiting Room to thank Tony, Phil and Mike and their management for all their kindness and support of our efforts and for so much great music. We wish you every success in whatever projects you embark on next.
Alan Hewitt, Liverpool, March 29 March, 1996