Genesis Plans Online Bootleg Series

Genesis sold 21.5 million albums in America during a thirty-year career, before quietly calling it quits in 1998, not long after frontman Phil Collins’ departure. With the release of their first compilation album, The Platinum Collection, Genesis attempt to trace their extensive musical history, moving backwards through time to their early days as an art-rock outfit.

“Originally, it went from beginning to end,” says guitarist Mike Rutherford. “But, especially the first album’s sound quality, it’s a little tough for the listener. So we start with the better-sounding stuff [off 1991’s We Can’t Dance] and end with the earlier stuff.” Rutherford adds that the band plans to dust off some early live recordings for release as a bootleg series, possibly through its Web site. “These are raw recordings. I like that, if someone makes a mistake or messes up, it’s just part of the evening.”

During his stint with Genesis, Collins racked up two Number One solo albums. (Founding frontman Peter Gabriel, who split in 1975, embarked on a similarly successful solo career.) Rutherford also launched a simultaneous solo project, Mike and the Mechanics, whose sophomore effort landed in the Top Twenty. But with Collins’ departure, the future of Genesis became uncertain, with former Stiltskin singer Ray Wilson as their new singer. The final incarnation of the group did not exactly set fire to the charts, or the box office.

While the Collins-helmed lineup has not toured in thirteen years, they have played together — in more intimate settings. “We played Peter’s wedding and his fiftieth birthday party, and Phil’s wedding,” Rutherford says with a laugh. “We did a very bad version of that ‘Tequila’ song.”

Rutherford remains optimistic that Genesis may one day follow Cream and the Pixies, as a long-dormant band that suddenly comes bursting back to life. “We talk about it,” he says. (In 2000, Collins said of Genesis in an interview, “I would definitely see us doing something together again.”) But Collins, currently on break from his First Final Farewell Tour, is now busy adapting his soundtrack to Disney’s animated film Tarzan into a Broadway play.

“Phil’s committed through May,” says Rutherford. “We haven’t made any plans. But never say never.”


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