Guitarist Anthony Phillips, who founded Genesis alongside Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, gives interview to the Telegraph after being left out of BBC picture announcing reunion of "original" line-up.
When the BBC unveiled a documentary about the rock band Genesis, it proudly announced that it had reunited the "original" line-up for the first time in 40 years.
The accompanying image showed Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford together again.
But one original band member was left out of the picture.
Anthony Phillips, a guitarist, founded the group alongside Gabriel, Rutherford and Banks, when all were pupils at Charterhouse in Surrey.
He recorded the first two albums and was a driving force behind the band but a debilitating case of stage fright put paid to his dreams of stardom and he quit after three years, to be replaced by Hackett.
In the years that followed, the new line-up – with the addition of Collins on drums and later on lead vocals – achieved global fame with 150 million records sold.
Tracked down by The Sunday Telegraph, Phillips, 62, has given a rare interview about being airbrushed from history and spoken about his sad decision to leave the band.
He now lives a comfortable but modest existence in south London, while other members of the band have become fabulously wealthy – Collins has an estimated fortune of £115 million.
"Obviously it’s difficult being the one that left Genesis in some respects," he said. "There’s always going to be an element of that but, of course, the reality of stardom ain’t that great a lot of the time.
"You never have any peace, everyone's after you, the slightest thing in your private life is up for grabs, you can sign 99 autographs and then not sign one and you're in big trouble. So there’s a lot to be said for actually having a quiet life."
Phillips is not bitter about the BBC’s announcement: "I suppose it becomes a bit complicated to mention the different line-ups, so I think they just go for where the band was most static.
Anthony Phillips (far left) with the band, Genesis in 1969"Calling them the original line-up is just convenient parlance, isn’t it?
"I’ve kind of got used to it. Occasionally one feels a little bit of a sort of footnote in history, almost airbrushed out.
"At other times I almost feel embarrassed about the interest shown to a time where, to be honest, some of the music was a bit rough.
"But if you’re talking about the original line-up, it was the four guys at Charterhouse."
Phillips was just 15 when he and Rutherford paired up with two older pupils, Gabriel and Banks, to form a group.
The schoolboys secured a songwriting deal, which had to be signed in the presence of their fathers because they were so young.
Two years later, and with a debut album under their belt, they started playing gigs in earnest. But things rapidly went wrong for Phillips.
"I’d had glandular fever before we went on the road and what I didn’t realise until later was that it stays in your system for a long time and can actually affect your nervous system. So to this day I still don't know if that played a part," he said.
"I just kind of crashed. I once heard Sir Derek Jacobi describing a time he was about to go on stage and do the big speech in Hamlet, which he'd done a thousand times, and suddenly he thought, 'I don't know this, how does it go?' He found himself out there doing it but not knowing how he was doing it. I had exactly the same experience.
"I was looking at my guitar and thinking, 'how am I doing this?’ It was actually very frightening. I just hoped it would go away but it didn’t. It got worse and worse."
At first, Phillips was reluctant to tell his bandmates what he was going through.
"Everyone was very nice but we were all living in a country cottage together and it was not the kind of band where you go to the pub and hang out and tell jokes. Everyone was desperate for success and very intense."
Doctors told him he had to stop performing for the sake of his health.
"We went back on the road and I just couldn’t do it. I had to tell Mike. It was difficult but I knew I was going to hold them back."
Phillips left in 1970 after recording the band’s second album, Trespass.
His departure caused "a little bit of froideur" but it soon passed and he has remained friends with all the band members, including those who came after him.
He went on to study music at Guildhall and worked as a music teacher before recording his first solo album, The Geese and The Ghost, in 1977 in collaboration with Rutherford.
He continues to release albums but his main success has come via the library music he records in his front bedroom for use on television, including wildlife documentaries.
"After a while my album career remained static so I started broadening out into doing TV stuff," he explained.
"I enjoy it. Stuff crops up everywhere. Gary Lineker was doing a history of the Brazilian football team the other day and I thought, I recognise that music.
"You get ludicrous things – I got four grand from a piece of music being used on a catwalk in Finland. You think, well, it makes up for the seven months I spent on a solo album that lost money."
He is still recognised occasionally by Genesis fans – some Italian fans even come over to visit him and he takes them to a pasta restaurant near his home.
Phillips was interviewed for the forthcoming BBC documentary, Genesis: Together and Apart, but not alongside the other members.
Musicians who joined at different times, including drummers Chris Stewart and John Silver, will also feature. Another drummer, John Mayhew, died in 2009.
© Telegraph, by Anita Singh
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