Tony Banks (musician)

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Tony Banks (2007)

Anthony George "Tony" Banks (born March 27, 1950 in East Hoathly , Sussex , England ) is a British musician and keyboardist and co-founder of the progressive rock band Genesis .



Banks was the first child of John and Nora Banks. He has four siblings. First he played the violin , then he learned the piano and taught himself to play the guitar . In September 1963 he came to the Oration Quarter at the Charterhouse School in Godalming , where he quickly made friends with Peter Gabriel , who was also artistically inclined , which would lay the foundation for the later band Genesis. Together with drummer Chris Stewart they first founded the school band The Garden Wall , in early 1967 they teamed up with the competing school band Anon around Richard MacPhail, Anthony Phillips and Mike Rutherford .

From 1968 he studied chemistry at the University of Sussex in Brighton , but quickly switched to philosophy (logic) and physics. Since the summer of 1969 he has devoted himself to the joint band project and is a professional musician.

Genesis careers

Banks 'artistic keyboard solos - like the piano intro from Firth of Fifth and the instrumental part on The Cinema Show - had a major impact on Genesis' sound. Banks also played 12-string guitar (together with Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford) to acoustic passages in songs like The Musical Box and the beginning of Supper's Ready . Banks also occasionally took over backing vocals and sang the song The Shepherd with Peter Gabriel in 1970 , which only appeared on a Genesis album in 1998 in the anthology Archive I - 1967-1975 .

Notable Genesis pieces composed by Banks include Mad Man Moon , the complex multi-part suite One for the Vine, and the anthemic ballad Afterglow , with which the band usually ended their medleys ( potpourri's popular older Genesis pieces) during live performances .

Banks uses a "hand-over-hand" playing technique on the keyboard in several songs in order to manage quick changes between the frequently arpeggiated chords - for example in the pieces The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway , Carpet Crawlers and later in No Reply At All , on whose music video this technology can be seen briefly.

After numerous speculations about a Genesis reunion, Banks, Collins and Rutherford announced a joint world tour for 2007 at a press conference in November 2006 - just in time for the band's 40th anniversary.

Projects outside of Genesis

After Gabriel and Hackett left Genesis, Banks was the first of the three remaining band members to release a solo album. But unlike his bandmates Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins , who had significant solo successes, Banks' solo works had little success.

In 1978 he wrote with Mike Rutherford, the soundtrack to The Shout (The Shout) (directed by Jerzy Skolimowski ). In 1979 he brought out the first solo album A Curious Feeling , where he recorded all parts except drums ( Chester Thompson ) and vocals (Kim Beacon) himself. The concept album is based in part on the utopian short story Flowers for Algernon .

In 1983 he wrote the soundtrack for The Wicked Lady (German title: The wicked Lady ), which was only released on CD in 2013. On one side of the LP you can hear Banks' synthesizer demos that he recorded in his home studio, the other side contains the orchestral recordings. Also in 1983 his second solo album The Fugitive came out, on which he now also sang. Similar to Collins' Face Value album, it is based on synthesizer demos that he recorded at home, which were then expanded in the Genesis studio by Daryl Stuermer and other guest musicians.

He suffered a setback when he wrote the soundtrack for Hollywood for 2010 - The year in which we should get in touch in 1984 , but none of his suggestions were accepted and the contract went to David Shire. In 1985 he wrote the music for the science fiction film Starship (German title: Redwing - Escape from the black droids ) , supposedly without a salary . In 1986 he worked on the score for Quicksilver (with Kevin Bacon ). The music for both films was released on the LP / CD soundtracks . On the track Shortcut to Somewhere (from Quicksilver ) he worked with Fish from Marillion for the first time, to the delight of his fans . The title was also released as a single.

Another flop was the 1989 album Bank Statement , with which Banks recorded together with producer Steve Hillage and singers Alistair Gordon and Jayney Klimek .

In 1991 he brought out the album Still , which featured prominent singers Nik Kershaw , Fish , Andy Taylor and again Jayney Klimek . The song I Wanna Change the Score , sung and co-written by Nik Kershaw , has been played on the radio many times. Another highlight for fans was the complex song Another Murder of a Day , created together with Fish . Nevertheless, the album fell short of expectations.

In 1995, the last date rock album followed under the pseudonym Strictly Inc. . Banks' partner was Jack Hues, ex-singer of the pop band Wang Chung . Although the album is considered Banks' most mature work among fans - mainly because of the epic 17-minute song An Island in the Darkness - it sold just as badly as the previous albums.

In 2004 the orchestral work Seven came out, which took several years to complete. The album sold exceptionally well by classical album standards, topped the classical charts for a few weeks and was often heard on Klassik Radio in Germany .

Private life

Banks has been married to Margaret since 1972. The couple has two children. He lives in the countryside near Guildford , near Mike Rutherford and the Genesis recording studio, The Farm .


The following is a list of the keyboards and synthesizers he mainly uses :

  • Hammond L-122 clay wheel organ with Leslie ; from 1974: Hammond T-102; from 1977 the Leslie was replaced by a combination of Boss CE-1 Chorus and MXR Phase 100
  • Hohner Pianet (mostly played through distortion to produce an electric guitar sound; early to mid-1970s)
  • Mellotron Mk II (purchased from King Crimson ); from 1973 to 1977 he used an M400
  • ARP Pro Soloist Synthesizer (from 1973 to 1977; among others in the solo of The Cinema Show or In The Cage )
  • RMI Electra 368 Piano (1974 to 1977; he often used the organ mode, sent through phasers , distorters and leslie)
  • ELKA Rhapsody String Synthesizer (on the album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway )
  • ARP 2600 synthesizer (1976 to 1978, e.g. synthesizer solo with Follow You Follow Me )
  • Roland RS-202 String Synthesizer (1977 to 1978)
  • Fender Rhodes Electric Piano Mk I (1977, on Your Own Special Way )
  • Yamaha CP-70 Electric Grand Piano by BOSS CE-1 Chorus (1978 to date)
  • Moog Polymoog Synthesizer (1978 to 1980)
  • Yamaha CS-80 synthesizer (1979 to 1981, mainly on the Duke album)
  • ARP Quadra Synthesizer (1980 to the end of the 80s, at the end of the 80s Banks had the Quadra midified; Abacab's sawing lead sound comes from the Quadra)
  • Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 Rev. 2 (1980 to late 80s)
  • Roland VP330 Vocoder (1980 to 1987, replaced the Mellotron)
  • Sequential Circuits Prophet-10 (1981 to 1987, replaced the Hammond organ)
  • NED Synclavier II (FM version with ORK keyboard, 1983 to 1987)
  • E-mu emulator (1983)
  • E-mu Emulator II (1986/87)
  • Yamaha DX-7 (1986, including bass for Land of Confusion )
  • Akai S900 (from 1986)
  • E-mu Emulator III (1991)
  • Ensoniq VFX (1991; an SD-1 was used live)
  • Korg Wavestation (from 1991)
  • Roland JD-800 (from 1991)
  • Korg Trinity (from 1997)
  • Korg Oasys (2007)



year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1979 A curious feeling - UK21 (5 weeks)
US171 (5 weeks)
1983 The Fugitive - UK50 (2 weeks)

More albums

  • 1983: The Wicked Lady (Soundtrack)
  • 1985: soundtracks
  • 1989: bank statement
  • 1991: Still
  • 1995: Strictly Inc. (under the name Strictly Inc. )
  • 2004: Seven - A Suite for Orchestra
  • 2012: Six - Pieces for Orchestra
  • 2018: Five , with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Nick Ingman, BMG Rights Management (Warner)


year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1986 Short Cut to Somewhere
- UK75 (2 weeks)
feat. Fish
1991 I want to change the score
DE55 (11 weeks)
- -
feat. Nik Kershaw

More singles

  • 1979: For a While
  • 1983: The Wicked Lady
  • 1983: This is Love
  • 1983: And the Wheels keep turning
  • 1985: You call this Victory
  • 1989: Throwback
  • 1989: I'll Be Waiting
  • 1991: The Gift (feat.Andy Taylor)
  • 1992: Still It Takes Me by Surprise (feat.Andy Taylor)
  • 1995: Only Seventeen
  • 1995: Walls of Sound


Banks is known to be focused and serious at Genesis concerts.

Banks was featured as a backing singer on many Genesis albums. He also contributed backing vocals with Mike Rutherford for live performances. According to an unconfirmed anecdote from the late 1970s, Collins and Rutherford had fun and stopped singing during Carpet Crawlers , leaving Banks to sing the chorus alone. He sang the lead vocals for Big Man on Bank's solo album, Bankstatement .

Web links

Commons : Tony Banks  - Collection of Pictures, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Chart sources: DE UK US
  2. Bank Statement