FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
On this page you will find answers to some of the most regularly asked questions about Ant and his music.
Why did Phil Collins record a version of Silver Song with Ant and Mike Rutherford in 1973? Will this recording ever be released?
Where does the song title Um & Aargh come from?
Are there any scores available of Ant's music?
Will Ant ever give a live performance of his music?
Who is Vic Stench/The Vicar?
This brings a whole new meaning to the expression "frequently asked question" - Ant says that he's been asked this more times in his life than any other question, including "what is your name?"!
Ant says: For me, when the band went on the road things began to go wrong and I think I realised at that point that this just wasn't the life for me. The fact that we all lived together in the same cottage probably didn't help after a while. It was great fun in an idealistic way but actually not terribly sensible for people getting on. I just found that the pressure of the whole thing got to me after a while as we had all these gigs where agents were coming along and I thought "I'm not sure I can deal with this". The group did need a bit of space at the time when I left, somebody needed to go and it was me who went first.
Ant played his last gig with Genesis at the Sussex Hall in Haywards Heath on 18th July 1970 and this can be considered the date that he officially left the group, although he had taken the decision to leave a couple of weeks earlier. Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks have often spoken of this as being the only time that Genesis really came close to splitting up, which goes to show how important Ant was to the group during the time he was with them.
Yes - he is in touch with Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and Steve Hackett and sees them socially from time to time. Ant took part in a special photo session at Heathrow Airport in London to promote the release of the Genesis Archive 1967-75 box set in May 1998 and also attended a reunion dinner in London with all the other former and current Genesis members a few weeks later. Ant also met up with original Genesis drummer Chris Stewart when he came to London to promote the launch of one of his books. On 18th May 2006 Ant met former Genesis drummer John Mayhew for the first time in 36 years at a Genesis convention held at the Astoria Theatre in London and met him again before John sadly passed away in 2009. Most recently Ant was a guest at Steve Hackett's wedding in June 2011.
After leaving Genesis Ant decided to study music. He studied classical guitar, took piano lessons and also studied harmony and counterpoint externally at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, obtaining a Teaching Diploma in December 1973. After this he taught music at Reeds School and Peperharrow on a part-time basis up until 1978.
As well as studying, Ant also carried on writing and recording music and a summary of the main projects that Ant was involved in during this time can be found in our Biography section.
Ant says: We have collaborated on one or two television things and although I don't know what will happen, it's not impossible that we might do something together. But at the moment I can only really say that there's nothing definite planned. I'd have to go on record and say that this is something that potentially I'd enjoy although I don't know if we've moved apart over the years to make it last on any cohesive basis but I would hope that the old empathy is still there.
Ant says: Steve had been asking me for a while to play on his album but I couldn't understand why - he a very fine dedicated and versatile guitarist and myself, as much a keyboard player mainly operating a mouse ! But he was dogged and so I went to visit him armed with Guild 12-string in normal tuning - though down a tone - to listen to track, panic, go away and make watertight excuse! However, this pretty chorus came on in B flat Major - thus I was in C (hurrah, lots of ringey open strings !) - and a part flowed instantly. It helps if the music's good and you like it! I was still thinking, 'ok for starters, play me the rest and I'll go away and work on it properly', but Steve and the delightful Roger King seemed to like it fresh from the pool, as it were, and so down she went. Steve left the room and I recorded it with Roger - very relaxed. Added a harmony part - all seemed easy, as if a team of guardian angels were with me ! Back in comes Steve and all very happy, albeit with a bit of savvy jiggery-pokery from Roger. Much surprise - and huge waves of (un-shown!) relief - from my quarter !
The sun not yet being over the yardarm there was time to pootle around with
something else - unplanned, I think. So I just vamped along very loosely - but by
this time in a very relaxed manner to Sleepers. Fun, in B Minor for me but
didn't think I was really scoring given both size of track and guitar ensemble
therein. However, again the effect was pleasing to Steve - kept wondering if
he was now bored with the track and it was just the novelty of the 12
string that was seducing him.....but it appeared not! A thoroughly
enjoyable, convivial and seamlessly easy post-tea session where Bob really was
my father's brother.....
The sun not yet being over the yardarm there was time to pootle around with something else - unplanned, I think. So I just vamped along very loosely - but by this time in a very relaxed manner to Sleepers. Fun, in B Minor for me but didn't think I was really scoring given both size of track and guitar ensemble therein. However, again the effect was pleasing to Steve - kept wondering if he was now bored with the track and it was just the novelty of the 12 string that was seducing him.....but it appeared not! A thoroughly enjoyable, convivial and seamlessly easy post-tea session where Bob really was my father's brother.....
As the great seer George Bushtradamus once said, 'The future is ahead of
us'........so for any subsequent collaboration, watch this space !
As the great seer George Bushtradamus once said, 'The future is ahead of us'........so for any subsequent collaboration, watch this space !
In the summer of 1973 there was a short lull in Genesis activity whilst the band were writing Selling England By The Pound. During this time Phil Collins took the opportunity to take part in some musical projects outside Genesis - these included playing in the band Zox and the Radar Boys. Having already met Ant on several occasions, Phil was invited down to Ant's parents house in Surrey with a number of other friends to take part in the original demo recording of Take This Heart. Following on from this, the idea came up that Ant and Mike might record a couple of songs with Phil drumming and singing as a potential extra project. The three of them recorded a demo version of Silver Song which Charisma Records liked and they gave their approval for the track to be recorded properly.
In October 1973 it was arranged for the recording to take place at Island Studios in London on one free day in the busy Genesis touring schedule. Ant, Mike and Phil recorded Silver Song and another track Only Your Love during this session. The plan was that Silver Song would be released as a single with Only Your Love as the b-side. Genesis then carried on with their touring schedule until the summer of 1974 when it was anticipated that the Silver Song single would be released. To tie in with this, Phil gave an interview on BBC Radio One in June 1974 where he talked about the background to the single being recorded and a tape of the completed version of Silver Song was played at the end of the interview. Incidentally, Phil didn't record a session version of the track for Radio One as has been suggested nor did he sing along to a backing track live in the studio for this broadcast.
For reasons that remain unknown to this day the Silver Song single release never appeared. It is reasonable to suggest that Charisma Records may have felt it was too early in their career for Genesis to have breakaway projects but there was no one definite reason that Ant is aware of as to why the single was not released.
Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford kindly gave their permission for the 1973 recording of Silver Song to be released as one of the extra tracks on the double CD re-issue of The Geese & The Ghost which was released in July 2007 in Japan and in other territories in April 2008.
Where does the song title Um &
Aargh come from?
Where does the title The Geese & the Ghost come from?
Yes, Ralph IS a real person! Ant freely admits that not all of his credits
have been entirely true, but none the less he is very much alive and well. Incidentally,
readers may like to know that his name is pronounced "Raif Bernasconay".
Ant says: I think I was approached by Tony Smith who was managing Genesis as well as myself at the time to see if I would be interested in taking part and I said yes. However, before things went too far it was taken out of my hands and the Genesis management decided that I wouldn’t need to take part. I was in the middle of recording Invisible Men at the time and it was probably felt that I should concentrate on that. If I had been involved and had to chose a track to play I think I would have gone for something like Visions of Angels.
A collection of scores of some of Ant's guitar pieces (called Six Pieces For Guitar) was published by Josef Weinberger back in 1980 and this is still available from Faber Music.
These are the only scores of Ant's music that are available to buy. It is unlikely that any more scores of Ant's music (either guitar or piano) will be made available in the foreseeable future.
Ant says: I always say the same thing really, which is that it's not impossible. Practically speaking it would take an enormous amount of time to rehearse a whole set and then go out and do it and it's really not a my full-time career. My full-time career is television and library music so it would mean dropping out of that for so long that until in some sort of fanciful way to semi-retire from that to doing exactly what I wanted without any financial risk it's unlikely but not impossible.
Both of them are Ant himself. The Vicar who maintains a diary at Robert Fripp's DGM site is not Ant.