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Anthony Phillips

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Anthony Phillips from 2017

MSJ:

I am sure a lot of people just know you for your time in Genesis, but you've done a lot more than that. Can you catch-up the readers who haven't kept up with just some highlights?

Solo album career with 30-plus albums, lots of TV work (mainly wildlife programmes), many songs and over 1,000 pieces of library music (now called "production music" - stock background music) and much more!
MSJ:

Speaking of your time with Genesis...I know it's been a long time, but what memories stand out - either good or bad - about that time?

Great at the front, painful at the end!

MSJ:

If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?

Writing perhaps?

MSJ:

Who would you see as your musical influences?

Beatles, Stones, Beach Boys, Paul Simon, Traffic, Procol Harum, Fairport Convention, Family, Love, John Mayall, King Crimson, Jim Webb, Joni Mitchell, CSN & Y, 10cc, Stephen Sondheim (and so many others). Later a whole host of classical composers and more latterly, many film composers...all my former band members!

MSJ:

What's ahead for you?

Re-issues, songs, a piano duet for a concert next year, lots of library music....always writing for that mythical new album, too!

MSJ:

I know many artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?

Filmic, light classical?
MSJ:

Are there musicians with whom you would like to play in the future?

Happy with all the buddies I co-compose with, but always loved playing/writing with Mike R. and Q.B. Garcia, so that would be grand!

MSJ:

Do you think that illegal downloading or streaming of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?

If it's illegal it can't be good can it? 

MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them or posting them online?

If it is to be commercially released, then obviously not good....

Ticket prices can be plain stupid, so have some sympathy in certain cases?  Similarly with some sporting events which are beyond the purse of the common man!

MSJ:

If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?

It's difficult because you don't know if they would gel!

Clapton (Hendrix were he here), Lyall Mays, Steve Gadd and his current bassist (so cool, so brilliant)...perhaps Steve Winwood on vocal duties and extra guitar and keyboards, too...

MSJ:

What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

CD of all the Rachmaninov Piano concerti!

MSJ:

Have you read any good books lately?

Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood...and the Robert Harris trilogy on Cicero.

MSJ:

What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

Proms last week...Bartok Piano Concerto No. 2 / Shostakovitch Symphony No. 12

MSJ:

Do you remember your first concert you attended as a fan?

The Yardbirds at Wimbledon Palais in 1965 when Clapton had just left and Jeff Beck had replaced him. "Shapes of Things"....no one had heard a "tone bender" (later "fuzz box") before!

MSJ: Have you come across any new gear recently that you love?
The Strymon Guitar Pedals!
MSJ:

Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”

Love some romantic pieces that others might find over the top!

MSJ:

What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

Too many...by the way, Sides is clearly visible in the New York record shop they go into!

MSJ:

If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

Oscar Wilde, Stravinsky, Gandhi

MSJ:

What would be on the menu?

The best, tastiest Indian food washed down with soothing ale and lovely white wine

MSJ:

Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?

Simply, "thank you" to my patient fans for putting up with the bewildering changes and chances of my bizarre artist career...nearly all the incomprehensible twists and turns dictated by the record company / market pressure.

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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