Live Interview: Mike + The Mechanics

Mike Rutherford previews the latest UK tour from The Mechanics, and explains why he apologised to his former Genesis bandmate Steve Hackett recently.

As we speak, the band are playing in the US for the first time in a quarter-century. Besides their own hits you’ve also got Turn It On Again and I Can’t Dance in the set-list.

We didn’t used to do Genesis songs, but I did a couple last year and these days it seems fine.

Will UK fans also get to hear them?

Yeah. They’ve got to be ones that can be made to work, and not too associated with Phil [Collins]. The way The Mechanics do them sounds great.

Last year there was a lengthy twenty-fifth anniversary tour for The Mechanics’ The Living Years album, and now you’re heading out on another 23-date UK run. That’s a lot for a band that didn’t used to play live a great deal.

The Mechanics never really toured much until we got back together [in 2010]. We’ve always suffered from the fact that everyone knows our songs but not the band, so in that sense I’m combating the perception of us being a bit faceless.

Being in your mid-sixties, it must be taxing.

I could lie and say it isn’t, but it is. Though it’s always easier when the venues are full.

Will there be a new Mechanics album?

I’ve got about half a dozen new songs and we’ve been rehearsing them in soundchecks. Hopefully we’ll start including some of them in England. It’s hard to say when the album could be released.

Is there any sign of a reawakening of Genesis?

No, there are no plans. The BBC’s documentary [Genesis: Together And Apart] was a nice thing to do, though I know it upset Steve [Hackett, guitarist, who called it a “biased account”]. And I tend to agree with him. I emailed him to say that. But it wasn’t our fault, we weren’t entirely in charge [of the editing].

But in a broader sense does he have a case for claiming to have been marginalised with regard to Genesis?

Not historically, no. Steve has always felt a little bit left out, but it’s hard… I went to school with Peter [Gabriel] and Tony [Banks], there’s a different sense of history there.

The tour ends in Portsmouth on May 10.

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  • The Mechanics are currently fronted by Andrew Roachford (of Cuddly Toy fame) and Tim Howar (Van Tramp). * With sales of more than 10 million, the album The Living Years is their biggest hit. * The band’s support act on the UK dates is Starsailor frontman James Walsh.


Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.