The Catastrophic Year Of Genesis, According To Phil Collins
One might list various elements that make an act successful. Some of these factors could be achieving creative harmony, respecting each other’s opinions, or preserving the interpersonal relationships between bandmates. Yet, most of the time, the audience might fail to sense the presence of another important element; the band’s manager.
Managers significantly impact a band’s career for numerous reasons. They organize and schedule tours, arrange record deals with label companies, and look out for the band in general. The band’s commercial success also depends on the manager’s networking abilities. So, finding a good manager is often considered one of the necessary elements to climb the ladder of fame.
Peter Grant, for instance, went to great lengths to secure Led Zeppelin’s performances, while Guns N’ Roses needed Alan Niven to secure a great deal with an established label company. Yet, not every manager was as talented as Grant or Niven, and poor management would cause massive trouble for Genesis.
What Troubles Did Genesis Face Because Of Their Manager?
The band had been touring worldwide in the early ’70s, and their finances quickly spiraled out of control due to excessive spending. Their road manager did not keep a record of the costs, and Genesis didn’t know they were in outstanding debt since they had no receipts for the tour’s spending.
Even though Genesis’ road manager during this catastrophic period was not named, it is known that the band hired promoter Tony Smith to recover from this crisis. In 1973 it was reported that the band had a debt of £150,000 due to poor management, which is now equivalent to approximately £2 million.
The report stated the following:
“Genesis had made little effort to organize their finances and were £150,000 in debt. They hired promoter Tony Smith as their new manager to improve their fortunes.”
Drummer Phil Collins recalled that period during an interview with Fox Business in 2016. The musician revealed that Genesis thought they were doing alright financially at the time, but the reality was far from that. Putting on shows was expensive, and the tour production cost them a lot. He called that period ‘disastrous‘ as their road manager wasn’t attentive to his duty and didn’t keep any financial records.
The cult act’s luck turned around when Tony Smith came into the picture and suggested that Genesis needed his help or they would probably end up in prison. Ultimately, the manager helped them with their finances, improved their publishing rights, and probably saved both the band’s and the members’ futures.
Phil Collins recalled the ‘catastrophic’ period:
“Genesis lost money. Like probably a few other bands of that era, we were looking as if we were doing very, very well but spending an awful lot on the production. It took a lot of money to get the Genesis machine rolling; the physical shows were expensive to put on.
And we had the one catastrophic year in the early ’70s when our road manager, who was supposed to keep all the receipts, didn’t keep anything, so we owed all this money back since we had no proof that we’d spent it. That’s when Tony Smith, who has been our manager ever since, said, ‘Someone’s got to take care of you guys because you’re going to end up in prison or something.'”
Clearly, the Genesis members weren’t aware of their crippling debt and focused on their performances as they assumed their manager would take care of such issues. They trusted their former road manager to keep tabs on them, but he failed them. Yet, with Tony Smith, Genesis was able to continue their journey with the help of an attentive manager. Their collaboration established Genesis’ future commercial success.