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Genesis: together and apart

October 6th, 2014 · Posted by Skuds in Music · No Comments · Music

I got round to watching that Genesis documentary on the iPlayer today. (Still available for a few days). It was entertaining enough but didn’t really have much in there for fans. It was good to see the five main members together in one room talking, but not much from that session was actually used – there were a lot more clips from earlier interviews which have already been seen umpteen times.

The main thing about it was that it showed just how good the spoof documentary about Brian Pern/Thotch) was.That spoof was so well observed not only in the way it sent up interviews with bands and their members but also the way it got talking heads slots from music journalists, managers, producers, promoters and record company executives spot on as well so that when you see the real thing it still feels a bit like a spoof.

I think the problem is that there are so many music documentaries on BBC 4 and Sky Arts and so much archive footage available on YouTube that it is hard to tackle a subject without using a lot of material that is familiar. It was always going to be hard to fit the story of a career as long as Genesis’ into 90 minutes, especially if you want to include solo careers as well, and something has to be left out, but I do wonder how they managed to leave out:

  • Wind and Wuthering
    One of my favourite Genesis albums. Having taken a sort of chronological approach, punctuated by album releases with a little graphic about when they were released and what chart positions they reached, the documentary seemed to include all the albums except this one and…
  • Calling All Stations
    Maybe not a fans’ favourite or great critical/commercial success, but it did happen and wasn’t actually that bad.
  • Knebworth 1978
  • Steve Hackett’s solo albums
    Maybe his solo works have not been as successful as Gabriel and Collins, but he has had a couple of dozen solo albums with the first six being top 40 albums, as well as some success with GTR. Certainly a more prolific and noteworthy solo career than Tony Banks whose solo work got a good mention.
  • Brand-X
    There was no mention of other projects that the various members had been involved with and Brand-X was one of the more prominent ones and significant because it shows how Phil Collins had other side projects before his solo career.
  • Any of the live albums
    Especially Seconds Out which still is the definitive live version for many of their songs in the same way that Yessongs is for Yes.
  • Drummers (apart from Phil & Chester)
    Especially Bill Bruford who played on tour with them and any of the drummers before Phil Collins joined the band
  • The flute
    Gabriel’s flute was a big part of the early sound but didn’t even get a mention.

While the documentary was not terrible it came across as not something made with the band’s co-operation so much as one made by the three remaining members of the band and only including as much about other members as they wanted, while airbrushing out Ray Wilson and other parts of their history – although that still doesn’t excuse leaving out Wind and Wuthering.

I think this is going to be for sale to support the R-Kive box set, but although it was OK to watch on TV I think buying the Thotch show on DVD would be more rewarding.



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