MY BOOK OF GENESIS
RICHARD MACPHAIL with CHRIS CHARLESWORTH
Argyll & Bute Publishing
Following on from several tomes that give the Genesis bookshelf an ever increasing bow, comes one from the inner circle.
Amongst plenty of Genesis and Peter Gabriel biographies we’ve also heard from the horse’s mouth in Mike Rutherford’s memoirs and what turned out to be quite a demon revealing autobiography from Phil Collins. As we await for Mr Gabriel to have his say (which judging by the speed of his musical output, may be never) and Tony Banks (hmmm, not sure) and Steve Hackett (I’ve heard rumours he may…) why shouldn’t long term and early days colleague, friend, chief cook, bottle washer and more, Richard Macphail, have his say.
It’s a name that will be as familiar as the band members to fans of early Genesis; his photo even appeared on their album sleeves and the 1973 Genesis Live album was even dedicated to him. In his highly imaginatively title Book Of Genesis, he offers a unique insight into the formative days of Genesis and the English public school system. With his connections – they’re all still good mates after all – there are not so much interviews, but chats with each member of the band that are included as written soundbites. And it’s not bad when you can call on Peter Gabriel to write a foreword to your book.
So it’s the much more interesting story of those formative years of touring the A roads in trucks and vans (the new fangled motorway system just beginning to appear) and getting it together in the country (Christmas Cottage) rather than the stadium dwelling, globe straddling latter days. A smattering of photos include a tempting one from the 1972 Italian tours; van reversed up to the back of the stage in the Italian palasports and one of the main themes that emerges as the musicians grow is the pretty good case he makes out for Anthony Phillips as the key musician before his chronic stage fright alters the course of Genesis history.
Also rainse an eyebrow and store in the trivia banks the little snippets that throw fresh light onto the Genesis story, for example, to learn that Macphail was told “you were in the frame” for stepping up to the plate (or mic) when Gabriel left Genesis in 1975. Of course he did go on to greater things in managing and supporting the Gabriel solo career and we learn all about his immersion into the sort of alternative lifestyle favoured by many of the period. He seems most happy with his lot in a very philosophical way and My Book Of Genesis is an easy an friendly read. Fans will enjoy the insight and the easy manner in which its told. There are no shock-horror revelations or stories of sex and drugs and rock and roll (apart from a passing mention of Gabriel’s roving eye and a few spliffs) and the guys have all maintained a healthy friendship.
The book has been out a short while but a tease for 2019 is an audiobook along with some tempting extras: the audio version boasting a recorded interview with Steve Hackett and also a chance to hear a recording of Pennsylvania Flickhouse by Anon (the Macphail fronted band featuring Rutherford, Phillips and Rivers Job) that amalgamated with The Garden Wall to become the fledgling Genesis). While its title may bear some resemblance to Twilight Alehouse, the B side of the famous Genesis single, I Know What I Like, that’s where the similarity ends as it cuts a thoroughly modern Sixties rug.