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MIKE RUTHERFORD

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Mike Rutherford biography
Michael RUTHERFORD was (is?) a founding member of seminal prog-rock giants GENESIS. From humble beginnings on guitar for UK schoolbands, RUTHERFORD found his niche as chief bassist and backing guitarist with GENESIS, duties he would chiefly apply from 1978 onward. In the mid 80's, he formed MIKE & The MECHANICS, featuring Paul Young and Paul Carrack on vocals. This decidedly "pop"rock outfit was a far cry from the earlier days of GENESIS, but not too dissimilar from the 80's-90's incarnation of the band. As is evidenced by RUTHERFORD's two 'solo' discs, he has the knack for fusing progressive and straight-ahead rock tunes.

"Smallcreeps Day" is half-concept album, and half singles-minded rock. The first part details the adventures of a shy worker named Smallcreep who dares to travel beyond closed factory doors into a hidden world. Musically, there are some similarities to GENESIS of the late 70's here. With the 80's, RUTHERFORD abandoned the prog trappings and released "Acting Very Strange", a hard-rocking LP that hinges on punk and new wave, given the screamed out vocals by Mike himself and the synthlines that carry several tunes.

Catchy, to be sure, and less soft-rock than his work with The MECHANICS, these solo albums are testimony to the creativity of RUTHERFORD as a chief writer for GENESIS.

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Smallcreep's DaySmallcreep's Day
Import
Virgin/EMI International 2005
Audio CD$69.99
$33.49 (used)
Acting Very StrangeActing Very Strange
Atlantic / Wea 1991
Audio CD$99.00
$40.00 (used)
SMALLCREEP'S DAY LP (VINYL ALBUM) UK CHARISMA 1980SMALLCREEP'S DAY LP (VINYL ALBUM) UK CHARISMA 1980
CHARISMA
Vinyl$7.00 (used)
ACTING VERY STRANGE 7 INCH (7ACTING VERY STRANGE 7 INCH (7" 45) UK WEA 1982
Wea
Vinyl$9.41 (used)
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MIKE RUTHERFORD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MIKE RUTHERFORD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 111 ratings
Smallcreep's Day
1980
1.63 | 57 ratings
Acting Very Strange
1982

MIKE RUTHERFORD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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MIKE RUTHERFORD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Working in Line
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Time and Time Again
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Moonshine
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Maxine
1982
2.05 | 3 ratings
Halfway There
1982
3.00 | 4 ratings
Hideaway
1983

MIKE RUTHERFORD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Halfway There by RUTHERFORD, MIKE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1982
2.05 | 3 ratings

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Halfway There
Mike Rutherford Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Some years ago (maybe more than ten years ago) I read in one of the Forums of one of the official websites of GENESIS (a band which has changed their official websites at least three times) that MIKE RUTHERFORD was planning then to re-issue again his second solo album titled "Acting Very Strange" (1982) on CD in a remastered form (being first released on CD in 1991 in the U.S. and in 1993 in the U.K.). Maybe Rutherford and /or the record labels changed that plan. Maybe Rutherford was not very happy with this album, and more particularly with his lead vocals on it, which in my opinion, are not very bad but also not very good. He and TONY BANKS were very important members in GENESIS in terms of being two of the main songwriters. Unfortunately, they are not very good lead singers and in this respect they have to depend in someone else to sing their songs in a better way. But "Acting Very Strange" (and in Banks`s case with his album titled "The Fugitive" from 1983) were both brave attempts to try to sing their own songs, but unfortunately without much success.

Both songs from this single were taken from Rutherford`s "Acting Very Strange" album, a very Pop Rock album from the eighties. In my country the song from that album which was played a lot in the radio was "Maxine", which I think that it was the best choice for a single release in those days when Pop Rock music was competing with Heavy Metal music in some FM Radio stations in my city. I never listened to "Halfway There" being played in those radio stations. But this song and "A Day to Remember" are also good for radio playing, but less important. "Halfway There" has some distorted guitars and very good drums by Stewart Copeland. "A Day to Remember" has some synthesiser playing plus a programmed drum machine.

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 Working in Line by RUTHERFORD, MIKE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1980
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Mike Rutherford Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars I think that the time that the members of GENESIS took out of the band in 1979 really was a good opportunity for them to take a rest from the band and to "re-charge their batteries" for new things to be worked as a band. I also think that it was a good time to record two solo albums by Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks, respectively, and with Phil Collins working with BRAND X for a last time. Both solo albums by Rutherford and Banks (and also later with Genesis` s "Duke" album) also were showing the first signs of a transition that many Progressive Rock bands were increasingly doing about moving their music more towards the Pop Rock market of the eighties (while still having some Progressive Rock influences in some songs). A change in decade also marked a change in musical styles for most of them. Maybe it was a thing more dictated by the record companies, the radio stations, the media, and/or by their managers , or maybe it was a move done in collaboration with some of these musicians who maybe also wanted this change to happen. In my opinion, most of their music in the eighties, despite the changes, was better than most of the music which other new Pop Rock bands of that decade were releasing then. At least for me, it was much better and interesting to listen to their music than to DURAN DURAN`s music, for example..

This single by Mike Rutherford is an example of those two musical forces which I mentioned above, but still being very Progressive Rock in style. "Working in Line" is an energetic song which has an acoustic gutiar (I don`t know if it is a 12- string guitar) being the main instrument of the song, playing a riff, with Rutherford also playing a distorted lead guitar particularly during the last part of the song. Maybe Rutherford then was becoming more confident about his role as lead guitarist and this is showed in his new sound with the use of distorted guitars, which became very characteristic from him since Genesis`s "...and then there were three.." album from 1978, but sounding increasingly more confident in his lead guitar playing with the passing of time. I think that this song was a very good choice to be released as a single in 1980, but I don`t know how much success had in the Hit Parade charts or in the radio.

The single releases also have been a good opportunity for many musicians to release songs which are not included in their albums. So, in the "B" side of this single there is a song called "Compression" which only was originally released in this single. In this case, it is a more slow song, maybe a ballad or a love song, with Mike Rutherford playing arpeggios in a distorted guitar, with very good keyboards arrangements played by Anthony Phillips. There are also bass pedals played by Rutherford. I think that in the particular case of Rutherford (who I think that he does not have a very good voice to be a lead singer) having other singers like Noel McCalla to his sing his songs was a good idea. "Compression" is a good song, maybe more influenced by Prog Rock arrangements than "Working in Line".

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 Smallcreep's Day by RUTHERFORD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.66 | 111 ratings

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Smallcreep's Day
Mike Rutherford Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This first solo album by Mike Rutherford is much better than his second solo album ("Acting Very Strange" from 1982), and it really a very Progressive Rock album with some Pop Rock influences. It was recorded during 1979, a year on which the members of Genesis took a hiatus from activities as a band, maybe to take a rest, but also due to Phil Collins`s personal problems with his marriage which he tried to resolve without success during that time and which finally ended with his first divorce. So, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks took that time out of the band to record their first solo albums that year, while Collins worked a bit with the band Brand X releasing a new album titled "Product" and also working in the studio with Peter Gabriel for Gabriel`s third solo album which was released in 1980 (plus an appearance with Gabriel as part of his band a the Reading Festival also in 1979). Both this album and Banks`solo album ("A Curious Feeling") were recorded at ABBA`s Polar Studios in Stockholm but I don`t know if both were recorded at almost the same time, but I doubt it. Banks`s solo album was released first, in October 1979, while Rutherford`s was released until January 1980. By late October of that year Genesis started rehearsing and composing new songs for their new album titled "Duke", which also was going to be recorded at Polar Studios and also was produced by David Hentschel like both solo albums. "Duke" was released in March 1980 and then Genesis toured again unitl June 1980.

For his first solo album Rutherford had some very good musicians, like drummer Simon Phillips, former Genesis member Anthony Phillips on keyboards, Noel McCalla on vocals and Morris Pert on percussion. The long suite titled "Smallcreep`s Day" is very good sounding a lot like Genesis in some parts, but my favourite part from it is the last which is titled as "At the End of the Day". Phillips is a good keyboard player playing very good keyboards atmospheres particularly during this last part of the suite. The suite is very good as a whole but a bit long (at almost 25 minutes in duration).

I prefer the rest of the songs which are shorter and more varied in styles. I can hear to some inlfuences from Camel, particularly in some arrangements and in some parts Noel McCalla`s vocals sound a bit like Chris Rainbow`s from the Alan Parsons Project and Camel. I think that McCalla is a very good singer and that Rutherford had the very good idea to have this singer for this album. McCalla`s vocals also sound a bit similar to the vocals of future lead singer of "Mike and the Mechanics", the late Paul Young.

With this solo album from Rutherford, with Banks `"A Curious Feeling" solo album, and with Genesis`s "Duke" album I can hear some of the musical transitions that the members of the band were doing from the music of the seventies to the music of the eighties: they were still retaining some of the Prog Rock influences while still incorporating new sounds and more influences from Pop Rock music. So, Rutherford`s guitar playing was moving more to the use of distorted electric guitars and guitar riffs than to the use of arpeggios which were more characteristic to the sound of Genesis`s music during the seventies. He still uses the bass pedals in several parts.

Thi is a very good solo album by Mike Rutherford. Mostly Progressive Rock in style.

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 Hideaway by RUTHERFORD, MIKE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1983
3.00 | 4 ratings

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Hideaway
Mike Rutherford Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Hideaway" is by far the best song from Mike Rutherford`s "Acting Very Strange" album, and in my opinion it is was a very good choice as a song to be released as a single.. It is a ballad with acoustic 12- string guitars, very good drums (by Stewart Copeland), a very good orchestral arrangement by Martyn Ford, and maybe a bass guitar which cannot be heard very much in the mixing. It also has a very good slide guitar solo at the end of the song. As I wrote in my review for the "Acting Very Strange" album, Rutherford is not really a very good lead singer (and himself has recognized this in some interviews), but this song is so good that one forgives his lead vocals limitations.

The B-side, a song called "Calypso", is similar to another song from that same album but titled "I Don`t Wanna Know", as it has a similar guitar riff that is played in almost all the parts of the song and almost with the same guitar effect sound. The drums sound a bit like a programmed drum machine but I could be wrong. "Calypso" only appeared as a B-side for this single.

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 Smallcreep's Day by RUTHERFORD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.66 | 111 ratings

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Smallcreep's Day
Mike Rutherford Prog Related

Review by genbanks

5 stars When I make a review I try to evaluate several things, for example, the presence of prog elements or the quality of the songwriting. I think that Mike Rutherford is without doubts a great songwritter.Him, with Tony Banks, were the main songwriters of all Genesis career, from 1968 till 1997. Of course, seems to be that Mike, when he wants, do something great, prog or pop, but not always things goes by this way. Here, he made an exceptional album, which along other soloist albums like A Courious Feeling of Banks or Wet Dream of Wright, are something iconic (IMO) of that era into the prog rock universe. The album is well balanced between a great songwriting, enough prog elements here and there and good instrumentations. The presence of Ant Phillips in the keyboards was surely one of the keys of this album, he made a great job, and the voice of the unknown Noel McCalla fits really well with muscial context. When I originally bought the LP, the suite Smallcreep's day was in the side one, and the rest of the songs in the side two, so I will review it by this order. The suite is just stunning, begining with the enigmatic and peacefull piece Between the tick and the tock, based over a keyboard motive and the voice of McCalla, to get then into the moving track Working in line, initially suported over an acoustic riff to get then into an incredible electric guitar solo, just great. Despiting a pair of filler tracks (good too), the rest of the suite includes Cats and Rats, a good one, and then two of the main highlights of the album: the instrumental Out into the daylight, based on a picking guitar pattern (in the vein of Follow you follow me or Turn it on again), and consisting mainly in a lead guitar solos. Then this great track flow into the ballad At the end of the day. This ballad, a truly prog ballad could be called something like an anthem, and here surely Phillips has much to do, cos the keyboard maitressare simply outstanding from the begining tilll the end of this marvelous song. The voice of McCalla seems to be ideal for the track, the lyrics are absolutely beautiful and melancholic, but in the last half things are even greater, with a shorter but extraordinary electric guitar motive and this keyboard ending that is something that moves me everytime I hear it.

The rest of the songs make up something great too. From the rocking Moonshine resting over this electric guitar sound that surround the album all the time, passing by the amazing ballad Time and time again, based on a piano motive and with almost poetic lyrics, or the acoustic Every road, simply a piece of art. Romani and Overnight job, are rock tracks with addictive guitar riffs.

I don't know if this is a masterpiece or not, but is something essential and almost perfect, so it has the merit for the five stars.

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 Smallcreep's Day by RUTHERFORD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.66 | 111 ratings

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Smallcreep's Day
Mike Rutherford Prog Related

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars Mike Rutherford's solo record "Smallcreep's Day" is an interesting album. It gives us music that isn't far from what Rutherford at the same time did with Genesis. And then there were three and Duke is very similar. As those records also this is released on Charisma records and I like the cover picture very much, an artistic frame with an anxious man in the middle(Hipgnosis cover). Here plays Mike Rutherford bass and guitar, Anthony Phillips(old Genesis guitarist) pleays keyboard, Simon Phillips plays drums and Morris Pert plays percussion and Noel McCalla sings.

As every lp record this has an A and a B side and that is in some ways a pitty because the first side is very good and the second isn't as interesting anymore. "Smallcreep's day" is a lovely suite with almost 25 lovely minutes. I love that track because it keeps the best of Genesis at this time, but it's perhaps more progressive. Rutherford here plays with the symphonic feeling and tells here an amazing story. I also love the vocals on this song. Noel McCalla has a bright and professional voice which I appreciate on Smallcreep's day but not so much in the other songs. "Moonshine" is also a nice song with a peciliar melody but the other songs on the B- side aren't so interesting. "Time and time again" is hardly good, "Every road" is a bit lame and "Romani" and "Overnight job" are okey songs. I see here on the Archives that the A and B sides are reversed, but I think you understand what I mean. I feel it's a pity one of the sides isn't so good as the "Smallcreep's" side. Therefore I'm not fully content.

In its best moments this record is really good prog and Mike Rutherford showed he was a true here. Almost as good as the contemporary Genesis records and much better than the later pop influenced Genesis. I also think this is a quite different prog record. The slightly inferior B-side makes this a three stars record instead of a four stars record.

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 Smallcreep's Day by RUTHERFORD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.66 | 111 ratings

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Smallcreep's Day
Mike Rutherford Prog Related

Review by sinslice

4 stars Mike Rutherford is not a virtuoso guitarist, Ant Phillips is not a famous keyboardist. McCalla is an acceptable vocalist. Simon Phillips was a young drummer when he participated here, one of the best I saw in action. With these clarifications, I can say that Smallcreep's Day is a good product.

Do not expect an overwhelming instrumental deployment. Good songs well produced and executed, with some contribution progressive, especially in the epic title track. In the first part, I rescue Every Road and Time and Time Again.

Nothing spectacular or outstanding, but good compositions performed well. No great harvest year, which is a mitigating factor. Moreover, quite daring for being 1980.

3.5 Round 4

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 Acting Very Strange by RUTHERFORD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1982
1.63 | 57 ratings

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Acting Very Strange
Mike Rutherford Prog Related

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

1 stars I´m glad that sometimes I follow my intuition and do not listen to certain albums even if they are from people I deeply admire. Mike Ruterford´s second second solo efford is a typical exemple: I loved Smallcreep´s Day dearly, one of the best prog albums at the time (ok, it had some popish tunes too, but they were also great). Yet, I felt that Acting Very Strange would not be something I´d like (maybe the ugly cover was a warning?) and stayed away from it all theses years for one reason or another. It took me over 30 years to actually get the CD to finally listen to it. And I was right all along. If Smallcrep´s Day had some similarities to Tony Bank´s A Curious Feeling of the same time, this one is also the counterpart of Banks hideous The Fugitive (also released at the period). Both are probably the worst stuff released by any current or former Genesis members ever (yes, I´m including here the entire Phill Collins solo discography!).

Some reviewers here complained a lot about Rutherford´s decision to take on the lead vocals. He may be no singer, but clearly his voice is the least of his problems here. In fact, he does it better than Banks did on that department. But the songs... my god! I always knew Rutherford was the more pop inclined member of the band (Collins was to blame, but he was always on R&B and soul music), and Your Own Special Way was proof of that quite some time before. His first solo album had its share of ballads but, boy, do you really expected those songs to be that bad here? It´s hard to believe that such terrific musicians like Darryl Stuemer (ex Jean Luc Ponty and live Genesis guitarrist), Stuart Copeland (The Police) and Peter Robinson (Brand X) are performing here. He could have hired much cheaper studio hands and the results would be pretty much the same.

The songs: undistinguished, repetitive, boring, unimaginative. Only a few nice moments, which are killed by the arrangements and repetition. The production is aimed for the typical 80´s audience (you know, those cheesy, plastic synths sound and eletronic drums), even going as far as including a lot of very americanised syrup sax solos you heard a million times before and after. Sometimes he seems to be trying to emulate his Genesis colleague Collins like on Who´s Fooling Who (very aply title!), complete with a brass arrangement, but to no avail. All could be forgiven if the tunes were good, but really, I don´t remember Rutherford releasing such weak bunch of songs anywhere else. Even his Mike + The Mechanics delivered much better stuff. The last track, Hideaway, is a little different from the rest of the techno pop stuff, and even then, it is nothing to be proud of. He was, indeed, acting very strange.

Like Banks The Fugitive, this record is nothing but a big mistake made by a great artist and should be avoided at all costs by anyone who likes music in general and prog rock in particular.

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 Smallcreep's Day by RUTHERFORD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.66 | 111 ratings

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Smallcreep's Day
Mike Rutherford Prog Related

Review by mohaveman

3 stars in the 80's many prog artists went solo and Mike Rutherford of Genesis was one. SMALLCREEP'S DAY from 1980 is a pretty mellow journey through pop tinted prog. This album always made me think of Camel and DUKE by Genesis. It is not a bad album, but also it has never left a lasting impression on me either. It is better than some of the pop crap that Phil Collins put out but nowhere near what other ex-Genesis man Peter Gabriel has done. This release is Light, harmless, and sometimes forgettable but never totally drivel. 3 stars almost to a tee. 3 stars.

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 Acting Very Strange by RUTHERFORD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1982
1.63 | 57 ratings

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Acting Very Strange
Mike Rutherford Prog Related

Review by 7headedchicken

3 stars An underrated album, but almost understandably so. Mike sings the lead vocals, and while his vocals have many strengths, they are an aquired taste. Very scratchy, and occasionally out of tune, but also very aggressive and heartfelt, and on most of the songs that is a plus. The only song that I can easily imagine being improved by someone with a more experienced voice is "Who's Fooling Who" (I'm thinking Noel McCalla, or someone of a similar timbre), but then it doesn't sound that bad with Mike singing either. His voice seems most suited to the catchy power pop of "Maxine." The only thing is, after a whole album, the vocals do wear a little thin, and it's not something I could listen to on a regular basis, but thanks to a good amount of the songs being very, very good songs, I could put to this album on somewhat of a 2nd tier medium rotation. The first two songs don't really grab my attention much, although "A Day To Remember" does have very interesting lyrics. Actually, pretty much all the lyrics on this album are very clever and intelligently written. ("Couldn't Get Arrested" is supposedly about having a diffucult time making a mark on the music industry.) Musically, the album is very upbeat and spirited, with heavy doses of energetic, trebbly distorted guitar and synths (yes, those adjectives apply to both instruments), and Stuart Copeland sounding very much like himself does a fine job drumming on this one. As for melodies, hooks, and songwriting in general, well, you can't ask for a better hook than the ones in "Halfway There" and "I Don't Wanna Know", and that inlcudes the latter's very Police-like outro refrain "I don't wanna be another fool... " I think the album slopes down a little bit at the end, with the slow ballad "Hideaway" sounding a little genericky, but Rutherford's vocals on the chorus are very touching, so that helps. Add everything up, and you have a very exotic and unexpectedly different album of energetic pop/rock with plently of great music to jump over coffee tables to.

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