The Genesis of Genesis Legacy
How did Genesis Legacy come about?
By David Knight
Mark Knopfler, Phil Collins and Genesis have been at the heart of my musical career since I began playing the guitar at age 15. It was Phil Collins who inspired me, as a musician, to learn to play all instruments and understand musical arrangement in general after I read the Vinyl sleeve notes of “Both Sides of the Story” to learn that he’d played most of the instruments on the album.
Genesis, “We Can’t Dance” remains, to this day, in my top 4 list of ‘best produced albums’ of all time (along with Bryan Adams' "Waking up the Neighbours”, Maroon Five’s “Songs about Jane” and Phil Collins’ "But Seriously").
We Can’t Dance has been in our family record collection since it’s launch in 1991 and Invisible Touch also sits in the ‘favourite album’ category with the title track being one of my all time favourites.
So after seeing success with Dire Straits UK, I was working on the Dire Straits UK Merchandise EP with Rick over a week in early 2017 when he floated the idea of producing a show based around Genesis… but because of the number of Genesis Tributes operating in the UK, how about making it about the individual members of Genesis and all of their offshoot and solo projects?
A fully commercial, and very assessable, show featuring Genesis’s Music, Phil Collins’ Music, Mike and the Mechanics’ Music, Peter Gabriel’s Music and Steve Hackett’s Music.
A show that would feature the biggest hits of each of these groups, as well as a small spattering of our favourite (fan favourite!) album tracks…. a show that would appeal to regular music fans as well as the fans of these individual acts themselves.
In other words - what show would WE enjoy going to see?
And Genesis Legacy was born.
We’ve had such a great time with Dire Straits UK, how could we not have a great time with Genesis and Phil Collins???!! My OTHER musical heroes!
Genesis Legacy wasn’t going to be "another tribute band”. It would be a “Show” paying homage to, and celebrating, the careers and music of the founder members of Genesis in their solo projects and side projects. The wealth of hits available to us to fit into a 2 hour show is just overwhelming!
As with Dire Straits UK, we set out to find the best musicians that we could to re-create this iconic music. Musicians with an intense talent for understand and performing music, who can listen and delicately re-produce not just the notes but also the sounds of these iconic records.
Rick would obviously take Tony Banks’ keyboard parts, and there really is no better man for the job. Rick is a real ‘Synthesist’ - his ability to recreate iconic sounds, as well as play the arrangements, is unsurpassed in any musician I’ve ever met.
Alistair was first choice for Bass guitar and with the opportunity to use the Chapman Stick to play the “Synth bass” parts (for Invisible Touch for example), he couldn’t say no. (Yes - Alistair really is using the Chapman Stick to play Keyboard sounds live!).
I relished in the opportunity to take the Lead guitar, approaching the performance, arrangement and sound design from the point of view of Daryl Stuermer being on the gig. Daryl being the long term guitarist for the Phil Collins Band across his entire career as well as first choice for primary guitarist in the Touring Genesis Shows. Daryl, alongside Mark Knopfler and Steve Lukather (Toto), is a guitarist I have admired for my entire career.
With Phil Collins being such an iconic drummer, exactly the right drummer was going to be required for this particular show and long term friend and collaborator Gerald “Mully” Mulligan was approached to play drums. Phil Collins is Mully’s no.1 Drumming inspiration, and it’s not hard to hear Phil’s influence deeply routed into Mully’s playing. From his appropriate choice of drum kit - an early 1980’s Premier Concert Tom kit, to his distinctive feel, metronomic timing and fill style… yes, it’s very easy to see why 1. Mully was the first choice for this band and 2. why it took no time at all for Mully to agree to take the drumming seat!
Emily Cotton was working for me out on a cruise ship when I received an email from her saying that it wasn’t working out for her with the band and that she was going to be finishing after her current contract finished, 4 months later. (Most musicians unhappy with their bands on a contract would just announce that they don’t want to do it any more and they’re getting off at the next port!)
When I first met and auditioned Emily, I immediately wanted her to work with me, but wanting ship work at the time, it wouldn’t be right to bring her into a UK based band when she was wanting to work our on ships long term.
It was an incredible coincidence that Rick and I were discussing bringing in female vocalist and musician who could 1. take the higher parts of the 4 part harmony stacks 2. play a couple of instruments so that we didn’t have to fill out the arrangements with an over-reliance on backing track elements and 3. give us the chance perform the wonderful Male/Female duet songs such as Phil Collins’ "Separate Lives” and the monster “Easy Lover”. Easy Lover, originally performed with Philip Bailey (of Earth Wind and Fire) for the iconic recording, is performed live with Phil’s outstanding backing vocalists.
It was always going to be a very difficult find - a musician of such talent that could cover all of these vital roles….
…and then Emily’s email landed in my inbox.
Not thinking she’d want it anyway, I offered her the chance to work with our new “Genesis Themed show” and as front-person for our Wedding Band “Run Gizmo Run”.
I explained that it wasn’t a forward and primary role in the band, but it was a significant role because it enabled us to play all these extra parts live without the need for backing track…. but Run Gizmo Run would be see her lead the band….
…and she jumped on it. And Emily’s importance in the band cannot be over stated enough. Her ability to play keys to augment Rick’s keyboard parts and play guitar to provide additional acoustic rhythm on the likes of “Over my Shoulder” and “Your own special way” elevates Genesis Legacy head and shoulders above the rest… and that’s before we get to her incredible voice and her infectious personality!!
(Yep - she’s that important that she warranted six paragraphs!)
And that brings us to the “Voice” of Genesis Legacy - Jay.
Not being a tribute show to any of the bands or acts in particular, we thought long and hard about the approach we could take with regards to the vocalist. With Phil Collins, probably, being the most famous of the names - and being the longest reining front man of Genesis, we made the decision to approach the show as if Phil was fronting the show, and performing the songs of each of these bands. We weren’t looking for a 'Phil Collins’ - a like - as such…. just an incredible vocalist with great energy, great performance and who could ‘embody’ some of Phil’s mannerisms.
We advertised for a long time, seeing a large number of vocalists (and going through one for a short time before he dropped out) Jay was picked out of a large number applicants and what a choice he was!!! He’s really taken his time to study his parts and delivers them right on point with incredible charisma. As a life long Phil Collins fan, performing Phil’s material is an absolute dream for him!
Following 9 months of personal practice, official band and technical rehearsal...
....Genesis Legacy’s first official show (following a private, invite only, show in late ’17) was a technical sell out and complete success (despite Rick’s Mac crashing during the opening number!).
Genesis Legacy have a number of shows booked in 2018 and 2019 to please don’t miss the band if we’re near you. Check out our list of shows right here. The band is also available for private hire for parties, corporate events, public performances and festivals. Send the band a message to firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire. Make sure you follow us on our social media channels and don’t be afraid to send us a message or two - we’ll always reply! Click our social media buttons at the bottom of each of our web pages.
Thanks for taking the time to read about how Genesis Legacy began. We hope you’ll come and enjoy our shows with us sometime soon.