Martin Cooper checks out the stadium filling era of progressive rock giants Genesis, and their bass player-cum-guitarist Mike Rutherford.
Genesis has been around since their formation at Charterhouse School in Surrey in 1967. Original singer Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett (who replaced Anthony Phillips) have become legends in their own right (particularly Gabriel), but it is the long-term line-up of Phil Collins on drums and vocals, Mike Rutherford on bass and then guitar, and Tony Banks on keyboards, that has seen the most commercial success. Moving from folk to progressive rock during the ’70s, the band had a string of huge albums and tours throughout that decade and the next. The trio managed to blend progressive elements with pop songwriting sensibilities to great effect. Current sales figures number well over 100 million albums.
After the 1974 album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Gabriel left the band and with their search for a replacement proving to be unsuccessful, Collins volunteered to take over vocal duties, as well as continuing as drummer. This stadium-filling line-up was completed by guitarist Daryl Stuermer and drummer Chester Thompson, with Steurmer and Rutherford each playing guitar and bass during live shows.
After a hiatus when Collins left in 1996 to concentrate on his solo career they returned, as many rock legends do, after a few years. The reunion tour in 2007 with Phil Collins included a gig in Rome to more than half a million people.
The band’s musical background included church and classical music, as well as the likes of The Beatles and Otis Redding. Their writing included elements of psychedelic fantasy, with mythical characters forming part of Gabriel’s lyric writing. They have managed to flawlessly blend unusual time signatures and interesting harmony with pop melodies; they are one of the few bands to manage to do all this while appealing to a huge audience.
Rutherford’s guitar playing has always been restrained and the songs never feature gratuitous guitar soloing. He always manages to compose parts that blend with Banks’ keyboard lines (not featured but Mike likes detuning his first string from E to D: try it).
The track this month is in the key of A (A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#) but features many non-diatonic notes. It’s really based more around A Dorian (A-B-C-D-E-F#-G) and A Mixolydian (A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G). The track is built heavily around guitar and keyboards, and is written taking most influence from the more pop-orientated era of late ’80s and early ’90s Genesis. The parts are all relatively straightforward and easy to play, but be particularly aware of the changing time signatures, and check out the Get The Tone box and Playing Tips for more details.
MIKE RUTHERFORD’S PLAYING HAS ALWAYS BEEN RESTRAINED, AND THE SONGS NEVER FEATURE GRATUITOUS GUITAR SOLOING