Sunday, October 23, 2005

Four T. Rex reissues coming from Rhino

Rhino Records is releasing four T. Rex reissues on November 8th: The Slider (1972), Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow (1974), Dandy In The Underworld (1977), and the collection The T. Rex Wax Co. Singles A's and B's 1972-77, which was originally released as two separate discs but will now be available as a 2-disc set. Each of the three proper album reissues will be 2-disc expanded editions, containing the complete album, bonus tracks, and a second disc containing a "work-in-progress" version of the album. The singles collection combines two compilations originally released separately; the first disc contains all 19 A-sides issued on Bolan's own T. Rex Wax Co. label, while the second disc includes all 25 B-sides in chronological order (several singles featured two B-side tracks).

The Slider is a great, bombastic classic of the glam-rock genre that definitely deserves its U.S. re-release. Zinc Alloy is a less thrilling album that catches Bolan at the beginning of his post-stardom downhill slide. Dandy In The Underworld was Bolan's final studio album before his 1977 death; it shows him regaining some of his old confidence while reaching out to the punk movement that was catching fire.

When these reissues are released, it will reduce the number of out-of-print T. Rex studio albums in the U.S., but more will still be missing. The albums that will still be unavailable domestically in America will include 1973's Tanx (our loss), 1975's Bolan's Zip Gun (no loss there; it may as well be retitled "Bolan's Low Point"), and 1976's disco-flavored Futuristic Dragon (another loss). And, of course, the first five Tyrannosaurus Rex/T. Rex albums that I reviewed on my T. Rex Reviews page will still be unavailable as well. Even though they are fairly easy to acquire as imports, it would be nice if those albums could be reissued domestically in the U.S. Is anyone from Rhino listening?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Genesis - The Platinum Collection

Speaking of Genesis...Last month, Rhino Records released a 3-CD set called The Platinum Collection, the first compilation to cover the band's entire history, containing songs from both the Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins eras. (And one song from the short-lived Ray Wilson era, as well). Also, Rhino has released a DVD called The Video Show, which contains all of the band's promo videos. These videos cover the entire post-Gabriel Genesis era, from the 1976 album Trick Of The Tail (with Steve Hackett) to the 1997 album Calling All Stations (with Ray Wilson). It even contains a 1999 remake of their 1974 song "Carpet Crawlers" featuring Gabriel.

Here is the official press release, provided by M80 Services:


• ‘GENESIS PLATINUM COLLECTION’: First hits collection spotlighting both the Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins Years
• ’GENESIS VIDEO SHOW’: Complete video collection on DVD for the first time
Plus, Mike + the Mechanics ‘Hits’ and New Album ‘Rewired’ Out September 13th on Rhino Records
New York, NY- On September 13th, Rhino Records will release the 3 CD career-spanning ‘Genesis Platinum Collection’ and ‘Genesis Video Show’ as well as a new album and a hits collection from the side project Mike + The Mechanics. ‘Genesis Platinum Collection’ is the first and only retrospective to cover both Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins eras. The four hours of music on three CDs is the most comprehensive collection to date featuring everything from earlier Gabriel-era favorites like “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” to Top 40 hits like “Hold On My Heart” and Billboard Top 10 chart smashes “Invisible Touch”. “Follow You Follow Me” and “Counting Out Time” are a few of the 24 newly remixed tracks. Favorites “I Can’t Dance”, “Tonight Tonight Tonight” and “Turn It On Again” round out the set. A twenty page booklet with liner notes by Hugh Fielder accompany the discs. Founded in the late ’60s in Surrey, England, Genesis rose out of the ashes of earlier bands formed by schoolmates Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Michael Rutherford, and Anthony Phillips (who departed after 1969’s Trespass, the album providing the final track on this stellar retrospective). Guitarist Steve Hackett soon signed on, as did drummer/vocalist Phil Collins, who’d later emerge (as would Gabriel) as a solo superstar. Following Gabriel’s 1975 departure, Genesis grew from a progressive art-rock outfit into one of the biggest arena rock acts ever, with a long string of platinum-sellers and chart smashes. Additionally, all of the Genesis promo videos will be released for the first time on DVD with ‘Genesis Video Show’. The digitally remastered videos include MTV staples “Land of Confusion”, “Invisible Touch”, and “I Can’t Dance” as well as the 1999 version of “Carpet Crawlers” featuring Gabriel. Rare BBC footage of “Paperlate” is also included. Simultaneously, Genesis bassist/guitarist Rutherford reunites with Paul Carrack for the first Mike + The Mechanics album since 1999, ‘Rewired’. ‘Rewired’ finds Mike + The Mechanics in top form with nine powerful new original songs including the driving electronic track “One Left Standing (Version A),” the sublime ballad “If I Were You,” and the adventurous title track. Re-mastered versions of Top 10 singles “The Living Years”, “Silent Running” and “All I Need Is A Miracle” are three of the 13 favorite tracks on another new disc ‘Hits’.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Reunion rumors

On my local classic rock radio station, DJs are reporting rumors of at least two band reunions. After playing a song by the Cars, the DJ mentioned that a Cars reunion was in the works. Also, on the same station, a DJ mentioned rumors of a "full-on" Genesis reunion, which would include Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett.

Hard rumors to believe, especially that second one. So I thought I'd investigate.

It turns out that a possible Cars reunion is being spearheaded by guitarist Elliott Easton. But the band's former leader Ric Ocasek -- who essentially embodied the band's persona -- has no plans to participate. (Ocasek recently released Nexterday, his first solo album in eight years). And bassist Benjamin Orr, who shared lead vocal duties with Ocasek, died in 2000 from pancreatic cancer. The Cars without Ocasek or Orr? Can't see it.

And those Genesis rumors? Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, who left the band in 1977, had this to say to the Chicago Sun-Times on October 14th:

I had the phone call recently from Genesis' manager: "Do you think you guys would like to have a meeting to talk about the future?" Let's just say that there's a move afoot to put us all together again. When that will happen, I don't know, but I think it's inevitable that something that has had such a lasting effect ... I mean, the Musical Box sold out the Royal Albert Hall in London! I don't even really know those guys [in Genesis] these days; all I can really say is that I hope we do something. I doubt that we'll write something new, but that would be a gas! Just to come in and say, "We don't have to remember anything, let's do something new, just to see what we play like these days." That would be nice, but you've got people working different ways and at very different pace. But I do think something will happen -- whether it's a recreation of the past or anything new, I don't know.

This simply sounds like speculation. I'll believe it when I see it.

If all five of those guys (Gabriel, Hackett, Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford) do get together, I will be stunned. It's hard to imagine what they would sound like together at this point, whether it's a recreation of the past or something new. It has now been 30 years since Gabriel left the band in 1975. If you contrast the 1974 Genesis album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (the last album to feature all five of those musicians) with recent works by any and all of those men, you will hear how far they have grown apart musically in the last three decades. Collins, Banks, and Rutherford apparently are on good personal terms, but how would the chemistry work with the other two? If anything does happen, it will at least be nice if the ill-fated 1997 album Calling All Stations is no longer the last work from Genesis.

This brings to mind a conversation I had with a co-worker about ten years ago. This was about 20 years after Gabriel left Genesis. We heard a Talking Heads song playing on the radio, and my co-worker said, "This is my man Peter Gabriel, ain't it?" I told him it was actually the Talking Heads. He said, "Yeah, Peter Gabriel was in the Talking Heads, right?" I told him that David Byrne was the leader of Talking Heads. Then he said, "But Peter Gabriel was in a group, wasn't he?" I replied, "Yep. He was in Genesis".

The man looked at me like I was crazy.