Ray Wilson spoke of the ups and downs of his brief tenure as head of Genesis, saying the experience was “like being taken to the top of Mount Everest and thrown to the ground”.
Wilson joined the veteran prog-pop band in 1996, becoming their third lead singer – after Phil Collins, who quit in March that year, and Peter Gabriel, who quit in 1975. Wilson – who attracted l attention of the group as a member of Scottish post-grunge act Stiltskin – participated in the last Genesis album, in 1997 Call all stationsand their subsequent European tour.
However, a planned US tour was canceled due to financial issues, and the band eventually disbanded – to reunite, with Collins, not Wilson, for a 2007 tour and a final trek in 2021-22.
The singer described this whirlwind race with rolling stoneagreeing with interviewer Andy Greene’s idea that by replacing two iconic singers he faced “double the pressure”.
“It’s really something,” Wilson said. “I was a huge Peter Gabriel fan, probably more than Genesis and Phil to be honest. I loved Peter Gabriel’s music, so it was really cool to do that. I mean, even when I auditioned , I had Peter Gabriel singing backing vocals in my ear from the original recordings, and I could also hear Phil singing with me, doing backing vocals and stuff, and it was a very, very surreal experience.
Explore the mixed critical and commercial response to Call all stationsWilson noted that the disc contained “some really great moments” but also included material that sounds “a bit too much like [bassist and guitarist Mike Rutherford’s other band] Mike and the mechanics, and so maybe too pop.” He added, “I feel like maybe we were in the middle of where we wanted to be and where we thought we should be.”
Wilson lamented that the touring line-up did not record a follow-up album, noting his displeasure with how the band ultimately fell apart.
“‘It would have been nice to call me and say, ‘Hey, Ray, how are you? We’ve decided not to continue,'” he explained. “It would have taken five minutes. That’s the only thing that upset me a bit. It was just the way Mike and [manager] Tony Smith took care of it. I didn’t think that was very nice. But [keyboardist] Tony Banks was the opposite. He was a real gentleman.”
The singer also answered a “fan fiction” question from Greene, who floated the idea of a tour featuring Wilson, Genesis touring guitarist Daryl Stuermer, former touring drummer Chester Thompson and even Banks, Rutherford and (possibly) former guitarist Steve Hackett.
“There’s no reason not to,” he said. “Certainly from my point of view, there is no problem. And as you say, Phil is now retired. He had a wonderful career. No one can argue with that. And there are great songs that he created, that the guys created, that people like to listen to. If I sing the songs that suit my voice, like ‘Carpet Crawlers’, that’s fine with me.”
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