Genesis 1983 Press Conference live from Chicago Illinois which was broadcasted all over the USA by satellite to every radio station. Here is a transcript...

Present are

Phil Collins PC
Tony Banks TB
Mike Rutherford MR
Chester Thompson CT
Daryl Stuermer DS

Interviewer (Various) INT

The Interviewers change, basically they are different people from different Radio stations in the same place taking it in turns to ask questions.

Radio Announcer RA

RA: We are here at WMMR Philadelphia Radio bring you the Genesis Press Conference exclusively live.

RA: Whilst we are waiting here (waiting for incoming calls which never materialise due to a technical fault) why don’t the members of Genesis introduce themselves?

PC: This is Phil Collins here studying vocals and drums and studying physic’s and meta-chemistry.

DS: This is Daryl Stuermer playing lead guitar. No matter what Mike says I play lead guitar and bass (lots of laughs).

TB: This is Tony Banks I play the Keyboards because there is no competition in this group (laughs).

MR: This is Mike Rutherford I do the dishes and sweep up after the show (laughs) as Daryl said.

CT: This is Chester Thompson assistant Drummer to Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford (laughs).

INT: why don’t we ask Tony Banks a question as a founder member of the group in the mid 60’s.

TB: Late 60’s (laughs).

INT: Why do you think your success in America took so long to come about when in England you really were consider a Super group by the mid 70’s but the adulation in the United States is a relatively recent thing?

TB: Adulation, yeah? It took us a long time to make it everywhere really we didn’t come here about three or four years after we started in England and I think it takes much longer to convince the Americans as there are more of you for a start. Got to go a lot more places to do it and it just takes a lot longer.

INT: Phil, I would like to direct this towards you; I notice that there are no song writers credits on your new album at all, its just they are all written by the group Genesis. How do you go about doing that? Is there somebody that tends to write the lyrics or someone else tends to write the music? How do collaborate on an album?

PC: This new album is the first one for a long time if ever actually that we wrote together. Usually what happens is someone might bring a song or a bit of a song and it’s a collaboration, but this album we deliberately came into the studio, our own studio, so we had no pressure with sort of how long we wanted to do it for, so we come into the studio on day one without any material written. So we just sat down the three of us and started to play and the songs develop from that. As far as lyrics are concerned we sort of look on songs on the wall on these sheets of paper and say well I’d like to write the lyrics for that and someone else will say I would like the lyrics to that. So we just choose the songs we have got the most feeling for or that we might be able to write lyrics for that particular song we might be better at a lyric or whatever. But it is definately a true group album which is why it is called GENESIS as opposed to a title.

INT: Genesis is the current album. Genesis is your 15th album, 16th album what’s the count at this point?

TB: There is some dispute we are not sure at this moment it depends whether you include live albums or bootlegs, I think it’s about 15?

PC: Yeah, 15 counting the live albums.

RA: Lets listen to something from your previous album, Turn it on again from Three Sides Live...

(MR hums the opening guitar tune)

RA: That last album was recorded I guess during your American tour (1982).

PC: Yeah, some at the Savoy New York and some at Nassau Coliseum and some somewhere else.

TB: Birmingham.

PC: Oh yeah, Birmingham (laughs). England.

RA: Well it might be appropriate just now to look ahead at your current tour, it started last week, a week ago in fact in Normal Illinois, Rosemont Horizons.

PC: We played Milwaukee. You must not forget Milwaukee.

RA: We never forget Milwaukee.

PC: Well Daryl’s from Milwaukee, they have Daryl Stuermer Day in Milwaukee, wasn’t it Daryl?

DS: Yes.

RA: What kind of festivities do they hold there, is there a parade?

DS: Sure, there wasn’t much but they did spell my name right (laughs). It was Genesis week too…

RA: Did you get a credit card or a key to the City?

DS: NO (laughs).

RA: Well the tour will hold a couple of more nights in Chicago tonight at the Rosemont Horizon and then tomorrow night at the Rosemont Horizon and then you’ll be in Detroit on Monday night on the 14th at the Joe Lewis arena, then at the Capital Centre in Washington DC, and then at Madison Square Garden on Thursday and Friday night the 17th and 18th then up to Montreal at the Forum on the 20th and 21st Toronto at Maple Leaf Gardens on the 22nd and 23rd and then at the Spectrum in Philadelphia for three nights the 25th through to the 27th then Worcester Massachusetts on the 28th and 29th at the Centrum then its December already Hartford Connecticut the Civic Centre December 1st then the Carrier Dome in Syracuse New York, a Very big place that’s on the 2nd December, Buffalo’s municipal auditorium on the 3rd of December, Cleveland Ohio on the 4th December, Pittsburgh Civic Arena on the 7th of December the Riverfront coliseum on the 8th December in Cincinnati, Norfolk Virginia on the 10th at the Scope…Woo, this tour is really rigorous...
(Goes on to mention dates right up to the 17th December)

RA: Have you done your Christmas shopping yet?

PC: (laughs).

TB: No that’s only half the tour, we start again on January the 9th.

RA: Well there are a whole lot of Surprises in store for the fans though who will be coming to these shows, there is a whole new lighting apparatus that you have unveiled who would like to describe that to our listener’s?

TB: Mike would (PC laughs).

MR: I don’t know why I always get the technical questions (laughs).

RA: Mike Rutherford speaking…

PC: He’s on the left… (Laughs)

MR: Yeah I’m on the left, These lights that are called vari-lites that we have been using for a few years we have managed to get a whole lot together and the lighting rig is basically just the vari-lites which for people who do not know about them, they change colour and move around and do wildly exciting things and it is the first time that any band has got together a rig of just vari-lites so it makes for a very different lighting effect

RA: Some very striking effects.

PC: We went into business a little bit, we don’t usually do that kind of thing but us and Showco have gone into business to try and get into different areas of entertainment there are a lot of possibilities for things like ballet and opera and theatre in general. A lot of people are taking them out (vari-lites) on tour like Diana Ross and ZZ Top and the Police have all used them but because we were the first band to use them we wanted to try and be the first all the way down the line in terms of how they’re used and it’s the first time we have got a couple of hundred up there.

RA: So in short Phil, your saying that the band hold a financial interest in this lighting apparatus.

PC: Yep.

MR: It was very much our idea, us and Showco we had the original idea to get something, because nothing had changed in the lighting world for years and years.

RA: I’d have to consider myself a veteran concert goer and somewhat jaded sometimes but I have never seen anything quite like that, and it was really something.

PC: That bad (laughs).

RA: On Radio we cannot adequately describe. (Laughs).

INT: Last month we ran a world series of Rock and Roll competitions in New York and Genesis were picked as one of New York’s two favourite rock groups of all time, What do you guys think of poll’s, competitions?

TB: Who was the other?

INT: The Who

TB: Ah, right.

MR: Very often with polls and competitions you discover that the number of people actually participating are a surprisingly small amount.

INT: This was in the number of thousands.

MR: Double figures? Right.

TB: Well, I think it’s nice with polls, its nice to do well in them (laughs) I think that they are...

MR: Crawler, you! (Laughs).

TB: Its true isn’t it? on the other hand they are certain groups who are more likely to have the energy to get people to ring up. Some people that like the band follow us very closely and they will bother to bring maybe more so than some of the other bands that maybe have a bigger but slightly more casual following...

PC: I was going to say in England all of the music press all have there own polls every year, and we always do very well in Melody Maker; up until recently the Melody Maker readership was our fans really in a way more of our fans than Yes fans or Led Zeppelin fans when they were still around were as the NME (New Musical Express) there poll was sort of the radical and sort of new wave and we would be like 16th instead of number one so it really does depend on who listens to what and who reads what.

INT: A part from polls making you feel good, they’re perhaps more useful if your're starting than of course at this time (stage of career) did you use polls when you were starting?

MR: You didn’t get them we were just starting, we weren’t in them (Laughs).

RA: Well of course in 1974 one of your major break through in England was the doing well in that NME poll, musical times have changed along with cultural trends of course and it was quite a coup for you guys...

PC: We feel like “This is Phil Collins breaking in here“. We feel quite good if we get to number 16 in the NME poll really I mean its weird when all the bands above us and the ten thousand people that can actually write and address, in England, an envelope and send it off. Out of those ten thousand people its nice to know that some of them still listen to us, and the Stones (Rolling Stones), I guess we are the two bands that usually figure pretty well in those polls.

INT: Let me direct a question at you Chester, you and Daryl have been touring with the band for about five years now. But your not involved at least to the best of my knowledge in the studio work with the band itself. Does it make you feel you are less than the fully fledged members of the band how do you approach the other three, I’ll ask Chester and if Daryl wants to jump in he can as well.

CT: Now’s my chance huh! (Laughs).

PC: I’ll give you twenty now Chester, twenty now (laughs).

CT: Well, since I have been in LA which has been the last ten years now I’ve been pretty much a freelance player and this is not very different from that when we are on tour it’s a band, it feels very much like a band to me, for me in January it will be seven years. No, it doesn’t bother me at all that I don’t do the studio stuff mainly because I do look at it as a freelance point of view. I mean when we are on tour everyone bends over backwards to make it feel like a band. I mean we are not treated any differently than the others, we get good rooms too instead of the closets like some people (laughs).

DS: Wait a minute I get the closets, Chester.

CT: Uh oh!

PC: Next year you’ll get the beds.

CT: Right! But no I do look at it that way when you hear the difference in the way things sound live and all, it wouldn’t sound at all the same if I were doing the stuff in the studio and I think the Genesis sound is actually what the three of them do together and I guess the live stuff does feel quite a bit different I don’t feel as though it is a mistake on their part to do there stuff on there own, plus Phil’s greedy and he won’t let me play anyway (laughs).

INT: How about you Daryl?

DS: I feel pretty much the same way. I’d like to do the studio stuff of course but I have had the chance to do everyone of their solo albums as well; Phil’s, Mike’s and Tony’s and I think that helps a lot as for my feeling of being part of the band or at least being appreciated as part of the band but the same thing goes with the tour I think we are pretty much equal members on the road.

INT: Do you feel your role in joining the group just before the tour as in rehearsing the material and so on is to duplicate the sound of the records or to improve upon it or what?

DS: I think it’s to put our own personality into it, hopefully to improve it; not that it needs much improving...

RA: Very diplomatic there!

DS: No.

PC: Daryl back to the closet (laughs).

DS: What do you mean?

PC: I jest.

DS: I think that I add my own parts into it when I can, I have to stick to some of the route of the song; obviously if there is a bass part that stands out you have to do that part, but there are those moments for us to do something else I mean we do a song like It’s Gonna Get Better and at the end of the song I put a little guitar solo at the end of it, well sort of a solo anyway and that’s obviously mine...

PC: I think we all feel, “this is Phil Collins jumping in again”, we all feel when we come out of the studio the three of us and we are going to go on the road to rehearse it’s a basic change for all of us to try and compromise the parts we have done on the album anyway, and I have got to learn all of my words anyway that I have had written in front of me, and Tony’s got to memorise all of his keyboard parts that have been done at various intervals throughout the album and the same as Mikes guitar and bass parts. It requires a new way of thinking for all of us so when Chester and Daryl come in we are already starting at the ground floor with how to make the tunes sound as good as possible, and its not as if the three of us have it together and Chester and Daryl come in and learn our parts and then you know all smooth sailing. But basically its all us trying to work out how to get it to sound good and therefore it does change with two drummers, you know, and having a different guitar player and everything changes.

RA: Well, obviously you have made the right selections in choosing people with as interesting and intriguing background as Chester Thompson who used to play with Weather Report among many others and Daryl who has played with Jean Luc Ponty and a number of other fine musicians with improvisational backgrounds and they have done fine and I guess that’s why they have been around for so long...

PC: Well yeah, one of the most important things is that everyone gets on (laughs) and that everyone gets on personally. I mean when you're thrown together on the road that’s the most important thing in some respects so we have been lucky that we all get on great and in many respects they are the best musicians in the group.

INT: They’re both American that’s interesting to me.

PC: Well, we save on airfares because... (laughs).

MR: That’s why we rehearse over here (laughs).

(Mama is played on the radio)

INT: OK guys, anyone answer this but I’ll invite you Phil to jump in if like...

PC: No no, I won’t jump in. I’ll just identify myself (laughs)

INT: Who is Mama and who came up with the idea for the song?

PC: I’ve said enough OK. I’ll answer the question!

MR: This is Mike Rutherford here jumping in. Its about this old, it’s a personal story of Phil’s (laughs). There was Phil in this Cuban Brothel and there was this big old hooker (Phil does the manic laugh) (laughs) and they went upstairs…… Basically there is this young guy and who was keen on this old hooker and she gave him a hard time really and that’s basically what its about. Our manager, Tony, thought it was, if you listen to it, an anti-abortion song. You can apply that to it to, we describe it as Surgical Rock.

INT: Phil do you have anything to add?

PC: One other thing the feeling of the song like most of the songs as we talked about earlier was improvised and honing things into shape and this song had a feeling of steam; a lot of steam and heat, we kind of pictured amongst the three of us Cuban Brothels right? that was the sort of picture we had you can’t escape from the heat and when it came to writing the lyrics for it, this is one of the one’s I wrote. You just try and get that feeling over in the lyric. Most of the lyrics that are in the song I’d say 50% of them were sung when we were writing the thing and I just try to use those same words and they just sound good the ones that come naturally.

INT: That diabolical laugh?

PC: Yes, the laugh sort of came from Anthony Newton Treasure Island? Which I didn’t play when I was at a school (referencing his stage school) it didn’t seem that important at the time, but it goes down very, very well on stage; the laugh!

INT: You have to put yourself in a sort of sinister frame of mind to perform that on stage?

PC: Just the laugh, that little bit.

INT: Tony, you and Mike have both come out with solo albums and yet your vocalising is limited to the solo efforts is there any chance in the future you might be appearing with some vocals on some future Genesis albums?

TB: I'd never rule it out. We have no particular plans to. The thing we were saying before with the way that this particular album was done with everything in the studio as we went along and Phil was kind of used to doing all of the vocals while we were actually writing the songs and improvising them. So I think every song sort of tended to end up with his voice them being natural for it. We did consider before doing the album that maybe Mike or I could have a go. What we did on this album is that Mike and I are much more prominent on the backing vocals on this album than we have been in the past. It gives you a little bit of confidence having done it once in the studio you get an idea, you know, that your voice can sound a bit better than you originally thought it could and so you go for it a little bit harder. I think it’s nice you get a sort of different texture from the backing vocals rather than Phil doing 90% of it.

INT: If we go back to say 1975 how was it decided that Phil would be the lead singer of the group after the departure of Peter Gabriel?

MR: He paid a lot of money (laughs). We just sort of, once again drifted into it we did look for other singers but no-one sounded any better than Phil.

INT: You looked around the studio and said who wants to sing?

MR: Yeah we tossed a coin, a doubled headed coin.

PC: We auditioned people.

MR: Yeah they all came down and Phil said this is how it goes and he always seemed to sound better, and he did the album. After the album we still tried to find someone you know, tall and good looking, long blonde hair (laughs) and we ended up with the best we could find and we have been regretting it ever since (laughs).

PC: Sometimes I do regret it (laughs). I live in fear when I get up in the morning as to whether I will be able to sing at night and it’s a different attitude on tour. I used to have great fun all I had to do was get up and do whatever I had to do and then play the drums at night. But I do live in fear of opening my mouth and nothing coming out.

INT: You were recently quoted as to say calling yourself a singing drummer, rather than a drumming singer so drumming is still what you feel...?

PC: I’m better at it really.

INT: What do you think Chester?

CT: Well I don’t like his singing but he defiantly plays drums (laughs).

PC: Well thanks a lot (laughs) I give, I give you know (laughs).

INT: Mike Rutherford, will Peter Gabriel join you anytime on this tour, any plans for that?

MR: No, I don’t think so, ever since the reunion we had for charity, what a way to spend my birthday. Ever since that people keep saying is Pete going to come on, we all enjoyed it, It was great fun to do but it was great that it was a one off might do it again one day. But I think there has to be a reason for it like this one was to raise money for this festival that had gone into debt and it kind of justified it but there’s no plan for Pete to come on this tour.

INT: A serious question. It’s become very fashionable for groups to embark on 'farewell' tours. Do you foresee anything that might bring?

MR: Didn’t they tell you?

INT: Well this is a press conference (laughs).

PC: When we decide to say 'No More'! We won’t be able to do a farewell tour we will just decide to stop and that will be the end of it. There is no question of 'Hey, I think I am not going to like you guys in a years time so lets do a farewell tour now', I think that would be the end of it and it would be just pull the plug now and pack our instruments away and say 'thank you'.

MR: We tend to do it year by year, and people say 'I’m so glad you guys are still together and are you going to keep going'. Each year we sit down to make a new album and to sort of reappraise us.

PC: I think the best thing to do is if people go out and buy tickets because it might be our last (laughs).

INT: What are your plans collectively after this tour?

PC: We are going on another tour in January and February.

MR: I’m writing for other people.

TB: I’ll probably be do something or sign on the dole!

At this point the tape ends!

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Photo: Gerard Mankovitz/Virgin Records
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Photo: Joe Bangay/Virgin Records