Guitar Gallows Bio Information - Michael Rutherford
Michael John Cleote Crawford Rutherford (born 2 October 1950 in Guildford, Surrey) is an English musician. He was a founding member of Genesis, initially as a bassist and backup vocalist. In later incarnations of Genesis, he assumed the role of lead guitarist. He is one of only two constant members in Genesis (the other being keyboardist Tony Banks). He also fronts Mike + The Mechanics.
Rutherford's father, Crawford Rutherford, was a Royal Navy Captain who became a manager in industry upon his retirement from the service. Mike attended the Leas Preparatory School in Hoylake as a boarder, before moving at the age of 13 to Charterhouse School, where he founded Genesis with Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel and Anthony Phillips.
Rutherford was noted for his use of the 12-string guitar. A distinctive sound of early and classic Genesis recordings was the double acoustic twelve string playing of Rutherford intertwined with that of Anthony Phillips, and, later, Steve Hackett (additionally, keyboardist Tony Banks would occasionally throw his own 12-string into the mix). Genesis "classic" recordings often featured simultaneous 12 string guitar and Dewtron "Mister Bassman" bass pedal synthesiser playing by Rutherford. He used the famous Moog Taurus bass pedals as well. Often, bass guitar, 12-string guitar, and bass pedal playing would feature in different sections of a single song, "Supper's Ready", "Firth of Fifth", and "The Cinema Show" being good examples of this.
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He often played a double necked instrument, custom built from a separate Rickenbacker hollowbody 12-string and 4001 bass. Rickenbacker later issued double neck bass/guitar combinations with 4080/6 and 4080/12 models. However, Rutherford had the guitar in the top position rather than the 4080's stock guitar on bottom. He later had a custom Shergold double neck made with Mike requesting the body be modified so that each neck could be detached and played as a standard single neck instrument.
After the departure of guitarist Steve Hackett, Rutherford took over all guitarist roles for the band in the recording studio. On tour, he would alternate between guitar and bass on live shows with touring-only guitarist/bassist Daryl Stuermer. Stuermer would typically play all of Hackett's guitar parts and play bass on most songs from the post-Hackett era. Rutherford's style, as evidenced by studio tracks, is reminiscent of David Gilmour's style, though less obviously based in the blues. Rutherford often long, melodic tones, bending the notes into plaintive, almost vocal lines. This results in "singable" solos or the creation of sonic atmospheres rather than showy displays of technical prowess. Perhaps the finest example of this serve-the-song style is the title track to the 1981 Genesis album, Abacab.
As a rhythm guitar player and writer, Rutherford favors melodic, minimalist chords or progressions of single notes, as in Genesis songs "Follow You, Follow Me," "Turn It On," and "Invisible Touch," or "The Living Years" by Mike and the Mechanics.
Rutherford played at the Strat Pack Concert in 2004 along with Brian May, David Gilmour and Joe Walsh.
During breaks in Genesis, he recorded two solo albums, Smallcreep's Day and Acting Very Strange, and later performed in the band Mike + The Mechanics, a group he founded on one such break in 1985.
Mike + The Mechanics' biggest hits are "All I Need Is a Miracle", "Nobody's Perfect". "The Living Years", "Silent Running" and "Over My Shoulder". "The Living Years" was inspired by Rutherford's relationship with his father, who died during Genesis's Invisible Touch Tour
Rutherford also collaborated with other artists, including associates Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, on the Against All Odds soundtrack, offering the song "Making A Big Mistake".
Rutherford played mainly Rickenbacker and Shergold basses. He said (in 1979) of the early Rickenbackers he played that 'they were all borrowed from a friend. We'd borrow one, break it, then borrow another. Up until a couple of years ago, I didn't own one myself'. He also developed the idea behind the M-Series Steinberger guitar with the help of English luthier Roger Giffin and he used this extensively in the '80s and during The Invisible Touch Tour with Genesis. He also had a double-neck Status built for the Mama tour which featured a six string guitar and four string bass placed in a custom body. In the earlier years of Genesis he used to play bass pedal synthesizers, e.g. the famous Moog Taurus. Rutherford has also been onstage with various Washburn Idol models.
Through the late '70s live tours, Rutherford often used a custom built Rickenbacker double neck that combined a 12-string hollow body guitar with a 4-string bass. This iconic instrument is now on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. For the Lamb and Trick of the Tail tours, he incorporated a Rickenbacker 12-string hollow body guitar and a 6-string bass, custom-built by Microfrets, in two different double-necks. That look became a trademark of those shows.
A custom Shergold double neck was made that had modules for 4, 6 and 12 strings guitars. Rutherford would use different tunings on each song, so in Genesis early years there was a lot of tuning going on in between songs, which in turn allowed the development of Peter Gabriel's now famous stories and introductions. Today with Genesis Rutherford continues to use double-neck instruments, when the arrangements demand quick switches between bass and 12-string instruments. His current double-neck model is a Gibson 12-string guitar with a Yamaha TRB-4P bass while he prefers Eric Clapton signature model Fender Stratocasters when playing guitar on later pieces.
Rutherford is a supporter of the Countryside Alliance and has played concerts to raise funds for the organisation.