Musician and songwriter Mike Rutherford has been on the music scene for 50 years now.
One of the founding members of prog-rock band Genesis in the 60s, he went on to form Mike and The Mechanics, originally as a side line, in 1985. The band enjoyed phenomenal success through the 80s and 90s with hits most notably The Living Years, All I Need Is A Miracle, and Looking Back Over My Shoulder.
After the death of original member Paul Young (Sad Cafe) and the departure of Paul Carrack to pursue solo projects, the band reformed in 2010 with new singers Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar.
Now with their ninth studio album due to be released next month, The Mechanics are currently mid-way through their Looking Back Over My Shoulder tour, returning to the City Hall on April 9.
Taking a break from his hectic schedule, Mike told me it felt good to be back on tour again: "The nice thing about touring is that you have a start date and a finish date and you’re completely engrossed while you’re doing it but then you finish the tour and it stops. Whereas with recording you’re kind of worrying all the time about the songs you haven’t got right."
Talking about what he most enjoyed about touring, Mike said: "The two current singers Andrew and Tim are great musicians and a real powerhouse on stage, so it’s very relaxed and enjoyable."
This concert is a little bit different to the band's previous tours being in two sets, with no support band.
"The first half is 50 minutes and then there’s an interval and we come back with an acoustic set for 15 minutes and then we play the rest of the songs," said Mike.
So what inspires Mike to keep going with his music after all these years? "I love songwriting," he said. "I find it very satisfying. It’s a passion I still enjoy and it’s nice to get played on the radio and know that people still like the songs you’ve created."
Mike is still in touch with his Genesis band mates. "We’ve had a great career and are still very good friends. I value that," he said.
Comparing the two bands, Mike said: "Genesis is a big, powerful, dark machine whereas The Mechanics is a lot more ‘up’ and almost humorous in a sense."
Genesis reformed for a successful reunion tour a decade ago and, by coincidence, after The Mechanics finish this tour in May, they will be joining Phil Collins during his European tour for half a dozen shows.
"We’re going to open as the support act," Mike said. "I’ve done it before with the old Mechanics [Paul Carrack and Paul Young]. Phil always worries whether I’m happy doing it, but it’s quite fun for us."
Mike considers his greatest musical achievement to be the song The Living Years. "I’ve had a lot of songs that have been huge hits around the world but no song [I’ve written] has moved people in the way that song has." he said.
The new album Out Of The Blue is due to be released on April 5. It includes re-recorded versions of some of Mike and The Mechanics’ biggest hits plus three new tracks.
© Salisbury Journal, by Christine Stock