Genesis names new singer

JOHN SAKAMOTO

, Last Updated: 5:33 PM ET

Friday, June 6, 1997

After months of official dithering, band management has finally confirmed what online users have known since last fall:

Genesis has hired a new singer to replace ex-frontman Phil Collins, and his name is Ray Wilson.

Ray who?

The Scottish-born Wilson is best known for being the voice of Stiltskin, a band that scored a No. 1 hit in the U.K. with the Nirvana-ish single, "Inside" (255K).

The song took off in England in early 1994 after being used on TV for a Levis commercial. After being rushed out in April of that year, it immediately landed in the top 5, before quickly rising to No. 1.

"We listened to hundreds of tapes, but Ray's voice really stood out," Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks says in an official statement released by the group and available on their newly launched website. "It had a quality that really moved me. His voice is thicker and harks back more to the earlier Genesis."

Adds guitarist Mike Rutherford: "When we met Ray, he seemed totally confident in his ability, which is essential when you take on a role like this."

As well as handling lead vocals on all 11 songs on the upcoming Genesis album, Calling All Stations, the 28-year-old Wilson also contributed lyrics to some of the material. That represents a step up from Wilson's tenure with Stiltskin, where Wilson had no writing involvement. (All of the songs on Stiltskin's The Mind's Eye album were credited to guitarist Peter Lawlor.)

However, Wilson did do some writing with his previous band, Guaranteed Pure, which he formed with his brother Steve in 1992. The results were eccentric, to say the least. For example, "Swing Your Bag" -- which appeared on a 1993 compilation put together by ex-Marillion frontman Fish, and titled Outpatients -- is a jazzy number that bears absolutely no resemblance to either Stiltskin or Genesis. (You can hear a short clip of the tune by clicking here (318K).)

Prior to Guaranteed Pure, Wilson worked in another short-lived band called The End.

The sole constant among Wilson's output is his chameleon-like vocal quality. He seems capable of changing the sound of his voice to fit any situation. You can hear further proof by going to the official Genesis website, where the band is offering preview clips from Calling All Stations, even though the album isn't scheduled to be in stores in Canada until Sept. 2.

On both Congo and the album's title track, Wilson bears at least a passing resemblance to original Genesis vocalist, Peter Gabriel.

(For a preliminary track list for Calling All Stations, check out Ghostland's Genesis site.)

The new lineup of the band has already booked concert dates in the U.K. for Jan. 27-Feb. 27, where they are playing arenas.

There are also rumors of a tour of North America in the fall.

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