- - Sunday, February 22, 2015

For close to five decades, Mike Rutherford has been creating the soundtrack to your life. First as a founding member of Genesis, where he played alongside both of the band’s singers — Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins — on rock staples “I Know What I Like,” “Turn It on Again,” “Invisible Touch,” “In Too Deep” and dozens more.

Later, he was the driving force behind his namesake band, Mike and The Mechanics, which had a slew of hits including “All I Need Is a Miracle,” “Silent Running,” “Nobody’s Perfect” and “The Living Years.”

Mr. Rutherford spoke about his time in Genesis, his deeply personal memoir, “The Living Years,” and returning to play the U.S. for the first time in over a decade.

Question: Were you pleased with the Genesis documentary “Sum of the Parts”?

Answer: It wasn’t too bad. I feel that the idea behind it, showing the story of us as a band and as solo artists, was a nice idea. People nowadays say to me, “Did Phil Collins play drums?” Or “Was Peter [Gabriel] in the band?” Because they don’t quite know. They don’t recall who did what over the years.

Q: Your biography, “The Living Years,” is the first Genesis memoir. Why do you think you are the first band member to release an autobiography?

A: The writing of the book wasn’t really inspired by telling the story of Genesis, but rather by the fact that I found my father’s memoirs — his stories about his life in the Royal Navy and the two world wars. Suddenly, I was inspired.

There was this huge cultural change in England. My father’s generation fought in two world wars, and there was me with long hair, a guitar and pop music. England more than America had a huge cultural change. The book is about the band in that time, and I think in that setting it makes it more interesting.

Q: The book is very much a love letter to your father. Do you think his being a disciplined military man led to you becoming a musician?

A: Not then, I didn’t think so. But when you read the book, you realize that even though my dad and I didn’t talk very much, parents just being who they are and how they behave define who you become. My father defined me.

Q: Now that you’re older, do you find more of your father in you?

A: We all do. Our parents are more in us than we ever think.

Q: Did you tell your bandmates about the book before it came out?

A: I wish I had told Peter. I told most of the band. And I gave them each a copy last year before it came out to make sure no one panicked.

Q: Have any of them commented on it?

A: [Keyboardist] Tony Banks had a moment, because I do tease Tony a lot. Of course, in print it isn’t quite as funny. After he read the book, he gave me about a 10-minute rant. Then it was all fine. I’ve heard they all liked it.

Q: With the book, documentary and upcoming Mike and The Mechanics tour, there is a bit of looking back. Are you in a reflective mood?

A: The last year has been very reflective and quite educational. I know more about me now than I did before. I tend to not live in the past. I’ve done all that. I’m happy to move forward. The plan is to take The Mechanics, who never really toured that much, back on the road. Q: What inspired you to reactivate Mike and The Mechanics?

A: Basically, after [co-lead singer] Paul Young died in 2000, myself and [co-lead singer/keyboardist] Paul Carrack felt like it was the end of an era. We had a great time, but it didn’t feel the same anymore, so we stopped.

Then, about four years ago, I wrote some songs and thought, “These are Mechanics songs. What am I going to do?”

So I went back to the way the band started. I wrote some songs — had some guys down to sing them. An album came out and, more importantly, we did some live shows. I was blown away by how well songs like “The Living Years,” “Silent Running and “All I Need Is a Miracle” sounded on stage. And the audience liked them. So we did a bit of touring. I’ve now had the same band for three years, and it has been a lot of fun.

Q: Why isn’t Paul Carrack involved in the reunion tour?

A: We sort of rounded off our account in 2002. Happily.

Q: Rhino Records is reissuing “The Living Years” as a two-CD deluxe edition. Any plans for deluxe editions of the other albums?

A: Not at the moment. It is the right moment in time to celebrate 25 years of the “Living Years” album.

Q: What can people expect when they catch Mike and The Mechanics live?

A: It is our first time in America in years. It is a great show. Two lead singers is a big plus. It makes a difference in a lot of bands. We do our hits through the years. Then we do a few Genesis tracks. This tour we are doing “Turn It on Again” and “I Can’t Dance.” Songs that sit nicely.

Plus, we have about six new songs that we’ve nearly finished. We play them at soundcheck on the tour. And if it goes well, we’ll play one a night during the show.

Q: Any plans for a new studio album?

A: Well, we will play [the six new songs] on the tour and see how they feel. Then see what we have.

Q: What is the future of Genesis?

A: There are no plans really at the moment. But as Peter Gabriel says, “We’re all still above ground. We’re all talking.” No plans, but you never know. If I had said to you in the mid-1990s that “I’ll tour with Phil and Tony in 2007,” you’d probably have said, “I’m not sure of that.”

Things happen. You can’t see the future. There are no plans. I know Phil couldn’t drum anyway. Not properly. But who knows what the future brings? We can never say.

Mike and The Mechanics will perform at The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia, Thursday and Friday.

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