1990 Interview

Anthony talks to Geoff Parkyn about Slow Dance and the 1990 Virgin CD re-issues. 

Originally appeared in #51 of Genesis Information Magazine.


You have a new album out, at last, which was written quite a while back now wasn't it?

It was written just after we finished Tarka and that was at the end of 1987. Because of doing Tarka I got a little bit of money and I was able to upgrade my gear to sixteen track, and not a moment too soon.

Passport were quite enthusiastic, and were going to give me an advance, which hadn't happened since about 1979. So, on the basis of those two things I decided to do a full scale album.

To start with, I found it really daunting. I kept putting it off. Once I got into it, it was great because all kinds of floodgates were opened. I actually wrote four sides in fact. I wrote a twelve string side, a piano side. I wanted to do some full scale work which would convince people that I could do film work.

The good news about your new contract is that it will cover all your back catalogue as well..

The plan is to do three every three months and the first releases will be Sides, The Geese & The Ghost; and Private Parts & Pieces 1. The next three are Private Parts & Pieces 2; 3; and 4 which is a bit contentious because I know some people wanted to get 1984 out front. The trouble is that the Japanese want to go with six now and six in January or February, so I'm afraid once again we will have this import thing where they are available on import before there is a UK release, and apparently Japanese imports are VERY expensive.

It means that if somebody definitely want to get hold of Ivory Moon or something they are going to have to wait until June, whereas the Japanese import cold come in February or March. I feel so embarrassed about it because of all these years of people paying import prices from the States. I don't want people to be out of pocket on it. On the other hand, it is great that the Japanese want to put them out so quickly. I'm delighted by that. They want me to tour over there!

How did you take to that?

Well, I still feel pretty much like I have always done; which is absolutely petrified! They were suggesting seven gigs of mainly acoustic stuff; just me and some other person. It is quite difficult though, because to rehearse my stuff to do any sort of decent gig is going to take me a long time, because some of it is quite complicated. There is a part of me that would love to do it, and there is a part which is just so apprehensive. The other thing is that with the current album; there is no way I could do any kind of live version of that. I don't know whether people would be happy to just come and see acoustic guitar pieces. If it was billed like that, like the acoustic tours that Steve Hackett does, then that would be ok.

Have you added extra tracks to all of the CDs?

No, Private Parts & Pieces 5 for instance has a piece for each month of the year. 1984 there was nothing extra, the album with Quique, there was nothing extra, but for the early PP & P albums there were quite a lot of extra things and I went exhaustively through all the tapes. Unfortunately I found that some of the stuff hadn't been used because they were just too rough. So, I decided to record them again from scratch.

There was some stuff that Mike and I did for The Geese & The Ghost which I didn't try to recreate the two guitar thing when I re-recorded it. I found I couldn't sing on that actually. In fact there was a song called Stranger which I remembered the others calling Strangler, and no wonder; it was too high and I obviously couldn't make the notes then, but I think it is quite nice because it is just evocative of that era. There are a few other songs that complete the picture.

In fact, I have just done a piano version of a song called Let Us Now Make Love for the piano album. In fact, Genesis used to do that one on the road. It was a piano based thing but we did a two twelve string version. In fact, Tony Banks used to play electric guitar, believe it or not; he used to do an instrumental and we used to do all these crazy switches of instruments - so I did a version of that to complete the picture.

It's a shame because that really should have been on Trespass but some of the more sensitive songs didn't work out live and there wasn't time to rehearse for the album.

There are a couple of things added to Invisible Men; actually there is a song which I wrote about the Penlee Lifeboat disaster. It's not a traditional English folk tune; but it's got something traditional about it; more like a hymn, and that's quite nice.

The Geese & The Ghost has an extra track on the end; which is called Master Of Time that I was going to do with Mike but we ran out of time, and it is a demo version that I did with a friend of mine called David Thomas; in 1973. That was a difficult decision because The Geese & The Ghost is really a complete statement in itself; but what we have tended to do is leave biggish gaps between the end of the original album and the extra tracks.

The running order of the CDs stays the same except where you go from a twelve string pieces at the end of side one into another twelve string pieces at the start of side two. But apart from that I haven't broken up the running order because I think it is a mistake; people are used to it one particular way. Some people won't like the extra tracks, I have to accept that but I think overall, on the twelve albums there is about another album's worth of extra tracks so I feel that is giving people something a bit extra.

So are these out in all formats?

No, they are not; they are only out on CD, which I think is a bit of a pity. I wouldn't have expected them to come out on vinyl, but I thought perhaps cassette. Particularly in Europe and America it is the CD that is the big market now.

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