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Ipswich Regent bound Mike Rutherford of Mike + The Mechanics interviewed

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 April 2015

Mike Rutherford with Andrew Roachford and vocalist Tim Howar.

Mike Rutherford with Andrew Roachford and vocalist Tim Howar.

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Rising phoenix-like from the ashes, when Mike Rutherford decided to reform the band he started as a side-line to his activities in Genesis, he had little idea they would still be around after 30 years. He talks to Event's Martin Hutchinson.

Mike and The Mechanics, at the Ipswich Regent April 21Mike and The Mechanics, at the Ipswich Regent April 21

He originally formed the band in 1984 with Paul Young, ex Sad Café, and Paul Carrack and between then and 2000 the band enjoyed hits like The Living Years, All I Need Is A Miracle and Over My Shoulder.

In 2000, Young died suddenly of a heart attack, but the band reconvened - as Mike + The Mechanics and Paul Carrack - to record the 2004 album Rewired.

“I thought the band had run it’s course,” Rutherford says. “Especially after we lost Paul Young. There was a chemistry between the three of us that really worked. Then I got involved with the Genesis reunion tour in 2007.”

After the Genesis tour, Mike carried on writing songs and the idea of bringing back The Mechanics came to the fore.

“Basically, I love to write. I was writing some songs with Chris Neil, who had written and produced for the old Mechanics, and we thought why not go back to the beginning again and find some new singers.”

The band always was a bit of a project, he adds. In the end, he has repeated the successful formula of the original band by recruiting two lead singers.

“I’m doing no more solo albums,” he affirms. “I can’t really sing and if I write a song I want a good singer for it.”

The two singers who replaced Young and Carrack were Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar.

Roachford is one of the UK’s most successful R‘n’B acts of the 1990s, having hits with Cuddly Toy and The Way That I Feel. Howar is a Canadian actor and singer who has had success in the West End in shows like Tonight’s The Night, in which he played the role of Rod Stewart.

“Andrew was recommended to me and we asked him to come down. We actually wrote some stuff on that first day. Having an R‘n’B type singer in the band works and Tim has this theatrical background which also makes him suitable for the songs that Paul used to sing.”

Joining them on stage will be Gary Wallis, who played drums in the old band as well as touring with Pink Floyd; Anthony Drennan, who has toured with both Genesis and The Corrs; and keyboard player Luke Juby.

Rutherford is really looking forward to taking his new band on the road, adding: “There’s a new energy within the band.”

It’s been some time since Mike + The Mechanics toured the UK and in the gap he had the first volume of his autobiography The Living Years published.

For this years’ tour, Rutherford promises a great evening of music.

“We’ll do most of the old hits and a couple of Andrew’s songs.”

And this time, there is something very special.

“That’s right... We’ll be playing a couple of Genesis songs that I really like, like Turn It On Again and I Can’t Dance. I’m looking forward to playing in the UK, it’s a great place to play. I have a great band here which I feel has slightly more mainstream appeal than the heavier stuff I did with Genesis.”

Having toured for years with The Mechanics for more than 30 years, he has many memories of being on the road.

“Most of the best memories involve Paul Young getting into trouble, plus as a front-man he was always great at getting the audience joining in, says Rutherford. “What drives me on is songwriting, it’s easier to write for a band and I’ve a lovely vehicle in Mike + The Mechanics.”

Mike + The Mechanics play the Ipswich Regent April 21.

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