David Rhodes Archive - Interview with genesis-fanclub.de <br>October 10,1995 <br>(Unedited transcription)

David Rhodes Archive
Interview with genesis-fanclub.de
October 10,1995

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Click here to hear a sound clip from the interview.

Q: First we’d like to know something about you, some personal facts...

DR: Well, I was born in London, quite a long time ago. And I was brought up in London, went to school there, went to art school for four years, studied sculpture and then, at the end of that, started getting into music, but experimental music. About six months after leaving art school, put a proper band together with the chap I’d been working with and we were playing kind of clubs and college dates just around London and particularly Oxford, ‘cos his parents lived in Oxford so we had somewhere to stay, and...

Q: What was this band called?

DR: This is...erm... I normally don’t tell people this (laughs), no, it was called Random Hold.

Q: Really, Random Hold?

DR: Yeah, so, about six months after finishing college, had a recording deal.

Q: This was around what time?

DR: ‘79, I think. And then Peter saw us playing at the Rock Garden in London.

Q: We have read in the ‘Plus From Us’ booklet that you were introduced to Peter by a painter called Graham Dean. Did you know him from when you were a sculptor?

DR: No, no- in fact, didn’t meet him until...I don't know when. But he’d seen the band playing in Oxford and he knew that Peter was looking for a band to help him do demos for his third record. So Graham suggested us as a band to go and do that.

Q: So, your first meeting with Peter. How was it to meet this guy? Did you know him before?

DR: Not at all. He came along to a show at the Rock Garden because Graham, the painter, suggested it. And he came backstage and I think - I don’t think I said hello to him. (Laughs) The keyboard player in the band said “Oh, Peter Gabriel’s here!” and I think I said that I didn’t care. (Laughs) I was an angry young man at the time, so... And I thought he was a bit of an old fart, because I’d actually never liked Genesis, you see. I - having said that, the place I was living at the time - I was sharing a flat - the guy there had Peter’s first and second records, so I knew those and liked them. So, I didn’t meet him until we actually went down to Bath to do a bit of work with him.

Q: So, Peter saw Random Hold playing and I think somewhere he said that he thought you were breaking new ground with that band. (David laughs.) It’s written in the book.

DR: Is it? Oh, I think he’s fibbing. Yeah, we were nothing to do with punk and, if anything, we were more connected to the sort of New Wave things then. But, a bit heavier, a bit darker than a lot of things. And I think the emotional intensity of the group was good, but the execution was not very good. So, I think we had good ideas, but they didn’t carry through - they didn’t work. People didn’t like us! (Laughs.) We didn’t sell any records.

Q: But you did release an album?

DR: Yeah, there was one album that we did. It had actually been conceived as a double album.

Q: The title?

DR: The album was called ‘The View From Here’. Later, somebody got hold of the tapes and released it as a double record, which is how it had been conceived. The album only had seven or eight songs on it, and we did an EP as well. But it did get released as a whole package and I think that was called ‘Avalanche’.

Q: What was your job - just playing guitar, or...

DR: I played guitar and sang.

Q: You then supported Peter with Random Hold on his -

DR: That’s right, we did a British tour and an American tour, but by the end of the American tour, I was - well, we never enjoyed playing very much (laughs). So I left the band and then - we were meant to be doing a European tour as well, but we fell apart and Simple Minds did it.

Q: What were your impressions about Peter Gabriel’s band at the time?

DR: Well, I’d actually worked on the album by then, so, I knew Peter a bit. And I knew Jerry a bit from doing the record. I didn’t know Tony at all, because Tony hadn’t done the album - John Giblin had played on it. And I knew Larry Fast a little bit [from] doing the record, but I liked it! I went from this thing of not really knowing Peter’s work at all to enjoying it. It was very interesting to play on. And also, it was quite odd because I was the - I remember arriving at the studio, which was just in an old barn. And there was Jerry and John Giblin and Peter, just playing. And I wondered how on Earth I would manage to play along with them. But Peter was very good, he coached me and helped me, because I hadn’t really worked in studios very much up to then. I’d only finished doing the Random record two weeks before. And I’d struggled doing that in many ways, just ‘cos I didn’t know about the process, so...

Q: So, why did Peter choose you to play on the album?

DR: Dunno. (Laughs.) One of life’s little mysteries.

Q: There was also PG3 recorded as Ein Deutsches Album - the German Album.

DR: Yeah, and PG4 was done in German as well.

Q: Did you have to play some parts again or did you sing the vocals in German?

DR: Yeah, yeah, we did. I helped do the backing vocals in German. But since I speak no German I had to do it all phonetically, which was quite funny. I had rubbish written on the page. But the translator, Horst Königstein, he was fun - crazy guy. So that was quite interesting and I actually think “Through The Wire” sounds better in German than it does in English.

Q: What do you think about the idea of doing the record in another language?

DR: I think it’s a great idea. And in fact, I think Peter’s plan was to do it in three or four languages. He was hoping to do it, I think, in Spanish and in French. French didn’t happen, Spanish didn’t happen, but German did. It was one of those things that it took so long to get good translations and then the amount of time it took to re-sing, and then remix... Nowadays it would be much quicker because you can recall mixes much - you can do that on desks, everything being computerized. But in those days it was all hands on.

Q: Why do you think PG4 was done in German when it was such a problem, when it took such a long time to do PG3 that way?

DR: I think because he still felt it was a good idea.. Peter’s very - if he thinks something’s a good idea, he’ll stick with it. He can be very stubborn.

Q: And why did he again choose German instead of trying it in French or...?

DR: That I don’t know, but I assume because he got on well with Horst. And he liked the way that Horst approached it. I think that Horst made the songs more overtly sexual and I think Peter felt that was good. Sometimes in the English lyrics there are fairly gray areas and I think in the German - from what I understand, from what I’ve been told - the double entendres are more obvious, the double meanings are more effective. I think it changes things so, that’s interesting.

Q: So you were asked to play on PG4. Did you wonder why he asked you again?

DR: Never crossed my mind, actually. Didn’t think about it either way. I was flattered that he asked me to be involved again, because by that time John Ellis had been touring with him. So, I suppose I was pleasantly surprised that I was asked.

Q: One song that was played on tour was “John Has A Headache” which isn’t included on any album -

DR: And that’s probably a good thing!

Q: It has a strange lyric, I think. Can you tell us something about this song? It’s very hard to find on tape.

DR: Isn’t it a b-side on something?

Q: No. It’s never been released.

DR: Yeah, it never sounded great. That’s why, I think. I don’t remember it clearly. I remember we used to walk around the stage bumping into each other. That was the dance routine for that.

Q: Was it a song which was written on the tour or was it left from before?

DR: No, it was left over from the record. And I seem to remember Peter’s manager at the time hating it, so she objected to Peter even playing it onstage. He stuck by it for awhile and then got rid of it.

Q: Can you remember how often it was done?

DR: No idea. No idea. Not a great deal. It was the first thing to go.

Q: Is there anything else left from the PG4 sessions that wasn’t released on the album or played live?

DR: From the fourth record... I can’t remember. From the third record, ‘Milgram’s’ was originally recorded for the third record. And there are always things left over - it goes from a process of 20 ideas and then they’re put into two teams - an A team and a B team.

Q: Are they just ideas left over or complete songs?

DR: Often whole rhythm tracks and stuff but maybe without lyrics or whatever. But he never discards anything, so things reappear. I remember there was a Spanishy influenced thing that he always worked on, nearly every record (laughs) and it’s never made it. No, in fact, for the last one he didn’t try it.

Q: Were there any plans to do a video with Plays Live or after the Plays Live album? Now, it’s customary to do a video after a tour.

DR: I don’t think in those days it was. Nobody did. Concerts were filmed, weren’t they? But no, I don’t think that was ever considered. I don’t actually know because the organization is such that when you’re just in the band you don’t get to know the half of it. You know, there’s always loads of other - Peter has always got so many other things going on that often the only times we see him are onstage.

Q: But shows were filmed?

DR: Were they then? No, I don’t think so. No, the ‘So’ tour was the first time it was filmed. Yeah, I’m sure... There might be bits of early video footage.

Q: There are some parts re-recorded on Plays Live, I think.

DR: I’m sure there were! (Laughs)

Q: Do you remember which parts?

DR: Nearly everything. Because - most people don’t admit to it, but often all you try to get when you’re recording live are the drums. If you get the drums sounding right, it’s very easy to just redo a lot of other stuff. But most people won’t admit that. Most people won’t admit that they re-sing things. Because with the transmitter mics and stuff, the sound quality is terrible, so you can’t accept it. And there are normally some pretty hairy mistakes on things that you can fix after.

Q: Do you think that’s a good idea to do that?

DR: It makes a better record. And I think that by the time you’ve toured it a lot... People may feel cheated that it’s not from that night, but you’re playing the songs in such a way that you always do them the same. Things don’t change a lot. And the funny thing is that whenever you do record live, everybody tries to put in their best bits. I can’t remember how many nights we recorded, I think it was four for that - for Plays Live - in the middle of America, and I remember Larry Fast saying “Boy, that was awful, we were all trying too hard” because you think ‘Oh, this going to be the record, I’ve gotta sound good!’ so you try all your stuff and it ends up being junked anyway.

Q: Jerry Marotta left the band after the tour, why?

DR: Well, he played on bits of ‘So’. But at that time, I think Peter’s approach to rhythm was changing and I think he felt he wanted somebody who wasn’t quite so heavy on the backbeat. I think that’s pretty much it.

Q: There weren’t any personal reasons?

DR: I don’t think so. And even if I thought there were, I wouldn’t tell you! (Laughs) No, but it was a musical choice.

Q: I’ve just forgotten something. “Across the River” - you were involved in this song?

DR: Yeah, that was funny.

Q: What did you contribute?

DR: Guitar.

Q: Writing?

DR: We shared the writing credit for that, the four of us. We just did it in a studio one night.

Q: Just improvised a bit?

DR: That’s how it started out, yeah. And Peter had an idea for the two sections of it, how they should be.

Q: What are your memories of the first WOMAD concert in 1982?

DR: It was quite scary, because everybody realized that Peter was going to lose a lot of money. As I remember, there was a chain of events - there was a railway strike, the weather was bad, and not enough people had been to the concert to make it pay. And then I remember going onstage and I think Peter Hammill played guitar as well that night. We didn’t have a bass player, so Larry Fast was playing keyboard bass, Peter was singing and playing, there was Shankar and Stewart Copeland. It was weird. (Laughs)

Q: What do you think of the whole WOMAD idea?

DR: I think it’s a great idea! It’s always been a pleasure doing those.

Q: Well, it started very small -

DR: No, it started very big, then it got very small. That was his problem! It was an incredibly grand idea that went - just unhappily went wrong. So now it’s at a level where it works, which is great!

Q: The next thing was the Birdy album. What do you think about the film and the record?

DR: I went to see a preview of [the film] and burst out laughing at the end, I thought it was great, where he jumps off the roof, I loved that! I liked the movie.

Q: Were some tracks re-recorded, or...

DR: There were bits re-recorded, or bits taken from the fourth record and just reworked. A lot of the ‘Wallflower’ piano was new, he replayed that, I seem to remember. And the drumming things, not so much. That was mainly Jerry and all the big tomtom things, like when you get that camera zooming down the street, that was all just the outtake of that, whatever track I can’t remember.

Q: Did Peter come to you and the other musicians and say we have to do this and this, or did you see the film?

DR: Well, I don’t think - I’m not sure - I only added a little bit and I don’t think the others added anything. Peter just did it. They had the film there, or they had edits and the cues that Alan Parker wanted.

Q: So that was one thing you did between the tour in 83 and the So album?

DR: Well, actually, the So sessions started as Birdy was finishing, because he had a song that I don’t think ever got finished called ‘Featherman’, which was meant to be a song for Birdy, it was meant to be a single. And he kept on trying to record that and it never worked, it was never quite right. Actually, Lee Sklar and Chester Thompson came down to play on that, and at the same time - so maybe the film had been finished and Peter was trying to do the single to go with it, but he’d also started working on ‘Sledgehammer’, so they played on a version of ‘Sledgehammer too, but that didn’t work.

Q: What kind of song was ‘Featherman’? Can you compare it with anything?

DR: I can’t remember it. It was more connected to the previous record than...it was in no man’s land, it was neither... It didn’t have the lightness of rhythm... even though, having said lightness of rhythm... It didn’t have the up qualities of rhythm that a lot of So has. But it wasn’t as doomy and gloomy as the fourth record. Doomy - that’s too strong. But it wasn’t, it was neither back there nor up there. So, that’s in the vaults somewhere.

Q: What do you think was the most important difference between So and PG4?

DR: I think people got to hear Peter’s sense of humor more. In a way on his records I think he always felt he had to be dark and intense. And then with So, he was just going ‘No, I can just...this is me, this is what I do’ So, I like that.

Q: There is one song on So called ‘We Do What We’re Told’ which -

DR: Well, that’s ‘Milgram’s’, which was originally recorded for the third album.

Q: It was played on the 80s tour?

DR: Yeah.

Q: So, why wasn’t it released on Four?

DR: I think it just didn’t fit in with the ideas at the time. I think that he was trying to experiment more with composition on PG4, actually structuring whole pieces, you know, like ‘Rhythm of the Heat’ has the changes; ‘Family and the Fishing Net’ is quite odd in the way it develops, and harmonically odd; ‘San Jacinto’ is very pretty and quite neat with the different time signature loops and things like that. So I think he was trying harder to push his composing, and I think ‘Milgram’s’ was more of just a rhythm thing. It had fitted in with the ideas with the ideas for rhythm for the third record and then fitted in with later ideas. But in a way, it doesn’t sit happily with the So stuff, either. It’s a great thing, but again it was more of an afterthought to grab it and bring it into line with what was there.

Q: How much were you involved in writing songs on So?

DR: Well, Peter had most of the ideas and I went down and we’d just play through things and try and structure them, so he’d sit and play something, we’d play around with it and then try and decide how to slot things together.

Q: So, was the whole band involved at this stage?

DR: No, really it was just Dan, Peter and myself. So we’d just go through things and... We used to play ‘Sledgehammer’ for hours! It was a lot of fun. (Laughs) We used to fill up the tape. We’d just fill up a whole reel of tape, just playing along, with Peter shouting out when he wanted the change to happen.

Q: Did you have some idea at that time, that you were part of the Peter Gabriel band? Established in the band?

DR: No, never really thought like that. It’s not like that. If he asks me to go and play, I’ll go and play. It’s always very much his thing and everybody else is hired to help achieve his vision. But within that, he lets people try any ideas that they want, follow thoughts to try and do something that sounds fresh or new, so it’s a very good way, but it’s always his thing.

Q: How did you rehearse for So tour and what kind of songs did you rehearse - was there also some older stuff rehearsed which wasn’t played on the tour?

DR: Well, nearly always before the tours, the idea is to rehearse quite a lot of material, but then it becomes plainly obvious if things are sounding good or not, so they disappear. And the other funny thing is that the first few shows of a tour are nearly always way too long because there are too many songs.

Q: Where did you rehearse?

DR: For the So tour, we did the production rehearsals in America, in Poughkeepsie, but the first musical rehearsals were most probably done here. Because really you have to get the band okay before you start introducing all the problems of lights and... they were done down at Box, actually, the first rehearsals for that.

Q: The next tour, that was in 1988 for the Human Rights Now tour. Tony Levin wasn’t in the band -

DR: So we had the Rolling Stones’ bass player.

Q: Daryl Jones?

DR: Yeah!

Q: Did you miss Tony? Concerning the sound -

DR: Yeah - it’s different. Well, actually, there was a short Amnesty tour that was only six shows in the States. And Tony didn’t do that, we had Larry Klein playing, Joni Mitchell’s husband. And had a different keyboard player - Ian Stanley who was from Tears for Fears. Tony plays in such a specific way and it’s a lot of fun to play along with him. He leaves a lot of space and then there’s a lot of weight to what he does, so it’s good. So, you miss it but then you get other things, It was great to watch Daryl dancing! (Laughs) He’s a great player - very, very good.

Q: How was it to be on tour with Springstein, Tracy Chapman, Sting?

DR: On the aeroplane, all the singers sat at the front, most of the bands sat in the middle section and I used to hang out with the crew down the back! (Laughs) I used to have more fun.

Q: What did you think of the idea to doing a tour like this one?

DR: Again, it was a wonderful idea and I think it was an incredible feat of organization to do it and - well, nobody’s tried it since, it was so crazy. And wonderful to play in Africa and India and in Costa Rica - we went all around the world trying to spread a message and I think for the people who went it was very special, and it was very special to be on it.

Q: Next thing was the Passion album. What do you think about the film, which was discussed a lot?

DR: It still gets discussed in this country when they try to show it on TV. I like the film, it’s good.

Q: You played a lot of guitar?

DR: Check the credits, yeah, a fair bit! (Laughs)

Q: What do you think about record itself?

DR: I think there are some beautiful things on there. Lovely, yeah. Very special things.

Q: On the next album, the record was Shaking the Tree - 16 Golden Greats - where there was a re-recorded version of ‘Shaking the Tree’. Did you play guitar again for that?

DR: I don’t remember. I didn’t even know it was a different version.

Q: What do you think about the version of ‘Here Comes The Flood’ on that record, the piano version?

DR: I’m not sure I’ve heard it. It’s a beautiful song. But I don’t actually spend a lot of time listening to the records after they’re put together.

Q: But it was that kind of a version that he played on -

DR: That he used to do at shows, yeah. So, it’s beautiful and to end shows with it is wonderful.

Q: The production sequence of the Us album or of any album. Does Peter have the idea in his head before he comes to the studio?

DR: He generally has an overall picture. He wanted that record to be darker than So had been. He starts with the rhythms and plays along to those, and maybe has sounds that he really likes that he wants to incorporate into the songs. And it’s only later that the lyrics come and that you really start to get a picture of what he’s expecting the tune to do. So, it’s nearly always a process of exploration. He hardly ever comes in with a tune that he plays. ‘Washing of the Water’ he had pretty much sorted out and had a lot of the words for. Because I think he’d done that at home and he just came in and played it one day. The other things are nearly all constructed and he spends a long time just pushing at the edges of it and trying to change things.

Q: But he always listens to what you or Tony have - ideas for example...

DR: Yeah, he lets people really play things and try to sort things out.

Q: How many songs were recorded?

DR: Well, that actually went through a number of versions. Originally, a lot of the songs were recorded in a much lighter way, not so heavy sounding. With Manu playing a - not a proper drum kit but just lots of African drums and things like that. So it was very light sounding, and the original idea that Dan and Peter seemed to share initially was that it should sound quite bare and empty, but I think Peter likes things to sound very rich. If you go back through all of his records, you hear the same elements cropping up again and again and again to build up that depth. He doesn’t like things that are simple and in your face. He likes some elements that are like that, but then he likes there to be a whole richness behind them.

Q: ‘Steam’ was released in two versions - ‘Quiet Steam’ on the single and ‘Steam’ on the album, of course, but perhaps there were other versions of other tracks?

DR: Well, there were versions of everything, before it really started to take shape. But actually, the ‘Quiet Steam’ was just a different approach to ‘Steam’ when it was being recorded loud, you know, it was ‘oh, let’s try it as something else’.

Q: So, it was just a song that was meant to be released as a single?

DR: Yeah, it was just an alternative idea, ‘cos often, sections of songs if they’re not working in one way, you try them in a very different way, you just try to flip it on its head.

Q: So, was ‘Lovetown’ also left over from the Us sessions?

DR: Yeah, and that’s more from the earliest part of the sessions, because you can hear the drums on that are much more - there’s less of a kit on there, it’s more just tomtoms and stuff.

Q: The Secret World tour - what do you think about the whole stage concept Robert LaPage did for the tour?

DR: It was a great, great thing. Pretty crazy. It was a daft thing, just the expense of it and the scale of it, it was vast. But great fun to do and I think that at the end of it and even during it, the crew had a very hard time because it was so big and so difficult and there were huge technical problems, always. Just having equipment on both stages that had to appear and disappear, and just running cables the length of - you know - just a nightmare for them. But they were very proud that they’d done it and they did a great job.

Q: What was your first impression of it?

DR: Well, originally, the idea of the round stage - the round stage was meant to be acoustic - the idea was to play the lightest material there, the most organic sounding things. But that fell by the wayside just because when you’re playing a show it has to have a certain level of power and you can’t keep chopping and changing what happens.

Q: There weren’t many very old songs played on that tour - why?

DR: It was nice, wasn’t it? (Laughs) Again, I think Peter felt that things didn’t fit. I remember he drew up a list of songs with Robert and they decided which songs would be played on which stage, and which songs would sound best together, so that was a director’s decision and the artist’s decision and then, again when we started playing things and rehearsing them, and even doing them in shows a couple of times, it becomes plainly obvious which ones work, which ones don’t. It became plainly obvious that for the first bit of the show, at some point Peter would have to go to the far stage just to engage the audience, because otherwise it was all too distant, they were having to wait 5 or 6 songs originally, until he got down to the end. And that was a nice idea, but in reality you can’t do that to an audience. I think that you really have to engage them early on. So that’s why he used to run down there and in that way they would follow him back to the square stage. So, it was interesting for a lot of the problems that you wouldn’t have imagined were there initially, that took a lot of figuring out. And a lot work on Peter’s part, a lot of work.

Q: Does Peter often change the set?

DR: No, again it’s one of these things. Before the tour, the idea is to try and have songs that can be either brought in or left out and, but the reality of changing things is much more difficult, especially with a show that’s as choreographed as that, with lighting changes and movement and things like that. Once you have a really good set order and you start changing it, then you want to go back to what was good. So, it’s very difficult to change it once it’s up and running well, up to that point, the first few weeks, things will get moved around a little bit, the order will change, but not actually for that tour, not dramatically, because it was so complex. Even the mixer was huge, because there were two drum kits, there was one big mixer just for drums and I think they had over 100 channels or something for the show. Which is crazy. All of the big bands have huge desks and stuff, but there were immense problems and also there were the mixing problems, because the sound wasn’t in true stereo, because the guy was mixing from the side of the stage and the idea was that the sound would also move slightly - when the band was on the far stage, the majority of the sound would be from there and then it would move back, and so there were all sorts of new problems for the sound company, for everybody involved. So it was a challenge.

Q: What do you think that was the best tour you did with Peter?

DR: People have very fond memories of the band in the mid-80s when Jerry was still in. And they said that, in a way, the band was more idiosyncratic - that it was stranger, very powerful, but very bare and raw. I know some people have told me that they really prefer that. I just see it as the way it's evolved, I don't actually think ‘Oh, that was the best...’

Q: You don't have a favorite?

DR: No, no, I think that things develop and change and you accept that. It's no good to think ‘Oh, it used to be so good, it'll never be that good again’ - it's not like that.

Q: There was a another project you were involved in called “Snowflake”.

DR: That was with a Japanese friend. His aunt knew the story and thought it would be a great idea for Akira [Inoue] and myself to do some little pieces of music to go with the story and then Akiko Yano, who used to be [Ryuchi] Sakamoto's wife, read, read it in Japanese and Akira asked Peter if he would read it in English.

Q: How did you get involved?

DR: Well, Akira is a friend of mine, I did a record with him before that. He’s a producer in Tokyo so he often brings projects over to England, so I’ve played on things for him quite often.

Q: You already said that you began as a sculptor? You changed the direction of your art?

DR: Yeah, but I think I was never really a musician, and I still don't think of myself as a musician, because I'm not very interested in the technical side of playing at all. It's more the idea or the playing of the song that interest me most.

Q: Are you still making sculptures?

DR: No, I make some of the furniture for the house and the garden, that sort of thing. So I still make things.

Q: What do you do when you're not working with Peter?

DR: I work for other people if they ring up. This year I've mostly been writing songs - I did that little film soundtrack. Do a bit of gardening, that sort of thing. Stuff that everybody does. (Laughs) Normal things!

Q: Who else have you toured with?

DR: I haven't actually done any touring with other people for awhile, but a few years ago I toured with Tim Finn for a little bit, and with Jerry and Tony actually, just playing clubs! (Laughs) It was great. Just in America and a couple of things here.

Q: You worked, for example, with Tori Amos.

DR: Yeah, I never met her.

Q: You never met her?

DR: Nope. Ian, who was producing that track, just wanted some guitar so I went ‘round one Saturday morning, because he lives in Bath as well, so I just went ‘round and played for a little bit. I'd like to meet her! But never did.

Q: You just played the guitar and left?

DR: Yep. That's how most sessions are - somebody rings you up and says ‘Can you come play on a record?’ ‘Yup!’ You go, plug in, play a bit, and then you go!

Q: Strange!

DR: No, that's how most musicians work! So you don't always meet the artist, it's fine. And then get a check through the post - that's excellent! (Laughs)

Q: So a few questions in regard to Genesis and Gabriel in general. What do you think about Genesis?

DR: Um... (Long pause - awkward laugh) I've never been a fan, so...uh...

Q: Do you like the music they did when Peter was in, or -

DR: No, I once had a girlfriend who made me listen to Foxtrot a lot and, actually, Peter once asked me - this is a funny story - I was out running with Peter one morning. This is years ago, we used to do that a lot, just go for a run in the morning. And he said “Did you ever like Genesis?” I said “Uh, ‘twas one that I really liked - Armageddon in 5/4 or 7/8 or something.” And he said it was the only one he didn't write on that record! (Laughs) So, I just ran ahead! So, I don't really know the stuff. But they always seem nice guys when we meet up.

Q: What are your favorite Peter Gabriel songs?

DR: The most fun to record in many ways was “Sledge”, just ‘cos it was good fun. Emotionally, the strongest, I think, was “Biko”and there are other things that I love, like I love the end of “Secret World” - the bass playing and the rhythms, and it's just so good, you know, it’s a real privilege to have been a part of that! Yeah, that’s the thing I think, when you hear something that you’ve joined in on and it really works, that makes me happy.

Q: What’s your favorite music?

DR: I dunno. I like things that are quite emotional. I like a lot of different things.

Q: Classical stuff, or -

DR: I like listening to solo piano, Glenn Gould, things like that. Playing Bach.

Q: What influences you in your own music?

DR: Just like everybody else, you just hear things. Most people only have a few tunes that they write. And you basically just rewrite those tunes again and again and again. And sometimes they sound better than other times. Sometimes they work better.

Q: What do you think about the music business?

DR: It's very peculiar! (Laughs) It's very odd. Yeah. I wouldn't recommend it as a career for anyone. Stick to banking or medicine or law - something... (Laughs)

Q: Has it changed since you started?

DR: Oh, yeah! But just seeing the way that fashion changes... I think people struggle more to make artistic records now than they used to. Companies do seem to be dominated by accountants - it's difficult for the big labels to put out very interesting product. They just won't take those risks anymore. But one exception, which is a great album, is a record by Scott Walker called ‘Tilt'. It’s a wonderful album, but very odd! [He’s] a wonderful singer, had a group called The Walker Brothers in the late sixties, did a solo album about ten or eleven years now, and this is the follow up to that. I was lucky to play on that, too! (Laughs) Bits of it are just so special, ‘cos he's another great guy to work for, he has a lot of crazy ideas and lets you search for a way to execute them.

Interview by Bernd Zindler and Helmut Janisch for genesis-fanclub.de.
Used with permission


Copyright 2004-2012 Stacey Drucker & David Rhodes