"Now Michael, you're the son of a naval officer, you must behave like a naval officer at all times..."
What Captain William Rutherford told his seven-year-old son Michael was to stay with him all his life.
Born in 1950, Michael was truly his father's son, even serving in the naval section of the student cadet corps at one of England's top public schools, Charterhouse. Mike's future lay in the civil service: it was a subject that he discussed with his father at Captain Crawford's gentlemen's club. But then something happened. Mike discovered rock music.
As one of the founder members of Genesis, Mike was to tour the world and achieve international fame. From unpromising beginnings - demonised by his teachers as a fomenter of revolution, driving to gigs in a bread van - Mike would go on to crisscross the globe with bandmates Peter Gabriel and, later, Phil Collins, playing to packed-out stadiums and achieving record sales of over 150 million. Swapping old school ties and Savile Row suits for flares and Afghan coats, Mike and Genesis would pioneer the pomp and theatricality of 1970s progressive rock before becoming household names in the 1980s with hits like Turn It On Again, Mama and Land of Confusion. There was drink, there were drugs; there were arguments and excess. But, in the background - and sometimes in the audience - there was also the loyal Captain Rutherford, earplugs at the ready, Melody Maker in hand. A proud father still.
The Living Years spans the entire history of Genesis, from the earliest days as a school band to the triumphant 2007 reunion tour when Genesis played to over 500,000 people in Rome. But this is not just another rock 'n' roll memoir. This is also a book about two men whose lives and complex relationship reflect the seismic social and cultural shifts that took place during the twentieth century. A book for every father and son.
Rutherford, bassist and guitarist for the renowned progressive-rock band Genesis, gives thisautobiography the same title as his emotional number-one hit song with Mike + the Mechanics; the song is about Rutherford's recently deceased father, whose unpublished memoir inspired his book. Rutherford recounts the origin of Genesis at Charterhouse, a boarding school in the English county of Surrey, where he, guitarist Anthony Phillips, keyboardist Tony Banks, and vocalist Peter Gabriel met and formed a band that pioneered the mix of theatrical elements with odd lyrics and complex song structures. After Gabriel's departure in 1975 for a wildly diverse solo career, drummer Phil Collins took over lead vocals and brought Genesis to even greater commercial heights amid his own solo success. Refusing to dwell too much on particulars the band's final two albums receive surprisingly short shrift, as do stories about rock-and-roll excess Rutherford writes with British wit, charm, and honesty. His depiction of the rigid Banks is less than favorable, for example, and there's little emotion in his description of the departure of guitarist Steve Hackett. This book is being heavily promoted as the first memoir by a member of Genesis and is already a bestseller in Britain.