In the beginning there was Anon, the school group with Richard MacPhail on vocals and Mike Rutherford on guitar. In his foreword, Peter Gabriel recalls watching with admiration their Stones-like cool and energy. Rutherford went on to co-form Genesis with Gabriel and Tony Banks. MacPhail became Genesis’s roadie; “they needed me like Bertie Wooster needed Jeeves.” This is an also-ran’s tale.
It’s hardly Hammer Of The Gods, but veteran music journalist Chris Charlesworth has hammered together a highly readable account from MacPhail’s anecdotes and band interviews, particularly vivid in evoking a pre-decimal England of Hillman Imps, pompous police officers and the hideous pre-EU carnet system endured by bands touring abroad.
MacPhail left the group’s employ when he was 22, but was told by Rutherford that he was in the frame to replace Gabriel in 1975. Instead he ended up driving a minicab, then becoming an “energy consultant”, but this cheery account is free of bitterness or regret.