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Sitting on the roof terrace of The Benjamin, a plush boutique hotel in New York’s Midtown district, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins are contemplating the differences between Peter Gabriel-era Genesis and the band’s later incarnation. “The awkward join,” says Collins. “Can you see the join?”
It is 2014, and Rutherford and Collins are here to promote a new career-spanning box set, R-Kive. They make an odd couple: Rutherford, the reserved, urbane Old Carthusian; Collins, cheery and chatty despite the physical discomfort caused by complications from a back operation.
“Who’s to say?” Collins shrugs. “I think you said that there’s traces of the early band in the next three or four albums after. I talked myself into believing that there is a big difference. But if you think about things like ‘Home By The Sea’ or ‘Tonight, Tonight, Tonight’, where there are time shifts and mood shifts, would Peter have maybe instead of having the gory costumes, maybe he would have learnt to do more by insinuation and therefore done less. It wouldn’t have necessarily gone to ridiculous lengths as The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.”
So was a massive pop album; for a while, there wasn’t much distance between Genesis and Gabriel.