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Ray Wilson on Fronting Genesis: ‘It Was Like Being Taken to the Top of Everest and Thrown Off’

Rolling Stone‘s interview series King for a Day features long-form conversations between senior writer Andy Greene and singers who had the difficult job of fronting major rock bands after the departure of an iconic vocalist. Some of them stayed in their bands for years, while others lasted just a few months. In the end, however, they all found out that replacement singers can themselves be replaced. This edition features former Genesis singer Ray Wilson.

Replacing one superstar singer in a band is quite difficult, but groups like Van Halen, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath somehow pulled it off. Replacing two iconic singers, however, is a different story. And it’s the near impossible challenge that Scottish vocalist Ray Wilson faced in 1996 when Genesis hired him to replace Phil Collins, who had taken over for Peter Gabriel two decades earlier.

The Ray Wilson incarnation of Genesis released just a single album, Calling All Stations, and the critics were less than kind. “If nothing else, Calling All Stations answers the question: How do you make rock critics miss Phil Collins?” Rolling Stone‘s David Wild wrote in a typically scathing review. “Call any station you want, gentlemen, the world doesn’t need a Mike and the Mechanics art rock album.”

The album sold well enough in Europe that the band was able to play arenas and a few festivals, but the reaction was so dismal in America that they had to cancel a planned theater tour, just a few years after packing football stadiums the last time they crossed the Atlantic. Not long after the European run, Wilson was given his walking papers. Genesis never recorded another note of new music, and the only time they’ve come back together since the Wilson era were reunion tours with Phil Collins in 2007 and 2021-2022.

Along the way, Wilson’s tenure in the band was practically scrubbed from the historical record. His songs were totally dropped from their live repertoire, and he wasn’t mentioned a single time in their 2014 documentary Genesis: Together and Apart, which was touted as telling their whole story. “They’ve kind of erased me from their history,” Wilson says when he checks in with Rolling Stone at his home in Poznań, Poland via Zoom. “There’s nothing I can say about that. It is what it is.”

Wilson’s journey started when he was a child in the tiny Scottish town of Dumfries who worshipped Iron Maiden, AC/DC, David Bowie, and Thin Lizzy. He saw Maiden on the 1982 Number of the Beast tour, but got far more out of the local bands he saw at the pubs his father frequented. “He spent half his time in the pubs,” says Wilson. “I got to watch these guys play covers by the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Seeing those shows affected me more than any famous bands I saw.”

He learned he had a powerful voice in the school choir, and he started gigging in high school with the band Guaranteed Pure. “We played about five or six nights a week in pubs,” Wilson says. “That was important for me because I learned how to perform. I learned how to stand in front of an audience and keep the dynamics of an evening going for two or three hours.”

Those skills came in handy when he saw an ad in Melody Maker that a new band named Stiltskin was looking for a singer. Bandleader Peter Lawlor had just landed an instrumental song in a sexy Levi’s commercial that generated a ton of interest, and he wanted to build on the momentum by forming a band modeled after grunge groups like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Wilson got the gig — and just a couple of years later, he landed an even bigger one.

Stiltskin got off to a very strong start when “Inside” hit. Do you remember first hearing the original version of that song?
I heard it in the Levi’s commercial. It was just an instrumental at that time, but I remember thinking, “Wow, what a guitar sound.” It was this Soldano amplifier that was being used, similar to what the Cranberries used in their song “Zombie.” It was just so powerful.

When I went to start working on the song with the guys, they had lyrics for it, but they didn’t really have a structure to it. Once they had a singer that fitted their sound, we developed a kind of structure to the song. And for me, the important thing was to not sing over the top of the guitar riff, because that riff was the hook. I wanted to leave space for the riff to breathe, and then I sang in the space. We kind of crafted the song together in that way, and it ended up really nice. It worked very well.

That song was a big hit. Why didn’t the group manage to get more out of that moment? What happened?
Well, it was just too much too soon. The first thing we did was Number One. It was a license for disaster, which was a shame because there are some songs on the album, like “Footsteps” and “Sunshine and Butterflies,” that are great live, and people liked them.

It was a real shame. Peter Lawlor was the main driving force in the band. He was the guitarist, and a very talented guy, but he was difficult. He was actually rich, and we were not. That probably was a problem. He had all the money and maybe we resented it a little bit.

You started to work on a second Stiltskin record, but never finished it?
Yeah. I mean, Peter did. We actually performed some of the songs from it. “Another Day” was one of the songs that I wrote for it. We performed that at a couple of rock festivals in Holland and Belgium. We kind of started it. I think we just realized we didn’t really like each other very much. [Laughs.]

That’s honest.
That was it. We respected each other’s abilities, but we didn’t get along. So it just kind of petered out. It was it was a shame, but that’s what happened.

In the Eighties and Nineties, were you a fan of Genesis? Did you know much of their music?
I knew some of it. My first album was Trick of the Tail, which is still my favorite Genesis album to this day. I’m a big fan of Steve Hackett. I did some shows with Steve. It was really nice to work with him. I’m a big fan of what he contributed to Genesis.

I enjoyed Trick of the Tail and Selling England by the Pound. That was really it from the early years. And then, of course, they were so commercially successful in the Eighties and Nineties that it was hard to avoid Genesis and Phil Collins. They were constantly on the radio, constantly on VH1 or MTV. I knew them mostly from their commercial success, and from those two albums. But I wasn’t a die-hard fan like many of the guys who came to the shows. I was not that.

How did you hear that they were looking for a new singer?
Well, the first thing they did when Phil was leaving was they asked their record company for some ideas, and they were signed to Virgin Records in England. I was signed to Virgin Records in Germany with Stiltskin. The MD of the record company put me forward. He said, “You should listen to this guy.”

When they heard me sing, I think they heard a bit of the Gabriel thing in my tone. I had this overdrive. I could belt it out a bit. Of course, I sound nothing like Phil. But they could hear a bit of the Peter Gabriel thing. And I think Mike and Tony, they were both wanting to go a little bit more retro with Genesis at the time. They felt I could fit their new vision.

I understand the logic of that. And certainly when I was singing songs like “Carpet Crawlers,” it sounded great. It really worked. Other songs by contrast, like “Invisible Touch,” didn’t sound that convincing because it wasn’t really my style of singing.

Tell me about first meeting Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks. How did that go down?
I was invited down to audition. And I went from Edinburgh to Surrey, near London. I went and met the guys and Tony Smith, the manager. I was quite fortunate that I was a young, arrogant Scottish guy. I had a lot of self-confidence. And I really needed that self-confidence, I have to say, to do a job like that.

I think that was important to them. They saw that. They were convinced by it. And then of course, when we were in the recording studio, they said, “What we want you to do is sing five or six songs from our past.” I sang “Mama” and some of the old Peter Gabriel stuff like “In the Cage.” I remember singing “No Son of Mine” from Phil’s time.

You could hear there were moments singing these songs that were really quite moving. I felt it myself. Tony Banks said in interviews afterwards that he got goosebumps on his arms. He said, “There were moments that really worked.” I could feel it too. But there were also moments that weren’t really for me, going back to the Phil thing. We were somewhere in the middle, in all honesty.

That was the first audition. I didn’t hear anything, I think, for about four or five weeks after that. I thought, “Well, OK, it hasn’t worked.” Then I got the call to say that they wanted me to come and start on the new album with them. At this point, they actually had two singers. It wasn’t only me. There was another guy involved as well [David Longdon], who sounded more like Phil. I think it was Mike Rutherford’s idea because Mike and the Mechanics had Paul Carrack and Paul Young as singers. He thought maybe they could do that with Genesis. So I went to do the first bit of work on the new songs, and I wrote some ideas together with them also.

It went very well. It was a good experience. They were happy with it. And then the other chap, who I never met, he came and he also did the same thing, but it didn’t work. They decided to go with me, just the one singer. And that was it really. From that point on, I was in the studio writing and recording with them.

How did you find out you definitely had the job?
Tony Smith, the manager, called me and said that the guys would like me to sing with the band. And that was it. I was having my breakfast and the phone rang. It was that million-dollar call, if you like. It’s like, “Oh wow. I’m singing with Genesis.”

How did you feel?
Like I said, I needed the self-confidence and arrogance to do it. That’s for sure. But even with that self-confidence and arrogance, I was still blown away. I was thinking, “This is incredible.” At that time, Genesis were one of the biggest bands in the world. Phil was a household name. It was a real honor and a challenge. And just to be honest with you, it was great fun.

You weren’t just replacing one of the most famous singers on the planet. You were replacing two of them. In some ways, it’s double the pressure.
Yeah. That really is something. I was a big fan of Peter Gabriel, probably more than Genesis and Phil to be honest. I loved Peter Gabriel’s music, so that was really nice to be doing that. I mean, even when I auditioned, I had Peter Gabriel singing backing vocals in my ear from the original recordings. I could hear Phil singing along with me as well, doing backing vocals and stuff. It was a very, very surreal experience.

How far along was Calling All Stations by the time you joined?
Probably too far along, if I was to be honest. We could have benefited from doing more of the creation together. And not just me. It would have been good to have Nir Z drumming and maybe even Anthony Drennen, who played guitar at the live shows, in the studio as well. It would have been nice to have kind of jammed together for four or five weeks, with the benefit of hindsight.

There were a lot of musical ideas that Mike and Tony put together with a drum machine. They had basic demos, and they had some melodic ideas, some lyrics. It was a work in progress. But like I said, it was maybe a little too far down the line. It would have benefitted from us starting the creation together again with the whole band.

There were still some very nice moments. The song “Calling All Stations” is a great song. I love singing it. I still sing it to this day. And “There Must Be Some Other Way,” which I wrote with the band, is a great song.

There are some really nice moments, and then there’s maybe one or two that sound a little bit too much like Mike and the Mechanics, and maybe thus too poppy. I kind of feel like we were maybe in the middle of where we wanted to be and where we thought we should be.

You’re credited on “Not About Us.” I think that’s a great song.
That’s a nice song. Again, you can hear Mike and the Mechanics performing it, but it is a nice song. And it’s a popular track live. It’s another song that I play, sometimes acoustic and sometimes with the band. It was nice to write that song.

I think when when they heard my voice, and the same applies with Stiltskin, more ideas came to them as writers. When you’re listening to your song being performed, and you’re listening to the way the phrasing is working in the song, the process becomes different and more interesting. I think because a lot of it was done before I got involved, maybe some of the more magical moments could have occurred had they given it more time.

“The Dividing Line” is the proggiest song on the record. I think that one really works.
Yeah, it’s a good one. And it’s another one that in a live setting works very, very well. It has Nir Z on the drums as well. I still work with Nir to this day. I’m a big fan of his drumming. Live, it was great. They used this synth bass pedal in addition to the bass guitar. When the drum intro finished and the song started, and they kicked in this really low sub bass in amongst the sound, it really was one of those moments where you hair stands on end. It was just fabulous to perform live.

Do you think they made a mistake releasing “Congo” as the first single?
I do. I disagreed with it at the time. And I told them that. But to be fair to them, again, they were kind of stuck in the middle between what they wanted to do and what they felt they should do. And at that time in the U.K., and I think in America too, radio was changing. This also happened with Phil and his solo career.

In the U.K. at that time, Radio One was the main up-to-date modern music station. It was where Genesis would have been placed. It’s where you would have heard Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi and so on. And the format completely changed. A lot of the DJs were kicked out and they went for this younger demographic, which of course was not Genesis at that time.

Genesis winded up moving to BBC Radio Two, which was kind of an older, more easy-listening audience perhaps. I think, in all honesty, “Not About Us” would have been a better song to release to that radio listener. That might have helped since if you had a bigger radio success, it would have helped things along a little bit.

But that’s life. They went with “Congo.” I never, ever agreed with it. The video, however, was very good. I just never really agreed with the song. That’s another song that is much better live than it is on the recording.

How prepared were you for the critical reaction to the album? As you said, Genesis and Phil Collins were incredibly uncool in 1997. When you throw in a new singer, everyone was just ready to pounce.
That’s true. Like I said, there was a change in the radio formatting, and everything else was changing as well. So it really was a bad time. But for me, it kind of passed me by. So much was going on in my life at that time. It was overwhelming. Every day I was doing something like an interview with Howard Stern or talking to DJs that I listened to as a kid.

Of course, you expect people to criticize you. You’re replacing Phil Collins, for God’s sake. People idolized the guy, and still do to this to this day, and so you can understand that you’re going to get criticism from people who don’t like it. But I never really looked at it as is replacing Phil so much. I looked at it as doing an album. Of course, all this stuff was going on around me all over the world. I was just doing my job and having fun, and that was about it. I still feel much the same now.

You expect people to criticize you. I’m sure Brian Johnson had the same thing with AC/DC, and he did Back in Black, one of the biggest-selling albums of all time. That’s what happened.

Maybe the album could have been better. That’s a fair thing to say. We could have had a few more stronger songs on the album had we had a bit more time and work together, like I mentioned, maybe. But it is what it is. Brian Johnson did Back in Black, and we didn’t. That’s the bottom line.

Tell me about preparing for the tour. You had a lot of songs to learn, and I’m sure it was tough to find the balance between new songs, Peter songs, and Phil songs in the set.
Yeah. That was really was a challenge. I mean, I was 27 years old at the time. My voice was at its peak, probably. It was about adapting to the style [of the Genesis music]. I always like to make comparisons. Phil’s voice is like a trumpet. It’s very staccato. Peter’s voice is like a saxophone. It’s very round and smooth. And then, of course, my voice is a bit more more like Peter.

So you’re going from very different musical styles from one song to the next. As you would expect, I suppose there were songs that that were very convincing very quickly. “No Son of Mine” was very good and “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” and stuff like that. And then there were pop songs like “Throwing It All Away” and “Invisible Touch.” I wasn’t even convinced by it and I was the person singing it. I just knew I couldn’t do them right.

Then, of course, there’s the personality onstage. Phil is an actor. He had these kind of cheeky, London characteristics to his personality. I was kind of a Scottish, sarcastic, rock guy. I was a different person. It took time to settle into that.

We did 44 concerts in Europe in 60 days. It was a heavy schedule. The shows were two hours and 40 minutes. There was a lot of singing. I was going through all these different styles of singing, including my own of course, because we were doing songs from Calling All Stations. I felt that when we got a few shows into the tour, it really started to come together. It sounded like a band. It was maybe a bit rockier because of Nir on the drums and because of my approach as well. It was a bit rockier perhaps than the experience with Phil.

By the time we finished the tour, we had a great band. It was in a good place. And it was the perfect time to go into the studio and do a new album, quite honestly. That was what we should have done. Mike Rutherford felt the same thing, ironically. He felt that we should go straight into the studio and do it. With the benefit of hindsight, he was right. We should have done that. And we didn’t. That was a mistake.

To go back a bit, I remember when you announced an American arena tour. It was then downgraded to theaters. And then the whole thing was just cancelled. Do you recall all that going down?
Yeah, it was obviously very disappointing. And even though the European tour sold quite quite well, it would perhaps have been a good idea to have gone smaller to begin with. Maybe we should have sold out a theater tour rather than going for the arena thing and trying to pretend you still had Phil Collins in the band.

The problem the guys had is they’d spent a lot of money on these big jumbotron monitors. They’d had them specially made. I think there were seven of them. They spent a shitload of money on this. And the guy who made them went bust and they never got them. Something happened there and they lost a shitload of money.

To be honest, I don’t know much about the sales in America. I was never really told, but obviously it didn’t sell well enough to do it. There were other factors as well on the financial side with these jumbotrons. All of the production costs, I think, were just a little bit too scary, and they decided to pull it and focus on the European tour.

It was a disappointment. It would have been nice to have to have actually done a tour. I would have been perfectly happy in theaters or sheds. And I think it would have been a lot of fun. But that’s life. It’s history now.

The final show was Rock im Park in Germany. Do you remember that night?
I can recall it like it was yesterday. There’s two big festivals in Germany. One is Rock am Ring and the other is Rock im Park. The first is at a racing track, and the other is at the football stadium in Nuremberg where Adolf Hitler held rallies. So it’s quite a quite a famous place for the wrong reasons, but that’s where we did our last ever concert.

I have some video footage of it on a little digital videotape. It was a great night even though it was raining like hell. People were jumping around in the rain and enjoying the gig. I remember when we did the very last song…and I have this on film. My brother filmed it. I was walking offstage. Tony Smith was standing on the side of the stage. I said to him, “Is this it?” And I meant, “Can we do another song?” He said, “Yes.”

I look back at that recording, and that really was it. It was finished. Everything. It’s quite a chilling moment in my memory.

How long after that did you find out that was really it?
It was quite a long time actually. I would say a year, maybe 18 months. I did my own album, and I think maybe Mike was working on [another Mechanics record]. I did an album called Millionairhead in that space. My understanding is that Mike just got to the point where he didn’t have the appetite for it anymore. He wasn’t sure about it. Tony Banks wanted to do another album. I was happy to do it, but Mike didn’t. And that was it. That was the decision. It was finished. It’s a great shame. The last Genesis song ever written was a song I did with Genesis.

Who told you it was over? Did Tony Smith call you?
Yeah. He just called me and said, “That’s it.” It wasn’t very pleasant. It was quite cold and unfortunate. On the plus side of it, Tony Banks came to Edinburgh not long after because his daughter was looking at universities for studies. He made a point of calling me up and we went for dinner, and he apologized for the way things worked out. He was the only one who did that, but he did it with dignity. That’s what you’d expect from Tony. He’s that kind of guy. We had dinner together, and that was it. It was over.

I can see it from Mike’s perspective. This is a guy who started a band in high school in the Sixties. He saw it get bigger and bigger with each album over a period of decades. By the end, they were playing soccer stadiums over multiple nights. They were as big as Pink Floyd. And then suddenly they couldn’t even play theaters in America. It must have just been an ego blow he couldn’t handle, and he didn’t want to keep doing it on a smaller scale.
I understand that completely. You’re right. That must be a tough one. When I joined Genesis, they were one of the biggest bands in the world. It’s a tough one to watch it go downhill and having to start all over again when you’re in your fifties. I completely understand it.

But as I said, it would have been nice to call me up and go, “Hey Ray, how are you doing? We’ve decided not to carry on.” It would have taken five minutes. That was the only thing that kind of upset me a bit. It was just the way that that Mike and Tony Smith dealt with it. I didn’t think that was very nice. But Tony Banks was the opposite. He was a true gentleman.

Have you spoken to anyone in the band in the past 20 years?
Well, actually, when they decided to do the first greatest hits tour [in 2007] when Phil came back, they wanted me to be interviewed since they were doing a book about Genesis. And I said, “I’m not interested. I don’t really want to be involved in this. I’m kind of done with that. I’m doing my own thing, and I’m quite happy with that.” But Tony Banks, again, called me up and asked me to reconsider. He was very courteous and very, very pleasant about it. I said “OK,” and I did this interview for the book.

They also they invited me to a concert in Hanover, Germany, because I was doing a concert just down the road in Braunschweig, not too far from Hanover. So I went there with my wife at the time. I met Mike and Tony, mostly. We went backstage. Phil was in a different backstage area with his wife. We were just chatting like friends, very pleasant.

When I finished that, I saw Phil very briefly. I just said, “Hi, how are you?” He said, “Just so you know, I said nice things about you in the book.” I said, “Well, that’s very kind. Thank you, Phil.”

After that, I watched the show. They did a lot of the songs that I performed with them, and in the same key that I’d performed them, since my voice is a bit lower than Phil’s. Watching it was interesting since I’d never seen Genesis before. That was it. We said goodbye and I wished them luck. That was it. I haven’t seen them again.

They did that big BBC documentary a few years later with Steve and Phil. It didn’t mention your time with them at all.
I think Steve Hackett was mad about about some things in that as well. I think Steve’s got more to complain about than I have, because Steve did six albums with them at a time many consider to be the golden years of Genesis — although Genesis would say, “We sold the most records with Invisible Touch and We Can’t Dance.” But I know there’s a lot of fans who consider that early period as being the golden period.

Calling All Stations is on Spotify, though. The title track has been streamed nearly two million times.
Well, there you go. I know myself from touring that there are songs on that that people really love and they work very well live. With every album that an artist releases, there are always two or three songs that work live, and they’re in the tour, and they keep appearing tour after tour.

It’s the same with that album. It’s got its songs that work really well. I’ve had many emails from fans saying, “Why is Calling All Stations not available?” That’s because in some places, it’s not available on Spotify. “Why has it been removed?” And I say, “I don’t know. It’s nothing to do with me. It’s a record company decision or whatever.”

Was it hard to reestablish yourself after the band broke up?
Yes. It was a terrible time. Two years had been lost. It was like being taken to the top of Mount Everest and thrown off. It felt like that. That’s because, where do you go from there? It’s very difficult. And of course, the only the only place you can go is back to the beginning.

During that two-year period, I did one isolated concert with the Scorpions. I was friends with them since I did a tour with them with my own band. Klaus [Meine] and Rudy [Schenker] invited me to sing at a concert with them in Hanover at the Expo. It was a fantastic concert with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. It was very prestigious, really nice.

I sang “Big City Nights” with Klaus. When I was talking to the guys, I got a lot from them. That gave me a lot of self-belief back again. After I sang with them and spent a bit of time with the guys, it gave me a new impetus to start again.

I did some concerts at the Edinburgh Festival, which is more of an arts festival, really. And I just found a small club with 150 people. I did acoustic shows over 10 nights. I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested or not, but it turned out to be very successful. I had written my some of my first songs at that time as a solo artist. And I did some Genesis stuff, things like “Carpet Crawlers” on acoustic guitar.

I told some quite funny stories of life on the road, and did this kind of singer-songwriter concert. It was very, very well received. That gave me the confidence to start a solo career, which goes back now almost 20 years. But there was definitely a period before that, after Genesis, where I really felt, “Should I just do something else and not do this anymore?”

That would have been a real shame. You’re a singer and it would have been sad if you stopped using your voice.
Well, at the end of the day, that was the reality. I was faced with the fact that I was able to sing and perform. I’ve been doing it really since I was 15 at school. It’s just one of those things where you fall down and you have to pick yourself back up.

I’m not the only artist who’s been through that in their life. Thankfully, I got back on track and got things moving again. I did a couple of songs with the DJ Armin van Buuren. I did the thing with the Scorpions, and I did support with Dolores O’Riordan, Joe Jackson, and Roger Hodgson from Supertramp. It really kind of of got me back into it again. I started to feel like an artist again. But it took time.

You do a ton of concerts now. There’s clearly a big demand for you.
Yeah. I concentrate mostly on the mainland of Europe. I live here now. It’s a good market for me. I can go back to places every year, or every couple years, and they sell well. I have fans. They buy my music. And obviously, I still have Genesis fans come to the shows, and they want to hear a bit of the Genesis stuff. It’s nice. I enjoy it.

The thing I like about my life now is it’s truly mine. I’m not part of a machine the likes of Genesis, because obviously such a big entity requires many, many people to be involved, so you’re very much in a machine. Whereas with my life as it is now, I’m in control of it. If I want to tour, I can. And if I don’t, I don’t.

I’ve got a very good band. I’ve got my own PA, lighting, sound equipment, and stuff that I use for my tours, and transportation. I’ve got my own small touring world that people enjoy. You can’t ask for more than that in life. That’s as good as it gets.

What’s noteworthy is that there are three singers of Genesis. Peter hasn’t sung the songs in 40 years and has no interest. He’ll probably never do them again. Phil is retired after that last Genesis tour. He probably won’t ever tour again. You’re the only one out there singing the songs.
That’s true. There’s really only me and Steve Hackett. Steve does very well with the six albums that he did, and with his solo material. It always feels nice to me to be in the same lineup when you say Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, and Ray Wilson. That always sits well with me.

I’m proud of that, and the other things I’ve done as well. in my life. My life has not only been Genesis. They are obviously the big name that everybody knows. It was nice to be part of it.

You also put together a new lineup of Stiltskin a few years back.
Yeah. It’s funny. I was just watching a video about two hours ago of us performing “Footsteps,” which is one of the songs I really enjoy. I was thinking, “I think I want to go out with a rock band again and do some shows as Stiltskin.” I’ve just got this feeling that I need to get back to that kind of sound again. It’s quite interesting that you say that. In the back of my mind, the next thing I want is to go out and do rock shows again.

That would be cool. That Scottish grunge sound is very unique.
Yeah, and there’s a little bit of that Celtic element as well. It’s grunge with a little bit of Celtic mandolin. Zeppelin would have done stuff like that, of course. I suppose naturally as a singer, it’s what I do best if I was to be honest. It’s where I feel that I’m in the right place.

That’s because that’s what I grew up listening to. There was metal and then punk and then there was a lot of stuff in the Eighties that passed me by, but then we got into good stuff again with grunge. And then bands like Radiohead came along and Live. I was a big fan of Live in the Nineties, and there’s a lot of great stuff. That’s the music that really touches my soul. I really love that grungy stuff, and Neil Young in the Seventies as well.

I’ve never seen you in concert, since I live in America. Is there ever talk of you coming over here to play?
Well, actually, I got contacted a week ago. Do you know the Cruise of the Edge?

Yeah. The prog boat.
Yeah. It starts in Miami. The promoter asked if I would be interested in doing it. He wanted me to do it acoustically originally. I’m thinking, “Of course. I can get up and tell stories and play songs on a guitar.” But I said, “Maybe we can take the band?” He’s now thinking about the best way of doing it. But that would actually be the first time [I’ve played in America]. I won’t technically be in America, but I’m starting in Miami and I’m in American waters.

It might be the start of me doing something in America because the audience will be predominantly from the U.S. Maybe I’ll pick up a few fans and come and can do one or two shows maybe on the East Coast to begin with since there’s a lot of fans of the Genesis thing. You never know. There’s still time. I’m only 53 years old.

Genesis is now a former band, but they still have a huge audience out there, which is why Steve does so well and why tribute bands like The Musical Box play big venues. I think a lineup of musicians playing Genesis songs that includes you, Daryl Stuermer, and Chester Thompson would do very well. If you throw in Mike and Tony and possibly even Steve, it would be way, way bigger, even if you didn’t call it Genesis. I know this is in the land of fan fiction, but would you be into something like that?
Yeah. There’s no reason why not. Certainly from my point of view, there’s not a problem. And as you say, Phil is now retired. He’s had a magnificent career. Nobody can argue with it. And there’s some great songs that he’s created, that the guys have created, that people like to listen to. If I’m singing the songs that are suited to my voice, like “Carpet Crawlers,” I’m fine with that.

Never say never. I’m 53 years old. I’ve got many years ahead of me, I hope. I’m open-minded, and my voice is still working pretty well, so we’ll see what happens.

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