Peter Gabriel's Genesis bandmates are giving him the benefit of the doubt for bowing out of next month's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Gabriel will not attend the March 15 affair because it conflicts with orchestra rehearsal dates for his upcoming European and North American concerts to promote his new album, "Scratch My Back." "(Gabriel) rang up and said, 'Look, everyone's going to say I'm trying to snub you and all the rest of it,' " Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks tells Billboard.com. "I said, 'Well, just tell them we didn't want you to come, so we're snubbing you!'
"No...I mean, it's a fair enough thing. It would've been lovely if he could've come, but I understand his problem," Banks adds.
Guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford says Gabriel was "very keen" about the induction and feels the singer's absence is "a very legitimate excuse. I know he would (come) if he could, but it's just the wrong timing."
Gabriel's decision has effectively scuttled any hopes of Genesis performing at the ceremony, though a full complement of Genesis members will be there, including: drummer-turned-frontman Phil Collins, who's still rehabilitating from spinal surgery and is unable to play; guitarist Steve Hackett, who left the band in 1977; and longtime touring members Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer.
"I think at my age, any accolade is enjoyed," says Rutherford, who turns 60 in October. "It's nice to be inducted into something."
Neither Banks nor Rutherford expect the induction to inspire any sort of renewed Genesis activity, however. The group last toured in 2007 and has not discussed anything further, although Banks notes that "we never rule it out." But he adds that he "can't see us doing any writing again, but in terms of just (playing live), it's always a possibility."
Rutherford, meanwhile, says that "the last tour was a nice kind of moment; it made us appreciate the band and each other as human beings. It kind of reminded us how much fun we'd had. And you never know what will happen; it depends on who's standing in five years' time or something like that."
The Genesis members are staying busy on their own, however. Besides Gabriel's project, Collins is recording an album of Motown songs that's due out this fall; he's also slated to receive the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriter's Hall of Fame on June 17. Hackett is collaborating on a project with Yes bassist Chris Squire, while Banks, who issued a remastered and expanded version of his 1979 solo debut "A Curious Feeling" last year, is working on a classical piece. Rutherford, meanwhile, has reactivated Mike & the Mechanics with British singer Andrew Roachford, among others, and expects to have a new album finished by May.
© Billboard, by Gary Graff