Genesis co-founder Mike Rutherford moves on with Mike and the Mechanics: ‘I’d rather live in the now’

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Genesis co-founder Mike Rutherford didn’t often return to moments with old band during this year’s tour with Mike and the Mechanics. In fact, over a nearly two-hour set, Rutherford included no more than three Genesis tracks.

Mike and the Mechanics began as a side project in the mid-1980s, with a series of sessions musicians and guest vocalists — including Paul Carrack and Paul Young — assembling in order to bring to life the songs of Rutherford, composer B.A. Robertson and producer Christopher Neil. The group’s self-titled 1985 debut included two Top 10 hits, “Silent Running” and “All I Need is a Miracle,” both sung by Carrack. Two years later, Mike and the Mechanics saw the single “The Living Years” top the pop charts, with Carrack again handling the lyric.

Young, however, died of a heart attack in 2000. Carrack has also since left for a solo career.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Former guitarist Steve Hackett discusses his own trip back through the musical past on the forthcoming ‘Genesis Revisited II.’]

Mike and the Mechanics has carried on with a new pair of singers in Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar. Together this summer, they performed Genesis’ “Throwing It All Away,” “Follow You, Follow Me” and “I Can’t Dance” as well as selections from throughout the Mechanics’ own lengthy discography, including “All I Need Is A Miracle” and “The Living Years.”

Rutherford, in a talk with, says that’s really as far back as he’s willing to go — despite the fact that former band members like Steve Hackett and Ray Wilson have devoted entire concerts and album projects to Genesis.

“Well, I find it kind of strange,” Rutherford says. “I know Ray does it a lot. I rather live in the “now.” I find it strange, going back and play these songs … it’s not for me. If I were Steve … I’d rather do something new.”

Rutherford also confirmed that Mike and the Mechanics’ The Living Years, a No. 13 album hit, is set for a deluxe reissue, with additional live cuts and a new version of the title track with Roachford handling lead vocals.

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Mike and the Mechanics, and Genesis. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

ONE TRACK MIND: MIKE AND THE MECHANICS, “THE LIVING YEARS” (1988): If there’s one song I am drawn to by the message alone, it’s this one. The cheesy late-eighties production and the plain melody does not bother me one bit. That’s because this song is a touching confessional coupled with a powerful message from Genesis guitarist and Mike + the Mechanics leader Mike Rutherford. There is one other thing I love about this song aside from the lyrics and that’s Paul Carrack singing those lyrics. Despite having been the voice behind so many familiar hits, including this chart topper, he’s still not the household name you’d think someone with his pipes and the skins on the wall should be. His performance here is committed, passionate and completely professional.

SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: GUITARIST STEVE HACKETT, FORMERLY OF GENESIS: Hackett, who still nurtures a lasting affinity for classical music, has leapt headlong back into prog rock — putting the finishing touches on a collaboration with Yes co-founder Chris Squire, even as he begins work on an album that will reexamine his celebrated tenure as guitarist with Genesis. Hackett went in depth on the new project with Squire, the guitarist’s celebrated tenure with Genesis, and the sweeping impact of J.S. Bach on his playing style.

GIMME FIVE: SONGS WHERE GENESIS, WELL, SUCKED: Here, we sort through the worst of the worst — and that’s all — from the Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and Ray Wilson eras of this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band. Certain things within Genesis’ established band narrative went by the wayside, though: We didn’t ding the early albums for their sometimes cloying sense of very-British whimsy, nor their later albums when they settled for by-the-numbers reproductions of Collins’ solo ballad style. We wanted to delve into things far more egregious than those run-of-the-mill annoyances … the times when they didn’t seem to have an invisible touch. Whatever that means.

ONE TRACK MIND: STEVE HACKETT ON “FIRTH OF FIFTH,” “WHEN THE HEART RULES THE MIND,” OTHERS: Hackett, who’s readying a new collaboration with Yes co-founder Chris Squire, talks about how joining Genesis spurred him to a series of memorable inventions on his instrument. And how one of these pioneering moments would one day help create a signature part of Eddie Van Halen’s high-flying solo sound. We also go inside the brief and stormy collaboration with Steve Howe in the mid-1980s called GTR, and Hackett’s genre-busting return to prog rock in 2009.

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