I was always wired to love music. As far back as I can remember, popular music just made sense to me. Not just the notes, measures, scales and melodies, but artists, albums, studios, record contracts, worldwide tours, genres, sub-genres, radio stations, airplay, Billboard, even the difference between a single and an EP. All these things came as naturally to me as breathing. Also at an early age, I was searching for something, some artist or band that I could latch onto. There were many candidates that didn’t really stick: the Beach Boys, Petra, Neil Diamond, New Kids On the Block (cut me some slack – I was in 3rd grade and had a big sister). However, all of that crystallized when I discovered Genesis.

As can be expected, the smallest part of the credit for that goes to me. The rest of it goes to my dad and radio, but also to my friend Seth. When we were both 11, he sat me down and made me listen to We Can’t Dance from start to finish (more on that later). That moment was when I took my first step into a larger world, like in Star Wars when Luke deflects the shots from the remote with the shield of his helmet down. Not quite a spiritual awakening, but close.

From then on, Genesis was the only band in the world. Or rather, they were the only band that mattered. Lots of people have similar obsessions; I’ve had several. But wherever my musical hyperfocus has taken me, my Genesis phase was the most intense and all-consuming. Even using the word “phase” cheapens its importance and makes it seem to shrink. For about 3 years, when I wasn’t actually listening to Genesis, I was thinking about them. I made innumerable mixtapes that were different arrangements of Genesis songs, some based on a lyrical theme, some on musical timbre, some even on length. Every ounce of energy that wasn’t put on essential things (like school, church and things like eating and sleeping) was dedicated to Genesis. I thought about the all – the – TIME.

Amazingly, though, this entire Genesis OCD disorder was only focused on part of their career, and what a great many Genesis aficionados would consider their downhill slide. I was only interested in the 3-piece years, 1980 and onward. As far as I was concerned, that was Genesis: Phil, Tony and Mike. There were an island unto themselves. Peter Gabriel and his involvement with Genesis was a non-entity that I wasn’t even aware of yet.

Genesis’ 1978 album …And Then There Were Three

Back then, they didn’t have things like Wikipedia to tell you a band’s entire discography in a few seconds. Combine that with the fact that I was only 11 and my mind could only handle so much at a time, and you get a picture of why they’re pre-…And Then There Were Three days never registered. For a long time, my knowledge of Genesis was limited to what the record store had in stock, and I never had enough time or money to get to anything pre-1978. In fact, I bought a cassette copy of …And Then There Were Three and was so turned off by the dull and confusing cover that I only listened to it once.

By the time I was 14, my tastes had expanded to include R.E.M. and eventually Smashing Pumpkins, and I rocketed into the world of musical awareness from there. But even then, I never left my love of Genesis completely behind me. Even to this day, they’ve never stopped being one of my very favorite bands. It was quite fortunate that I discovered Genesis when I did, and also that I discovered them and not some other band. Thanks to my father’s genes, I find something I like and then sink into it as far as I can, and Genesis has an ocean of depth to sink into. I thought the water was pretty deep when I thought 5 albums was all the Genesis there was (Duke, Abacab, Genesis, Invisible Touch, and We Can’t Dance); little did I know that I was just splashing in the surf.

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