Richard Macphail: "Genesis have unique personalities, but there’s still a bond"
Prog editor Jerry Ewing meets authour Richard Macphail at the launch of his new tome, My Book Of Genesis
Most Genesis fans know Richard Macphail from the photos that appear inside 1972’s Foxtrot album and on the back sleeve of 1973’s Genesis Live. The latter, bearing the inscription ‘Dedicated to Richard Macphail, who left in 1973,’ has provided the man with one or two amusing moments in a colourful life.
“To this day I still run into fans who firmly believe that this was a discreet reference to my untimely death,” he chuckles.
For those who don’t know, Macphail was a contemporary of Messrs. Banks, Gabriel, Phillips, Rutherford and Stewart at Charterhouse school. He sang in Anon, which featured Anthony Phillips, and later Mike Rutherford. Those two eventually hooked up with Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks and Chris Stewart of the Garden Wall to form Genesis. Macphail may have quit Anon, but he did not quit on his
school mates, and after returning from a kibbutz, he instigated, thanks to his parents, the use of Christmas Cottage near Wotton in Surrey, rent free for Genesis as they developed their sound above and beyond that of their From Genesis To Revelation album.
From here, Macphail is largely ingrained in Genesis lore. He became the band’s tour manager, later doing the same for Peter Gabriel (who’s penned the book’s foreword), before heading off for a career in ecological and environmental fields. And yet the ties are still strong: he was at the 2015 Progressive Music Awards when Peter Gabriel handed his Prog God crown on to Tony Banks.
Prog met him the day of the launch of his new book, simply titled My Book Of Genesis, before we strolled down to Daunt bookshop in Holland Park for a launch party, which was also attended by Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford.
Your first book. A daunting task?
“At first, but I rather quite enjoyed the process. But then it was largely me recording my thoughts into an iPhone, taking it down to Chris Charlesworth [the former Melody Maker journalist turned book publisher] and he would get down to the business of crafting it into something readable. It took some time, partly because the pair of us could go off on tangents. If I mentioned something that he remembered he worked on back in his days as a music writer, off we’d go, chatting about it. We had a great conversation about The Who, for example. But after about two years, we had something approaching a workable manuscript.”