What’s your attitude to money?
Several times in my life I’ve had money and lost it, and reinvested it. Money is something that comes and goes and is a means to an end.
Did it change when you became successful?
Once I started to make money, yes. One thing I started to get into in the seventies is ActionAid, the charity that was giving kids around the world a chance to get a bit of education. But I haven’t given up a career to feed the starving. I’m not a saint.
Were you minted in Genesis?
No. I didn’t start making any money until I started doing my solo work. Here’s an example. Having done a year’s work of promoting The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway in 1974-75, we owed a quarter-of-a-million quid. That’s not the reason I started doing solo work, it was because I had ideas I wanted to express.
You underwent a huge financial and personal crisis about five years ago.
I went through a divorce, and there’s a gagging order so I can’t discuss the details. I’m very pleased that I divorced, because it left me free to work, but there was a certain price for that. I nearly had to sell my dream guitar at some point, my Les Paul.
What was your biggest extravagance?
The very Les Paul I was talking about. A 1957 Gold Top, costing all of eight-hundred dollars in 1973.
What’s the best use for your earnings now?
I’ve got two places – one where I live and another that’s a place to work – and I’m trying to save up to centralise them. That could be anywhere in the world. But as a musician you should be on the move, taking your music to the people.
If you could advise the eighteen-year-old you, what would you say?
Do it all again, but be a tad more careful.