Fans of the band Genesis have something to be excited about this year, and it’s not the band’s official “R-Kive” box set and flawed documentary! Author and photographer Armando Gallo just released an iPad app titled Genesis – I Know What I Like that brings to life his landmark 1980 publication of the same name. Gallo and his team have fashioned a beautiful alternative to the long out of print book that presents revised text, dozens of interviews, rare audio recordings, film clips and beautiful photos of the group on stage and off. It’s loaded with features and represents a definitive account of this progressive rock band and their early years. This app comes highly recommended to all fans of Genesis and those interested in rock journalism.
Gallo’s original book was Genesis: The Evolution of a Rock Band published by Sidgwick and Jackson in the UK in 1978. This was expanded and improved with the release of I Know What I Like, by DIY Books, Inc. (1980), which added to the timeline, and contained the definitive account of Genesis up to that year. The book captured their history, recordings, astrological charts (!) and most importantly their stunning live performances, following the story from their inception through the 1970’s. Armando was the perfect biographer for the band as he had collected more than a hundred hours of interviews with the musicians, their families, friends, and collaborators, pairing this with his own exceptional photography.
Because Genesis was such a theatrical, visually stunning band in concert, the real treat of these books were the photos. The DIY release came on better paper stock, and contained perfectly rendered full color shots of the band together and apart. For more than two decades, prior to the emergence of internet fan groups, besides a couple of very low quality films from 1973 and 1976 these books were the only way to access quality imagery of the band in concert. Those of us who loved the group, and particularly those who missed the early years relished these images. The photos featured Peter Gabriel’s increasingly elaborate costumes and set pieces, from the fox head mask (with wife Jill’s red dress) to the old man of “The Musical Box”, the Apocalypse from “Supper’s Ready”, “Watcher of the Skies” and finally Gabriel as Rael from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. These were followed by gorgeous shots of the band as fronted by Phil Collins, after Peter’s departure, from the Trick of the Tail through And Then There Were Three albums and tours. This included perfectly composed shots showing guitarist Steve Hackett, bass/rhythm guitarist Michael Rutherford, and keyboard genius Tony Banks along with all of the fantastic staging and lighting from the shows. The book also covered the early solo careers of each band member, ending with a hopeful quote from Gabriel about what became an abandoned project to turn The Lamb… into a movie.
Gallo’s iPad app transforms this two-dimensional print experience into a new interactive journey. Using a software platform originally designed to create children’s books, the story is brought to life by including recordings of some of those actual interviews, short video clips, and additional color photos. Genesis songs play in the background. Anthony Phillips, Steve Hackett and Daryl Struemer supplied original songs and more than a dozen musicians from all over the world supplied original music. These musicians are fans from Australia, South America and Europe, who were inspired by Genesis to go professional. Visually, there is a most impressive ability to manipulate photos as they appear on the page. Readers can grab shots, move them across the window, resize and return them to the margins. Some free features included in the app are the ability to “pose” with members of the band for new snapshots, and grab and use prints as wallpaper. A modestly priced in-app purchase unlocks the entire book and many additional features, including a “lightbox” of Gallo’s slides. These are some of the most entertaining features of the app and are well worth the fee – go for it!
Armando himself introduces the app with a bit of background, ending with the heartfelt coda, “I hope that this app will push the legacy of Genesis music into the future for a new generation to love and discover…welcome to the wonderful world of Genesis”. Download the app, unlock the entire book and extra features and experience that world with Armando Gallo…you will like what you know!