Whitefish Bay - Daryl Stuermer has played the Super Bowl, Academy Awards and the Oscars with Genesis and Phil Collins.
Just nine years ago, he and his band mates in Genesis played to a crowd of half a million people in Rome.
The Sounds of Summer street festival in Whitefish Bay may not have the same prestige of those concert venues, but Stuermer is still excited to play for his neighbors in front of Sendik's - just a mile or so from his family's house - on Aug. 20.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Stuermer's life changed when the Frank Zappa Band sat in with his band Sweetbottom at Sardino's Bull Ring, an east side club they played five nights a week. Zappa's keyboard player George Duke was impressed with Stuermer's jazz-influenced approach to progressive rock and hooked 22-year-old Stuermer up with jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. After three years with Ponty, his friend Alphonso Johnson recommended him for a job touring with Genesis.
When Stuermer joined the band in 1977, the band was down to three members: Phill Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford. With the departure of longtime member Steve Hackett, Rutherford was able to record guitar and bass parts in the studio, but the band needed Stuermer to play guitar and bass in concert.
While he was never a full-time member of Genesis, Stuermer's talents were valued by Collins, who chose Stuermer as his lead guitarist when launching his solo career in the early 1980s. Stuermer created the signature guitar sound heard in Collins' hits "Easy Lover" and "In the Air Tonight." He co-wrote six songs with Collins, including the Grammy Award-winning single "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven." He recorded with Collins on nearly all of Collins' albums, including "Face Value," "No Jacket Required" and "But Seriously."
Stuermer's unique guitar style is rooted in his eclectic musical background. During his younger years, he would mostly play songs by The Rolling Stones, The Animals and other rock bands. He would later become attracted to the more technically advanced guitar work in the jazz and progressive rock genres. He melded these sounds together to create his jazz-rock fusion sound.
The last time Stuermer played with Genesis was in 2007, and the last time he played with Collins was in 2010. Stuermer said he and Collins still keep in touch, mostly through email, and they plan to reunite for a three-song performance at the U.S. Open opening ceremony on Aug. 29.
While he has not played with his old band mates in several years, Stuermer has been keeping busy here in Whitefish Bay. He launched his own independent record label, Urban Island Music, and he has written music for his nine solo albums.
Stuermer will play two slots during the Sounds of Summer event, which runs from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Aug. 20 on East Silver Spring Drive. His first performance, from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m., will be a four-piece band mostly playing his own music. After Altered Five Blues Band plays from 7 to 8:15 p.m., Stuermer will take the stage again from 8:30 to 10 p.m. - this time with a vocalist - to play his version of Genesis songs, as well as other songs.
Stuermer will be selling copies of his newest album, "Breaking Cover," a compilation of him covering Peter Gabriel, Sting, Steely Dan and other artists that he admires.