About three months ago, the classic 1970s lineup of Genesis - Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett and Tony Banks - sat down together in London to shoot an interview for the upcoming BBC/Showtime documentary Genesis - Sum of the Parts.
"It was emotional," says Genesis guitarist Rutherford. "But I also realized that nobody has changed. Peter and Tony still have a nice sort-of interplay. Phil was the joker, just like always."
"We discussed that years ago and that does remain possible," says Rutherford. "I’d like it to be. But from what I see, there are no plans, though no doors are closed." A reunion with the Collins-led lineup seems a bit more likely, especially since the singer recently told the press he wants to come out of retirement and possibly perform again. "I’m speaking to Phil tomorrow," says Rutherford. "We’ll see what happens. But if he does anything, I think it’ll be something solo first…I just think he’s testing the waters because retirement didn’t really agree with him."
The guitarist has no intention of sitting around waiting for Collins or Gabriel to call. He’s spent the last few years touring Europe with a new lineup of Mike & the Mechanics - with Tim Howar and Andrew Roachford taking over vocals from Paul Carrack and the late Paul Young - and next February they're coming to America for their first tour since 1989. "A promoter from America saw the show we did in London and said, 'Look, I’d like to try something out,'" says Rutherford. "We’ve just become a band. After three years of touring, we’re sort of certified. Songs like 'All I Need Is A Miracle,' 'Silent Running' and 'The Living Years' are great live. I’ve been enjoying it."
Mike and the Mechanics will center their set around their 1980s hits and even play a handful of Genesis songs like "I Can’t Dance" and "Follow You Follow Me." The group scored hits in Europe through the mid-1990s, but they never managed to do much in America after the incredible success of "The Living Years" in 1988. "We were on rock radio before that," says Rutherford. "That song moved us away from that and sort of dwarfed everything else we did. It’s sort of like what happened to Foreigner after 'I Want To Know What Love Is.'"
When he wasn’t on the road during the past few years, Rutherford was plugging away on his new memoir The Living Years. It tells the story of the guitarist's (occasionally strained) relationship with his father, who was a British naval officer, as well as early days of Genesis. "At first I didn’t want to write a memoir because it’s all there online and in books," says Rutherford. "But then I found my father’s unpublished memoir. He was really funny. I grew up during a time where a huge social and generational changed occurred, so the book is very much about that."
Also on the horizon for Rutherford is R-Kive, a three-disc set that tells the Genesis story by mixing band recordings with solo tracks by the various members. It hits shelves on September 30th, 10 days befor the premiere of documentary Genesis - Sum of the Parts on Showtime. "When you see songs like 'Turn It On Again,' 'In the Air Tonight' and 'The Living Years' all together, you realize it’s a great body of work," says Rutherford. "It never gets recognized as one thing."
© Rolling Stone, by Andy Greene