Mechanics founder Rutherford looks forward to Ipswich Regent gig

Mike + The Mechanics are back with a new album, new tour and new line-up. MARTIN HUTCHINSON talks to founder Mike Rutherford ahead of tonight’s Ipswich Regent gig.

RISING Phoenix-like from the ashes, Rutherford has decided to reform the band he originally started as a side-line to his activities in Genesis.

Formed back in 1984 with ex Sad Caf� member Paul Young and Paul Carrack, 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 that tour Rutherford carried on writing songs and the idea of bringing back The Mechanics came to the fore.

“Basically, I love to write,” he says. “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.”

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In the end, Rutherford 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 faces in the new line-up are Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar.

Roachford is one of the most successful UK RnB acts of the 90s, having had hits with Cuddly Toy and The Way That I Feel.

Howar is a Canadian actor/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.

Rutherford adds: “Andrew was recommended to me and we asked him to come down. We actually wrote some stuff on that first day.

“Having an RnB 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 Rutherford, Roachford and Howar 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.

“We’ve already done a couple of small sets and there’s a new energy within the band.”

Then there’s the new album to look forward to. The Road was released in April, just in time for the tour.

“Obviously I’m a bit biased,” Rutherford says in his quiet, unassuming way.

“But it’s pretty good really. The Mechanics’ sound is still there. Some of the songs are obviously Mechanics’ songs, but there’s that new energy and nice personality. There’s the conviction of the voices.”

Naturally, the album will feature in the live shows.

“Yes, we’ll do about four or five songs off the new album, the rest will be the old hits and a couple of Andrew’s songs.”

“I’m looking forward to playing in the UK, it’s a great way to promote the album. I have a great band here which I feel has slightly more mainstream appeal than the heavier stuff I did with Genesis.”

Speaking of Genesis, it’s widely known Phil Collins’ back problems means there’s not much chance of that band touring again, but is Genesis dead?

“There’s nothing planned, but I never say never; we’re good friends still,” Rutherford adds.

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

“Yes, 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.”

Hopefully, this album and tour won’t be a one-off.

“If it works, we’ll carry on, it’s fun to tour. Also, 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 are at the Regent Theatre, Ipswich, tonight. See The Evening Star for a full review.

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