... A Brief History
Part II: 1993-2013
In 1993, Genesis reunited to perform at a charity concert co-organized by
Mike Rutherford in England. For this charity event, Genesis performed
along side of the equally legendary rock group, Pink Floyd. Unbeknownst to
the band or the audience, it would be the last time Phil Collins would be
performing live with Genesis in front of a public audience for 14 years.
the charity concert in 1993, Phil Collins informed Tony Banks and Mike
Rutherford that his personal life, solo career, and other outside projects
had become to difficult to manage around the band's schedule and officially tendered
his resignation as drummer and front-man.
In September 2005, Genesis released their seemingly posthumous 3-CD anthology, The
Platinum Collection, in North America. This new multi-disc 40-song
collection spanned the band's studio efforts from 1970's Trespass
through 1997's Calling All Stations. The release met with a weak
response in America selling only 65,328 copies, primarily due to the fact that the European
version was released almost a full year earlier in November 2004, and many
copies had been imported for U.S. sales. In late November 2005, former
Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett confirmed that the band was to have a
private meeting to discuss the possibility of a Genesis reunion with the
early 1970s line-up of Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Peter Gabriel, Phil
Collins and Hackett.
The news of Collins departure would remain a
well-guarded secret only shared with the closest members of the Genesis
camp. Banks and Rutherford informed Phil Collins that the band would carry on without
him. Both Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford decided to take time off from
Genesis to work on outside projects before potentially looking for a new
lead singer and drummer for Genesis.
period, Tony Banks began working on a new solo album. Much like Bankstatement,
his new project, Strictly Inc.,
was more like a solo album than a genuine group project. This
time out, Banks enlisted ex-Wang Chung vocalist Jack Hues and guest
musicians like Genesis touring guitarist Daryl Stuermer and Phil Collins'
former touring bassist, Nathan East.
The Strictly Inc. album was Banks' most commercial release to date,
but despite a number of catchy tunes and the longer, fan-favorite,
"Island In the Darkness," it failed to capture any commercial interest. To
date, the Strictly Inc. album has never been released in North America.
No announcement of Phil Collins' departure from Genesis was made public until March 26,
2006 when Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks announced the news for the first
Banks and Rutherford confirmed that the search was on to replace Collins
who, like Peter Gabriel before him, left very "big shoes" to fill.
The comments quickly circulated through out the media with everyone from Rolling
Stone Magazine to CNN reporting the news.
The news was quickly squashed by Peter Gabriel in December of that year, and
Genesis' management released an official statement that there were no plans
for a Genesis reunion in 2006 - however, there was no denial that talks had
or were still taking place. Many fans have speculated that 2007, the band's
40th anniversary, seemed like an obvious time for a potential reunion.
On November 7, 2006 in London and on March 7, 2007 in New York City, Genesis
conferences announce an official 2007 reunion tour with members Tony
Banks, Phil Collins, and Mike Rutherford accompanied by long-time touring
members Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer, bringing back the vastly popular
late '70s to early '90s line up of Genesis. The tour included 48 shows (23 European
shows and 25 North American shows), climaxed with a free concert at the
Circus Maximus in Rome, Italy, in front of an estimated crowd of 500,000
people. The Genesis tour earned $129 million worldwide, making it the
second highest grossing tour of 2007.
In conjunction with the tour, in April 2007, the band released a 12-CD +
DVD box set called 1976-1982, featuring newly remixed and
remastered stereo and surround sound versions of the studio albums from that
era along with rare video, period music videos, and new interviews with the
band on each album.
When he heard of Phil's departure, Chester Thompson contacted Mike
Rutherford about permanently taking over the drummer's chair. Much to
Chester's disappointment, the
band opted not to add any additional permanent members of the group,
splitting drumming chores between two session players, Nick D'Virgilo and Nir
D'Virgilo was best known for his work with acts like Tears for Fears and the
modern progressive band, Spock's Bread. Nick D'Virgilo heard through the
grapevine that Banks and Rutherford might be looking for a new drummer and
managed to get a demo disc into the hands of the band's management along
with an invitation to see him perform at a gig in England. D'Virgilo got an
audition at the Farm, Genesis' studio, but soon realized that he would be
joined by Nir Zidkyahu, who himself, had built an equally impressive
reputation as a session drummer. Zidkyahu has played with acts ranging from
John Mayer to Billy Squier, and had an aggressive playing style that caught
the attention of the band's manager, Tony Smith.
Rumors began to spread wildly about Phil Collins resignation
and who would replace him. Fans and magazine writers speculated everyone
from fellow Mechanic Paul Carrack to Fish (formerly from the
progressive Genesis influenced band, Marillion) to the return of Peter
Gabriel... Obviously, none of which were true.
In September 2007, Genesis released Turn
It On Again: The Hits - Tour Edition, an expanded double disc
limited edition version of the album, which surfaced at the start of the
North American tour (it was released in Europe in June at the start of the
European leg of the tour).
The second Genesis box in the series, 1983-1998, included comparable material from the
studio albums from this period, and was released in November 2007. A third
such collection is anticipated for release in September 2008 featuring the
studio albums recorded between 1970-1975.
November 2007 also saw the release of Genesis' sixth live album, Live
Over Europe, which featured recordings from various nights of the
European leg of the tour. Live Over Europe peaked at #44 in Europe,
but did not fare as well in the North American charts. This release will be accompanied by When In
Rome, a video release recorded at the Circus Maximus concert in Italy.
This release was accompanied by When In Rome, a video release
recorded at the Circus Maximus concert in Italy. The video was recorded in
high definition and was released in 2008 on DVD (despite being filmed in
high definition, the video has yet to receive a high definition release).
On June 6, 1997, Banks and Rutherford officially announced that Collins would be
replaced by ex-Stiltskin vocalist Ray Wilson. Wilson had already
earned success in his own right with the Stiltskin single "Inside" which
had climbed to the top of the charts across Europe.
In September 1997, Genesis released what would be their final studio
album, Calling All Stations. Rutherford touted that the new album
would be "darker" than that of more recent projects, leaving fans to believe
that the project would
be reminiscent of Genesis' sound in the 1970s.
GENESIS In 1997: Rutherford,
Wilson and Banks
November 2008 saw the release of the 13-disc CD + DVD set, 1970-1975,
spanning "the Peter Gabriel era" of Genesis. In 2010, for his work on the
project, long-time Genesis Engineer/Producer Nick Davis received a Grammy
Award nomination for 'Best Surround Sound.'
The string of archive releases continued in September 2009 with the 11-disc
CD + DVD set, Live 1973-2007, and November 2009's 5-DVD set, The
Movie Box, featuring the band's commercially released concert videos
along with an updated version of VH-1's Behind The Music documentary on the
band going up through the 2007 Genesis world tour. This officially ended the
three year flood of archive Genesis releases. While more unreleased live and
non-album material remains "in the vaults", at least for the time being,
there appear to be no immediate plans to release to release more archive
type product (Although, I hope they do!).
As it turned out, the release was not an extremely dark album, but rather
slightly less commercial than what fans had come to expect in recent years.
Calling All Stations met with a cold response, selling only 109,583
copies in the United States. The weak U.S. album sales later resulted in the
scaling back and eventual canceling of the band's North American tour.
Genesis chose to carry on with a European tour using backing guitarist and
bass player Anthony Drennon along with Calling
All Stations session drummer Nir Z to support the new line-up in
late 1997 and early 1998, but the response from fans was significantly
less than that of their previous several tours. Shortly after the
conclusion of the tour, Banks and Rutherford notified Wilson that the
decision had been made not to record another studio album. Again, this
decision would remain secret for some time.
On May 11, 1998, former Genesis members Steve Hackett, Phil Collins, Peter
Gabriel, Anthony Phillips, and John Silver reunited with Tony Banks and
Michael Rutherford for a press conference at Heathrow Airport in England to
promote the Genesis' first box set, Archive 1967-1975. The box
set was released in June of that year, and included rare and previously
unreleased recordings. The collection sold a mere 35,237 copies in the
the box set, Banks and Rutherford enlisted former members Phil Collins,
Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett to re-record a new version of the song
"Carpet Crawlers" from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.
While the track did not make the first Archive box set, it did
surface in October 1999 on the band's first sanctioned compilation, Turn
It On Again: The Hits. Turn It On Again reached the top five on
the UK album chart but failed to crack the U.S. top 40 chart. The
collection did, however, sell more than 500,000 copies in the U.S. earning yet another
gold album for Genesis.
Genesis Press Conference in 2006
In November 2009, Tony Banks' first solo album,
Curious Feeling, was reissued in celebration of the album's 30th
anniversary. A standard version of the album with newly remixed and
remastered sound (courtesy of long-time Producer/Engineer Nick Davis) was
issued along with a deluxe version of the album featuring both the stereo
CD and a bonus DVD with 5.1 audio and bonus video content. Sadly, to date,
its the only Tony Banks album to see a remastered edition.
In March 2010,
Genesis was inducted into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf
Astoria Hotel in New York City. Trey
Anastasio, the lead singer from the band Phish, inducted the band saying:
"Every musical rule and boundary was questioned and broken. It's
impossible to overstate what impact this band and musical philosophy had
on me as a young musician. I'm forever in their debt." On hand that night
were members Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford, and
long-time touring members Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson.
Mysteriously absent that night was Peter Gabriel who allegedly missed the
event due to preparation for the European leg of his 2010 tour. While
Genesis did not perform that night, it was the last time the group
appeared on stage together as Genesis. In September 2012, Genesis was
honored again with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the first Progressive
Music Awards in England. Members Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford were on
hand to accept the honor.
In 2000, Genesis released Archive #2 1976-1992. Like the first Archive
collection, this box set included rare and unreleased material. Also
like the first Archive box set, its reception was brisk with only
21,031 copies sold in the United States.
On September 21st
of that year, Genesis members Collins, Banks and Rutherford reunited
with Daryl Stuermer at the Dorchester
in London, England for a private acoustic performance in honor of their
long-time manager, Tony Smith, who was receiving the prestigious Peter Grant
Award for his accomplishments in the
music industry (Peter Gabriel was also in attendance, but did not perform).
signature Genesis compositions always tended to have a
very strong orchestral quality. Whether it be unusual combinations of chords
or a chorus of sweeping angelic sounds. Using that orchestral style for a
true classical project has
been an idea Banks first contemplated when he recorded the soundtrack to
The Wicked Lady in the early 1980s. When it came time for Tony Banks
seventh solo project (which also happens to have seven tracks),
he decided to take on the challenge, enlisting the help of Mike Dixon and the
legendary London Philharmonic for his first true orchestral album.
was orchestrated by Simon Hale, who was referred to him by long-time Genesis
Producer Nick Davis. Davis, who has been involved with the production of
many Tony Banks solo efforts, also co-produced this release. This ambitious
new classical album was recorded at Air Studios in England in July 2002.
which was released through Naxos Records worldwide in 2004, received critical acclaim in classical music circles. Seven
featured a combination of newer Banks compositions along with some older,
unreleased material, including "The Gateway" which was actually initially
developed as a demo roughly twenty years prior to this album's release.
In March 2011, Tony Banks went
to Smecky Music Studios in the Czech Republic to record his second
orchestral project, Six Pieces for Orchestra, with the Prague
Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Paul Englishby. The album was
eventually released in April 2012, earning high praise from the classical
community and critics alike.
In April 2013, Tony Banks finally reissued his soundtrack to
The Wicked Lady on CD. The title, which was not only remastered, but
was the first time the album had been released in a digital format, received
surprisingly little fanfare upon its independent release on Tony's Fugitive
label. Later in 2013, Tony Banks was commissioned to write a new orchestral
piece for the Cheltenham Music Festival in England. The piece will be
premiered at the festival's 70th anniversary concert on July 5, 2014. Banks
commented, "I am very flattered to be asked
to write an orchestral music piece for the 70th Cheltenham Music Festival.
This will be especially exciting for me, as it will be the first time a
classical piece of mine has been played live in concert."
While pop commercial success may continue to allude Tony Banks as a solo artist,
he has remained one of the most influential artists in the sound of Genesis
through the ages from the group's inception through to their final note on
stage at the Hollywood Bowl in California in 2007. Banks may not have
returned to the rock world (outside of Genesis' 2007 reunion) since the
Strictly Inc. album, but he has finally found his own, much overdue,
critical and commercial acclaim as an orchestral composer.
Special thanks to Tony Banks, Tony Smith Personal Management, Armando Gallo,
Naxos Records, Atlantic Records, Giant Records, EMI Records, and Rhino
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