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
WOG: How did you go about selecting the
material you chose for the Another Side of Genesis
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.
of Genesis: Since you're back in the studio, can
you tell me a little bit about what you're working on
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
believe the new album is going to be called 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
is going to lean towards sort of
retro-contemporary jazz, if you
want to call it that
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
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
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
Daryl Stuermer Band (from left):
Kostia, Stuermer, John Calarco & Eric
On His Audition With Genesis:
"...We went through all four songs, for only about
minute (each), and he said, "I think you're the
Will the performance consist of mostly new material or
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
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 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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
"After this next
record that I do, the record after that will be
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
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
WOG: Was that the first time you ever met
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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?
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)!
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!
thanks to Daryl Stuermer and Urban Island Music for
this interview. For more on Daryl Stuermer, check out
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
Three Sides Live
Daryl's first live album with Genesis! Includes:
"Me and Sarah Jane", "In The Cage
(Medley)", "Behind The Lines",
Genesis - The Way We
Finally on DVD! The final Genesis tour with Chester
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.
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.