All they needed was a miracle: the 10 million selling Mike and the Mechanics perform at the Villa Marina on July 16. We talk to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Mike Rutherford – founding member of Genesis – who formed the Mechanics back in 1984.
From 1970s progressive madness to the slick pop juggernaut of Genesis, and the more upbeat Mike and the Mechanics, guitarist Mike Rutherford has played on some of the most recognisable popular music in recent history.
Surviving the death of frontman Paul Young in 2000, Mike and the Mechanics reappeared with a new album, The Road, in 2011. This year the new line-up are back, and on the road.
Hi Mike. Looking forward to coming to the Isle of Man?
It’s rare, and really nice at my age and stage in my career, to get to go somewhere for the first time. We arrive the day before the gig, so there’ll be a chance to see the place. I’ve heard nice things actually. How big is the island? Really? Oh, I shall definitely have a look around then!
How big an operation is coming over?
The charm of The Mechanics is that it’s the opposite of the huge Genesis touring production. We’re a mobile band of six (two singers and guitar, bass, keyboard and drums) with two road managers – we can play anywhere.
How does the distinctly 80s synth sound of the music come across with the new band?
Well, it’s a different band so it changes a little bit. We’ll do a cover of the hits and the stuff people would recognise from the radio, like Over My Shoulder and All I Need is a Miracle. I’m a big believer in the balance of a set. We’re going to try an acoustic bit at the front of the stage, it came from when we were picking the set, just strumming guitars and drumming tables with pencils. Some of the stuff sounded great – when you break things down, you hear it better.
How did you know the new material would end up being Mike and the Mechanics?
When I write it’s just about timing, who is around at the time. It could be Genesis, it could be Mike and the Mechanics, whatever works. The Mechanics to me is an interesting full-time/part-time band, I like that. We pick it up when it feels right.
At 60, is touring still a pleasure?
The live thing is very popular again now. Mike and the Mechanics toured last year, and it was great fun. Genesis was always kind of moody, Mike and the Mechanics is lighter, more ‘up’. We’ve always had two frontmen, and the energy that brings is great. At my age, if I wasn’t enjoying it, being around good people, I just wouldn’t do it.
How was recording, compared with the early Genesis days?
Back then the choices were small, so you had to make it work, you could use a mellotron or maybe an organ.
Now, you can do absolutely anything. It’s progress in a sense, but it takes longer. And it’s not quite the same labour of love. Now if you don’t like something you can just wipe the whole lot and start again.
Is there more to come?
We’re in the middle of going through all the old Genesis tapes and Mike and the Mechanics material, moving them as the storage was getting damp. There’s some really interesting stuff.
Next year is 25 years since The Living Years album, so some of the B-sides unreleased in the UK might surface then.
Last modified onSunday, 24 June 2012 14:59