Part Two: "What The Band Said" - A look at one of the more interesting radio interviews about the Duke album.
Capitol Radio 5th February 1980 (Interviewer: Nicky Horne)
NH: Well, good evening and welcome to Capitol on this Tuesday night and for the next hour or so-ish, my guests live in the studio are Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford of Genesis. Welcome lads. You have just finished doing your long playing album, tell me about the album first, is it anything like the ones that have gone previously because I as of yet I have heard nothing from the album.
MR: Sheer brilliance (laughs). I think that we think that every album is different and this one really has changed a lot and it has got a harder edge to it.
PC: It is two years since And Then There Were Three as well and an awful lot has changed.
MR: I think the biggest difference probably is having done the two solo things (Smallcreeps Day and A Curious Feeling) coming in with less written material it means that we did a lot more … half the album is group written. It came out of just jamming and playing in the rehearsal room.
PC: There is more playing which is something that wasn't so apparent on And Then There Were Three, most of them were vocal tracks; songs but there is a fair proportion of the old playing side of the band.
NH: Was it an easy album for you guys to put together? I know you can't ever describe an album as being "easy" to record, but was it easier than say; And Then There Were Three?
MR: Yes, it was easier. You are right they do vary and some you have to work at. We wrote it in Phil's bedroom actually (laughs)
PC: (in best macho accent) Gay boys in bondage ok! (laughs)
MR: He has a nice sized bedroom and so we threw him out of the bedroom and we were there for about six or seven weeks and I think it did come easily.
PC: I think it is a very happy album. To me it is a very up and positive album and it has got a lot of energy on it which I think is very good. To me it is more like the A Trick Of The Tail period, because that was a very easy album to make.
NH: The fact that you have now done a solo album, Mike did that make the process of doing a Genesis album any simpler?
MR: I am not sure simpler as much as in one respect easier. If you can do an entire album on your own then suddenly having to come back with the others and not having to write the whole thing made it easier, but as we said before we kind of made … we were more able to do group playing and stuff and not worrying about having to get more songs on and do more jamming and we haven't really done it as you said for quite a while and I think that is partly the result of doing the solo stuff.
NH: That (Smallcreep…) was recorded as was the new Genesis album in Abba's recording studio somewhere in the heart of Sweden. Why go there? I know it is obviously a good studio but why… were there other considerations?
PC: You said that was off the record (laughs). We go there because it saves us a bit of money. Because we don't make money anywhere else so we thought we would try and save a bit of money on tax, its as blatant as that really.
MR: I do think actually that if we didn't do it … its just nice going away and locking ourselves away for twelve days with no 'phone calls; no children.
NH: The Conservative Government when they came in made this big deal about taxes and that stuff and I know there was a press release that went out about helping British musicians such as yourselves in the high tax echelon but you still have to go over to Sweden…
PC: They have helped actually. We always break even or lose on tours and so you gotta make a livin' Guv own up. The main thing was that we all pulled together for twelve days of concentrated work from eleven in the morning and we didn't come out until three or four at night and we would all go back to the hotel and have a drink and there is this feeling of common spirit there.
NH: Tell us a bit about this track we are going to play which is the B side of the single but is also on the album isn't it?
PC: Yeah, it is the second piece on the album.
MR: its like the second half of the first song which is why we called it "Part Two" it starts with an instrumental section and then there is a vocal section.
NH: What is it called because I have lost the …
PC: Behind The Lines.
NH: When I was snooping around a couple of months ago trying to find out what was happening with your album; the word that I got back from my spies in the camp was that the album was going to be two main pieces one on each side of the album and I believe that that has now changed?
MR: It was going to be one long piece we worked out but when we put the album together it made a bad balance, the long piece is really all the group playing stuff; you know and it had most of the aggressive stuff in it and one side was like that and the other was more song-y and softer and so it was a bad balance and so we split it up.
PC: Its strange because we have been living with this since October or November and we are so used to it but it has suddenly dawned on me that people are hearing it for the very first time.
NH: It sounds like classic Genesis, it doesn’t seem like a radical departure from what went before…
MR: Wait until you hear the other side and you will probably say the same (laughs). The other side is more different.
NH: What we have got lined up now because obviously we are not working from albums if you are listening at home; we are not working from albums; we are working from tapes and we have got about give tape machines lined up. We have got something lined up on another tape machine and this is a demo; this is not going to appear on the album in this form.
PC: This is in the eight track studio and we have all got these machines at home and presenting the songs that we write to each other in that way rather than sitting at a piano and… for instance myself I have written something and I can't really do it justice sitting at a piano and so I have made these tapes and this is one of the demos of a song that has ended up on the album but this was done at home… it's all la,la la's, there's no words either.
NH: This ended up on the album but completely different?
PC: It ended up being called Misunderstanding.
NH: What happens with that demo? You take it to the lads and they say; 'great lyrics, Phil!' (laughs) what's the actual process after you play it to the lads what process does that demo then go through to become a final song?
MR: It goes through a panel (laughs) of middle aged directors.
PC: If everyone likes the tune then we learn the chords and after we have learned the chords we rehearse it and the lyrics are always the last thing to come with anything we do.
MR: A sort of selection we always have far too much material and after a couple of weeks we start learning it all after a couple of weeks you work out that there is no point in doing too much otherwise you will have heartbreak at the end so you kind of do a bit of editing then that you kind of stop on one or two tracks. We always try to start with everything pretty much and it becomes obvious what is exciting us all and what is sounding good.
NH: But what about the lyrical quality? If the lyrics come last and you have gone through the process of getting the sound right which in itself is a fairly difficult process. Then I would have thought that the lyrics coming last would have been a bit of a pain because it is the last link in the chain and therefore the most difficult.
PC: it is very weird to hear some things… There are some things on the album which didn't have melodies until a week before we went into the studio and some I learned the melodies on the day we did it and that is a weird thing because you get so used to hearing things as an instrumental and suddenly there is a vocal on top of it. And when you have got a vocal and somebody brings the words in suddenly you are not singing la la la anymore it's all… Paul is dead (laughs).
PC: I should bring that tape in one day too… NH: What tape is that? PC: We did some backing vocals on the album; Mike , Tony and Dave Hentschel did some backing vocals on a track on the album and I put a tape recorder on while they were getting it together and there are some lovely moments in it. Tony is doing a pub piano because Dave wants to go into the control room and get his words and Mike talks us through the whole thing very nicely, I will bring it in one day.
NH: the last time that we met, lads in this very studio we were talking about Genesis going back on the road again, this was a fair time ago. You haven't toured in England for three years… lets forget Knebworth I mean a real tour of England and I remember, Phil you were saying about your desire for Genesis to go to smaller halls and unlike the barns of Earls Court and Wembley etc where people can actually SEE you not just dots on the stage. When you announced these gigs and Hammersmith in London and the fact that you were doing smaller gigs and as soon as those gigs were announced, they were snapped up like nobody's business. The fact that you wanted to do these smaller gigs to get back to your fans; to get closer to the Genesis "fan" has in a way worked against you because there are a lot of disappointed people who are listening right now who wanted to see you at the Hammersmith Odeon and get close to you but because there are so many other people they just couldn't. How do you feel about that, the fact that in a way it has worked against you?
PC: We have sold the tickets to, hopefully the people who wrote in the applications for the Hammersmith gigs for instance presumably must be fans and so one can do nothing but do the gigs, we can't play two weeks at Hammersmith and then two weeks at Glasgow and two weeks at Manchester you can't supply the demand otherwise you are up the spout really, and all we can do is do as many gigs as we can physically and hope that the right people get the tickets. Some hall managers don't like the idea of people camping outside as they have done in some areas where it is not only postal applications but personal as well and they have queued out on the street for a week and there was one place where they started queuing two weeks before tickets went on sale.
MR: It is in Birmingham , the hall manager has resigned over it or had a heart attack or something. I suppose the other thing to start thinking about actually is that there are an awful lot of people in Paignton and Exeter; Great Yarmouth who would not normally get to see us anywhere who are going to get to see us. Places like Hammersmith; yes it is crazy because a lot of people in London would like to see us but you mustn't forget the fact that we are going to be playing those sort of places.
PC: People won't have to travel; the sort of the Manchesters and the Glasgows because we are not doing just those three places we are doing more dates and presumably the people up North won't have to travel.
NH: What sort of shows will you be doing, because last time we saw you you were doing Genesis live at Earls Court where you had the enormous laser show; the dry ice… Mega gig (laughs). That has become synonymous with Genesis; not only do you provide the music but also these incredible effects; napalm grenades all this stuff. What will you be doing now because you are doing these smaller gigs you won't be able to do that presentation.
MR: It is going to have to be cut down. We were faced with a decision either you design a musical presentation that looks good and then you say; 'where can we play?' and you end up playing Earls Court or you say; 'Look, we are going to play in Great Yarmouth' and we are going to play in those sort of places and that is the most important thing and do as good a show as we can fit in. Which is our approach this year and so obviously it will be cut down.
PC: I think we actually wanted to steer away from that anyway; the big job; didn't we? Because last year it was like driving into a truck park going to a gig; twelve semis and a lot of gear on top of us; the mirrors.
MR: I think we need a change because we always try and do different things all the time rather than the same old back out to all the big places it is good for us.
NH: When is the single coming out?
MR: the 22nd of March.
NH: Was it my imagination or because I was listening to it on headphones, but the vocal seems to be lower in the mix?
PC: No. well maybe I don't know we made a conscious effort on the album to bring the voice right up because everyone says that they can’t hear the words and I noticed that it was a lot louder and this was re-mixed even louder still because it was a single.
MR: Although compared to most people we never seem to… I have discovered now we never seem to have the voice that loud. Also on this track one of the strongest things is the riff and the drive and if the voice was too loud it would take away from it.
NH: Those are the only two tracks you are going to allow me to play from the album… tsk, tsk; swines! Can you describe to me what the rest of the tracks are like? Is that in any way representative of the other tracks we can expect to find on the album?
PC: Well there's a couple of other things that we have definitely never moved into that area at all ; we have never done and that’s different for us and there are a couple of things that are as different. All of the songs are… I don't know…to us they are all kind of… as Mike said earlier its all different to us.
MR: I think a lot of it is with the arrangement. It is so easy for us to go in there and keep on overdubbing and putting on nice sounds and the harder thing is to keep it very simple and towards the end of side two the working title was "Jazz" and the actual title was Duke's Travels and it’s a long instrumental thing and it sounds very live it doesn't sound studio; it sounds like three guys playing which is something to do with Polar Studios.
PC: In fact, the album is called Duke, we haven't mentioned that have we?
NH: No we haven't.
My thanks to Dave Dunnington for providing the source material for this transcript which has been slightly edited for reasons of space for other features.