JP On Gaming

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Under the Influence Day 24: A Trick of the Tail by Genesis

As a teen, I listened almost exclusively to Rush (as you can see by the other entries in my list of influence). However, there is another band - one I would discover later - that made an enormous impact on me. That band is Genesis.

No, I am not talking of the more pop-later years (which I enjoy in smaller doses). No I am talking of the era that stretches from the "Trespass" album in 1970 to the "Wind and Wuthering" album in 1977.

A golden age of awesome that is often referred to as "when they were great." Statement with which I agree, but it demeans some of the good - yet different material they would put out later.

One of the albums of that time period is "Trick of the Tail." This album was remarkable for the band: it was the first album post Peter Gabriel and it marked the transition of Phil Collins from being the drummer to the frontman. (Phil would keep on drumming on the albums but had a replacement during live shows).

Why is this album influencial, you ask?

I must say that I debated putting Trick of the Tail or its brother, Wind and Wuthering on the list. In the end, I chose "Trick" because I much prefer its sound, though "Wind" may be more meaningful to me.

I first heard songs from the album - "Squonk" and "Ripples" on a mixed tape my buddy Francois did for me. The tape was his intention to have me "discover" Genesis. That tape died in my car from over use years later.

I received my copy "Trick" for Christmas in 1992 from my girlfriend of the time. When I put the album on, the album transported me away. The tongue in cheek humor with this old feel that early Genesis has is all there. Phil's voice is light and fresh. The short songs brings in moods and feels where one could assume form a story (there is no story overall that I know).

This slow mood - for "Trick" is not a fast album. Is something I particularly enjoy while playing. This album - perhaps more than any other before thought me that hard rock and a fast tempo were not the only moods to convey emergency or the threat of danger. It is something very hard to define clearly how you can set a given mood yet convey completely different ideas through that. The songs also contained a fair bit of humor that lightened the mood of a number of them.

I wrote a number of adventures based on that album: Two adventures I wrote for Tusmit in Living Greyhawk were directly inspired by this album. "Dance on a Volcano" and its looser sequel "In Umbra Draconis" both take directly from the song "Dance on a volcano." In fact, the encounter headers for In Umbra Draconis are taken directly from the lyrics.

Back in 2009-10 I worked on a world that has since fallen apart (Akos) and never saw publication. Two of the major feel for the region I had developed were strongly influenced by this album, namely from the songs "Ripples" (dealing with ageing and dying) and "Entangled" (dealing with getting stuck in a bad situation and making things worse).

My part of Akos may see the light of day... eventually so all of that is not lost to the world!


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