“The Genesis Of Genesis Revisited” by Alan Hewitt.
How do you get to write a book about a band like Genesis? Well, insanity certainly helps and that is certainly my only defence!
Seriously though, the very idea of writing a book about the band was not something which I had even begun to give thought to until several fans started making the suggestion that I give it a go. That was some nine years ago and the result, as most of you may recall was “Opening The Musical Box – A Genesis Chronicle” which first appeared in 2000.
What I had failed to realise when embarking upon the writing of that book was, that in fact I had already written at in many ways through the auspices of TWR from which I drew most of my information and ideas. So, the honest answer when asked how long that project took me to write is “Ten years and three months”. The ten years are the ten years worth of work on TWR and the three months are the amount of time I sepnt compiling the sources and marshalling my ideas into what I think was a relatively coherent whole. I was delighted with the finished result – you can’t imagine the thrill of seeing a book you have written on the bookstore bookshelves for the first time!
The fans were very kind to my effort and so too were most (but not all) of the critics and it was also highly gratifying to have several kind remarks from several of the band members themselves, to boot!
I thought that with all of this out my system, I could return o concentrating on TWR but that was never really going to be an option. Almost as soon as the book hit the shelves, fans started providing new and additional information, especially for the Gig Guide sections which also benefited enormously from contributions from band members and associates. There was also the fact that despite the appearance of the band itself being on an indefinite hiatus, the individual members were far from idle and all of this needed to be documented.
So, a re-write was always on the cards, although I honestly had no idea when it would take place. Recent events within the band may make many of you think that this new book is a tawdry attempt to cash-in on the bands revived profile. Well, you could be right, but sad to say, the truth of the matter is that I had all but finalised the intended update BEFORE the announcement of the bands’ reformation on 7th November last year. In fact, that announcement led to a frantic round of revisions and additions before I could finally let it go to the printer and of course, once that happened, the tour dates began to change – AGAIN – Oh well, I did my best!
Getting this edition off the ground took A LOT longer than the original. If you like, the prototype showed me where I had got things right, but also where there was room for improvement – the constructive criticism of the fans (and band members) has all been taken on board and hopefully the end result this time is an altogether improved addition to that, I had also started to work on Steve Hackett’s biography which is still very much a work in progress I am pleased to say.
Deciding to completely update the original book also meant that I had the chance to address some of the niggling minor problems which had attended the original. The Gig Guides were completely overhauled and brought up to date (well, almost!) and are now as comprehensive as can possibly be expected – including much new and previously unavailable information thanks in no small measure to David Lawrence, Jonathan Dann and one Philip Collins, no less!
The lack of photographs in the previous edition has also been addressed this time round. There are now somewhere in the region of 180 illustrations covering every aspect of the careers of the band and the individual solo members. There is even some space for some of the Genesis “tribute” bands as well. Before anyone comments on the layout of the illustrations, they are intended to look that way – a “scrapbook” effect, if you like.
The text itself has also been substantially updated to reflect events in both the band’s story and those of the individual band members, bringing all of the story up to date. Several people who were not available when the original edition was published have very kindly given time for interviews and donated archival items all of which should make the end result even more informed than it’s predecessor was.
This edition has taken almost six years to put together and while probably not the “last word” on the band, it is certainly the last project of this scale on the band Which I shall ever produce. Fundamentally what you have now is a compendium of information about every aspect of the band’s career which you can dip into whenever you need information – a reference work rather than a biography and that is exactly what it was intended to be.
Anyone who thinks that writing a book of this type is easy has obviously never
tried it, and if I were to thank everyone who contributed to this new work,
that list would be a book of its own, but nonetheless a few 'thankyous' to the
must be made. First of all, my grateful thanks to all the members of the band
and their management, especially Phil Collins, Anthony Phillips and Steve Hackett.
My thanks to the many fans who commented on the first edition and who provided
additional information, all of which make the new work all the more accurate
and up to date. I hope that you, the fans, enjoy the finished result as much
as I did putting it together in the first place – it’s for you,