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Drums & Percussion Interview

"Genesis had always everything perfectly arranged (musically) which was not the case with Brand X. In terms of music Brand X was a good thing for me as every member was left a lot of room and could freely develop. There was little structure and a lot of improvisation. Later on, when the music of Brand X became more conscious and acquired more refined structures, it began to bore me and I left the group."

[Question if he was asked to participate in the most recent album of Brand X]: "Sure, they asked me, also because David Hentschel was their producer, but I didn't have the time and what's more, I think they haven't developed too much. Their music might still be interesting, but generally spoken the rehearsals have always been better than the gigs. And somehow the band never reached a status like Weather Report or Mahavisnu Orchestra. So they have always remained in the second line."

"The influence to work with sounds from machines and to integrate them into compositions comes from Peter Gabriel. In the late eighties I was taking a closer look at his music and discovered quite a few interesting sounds in it. Besides, I have never regarded a drum computer or the early rhythm machines as competitors for me as a musician and drummer but always as another tool, as an instrument."

"A musician like Luis Conte cannot be replaced by any machine and I'm sure he will play on my records in the future, which hasn't been the case so far. When he entered the new (live) band I could see this very clearly."

[Question why he doesn't seem that interested anymore in playing odd beats]: I guess the reason for this is that I hardly play these things anymore and that I actually can't play some of them anymore. When I listen to old recordings I often wonder that I was able to drum such intricate and complicated rhythms."

"It was at about the same time that Genesis and Yes were strongly influenced by these Big Bands. Their style was similar to that of Genesis and deeply rooted in the old Swing traditions" (As for Big Bands he mentions Buddy Rich, Count Basie, and Harold Jones)

[Question about his leaving Genesis and their new formation]: I think it's great that they continue on and I guess it won't be too far away from what we used to do musically. You know, very few people realize who actually contributed most of the songs for Genesis and wrote all the hits. Those were Tony and Mike, not me. I used to be more of an arranger in the band and not the writer. Many of the Genesis ballads come from Tony, not from me. I hope the public (or audience) accepts this. I wish them all the luck. You have to be aware that we all keep developing; and now we're simply working in different directions. There are certainly still many pompous ballads in my mind but also songs like Lorenzo and the Big Band arrangements. [...] What's most important to me is to play more Big Band music and to make younger people appreciate this wonderful music."

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