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Exclusive Interview with Genesis

Tony Banks, Ray Wilson, Mike RutherfordShowTime: An exclusive for you now, British rock giants "Genesis" are releasing a new album, a new tour, and most importantly of all, a brand new lead singer to replace Phil Collins, who left the line-up last year. Ray Wilson, former leadsinger with Stiltskin has got the top job. The news was released a little earlier on the Internet via the 95.8 Capital FM website. We're speaking to the new look of Genesis first, because the band is in here with me in the studio now. So, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Ray Wilson, thanks very much for coming in. Tony, Mike: Your welcome. Ray: Thank YOU. Showtime: Ray, congratulations! I've got to ask you how it feels to suddenly become, I guess, a singer with one of the most prestigious bands in the world. I mean, this is a top job you've got. Ray: Yeah, when I first got news I was in the band, I was absolutely amazed. But, now that I've kind of worked with the guys, it feels more and more normal as the days go on, but I would imagine that will change when we start the touring. It'll probably get a little more daunting.

Showtime: Alright, well Genesis singer have certainly become super-stars in their own right. You following in the footsteps of Phil Collins, of course, and before him, Peter Gabriel. What made you choose, Mike and Tony, Ray to take over?

Tony: Well, I think we heard his voice on the Stiltskin album, and you know, I just felt that, if he had the sort of range that he seemed to have on those songs, that he would be the man for us, really. Because, you know, he has sort of a darker voice than Phil. And I think we wanted to get back slightly more of that drama that we had in the "early days", and we felt that if he was into it, and he could cope with it, he would be the right man.

Showtime: Okay, and when you decided Ray was the man, did you get straight to it then? Did you start writing songs for Ray?

Mike: Well, in fact, by the time we found him, we had done most of the writing. When we started working with Ray, we got him to start singing things, writing melody lines, and lyrics. His voice, is obviously different than Phil's, until you hear him sing certain songs, you come come from what you've got. The whole process has gone fairly well, I think. It's been very painless. The album didn't take that long really, once we found him.

Showtime: How did you begin to audition for the singing job in the first place? It must be a nerve-racking thing to do.

Ray: Yeah, that was probably the most frightening aspect of it to date, and once you get the job, it's fine really. but trying to get the job is really quite nerve-racking. My first intention was to land perfectly on every song. But you don't go in and audition until you know what you're doing. But, it worked out well.

Tony: We were pretty confident, really. I mean, when he first went in there and sang "No Son Of Mine," it just sent shivers down my back, like you hear the song for the first time again. And you really feel it's like a very strong moment.

Showtime: I guess you don't want to embarass anybody we know went in and auditioned for the job, but were you absolutely inundated with people who wanted to be a Genesis singer?

Mike: We actually didn't get all the tapes that came through the office, we just got the ones that sounded better. But I don't think alot of people were thinking about applying. We were quite keen not to get anyone too well-known, who came with lots of baggage and history.

Ray: That's why you didn't respond to my letter and tape, right?

Showtime: (laughing)

Mike: And did you get our reply?

(everyone laughing)

Showtime: So, what's the motivation for you, Mike and Tony? You've got successful solo projects. You obviously have done it, you've topped charts all over the world, and yet, you keep on going. Why?

Mike: I think Tony and I probably thought about it when Phil left time, maybe it was time to call it a day, you don't go beyond your sell-by date. But I think, and Tony probably feels the same way, that the act of the three of us writing together releases the sound, that to me is exciting and unique, and we can't do it on our own. I mean, I love this guy and it's fun, I mean, Tony and I produce a derker kind of sounding music. And, the funny thing is we've been going for quite a few years, now, and we haven't looked for change, but when it happens, like when Peter and Phil left, suddenly change is forced upon you, it's not a bad thing for a long term band, because suddenly, the whole thing gets fresh again.

Showtime: Now, I guess you must have been a Genesis fan, otherwise you wouldn't be here in the first place, right?

Ray: I mean, I was very familiar with Genesis' music, and obviously Phil's own stuff, and Peter Gabriel's as well.

Showtime: Right, I was just thinking, probably, that you would have been one of two years of age when Genesis started in the first place. (Tony and Mike laugh) Do you think you'll give the band a fresh, new appeal then?

Ray: (laugh) Yeah, I suppose in a way, you can say that, centainly, I'll be looking at things with a different perspective, because we grew up differently.

Showtime: Now what happens when Phil comes to a concert? Does that make you even more nervous, or are you confident enough not to be bothered by that?

Ray: To be a singer, you've got to have an ego, and a strong one, so when someone like that comes to a concert, you perform better. That's certainly the way I would generally respond to something like that.

(Mike and Tony making a joke, but I can't understand them)

Showtime: So, what about the first gig then, can you tell us about that? When is it going to be?

Mike: Winnepeg is all I've heard, in October or November.

Showtime: People at a Genesis concert are looking for a visual experience, as well. Are you going to have lights, and all that stuff? Doesn't it become expensive, despite the fact that you generate so much money? But, I suppose if you try to outdo what you did last time, and then try to outdo another band as well, like Pink Floyd, and attempt something better than they last did.

Mike: It's not about how much money you spend, but instead to get a vision that is strong. We're going to have a very interesting tour coming up.

Showtime: Now, about the album coming up, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Mike: The album's called "Calling All Stations," and I think it's a much darker sound that before. It comes out in the beginning of September.

Ray: We're going to tour the US beginning in November, and come tour here in the UK in January and February.

Showtime: Is that not a daunting prospect for you, "Here we go again?"

Mike: It's not until you get to the actual leaving date that you start to think about that. You think more about the music and the production, then you get shock from the first week of traveling, thinking "We're packing the suitcase again."

Tony: From out point of view, if it doesn't go well, then it's short. If it does go well, we're excited about it because it's a challenge for us. We've got a few things slightly different from before, it's crude, I suppose. It will be quite exciting to go through that experience if it works, and if not, it will be a rather miserable experience.

Showtime: Do you think this will be the end? After this tour, do think you might say, "This is it, we've done it now."

Mike: No, absolutely not.

Tony: With Ray there it is a slightly different experience, I think.

Showtime: And do you think a single will be out before a tour and the album?

Mike: I'm not sure we've worked it out, yet. Singles are released to record companies. Putting a single on the radio is a waste of time.

(all laughing)

Showtime: Alright, Mike, Tony, Ray, thanks very much.

© ShowTime
transcribed by Mike Chambers

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