Mario Giammetti

Anthony Phillips - The Exile

Edizioni Segno.
344 pagine, 20 euro

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In spite of what some people think, Anthony Phillips was not just the guitarist on the first two Genesis records. He was one of the four founding members. He was one of the songwriters. He was even (unpopular, but hardly disputable idea) the leader of Genesis in the Trespass days, when they grew from a hopeless pop band to progenitors of acoustic progressive rock. And even though today this might seem incredible, nobody in that phase (Gabriel and Banks included) could compete with Anthony's power in terms of composition and determination. Like his old peers always acknowledged, admitting that Ant's split was the only one that really brought the band close to an end.
The first one to slip away from the old times tag, anyway, is Ant himself, not wanting his career to be associated with the ones of his old bandmates, who went on to become millionaire rockstars, famous all over the world, while he remained a sort of a craftsman, if not a kind of employee in library music and soundtracks for TV (fields where he is well respected and also very successful, though).
It is indeed a shame that only rarely Ant was given the chance to record music in the ways and styles he is most suitable for, having to adapt, for the most part of his career, to record company executives' interferences at first, and to the lack of time and the small budgets available later: with his daily commitment to the music that pays his rent, Phillips had to make less and less frequent visits to the rock and roll circus. A real man in exile, first for his decision not to play concerts, and then under restraint. But, after all, he is fine with this condition.
All of this said, what really stands out in his very long and diverse career (30 solo albums!) is a superb guitarist (pioneer of a new way of playing the 12-string instrument) and an exquisite composer. Of whom, for the very first time throughout this book, we get to see also the human side.