By Ryan Reed, Ultimate Classic Rock
Genesis had been dormant for a decade when Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford staged a worldwide 2007 reunion tour. Before that, they hadn’t done any studio work with original singer Peter Gabriel since 1999, when Genesis re-recorded “The Carpet Crawlers” as a five-piece band.
A variety of things – not least of which was Collins’ lengthy health-related retirement – continue to keep them apart. Still, the others stayed busy. Banks has nurtured a second career in classical music, capped by his latest album Five. Gabriel has toured regularly, but has been largely silent in the studio, while Rutherford and Steve Hackett remain active with their own separate projects.
When Collins made a halting return to the stage, however, it inevitably sparked new questions about another rebirth for Genesis. Banks joined us to discuss the possibility of a studio reunion, prompted by the fact that the band is commemorating a signature moment in 2018.
We’re at the 50th anniversary of the band, so perhaps the classic lineup could re-record another song? SinceCollins has been having trouble playing drums, Chester Thompson could fill in. Collins and Gabriel could trade off on vocals.
Well, I don’t know. I think it’s unlikely, really. I think if we’re going to do anything, we should do “The Silent Sun” since it’s the 50th anniversary of that song. We don’t really plan too much, and Peter’s a terribly difficult person to tie down. I see him every so often, but … [Laughs] he’s so difficult, really – even if he’s enthusiastic about it. He was 20 years ago – or almost that long ago – when we did the last Genesis reunion. About five years before that, there was talk about doing something with Peter, but Peter was … [Laughs] originally into the idea, and then it became difficult. Even getting everybody in the same place at the same time is impossible, really. The only chance you’ve ever got is Phil, Mike and I together, but even that’s a long shot because of Phil not quite being where he was 20 years ago.
Just record the parts individually and swap them through email. Then get latter-era collaborator Nick Davis to produce it.
It’s probably better in fantasy than in reality anyhow.
There’s not much information out there about the sessions for “The Carpet Crawlers 1999,” even though it has such significance in the history of Genesis.
Peter’s idea was to use [producer] Trevor Horn since he was neutral territory: None of us had ever worked with him. The vocal, the way it switches between Peter’s voice to Phil’s voice, is really strong on that. The arrangement I’m not 100 percent crazy about – the little, skippy drums all the way through it – and the chords are a bit unsubtle, but it wasn’t bad at all. I haven’t even listened to it since he we did it, actually. It was nice working with Trevor; I’m an admirer of his. He’s a talented chap, so it was fun to have done that. We had a good time just getting together at Peter’s studio at Real World. Good food. We ate a lot, as I remember – and played a lot of tennis. [We did] about an hour in the studio a day, which is the way Pete tends to work usually, which is the trouble. So, we moved into Peter’s place, which was quite interesting. I don’t know, though. It won’t happen again.