Martin Cooper checks out the sta­dium fill­ing era of pro­gres­sive rock giants Ge­n­e­sis, and their bass player-cum-gui­tarist Mike Ruther­ford.

Guitar Techniques - - LEARNING ZONE -

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.


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