Why & when did Ant leave Genesis ?
This brings a whole new meaning to the expression "frequently asked
question" - Ant says that he's been asked this more times in his life than
any other question, including "what is your name?"!
"For me, when the band went on
the road things began to go wrong and I think I realised at that point that this
just wasn't the life for me. The fact that we all lived together in the
same cottage probably didn't help after a while. It was great fun in an idealistic
way but actually not terribly sensible for people getting on. I just found
that the pressure of the whole thing got to me after a while as we had all these
gigs where agents were coming along and I thought "I'm not sure I can deal
with this". The group did need a bit of space at the time when I
left, somebody needed to go and it was me who went first."
Ant played his last gig with Genesis
at the Sussex Hall in Haywards Heath on 18th July 1970 and
this can be considered the date that he officially left the group, although he
had taken the decision to leave a couple of weeks earlier. Mike Rutherford
and Tony Banks have often spoken of this as being the only time in the history
of the group that Genesis
really came close to splitting up, which goes to show how important Ant was to
the group during the time he was with them.
Does Ant have any contact with the other current or former members of Genesis?
Yes - he is in touch with
Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and Steve Hackett and sees them socially from time to time. Ant
took part in a special photo session at Heathrow Airport in London to promote
the release of the Genesis Archive 1967-75 box set in May 1998 and also
attended a reunion dinner in London with all the other former and current Genesis members
(with the exception of John Mayhew) a
few weeks later. Ant also met up with original Genesis drummer
Chris Stewart when he came to London to promote the launch of one of his books.
18th May 2006 Ant met former Genesis drummer John Mayhew for the first
time in 36 years at a Genesis convention held at the Astoria Theatre in
London - sadly this was to be their last contact before John passed away in 2009. Ant was
also a guest at Steve Hackett's wedding in June 2011.
What did Ant do between leaving Genesis in 1970 and the release of
& The Ghost in 1977?
After leaving Genesis Ant decided to study music. He studied classical
guitar, took piano lessons and also studied harmony and counterpoint externally at the
Guildhall School of Music & Drama, obtaining a Teaching Diploma in December 1973.
After this he taught music at Reed's School and Peper Harow (both in Surrey) on a part-time basis
up until 1978.
During this period of study and teaching, Ant also carried on writing and recording music.
Will Ant ever work with Mike Rutherford again?
Ant says: "We have collaborated on one or two television things and although I don't
know what will happen, it's not impossible that we might do something together. But at the moment I
can only really say that there's nothing definite planned. I'd have to go on
record and say that this is something that potentially I'd enjoy although I
don't know if we've moved apart over the years to make it last on any cohesive
basis but I would hope that the old empathy is still there".
How did Ant come to
play on Steve Hackett's album Out of the Tunnel's Mouth? Does he
have any plans to work with Steve again in the future?
Ant says: "Steve had been asking me for a while to
play on his album but I couldn't understand why - he a very fine, dedicated and
versatile guitarist and myself, as much a keyboard player mainly operating a mouse
! But he was dogged and so I went to visit him armed with Guild 12-string in normal tuning
- though down a tone - to listen to track, panic, go away and make watertight
excuse! However, this pretty chorus came on in B flat Major - thus I was in C
(hurrah, lots of ringey open strings !) - and a part flowed instantly. It helps
if the music's good and you like it!
I was still thinking, 'ok for starters, play me the rest and I'll go away and
work on it properly', but Steve and the delightful Roger King seemed to like it
fresh from the pool, as it were, and so down she went. Steve left the room and I
recorded it with Roger - very relaxed. Added a harmony part - all seemed easy,
as if a team of guardian angels were with me ! Back in comes Steve and all very
happy, albeit with a bit of savvy jiggery-pokery from Roger. Much surprise - and
huge waves of (un-shown!) relief - from my quarter!
The sun not yet being over the yardarm there was time to pootle around with
something else - unplanned, I think. So I just vamped along very loosely - but by
this time in a very relaxed manner to Sleepers. Fun, in B Minor for me but
didn't think I was really scoring given both size of track and guitar ensemble
therein. However, again the effect was pleasing to Steve - kept wondering if
he was now bored with the track and it was just the novelty of the 12
string that was seducing him.....but it appeared not! A thoroughly
enjoyable, convivial and seamlessly easy post-tea session where Bob really was
my father's brother.....
As the great seer George Bushtradamus once said, 'The future is ahead of
us'........so for any subsequent collaboration, watch this space!"
Which releases include
tracks with both Ant and Steve on them?
In addition to the tracks Emerald and Ash
and Sleepers on Steve's 2009 album Out of the Tunnel's Mouth, Ant and Steve have
collaborated with Roger King on the joint track In A Perfect World which was
released on the charity album Harmony for Elephants. They also both make
guest appearances on the track Satellite from John Hackett's album Another Life
(released in 2015), the song The Tallest Tree on Why The Sea Is Salt by The Gift
and on La Cura by Algebra from the album Deconstructing Classics.
Why did Phil Collins record a version of Silver Song with Ant and Mike
Rutherford in 1973?
In the summer of 1973 there was a short lull in Genesis activity whilst the
band were writing Selling England By The Pound. During this time Phil
Collins took the opportunity to take part in some musical projects outside
Genesis, which included playing in the band Zox and the Radar Boys.
Having already met Ant on several occasions, Phil was invited down to Ant's
parents house in Surrey with a number of other friends to take part in the original
demo recording of Take This Heart. Following on from this, the idea came
up that Ant and Mike might record a couple of songs with Phil drumming and
singing as a potential extra project. The three of them recorded a demo
version of Silver Song which Charisma Records liked and they gave their approval
for the track to be recorded properly.
In October 1973 it was arranged for the recording to take place at Island
Studios in London on one free day in the busy Genesis touring schedule.
Ant, Mike and Phil recorded Silver Song and another track Only Your Love during
this session, with a view to Charisma releasing the two tracks as a single. Genesis then carried on with their
touring schedule until the summer of 1974 when it was anticipated that the
Silver Song single would be released. To tie in with this, Phil gave an
interview on BBC Radio One in June 1974 where he talked about the background to
the single being recorded and a tape of the completed version of Silver Song was
played at the end of the interview. Incidentally, Phil didn't record a
session version of the track for Radio One as has been suggested nor did he sing
along to a backing track live in the studio for this broadcast.
For reasons that remain unknown to this day the Silver Song single release
never appeared. It is reasonable to suggest that Charisma Records may have
felt it was too early in their career for Genesis to have breakaway projects but
there was no one definite reason that Ant is aware of as to why the single was
Phil Collins and Mike
Rutherford kindly gave their permission for the 1973 recording of Silver
Song to be released as one of the extra tracks on the double CD re-issue
of The Geese & The Ghost which was released in July 2007 in Japan and in
other territories in April 2008. In addition, both of them gave their permission for Only
Your Love to be released on the Definitive Edition of The Geese & The
Ghost which was released by Esoteric Records in March 2015.
Where does the song title Um &
Aargh come from?
This is a play on words based on the name of the A&R (standing for Artists
& Repertoire) people from record companies who are supposed to give guidance
to a recording artist as regards their material. Ant heard some great
stories about A&R men and their "advice" about material when he
was recording Wise After The Event so it seemed only logical to send them up!
The line in the song "this is much too good for the people" is based
on a genuine comment made by an A&R man to bass player John G. Perry.
John was told in all seriousness that his album was "too good to be
released"! Strange but true!
Where does the title The Geese & the Ghost come from?
This originates from two sounds on the ARP Pro-Soloist synthesizer, which Ant
played on the album. There was one sound with repeat echo that reminded
Ant and Mike Rutherford of a flight of geese and another one that had a
"ghostly" quality to it, hence The Geese & The Ghost. The
can be heard in an isolated form from the original multi-track master tapes on
the track Title Inspiration on the double CD re-issue of The Geese & The
Ghost. On the finished album the sounds can be heard during The Geese & The Ghost (part one) at 4:40 (the geese
sound) and 4:55 (the ghost sound) into the track.
Who is Humbert Ruse who appears on
Wise After The Event and
This is producer Rupert Hine. His performance credits are all real.
On many of Ant's albums there is a person called Ralph Bernascone mentioned
in the credits. Is he a real person?
Yes, Ralph IS a real person! Ant freely admits that not all of his credits
have been entirely true, but none the less he is very much alive and well. Incidentally,
readers may like to know that his name is pronounced "Raif Bernasconay".
Ant asked to take part in the 1982 Genesis reunion concert that took place in
Ant says: "I think I was
approached by Tony Smith who was managing Genesis as well as myself at the time
to see if I would be interested in taking part and I said yes. However, before
things went too far it was taken out of my hands and the Genesis management
decided that I wouldn't need to take part. I was in the middle of recording Invisible
Men at the time and it was probably felt that I should concentrate on that.
If I had been involved and had to chose a track to play, I think I would have
gone for something like Visions of Angels."
there any scores available of Ant's music?
Yes - scores of fifty five of Ant's piano and
keyboard-based compositions are now available from
Sheet Music Direct and
Sheet Music Plus. The scores for the works have been
painstakingly transcribed by Todd Scallan, to whom we would like to say a
big thank you for all his efforts.
In respect of Ant's guitar pieces, a
collection of scores of selected pieces (called Six Pieces For Guitar) was published by Josef Weinberger in 1980.
The collection is now out of print.
Ant ever give a live performance of his music?
Ant says: "I always say the same
thing really, which is that it's not impossible. Practically speaking it would
take an enormous amount of time to rehearse a whole set and then go out and do
it and it's really not my full-time career. My full-time career is television
and library music so it would mean dropping out of that for so long that until in some sort
of fanciful way to semi-retire from that to doing exactly what I wanted without
any financial risk it's unlikely but not impossible."
is Vic Stench / The Vicar?
Both of them are Ant himself. The Vicar, who
amongst other things maintained a diary at the DGM
site, is an alias for record producer David Singleton and has no connection with Ant.
There is someone named Ant credited as playing
guitar on Mike Oldfield's album Crises - is that Ant Phillips?
No - the Ant on that album is guitarist Anthony