"Catching a breather between tours..." - Tony Banks talks to TWR about the Turn It On Again tour...

TWR: How did you go about selecting the songs you were going to play in the live set?

TB: In many ways it was just like putting together a set as if we had a new record, but instead of doing songs from the 'new' album we were able to put in some earlier things we hadnt played for a while. Listening to 3 sides live we particularly liked the Cage/Afterglow medley but wanted to make it a little different so replaced Slippermen with a bit of Dukes Travels which both Phil and I were quite keen to do. I also wanted to do one song we had not played for a very long time, so I suggested Ripples amongst one or two other possibilities. The intro to Behind the Lines has always been one of my favourite openings, but we felt for the show, that the song part wouldnt work so well so thats why we combined it with Dukes end to make it work on its own. The other earlier songs Carpet, Follow you, I know etc helped to balance the show to stop it becoming too heavy for what would after all be a pretty mixed crowd.

TWR: What songs did you suggest that didn’t make it into the final setlist?

TB: I suggested either Blood on the Rooftops or Many too Many. I knew we wouldnt end up doing either of these, but it meant that when I suggested Ripples as a compromise it would get through!

TWR: What has been your favourite gig so far and why?

TB: Probably Manchester maybe because having done the Live Earth show that morning which was quite stressful, coming back to our own show seemed so much easier. Paris was another good one I think.

TWR: The broadcast of the Dusseldorf gig was another first for the band. Why did you decide to do it and were you happy with the results?

TB: The possibility came up and it sounded interesting. After we had put the shows in the UK on sale we realised we should have done a lot more so this was a way to reach a few more people. It was probably most difficult for Nick Davis, having to mix 5.1 sound live. I have only seen little bits myself, but the reports seemed OK.

TWR: Are there any plans for any further shows, especially in the UK where, by your own admission, you underestimated your popularity?

TB: Nothing at the moment

TWR: Are there any plans to record any new music, either solo or under the Genesis name?

TB: As far as Genesis is concerned, there are no plans. For myself, I would like to do another orchestral piece, but there is still a long way to go.

TWR: Now that the Encore series CDs are out, are there any plans to release older gigs on CD?

TB: We have board mixes on cassette of a great number of earlier shows, at some point we hope to make some available through the website, this is something we have been meaning to do for a while.

TWR: How did you go about selecting the equipment in your keyboard rig for the tour?

I had to start pretty much from scratch as my current home rig was set up to play flutes cellos etc. For the Invisible Touch and We Cant Dance songs I had keyboardless versions of most of the instruments I used, also for the earlier tours I had had a couple of Proteuses specially made with various sounds used on Domino, Mama, Tonight Tonight etc. However because most of the keys of the songs have gone down by a semitone ot two, I had to go back to the original Emulator samples for some sections. For all the other songs I am using the Korg Oasys. Using this I can recreate all the organ, piano, string and voices sounds as well as all the lead sounds for Cage, Cinema Show, Firth, Los Endos etc. and a few 'specials' throughout the set. There are no sounds on the 2 keyboards in front of me on stage, they are both just being used as MIDI controllers playing the Oasys and the rack instruments. (The Oasys) is the nerve centre of the whole thing. I had originally just been interested in it for home use and it was just coincidence that I happened to have it when we decided to do the tour, but it is a great live instrument.

Click to enlarge
Tony's 2007 tour rig.
As well as the Wavestation, A90
and Oasys keyboards, the racks are as follows...
Mackie mixer x2, Yamaha SPX2000 x2,
Roland JD990 x2, Korg Wavestation SR x2,
E-mu E-IV Rack x2, E-mu Proteus 1 x2,
E-mu Proteus 2 x2, Yamaha TX7 x2
Photo: S Barnes/TWR

TWR: There appears to be two of everything in the rack cases. Why is this?

TB: Back-ups

TWR: Have there been problems with your rig on this tour?

TB: The only real problems I have had so far have been with the Roland A90 (the lower keyboard in front of me). We think it got wet at Katowice where it started to play up. After that Justin, the keyboard roadie, thought he had sorted it out but it played up again in Hanover, I think it was, where we replaced it with the spare. For North American rehearsals I am going to try out a different instrument altogether as the A90s are quite old and are no longer made.

TWR: Did you re-learn all the songs with the key changes or did you use the transpose facility on the equipment and play in the original keys?

TB: I play most songs in the original key, transposing them in the machines. When rehearsing this meant we could take down the key in stages, till we found the one most comfortable for Phil. After 30 years, trying to play the Cage solo in Db rather than Eb would probably scramble me completely. One or two of the easier pieces like Afterglow and Carpet Crawlers I play in the new key. No son of Mine I actually have set up to play in either E minor (the original key) or D minor depending on Phils voice, although we havent played it in the original key since rehearsals.

TWR: What was it like revisiting the old songs?

TB: I have been involved over the last year or two in helping Nick Davis with the 5.1 mixes so I have heard everything fairly recently, which meant nothing was too unfamiliar. It took us a while to get up to speed on some of the more intricate pieces, the Cage medley and Los Endos especially, but the challenge has been fun.

TWR: Did you rehearse any songs that didn’t make it out on the road? Which ones?

TB: Abacab, Thats all and Jesus He Knows Me.

TWR: Have there been any strange or funny moments on stage during the tour?

TB: The strangest moment for me was looking across early during the Katowice show and seeing Mike and Daryl wearing caps and raincoats with rain pouring on them and lightning flashing behind them, particularly since we had been told that if there was lightning they would take us off the stage.

TWR: Twickenham can be viewed as a ‘homecoming gig’, as it was your only full set played in London. How did it go for you, especially as it is probably the last time Genesis will have played live in the UK?

TB: It went OK given that for us it was the 'home' show which was always going to be a tense one as we had so many guests.

TWR: What do you see yourself doing once the US tour has finished?

TB: Not much for a bit.

Many thanks to Carol Willis for facilitating this interview.