Guitarist and musician Daryl Stuermer performs before crowds as large as 500,000 as a member of Phil Collins band and while touring with Genesis. You’ve probably heard his dreamy guitar playing on the mega-hit In the Air Tonight. He recently spent time with us for a week of relaxing and time with family after a recent tour. I had a chance to talk with him before his evening performance at The Ranch.
How did you first come to The Ranch?
My wife had been coming and talking to me about Rancho La Puerta. I wondered if this was my kind of thing. I wasn’t sure. She spoke to Victoria (the Special Programs Coordinator). She told her who I had played with, and Victoria asked when I wanted to come. That’s how it began. Now I’ve been ten times. Usually in between or after a tour and I love it here.
You just came off a tour with Phil Collins?
I’ve been on tour with Phil Collins off and on for two and a half years. I just got back. We did two tours of the U.S., two tours of Europe, and toured South America and Australia.
How long have you been playing with Genesis?
I’ve been playing with Genesis since 1978, 41 years, and Phil Collins since 1981.
What are you most proud of in your life?
Well, being married for 41 years is a big one. I also have two daughters and two granddaughters who live within two miles of us. I’m proud of the career I have. I’ve never had another job other playing guitar. I started playing professionally when I was 16 years old. I played with Jean Luc Ponty for three years then joined Genesis.
What’s one of the most memorable concerts you’ve played?
I showed a film in a lecture I gave earlier this week, When In Rome 2007, from our concert in an ancient arena called Circus Maximus. There were 500,000 people. You couldn’t see the end of the crowd; it was so big. It was amazing because we didn’t know how many people would show up. 50,000? 60,000? The mayor came and told us it was 500,000. My wife and kids were there.
What was the worst concert experience?
I don’t know if it’s the worst experience, but we did a concert in Poland in the pouring rain. We had to put plastic over all our equipment. We wore raincoats and hats, but the audience was fantastic. They told us they’d pull the plug if there was lightning, but otherwise, the show would go on. Maybe it’s not the worse, but it was the hardest. The audience had been standing in the rain for three hours before we went on, so we played.
What’s your favorite guitar, and does it have a name?
This is actually my favorite guitar. It’s a prototype from a Canadian company, Godin, named the DS1. It’s the Daryl Stuermer signature guitar. I worked with them for two years to create this to get it exactly where I want it.
Do you have a motto you live by?
When opportunity strikes, be prepared. I didn’t know the opportunities that would exist, but when I had a chance to play with Jen Luc Ponty, I bought all his records and learned the songs. Same with Genesis.
Any advice for aspiring artists or musicians?
Listen to everything you can. Don’t get stuck on being a rock guy or jazz guy. I started with rock, then I got into jazz, then into jazz-rock and fusion. If the opportunity to sit in with someone arises, play with them. Just do it. You can practice all you want but as soon as you get onstage everything changes. You learn so much from everyone else. Other musicians are always doing something you’re not when it comes to their playing. You can learn from that experience. I played Polkas, country bands, all kinds of groups, and that’s is where you learn.
How is your week at The Ranch?
My favorite part about being here is not just the presentations, but meeting so many wonderful people. Everybody has a story you can learn from. Ranch magic is a thing. You’re sitting with someone at dinner and discover they’re from your same hometown and live three blocks away. That’s Ranch magic.
Thanks, Daryl. Have a great week.