Mike Rutherford

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HOW I SEE HIM
As the most non-descript member of the band by far, it's easy to overlook Mike's contributions to the group which are in fact substantial.  The underappreciation for Mike's talent mostly stems from his overly meek personality which made him almost invisible next to the much stronger ones of Tony and Phil.  Surprisingly he is actually a highly capable lyricist, albeit less imaginative than Peter and less poetic than Tony.  What's more he also writes exceptional ballads (Follow You, Follow Me, Your Own Special Way, Ripples).  However the lack of a unified and identifiable songwriting style means that unfortunately his compositions are often credited to other people in the band, e.g., Throwing it All Away is widely believed to be written by Phil Collins.  Poor Mike, I don't know how to help him and I am not sure anyone can.  We all know once you are born with a personality you are  pretty much stuck with it for the rest of your life.   
MUSICIANSHIP RANGE OF OUTPUT

Good bass player, less impressive guitarist, but an expert at making it sound good despite less than perfect techniques.  This is interesting because Mike himself was quoted as saying he considered himself a guitarist who played bass rather than the other way around, since he learned guitar first and only later taught himself bass.  

NOTE:  My thanks go out to a careful reader who corrected me and reminded me of the fact that Mike did some effective 12-string work in early Genesis (including in Supper's Ready).  Let's give credit where it's due.

Impressive productivity away from Genesis, including solo albums and collaborations with Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips.  However he is most famous to the public at large for being the principle songwriter and creative force behind Mike and the Mechanics.  The success of that band flies in the face of conventional wisdom that you can not succeed with a side project unless you are the singer.  In this aspect Tony could definitely use some advice from Mike.   

BEST TRAITS TRADEMARK STAGE MANNER
Easy-going and agreeable
Never makes offensive or hurtful remarks
Considerate for other's feelings
Swaying from side to side in a rather forgettable way.  Always seems to be in the background even when he is projected on a giant screen. 
WORST TRAITS
Bland conversationalist, rarely humorous or shocking
Doesn't seem to have much of an identity on his own
FAVORITE SOLO SONG FAVORITE SOLO ALBUM
"The Living Years" from Mike and the Mechanics (if this can count as solo) I don't own any of his solo albums or even Mike and the Mechanics albums.  However maybe someday I will give "Small Creep's Day" a try. 
FAVORITE LYRICS

The face in the water looks up,
And she shakes her head as if to say
That it's the last time you'll look like today.

Sail away, away
Ripples never come back.
Gone to the other side,
Sail away, away...

                             - from "Ripples" (1976)

FAVORITE QUOTE
I'm not too fussy, any guitar I pick up I'll play for 3 or 4 weeks and that's my favorite guitar.  I've got a roadie who deals with guitars, I'm a lost cause to him, really.

--- on his preference regarding touring gears
SLIP-OF-TONGUE
"The moment when he actually got on-stage, I felt a bit uncomfortable.  It didn't seem to go with anything."

---commenting on his first reaction when Peter Gabriel donned the fox mask and the red dress in 1973
 

 

 

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