Banks interview continued...
It’s kind of difficult with a solo career over the years. I’m always
starting from scratch in terms of an audience, I suppose. I’ve obviously
got the people who follow what I am doing, which is fantastic, but to get
any further than that has never happened for me ever, really. When a
Genesis project was going, that was easy, because they always did so well.
It’s a little difficult starting every time from scratch, and as soon as
you put something out, you wait for that reaction. You sort of grit your
teeth a little bit. Having said that, the response to this has actually
been pretty positive, so who knows?
Genesis in 1974 (from left): Collins,
Rutherford, Banks, Gabriel and Hackett.
their any compositions you demoed for Seven that did not end up
making it to the project because they did not transfer as well to the
TB: No. The fact is I ended up using everything. Originally, the piece
I thought I might not use was “Neap Tide.” I wasn’t sure if it was
necessary, because there were quite a few slow, soft pieces on there. I
thought maybe that the others were better. The final piece I wrote,
specifically because I thought I needed it was “The Ram.” I wanted
something with a bit more bounce and rhythm, and also a bit more
optimistic. You know, for the final section. I wrote that thinking in
those kinds of terms. That was the most recent of the pieces written. So,
everything turned out pretty well. I wasn’t quite sure whether they
would. I mean, during the arrangement stage and everything, and it all
sounded good, so I thought, "I’ll use the lot! I’ll call it Seven
rather than Six."
On your solo projects, you have used some incredibly respected musicians
like Pino Palladino, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Mo Foster to name just a few.
How do you go about selecting the session musicians for your projects?
TB: It’s a bit like that, really. With Pino Palladino, I met him
through Paul Young. When we were on the Invisible Touch tour, Paul Young
supported us and Pino was his bass player. When I would go out to the
front (of the stage), I would find that I would find that all I would
listen to was the bass parts and not too much else. I just really loved
his style. So, I had had it in mind to use him. In terms of all of the
drummers and things, Steve Gadd was wonderful.
We were struggling to find a drummer when I did the album The Fugitive.
The guy I was working with said, “Well, what drummer would you like? Who
do you think is the best drummer around?” and I said, “Steve Gadd
would be great.” He said, “Ok, let’s give him a call!”
Fading Lights: Banks (far right)
with Genesis in 1997
So, we gave him a call, and he just happened to be coming to [England] to do a session with
Ringo (Starr) at the time. He
popped down to me and did three songs in three days. It was quite a thrill
for me because, at that time, he was one of the drummers I have really
So, its just trial and error, really. In the case of Vinne Colaiuta, I
heard him on Nick Kershaw’s album, The Works. I just
thought his drumming was fantastic on that, because it’s just so
WOG: Speaking of older scores, over a year ago, there was talk of the
reissue of The Wicked Lady on CD. Where are you at with that
reissue? Are there other archive type releases such as demos, b-sides, or
outtakes from your solo career that you would like to see released?
TB: As far as The Wicked Lady goes, we talked about putting
that out purely as sort of a website item (through the official Genesis
website), which is still something I would like to do. The reason it got
sort of shelved was because of what happened with the change over with the
(web) site being run by EMI over here, which is still not completely
settled. I don’t think the website is as good as it was. I think we need
to make sure that we’ve got a few things sorted out a bit to make sure
that we have the right situation in position for things like the (on-line)
As a group, we would like to put out, and what I think people would like,
is that we have so many old board tapes and things like that (from Genesis
shows) from the early days right back to the ‘70s. We like the idea of
putting them out, so that if people want them, they can get a hold of
them. All of those things are in the pipeline, but we want to make sure
everything is in the right state before we do that.
WOG: Much has been said about the reissue of Genesis titles remixed
in 5.1. How involved have you been in the process, and do you anticipate
releasing any of your solo albums, including Seven, in this format?
Kershaw’s music bears some relationship to what I’ve done on solo
records in a sense because its what I might call quite extravagant pop
based music, and I really like that kind of thing. [Steve Gadd] was able to make
funny time signatures sound ordinary. He made things sound really good.
He’s a fantastic drummer. I think of all of the drummers I have worked
with, he’s probably been the best!
WOG: With Seven behind you, will you resume your rock solo
TB: I really
don’t have any plans of any kind at the moment. I just don’t know. I
do sometimes get the desire to do something with a heavy beat behind me,
know you? I wanted no drums or rhythmic thing of any kind on Seven, which
was quite refreshing, actually. But now, I get the urge for that sort of
pounding sound behind me.
I would like to do a rock album again, but it’s getting increasingly
difficult. I mean, it becomes the stage where whatever I do will probably
have to be just a web-release. I would really have to struggle to get any
sort of record company to release it now, I think. They really won’t do
anything unless they are guaranteed big sales or feel that they are
guaranteed big sales. That’s
where it’s at. So, that is one possibility or another classical thing or
just bide my time and not do much.
Does the concept of going completely independent discourage to you?
on the 1997 Genesis Tour
"In places like Columbus
(Ohio) on the last tour, we
had done something like
80,000 people and, after a few weeks of
sales for this tour, we sold about
not trying to prove
anything. I haven’t got to convince anybody.
don’t have to worry about reviews
or anything like that."
TB: I’ve been quite involved with it. I mean, Nick Davis has been
doing the main work on it, but Mike and I go in and approve and make
suggestions and that sort of thing. The idea with the 5.1 remixes is not
to change them too radically. I mean, upon superficial hearing, they
should sound kind of similar – just better. If you do something properly
in 5.1, it should just sort of have all of those qualities.
I have to say, some of those things sound really good. We’ve done the
whole of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and we are working on Trick
of The Tail at the moment. Obviously, we did the 5.1 mixes for the two
live videos (The Way We Walk
and Live At Wembley), which I
think worked really well. Particularly, the live (material) makes it more
different than anything, because you can really capture the atmosphere
better, I think.
WOG: Have you determined that the next 5.1 project will be?
TB: After we finish Trick of The Tail? The videos, I think,
will be the next thing. It will be a compilation of all of the music
videos we have ever done. There will be 5.1 mixes for all of the tracks.
That is the next logical thing to do. There are one or two of them done
already, because there are songs like “Robbery, Assault, and
” that will be done. We’ve also done one or two of them
for other projects. So, we’ve done the odd here and there track as well.
We have about 25 tracks to do, I think, in 5.1. We’re going to work this
out in probably a week’s time. Again, Nick Davis will be doing it, and
we’ve got a system going now, so it all works pretty well.
Well, the problem with it a little bit, is that you minimize the
possibilities, I suppose. I don’t really mind it. I quite like the idea
of doing something just for the web; it doesn’t really bother me. I’m
not trying to prove anything. I haven’t got to convince anybody. I
don’t have to worry about reviews or anything like that. You are just
doing it for people who are familiar with what you are doing, and they can
say, “This is good” or “This is bad.”
It’s a different approach. I don’t mind that, but I think you are
committing yourself to something you know is just going to go no further,
and that is a mind set that you have to get used to. Having also worked
with Genesis, when we would put out a record, you kind of knew it would
get a big audience. There is a certain kind of excitement about that, I
suppose. As a web release, you are kind of almost doing it for yourself,
and you have to change your whole way of thinking. I have to say, where I
am in my career, it does appeal to me in many ways, because I don’t
really want to try and prove things too much. It gets sort of tiring.
WOG: Back in the mid '90s when you were first thinking about
replacing Phil Collins in Genesis, there were rumors that you and Mike
Rutherford were considering people like Fish, Paul Carrack, and Paul Young
(of Mike & The Mechanics) for the lead singer role. Were any of those
rumors true? Who else, other than Ray Wilson, did you consider or audition
at The Farm?
TB: Other than Ray (Wilson), the only other person that we seriously
auditioned was an unknown guy. I guy called Dave, but you would never have
heard of him. We auditioned them both, actually trying them on tracks. We
never considered anybody else.
Banks (far right) with Bankstatement
|Paul Carrack was obviously suggested, but the
thing about Paul is that… Well, for starters, I don’t think Mike
wanted to particularly mix-up his two careers. That was one reason.
Another was that we didn’t think that Paul would be able to cope with
the Genesis back catalog, which we felt was important because we wanted to
do it live. His voice is too pure. He has a lovely voice, but it would
have been a very different thing. It probably would have been an
interesting project, but anyhow we decided not to do that.
WOG: Prior to Phil Collins needing to take a break from Genesis after
the …And Then There Were Three world tour, had you given any
thought to pursuing a solo career?
TB: The first time it occurred to me as when Peter (Gabriel) left
before Trick of The Tail. I did seriously consider doing an album
then. I had written things like “Mad Man Moon” and bits and pieces of
stuff that would later become “Entangled” and “Ripples” and stuff.
So, I thought if doing a solo album, using those kinds of pieces as a
starting point. But it really seemed to me that it wasn’t really moment
for that. If we were going to carry on with Genesis, which we decided we
were going to, we obviously had to put everything into it that we had and
try to make it as strong of an album as possible, I think.
We had about a three month break there, and rather than do a solo album, I
put in my own central heating, which was a more useful thing to do at the
time, because it was very cold (laughs)! So, from then on, I kind of
thought about it as a possibility, and when Phil took a break, I had quite
a bit of stuff stored up at that point, and I thought it would be good to
|We never considered anybody else. We really
didn’t want to go to any other “name” person, honestly. When we came
across Ray, we really liked his voice. We knew he was not going to be able
to do everything. He has a great sort of gravely voice and could get some
of that sort of moodiness back that we quite wanted, but we knew that he
was not going to have the sort vocal ability to carry a melody the way
that say Phil did, I think. So, it was a big change, and I think Calling
All Stations was a change-over thing.
Funny enough, I wasn’t that keen to do another Genesis album. When Phil
left, I just said, “Let’s just leave it. Let’s just say that we had
a fantastic time and call it a day. And, possibly in the future sometime,
if Phil wanted to do something we could have a go again.” I wasn’t
really looking to try again, but Mike was keen to try.
When we started writing stuff, and we got really get enthusiastic
about it. So, that was all good, really.
After we had done that album, I was quite keen to do a second
album. I thought, “Well, we’ve got a band going here now.” I even
wanted to use the drummer and guitarist that we had used on the tour and
everything, but Mike was less keen on that.
In 1989, you released Bankstatement, which was your first group project
outside of Genesis. What inspired you to seek out a band environment
rather than record a more traditional solo project?
TB: I think it was Mike & The Mechanics, really. Although it
was given that title, it was really no different from any of the other
solo albums. It was exactly the same, which was also true of the first
Mike & The Mechanics album. By giving it a group name, you give it the
possibility of changing the focus and making it seem more like a band. It
was quite fun to work with the same people and get a kind of thing going.
That was really all it was about, I think. Of course, I guess it really
didn’t make much difference in how things went. I don’t know, I think
that there are a lot of things that, I suppose, could have happened with
that album, and it didn’t.
In the case of that first Mike & The Mechanics record, the album was
such a success that it gave Mike (Rutherford) a vehicle, if you like, to
do further projects with the same line-up. I suppose, if Bankstatement had
been successful, I would have been tempted to do the same thing. When it
wasn’t, I went the opposite way. When I did Still, I decided to use as
many different singers as I felt I wanted. I didn’t see much point in
restricting myself. I thought, “Well, it didn’t work, so let’s just
use whatever singer I think is right for a given song.”
WOG: How did you get together with Steve Hillage for the album?
was suggested by Virgin (Records). A guy called Jeremy who works in sales
there who was sort of one of the A&R guys. He had the demos of what I
did, and he was very enthusiastic. He suggested Steve as someone who could
take it slightly away from where it had been before.
He felt that perhaps… He was worried that after having done one album
that had not gone down fantastically but that a lot of people would kind
of bought it on spec... Mike had been disappointed with it. He thought if we
did it again, it might just be the downhill slope. So, we decided that we
didn’t want to do that. Genesis had been just a fantastic thing, we
decided let’s just leave it on a high rather than try to take it right
down to just doing the low sales again. So, we decided to knock it on the
WOG: So, you have no regrets about not taking Calling All
Stations on tour across
TB: I would have loved to have done it! We
have a lot of regrets about that (laughs)! That’s probably primarily the
reason why the band did not carry on. We did budget for a tour. We had a
pretty extravagant stage set and everything going, and we put the tickets
on sale everywhere. In places like Columbus
(Ohio) on the last tour, we had done something like
80,000 people and, after a few weeks of sales for this tour, we sold about
20 tickets. Well, what were we supposed to do? We couldn’t go there. We
were ok with playing smaller places, but not as small as that! There were a
few Canadian shows we could have done. That was about it.
Everywhere was just not selling at all. Not at all. Plus, the record was
not being played on the radio anywhere, so we were in no position to tour.
So, we changed the stage set. (Laughs) We got rid of as much as we
possibly could, because we lost a great deal of money doing the tour. We
, because the sales were a bit better there and
everything, but after that experience, we decided that we wouldn’t do
more of a Producer in a sense and slightly less of a co-Producer, although
we credited it as a co-production, because I can never keep my mouth shut,
I suppose. He did have slightly more influence on some of the things. I
mean, the song “Queen of Darkness” was a version of something on the
previous Soundtracks album, and that was totally Steve’s idea to
do that. He just thought it was a good riff and could go somewhere.
It was quite fun, and I think also by using Steve, Jeremy was very
enthusiastic about him as well as about the album. [Jeremy] was really
convinced that the album was going to be a big success, and he was so
behind it all the time. Of course, when it came out and it didn’t
happen, it was a bit of a shock really for him. He really thought he had
something there, but that’s the way it goes, really!
WOG: Is that how
you originally hooked up with Jack Hues for the Strictly Inc. project as
well… by recommendation?
TB: Yes, it was, really. Nick Davis had done a couple of songs with
him for a solo album, which still hasn’t come out, actually. I heard the
tapes, and I just liked his whole style – both his writing and his
voice. His voice was quirky, but he could still carry a melody, which I
thought was a really nice thing. We met and got on really well. It
was just a great, fun project to do.
I was very surprised when the agent or promoter suggested that we do the
American tour at that level. I said, “Look, we haven’t got Phil. God
knows what is going to happen! Shouldn’t we just go in playing a few
theaters around the place? We can go in, get people excited, and then
maybe we can go back and do some bigger stuff.” I was basically talked
out of it, and the decision was to go straight into the big places and
that obviously did not pay off. It was a difficult experience.
I interviewed Steve Hackett a few years back, he mentioned that you were
initially considering playing on his Genesis Revisited album but
later pulled out of the project. After he had talked to you about the
project, why did you decide not to participate?
main reason I didn’t do it was because it was just as the new Genesis
album was about to come out, and I thought it was just going to confuse
the issue. Also, I’m not terribly keen on going back over old ground. I
mean, when Steve asked me, I thought, “Well, why not! I have no reason
to say no to him; it’s his project.” Then I decided, “Well, maybe
its going to be a bit funny if I do it, so I won’t do it.”
WOG: As a rule, why have you chosen not to appear on other
musician’s albums? Is there anyone who you would consider doing session
It was an attempt
again at doing something slightly different, more like group
approach. I wanted to call the group Incognito, but there was already a group called
Incognito, so we had to stick with Strictly Inc. He was nice. I also think
that there was a good combination of writing with him. The way he did a
couple of songs… What he did with the lyrics worked.
In terms of making guest appearances on other people’s projects, I
don’t know. I haven’t been asked very many times to be honest. Also,
I’m not really a very adaptable player. I tend to do what I do. Whatever
I do, I carry with me.
When I have been working with session musicians, most of the time you are
amazed how adaptable people are. The drummers are always adaptable; and
some of the other players are less adaptable, really. You have to just
take what you get.
Honestly, I wouldn’t be happy if somebody said, “Play this in a
country style.” I’d say, “Well, I don’t want to do that!” So,
that makes things difficult, I think. I’m always happier writing than
playing anyhow, so I’ve never really thought much about playing on other
WOG: When I interviewed Chester Thompson, he mentioned that when he
heard that Phil quit Genesis that he approached Mike Rutherford about
taking over the drummer’s seat permanently and becoming a formal member
of the band. Obviously, he did not get the gig. Was it a difficult
decision given your history with
not to make him a member of the band?
Click here to return to the previous
to go to the last page.