Gerard and I both disliked guitar solos and on the whole we wouldn't let John play any. A few slipped through the net: Madrush, The Dogtooth Spa (only three notes long, so I approved of that), Tail in the Slipstream, and Finger-tip Testing - a 'real' solo but we made him play it backwards... (Ben)
I've actually got quite good at these. Just saying. (John)
Actually, when we reconfigured in 1998 Gerard and I both asked John for a solo in the track Ourselves - and got a very good one… (Ben)
'Hello, we're The Human League, there are no drums or guitars on this record', Phil Oakey states baldly at the start of a track from a 2001 release of archive material (recorded a few years before The Lebanon!). The anti-guitar/anti-rock stance was common to electro, punk and industrial music at the time. But the antipathy had different senses. With regard to punk and industrial, Sleazy of Throbbing Gristle sums it up well: 'The punks were always saying you only needed to learn three chords to form a band. My attitude was why do you need to know that many?' I think Ben was more doctrinaire than I was on this, and after all CA was always a band with a guitarist. John may rightly have felt some indignation about this attitude, especially as the ban on solos was not extended to such abject noise-makers as kazoo, recorder and Oscillator. Ironically Ben developed a kind of spannered proficiency on the instrument and became the band's second axeman.
Whatever, e.g., T.G.'s artistic intentions, I think the rejection of prowess holds something basically true... and that is that it is perfectly possible to make interesting music without conventional musical ability and without conventional musical instruments... and conversely it is perfectly possible for people with high conventional musical ability and conventional musicality to make music that is totally devoid of interest. (Gerard)
Nice to see in the recent interview of Throbbing Gristle in The Wire (the July 2007 issue, I think) that Genesis maintains that his traditional music skill have actually deteriorated since the early days... (Ben)