Genesis tribute band The Musical Box’ take on ‘The Lamb,’ and this writer returns to “New Times”
May 1, 2012
If the lack of music coverage on this blog about music and film has seemed apparent, that is because I have returned to freelancing at the two South Florida-based “New Times” publications. They pay, but they have exclusive control. They are also print, which still matters to many musicians, labels and venues, so I did get some good “gets,” the first being a phone conversation with the singer of the official Genesis cover band, the Musical Box, who are based in Montreal, Canada.
Though the mere mention of the name Genesis makes many flashback to Phil Collins and hits like “Invisible Touch,” to this writer, the true Genesis existed within the progressive rock scene of the early seventies with Peter Gabriel as theatrical frontman. The Musical Box specialize in that era of the band. Speaking to the band’s singer, Denis Gagné, it immediately became apparent that he too shares a special nostalgia for the early Gabriel-era Genesis. I spoke to Gagné ahead of the band’s South Florida debut to perform the band’s 1974 double album the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, scheduled for tomorrow.
As the Musical Box is the only Genesis tribute band officially sanctioned by Genesis, they were granted amazing access to the original Master tapes of the Lamb. “Me and Sébastien [Lamothe, the band's co-founder] sat down at the Farm studio, at the board and played with the tracks,” said Gagné with a laugh. “So every texture that we were wondering, ‘What is going on here? we could hear, actually.”
It is a dense album both thematically and musically*. Even for Gagné, a long-time Genesis fan since the age of 10, in the late seventies, the Lamb, revealed more of its power as he grew more familiar with the music. “It’s a masterpiece. A lot of the songs that I used not to like … I’m a big fan of now, since we play them on stage … like ‘Back in New York City’ I used to not be a fan of because I used to think, ‘I can’t sing that. He’s screaming.’ For a singer, it’s not something you look forward to,” he said and laughed. “But then, when we played the song together, it’s such a strong riff and the whole feeling is really, really awesome. It changed my whole perspective of the song. It’s one of the songs I love to play and that I love to listen to, which was not the case when I was younger.”
Gagné said his band tries to do justice to Genesis as they performed the album back in the mid-seventies. They looked at photos and video clips, like the one below, which features part of “Back in NYC,” filmed in Bern, Switzerland in 1975:
Tickets are still available for the show. You can read more of my interview with Gagné in the original preview piece for the “Broward/Palm Beach New Times” by clicking on the publication’s logo here:
The article covers the significance of this era of Genesis and also what the Lamb is superficially about with some more quotes from Gagné. They also published a retrospective piece I wrote on the ever-changing look of Gabriel from song-to-song during his productive if underrated years in Genesis.There are many pictures and video clips, click on Gabriel’s mug below to jump to that article, entitled “Nicki Minaj of Prog: The Many Faces of Peter Gabriel’s Genesis Years”:
Edit: The “Broward/Palm Beach New Times” posted my review of the show here (disappointed no photog was there). Read it here.
*In the not too distant future I plan to write an appreciation to the subtleties of the album, so follow this blog for the appearance of that in the next few days.