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New Genesis: Track By Track

Genesis - Calling All Stations - back cover1. Calling All Stations:
Mike Rutherford: "That was written in the first couple of days, then left it and didn't go near it again for some time. Musically, it's a song that doesn't repeat, it just does what it does. Then I sat down to write melodies and lyrics. There was a great moment in the studio when I came in with my first draft, and I can't sing at all. And it sounded awful!"

Ray Wilson: "Mike sounded like he was lost on a desert island and needed help."

Mike Rutherford: "The phrase 'calling all stations' was initially about someone who was stuck out in the Antarctic, along, with his radio fading, trying to get a message through, and realizing it was a lost cause. It's about isolation. It always fascinates me that, in this day of amazingly increased communication, we're getting more and more isolated."

2. Congo:
Tony Banks: "Congo started out as a composite loop thing, made up from one or two sources. I wrote two completely different moods on top of the same loop. One sort of happier stuff which sort of starts it, and the other is the darker stuff on the main verse and chorus. Interestingly enough, when we were writing the song, I said to Mike, on the darker part of the song, 'We can get that Stiltskin guy to sing a really simple, straightforward bluesy melody on this, and it'll be fantastic.' So I really had him in mind even then. The lyric is sort of a universal concept about women and men not understanding each other.

3. Shipwrecked: 
Mike Rutherford: "When Ray first sang 'I feel shipwrecked/I might as well be shipwrecked', it sounded great to me, because it's really quite low. Point of interest: The main riff is something Tony recorded drums and guitar, sampled it, and slowed it right down."

4. Alien Afternoon:
Tony Banks: "Another song with a science-fiction angle to it, but it's really another song about displacement, and how you feel when you know you're not in a place you should be. Like a Toronto hotel, 21 storeys up. And how you want to go home where you belong."

5. Not About Us:
Ray Wilson: "I imagine Mike's got a different take than me, but I've always seen it as being we (human beings) see ourselves as being a bit too important. There's more than just us small, insignificant people on this Earth."

Mike Rutherford: "Yeah, that's it. You're right."

6. If That's What You Need:
Mike Rutherford: "A love song. It's a song that sung itself, really.

Ray Wilson: "It's got a good emotion to it. The boy-girl thing works really well. Good song."

7. The Dividing Line:
Mike Rutherford: "Great chorus, and the nearest thing to a drum solo (by percussionist Nir Zidkyahu) we've probably ever done. And of course we did it on an album just AFTER Phil leaves. Not intentionally. We just had a space there. Lyrically, I was inspired by a cartoon drawing of a street corner, in a sort of Mad-magazine style. One side was dangerous, the other was safe. It's about rich and poor and the dividing line between the two."

8. Uncertain Weather:
Tony Banks: "In a sense, it's a more traditional Genesis ballad, I suppose. Big chorus. It's just a song about how, you know how you see an old photograph, a brown photograph, comes out of nowhere, of a person and you have no clue who that person is. And the song's just speculation about what his life was like and just saying it doesn't really matter now, because he's gone and tough shit.

The reason it's called 'Uncertain Weather' is because, you know those pictures, you have no idea what the weather's like when they were taken."

9. Small Talk:
Ray Wilson: "It's got sort of a double meaning. There's the small talk of the industry, the small talk you hear everywhere in the music industry. It's riddled with people not saying what they mean and telling you what you want to hear. Which is what happened in Stiltskin at the beginning. Then when it started to go wrong, it changed quite dramatically. And that coupled with the relationship angle, as well."

10. There Must Be Some Other Way:
Tony Banks: "I really used this line, 'there must be some other way', that Ray had improvised during (our first songwriting) session, and constructed the song around it. I wrote a lyric around it, and it's all about divorce, really, and about what everyone goes through. I've seen friend go through this, and these awful moments, and you just say, 'there has to be another way of doing this.' Particularly when lawyers are involved, which is what the second verse is all about. It's difficult to write about something like that. I tried to write about it in a cold way, a detached manner."

Q: Was Phil Collins one of those friends you watched go through a painful divorce?

Tony Banks: "No, not particularly. He was obviously one of the many, I suppose. But I had some other friends in mind, closer to the fore. But it's really more a general observation."

11. One Man's Fool:
Tony Banks: "Lyric wise, it's a song about terrorism. Everybody must have this feeling of how can people do it when they see the result of what they do. Particularly after there was a big bombing in Manchester, and the idea that somebody does this, and they must watch the TV and see all these people dead and other people terrified. And they must look at it and think, 'This is really good. I've done the right thing here.' And I just wondered, do they think that all the time, or is there a moment when they think, 'Oh, shit. I've just killed all these people. I've just ruined all those people's lives.' I don't know."

by John Sakamoto

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