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Guitarist Daryl Stuermer shares another side of Genesis
By Andy Argyrakis
It's two hours before his Chicagoland concert and guitarist Daryl Stuermer is finishing a simple afternoon snack in Elgin Community College's modestly adorned, yet comfortable dressing room. As I enter the room and am introduced to the musician, he immediately rises from the table, shakes my hand and rather than dismissing me as just another reporter, he seems interested, almost excited to hear the questions I'm about to ask. After close to an hour of conversation, it's clear that Stuermer's proud of his past, but doesn't dwell in it, while making every effort to make quality music for his current generation of fans.
AA: What were your expectations when you started out as a musician?
DS: I didn't think that any of this would have ever happened on this level. I sort of thought as a musician I would work on weekends and during the week I would do something else. It turned out way better than I expected to be. I know very well read musicians who can read notes really well and I know really good musicians who can't read a single note. One of those is Phil Collins. He doesn't know a note of music. He just learns it by memory.
AA: What made you decide to reinterpret a bunch of Genesis songs on your new "Another Side of Genesis" album?
DS: I first started
making an album of all original music. As I went along, I got to
about my fifth song and I thought to myself that I would maybe cover someone
else's song, and I didn't even think Genesis. At first I thought
maybe Elton John or Billy Joel or
AA: How did you choose what songs to include out of the enormous Genesis catalogue?
DS: Well what I tried to do is first of all narrow it down to the years I was with the band, from 1978 to 1992. I didn't do anything prior to that because that would make things more difficult. Then I thought I at least want to play one song from each record from that era. In fact, I did a little bit more from the We Can't Dance and Invisible Touch albums. I also wanted to put on songs that people knew and were a little more familiar with.
AA: Let's flashback and talk about your audition with Genesis. Did you know you were the one or did it take some time to sink in?
DS: It just felt right when I went to audition for Genesis. I flew to New York and it was just me and Mike Rutherford. He had already auditioned about 30 guitar players and planned to audition about five more. We started playing the songs together and by the end of the four songs, Mike said 'I think that's enough. You're the one.' I wasn't sure if he was being honest with me because a lot of people say 'Hey I think you're the one,' and then later on 'sorry.' Mike and I sat down and talked for a while and we got along personally, then the next step was to get along musically.
AA: How was Genesis fairing emotionally on the last tour in 1992?
DS: We didn't know it was going to be the last tour. Phil didn't decide to leave the band in 1994 when he I was on tour with his band.
AA: I don't know how much he discussed it with you, but what was the reason for his decision?
DS: I think it came down to was a couple of things. He wanted to go on with his solo career as a pop artist, and then the vision of going on the road with a big band. There was going to be no time to do both bands. Also, maybe he wasn't having as much fun anymore. The pressure is high in Genesis, especially the fact that he was the vocalist and the main thing going on. When you do a Phil Collins tour, there's a little bit more variety of him going out to play drums and playing piano and gauging things the way he wants them. The thing with Genesis was that there had to be a consensus. It was a democracy. Genesis had a very demanding show just to sing and we were always changing the keys of songs to make them a little lower so Phil could make it through the night.
AA: What has been the greatest part of looking back on all you've accomplished?
DS: I get all this feedback from people that Genesis music has touched their lives and that they like my band now. Then they ask a lot of questions, like 'Is Genesis ever going to get back together?'
AA: So do you want to give the answer of that to me?
DS: My take on that
is funny. No one knows. I'm including the guys in the band.
I think that they would like to and I think it really comes down to what
Phil's going to do…I think Peter has the feeling that he has already done
that. As far as getting back together, everybody's guess is as good
as mine…I think it would be great to have a tour with both the older and
newer version of the bands, with Steve Hackett on guitar and [Gabriel on
vocals] for the first part. Then the newer members of the band would
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