The questions for this interview were submitted by a number of fans around
Ant gave his answers to the questions on 15th May 2004.
effect(s) are you using in the song Sally?
Around the time of Invisible Men I would probably have been putting the guitars through a Space Echo still, which had chorus. Generally speaking it was chorus and compression. On Wise After The Event I used a stereo green Boss chorus ensembler and a red Dynacomp for chord-based stuff. There were fuzz elements for the solos. On Invisible Men it may well be that we were using an external effects unit called a Scamp - I think that had stereo chorusing.
effects on the lead guitar parts on "Pulling Faces"?
definitely would have had the chorus, possibly the compression and fuzz,
although I don't remember which fuzz box I would have been using at the time.
The original one we all had was the Marshall fuzz box - that was the one
I used on The Knife. Subsequently I
used a thing called The Rat but I can't remember if I used that or not.
Can you remember what tuning you used in the Song "Wise After the Event" and what kind of Guitar was used at the beginning of the song?
used for Wise After The Event is as follows: -
strict DESCENDING order:
main ''riff'' in Wise is based on holding the top string on the 7th fret and
moving on the 2nd string frets as follows- 5 5 0 5 7 7 5
5 0 5 7 7 0 7 7 5 -all the other strings are ''open"!
guitar used on the track was a Rickenbacker 12-string, which I bought in
Manny's in New York in 1977.
Do you think you
might do some more works that incorporate the Electric guitar in the future?
it's not top of my list but I've never ruled it out and I still love the
electric guitar. It's more likely
if I do albums of a fuller nature just because solo electric guitar is not such
an easy natural thing to me as solo acoustic guitar.
There have been tracks like Sarah Blakeley's Evening where electric
guitar has worked well so I hope so.
If asked, would he
be prepared participate in anyway in a 'final' Genesis reunion show (i.e. for a
one off encore etc), or studio recording?
think it's really unlikely that it would happen.
I think it would depend on the circumstances and how busy I was. It wouldn't be something that would come naturally to me in
terms of live work, as I simply haven't toured.
If it were something simple like playing 12-string on Visions of Angels
then that would be ok but if it involved long rehearsals then I think I'd feel
like a fish out of water. If there
was a charity element to it then that might make a difference.
I did agree to the Six of the Best reunion in 1982 but then that didn't
happen with me being involved. I'd
ultimately feel uncomfortable with it as the others have all been on the road
and I'd feel very much an outsider - if I'd carried on playing live then
it would be different. I've moved
into such a different kind of area that it would be difficult to be honest.
What tracks, that he's aware of, are still in Genesis' archives that didn't make it on to the Archive Box set (i.e. from the early demo tapes, the FGTR sessions, etc) ?
were some demos that got lost. There
was a track called 'Everywhere Is Here' which was demoed alongside Visions
of Angels and was regarded as the better song at the time so it was a bit of a
tragedy that that one was lost. As
far as tracks that still exist go, that's probably a question best put to Tony
Banks as he has most of the surviving tapes.
Did the band play the Musical Box in some form live while he was in the band?
What are his favorite musical moments and or songs from his Genesis days?
the time there were highlights when we were writing things - I can remember
doing some of the writing on Stagnation because it felt really exciting as we
were going down a new path. There
were also moments when we were putting together the instrumental sections of
things like The Knife and Looking For Someone, which were extremely exciting. As far as the end result goes that's difficult as by the
time you've recorded the track you've usually grown bored of it - the
exciting thing is writing it and the endless repetition on the road frankly
kills it. Probably some of the
things that excite me most in my memory are the ones that we hardly played
because they didn't have a chance to get tarnished.
There were some rather lovely things we did in the middle period in
between recording From Genesis To Revelation and going on the road.
There was a piece called A Winter Flies By, which sticks in my memory as
being rather nice because it was naive and untarnished.
was a whole period around the Christmas of 1968 where we'd done From Genesis
To Revelation, it hadn't yet been butchered in the mixing.
I remember there was a piano thing of Tony's in C minor, which was
lovely, and A Winter Flies By was a guitar based thing with a second section
that was Tony's. We kicked it off
with acoustic guitar going into piano. It's
important to stress that because these pieces weren't done to death that they
probably stick in my memory more. The
whole problem with the road was that the songs were done to death because we
didn't have enough time to rehearse new things given the complexity of the
music to keep it fresh. So there
was endless repetition and it was a bit like an orchestra going out and playing
the New World Symphony every night. There's
no variation and I was about the only one that had any variation on the road
with the solo in The Knife.
If he were to put together the ideal band to do a 'rock/pop' album, who would he want to use?
the group were a band to play my music and my type of music, my line-up would
Rutherford (bass, acoustic guitar)
Collins (drums, backing vocals)
a band to play with, perhaps as a guitarist but not a writer and covering
different styles? There are so many options! Let's try:
And if he could produce an album in any style he likes, whom would he like to work with?
I was going to do some songs and I wanted to have a great singer then obviously
it would be fabulous to work with Peter again.
It would be fabulous to work with Phil again as well.
On the classical side you could hand-pick some of the best classical
musicians if I was going to do another Slow Dance-type album and you could have
someone like Yo Yo Ma playing some of the cello parts, which would be
And if somebody
put together an Anthony Phillips tribute album, who would he like to see play
impossible to answer really. I
imagine the person most qualified to do the guitar area would be Mike.
I think I'd be enormously flattered if any decent musician who is well
known were to do it.
Which is his favorite album of his own music?
Slow Dance. The Geese & The
Ghost holds a strong affection because it's with Mike but the trouble is that
there was quite a lot of grief associated with the album and it's difficult
for me to listen to it without remembering how I had to cut corners with it. Slow Dance despite being imperfect had a lot of feeling and
energy invested into it and it seems to touch people with quite different
What sort of music does he enjoy listening to today and are there any current artists he rates?
been pretty much out of the Ant-loop for the past few years so I don't have any
questions about his most recent output. I'd be curious to learn, though, what
music he's been listening to lately, and perhaps what books he's been
listen mainly to classical music and film composers, being much more involved in
the TV and potential film music world. So
it's people like Morricone and George Fenton who I listed to and am incredibly
in awe of. As far as rock is
concerned, I buy odd albums here and there or get bought albums - Dido's
album was quite nice and I think Nora Jones is quite classy.
Not all of it is necessarily my kind of music but the feel of it and the
sound of her voice are absolutely exquisite.
When I'm not doing music myself I quite like to get away from it and
therefore I don't listen to a lot is the truth of it.
far as books go, I do tend to read a mixture of the new and the old.
I go from modern people like Sebastian Faulks and Louis De Bernieres and
then feel guilty having not read any of the classics and go back to books like
Catcher In The Rye and The Great Gatsby. Nearly
always I tend to think that the old writers are better.
I don't normally like to spend any time re-reading old things but
I've done something quite out of character in the last nine months and have
had a complete blitz on re-reading books that I first read at school.
I've always had an image of the Virginia Wolf books, which I had to do
for A-level, and hated to start with but as I got into them I loved them. There's some fantastic imagery and it's a real feast for
the senses. I then read Hound of
the Baskervilles and have subsequently started reading all the Sherlock Holmes
stories and found them to be absolutely excellent. I have a huge pile of new novels to start reading as well.
did read a book about a year ago which was very good about the recording of Are
You Experienced? I found that
absolutely fascinating. Being at
school at the time I didn't know how that album was put together and it turned
out that they did something at CBS with Mike Ross who was the guy that mastered
If Genesis hadn't happened and a musical related career hadn't presented itself, what does Ant think he would have liked to have done instead?
I would have
definitely gone to University and done a History or English degree, which I
would have loved to do. Whether or
not that would have led to a career, I really don't know.
That's a hard one to answer.
a big fan of the Mellotron, so I was wondering if you still own a working
Mellotron, and what is your overall impression of that instrument?
think at the time it was great, I think the sounds are still great.
The flutes and the chilling strings are lovely but as you have to take
your fingers off the keys every eight seconds it's quite impractical.
I do have a Mellotron, which I got in 1977.
It originally belonged to James Newton-Howard, another brilliant film
composer who used to play with Elton John.
It doesn't work properly, the keys don't all work correctly and at
one stage the transformer went up in flames!
It has been fixed but I don't really use it.
any given day, how much time do you spend either composing music or playing
guitar or keyboards?
so unpredictable, I don't have any fixed time or pattern.
When there's a lot of pressure on, I might spend 10-12 hours in the
studio, which would be a mixture of composing and playing.
A full day spent working on the next Private Parts & Pieces album
might add up to 4 or 5 hours but not much more than that and I do have to space
it out as well.
we totally understand about how stage fright affects you and also the fact that
you are far too busy with television and library projects to even consider
touring, lots of us would nonetheless really love the chance to experience you
playing your music live IN SOME FORM. That said, would you ever consider doing a
video-taped "concert" along with one or two other collaborators such
as Guillermo Cazenave, Joji Hirota, and/or ...?
thinking along the lines of a video version of "The Living Room
Concert." The results could potentially be made available from either your
website, the Camino Records website, or the official Genesis site.
theory yes. However, what we keep
coming back to with this is that a lot of this music is not simple and the time
it would take to rehearse it up to a level which people would expect would be a
lot. Given that this is not my main
form of music and living, and the other stuff is pretty constant and pretty
demanding it would be pretty hard to find the time to do it.
Certainly booking other people would be very difficult because I
wouldn't be sure whether I could sustain the whole process.
Besides which I would have to pay the other people as well.
I'm afraid the sad truth is that if my CDs were to sell a lot more it
would make it easier to at least contemplate this whereas at the moment with it
being relatively modest I have to grab every bit of TV work that's going and
that precludes spending massive amounts of time on other things.
goes without saying that I have massive reservations about the playing side.
I know that people enjoy the pieces on the albums but I get very bored
with the repetition of practicing and I do find it very tedious.
I love creating and just the thought of having to practice old pieces for
hours on end fills me with dread to be honest.
Having said that, this is something that I'd like to do and I will do
at some stage because a video is a "halfway house" option.
I'd have to do really simple things with other people because we
couldn't budget if there was a big involvement with others.
It would be nice to have a band of people like Quique, Joji and Martin
Robertson but all of them are doing other things which complicates things.
We'll see - it's nice to be asked about this and it's something I
would like to do but at the same time I do worry that people would expect a lot
which in turn would require a lot of time.
you find your muse bestowing inspiration at some moment when you happen to
(rather inconveniently) not be in the vicinity of any musical instruments, how
would you go about capturing the inspiration? I guess what I mean is do you have
any sort of personal notation system that you resort to for such occasions?
I seem to recall that "Sistine" was "a flash of
inspiration while visiting the Sistine Chapel (real) scribbled on someone's
calling card," or something to that effect.
two ways of approaching this. I
have got a diary that has some musical staves so with that you can jot down an
idea. If I haven't got that to
hand then what I do is that I write down the rhythm of the notes and write in
the name of the note on top. If
I've got nothing to write on then it gets more complicated but I try and
picture a rhythm and where the notes fall in the bar.
you preferred model of 12-string acoustic at the moment, and what string gauges
do you use, if it's not a trade secret?
is difficult to play so I tend to use light strings.
In some of the very low tunings I might use medium.
I'm very lucky, I've got four 12-strings and I love them all;
they're all different. I've got
the old Alvarez, which I used on Twelve, a Guild and a Brook.
The best one is probably the L'Arrivee.
Anthony. I am Andreas from Germany and I play 12-string and classic guitar. I
read that apart from the existing book from Weinberger there won't be any more
scores released in the future. Would it be possible that you give hints about
tunings and little snippets about finger positions etc. on the official web
site? I'm especially interested in the earlier 12-string material from PP&P
I and The Geese & The Ghost. Managed myself to play a decent, but incomplete
version of Flamingo. Thanks.
think if a few people are interested in a particular track then we could do
something like this although we'd need some feedback on which specific tracks
there is the most interest in as again it would be too time consuming to do more
than a limited number.
there be more sheets of music available in the future besides the only available
little guitar-book? It could be either guitar, piano or songbook. I would be
not enough people are interested for a publisher to think it viable at the
moment so this would something that we would have to do ourselves.
Hopefully in the fullness of time we will able to do this.
there a chance to see a brilliant full-blown instrumental work as "Tarka"
or "Slow dance" released in the near future (rather than just small
piano or guitar pieces)?
the moment it's difficult for me to get a sustained period of time away from
the TV and Library music to embark on anything like this.
I do want to do another project along these lines in the future.
say hi to Ant from an ex-Clapham Commoner now living in Duluth, MN. I have a few
questions, so if you need more just ask. So after whittling it down a bit here
is the one...
there any chance of seeing an official release of the Masquerade and/or Alice
musical demos in the foreseeable future? I have heard most of these and I feel
they deserve a release (at least the best bits). Martin Dean
do know that people are interested in these tracks and a release of them is
something we'd like to do in the fullness of time.
There are however some contractual and technical issues that need to be
addressed with the recordings before they could be released.
I'd like to know, honestly, how Ant ranks Smallcreep's Day within the Mike
Rutherford solo catalog. Since he played on it, he must have some opinion.
Did he like it at the time, does he now, etc.? Does he hear any bits from
the Smallcreep sessions in Genesis' work from the same period?
think it's safe to say that many older fans consider Smallcreep to be one of
Mike's finest hours, if not his very best work. That's my view anyway
(don't mention that until he's answered, though). Has he (Ant) read the
I haven't read the book. I do
remember some of the songs - some I liked quite a lot, some I thought were
fabulous, like At The End of The Day. I
was aware without knowing the Genesis catalogue from the Seventies that
intimately that some of things I was going to be playing would sound quite like
the group. As far as how it ranks with Mike's other albums, I don't
know all of them. My feeling is
that it was more Genesis-like and once you've got Chris Neil on board then you
have a much more commercial approach. I
guess it's down to personal taste and whether you like the more commercial
Genesis material or not.