In Conversation - Daryl Stuermer interviewed by WKLH Radio on 8th March 2007. Interview transcribed by Alan Hewitt. Photographs: Inside Out Music, Rhino Records/Sylvia Pistel, Jonathan Guntrip, Mike Ainscoe.

Continuing our trawl through the TWR archives, I thought that this interview with Daryl might prove interesting…..

INT: Are we reading too much into that where he said twenty days and there are thirteen shows? (Referring to Phil’s comments at the press conference to announce the Turn It On Again tours).

DS: Well, if I look at the schedule I can see that there are a lot of days off and I don’t think that’s what we are going to be doing. I think what we will do is if there is a Philadelphia show they are going to see how that sells and if it sells out they may add another one.

INT: What is optimum between shows for a band?

DS: Well usually it depends on the travel and how much equipment but what they are doing here is, there are two stages and while we are playing one show, another stage is being sent to the next place or is actually being built at the same time. This is going to be such a huge stage, the biggest stage that Genesis have ever had. The last one we had was in 1992 and that was stadium shows with screens. Now we are going to have ninety foot screens and things like that so they have to have two separate crews for this so while we are playing a show in say, Chicago, another one is being set up somewhere else.
Click to enlarge

INT: Do you fly privately then?

DS: Yes we do. They have to do that and we have been doing that for … I don’t know the last twenty years.

INT: OK, so when you have travelled with Phil Collins on the road with him, he has twenty people with him on the stage id it just going to be five guys from Genesis on stage is that going to be it?

DS: Yes. And I love that, I am more into the intimate band. I like everybody in the Phil Collins band but we have three female singers, two male backing singers, you have got four horn players and another rhythm guitar player, you’ve got percussion and it is just such a massive band and everybody has their cliques, everybody gets along but it is like you are taking a classroom along with you, you know. It is so much easier to keep in control with five people, you know, especially these five people, you know; Mike Tony and Phil being British and everybody is very calm and easy to get along with and then Chester Thompson and I are pretty easy going people. So it isn’t like a mixture of cultures and stuff it’s pretty much the same.
Click to enlarge

INT: Have you rehearsed at all?

DS: Yes. Well we rehearsed back in October/November.

INT: And that was when you decided that you still had this synergy but since that time, no?

DS: No, we are going to start rehearsals on April 22nd. I am leaving on 20th. That is what I am going to be doing and that is when we start the serious rehearsal and we will be doing about two and a half weeks’ rehearsal with just the band and then we are going to do about two and half weeks’ rehearsal with the full production.

INT: OK, so since the first time you guys got together until now, how much communication have you had with the other members of the band, in other words, have they sent you a set list, have they … heads up Daryl, we’re going to be doing this or whatever…?

DS: Mike asked me what key Turn It On Again is in, that was one thing he wrote me in an e-mail (laughs) because we are rehearsing all these different things in different keys to see what is going to work best you know your voice will always lower a bit so Phil Collins’s voice has lowered a bit so some of the songs are in a different key than they used to be. Some are in exactly the same key that he did them in but when you are talking about a series of shows and things like that sometimes it is best to lower a couple of things so he can get through the next night and the night after that. So it’s not that he can’t sing it in the original key it is just that it is going to wear his voice down. So maybe we drop it a half step or a whole step and that’s what we do and so that’s why Mike e-mailed me he couldn’t remember what key we had decided on because it is in B rather than A. So we communicate a little bit like that and he wrote me because we had this other song as well and we had pretty much what we thought we were going to do at those rehearsals but now they have decided on a couple of other surprises which I won’t mention! And we haven’t rehearsed them yet so we don’t know if they will work, but I am sure they will.

INT: What about when you look at these guys with their impressive solo careers, Phil and Mike is any of that stuff going to work its way in or is it strictly going to be Genesis?

DS: You know there are so many Genesis songs that they couldn’t possibly think of anything else to do and I could ask for one of mine! (laughs). That’s why, you couldn’t possibly work anything else in and you couldn’t work in anything from the last Genesis album that Mike and Tony did with the other singer so they are going to stick with the old stuff and the latter stuff, you know.

INT: So, this fascinates me, how does a band rehearse?

Click to enlarge

DS: We do, it is like we work out it is going to be a ten o’clock start and someone picks you up at the hotel and we are all together and we just go in a van and we just go to rehearsal and work through until about six or seven o’clock with a lunch break in the middle and then after rehearsal you go and have dinner. So that’s pretty much it but we are pretty disciplined. I have never rehearsed for that many hours with a local group or even with my band we would never go beyond two and a half hours. To be fair though, the groups here aren’t trying to do twenty two songs. That’s why and you only rehearse for that month or so.

INT: The shows in Europe, they really are stadium shows and you are playing these massive stadiums.

DS: Yes, we are and nothing is going to be below fifty or sixty thousand seats and I think Rome is going to be a lot more, that’s our last show in Europe and that’s free so I think you are going to get the same amount of people who are going to see the fireworks here, you are going to get four hundred thousand.

INT: Do you remember the very first time you stepped out on to a stage like that?

DS: Yeah, it was with Genesis, I had worked with Jean Luc Ponty for years and we were doing pretty much small theatres and maybe the biggest thing was 2500 seats and when I came out with Genesis we were in somewhere like Allentown in Pennsylvania or something like that and I remember walking out and the crowd was, the energy was so high that actually I started shaking and I was thinking, my God! But I was so excited about doing it and it took me time to calm down. Because you have to calm down a bit when you are playing or your hands will be shaking and you will be playing a little bit too hard and so I remember that. It’s always a lot of fun, it is never, oh this is a drag, you know, and even if there are 80,000 people out there it always feels really good.

INT: Do you have family that is going to be flying out to see you?

DS: Yeah, it's going to be off and on but my wife Michaela will be coming out and we are talking about having the two girls come out and everybody is talking about it because really it COULD be the last time, who knows. It could be the last tour. There could be one after this, they might enjoy it so much that they decide; let’s do Australia, let’s go to Japan. I don’t know that but it is always possible. Because I look at this and I think, why stop? I think lets go on tour for two years and we might as well go everywhere, I think we could keep going because it is a lot of fun. I think it is going to be the biggest tour of the summer really.

INT: Are there any cities in North America that you are particularly looking forward to playing?

DS: Honestly, I really love Toronto. What’s nice about it is that we are going to be doing about four days of production rehearsal there because there is going to be a big break between the European tour and the American tour so there will be a rehearsal period there and I love going to Toronto , and I have friends up there and my brother and I were in a band at one time up there, called Max Webster and they became a very popular band later on.

INT: One more question before we go to a break… I saw Genesis back in ’77 or ’78 and it would have been in Dayton or Cincinatti, would you have been the guitarist with Genesis then,,,?

DS: In 1978, yes. We were touring in ’78. In 1979 I was touring with Gino Vanelli. In 1978 it was the And Then There Were Three tour and their big hit at the time was Follow You Follow Me and that was when I joined and that was the best time to join Genesis because that’s when they kind of took off commercially.

INT: How does it work with all your equipment? I mean, you must have all your stuff which you love to use and how do you ship that all over there?

DS: Usually what happens is about ten days to two weeks before the rehearsals start, they … I have to pack it in road cases and they just collect it basically, they send a company over to my place and they just collect everything and I will have four or five electric guitars, a couple of basses, amps, pedal boards things like that. In fact when I first joined Genesis I remember I arrived and they said; ’Oh you don’t bring anything other than a guitar that you like’. They supplied everything for me at that point and I thought I was in a toy store! They asked what kind of amp I wanted and so on, and I thought it was amazing. Because I came from Jean Luc Ponty’s band where you owned everything that you played so it was kind of nice. What they would do is they would buy you an amp and then buy you another one as a spare and they sent that one with you to your house.

INT: One of the things that a lot of people might not know Daryl, is that you play bass on a LOT of Genesis stuff…

DS: Well when I joined them at the time I was replacing a guy called Steve Hackett who did all the stuff with Peter Gabriel as well. So we did a lot of the older stuff and so I was basically playing his parts or interpreting his stuff. Then the newest record at this point was called And Then There Were Three and Mike played guitar and bass on those tracks but he has wanted to play guitar on the stuff since 1978 and so unless he hands it over to me and says ’why don’t you play guitar on this song?’ so I am probably playing bass on about sixty per cent of the Genesis songs that we are going to be doing on this tour. So that was my first real introduction into playing bass live on stage. I would do it on demos and stuff like that so I became a bass player within the last twenty or something years (laughs). Bass is my second instrument but I do a lot of it with Genesis.

INT: Do you find yourself intimidated by having to play the bass?

DS: No, no, because I did play bass anyway but like I said I had never played it live and at that point we had about seven weeks of rehearsal and you get very comfortable with it and I felt ok playing bass.

INT: Looking at the tour schedule for Genesis, you guys are playing Giants Stadium and you are playing the Hollywood Bowl, have you ever played the Hollywood Bowl?

DS: I don’t think so. I did play Giants Stadium but I’ve never played the Hollywood Bowl.

Click to enlarge

INT: We’ve got some e-mails for you. This one’s from Gary, will Genesis be playing live at the VH1 Honours show on May 12th?

DS: We may be because I got a call from the manager asking if I was available for that day. But I have not had the call back from him yet. I think it might, I am pretty sure that we are going to do that.

INT: Do you think any more cities will be announced since about half the United States was missed and where will we be able to order your new album, Go when it is released?

DS: As far as the cities are concerned, I think there are going to be some more added in there, I can’t imagine us just doing the thirteen that are on the list as I said before, there might be some multiple dates at some of these shows, maybe there is going to be a second Boston or whatever and some things are probably being negotiated right now that we don’t even know about.

As for Go, my newest CD it is coming out on April 23rd I believe right about the time I am leaving for rehearsals and it is coming out on a German label called Inside Out whish is the label that Steve Hackett and Steve Howe are on so I have some good company, some good guitar players.

Click to enlarge

And there we leave this interesting interview with Daryl. It is a shame that he didn’t make further mention of his new album but there you go!