Genesis # 8 Arrested
by Regis Boff
I was arrested twice while I worked for Genesis. It was the poor early Genesis while Peter Gabriel was still in the band. The first time was on my first day.
Five or six years earlier, the glee club of Columbia College, (The Kingsmen) decided to do a Do-Wop show at our student union. They rolled up the sleeves of their white T-shirts and put packages of cigarettes in them, greased and combed their hair to a point and performed a dozen or so of those great old songs. It was such a hit that they bought gold lame jumpsuits and did an another performance on the rotunda of the college a couple of weeks later. They became a band called Sha Na Na.
Eight shows later they appeared just before Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. They played next to last for forty minutes and got paid $350.00. The check bounced. They appeared in the movie Grease and are still working today.
Genesis at this time was getting more known in Great Britain and Europe and their Manager Tony Smith decided to do one show at New York’s Philharmonic Hall. I guess this was 1972, to make a publicity splash.
He hired the original manager of Sha Na Na to coordinate the show, and he in turn hired me.
The show, which I don’t remember at all, came off without calamity. Tony Smith fired the manager of Sha Na Na on the spot then hired me.
It fell to me to organize getting all the gear back to England.
I have no idea how this transatlantic activity is handled today because this was my first and only involvement with equipment on this level. Their road manager handed me a stack of inventory, and I signed for it.
The short of this story was that when I arrived at Heathrow airport I was promptly handcuffed and put in a holding cell for smuggling. I beat the rap.
My second arrest came at the hands of my beloved Toronto police for drugs. I have never done a single drug. I did, at that time, however, own a spectacular hand carved Meerschaum Pipe in the shape of a woman’s head, which was sentimental for me and worth a fortune. It had been a gift. Apparently it was smeared with hashish residue that must have, I contended hysterically, dated back to that indulgent, fucking out of control Victorian era from which it came.
My case got further complicated by another one of us ( from the band) being equally arrested in an adjoining cell. Well, this shit carried on for hours, and I was scared. I have an uncomplicated relationship with authority. It terrifies me.
We got sprung. My guess is because we had a long tour booked, and these cops were prereading the headlines, ” Shithead Police Disappoint Thousands of Fans.”
The guy who had interrogated me walked over to me as I was leaving. He had my pipe in his hand. With no gloat in my heart, I reached out to take it from him. He lifted it inches from my face, snapped it in half, and threw it into the corner of the room.