I’ve been listening to “Blood on the Rooftops” over and over again ever since I followed a Merlin Mann link about “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight” by Genesis (sorry for bringing Merlin up again – I have been checking out his site a lot and listening to the Back to Work Podcast – so it’s been coming up) and I stumbled on this song again. Like a lot of Genesis songs it’s a little silly to worry about what “Blood on the Rooftops” is actually about, but like a lot of Genesis songs, it makes me really sad, and it’s a melancholy masterpiece, and I love it.
Peter Gabriel is great. He really is. I love his solo albums. Carpet Crawlers is such a great song, especially when Phil kicks in, it’s like two talented brothers making genius music – but I have to be honest about something. This is very American Psycho, I know, but here goes: Phil Collins Genesis songs just wind up being more powerful to me. EARLY Phil Collins Genesis, not Invisible Touch Genesis. Trick of the Tail and Wind and the Wuthering Genesis. I don’t think songs from Supper’s Ready or The Knife are in the same realm as “Ripples” or “Blood on the Rooftops”. Those are just great songs to me. I know sometimes Phil gets cheesy. He really does. “Robbery, Assault and Battery” is a dumb song. Catchy, but dumb. I totally agree. But I don’t get all the backlash now. Poor Mr. Collins is holed up pouring over relics of the Alamo and he’s convinced we all hate him now. I can’t speak for anyone else, but it breaks my heart a little. I’m being serious here, I feel bad for him, and I feel bad for us. Because I think we are pretending we didn’t love “Mama” and “Illegal Alien” now, even though we did at the time. We can look back now and not like it, I am okay with that. Sometimes age gives perspective. I don’t like “Illegal Alien” now either. It embarrasses me – but at the time I DID LIKE IT. I admit it. It embarrasses me like a high school yearbook picture or anything else that’s dated and kind of like “What was I thinking?”. We feel like Phil manipulated us a little, but it doesn’t matter at the end of the day, because “Blood on the Rooftops” – no matter how much influence Steve Hackett had on it, is sung brilliantly and sounds great with Phil. Period.
I can’t embed a live version of it, I’d love to, but apparently, from what I’ve read – Genesis never did it live. There are videos of Steve Hackett playing it with his band, but when the vocals come in it’s just not the same. The guy has a nice voice, just not.what.I.wanted.
So this one’s interesting, it’s “Afterglow” from the same album, but it’s 1984 “Mama Tour” Genesis. I want you all to play nice with Phil right now and give him his due. I have dibs on the website leavephilalone.com by the way. So don’t even bother…
EDIT: Okay, I actually watched the video and here’s what I see:
1. Phil is wearing the suspenders. People are not going to like it if you do that. You might come off bad. -1
2. I hate the stupid double-necked guitar without and pegs on the end that Mike Rutherford is playing. He might be a problem here. -1
3. It’s 1984 – and I feel that the crowd is like maybe all coked up stock brokers with brick cell phones and I am not loving them. I have no reason for thinking this. There is actually no visible evidence. -1
I need to find a better video I think – as I might have killed my early good feelings for Phil. I still say leave him alone though – and we’re all being too hard on him. I am going to back it up with something better than this though.