GENESIS - 40 Years "A Trick Of The Tail"

17. February 2016


GENESIS - 40 Years "A Trick Of The Tail"

The story of "Tail" begins on November 25, 1974 at the latest at the Hotel Swingos in Cleveland, Ohio. "Peter came into my hotel room and said, 'Listen, I can't do this anymore. At the end of the tour I will leave the band', recalls Genesis' former manager Tony Smith. The group had just started the second part of their extensive US tour in Chicago a few days earlier. It had long been established in Great Britain and on the European mainland. In the States, however, it was still waiting for the breakthrough. She had only done six shows so far. More than 90 evenings lay ahead of her until the end of the tour on 22 May 1975 in Besançon, France, when Gabriel burst the bomb. The group agreed not to let anything get outside at first. The fear that fewer tickets might be sold was probably just a pretext. Secretly some in the band hoped Peter could change his mind. For example, keyboarder Tony Banks is quoted in Daryl Easlea's book "The Life and Music of Peter Gabriel" as saying: "I wasn't surprised at the time. After the tour I had a long conversation with him and tried to persuade him to stay because I thought we would get over it." And he continues: "If he wanted to bring in more lyrics, then we would have already allowed that, but he had already completed inwardly. He'd probably had enough of the fighting and wanted his peace."

Ego clashes

"The Lamb", the story about Rael, an immigrant from Puerto Rico who gives up his old personality in New York City to start a new life, was the trigger for tension and jealousy within the band. Until then Genesis had been a democratic entity, decisions were taken collectively and, if necessary, by a majority. With "Lamb" that changed. That was Peter's baby. The story and nearly all lyrics came from his pen. Gabriel had done his thing against all resistances and reservations, even within the band. He had a clear idea of how the story was to be told and the group followed him, though not always with full conviction. The most crackling was between Gabriel and his childhood friend Tony Banks. He saw his influence and that of the other three musicians dwindle. And he articulated that clearly. In the 2014 Genesis documentary "Sum Of The Parts" he says: "It became more and more problematic. The way we were perceived was essentially Peter on one side and the band on the other. That was problematic." Gabriel, for his part, defends his point of view as follows: "If you want to define your own little world, you have to let a person shape it. A novel is not written by a collective." In the Easlea biography he says in more detail: "I thought I was the only one who could understand the situations and characters. I wrote indirectly about many of my feelings, so I didn't want anyone tampering with them."

Gabriel's dominance was one thing. In addition, while working on "Lamb", he underwent a difficult time privately. The birth of his first child was problematic. Little Anna-Marie, who was born on 26 July 1974, had to be kept in an incubator for a long time because of an infection. The parents were not allowed to see their daughter for days and even feared to lose her. This situation put a lot of strain on the singer, which is why he fell behind with the lyrics for "The Lamb" and was less and less with the band that had retreated to the country for the sessions in southern England. But his colleagues found little tolerance or understanding for the shift in their singer's priorities, which two years later inspired Gabriel to write "No one taught them etiquette" (in "Solsbury Hill").

So the mood was tense at the end of 1974. The release of "Lamb" had been delayed several times; the double LP finally appeared on the day the tour started. "If there's one thing you can't do at all, it's to go on tour on the day of the release of a concept double album that hasn't been heard yet and then play it in full length," says bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford in "Sum Of The Parts". But that's exactly what happened. And the engine stuttered powerfully. The fans who came to the concerts didn't know the songs except for the encore. Gabriel, whom the band blamed for the delay (he had still been working on the lyrics in the studio until the last minute), suspected that it would be difficult to implement his ideas again in the future - especially since the "Lamb" concept did not convince Tony Banks. So it came to his momentous decision, and on 22 May 1975 he stood on stage for the last time with Genesis. "In the last concert it was very close to all of us. It was a bit like talking about a dying person," drummer Phil Collins remembered the last gig in Besançon. "The atmosphere was very special, also because we weren't really prepared for this situation despite everything."

For the musicians this was a shock. But quite quickly they realized what a chance Gabriel's farewell offered them. The fact that fans and the press thought that most of the songs were written by Peter Gabriel had annoyed the others for quite some time. Now the time had come to show what potential there was in them. This realization aroused the ambition of all, suddenly there was something like an atmosphere of departure. Less competitive thinking, more cohesion - everyone got together and gave free rein to their creativity. "We knew we'd move on," Collins said. The only question was how. When the press got wind of Gabriels Aus (the "Melody Maker" was still speculating in August: 'Gabriel out of Genesis?'), the band had already collected their first new song material. But she stood there without a lead singer, which is why Collins suggested continuing instrumentally. After a short discussion, however, the others dismissed this idea as absurd. Instead, they immediately set out to find a replacement for Gabriel.

Lesen Sie mehr im eclipsed Nr. 178 (März 2016).