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Mike Rutherford

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Mike Rutherford Acting Very Strange album cover
1.70 | 93 ratings | 21 reviews | 4% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Acting Very Strange (4:52)
2. A Day to Remember (5:04)
3. Maxine (4:30)
4. Halfway There (4:30)
5. Who's Fooling Who (4:45)
6. Couldn't Get Arrested (4:09)
7. I Don't Wanna Know (4:36)
8. Hideaway (5:57)

Total Time 38:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Rutherford / acoustic & electric guitars, bass, keyboards, Linn electronic drums, lead & backing vocals, producer

- John Alexander / guitar
- Daryl Stuermer / guitar
- Paul Fishman / keyboards
- Peter Robinson / keyboards
- Gary Barnacle / saxophone
- Luke Tunney / trumpet
- Stuart Copeland / drums
- Peter Phipps / drums
- Martyn Ford / string arranger & conductor
- Steve Gould / backing vocals
- Noel McCalla / backing vocals
- Dale Newman / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Bill Smith with Gered Mankowitz (photo)

LP Atlantic ‎- 80015-1 (1982, US)

CD Atlantic ‎- 80015-2 (1991, US)
CD Virgin ‎- CASCD1150 (1993, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy MIKE RUTHERFORD Acting Very Strange Music

MIKE RUTHERFORD Acting Very Strange ratings distribution

(93 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(4%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(6%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (29%)
Poor. Only for completionists (43%)

MIKE RUTHERFORD Acting Very Strange reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Guillermo
2 stars This album and other albums by Mike and the Mechanics (and some from Tony Banks) show that Phil Collins`wasn`t the only member of Genesis who liked to play pop commercial music. So Collins wasn`t the only "guilty" person in Genesis for their more commercial albums ("Abacab", "Genesis", "Invisible Touch"). The best song in this album is "Hideaway", a ballad with 12 string acoustic guitars, dums, bass and a very good orchestral arrangement. This is a very good song. The other songs are pop rock, with Rutherford`s distorted guitars (Daryl Stuemer also appears in this album) as he played in the "Abacab" and "Genesis" albums. Rutherford sings in tune, but he is not a good singer. "Hideaway" is so good that one forgives Rutherford`s vocals. "Maxine" was played in the FM Radio (at least in my country) and it is also good. The rest of the songs are more or less good, average pop rock/arena rock of the eighties. Stewart Copeland plays drums, doing a good job.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Not to be taken seriously at all. Acting Very strange is merely Mike rutherford taking the piss and having a bloody good time about it too. He knows he cannot sing but that did not stop this release. If you have this approach with zero expectation settings then you will probably enjoy the album as I did. Really quite heavy in parts, very repetitive for shortish rock songs. My favourites would be ' Maxine', ' A day to remember' and ' Hideaway'
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This album has a very poor artistic value! Unlike "Abacab", this record has no reason to be qualified as a pop success. Despite the easiness of the compositions, this stuff is so hard to listen and to really catch the unconvincing airs, that you will be tempted to throw into the litter after the first listen! It is so unprofessional that it should make you laugh. We are extremely far from the "Smallcreep's day" record: actually, the album sounds a bit like "Abacab" or "Duke", except that the Genesis' soul on it is seriously diluted. The poor lead vocals does not help at all. Apart the slightly more decent "Hideaway", the rest will probably not retain your attention. Mike really tried to make some success but he failed!! All the guys play their instruments properly, featuring Stuart Copeland on drums and Daryl Stuermer on guitars, but the quality of the compositions is absolutely not there!

Rating: 1.5 star

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This is a major disappointment in any measure. Take a measure of Rotherford's previous excellent album "Smalceep's Day" this is a serious downfall. Take a measure of Genesis music - all fans would be disappointed with this. Take a measure of a music as general - not even rock music - this is not a good product at all. Despite, this album involves great musicians like Daryl Stuermer (Genesis's guitar player for concert), Stewart Copeland (of The Police) - I think this does not help. It is NOT recommended at all.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
1 stars We can't sing

Rutherford's second, and to date last solo album, was something of a disappointment. After his highly credible first album "Smallcreep's day", expectations were high that Rutherford would some up with something more akin to the earlier prog of his parent band, and thus demonstrate clearly that he was not responsible for Genesis pursuit of the King's shilling. This was especially the case in light of the way the music of Genesis was heading (this album was released between "ABACAB" in 1981, and "Genesis" 1983),

The first and probably most significant mistake that Rutherford made with this album, was to sing the lead vocals himself. This was something he would not do again, even with Mike and the Mechanics. Indeed, Rutherford since has since indicated that he does not have any ambitions to sing lead again, clearly he is all too aware of his shortcomings in that department. What makes his decision to do the singing here even more ill advised is that this is a very vocal album.

The opening (title) track is indicative of the content of the album as whole. A mediocre mid-paced pop rock song is given a cod-punk feel through the pseudo-cockney accent. Indeed, while the performances are perfunctory, and Rutherford's singing prosaic at best, it is the uniformly poor nature of the song-writing which is the real Achilles heel of this collection. Lyrics such as "There's nothing you can do, I'm still in love with you" from the most awful song on the album ("Halfway there") are decidedly unworthy of a talent such as Rutherford. Every song sounds the same too, there no variety, just the bouncy pop rock songs which thousands of bands churn out every day.

Only the final track, "Hideway" offers any sort of change at all, being a reflective ballad. To call it the best track on the album implies it has anything to compete with, which it does not. The song has a passing similarity with the vastly superior song of the same name by Creedence Clearwater Revival from their "Pendulum" album.

Even the presence of Genesis (live) guitarist Daryl Stuermer and Police drummer Stewart Copeland can't save this turkey. One star is over generous.

Review by Matti
1 stars I can't understand how I once, in the late 80's when GENESIS was my favourite band, happened to buy this LP. It must have been VERY cheap (used?) and ordered by mail. I remember I listened to it just once and - enormously amazed by its poorness - threw it into garbage bin. Not only the cover is disastrous, the music in this album is just as disastrous. Imagine Abacab without Phil Collins' vocals and Tony Banks' loonie keyboards. THAT result would still be way better than this set of lousy pop/rock songs sung by Rutherford, who simply can't sing decently. This is nothing but a bad joke. I wonder how Stewart Copeland (drummer of The Police) felt with this job. BTW the songs are as far from progressive as they can be.
Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars This album was released a year after the poor ''Abacab'' from whom you might have heard. I have rated this (non) ''Genesis'' album with one star.

To put things into perspective, you have to consider that ''Abacab'' was a masterpiece in comparison with this humiliating ''Acting Very Strange''.

Again, the title of the album is very well chosen. Our dear Mike was indeed acting very strange. These songs are absolutely awful. He improvised himself as a lead singer and the result is an enormous catastrophe.

The song writing is pitiful as well: there is nothing to be found here. No melody, no passion, no moving instrumental breaks NO NOTHING. From start to finish.

This is one of the poorest release I have ever heard (and I have heard a few thousand ones). I guess that it is not necessary to write a long & detailed review about this dreadful thing. It is a shame really. The only listenable song is the closing ballad ''Hideaway''.

To make your life healthier, I can only recommend you to NEVER, EVER listen to this record. Shame on you Mike. This is a typical zero star album. Such a sad story!

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
1 stars When I think to this album and the high number of times I've listened to it I feel guilty respect to GTR. That album, together with Yes Big Generator, Vangelis See You Later and the 80s production of Renaissance are the worst that I own in vinyl. The reason why I've listened to it so much is that I copied it onto a 90 minutes tape and on the other side there was Smallcreep's Day.

It's the auto-reverse that made me listen to it so much times.

The reason why I have bougth it are two: the excellent solo debut of Mike Rutherford and Stewart Copeland at drums and percussions. A strange mix.

Effectively it doesn't start too bad. The title track is a Genesis song on a Police rhythm. Artsy pop, nothing progressive, but quite enjoyable. Too few to say that the album is poor.

The sad moments arrive quickly: "A Day to Remember" is a song to forget. Electropop from the 80s. Mike's vocals are surprisingly good, but the song is full of the "plastic" electronic sounds typical of the epoch. The same sounds that can be found on some songs of Richard Wright's ZEE, but without the composing skill of the former Floyd.

"Maxine" is one of the lowest moments. Like Van Halen's "Jump" in a slow-motion. I know at least one person who likes this song but personally it's one that I'm used to skip.

If "Halfway There" was sung by Sting it could have been a good Police song. Nothing prog, really and the A side is gone.

The funky side of Genesis for a song that could have been on Face Value. Even if Mike tries to sing like Phil Collins it's not the same. More brasses could have saved this pop song.

"Couldn't Get Arrested" is the only song that doesn't sound like anything specific. If put between good tracks it could have been a good filler. Nothing more than this. In addition I find Mike's singing on this song particularly bad.

"I Don't Wanna Know", together with the title track is the best thing of the album. Based on 80s electronic as "A Day To Remember" is at least a sort of Genesis song

Finally a song that could have been a highlight. It seems to be coming from Smallcreep's Day side A, but the final is really too long and boring. I remember that when I have copied it inot a tape for my car stereo tape reader I have cut it out.

It's between 1 and two stars, but I have rated 1 star GTR so I have to use the same measure.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
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 effort is a typical example: 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 found out 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 anyway), 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 guitarist), 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 electronic drums), even going as far as including a lot of very Americanized 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.

Review by stefro
2 stars Whilst Rutherford's 1981 solo debut 'Smallcreep's Day' wasn't exactly a masterpiece, it did feature a handful of decent, well- written tunes, some interesting ideas and an over-arching concept - the little-read novel of the same name - that was strong enough to hold it together. Issued a couple of years later and much lighter in shade and tone, the same cannot, however, be said of 'Acting Very Strange'. The second-and-final solo effort from the original Genesis member before the formation of his blockbusting 1980's pop-rock act Mike + The Mechanics, this is essentially a straight-ahead commercial pop album designed to appeal to a mainstearm audience of housewives, pre-teenage girls and guys with no style. Prog-Rock this ain't. As a result, 'Acting Very Strange' really does struggle to justify it's place on this website, with the only explanation being the overall thoroughness of progarchives and the rule of: if you include one, you have to include the rest. And I wholeheartedly agree. Sadly, however, that means you will get occasional albums such as 'Acting Very Strange' slipping through the net. In this case, it's due to the light progressive textures found dotted throughout 'Smallcreep's Day', yet even that enjoyable record leans more towards casual pop-rock stylea than it does prog. The point being that even if you liked Rutherford's debut, you might struggle with this. However, if Mike + The Mechanics and unexceptional 1980's pop is your thing, you may just be tempted to take a look... STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2015

Latest members reviews

1 stars #29 Review I expected to go on here and just say "This album is bad, end of review" but i just can't do that, but lets start with the basics, the title of this album and cover make this look embarrasing... like, why was this even released? Who said that this was ok? Then when you know tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#2082319) | Posted by FalconBleck | Tuesday, December 4, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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 tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#571302) | Posted by 7headedchicken | Saturday, November 19, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The album 'Acting Very Strange' is a fairly enjoyable one from Mike Rutherford. Generally, Genesis solo albums are not on the same level as the Genesis albums, with the exception of Peter Gabriel, though I still prefer Genesis to his solo output. For the purposes of this site, it is probably ... (read more)

Report this review (#343559) | Posted by Brendan | Sunday, December 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This is my first try to write a review - and the first difficulty was to find "THE" Album to review. Should I take the "best" one of my collection ? or the best of the last year? the one which made me a fan to progressive rock? It' s really hard work to find the album to start in this community - s ... (read more)

Report this review (#249712) | Posted by progspotter | Tuesday, November 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I briefly considered giving this album a 5 stars simply for shock value. However, I don't think that would be quite honest because this album is, frankly, not a masterpiece. Mike's vocals are an acquired taste. It's funny to know that every member of Genesis has sang on at least one album. Pet ... (read more)

Report this review (#238648) | Posted by SonicDeath10 | Friday, September 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I'm not having a good day so I feel the need to pile on the indefensible ;-) Mike Rutherford of Genesis decided to have a go at lead vocals with Acting Very Strange. It was his second solo with the first being the very good Smallcreeps Day. Now I like some pop / rock (yes I'm a fan of most ... (read more)

Report this review (#221462) | Posted by tdfloyd | Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

1 stars A very very poor effort. Mike Rutherford isn't a singer ... why a producer doesnt tell him this evidence? Songs are ... in fact I don't hear any song in that stuff... Please, listen to "Mike and the mechanics" CDs if you're possibly interested in poppy Mike's work. ... (read more)

Report this review (#147808) | Posted by H.NOT | Sunday, October 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This album isnt that bad as most people here says, but i shurely understand what they mean, the vocals are so-so (sometimes it sounds abit like peter gabriel) but i think rutherford does a decent job at the vocals. The songs are mostly very poppy and /or soft... some good songs are here, who i ... (read more)

Report this review (#109225) | Posted by zebehnn | Sunday, January 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars If Yes had released "90125" right after "Close To The Edge", you would have been pretty freakin' disappointed, right? I mean, the progressive-pop that comprised the comeback album (90125) for Yes just wouldn't have compared to the quintessential prog album (CTTE) against which all others are m ... (read more)

Report this review (#64359) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Thursday, January 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "After recording 'Acting Very Strange' I realised my voice was crap" Mike once said about this LP. It certainly isn't a masterpiece in singing, but this still doesn't mean an album isn't worth listening to. Although the other critics here are rather disappointed, I have got to express my sy ... (read more)

Report this review (#42671) | Posted by | Saturday, August 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Like his fellow band mate Tony Banks, Mike tried his hand at singing lead vocals, and that further bogged down this album. Unlike his majestic debut, this album would prove to be a harbringer to further solo releases, in which Mike would forsake his progressive roots, find success in the "POP" worl ... (read more)

Report this review (#27205) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 31, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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