Dusk, the first and historic Italian Genesis Magazine, has turned 30. The Founder and Director Mario Giammetti tells them to Horizons Genesis.
30 years of Dusk.
On March 16, 1991, the number zero of a glorious fanzine (later transformed into a glossy magazine) was closed in the virtual editorial office of Dusk which, unique in the world, still stands today in printed form.
To celebrate this incredible anniversary, in addition to the special issue reserved only for the associates they are working on, the creator and director Mario Giammetti and his working group asked the members of Genesis to share the joy with them.
Mario Giammetti tells Horizons Genesis about 30 years of Dusk.
- When and why did you have the idea of a publication dedicated to Genesis?
In 1990 I went to see Anthony Phillips, whom no one in Italy that I know of had ever interviewed. We talked for over an hour but Ciao 2001, which I was collaborating on at the time, only gave me three or four pages, for a result of two pages. What about the rest, I wondered? A pen pal of mine at the time told me: why don't you print the full interview and sell it to fans? This seemed impractical to me, but it reminded me that, perhaps, there were several people interested in having more news about the world of Genesis. At the time only Ciao 2001 and Rockstar talked about it, but obviously only on the occasion of new albums. Also at that time there were fanzines dedicated to artists, in my opinion, much less important than Genesis, so I decided to try, just for fun: already having a book ("Genesis Story", Gammalibri 1988) and three years of articles on Hello, I jumped across the fence out of curiosity by making a photocopied number zero which I sent in exchange for a postage stamp.
- Besides Dusk, what other names did you consider?
None, actually. When I thought about the name, I told myself it had to be short and immediate. Dusk lent himself to all of this. Furthermore, its translation also hid a hidden meaning: twilight, sunset. Which went along with my idea of always being objective, without ever being blinded by the fan vision. Coming to admit, if necessary, even the twilight of an adventure. Which, however, never happened. At least, not entirely.
- What were the difficulties of this enterprise and what continue to be?
Manpower, if we can say so. Although with the essential help of fantastic collaborators, the practical and economic management (even if for a couple of years on this last point I have received substantial help from Stefano Tucciarelli) continues to weigh exclusively on my shoulders. This is certainly positive on the one hand, because I don't have to ask anyone's permission on the choices I'm going to make, but it gets really heavy when it comes to completing a number. I am referring to the realization, always very complicated, but also to the purely physical aspect: bringing the envelopes and packages to the post offices is frighteningly tiring. On postal disservices, then, it is better to spread a merciful veil.
- What has been the greatest satisfaction of these 30 years?
From a personal point of view, obviously knowing, albeit at various levels, my favorite musicians. Then the fact that, albeit rarely, sometimes I got things with Dusk that I had been denied as a journalist (more often, to be honest, the opposite has happened, but there is). But the greatest joy is having the number in hand, fresh off the press. It has been happening for 30 years and it is always an emotion, even if at times it turns into disappointment due to some unexpected printing error or a typographical work that is not exactly flawless.
- What was the hardest interview you've been chasing the longest?
Phil Collins. After a brief face-to-face meeting in Perugia in 1996, I had to wait eight years before finally being able to do a proper interview with him at the Filaforum in Assago in 2004. Experience then replicated in 2010 and, by telephone, in 2016.
- Who is the most interviewed Genesis member and why?
Certainly Steve Hackett, for two reasons: first, he is by far the most active of all. Second, he is also incredibly helpful and, moreover, very reliable and quite accurate in his memories.
- We don't think so, but did you miss someone from the Genesis galaxy to interview?
Peter Gabriel has not yet accepted an exclusive interview. I met him several times and personally asked him questions at press conferences or roundtable (chats for a limited number of reporters, usually eight), but my endless requests for a face-to-face or telephone call to his assistants have not yet been successful. For the rest, I would say that I have really intercepted everyone, at least those alive. Including the most inaccessible of all: John Silver.
- What do the Genesis think of Dusk?
They are certainly all grateful for the work we do, aware that this kind of publications are used to keep the flame burning and feeding. There is of course the problem of the language, so they cannot read what I write even if, to tell the truth, I don't think that, at least the big ones, would care that much. Tony Banks, for example, has repeatedly stated that he does not read reviews or books about the band and that he was forced to do so in the case of Mike Rutherford's biography (only to regret it bitterly!). Steve Hackett, on the other hand, is very attentive and interested and, if I send him the translation of an article, surely he reads it.
- Have they ever asked you (even some Genesis members) to translate Dusk's articles into other languages?
For some years there has been a photocopied English version of Dusk, at least of most of the articles included in each issue. But then I stopped: it wasn't worth it because foreign subscribers have always been a small minority. On the other hand, there are countless times that someone has told me “if it were in English, I would not lose a Dusk issue”. They are the ones who liked my book very much "Genesis 1967 To 1975: The Peter Gabriel Years”, Published last year by London-based Kingmaker.
- Since Dusk is the only paper publication in the world on Genesis, what feedback do you have from abroad?
Let's go back to the language; those who do not speak Italian concentrate on the impact of the photos and on the contents and it is not uncommon for some foreign friends to write to me asking for more information on something they have picked up but obviously cannot fully understand. But there are a handful of enthusiasts who follow us with absolute fidelity even without understanding a single sentence: they just need to look at how the newspaper is structured to understand that it is always worth it.
- You do not always agree with the choices of Genesis (see for example the last reunion) or with the quality and necessity of certain reprints. And don't censor yourself. Do you think this editorial line will change over time?
Absolutely not. When there has been criticism, we have always done so, without any hesitation, in accordance with the editorial of number zero. We can obviously disagree, but certainly no one can accuse us of bias. From time to time someone calls me the number one fan of Genesis, thinking of paying me a compliment, but for me it is not at all: that you adore the band is obvious, but I consider myself a journalist first and only rebound a fan. For this I use, for the albums that I review on Dusk, the same critical approach that I used with Hello, Rockstar, Jam and that I still use for Classic Rock: total sincerity, without discounts to anyone.
- What is the hardest criticism and the most beautiful praise from the readers?
Some readers in the past have called us a sort of Steve Hackett's fanclub, because we talk about him more and more than others. But how could it be otherwise, given that it publishes three times what all the others put together? Some other readers believe that too much space is given to Anthony Phillips (forgetting that he was the founder and for a short time even the leader of the band). Finally, many hate Ray Wilson and not even cordially. I once met a former subscriber at a concert who, after introducing himself, candidly confided to me that he had stopped following us because he couldn't stand the idea of seeing Ray on the pages of Dusk! But Ray was a member of Genesis, for which he sang on a record and tour. As such, it has exactly the same rights as the other members even if, obviously, it does not hold the same artistic palmares.
Among the praise, first of all the constancy; many readers are almost in disbelief at such perseverance and see Dusk as a family friend who visits them at home every four months. Intellectual honesty and the attitude to always write without filters, something not so frequent in the world of the so-called fanclubs (a category in which Dusk, moreover, does not fall), where one is often subjected to artists, is also very appreciated: pride that has never happened and that if any mistake has been made, and has happened, it was, if anything, out of affection, certainly not out of opportunism.
- Do you also foresee a more consistent development on the web for the next few years or do you remain faithful to the value of the paper?
I recognize the importance of the web, but it's not for me. When Dusk ceases to print, it will only remain a good memory, at best the minimal website as it is today.
Thanks to Mario Giammetti, happy birthday and good luck for the next, many, years of Dusk.
Listen to Genesis:
Horizons Radio News