Daryl Stuermer first stepped into the world of Genesis in 1978, when he was given the daunting task of filling the shoes of Steve Hackett, the legendary guitarist who quit the band just months earlier. Stuermer remained as an "official unofficial" touring member of Genesis until the end of the band's We Can't Dance world tour in 1992. All the while, playing on Phil Collins' solo albums and tours (Webmaster's note: And, of course, in more recent history, he recently returned in 2006 for the band's 2007 Turn It On Again Reunion tour). 

Since his departure from Genesis, Stuermer has honed his craft and become a producer and an accomplished solo artist in his own right. On October 4, 2002, in between recording sessions for his solo album Retrofit, Daryl sat down with World of Genesis.com's Dave Negrin to talk about his new projects, his session work, his days on the road with Genesis and Phil Collins, and much more. 
 

  WOG: How did you go about selecting the material you chose for the Another Side of Genesis album?

DS: Well, it came about pretty easy, because I was limited to what I wanted to do. What I wanted to do was to choose music from 1978 to 1992, those years that I was actually with Genesis. 
Also, the melodies had to be simple enough and melodic enough that you could
Genesis Reunion in 2000 w/ Stuermer (L) translate that to the guitar.

Even though there were some better songs that what I picked, they just don't translate to the guitar very well. I mean, a great song, like for instance "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight", for some reason just doesn't work on the guitar when you're playing to vocal melody.
World of Genesis: Since you're back in the studio, can you tell me a little bit about what you're working on right now?

Daryl Stuermer: What I'm doing now, is actually two different projects in the studio. First, I'm putting some music together for myself, another solo project. An all instrumental album, probably more on the contemporary jazz side of music. The other project I'm doing is with my drummer, John Calarco, and we're writing music together. It's more of a pop/rock type thing. He is a singer as well as a drummer, and he also plays guitar. He writes music, and he brings it to me, and sometimes I write sections of the music for him.

So, we're doing something together. Basically, I'm producing a demo for him to possibly put out there to a record company and see if he can get a deal with that. He sings, writes, and plays, and he comes up with some great stuff...

WOG: So will this be a duo project or is this really more or less John's solo album?

DS: It will probably be under a project's name. Sort of like a band name. We don't have a name as of yet. We talked about whether it should be him - a solo project, or whether it should be a band project. It will probably be basically the two of us co-writing and producing everything with a few different musicians on different songs. So, not an actual band itself, but a project... and sell it as a band project.

Sometimes, a band doesn't happen until you get in the studio, ya know? ...You might gel with certain musicians. So, that's what we are doing right now. I don't know where it's going to go, but I really like the music he comes up with. Most of the time, I'm writing music and he's writing lyrics to it, but he does come to me with some songs that are kind of half-complete, or maybe 60 to 70 percent, and then I finish them for him. So, that's where we are at right now. 

It's very exciting, because I love working in both types of music. I love working in groups like Genesis and Phil Collins, and I like working in the contemporary jazz world, too. It's kind of the best of both worlds for me. Being an instrumentalist and yet being a producer and song writer in the pop... Well, I don't know if I can call it 'pop'; I guess I can... Hopefully, it will be popular music (laughs)! If anything, it kind of leans toward music like the English band, Coldplay. It leans toward that kind of style with a little Genesis put in there... and other people.
 
When you're playing a vocal melody to "Follow You Follow Me," it's very simple and straight ahead. It's a simple, expressive melody. For some reason, I tried other songs that did not work.  I didn't want to go further back than 1978, because that was more of Steve Hackett's era of music. He even has his own tribute, Genesis Revisited. Even though I love those songs, I thought, "Well, that's his era. I want to do stuff that I was, in a sense, involved with." So, anything they wrote from that period on. 

The first song I actually did for that album was Phil's song, "Man On The Corner." That was the only song I did that wasn't written by all three of them, and that was because I didn't know how I was going to do the record at first. 


WOG
: What do you mean by that?

DS: What happened was, I wasn't actually doing Another Side of Genesis. I was doing Waiting In The Wings. I already had the songs "Waiting In The Wings", a song called "Deja Blue." In total, I had five songs finished, and I thought, "I'd like to do a cover song." And so I figured, "Who I should do a cover song by?" I was thinking of all of these people I like, and I thought, "Wait a minute! Why don't I just do a Genesis song?" 

So, I picked "Man On The Corner" recorded it, and really liked it. Then I thought, "Well, maybe I should do one or two more and pick the best of say two or three songs." Then, I did "Hold On My Heart" and then I did "Follow You Follow Me." All of the sudden, I realized that the concept was growing. I figured why don't I continue with this, put the songs for Waiting In The Wings off to the side right now, and just do a whole record of Genesis music. That's how it came about. I didn't start out saying I was going to do an album like that. 

I picked eleven songs. I did songs that are mostly pretty well known, but then I put a few obscure ones in there. Then, Waiting In The Wings I did after that. For Another Side of Genesis, I picked a song like "Since I Lost You", which was on We Can't Dance, because it was a pretty obscure song, but I thought it would be a nice duo piano/guitar song. Another song I really liked, called "Never A Time", which was also on We Can't Dance, I don't think a lot of people heard. I always liked it. I thought it was a very accessible song. Everything else was pretty commercially known. I mean, well known by the public. 

 



...I believe the new album is going to be called Retrofit. "Retrofit"
is the name of one of the songs on it. Some of the music on it
sounds like I'm making a little bit of a jump back in a sense.
Not jazz fusion, but to maybe a little bit more of the kind of instrumental jazz you might hear in the '70s. Half of the music
is going to lean towards sort of retro-contemporary jazz, if you
want to call it that (laughs)!


 

  I wasn't trying to get the most obscure side of Genesis, I was sort of trying to get the side of Genesis that everybody hears and most people would know. But, they also translated well melodically. Probably, that's why they were singles. Most of those songs were singles, because they were the most melodic songs. It doesn't mean that they were the deepest songs or the most complicated, but they were the most melodic and accessible songs. 

WOG: I read that Alphonso Johnson was the person who recommended you for the gig with Genesis in 1977. Is that true?

DS: Yeah! He was.

WOG: How did that come about?
 

WOG
: Obviously, if you are shopping the band project to record companies, you can't estimate a release for that project, but when do you anticipate releasing your solo album?

DS: Right now, I'm in the demo stage, and I'm putting some things together. Actually, some of the things I am putting in as a demo will be usable in the final product... in the record itself. So, I'm putting this together and, maybe this time, I might shop the album to other record companies as well. Because, I've put out my last three records on my own label, Urban Island Music. This one has a little bit more potential to kind of get out there and it's a little more accessible, probably, than my other stuff. I feel that there might be a place for it in a record company. A different record company that has a much wider distribution than I can get. I'm looking at it that way. So, I can't really say when it will be released. I think I'll finish the project in February, March, or something like that. Hopefully, no later than spring (laughs)!

Right now, it's in the early stages, although everything is just about written. When you go shopping (for a record label) you don't know when someone is going to put it out, but I'm hoping maybe spring.

WOG: I saw that you did a few concert dates with your old band, Sweetbottom. Do you plan to release anything with the band? What brought about the reunion?

DS: What's happening with that is, this is a band that I worked with from 1973 to 1975. Then, when I went with Jean-Luc Ponty, I would go out on the road with him and come back and I would still work with this band until about 1980. 

The line-up that we're using in this band is the line-up from 1974 and 1975. We got together this summer and finally did a reunion. We only did so many dates. I think it was five or six dates, which were regional within the area where I live, because that was where the band was popular, basically. We were popular in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Illinois area. 

What were are going to do, since we enjoyed ourselves, and it was a really good outcome... Lots of people came out to see us. We did mainly festivals, things like that. So, there would be thousands of people out there, but they were all old fans. What we are going to do is this December, on the 26th and 27th of December, we're putting together a date in a nightclub here in Milwaukee where we are going to record live for two nights. We're going to advertise it that way... "Be part of a Sweetbottom live recording." 

So, we'll record those two nights and put out a CD, probably for the next year that we play. We are probably going to do this again next summer or the summer after, I'm not sure. It will sort of depend on the scheduling of what I'm doing over this next year or what some of the other guys are doing next year. 

So, there will be a live album probably. When I say probably, I mean most likely it will happen. It depends on how the recording turns out. If we like what we are hearing, we'll put out the CD.
 
  DS: Genesis was actually looking for someone who could play guitar and bass, but I think they needed someone who played more guitar than bass. In other words, someone who was a stronger guitar player than a bass player. 

The next guy that was coming about had to fill Steve Hackett's shoes, and Mike (Rutherford) had really only played guitar on the one record, which was ... And Then There Were Three. All of the music that they were going to be doing, for most of the shows, was going to be guitar. So, you'd have to be more of a guitar player to play that stuff. 

Alphonso Johnson actually auditioned, but he's a great bass player. I don't even know how much guitar he actually plays. So, when he went over there, and they obviously realized that he wasn't going to work, because he wasn't a great guitar player; he was a great bass player. I think they asked him who he would recommend, and he recommended me, because I knew him when I lived out in Los Angeles.

I got the call, and they flew me to New York to audition. I was the first American guitar player out of five who auditioned. I remember coming to the rehearsal studio and it was just Mike (Rutherford). We just had two monitor speakers there and a cassette player... They had sent me four songs to learn: "Down And Out", another one off of ...And Then There Were Three, "Dance On A Volcano" and, I believe, "Squonk."  I can't remember the other one they sent me (from ...And Then There Were Three), but I learned those songs, I met Mike and we started playing the songs. He put on the tape, and we started playing along with the tape. Mike had a guitar and I had a guitar and they had a full pedals board down there. Sort of the same style pedal board that Steve Hackett had. I didn't really know that much about pedals at the time, because I pretty much played straight ahead. 

We played about a minute of a song and Mike would stop it and say, "O.K., let's go on to the next song. Now we're going to do 'Down And Out'." So, we started playing "Down And Out." We'd play about a minute of that song, and we'd go on to another one. We went through all four songs, for only about a minute (each), and he said, "I think you're the one." And he just said it that way, "I think you're the one." We talked afterwards, and he said, "I'll tell you what, I have four other guitar players I have to audition, but I'll call you at The Plaza Hotel at around five o'clock when I'm done here. I'll come over to your room, and I'll write down all of the songs I need you to learn." ... Because we were going to be going on tour pretty soon after that. Rehearsals we going to be starting around two or three weeks later, I believe. 

So, I waited for Mike's call, and he did call me around six o'clock, and he came over to my room and we went though all this list of songs he needed me to learn for the rehearsal, and gave me a little bit of ideas about each song.  Then, I asked him, I said, "I recognized a couple of the other guitar players names that you were going to be auditioning. Did you audition guys in England?" He said, "Yes, we auditioned about 20 or 30 guitar players, and then we just had this list of five." And I said, "What was it about these other four guys? They are obviously capable players." And he said that none of them knew the songs (laughs)!! He had sent the tape earlier and these guys showed up not even knowing what they were going to be playing. 
 


The Daryl Stuermer Band (from left):
 Kostia, Stuermer, John Calarco & Eric Hervey 
 

 

Daryl On His Audition With Genesis:

"...We went through all four songs, for only about a
minute (each), and he said, "I think you're the one." 


WOG
: Will the performance consist of mostly new material or cover tunes?

DS: I bet it will be about 50/50, because that's what we are doing on stage right now. What we are doing is covering music that we played then. We're not doing anything new. We're doing music like say, David Sanborn or Herbie Hancock or whoever we liked at the time. We're taking those songs and redoing them. Some of the arrangements are pretty close to what we used to do. I think we're just better players now, so we're doing them better (laughs). The other half will be originals by myself and the saxophone player to plays in the group. So, I think depending on how the recording turns out and how the performance is, I bet will be picking 50/50.   

WOG: How did you first hook up with Jean-Luc Ponty and George Duke in the '70s?

DS: My group, Sweetbottom, was quite a popular group in Milwaukee at the time. We were probably the number one band around. A lot of times national and international groups would come to town and, especially in the '70s, people would say, "Where's a group I could go see and maybe sit in?"

In 1975, Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention came to town. They all came down to this nightclub that we played in called The Bull Ring. We were playing there for two years, five nights a week, so we were very well established at that point. 

All these guys came down and sat in with us. They had a keyboard player named George Duke, who is now a pretty well known keyboard player and producer in his own right. At that time, he was a guy who I really admired as a keyboard player and he liked my (guitar) playing. After we all sat in, he got my number. 

At one point that year, I went out to Los Angeles with our band just for holiday vacation and we called up George Duke. When he found out I was there, he said, "Jean-Luc Ponty is looking for a guitarist. Let me call him and tell him that you're in town. I would like to recommend you." So, that's how that happened. Three days later, I was over at Jean Luc Ponty's house auditioning with him. It was just a matter of luck, being at the right place at the right time, and, hopefully, because I could do the job (laughs)! That's how that began.     
 
 

I think half of how you get a job with a band is knowing what they're all about. I really sat down with these songs, especially. I also bought a couple of Genesis albums, because I really wanted to figure out what these guys were all about. I really liked what I was listening to, and I had already heard Genesis a year or two prior to that. So, it just surprised me that someone who was going to audition for a band as big as Genesis, and as musically complicated as Genesis, wouldn't actually sit down and learn the songs.      

WOG: Were these known players? Would I know who they were if you gave me their names?

DS: Um... No, I don't think so. They weren't well known to the public. I just knew them as musicians. 

I also thought that Mike and I got along personally. Right away, something happened. There was a good chemistry between the two of us, and it kind of gelled right away. So, the fact that we had gotten along personally, and the fact that I could play what he had given me, that's why that happened. It's been that way ever since then. We get along great! 

WOG: At what point did you know that your employment with the band was open ended and that you had a steady gig?

DS: When they asked me for the next one (laughs)! While I was on tour with them, I knew that everybody was getting along great, I was doing the job that they needed, and I knew it was working, personally. I didn't know if they knew that (laughs)... But, I knew it was working! 

I even said to Mike, "Is there another tour coming up?" And he said, "Well, we never know." I thought, "Wow! That's so vague" ...that they didn't know what they were going to do next. As I learned over the years, that's the way they are, you never know. You never do a tour and they say, "Oh, by the way, we're going to be touring again two years from now." They don't know that. So, I took that. It was 1978, I did my first tour with them. I knew in 1979 they weren't going to do any touring, because Mike and Tony's wives were having babies that year, and I knew that they weren't going to be doing anything in 1979. That's why I took a tour with Gino Vannelli. 

Anyway, I wasn't sure until I got a call back in 1980 that it was actually going to happen. Then I sort of felt, that I was pretty much in with the band at that point. Even though, I felt good with them all through '78, and I got along with everybody... But, you never know. 
 


"After this next record that I do, the record after that will be
a live record. Every once and a while, we record some of the
live shows I'm doing now. I'll have plenty of tracks that I'll be
able to choose from and put out a live record of everything that
I have up to that point."

 

    
       It's very exciting, because I love working in both types of music.
       I love working in groups like Genesis and Phil Collins, and I like
                     working in the contemporary jazz world, too.
                         It's kind of the best of both worlds for me.
 
WOG: At that point, was Chester Thompson still with Frank Zappa and The Mothers? 

DS: He still was with Zappa in 1975. So, he was one of the drummers who was sitting in with us. At that point Zappa had two drummers: Ralph Humphries and Chester Thompson. 

WOG: Was that the first time you ever met Chester?

DS: No. Actually, about a year prior to that, my band was down in Chicago going to see The Mothers of Invention, and we were in a drum shop. My drummer asked this guy at the counter, buying some sticks or something, "Are you going to the Frank Zappa show?" And he says, "Well, I'm playing in it!" That was Chester Thompson (laughs). He invited us to the show. I mean, we already had tickets, but he invited us to come back stage. 

We were a band from Milwaukee and we were in Chicago, and he invited us down. Ever since then, whenever he would come through Milwaukee, he would give us a call. Actually, that's how we got Frank Zappa's band to come and sit in with us. Chester called and they all knew who we were and the promoter said, "Yeah, go down and see this band Sweetbottom." So, that's how our relationship began. So, I had met Chester prior to that meeting. Then, he went with Weather Report after that and Chester didn't play with Genesis until about 1977. 

Jean-Luc Ponty was actually the guy who turned me on to Genesis. I mean, I had heard of Genesis, but I didn't know that much about them at that time. Jean-Luc Ponty played me a record by these guys, A Trick Of The Tail, and the first song he played me was "Squonk." I became an instant fan! 

When I found out Chester Thompson was with them, I thought, "Oh my God, this is pretty amazing that they would have this kind of drummer with them!" I had always thought of Chester as sort of in the jazz area having been with Weather Report and even Frank Zappa, which is a different kind of music than Genesis. Obviously, he fit in very well, and that's how that happened.

WOG: As a producer, you've done your own solo projects, the Phil Collins Big Band, and
Framing Amy...

DS: Well, I didn't produce Framing Amy yet. Basically, I played on two songs on a Framing Amy CD. Actually, Amy Pierce (the lead singer from Framing Amy) just e-mailed me a couple of days ago. She is going to be giving me some demos to listen to see what I can do with them. If I produce anything, it will be in the future. Hopefully, the near future for Framing Amy. 

WOG: Have those experiences are a producer wet your appetite to seek out other artists to produce?

DS: Yeah, I really would like to. In a sense, I would rather produce artists that are more in the rock/pop area than the jazz area, because that is a genre I really love listening to. I feel that I can do something with that, with the experience I have had with all of these different types of music. For me, it would be more of a challenge, because in the jazz contemporary area, all musicians kind of play the way they do and it's not going to be any different (laughs). This is it! This is how they play (laughs)!
 

WOG
: It seems like when you played live with Genesis that they were flexible in terms of allowing you to incorporate your own playing style into the songs. For example, on the bass line on "Abacab," you pep up the song a bit. Is that fair to say that the band gives you a reasonable amount of room for personal musical interpretation?

DS: Yeah. I think they also know that I won't take it somewhere it shouldn't go (laughs). I mean, it would be very easy to just start taking one of their songs and soloing the way you want to solo. If you have any musical sense, you know that there are restrictions you have to play within. They're built in. It's not that anyone is telling you there's restrictions, but they are built into the music and you don't go far out. 

I mean, if I was playing with Jean- Luc Ponty, I would play a totally different kind of a solo than I would on "Firth of Fifth," for instance. So, I was able to take "Firth of Fifth" and I would definitely have to do Steve Hackett's things, because they were so part of the song. But I could also take those lines and hint at it and go off somewhere else, but always come back. Because sometimes his solos were almost like melodies. If that melody wasn't there, at least partially, you would lose some of the flavor that the song had... Some of the atmosphere that was created by these melodies. I think they trusted me not to go nuts with my interpretation (laughs). They also knew that I understood what this required.    

See, that's part of it, too. You don't go into a band, kind of like with this big ego, saying, "I'm going to show them what I have." What you do is say, "I'm going to join them in how to create this music." I do have to put my personality into it, too, because I don't think they would want me to be just a replica of Steve Hackett... But you have to respect some of the stuff that was there prior to you being there. 

WOG
: That being said, was it awkward when you did the Genesis reunion with Peter Gabriel in 1982, and Steve Hackett was... no pun intended, waiting in the wings on the side of the stage while you played most of the show while you played most of his parts?

DS: (Laughs) It wasn't uncomfortable for me at all. I don't know if it was for him. I would think because he wasn't doing it, it would feel worse for him that it would for me. It felt great, because I was doing it. I was, in a sense, grateful that they included me in that.

Obviously, Steve was part of the era with Peter Gabriel. But, of course, I would have loved... I was waiting to play with Peter Gabriel. I thought this would be just a great moment. The fact that they had me do that was great for me. 

Then he came out and did "I Know What I Like" with us. So, I was able to play on the stage as well as Steve. I did the whole show with Gabriel and then Steve came up at the end. After the show, we got some great photos of backstage stuff... Everybody all together. I felt comfortable with Steve. 

Actually, I just saw Steve about three weeks ago. I was in England about three weeks ago doing a show called This Is Your Life.  There is nothing between Steve and me that is uncomfortable. We talk all the time. He is an excellent guitar player. I respect him and he respects me. We have different styles, but I admire his style.      
 

In my opinion, I love contemporary jazz and all of this, but I find that rock/pop you can experiment a lot more with. I like the ideas that you can come up with and you can you can kind of go a little bit outside and get a little bit on the edge with that kind of music. So, I would rather produce that kind of music than something I play all of the time. I find it enjoyable, and it's not about your technique of playing; it's more about creativity. 


WOG
: On your previous albums, it seems that you often sought out musicians from Phil Collins' tour band like Brad Cole and Lee Sklar. What made you decide to put a new band together for your Waiting In The Wings album?















    Daryl Stuermer Live In Concert

 
WOG: When did you first hear that Phil had quit Genesis?

DS: (Laughs) It was while we were on tour with Phil's band in 1994. It was the Both Sides tour. Phil was talking with the manager, and I over heard him say something. Then, he looked at me and says, "Oh, you know I left Genesis, right?" (laughs) That's how I found out! I said, "No, I do now (laughs)!" I just remember that's how casual it was. I think he thought I knew already... Obviously, I didn't and that's what he said. 

WOG: Was there a point where you felt like you had to choose sides between touring with Phil Collins' band or touring with Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks in Genesis?

DS
: It was because this was the band I was playing with at the time. Also, I finally found a band that could also play well on a recording. Sometimes, there are musicians who are really good playing live, but there not as good in the studio. Also, when you play live,  you can get away with more. What you want to find is this really nice mix of someone that's good live player and a good studio player.

People like Brad Cole and Leland Sklar are great live players as well as studio players, but they don't live in my city. They live in Los Angeles, and there are budget restrictions, and that sort of thing.  I do know them and get along with them personally, but I finally had a situation where I was playing out with this band of musicians that could also play on my record and do a good job. I decided to stick with the people who I'm playing with, in a sense, all of the time.

There's camaraderie there, and they live right here. Everybody lives within twenty minutes of each other. It's a much easier process, plus I think sometimes a certain chemistry between musicians comes across on a record. When I play live, it's exactly the same people that you listened to on the CD. I think that's a nice thing, too.

I actually played with Brad Cole before Phil Collins' band. I actually recommended Brad Cole to Phil Collins. Brad and I had played together in 1979 with
Gino Vannelli. We had done a tour together and I always liked his playing. When Phil Collins asked me if I had anybody I would recommend, I recommended Brad Cole. Brad came over and auditioned in 1990 and got it and the rest is history. So, he has been playing with them for a while now... And now Leland Sklar is back playing with Phil again.

WOG: So, is Nathan East out of the band?

DS: At this stage, yes. It's one of those things where I think he is doing other projects right now. I mean, Chester is back with the band again, so Ricky Lawson is doing other things and Nathan is doing other things. In a sense, we've got the old 1990 band back again, which I really enjoy. I always thought is was kind of the best group. It's one of those things where all of the chemistry was really good between all of us. 

WOG: I know you co-wrote "The Least You Can Do" on Phil Collins new CD, Testify, is that the first time you've written together since Phil's No Jacket Required album?

DS: Actually, I also have a song on ...But Seriously that I co-wrote with Phil, "Something Happened On The Way To Heaven." 

How "The Least You Can Do" came about was, I wrote this instrumental, and Phil always liked the song. I probably wrote the song back in 1993. So, I wrote this song, originally as an instrumental, and Phil always liked it. He actually wrote some lyrics to it back in 1994, and then kind of put it away and brought it out and rearranged the lyrics again. Then, I had to rearrange the song to fit a vocal. So, most of the music is mine, and we had to change the melody. When you are writing an instrumental, you don't have a vocalist in mind, so you just write it. If you want to change it into a vocal, you have to sometimes simplify the melody a little bit. 

I put the original version of the song on my CD called Live and Learn. It was called "River of Memories." It's actually very different from what you are hearing on this one, because I had to change the key of the song, I had to change the arrangement of the song, and then change some of the melody around. So, Phil and I went back and forth. I was writing the music here in Milwaukee, or rearranging the music here, and he was in Switzerland where he lives. I would send him a CD of my arrangement, then he would call me up and then maybe ask me to change something. So, I would change it again. I think we went back about three or four times until we got it the way we like it. I would send him a backing track, he would sing along with it, and he would send that to me with comments. He would say, "Can you shorten up that section?" and we decided to make a key change as well. So, it starts out in one key and when it goes to a guitar solo section, it changes key. Actually, when it changes key, it goes to the key the song was originally written in. That's how it came about.

Most of the time, we didn't do songs that way. There is a song on No Jacket Required called "I Don't Wanna Know," which was another song that was first an instrumental and then he wrote lyrics to it. The rest of them, like "Only You Know and I Know" and "Why Doesn't Anybody Stay Together Anymore" I was right there doing it with him. Actually writing or arranging the songs with him in the demo stage. The same thing with "Something Happened On The Way To Heaven." That was pretty much in the demo stage when we wrote that. The other two "The Least You Can Do" and "I Don't Wanna Know" were originally full instrumental songs before they got vocals.  

WOG: How did your song writing collaboration take off? By that point, you had been playing with Phil for a number of years...

DS: I think that was 1984, and the record came out in 1985. That just came about, because he asked me if I would come over. He had written some songs, but he only got so far with certain ones. He didn't have a full song. He would have, for instance, a chorus but he didn't have a verse, or he would have a chorus and a verse, but he wouldn't have a bridge middle section. So, it came about because he needed some help finishing some of the songs. And he also liked that one song of mine, "I Don't Wanna Know" and said, "You know, I would like to write lyrics to that." I came over really to do that one song, and then we got into these other songs and one thing led to another. We just finished up the songs that were already started, but they weren't finished.

The same thing with "Something Happened On The Way To Heaven" in 1989. It was a started, but an unfinished song. In fact, it was a song that almost got thrown away! It wasn't going anywhere, and then he gave it to me to kind of finish off. I finished it off, and it became a number one hit, at least in the United States.

WOG: In the past couple of years, you have been touring extensively in the greater Wisconsin area. Do you have plans to tour in other parts of the U.S. or maybe Europe?

DS: I would like to. What's happening right now is that I really don't have an agency behind me. What I need to do is get into an agency that can book me further. Right now, I'm just doing regional stuff, and the only reason I am not going out to the whole United States or Europe is because I don't have an agency behind me that can book me anywhere else. 

It's hard to get into an agency right now, especially when you don't have a record contract. That's even part of the reason why I would like to get into a record company. They ask, "Who is the record company behind you?" and if you don't have that they don't feel that there is enough behind you to make this work.

I have done gigs outside Illinois and Wisconsin, but it's very far and few between. I'm planning on a possible week or two pretty soon. I can't say much about it, because it's not for sure yet. There are some things planned... There is an agent that is working on some things for me to do for some dates in Boston, New York, Albany, Cleveland, Cinncinatti, and probably Chicago. So, I'll do like a week and a half or two week tour of different venues, probably showcase clubs of 300 to 500 people, maybe more depending on the venue. I would love to do that! 

The fact that I am not touring isn't by choice. This is something I would like to do, but I'm not able to do it right now. My schedule would be fine. I can open up my schedule to do that. I'm just going to be doing some Phil Collins things in November where I'll be gone for a couple of weeks, but other than that, I'm pretty open to do any kind of touring. In between that, I can do all of this recording and my own solo record and things like that.   
 

DS: I think what was happening was, Genesis wanted to do something. They wanted to continue on. Was it 1997 when they went out with Ray Wilson?

WOG: Yes.

DS: I was on tour with Phil through most of 1997. We also knew that there was no way that I was going to be able to do both, because they were starting their rehearsal stage and doing their album within that period. I think that Genesis wanted to make a change anyway. Not that they don't like me or my playing, but I think they felt that they almost had to make a full change. They didn't use Chester Thompson.

I couldn't have even gone into the rehearsal stage with Genesis, because I was out with Phil, but I think they probably wanted to make a change anyway. I think they just felt that this was really a different group and you couldn't have me without Chester or Chester without me. It would have been very uncomfortable. It would have felt kind of wrong. I think they just made a total change. I mean, I never really got a phone call saying, "By the way, who do you want to be with?" It was never like that. 

I did talk to the manager a little bit about that, and he was just saying, "Well, they are going to be doing this while we are on tour with Phil Collins." So, it was never even a question for me. I felt comfortable staying with Phil, and I still am with him. You know, Genesis really doesn't exist now, so in a way, it worked out for the better. 

WOG: I interviewed Chester Thompson earlier this year, and he talked about how he had proposed joining Genesis as a permanent member and contributing to the songwriting process to Mike Rutherford.  At the time, Mike wasn't interested in adding any other permanent members into the fold. What are your thoughts on that?

DS: I didn't even know that happened (laughs)! That's the first I've heard that! I think you have a lot more information than I do (laughs)! I didn't know that he had talked to them about that at all. As far as me, at any stage of my being with Genesis from 1978 on, if they had wanted me to be in on a songwriting stage, I would have obviously done it. It was never offered to me, and I figured I'm sitting here and if they want that to happen, they'll have that happen. I didn't know that happened with Chester, but like I said, I believe they wanted to make a full spectrum change, you know? That's probably why that didn't happen that way.
  
WOG: Now that you and Chester are both actively working on solo projects, is there a chance that you'll work together on one of your own projects?

DS: That is possible. I do have a band right now, and I would probably stick to what I have. It doesn't mean I'm not open to that. If Chester wanted me to play on something of his, I would do it. I know we live in different states, but it's a lot closer than England (laughs) and it's a lot closer than Los Angeles. I would drive there to play on a Chester Thompson record. A lot of times, people are doing records in many different ways now. You can even do them from a distance. I prefer not to do it that way, but it's not always a bad result that way either. If I felt there was something, for a particular reason, I should have Chester Thompson play on something, I would call him. That's the way he would feel, too. 

We had mentioned it in the past a couple of years ago. We talked about the different formats that we have for recording, and that we should do something sometime. He has this ADAT format and I had some ADATs. I said, "Well, if you ever need anything, an overdub on a song, we could even do it by mail. As long as we talk about it first. So, yeah, I'm open to it. He's a great musician. Like I said, I saw him just weeks ago doing that Toyota thing. It was great to see him again... play with him again. We're going to be doing some stuff in November. We're doing some television stuff with Phil. I don't know if it's out there yet, exactly what shows we'll be doing, but there will be some stuff for his record release. The release is November 12th (in the U.S.A.). 

I have not heard the whole album, by the way... I've only heard four of the songs, because I didn't work on the whole record. He has a separate Producer, Rob Cavallo. Sometimes, certain producers work with musicians that they are comfortable with, but I did play on the single, which I believe is out by now, called "Can't Stop Loving You." So, I played on that, and I'm playing on the song I co-wrote, "The Least You Can Do." Right now, those are the only two that I know that I am on. I recorded a couple of other things with Phil in November of last year, but I don't know if those are on the new album or not. 

WOG: How did you get involved with the Douglas Spotted Eagle album, Pray? The reason I ask is because it's very different from any of the other projects you've done...

DS: Yeah. I only did one song. He comes into Milwaukee every once in a while. I only met him once, but he just called me up out of the blue. He wanted to know if I wanted to play guitar on something. So, he sent me the tracks, and I did it here in my own studio. Then, I sent it back to him and he really liked it. That's how I got involved. It was that simple! 

He does do gigs here in Milwaukee. He's got a Milwaukee connection here. My keyboard player here got married some years ago, and I remember meeting Douglas Spotted Eagle at his wedding. 

WOG: In your opinion, what is the likelihood of a Genesis reunion featuring the musicians from your era with the band?

DS: That's what I would love! I mean, that would be my favorite... Although, you know what I would love, too? I think it could be a big tour if you had Phil and Chester on drums and had Peter (Gabriel) singing. That would be, to me, the best group out there. As you know, a lot of this is pretty much up to Phil. I think Phil wants to just play drums when he does Genesis. That's the way he feels. 

I don't think he wants the responsibility and the pressure of singing and playing with that band (laughs)! I just watched the DVD the other day (Genesis: The Way We Walk), which was the first time I've seen the DVD of the 1992 tour. I sat there and listened and watched, and I thought about how much Phil worked so hard in that band. As much singing as he did... As much playing as he did... and then performing. I thought, "My God, this guy is the hardest working guy out there." I can see why maybe he wouldn't want to be doing that anymore. He doesn't have full control of the situation, he's got Mike and Tony to kind of contend with. It's about the three of them and what they come up with. Phil, I think, enjoys having the control over his band. So, the likelihood of [a reunion] happening is slim, but it doesn't mean it's not possible. 

Inevitably, people ask me that whenever I do an interview. That's the only way I can answer it. A couple of years ago, we got together and did a little show, it was more like an Unplugged. The manager was getting an award (the Peter Grant Award) in England. It was Mike, Tony, Phil and me. Chester wasn't part of this. I don't think he was around. It was just so much fun... Just to play. Just the four of us. 

Those kinds of things I think could happen, but as far as a big major tour... I wish it would happen, believe me! I just mentioned it to Tony Banks when I was in England. I said, "What do you think?" Tony said, "Well, you know, I don't know if we would get the people back." I said, "Yes, you would! You would definitely get the people back." Everybody who loved Genesis would come out to see Genesis, I believe. I may be wrong, but I believe [the fans] would come back. I think it's more up to Phil Collins. If he would do it, I think the other guys would say, "OK!" and I believe they would get Chester and me to do it. 

WOG: When Phil has said in the past that he would only come back to Genesis if he could play drums, I always thought that was a bit of a cop out since Peter Gabriel has said repeatedly that he is not at all interested in a reunion. It's kind of a way of letting the fans hear what they want to hear, but not having to commit to the band...

DS: I don't think Peter is that interested in doing Genesis. Believe me, the whole thing is held up by the two of them. Phil won't sing and Peter won't sing (laughs)! Phil will play drums, and I know he would do it. I really think he would do it, but he won't sing and that's the problem. Like you said (laughs), I don't know if it's working that way or if Phil is thinking that way (laughs)!
WOG: Phil Collins has talked openly about his hearing problems. How, if at all, do you see that impacting future Big Band projects either in the studio or live, if that is even possible?

DS: Well, I'm not sure exactly. I asked him last time I played with him. We did a big event out in Los Angeles for Toyota, it was a big corporate event. We did it at The Staple Center, which is the big arena they have there, and there were thousands of people. We played there, and he did great! 

I mean, he used ear monitors. We all have these in ear monitors. I asked him about his ear. I said, "Do you hear anything?" He said that he actually hears a little bit through that ear. I don't know if that means he didn't hear anything before and now he is getting some of it back, but it does impact how he wants to do things. When things get really loud, it seems to be a problem with him... and it wasn't a problem before. Because of that, I think it could impact how much touring he would like to do, but he really enjoyed himself this last time we got together, and I think he would like to do something. 

Depending on how the new album does, may determine if he even wants to go on the road. If the record shows some promise, I think he would like to go out there and do some more promotion. He really enjoys himself when he goes out there and performs. I think the ear problem is a little bit of a set back, because it is a little harder. You know, singing can be a little harder when your only hearing through one ear... But he doesn't seem to have any pitch problems, so I think he is working with it. Everybody needs to adjust to certain things.

WOG
: It seems like a convenient answer to a difficult question since Gabriel won't come back.

DS: I do believe Phil would come back to play drums. I think if Peter said, "Yes, I would love to do a big reunion tour with Genesis." I think Phil would play drums. I really don't think it's a cop out by Phil. Obviously, schedules and everything would have something to do with it, but why wouldn't he do it? 

The hardest part about being in Genesis is being up there performing, singing, playing drums, and doing all of the stuff that Phil does. If Phil could sit back play the drums... Phil feels the most comfortable as a drummer. Even though he is a wonderful performer, singer, songwriter, that's where he loves being, behind the drum kit. That's why he enjoyed doing the Big Band, he just loved being behind the drums.  So, I believe he would do it... So, let's put it on Peter (laughs)!

If Peter would sing with the band, I believe it would happen (laughs)! ... But, I would also hope that they would use me on guitar. Remember, Peter did all of the older stuff, and I never worked with Peter in Genesis in that era. I would love to do that, and I think it would be great to have Chester and Phil playing on drums. I think that would be a monstrous show!
 

Special thanks to Daryl Stuermer and Urban Island Music for this interview. For more on Daryl Stuermer, check out his official website.  This interview 2002-2007 Dave Negrin and may not be reprinted in whole or in part without permission.



When a singer sometimes sings, they actually put a finger in one ear. So, people do sing, in a sense, with one ear, and I do believe he has hearing in that other ear as well. So, if that gets a little bit better, I think we'll do a little bit more.

WOG: So, if touring is not a possibility, would something like a studio Big Band project be feasible?

DS: I don't know. I've never actually asked him about the Big Band. I think if you wear ear monitors and you have one of the monitors maybe lower in level, I think that could probably help. So, I know nothing about the big band. I wish he would do it, it's a lot of fun. I wish we would do a studio record with that, besides a live thing.

WOG: Do you have any plans to reissue your first solo album, Steppin' Out on Urban Island Music? Why do you typically neglect to perform material from that album when you play live in concert?

DS: I actually do one of the songs every once in a while. I do "I Don't Wanna Know" for a couple of reasons. Number one, it's probably one of the most well known since it's on No Jacket Required, even though it's a different version. It's a good story. You can actually tell the story to the audience, which also helps when you are doing instrumental music... There is something behind it. 

That's the only song I do off of Steppin' Out. I used to do one called "Electric City" and one called "The Highlands," but I only neglect it because I'm not selling it (laughs)! It's one of those things. It's out of print, and when you play live, you want to play things that are out there that people can actually grab on to. Because, most people, when you are done with a show... You know, there are people selling CDs at my show and people say, "What's the CD that has the song called 'Morning Train' on it?" or something like that. So, it something that they grab on to. They like that song, then they want to buy that CD. Well, I can't do that with Steppin' Out. If I was to put out Steppin' Out, I would have to buy it from GRP Records, which would cost a lot of money to buy. 

I really wish it was in-print, because I get so many requests for it. I don't get so many requests that I can buy it and make it worth while, but I get enough requests that I wish GRP still had it out there in stores so people could buy it. At this point, I just can't buy it. It would just be a big loss for me to even buy it. 


WOG: Well, I guess if you ever release a live CD of your own, you can include some of those songs?

DS: Well, that is a thought! After this next record that I do, the record after that will be a live record. Every once and a while, we record some of the live shows I'm doing now. I'll have plenty of tracks that I'll be able to choose from and put out a live record of everything that I have up to that point. I'll have a lot of records to choose from. By that point, it will be four CDs.

I'll have Steppin' Out, Live and Learn, Another Side of Genesis, Waiting In The Wings, and I believe the new album is going to be called Retrofit. "Retrofit" is the name of one of the songs on it. Some of the music on it sounds like I'm making a little bit of a jump back, in a sense. Not jazz fusion, but to maybe a little bit more of the kind of instrumental jazz you might hear in the '70s. Half of the music is going to lean towards sort of retro-contemporary jazz, if you want to call it that (laughs)!
 








 

 


 


 












Another Side of Genesis -
Daryl's jazzy tribute to his days in Genesis! Includes: "Hold on My Heart", "Follow You Follow Me", "Turn It On Again", "Never A Time", etc.








Waiting In The Wings
Daryl's latest solo album featuring his new band! This limited edition release features "Waiting In The Wings", "Anthem", "Pyramid", "Deja Blue", and much more!





Live & Learn -
Daryl's second solo album! Features guest appearances by Phil Collins, Amy Keys, Brad Cole, Lee Sklar, Kostia, and others! Includes: "Live & Learn", "River of Memories", "Morning Train" and "Long Distance Love."


 

 


Genesis Three Sides Live -

Daryl's first live album with Genesis! Includes: "Abacab", "Misunderstanding", "Me and Sarah Jane", "In The Cage (Medley)", "Behind The Lines", "Duchess", etc.

 



Genesis - The Way We Walk DVD -

Finally on DVD! The final Genesis tour with Chester Thompson, Phil Collins, and Daryl Stuermer! Includes tons of extras and over 8 hours of footage!






 

Special thanks to Daryl Stuermer and Urban Island Music for granting this interview. This interview is 2002-2007 David Negrin and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission. For more on Daryl Stuermer, please visit his official website. 


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