Richard McPhail - My Book Of Genesis book review

Not quite the untold story of Genesis from their former manager

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“This album is dedicated to Richard Macphail who left April 1973,” reads a photo caption inside Genesis Live. Despite intimations of his demise, Richard Macphail is alive and well, and here recalls his time as tour manager to Genesis and Peter Gabriel. Macphail first met Banks, Gabriel, and Rutherford at Charterhouse School and, having maintained lifelong friendships with his subjects, his biog is short on lurid details of rock excess, although it’s questionable whether Genesis were ever the band to provide any. Instead there’s a portrait of a thoroughly nice group of middle class boys navigating the nascent world of prog rock. Macphail’s own life includes a checklist of late-60s, early-70s experiences typical of a well-heeled youth exploring New Age spiritualism, including volunteering on a kibbutz, organic communes, squats, open relationships and pot use. The conversational prose makes for an easy read, although the observations of the band’s rise to fame and Gabriel’s departure shed little new light. The most revealing chapters cover life at Charterhouse, a fine example of the institutionalised emotional trauma of boarding school. Small wonder Macphail wanted to tune in and drop out after that.