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15th May 2023
The Book Of Revelations 2 (2).jpg


Q: Let’s start at the beginning Gerard, where are you from and what’s your background in music?


GF: I born in London but brought up in Sheffield. I got a recorder when I was nine years old and I was always interested in music. Top Of The Pops was my favourite programme and pretty much the only outlet for music on the telly in those days. I had piano lessons for a while but I was being taught Classical music and not really into it as I wanted to do something more modern, contemporary. I had violin lessons for a short while also but then I got a guitar when I was fourteen and just the accessibility, you know, just three or four chords in a few weeks and you can play a thousand songs. I do remember one week wanting to be out in the street playing football and the next week, after I got the guitar, I just wanted to stay in and play the guitar.


Q: There wasn’t much Prog Rock on Top Of The Pops though. Where did interest come from?


GF: My brother was two years older than me and he used to be a humper* at gigs and one day he humped at Sheffield City Hall for Curved Air - he wrang me up and told me I had to see them. I was about fifteen and you have to bear in mind that the week before I had been to the City Hall with my mother to see The Spinners so you can see there was a bit of a quantum leap. (laughs) They absolutely blew me away. I sat there for an hour and half, eyes wide agog at what I was seeing and hearing from these five people. The violin soaring around the hall, synthesizer noises I had never heard before, Sonja Christina’s awesome vocals…the whole thing was a feast, a sensory overload. It was a sort of an epiphany. The drummer was Florian Pilkington Miksa and I got him to sign a drumstick, which I still have. After that, I started going through my brother’s record collection and I found Genesis and that really did it for me.


Q: So, between then and now, have you been a professional musician?


GF: I’ve never earnt a living as a musician. I’ve played in several bands over the years, a few originals but the longest stint was in an R.E.M. tribute band who at the time I thought were an amazing band. It’s slightly Folky with Rock without it being out-and-out Folk Rock but anyway, no, I’ve never earnt a living as a musician.

Inception and creation

Q: That is quite incredible that you have come up with this classic Prog Rock album then.


GF: Well, all the time I was playing in these bands, at home, purely for my own amusement, I was playing around with other stuff at home and one of my friends suggested we try and recreate The Musical Box by Genesis. What that made me do was analyse what they did and how they were doing it rather than just sit back and appreciate it. We dissected it and it took us a long time but we did do a passing job of recreating The Musical Box but what it really did was give me a feel for how that all worked and then thought I’d like to have a go myself. So then I sat down and started to write something that I hoped would fit nicely in the Genesis canon.


Q: From listening to your album though, it seems to me that you did more than that. You must have somehow separated all the instruments in your head, recreated the sounds, added the effects. It must have been quite a task to pull it all apart.


GF: It was quite a task. If you did it now, you could go online and find transcribed every note, often with incredible accuracy, that Steve Hackett played but when I was doing it, those tools were not available so I had to do it by ear. You make it sound like a choir but it was done with pure joy.


Q: A complete labour of love.


GF: Yes it was.


Q: Please carry on with creating the album.


GF: Well one of the things of course is lyrics, what to write about so you look at what they did and delve into Greek and Roman mythology and then you are never going to run out of ideas. They are the gift that keeps on giving and they are amazing. They have every possible angle, every possible storyline, all the human traits…just wonderful. The first one I looked at really was the story of Prometheus which turned out to be Malice Of Forethought, the first five tracks on the album. It all took a long, long time. I slowly built up the songs until I was happy that they sound a bit like Genesis.


Q: I get that but it’s still, to use your phrase, a quantum leap from writing a song to writing a full suite. How long are we talking about? Years?

GF: That particular one wasn’t a year but it was many months from concept to having a finished recording. Then I’d have a go at another one. Eventually I put some of them as lyric videos on YouTube and that’s when Cliff from Conquest Music saw them and left a note to me on there but I didn’t see it as I never looked at YouTube after I put them up. (laughs) It was about a year later when I did a see it so I went down and met him in town and things blossomed from there. He had played it to Jerry Ewing at Prog Rock magazine and Jerry had said he should do something with it.


Q: I just want to go back to the sounds for one more question and then move on. The production, at one point I was looking on the cover to see if it was produced by John Burns. How did you do that?


GF: I don’t know. I sat there and played stuff that sounded like Genesis. I didn’t have the luxury of old keyboards. I did think of trying to get hold of old Moogs but firstly, they are very expensive and secondly, there are now amazing approximations. Now I know purists will turn in their graves if they hear that but there are, very good approximations of the vintage synth sounds. When writing, keyboard parts were always first with a rudimentary drum machine and then I turned to the guitar. I found the lyrics the hardest to write although I am glad I took the time because I am as proud of them as I am of the music. They did come out really well. Sorry, that’s a bit of a long way round of saying about the sound. Once we got real drums done by Russ Wilson, all the tracks were sent to Keith More who sprinkled his special magic and turned it into what you hear. He did a grand job of mixing.


Q: Did you double-track the vocals?


GF: Yes. There are several double-tracked and some single and I also did all the backing vocals.


Land of confusion

Q: The title The Book of Revelations, not to be confused with the Christian bible Book of Revelation…correct?


GF: Correct.


Q: I suppose sounding like it sounds, you are expecting a bit of criticism.


GF: I’m expecting criticism on two levels. Maybe people will say I copied Genesis. If they say it’s like Genesis, that’s ok but I haven’t actually copied anything but the thing that I never thought I would get is that in the comments that have come from the mid-west of America, the say there should not be an ‘s’ on the end of Revelations. (laughs) They haven’t commented on the music and at one point I did think I would engage but then I thought, maybe not.


Q: If someone tells me it sounds like Genesis, I will point out that for a start that that was fifty years ago – half a century of music - and for the last forty-five of those years, Genesis didn’t even sound like that Genesis. Add in the fact that nobody is doing anything like this anymore. I think that’s unfair criticism.


GF: Well that’s one of the things. When I started doing this, I did a bit of research and looking around and listening to Prog Rock all day every day. I was very unfamiliar with some of the names so I bought Prog Rock magazine and went through every single band in it. I found a lot of what could be classed as fairly heavy, a lot of really big sounding orchestral stuff, lots of different things and it was all good but I could find nothing like what Genesis were doing back in those days. With that I thought I could do something different to what was around at the moment.


Q: The full title is The Book Of Revelations: Chapter One The Plumes of Enceladus.


GF: I was a science graduate, into astronomy and everything and I was captivated by the Cassini mission from NASA where for the first time they found liquid water (i.e. not ice) somewhere else in the universe. It was around one of the insignificant moons of Jupiter and somebody said on one of the documentaries I think ‘These plumes of Enceladus…’ and I just thought it had the most glorious ring to it as well as having the significance that it may well be the place where they find evidence of life other than on earth.


Q: Chapter One suggests there is more to come.


GF: There certainly is. I have enough material ready to roll for a second album and I can safely say, another half of a third album. We called the EP The Prologue which was only digital, no hard copy but there will be a chapter two and chapter three at some point.


A bit of fun

Q: Put together a Prog Rock supergroup.


GF: Oh, wow! Well, it’s difficult really not to just pick the Gabriel era Genesis line-up but let’s see…(at this point, Gerard and myself spend five minutes trying to figure out an answer to the impossible task I’ve just asked him. He ends up with…) Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and Keith Emerson.


Q: Here is a question I have asked a few Prog Rockers over the years. Has Prog Rock progressed?


GF: That is a very, very, very good question. Prog is a very niche area and there’s a lot of people I meet who ask me ‘Prog Rock, so what is that?’ and it’s a tricky one. You can go to Prog Rock sites and there are 101 divisions of Prog which cover all kinds of music so yes, it has progressed in the sense that it has blossomed. With the early Prog Rockers, there was only a small handful of the big names but now, there a many that come under the term. I suppose you would have to define progressing.  You have amazingly technically clever people playing, probably more sophisticated song writing even within the genre so I suppose that is a progression. I think whoever christened it Prog Rock was using the term in the sense that it was a progression from what was there at the time and not in the sense that it was going to progress forever. We’ll leave it there. (laughs)


Q: Gerard, the next time we talk, we may just get into the life, universe and everything thing but for now, thanks for this. It’s been a pleasure.


GF: Fantastic! I’ll look forward to it!



*Now more commonly known as ‘local stage crew’.


Unknown for certain but the term is used in the liner notes of Caravan’s debut album released in 1969. Other claims are that it was used in the British music press as early as 1967.

Anchor 1

Gerard Freeman ジェラード・フリーマン





GF: 僕はロンドンで生まれ、シェフィールドで育ったんだ。9歳のときにリコーダーを買ってもらい、元々音楽に興味があったんだ。「Top Of The Pops」は僕の大好きな番組で、当時はテレビで音楽を聴くことができるのはほとんどこれだけだった。ピアノを習っていた時期もあって、クラシック音楽を教わっていたんだけど、もっと現代的なことをやりたかったので、あまり好きではなかった。しばらくはバイオリンを練習していたんだけど、14歳の時にギターを手に入れ、数週間で3、4個のコードを習得して、1000曲は弾けるようになったんだ。ある週は外でサッカーをしたかったし、次の週はギターを手に入れた後、家にこもってギターを弾きたくなったのを覚えているよ。


Q:「Top Of The Pops」ではプログレはあまり放送されていませんでした。プログレへの興味はどこから湧いてきたのでしょうか?

GF: 僕の兄は2歳年上で、ライブではよくクルーを務めていたんだ。ある日、彼はシェフィールド・シティホールでカーブド・エアのステージクルーをやっていて、僕に強く「観なきゃダメだよ」と言ったんだ。その前の週には、母と一緒にスピナーズを観にシティホールまで行ってたから、ちょっと飛躍しているよね(笑)。で、彼らに衝撃を受けたんだ。僕は1時間半の間、この5人から見聞きすることに目を見張り、その場にただ座っていた。ホールに舞い上がるバイオリン、聞いたことのないシンセサイザーの音、ソーニャ・クリスティーナの素晴らしいボーカル...すべてが僕にとってはご馳走であり、胸がいっぱいになる出来事だった。一種の天啓のようなものだったね。ドラマーはフロリアン・ピルキントン・ミクサで、彼にドラムスティックにサインしてもらったんだ。それは今でも持っているよ。その後、兄のレコードコレクションを調べ始めたら、ジェネシスに出会って、それがきっかけになった。















GF:もちろん、歌詞もそうだけど、何について書けばいいのか、そのために彼らが何をしたのかを調べたり、ギリシャ・ローマ神話を掘り下げたりして、アイデアが尽きることはないよ。彼らは贈り物のような存在であり、素晴らしいものなんだ。彼らはあらゆる角度から、あらゆるストーリーを考え、あらゆる人間の特徴を備えている...まさに素晴らしい。最初に見たのはプロメテウスの物語で、それがアルバムの最初の5曲、「Malice Of Forethought」になった。すごく時間がかかったよ。ジェネシスっぽくなったかな、と納得できるまで、少しずつ曲を作り込んでいったんだ。





















Q:フルタイトルは『The Book Of Revelations: 第一章 エンケラドスの噴煙』ですね。




GF:確かにあるね。セカンドアルバムのために十分な素材が用意されているからね。さらに安心して言えるのは、サードアルバムの半分くらいまであるよ。EPを「The Prologue」と名付けたけど、これはデジタルのみで、ハードコピーはない。でも、いずれ第2章と第3章があるよ。












* 今では「ローカルステージクルー」と呼ばれることが多くなった。


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