In conversation - Tony Banks talks to Alan Hewitt about his recent activities and future plans. Interview conducted on Friday 14th November 2014. Photos: David Lawrence, Jonathan Dann, Stuart Barnes, Andrew Nagy, Tadlow Music and Marco Salvatorelli.

Here we are again, chatting to Tony about his most recent activities and about that documentary! My thanks to Tony for taking the time to talk to TWR and to Jon Kirkman for his technical assistance and to Jo Greenwood at TSPM for organising everything for us. Now, on with the show…

TWR: Why did you finally decide to release The Wicked Lady on CD?

TB: Well, there had been quite a lot of requests for it, you know and it was music that I was quite proud of some of it so I thought it should be out there really we thought we would just release it through the web site and see how that went and it was OK but it involved a lot of work and so if anything else were to be done and the other records we might go by a different route. I enjoyed doing it and I probably enjoyed the orchestral side of it more in a way apart from the main theme which sounds great, the rest of it is perhaps a little bit safe.

TWR: The main theme from the album was originally intended for The Fugitive, why wasn’t it used on that album?

TB: Actually I just discarded it from The Fugitive really because I had two instrumentals on there already which were slightly sort of different you know, Charm and Thirty Threes, and I thought those were quite different and slightly more interesting than some of the stuff I had done in the past and that was obviously a piano themed orchestral if you like and then when Michael Winner got in touch with me about what I thought was a very nice theme and I thought it might work and he really liked it and it worked really well with the orchestra and it just seemed to suit it really and repeated it a number of times and it sounded quite good.

TWR: Was it difficult switching between the one project and the other?

TB: Not really because once I had decided on the main theme I had the other bits and pieces that are on the CD, the demo type ones and I had a few of them around and I just wrote some simpler moments for in the thing and the idea was to keep them quite simple with no drums and little more than melody and chords in a way. And then when we did it for the film I had a lot of help from Christopher Palmer who was the arranger and we made something slightly more out of it really but the demos I did I did play piano alongside the demos to some of the themes which was quite fun to do but I don’t know where they ended up. That was kind of what Christopher worked to, and then the arrangement on the other pieces.

TWR: How easy was it to work with the arranger, Christopher Palmer and what did he bring to the project that you were lacking?

TB: Professionalism really, he had done film themes himself and had composed film music and was very at ease with it whereas I hadn’t really done it before and I knew I was short of time and he knew that I had never done it before in this kind of way. He was great actually, he made some things a little sweet you know, but the film sort of required that in a way and some of it was a bit conventional and he did throw in one or two of his own themes into it which I don’t think are very good, they are a bit more standard if you like but overall I found the experience quite a lot of fun you know but for me I was kind of working on The Fugitive and working on days off doing the incidental parts for The Wicked Lady which was a bit of a sweat but I wanted to do it. I always wanted to do film music and that was a good opening for me and unfortunately of course, the film was a disaster in terms of box office! (laughs). Like all of the films I have done, apart from The Shout, none of them have been very well received and therefore have never led to anything else I suppose. So my film writing career sort of petered out in the mid Eighties whatever.

TWR: Are there any pieces from the session left unrecorded?

TB: Not really. I put out all the demos and there are some piano bits and pieces but I sent them all to Christopher and that’s probably just as well because they were pretty roughly done to give an idea of how it would go. It wasn’t a film like Quicksilver where I was pretty much doing it for the film in the way you have to do it and tie things in when they decided they wanted an extra second of music here or there and I had to do it and rewrite the piece but with The Wicked Lady I didn’t really do that. The donkey work was all really done by Christopher. It was great fun going to the sessions and seeing how they did it because it is quite an art to actually make it fit when you are doing it all live and not like recording when you can hit key points really.

TWR: You released the album on your own record label, why?

TB: The idea was to put it out myself more as an experiment than anything else really to see how it went and to see what work was involved with the possibility of releasing the other albums which aren’t available at the moment, the same way. But having done it once, I decided that I would rather go through a record label. You probably make more money if you do it through your own label but I don’t want to be involved in that, I am happy to work with people like Esoteric who are keen to do this sort of thing and that is the route I will probably go.

TWR: How do you feel about the album and the film nowadays after all the work you put in on it?

TB: What, The Wicked Lady? I don’t know. It was a fun experience. I got on well with Michael Winner as it happens and we kept in touch quite a lot after that really. He was always very nice to me and it was fun to meet the stars of the film at the premier and all that sort of thing . It was only when I watched it at the premier that I realised that a lot of it wasn’t supposed to be funny and it got a lot of laughs (laughs) and you knew you were in trouble but the main theme … unfortunately the best use of the main theme was in the middle, the soft porn sequence which was heavily edited for the cinematic release but the video has it and the film is only really famous now for the whipping scene which involved the girl who has now ended up in Star Trek (Marina Sirtis) so at least it is known for some reason or other! (laughs).

Moving on slightly forward in time now, Tony to your recent commission for the Cheltenham Festival. How did that commission come about?

TB: The guy who puts on the festival is a fan and just asked me to do it. It’s the first time I have ever been asked to do something like this. Every other time I have been inflicting myself on people and it was kind of an opportunity to do something in the kind of way that a classical musician might do it, ie it was a commission and all of that and a bit of a challenge which it proved to be really. It is a lot of work for one performance now obviously I am going to use the music elsewhere afterwards but it did require quite a lot of effort, work and finance as well getting it into shape for one performance which was pretty lukewarm but it was alright. It is obviously a long way from what it should have been. It was quite fun to do that, to hear a thing for the first time ever in that situation and for other people as well. And to do it that way was quite interesting and I wanted to do that when it was suggested to me and everything you do teaches you something and I wrote the music in a certain kind of way because it was only going to be heard once but most of my music does require more than one listen and it does have a sort of pulse going through it which some of the other classical pieces I have done don’t.

TWR: Did the Festival organisers give you a programme to work towards in terms of its style, length etc?

TB: Yes, they said fifteen minutes and interestingly enough when I did the first demo of it, it came in at EXACTLY fifteen minutes! I couldn’t believe it actually without really trying. I thought I would have to fiddle about a bit anyhow it ended up being a bit longer than that for all sorts of reasons, I extended the ending and some bits got slower but it was incredible really and as long as I have written in the orchestral field I have wanted to write something that could stand up to that and what I like about doing the orchestral pieces is the ability to revisit a theme and do it differently each time and add bits or take bits away or slightly alter the structure a bit here and there just to keep people on their toes and keep it interesting and unpredictable. Actually I think the demo is far better than what ended up being played and I have the temptation, perhaps the next thing I do will be more of a hybrid involving a bit more of me and a bit more synthetic stuff and the orchestra because I feel not being able to orchestrate it myself completely I feel that I could do more of it if I did it that way round and I have a bit more control if the orchestra is a bit more of an overdub way of doing it but I haven’t really decided yet. I do think the demo of this is really strong as it happens but it needs the orchestra to make it work.

TWR: The piece is called Arpegg, tell us a little about it. Has it been recorded or considered for release?

TB: Well, I am definitely considering recording it at some point or another and it will come out as part of another thing and I have a couple of other pieces which aren’t fully developed and I just need a little bit more really. It was called “Arpeggio” and that was its working title and I called it “Arpegg” on the demo and that ended up sticking but I don’t think it will end up being called that. I think that really was a work in progress type thing and I still think it has a little way to go. I quite like the word Arpeggio but being a musical word it does conjure up something. Originally when I wrote it, I had the arpeggio going much more all the way through it and it was part of the… particularly on the end of the piece that ended up on Six which I called City Of Gold, there is a bit quite near the beginning where the orchestra is playing an arpeggio and that is quite a strong moment and I would have liked that kind of feel to go on longer than it did. So, my original idea when I did this was to take that idea and extend it more through the piece which I do but still not quite as much as I would want and that is something I might want to explore when I come back to it.

TWR: So, does this mean that you have any other orchestral ideas/projects in the pipeline?

TB: Well that’s right but as I said before I might be tempted to include a bit of other things in with it but I haven’t decided whether that will be a bit more keyboard stuff or a bit more synthesiser or something to kind of keep the rhythm of it going slightly better and also the ability to add some more bits and pieces. The trouble is when I did Seven, I added the three piano parts afterwards on the pieces I did and that was a kind of nightmare because orchestras don’t really play in “time” as you and I might know it (laughs) and if you hear the actual parts on their own they sound extraordinary. But it helped a little bit on the opening piece. What I prefer to do is have the piano kind of THERE and then to work from that and you can take it out but you can have it there when you need it and there are bits where you think a piano would be nice there but sometimes with an orchestra the piano tends to sit somewhere at the back and it is one of those sounds in the middle distance if you like. Unless you are writing a piano concerto where it is right at the front and that is different.

The thing about rock music is the piano can be used across the whole stereo and can be quite big and can provide a lot of body and that is something that maybe doesn’t fit quite so well with classical music but I think it can still work so that is the kind of area I am looking at I think.

TWR: Are there any plans to re-issue any of your other albums?

TB: Yes there are. I definitely think they should be out there. And there is the possibility of a compilation album or at least something else but I am talking that through with people at the moment. Originally I intended to do it through my own label but then I thought… I don’t know what it is but something about a record company gives it an official stamp and they have their own outlets and they can put it in places where it wouldn’t occur to you and if you do it yourself you are pretty much restricted to the Amazons and things of this world and that is part of the story.

TWR: It is the 40th anniversary of The Lamb… this year, were any thoughts given to some kind of performance to commemorate this and what do you think of the various tribute bands who have staged the show?

TB: Well, not really, no (laughs). We considered it when it was thirty I think and that was when it was likely that it was never going to happen and that was when we did the last tour. No, not really. I am not saying there won’t be anything at all but there is nothing particularly planned. As you well know I am sure, Phil is not really in the position to do the drumming anymore on a record like that so any sort of live performance is not really practical without a lot of changes and I don’t think that is going to happen really. So there are no plans, no.

TWR: There are an awful lot of tribute bands out there doing it nowadays, have you seen any of them?

TB: I know, that’s why we don’t have to do it really! (laughs). I don’t know how good they all are but certainly some of them do a competent job and one thing I like is Nick di Virgilio’s version of The Lamb… because it sort of took it apart and put it together again and I think one or two pieces worked quite well like that. As you say there are a lot of bands out there. The difficult thing for me is I am not seeing it as other people are seeing it really. I saw The Musical Box do it and they did it very well but they were kind of using the old light show and it was very dark (laughs) and in this day and age it looks a bit strange to me. And I never felt that it was our best thing live, to be honest. I just don’t think that some of the songs took to live performance really as well as others and then when they did the encores of The Musical Box it was the best thing they did really. A couple of things worked really well, I thought that Back In NYC worked really well
I think the most difficult person to replicate really is Peter obviously and he did a very reasonable job but he isn’t Peter and it doesn’t come across with that same sort of charismatic quality I think and I think for some of the other bands that is an even bigger problem to try and get what he had is quite difficult. I mean you can play the notes which the rest of us do and that is probably going to sound alright but somehow the singing and presence is a difficult thing to recreate.

TWR: Do you think that the live show made more sense of the album?

TB: I don’t know, we used to have a bit of fun with slides and effects that was all quite good. I think the story is pretty difficult to follow at the best of times. It is just a very sequential series of events in a way and there is a sort of conclusion but as I said in the documentary which we did recently I feel that the story is not the strongest part about it, I mean, some of the individual lyrics are fantastic but it doesn’t lift up your spirits like Supper’s Ready or many other songs which are shorter did in a way. It jut doesn’t tie up as well for me. And for me that is its weakness, also musically at the end I don’t think It, it’s a good song but it doesn’t compare with the final sequence of Supper’s Ready or the end of Duke or Wind & Wuthering. That for me is where it doesn’t work.

As I have said I think it has some great individual songs and I love some of the what I call “incidental” music where we are just jamming around really those are fun but it wasn’t my favourite time with Peter leaving and all of that and that has sort of tainted it a bit with me and I know a lot of people like it very much and don’t get me wrong I like it and it has some fantastic sounds on it but for me I prefer both the albums that came before it in terms of the albums we did with Peter.

TWR: Why do you think that people still want to see Genesis reform to do The Lamb… in particular?

TB: I think people always want to see bands reform. People would like to see The Beatles but you can’t because two of them are gone now. I just think it is one of those things that is it ever as good as you think it is going to be? I don’t know really. People are just not the same as they were really and you have to try and live with the nostalgia a different way and I went to see The Kinks’ musical the other day which was a lot of fun to hear the songs played and similarly with The Four Seasons’ Jersey Boys show which was a fantastic play and the songs were just so good. It is difficult really perhaps you can tell me, all these people seem to be reforming and stuff. I think if we did it, it would not just be The Lamb… The Lamb.. Is a restrictive piece and if you were going back to the days of Peter you would obviously want to do things like Supper’s Ready, I Know What I Like, probably Cinema Show and Firth of Fifth, and Musical Box etc and these songs are better than a lot of the songs on The Lamb… There are two or three songs I am very proud of on The Lamb… but the rest of them are not as good as those songs I have just mentioned.

TWR: What do you think of Steve’s recent Genesis Revisited album and tour?

TB: Well I haven’t been. It’s not really for me I suppose is the honest answer. I have heard one or two of the songs on radio and they sound fine, you know. I suppose you could say he is as much a part of it as everybody else and he does it and there is a touch of Genesis there but it is a difficult thing, I am not really… it’s not for me is what I am saying. I am not saying it is good, bad or indifferent it is for fans but not for somebody who played in the group and I have had enough trouble watching and I have kind of made a rule of not going to anybody’s shows anymore because I am fed up with it! (laughs). It’s a funny experience when you see Peter or Phil or Mike on stage doing stuff, you can’t listen to it in the way that other people do really. And every time they do a Genesis song it feels really strange. So I am staying away from it.

TWR: How involved were you in the pre-production stages of the recent documentary?

TB: We talked about it and what we wanted and what it was going to be like for these guys and then we saw a draft of it about a month or two before it was due to be released and it just completely missed the point. So, Mike and I with Tony Smith talked to them about it. We then saw another draft which was really an eleventh hour thing and we couldn’t do anything about it and it was almost there and it still wasn’t what we wanted but it was better than it was. So, that was it really as far as we were concerned. We got rid of one or two things and we should have got rid of the bit which I am sure is going to come up were I said that Steve’s playing was “stiff” (laughs). I got rid of a couple of other things because you know when you say things and the way they edit it and all that it is sometimes a bit strange and the idea was to have much more of the solo stuff in it and there’s nothing of Steve’s in it which was absolutely wrong and we said that at the time. There is one small sequence of mine more of Mike and quite a lot of Phil and Pete which is fine but I think there should have been much more of the others. We did decide to keep it to just the five of us for the solo stuff. If you had gone into everybody else and I know a lot of you out there might have liked to see more of Ant and people but it was just kind of… the documentary was sort of based around the five piece that became known as the progressive group if you like. And that was the decision which was made otherwise it would have been too long.

TWR: I think one of the main criticisms was that it jumped so much although you have just said it was based around the five piece band, but it was a little confusing when it jumped from Phil’s departure in 1996 to the reunion in 2007 and there was the little matter of an album and a tour in between..

TB: Well absolutely. That was another thing that we said was that the Ray Wilson era should have been mentioned but you can only do so much. We got as much in as we could and there is a sort of logic to leaving that period out but not to mention it at all was sort of strange I think. And I think it was not good for Ray really in a way because the way we did it was a sort of continuation thing but it was just the way it was running out of time and everything and I knew we would get some stick! But what can you say, this was NOT an official documentary in the sense that we did this how we wanted it to be done. It would be nothing like this if we had done it. The first half is OK but the second half really misses the point I think so that is all I can really say about it. There are bits of interviews on the floor everywhere, there are interviews with Nick Davis which would have mentioned much more about the Ray Wilson period and various other people who are on the floor and when we saw the first edit there was about ten minutes talking about the laugh on Mama and about five minutes talking about the drum sound on Intruder you know, which was fine but we managed to edit those down to twenty seconds each rather than being a great long thing, to have and there is still a lot of that stuff in there as opposed to the Calling All Stations stuff which is not right but there you go, that’s how it ended up. It was probably less for the fans this one and more for the casual observers because they, and I have a lot of friends who don’t know that much about the group seemed to like it a lot and it is one of those things that is not going to work on every level.

TWR: You have just mentioned that there is a lot of this stuff that ended up on the cutting room floor. Do you think there is any chance that some of it might be recycled and possibly put together as part of another project?

TB: Well, I don’t know where it is because it is nothing really to do with us. There is a slightly extended version which is going to come out as a DVD but I don’t think there is anything very significant on that and I don’t even know what is on that actually. But we never talked… I did obviously, when I was doing the interviews because if a question was asked, I would answer it so I can’t remember if we talked about the Ray thing or not really. As you know we have done a few of these things and this one had a high profile and some of the others were probably slightly better actually but they dealt with the group rather than talking about the solo stuff. I think we hoped it would be a bit more general about everything and then we put the album (R-Kive) out which was something to go with that documentary so everything that was on that should have been in the documentary but obviously Calling All Stations is on that and also three of Steve’s solo pieces and it really should have been much more representative in that kind of way, if you like. That was the intention. The album was a much closer representation of what we wanted the documentary to be like. The same sort of proportions if you like and looking at it that way.

TWR: With Phil’s ongoing health issues, has any thought been given to any potential recording and/or touring plans?

TB: I honestly don’t see it but we never rule it out. We never say never and all that. I think that Mike and I would always be quite happy to do something and I am sure that Steve would as well - even if he hasn’t forgiven me for my remarks! (laughs). Obviously Phil and Pete are the most difficult ones and tying Peter down to anything is extremely difficult! And Phil is really… there would have to be such a different way of doing it, to have another drummer and all that if Peter was involved and if Phil was doing just the singing and it would be quite difficult in a way … who knows? He (Phil) is a lot better physically than he was a year ago and so you never know with these things but I think it is unlikely that anything is going to happen in quite the way you might want

TWR: Quite a few people have wondered if you can’t do the all whistles and bells kind of performance, would you ever consider stripping it down and doing an acoustic show or shows?

TB: Not really. I don’t think Genesis works very well acoustically. There may be the odd thing that does but we did have that sort of grandeur and those bits that I have talked about and in particular those ending pieces like Afterglow and Supper’s Ready and Los Endos and all those things need that big sound, you know. To do things just acoustically, the unplugged sort of thing on some songs would work on the simpler songs like Follow You Follow Me and Turn it On Again and stuff but I don’t think you could do the big stage numbers, the Domino’s and Home By The Sea’s that sort of stuff just wouldn’t work. I think we would be very much half cock and I don’t know but there are no plans but somebody may ring me up tomorrow and say we’re doing that and … maybe…

TWR: With no live performance or studio work in the pipeline has there been any more thought been given to the vexed question of the possible release of live recordings, board tapes etc?

TB: Not really. I mean we have talked about this stuff over the years and it is one of those things that seems a little bit, they are less good versions of stuff we have got out there already and I know they have a certain interest in some ways and there are one or two eras where something slightly different happened on stage but most of the time it is covered really I suppose. It is not something the group gets terribly excited about but not for us. The problem is finding someone to listen to it all! (laughs). (At which point your editor volunteered his services, gratis folks!) We had enough trouble with Nick Davis having to listen to all of the Live Over Europe stuff and that record didn’t really sell anything and yet that is probably our best ever live show in terms of the way it sounds. So it is a difficult one really. I like the idea that there could be other combinations of people doing stuff over the years you know but I can’t see the four or five of us getting back in the studio and doing much, but you have still got individuals doing stuff, Steve is doing stuff and Peter is doing stuff and Phil has done a bit and it looks like he might do more and Mike has done a bit and I am doing stuff so you have got five for the price of one but that is what you have got.

TWR: Now that Three Sides Live has been released on Blu Ray, will consideration be given to further live film releases on DVD/Blu Ray, such as the complete 1976 and 1980 concert films?

TB: I don’t really know because we weren’t really involved with this blu ray idea and somebody suggested it to us and it was done and obviously we can go back over some of the earlier ones and there is no real reason why not I mean we have forgotten what we have put out now! (laughs) and with all the albums we did a few years ago with all the 5.1 remixes and all that and they had a lot of stuff on them and the idea there was that we used it all up really. So anything that comes from the group now unless it is something new is going to be rehashes you know, that is all we can do really. I was very pleased with the way the 5.1 remasters came out particularly some of those early pieces and things like the first half of Cinema Show are just stunning in 5.1 and it was great fun doing those and playing a little bit with the stereo on the likes of The Lamb… and I think all of those are well worth… and obviously now the current versions of those pieces are the remixes we did but unfortunately the SACD platform seems to have disappeared which is a shame because it was a lot better than any of the other platforms really.

Nick (Davis) and I did all those remixes, and obviously he did most of the work and I listened to every piece and there were so many bits and pieces and particularly some of the stuff that Steve did which I had not really observed I suppose because at the time when you are doing the album and you are fighting your corner so much all the time and all these little bits and pieces keep coming in and out and they are really good and the way the three guitars on Cinema Show all have their own space and little overdubs that come in and out all the time and then the voices come in doing the Crosby Stills and Nash bit that for me is the peak of those bits and I think they sound fantastic.

Finally, a couple of general questions for you , Tony…

TWR: Do you ever sneak on to any of the fan forums and see what the fans are saying about the band?

TB: I don’t really, no. People send me stuff, Nick Davis sends me stuff occasionally when it has been relevant but I am not terribly involved with that side of things. I think it is best not to read too much because it is a funny world out there and when people say nice things about you, you are always a bit sceptical and when they say nasty things, you take them to heart and people can say something that you think is nice but they take it the wrong way. It is a bit like reviews, you know. I stopped reading reviews after A Curious Feeling apart from when people occasionally put things under my nose and I have to look at it (laughs) and it is a bit weird really. People have got their own opinions and that is fine really. I don’t like any of that stuff because it is like the reviews you get on the likes of Amazon and stuff and if they are really good then they assume that the artist wrote it himself, you know. And then there are spoilers where people see you get five stars and want you to get less by saying how crap it is and that’s kind of irritating too. It is one of those things so I kind of don’t , no.

TWR: What is your favourite post-Duke era track and why?

TB: Post Duke? Hmmm… that’s a good one really. At different times different things really. Let’s just go through the albums and I can give you some favourites from each album. Abacab really I think my favourite is probably Keep It Dark which may surprise some people but I love the simplicity of it and I had a lot of fun writing the lyric and it seems to have a sort of dreamy quality.

The next one is Genesis, is that right? That is a more difficult one really I really do like Mama a lot, it has got a great atmosphere and I do like obviously Home By The Sea, and more specifically Second Home By The Sea because of the instrumental I suppose. The one on the second side that often gets overlooked is Silver Rainbow which I think is a really good pop song, you know so that would be one I would include.

Then we’ve got Invisible Touch and I really like this album because we managed to really sound like a pop group for the first time in our lives actually! And the way we put it all together and it worked really well. Obviously I like Domino which is a bit obvious in a way and Tonight, Tonight, Tonight. I think the standard on that record is pretty good and I think Land of Confusion is a really good pop song and I am always rather proud of that but if I had to go for one I suppose I would go for Domino because it has got all those bits and pieces in it.

We Can’t Dance. Well yes, I think this has got more weak moments than Invisible Touch but it has got some very strong moments too and I am very partial to Fading Lights because I thought this was going to be the last thing we ever did with Phil so I wanted the album to end with this word “remember” , and I am proud of the lyrics to that. The instrumental section isn’t quite as strong as some of the others we have done but when it comes back in again at the end it is really nice so…

Calling All Stations, well I have a slightly strange attitude to this one probably because it was a difficult period for the band and it didn’t all go smoothly although at the time we did the record we were pretty pleased with it and the title track in particular. I really like the first half of One Man’s Fool because the lyric which kind of predicted what happened in New York (9/11) three or four years later, uncannily so actually and it was actually written more about the Brighton Bombing (an atrocity committed by the IRA) and terrorism in general which was what I was thinking about at the time. I think it captured it quite well. There Must Be Some Other Way and Uncertain Weather that’s also a good track. It’s a funny thing but two or three of the tracks that didn’t end up on the album I think are quite good (laughs). Anything Now I think contains one of the best instrumental bits we did but unfortunately I don’t think Ray’s singing was very good on the song. It was potentially a great song I think, but it didn’t really work with the line up we had. The one that did work really well with Ray’s voice was Run Out Of Time which was excluded from the album which I think was a mistake, I think it should have been on there. So, it was one of those things where Mike and I didn’t totally agree on everything! (laughs). Whish is always the way of things and I could have done without a couple of the other ones which I don’t think were quite as good but it is a funny album. I think it is a good album and I think it is better than perhaps it is given credit for but it is not as good as the three albums that came before it.

TWR: do you listen to any of today’s Prog bands?

TB: I don’t really. I would probably find stuff I like out there. Perhaps I get a bit saturated listening to my own music and I spend so much time going over it and playing it and everything and obviously we have had a lot of my own stuff and Genesis stuff with the revival recently and there has been quite a bit of that and when I listen to the radio I more often than not tend to listen to Radio Four and I do listen a bit to the other stations but I always probably look forward to hearing a song I know! (laughs) a Simon and Garfunkel piece or Baker Street and it is not that I think there is nothing out there, I am sure there is stuff out there its just that I’m a bit lazy about it and I don’t get that same buzz that I used to when I heard stuff like In The Court Of The Crimson King and that was such a thrill and I can’t recreate that. I enjoy good pops songs of the day and I think that maybe I ought to and maybe I will.

And finally Tony a question with a slight twist to it. If you had the opportunity to ask the fans a question what would it be…?

TB: (Laughs) Why? It was always that because you can never really understand it all. You do it and you enjoy doing it but so do hundreds of thousands of others and they put music out there and hope that people will like it and we were just lucky that it worked for us I think. Terribly lucky that in the early days Peter developed something that the audience could latch on to and even luckier that Phil could sort of take over in the way and do the same and that’s what you have as a song writer, and I write songs and bits of music but you have to have somebody to deliver it really. So we were lucky in the early days and we were given a lot of time to get to where we did because Peter was not great at the beginning and needed to develop his own personality and whatever so you still think you were lucky so it is a serious question, why us rather than lots of other people really and it is one of those questions that can never really be answered.

TB: I have got one question for you by the way, what question were you going to ask us at The One Show?

AH: Oh, ok. My question would have been when did you guys finally realise that you had gone from being a cult band to being a popular band?

TB: That’s a good question! The one I answered was pretty terrible about music shops and stuff which I couldn’t answer at all. Well, the answer to your question would be for all of us… actually I say that and it is a difficult one… it seems easy… I think hearing Follow You Follow Me on the show where the listeners voted for the top ten and we were number one or number two in that and you suddenly realise that you have moved out of that certain zone and obviously we left a few of our fans behind at that point because of that! (laughs) but that was it and ultimately those Wembley shows in 1987 which were kind of the peak really and four nights at Wembley Stadium and in your wildest dreams at school the concept of over a quarter of a million people coming to see you would have been completely unbelievable and so that would have been it.

TWR: Well, thank you for satisfying my curiosity and thank you for taking so much time to talk to me today.

TB: A pleasure.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Once again my thanks to Tony, Jon and Jo and the members of the Turn It On Again forum for their part in this interview. I hope you find it interesting.