Peter Gabriel

ARTICLE ABOUT Peter Gabriel (Genesis) FROM SOUNDS, September 6, 1975

A really honest letter from Mr. Gabriel to the reasons for quitting Genesis. And he never went back, in effect changing the direction of Genesis into a more hit-orientated rock band. Fascinating stuff.
Read on!

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A statement by Peter Gabriel

I had a dream

Genesis have always been unorthodox when coupled with more conventional rock bands. Everything they have done from live concerts to studio albums has been both unique and slightly off-the-wall.
It comes as no surprise that Peter Gabriel has chosen his own words to explain his decision to leave the group rather than use contrived quotes from management or record company executives. Gabriel should be commended for his honesty.
We were given a hint of things to come, in the liner notes to `Lamb Lies Down On Broadway` when as Rael he wrote `The people in memory are pinned to events I can`t recall too well but I`m putting him down to watch him break up, decompose, and feel another sort of life.` Gabriel`s own statement concerning the break-up follows. I wish him luck with that other sort of life.
Barbara Charone

I had a dream, eye`s dream. Then I had another dream with the body and soul of a rock star. When it didn`t feel good I packed it in. Looking back for the musical and non-musical reasons, this is what I came up with:
OUT, ANGELS OUT – an investigation.
The vehicle we had built as a co-op to serve our song writing, became our master and had cooped us up inside the success we had wanted. It affected the attitudes and the spirit of the whole band. The music had not dried up and I still respect the other musicians, but our roles had set in hard. To get an idea through “Genesis the Big” meant shifting a lot more concrete than before. For any band, transferring the heart from idealistic enthusiasm to professionalism is a difficult operation.
I believe the use of sound and visual images can be developed to do much more than we have done. But on a large scale it needs one clear and coherent direction, which our pseudo-democratic committee system could not provide.
As an artist, I need to absorb a wide variety of experiences. It is difficult to respond to intuition and impulse-within the long term planning that the band needed. I felt I should look at / learn about / develop myself, my creative bits and pieces and pick up on a lot of work going on outside music. Even the hidden delights of vegetable growing and community living are beginning to reveal their secrets. I could not expect the band to tie in their schedules with my bondage to cabbages. The increase in money and power, if I had stayed, would have anchored me to the spotlights. It was important to me to give space to my family which I wanted to hold together and to liberate the daddy in me.
Although I have seen and learnt a great deal in the last seven years, I found I had begun to look at things as the famous Gabriel, despite hiding my occupation whenever possible, hitching lifts, etc. I had begun to think in business terms; very useful for an often bitten once shy musician, but treating records and audiences as money was taking me away from them. When performing, there were less shivers up and down the spine.

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I believe the world has soon to go through a difficult period of changes. I`m excited by some of the areas coming through to the surface which seem to have been hidden away in people`s minds. I want to explore and be prepared, to be open and flexible enough to respond, not tied in to the old hierarchy.
Much of my psyche`s ambitions as “Gabriel archetypal rock star” have been fulfilled – a lot of the ego-gratification and the need to attract young ladies, perhaps the result of frequent rejection as “Gabriel acne-struck public-school boy”. However, I can still get off playing the star game once in a while.
My future within music, if it exists, will be in as many situations as possible. It`s good to see a growing number of artists breaking down the pigeon-holes. This is the difference between the profitable, compartmentalised, battery chicken and the free-range. Why did the chicken cross the road anyway?
There is no animosity between myself and the band or management. The decision had been made some time ago and we have talked about our new direction. The reason why my leaving was not announced earlier was because I had been asked to delay until they had found a replacement to plug up the hole. It is not impossible that some of them might work with me on other projects.
The following guesswork has little in common with truth: Gabriel left Genesis.
1) To work in theatre.
2) To make more money as solo artist.
3) To do a “Bowie”.
4) To do a “Ferry”.
5) To do a “Furry Boa round my neck and hang myself with it”.
6) To go see an institution.
7) To go senile in the sticks.
I do not express myself adequately in interviews and I felt I owed it to the people who have put a lot of love and energy supporting the band to give an accurate picture of my reasons.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

 

ARTICLE ABOUT Genesis FROM SOUNDS, June 8, 1974

Genesis started their work on one of their most famous albums around this time, the album later known as “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”. At this point the strains in the relationship between Peter Gabriel and the rest of the band started to show. He would leave the band a year later.

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Looking for a back seat role

Peter Gabriel tells Jerry Gilbert about radical changes afoot for Genesis

Peter Gabriel returned from Genesis` recent American tour to take possession of a new house in Bath, and with no particular desire to go back across the water in a hurry.
“It seems like we had one US tour running straight into another and we`ve been away about six months in all, which is too long tours. “It`s not so productive; we come up with quite a lot of (Missing a line here? – Blog Ed.) Genesis was formed initially as a songwriting band back at Charterhouse public school, and the original concept has been lost by long tours. “It`s not so productive; we come up with quite a lot of ideas but it`s the actual growth of the ideas that`s stunted, and now it`s pretty well the same situation as we found ourselves in last year.”
So how does Peter envisage this year turning out? “I want to take more of a back seat role,” he said adamantly. “I hope that there will be opportunities to work with other artists this year.
“It`s not so much a rejection of that role, but Genesis has always been more than a live band in our minds and the other side hasn`t had a chance to be developed. For instance in the States people only know us as a performing band.”
The last two years has seen a complete reversal for Genesis – from being the carefully nurtured Charisma babes, the bulk of whose work was done on the drawing board, to one of the most exciting live bands in the country, especially when they are in full flight.
“We hope to get the chance to write for other people.” Peter went on, “There seems to have been a reversal whereby capable artists are using other people`s material, and I still feel there`s a lot we can do. I mean I think a lot of writers enjoy a much wider range of music than their public or press ever give them credit for.”

Whilst in the States, Peter was invited to take part in a TV chat show with John McLaughlin and the Beach Boys` Mike Love, and McLaughlin was voicing the same opinion about the coverage of good material. The result was that McLaughlin and Love ended up playing “California Girls” along with Charles Lloyd. Peter, it should be noted, did not participate. “Being of nervous disposition and totally overawed by the barrage of electric equipment, I made for the nearest corner on my stool….”
Quite how definite are the individual plans of the group remains to be seen. Peter has often spoken of his wishes to write and record with songwriter Martin Hall, and I brought this up again during the interview. “Yes, it`s a strong possibility. We`ve done a few songs together but not recorded anything.”
The idea, he emphasised, was not to extend egos but simply to provide a nucleus for a variation of ideas. Meanwhile Mike Rutherford is planning a project with the old Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips.
“We`ve been doing the stooge routine for long enough and we don`t really want to be tied. It`s not a case of `Now I`m going to do my own thing` routine but just the desire to be involved with other people. At the same time we are going into our own album with a strong feeling that a change is about to take place. It`s very easy to repeat your former glories if you think your appeal lies in a certain direction so we are going to work towards avoiding that on this album and introduce things that we haven`t tried before. We really want a radical change.”
And so in the Autumn Genesis plan their British return with a concert tour and a completely new stage act, more than likely another piece of theatrical extravagance destined to make them very little money overall when it comes to the final analysis. How much longer do they plan to throw their tour profits straight back into the hat?
Peter admitted to the frustrations that this situation inevitably induces, especially when they see small bands dividing the spoils at the end of a gig. But he feels that it`s all for the best.

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“When Tony (Smith) takes his management percentage then that`s just about break even point. But the amount of money that changes hands is now greatly up, and the next American tour should put us into a profit area.
“The thing about America is that unless you`re very lucky with radio plays you have to go as many places as possible because everything is localised, so now we`re trying to remodel our tours to the point where we shouldn`t really play in any place twice with the same show. Instead we`d like to play medium size buildings and do about three consecutive nights there – several dates in one town, which would enable us to put on a better show, and then that would be it.”
But the band, like most, encountered their fair share of bad taste in the States. Firstly there was the press reception in Boston (“we`re not the kind of band to have a press reception for anyway”) where someone came up with the bright idea of having the group sit amongst the disciples in a painting of “The Last Supper”, the idea being to have the band flash across Christ`s head with the use of a generator and effects.
Then they had six guitars stolen, and although two were brought back there were some very funny stories going round, says Peter. This was at the Academy of Music, and it was there that Peter made his one and only attempt to “take off” Drury Lane style. The result was that the whole thing backfired, the timing was off and Peter was left out on stage, suspended, ignominiously, in mid-air.
“No-one really knew what they were doing,” he explained, predicting the axing of that particular facet from the show. “Flying was a gimmick – it doesn`t have any great aesthetic significance and I probably won`t do it again.”
Right now Genesis are down in Hindhead – close to where it all began for them some years ago. They`re rehearsing material for their new album at Led Zeppelin`s country retreat, and when they`ve completed their writing period they hope to bring in a mobile unit rightaway. “We might then be able to get some of the ideas down while they`re still fresh because we feel that it`s our one opportunity in the year to record and we`d better make it good!”
Not only good, but by the sounds of things thoroughly unique – a complete departure from all that`s gone before.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bryan Ferry, Captain Beefheart, Jim Capaldi, Lee Jackson, Uriah Heep, Byzantium, Denny Cordell, Ronnie Lane, Blue, Nutz, Arthur Brown, Harry Chapin, Groundhogs.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Peter Gabriel (Genesis) FROM SOUNDS, March 3, 1973

A lot of people like this version of Genesis a lot better than what they became later. I see them as almost two separate bands, with Gabriel they were sort of a progressive art-rock band, without him they became a more melodic rock band. Both versions of the band are fine in their own right. Enjoy this one, the last from this issue of Sounds – an issue which were full of riches to explore. On to the next one….

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Gabriel – Living out a surrealist fantasy

By Jerry Gilbert

Peter Gabriel personifies first the surrealist evil that lurks within “Clockwork Orange”, and then the sweet bizarre innocence of Lewis Carroll`s Alice.
The whole issue of camped up stage drama in A.D. 1973 is beginning to portend something patholigical, by and large. The credibility gap of the presentation and its inability to tax the real imagination – these are the problems too often encountered and too rarely overcome.
Maybe the Genesis approach has been different – perhaps they`ve gained from taking the slow winding road to the top of the hill without being sidetracked into any of the Messaenic hyperbole that so many of their contemporaries have chosen.

TANGIBLE

The band`s new stage act, I dare say, transcends just about everything that has come under the portrayal of surrealistic art in an eminently tangible rock form. The band live beyond the seven-year cycle that determines the course of rock music fads and their communicative level is on purely a fantasy level, using as its medium tragi-comedy, quasiallegory, and at its most extreme points life and death as humorous transient sequences rather than states of being.
Peter Gabriel`s visions of life and death are paradoxical; his theory is that music provides visual images – and if that music reaches the theatre then those images can be acted out. In short, you are taken on the unknown voyage of 2001 while Peter Gabriel personifies first the surrealist evil that lurks within “Clockwork Orange”, and then the sweet bizarre innocence of Lewis Carrol`s Alice.
Backstage Alice was taking off her final coat of make up, the metamorphosis revealing Peter Gabriel, suddenly the quiet, self-effacing public school boy who would at first seem the vicarious victim of such a vigorous expression as Genesis send forth except for the fact that he can handle it all superbly.
Offstage he dresses soberly and would be entirely unassuming but for the shaved forehead which would seem to indicate that he is affiliated to some weird religious order.

In the light of such a stage extravaganza did Peter feel that the “Foxtrot” album could stand up on its own merits, stripped of all the trimmings, without providing something of an anti-climax?
“Well we`ve never been entirely satisfied with the album and the music relies heavily on capturing the entire atmosphere on record – we didn`t capture the atmosphere we could have done but we can on stage with our visual presentation,” Gabriel explained.
Prior to the tour Genesis spent long hours in the Rainbow, meticulously taking their existing act and moving it slightly off-centre so that it distorts. The revamped act is little more than a series of clever nuances, save for the obvious introduction of headdresses, but the impact is immediate.
“I think we have enough visual links now that once people see the band the imagery will wash over into the record anyway,” Peter went on. “For instance, I think `Yellow Submarine` provided visual images for people listening to those songs afterwards – things like `Northern Song`.”
Does it matter that the audience are by and large unable to grasp the significance of Gabriel`s personal symbolism? He didn`t think so: “For instance, I like some of Eliot`s poetry and you can spend years looking up his symbolism and cross references if you want to and you might end up with quite a lot of assorted information, but I don`t think you get any more pleasure out of it than if you understand any of the references.”

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DETAIL

Then the serious expression gave way to a grin: “But I do like to have the detail there so that if anyone did want to spend their life rooting around the lyrics, they could find it and it would be like a little paper chase for them, you know, very unnecessary but great fun.”
`Supper`s Ready` is the composition that moves through more physical and allegorical sequences than most – pieced together as a single concept it could parallel a Bosch creation but with the added dimension of time.
“We`ve never taken anything as bulky as “Supper`s Ready` on the road before and we find that when we take things out that we`ve done a lot of work on they are generally such that you can`t hold an audience during certain sections, but what`s pleased us is that audiences on this tour have been willing to listen to all of it.”
I asked Peter whether the band felt comfortable about undertaking such a tour so soon after the one with Lindisfarne, and whether they were affected psychologically by the prospect of returning to the same venues – this time as a headline act.
“It`s only really been strange playing here in Newcastle again, but on the whole we`ve been very, very pleased, because we didn`t know how many places we could fill. We seem to have accumulated much more power than we had a few months ago.”
He explained that the band was used to headlining as they have been broken in on the European circuit. In Italy they are acclaimed as vociferously as they`re ever likely to be in England.
“With our own backcloth now it`s different – there are no speakers visible, we wanted to make the whole thing more personal but strangely very few people have remarked on it although they are usually very aware of the presence of stacks.”
This has helped to levitate the entire credibility of such a creation – the band, shielded by their backprop emerge as though on a dias, and the elimination of such eyesores as speakers assists the audience greatly in accepting their position within Genesis` ephemeral world.
“But people have become much more involved in the fantasies,” insisted Gabriel as though deeming the whole thing worthwhile. “From people who have talked to us they are becoming totally surrounded by it although other people will be left stone cold.”

EYESORES

Then Peter proceeded to outline plans for a new all-embracing project, the concept of which has already been evolved, and when it finds the right environment it`s going to remove its audience totally from any natural habitat and place them in a strange cosmic situation. He was reluctant to divulge the essence of the concept as a venue has not been determined, but the effect it is certain to create is staggering.
“At the moment we are still limited with what we can put across, but with plan x, let`s call it, we will be able to get a lot more across, built out of certain energies, and provide them with the right emphasis.”
“The thing is,” Peter went on, “we`re still not happy with the lighting situation. We had the Who`s lighting guys giving us technical advice and it can be used well as we learn more ourselves about colour.”
So presumably the Genesis road crew would shortly be expanding? “Yes, I do think this will be happening unfortunately. I don`t like the idea of having a touring troupe, but the thing is once we agree on the conception of an idea, then we don`t want to have to worry about the technical difficulties – I think it`s inevitable that the more efficient you become the more organisation you require and therefore more money.”

PLOUGH

But as far as Genesis are concerned their money is already spent. “We want to plough any money we make from gigs right back into the presentation of the show… and we want to do this ad infinitum. We want to do the very best we can on stage and make our money on the records.”
Inevitably this will lead to a dichotomy in the band`s material for they will surely visualise albums and stage productions as entirely different concepts in the future and channel their music accordingly.
“Yes, because we still primarily see ourselves as songwriters which may seem a bit strange – but it`s a writer`s approach to visuals rather than a performer`s.
“What`s important to us now is to do what we`re doing in this country in the States. Unfortunately at first that means taking what you can get including the top band pulling out your power point when they think you`re going down too well. We may decide to just take in towns where the album has done well and do them on our own.”
By May or June Genesis will be back in the recording studios; Gabriel already has some ideas worked out for it (yet to get the affirmation of the rest of the group). And judging from the frame of mind he`s in at present you`d better expect something stunning.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Darryl Way (Curved Air), Sounds staff analyse David Bowie, Nazareth, Steve Marriott, Average White Band, Elton John, Geordie, Status Quo, Slade, Stackridge, Thin Lizzy, Mike Heron, Jesse Winchester.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Genesis FROM SOUNDS, September 9, 1972

Prog-rock fans are one of the most dedicated fans in the world, alongside people listening to jazz and blues, classical and of course rock.
So this early Genesis article may bring the prog message boards into meltdown.
Have fun.

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Genesis doing the foxtrot

By Jerry Gilbert

Peter Gabriel – slightly eccentric or acute schizophrenic?
He cycles to Island Studios to begin a day`s work on the new Genesis album, and unpacks a bottle of throat medicine and a wonder-cure spray rather like a schoolboy would unload his text books.
In fact Gabriel personifies a schoolboy – or the way a schoolboy might be portrayed at some distant point in time. His head is part shaved and his eyebrows bush out which looks a little incongruous when he`s not prancing about the stage daubed with paint and make up like some nebulous apparition.
Suddenly Peter Gabriel and his bicycle are in Basing Street. The singer has arrived. He might have descended in a police box but that`s probably illegal.
Inside, we take a peep at the new Genesis album “Foxtrot” and at the same time sample the strange mechanism of Peter Gabriel`s mind.
He begins to talk, realises he is not quite expressing his feelings satisfactorily, gives a self-efacing shrug and trails off. We wait as he muses on the subject but invariably he fails to take up the point again.
Peter Gabriel is a mutterer and a muser – a man who amuses and minces across the stage when Genesis are in full flow.
He has not climbed on the campwagon since Bowie became beautiful – he has always allowed his latent extrovert side to come out on stage and take him over in what ever way it will.

“You see certain characters I sing about I feel related to in some strange way like the little character in `The Music Box`.” Then he trails off again murmuring some thing about colouration and worrying about a more articulate explanation.
There is no question that Gabriel assumes different identities on stage but in a sense it is indicative of the way in which Genesis have grown organically and in so doing, have not caused the kind of sensation which induces the raising of eyebrows.
Nothing sensational has ever really happened to Genesis which is scarcely surprising when you consider the fact they are a quiet, unassuming bunch of lads who came together as songwriters at public school and started from scratch.
The most remarkable aspect of the group has been their growth rate, and today they find themselves placed among the handful of top bands in Britain.
They were the only band to capture the imagination of the crowds at Reading on the Friday night which is remarkable for a brand of music which depends so heavily on subtleties.
Now things will start to happen – and for a kick off their new album is sensational.
The feeling was already there as we studied the Paul Whitehead designed sleeve on the way over to Island. Bassist Mike Rutherford was explaining how complementary it was to the nature of the album – and again it contains aberrations from a human situation which are so slight as to be absolutely bizarre.

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Gruesome heads are seen on perplexed horsemen and as the hunt arrives at the sea, there stands the beautiful lady with the fox`s head – and hence the title of the album.
Like the new Yes album, one side is devoted entirely to one track, written by Gabriel and entitled `Supper`s Ready`.
“There`s a line in Revelations which says `This supper of the mighty one`… anyway there are very straightforward levels at which you can take the lyrics if you want”, explained Gabriel in typically self-effacing fashion. The song is constructed in several distinct sequences, dipping and soaring from acoustic passages to mighty barrages of sound in much the same way as songs like “Musical Box” and “Stagnation”!
But although they have unleashed twenty-five minutes of sound per side, which can be damaging to the overall sound Genesis have achieved a far more dynamic effect that on “Trespass” and “Nursery Cryme” and it is a far more interesting album.
The band intend to feature the album almost wholesale in their stage act when they go on tour with Lindisfarne next month.
“Watcher Of The Skies”, based around Tony Banks` funereal mellotron opens the album, but one of the highlights is a song by Peter Gabriel concerning the eviction of an old couple by the winklers. The song is called “Get `Em Out By Friday” and Gabriel keeps the battle running by assuming the voices of both factions. The song is an acute protest at an increasingly threatening situation, and according to Mike Rutherford they are the best lyrics Gabriel has written.

Genesis have kept the mellotron largely in the back-ground although it is used predominantly in a track called “Can Utility And The Coastline” which is a play on King Canute, and the stage replacement for “Stagnation”.
“We`ll be rehearsing a completely new stage act because just about all the stuff we`ve done in the studio we can do on stage”, explained Mike. “We`ll probably keep `Return Of The Giant Hogweed` and `Musical Box` but we really need a new closing number to replace `The Knife`. We hope to have this within the next couple of months”.
Although Genesis have not put any overt humour on album, there are plenty of humourous moments to be found beneath the layers of sound – and plenty of effects too. For one sequence of “Supper`s Ready” they sent out for eight children off the streets, four coloured kids and four whites to sing a choral part, and paid them ten bob each for the privilege.
Thanks largely to a far more dynamic drum and vocal sound and a greater studio presence, Genesis have produced a beautiful album, overcoming the unenviable problem of changing producers en route. David Hitchcock is the man responsible for completing what should prove a highly important album.
Summing up Mike Rutherford sees that whereas the group`s style necessarily changed between “Trespass” and “Nursery Cryme” owing to personnel changes, the new album is a development of the same musicians.
“We`ve all had a chance to settle in now and this album is far more dynamic – Phil Collins` drum work gives the sound an overall attack that`s been missing before”, Mike concluded.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: John McLaughlin, Faces, John & Yoko, Eagles, Yes, Nazareth, JSD Band.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

 

ARTICLE ABOUT Peter Gabriel (Genesis) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, March 15, 1975

This is the first post on this blog with Genesis as the main subject. A fine band, but quite different with or without the primary interview object in this article. We feel the tensions between Gabriel and the rest of the band quite clearly here. Only a few months later, Mr. Gabriel was out of the band.

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Gabriel`s Cosmic Juice

(not to be taken internally)

MAX BELL attempts to form substance from negativity with philosophisin` PETE GABRIEL of GENESIS. Also contains: “The Rock Journalist As Superstar – A Post-Grad Thesis.”

Rael strolled nonchalanty out of the Manhattan subway, wiping a spray gun on his white tee-shirt. The self-elected graffiti king rolled and pouted down the sidewalk cursing the wops and blacks, the whites and chicanos who had him numbered as a nothing, the ultimate outcast.
“So you think that I`m a tough kid? Well, I am and I don`t give a shit.”
Rael is all Peter Gabriel`s creation. One hundred and one per cent virgin violence, he`d boot your teeth down the back of your throat as soon as look at you.
That such a character should evolve at all and become the subject for examination under the rock `n` roll microscope isn`t surprising. He has roots in the most obvious territory: a mixture of James Dean, Sal Mineo and Warren Beattie with a fair measure of Rod Steiger thrown in on top. A Lee Strasberg wet-dream.
But, come on – Peter Gabriel?
A nice middle-class boy. Very shy and super polite. Withdrawn to the point of anonymity. Mention the word “interview” to him and he backs off like a startled rabbit.

Trying to put him at ease required nearly all of the two days with Genesis I was allowed.
But once pinned to a schedule he`ll acquiesce meekly – the lamb lies down.
He has a problem; it`s indicated at breakfast time. As various members of the party troop into the Hilton klatsch he greets them warmly, waving a friendly hand. Trouble is, they ignore him. Not deliberately, he`s just not there.
Grinning and shrugging he returns to his porridge:
“And I`m supposed to be a communicator. Oh well.”
Onstage it`s very different. Whether he`s the “Watcher”, “Cynthia”, “Narcissus”, or “Rael”, Gabriel strides the boards like Sir Henry Irving, an acting colossus with the audience in the palm of his hand. Ironically, he unwinds only in performance, bolting straight out of that shell.

Projecting one major character is his role in “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”, Genesis` most ambitious work to date.
The story of Rael – condemned to life on the streets; subterranean adventures in a fantasy world populated by misfits and nightmares Edgar Allen Poe would have been proud to entertain.
“I got the story last summer and tossed the idea, in synopsis form, around in the usual manner until they agreed to do the whole thing. A lot of the music was already written. There`s a few influences which I couldn`t pin down. Dreams particularly.”
Guitarist Steve Hackett seems to have a better idea of what eats Gabriel:
“Everyone has skeletons in the cupboard. Peter`s got more than most. Mine are schoolgirls, his are snakes, Adam and Eve and the destruction of the apple.”
This ain`t rock `n` roll, this is insecticide.
Corruption and sexual deviation have always played a large part in most of Gabriel`s writings – only this time it`s less oblique and you can understand the message on several levels. One very kinky sequence involves the mythical Lamia, a voluptuous monster that preys on human flesh and sucks children`s blood.

It`s an obvious allusion to oral sex, but Peter seems to have prepared for any analysis by providing ready-made Freudian suggestion:
“Actually I`d been reading Jung at that period, so it was deliberate to a certain extent. I think the main thing I was striving for was the contrast between character and fantasy. It`s the idea of him being an outcast in a totally alien situation. I identify with him to a certain extent.”
But why the title? The Lamb is something of a throwaway and hardly plays a significant part in proceedings:
“You see, the lamb isn`t a symbol, so I was a bit worried about the title. He`s a catalyst for peculiarities that take place. The result is experiences Rael wouldn`t be expected to go through because he`s the least likely person to fall into all this pansy claptrap.”
In one way Rael`s mishaps are nothing more than the grotesque extremes of real life against which he rebels – anti -conformist, anti-society, anti-establishment. The discoveries he makes are painful and mostly by default:
“It isn`t quite `I saw God in bed`, but it amounts to the same thing. Like the Lamia uncovering his hidden personality. He`s not as butch as he hoped he would be. There`s a masculine and feminine in everybody and that brings out his romantic side.”

Gabriel smiles sheepishly and continues muttering through his porridge:
“He gets to discover more possibilities in his make-up than just flesh and blood, although in physical terms there`s no way he should survive.”
The eventual outcome of Rael`s adventures isn`t quite clear. Gabriel deliberately left him in limbo in the final and cryptic “It”:
“I don`t think he`s dead. Just going through the cosmic juice, man.”
So what`s `It` about, man?
“An attempt to form substance from negatives.”
Come again?
“For example, it`s like me saying I have a six-inch diameter red ball and it isn`t blue, green or yellow and it isn`t bigger than 12 inches or smaller than nine…er…well…my reasoning is a bit out there, never mind.
“You know how they approach drama in good suspense movies. You never see what`s so terrifying because they leave it up in the air without moulding or labelling it.”

That`s better, he`s opening up now and having, at last, managed to catch the waitress` eye, he surreptitiously tips a pot of honey into his coffee:
“My stomach works before my brain. Where was I? Oh yes, the Press.”
We kicked around the possibility that the more popular a band becomes the more likely the Press are to nail the poor bastards` heads to the floor and stamp on them:
“Huh. I`m surprised to hear anyone from the N.M.E. say that because in England it`s definitely true, the only place where we didn`t get good reviews last time. They haven`t exactly been noted for their enthusiasm before, either.
“It`s obvious to me that there`s a lot more to music criticism than criticising music. The elevation of rock journalists to superstars proves that. But this concept of the musical elite isn`t accurate. Once they hear a mellotron they close up, finished.”
But haven`t Genesis always laid themselves open to allegations of pretention?
“Your paper`s exposed it if it`s there. (Laughs quietly). We`re easy to put down. You can say the characters are far-fetched, the music over ornate, that we`re riding on my costume success. There – I`ve done it for you.
“However, in maybe ten years a group will emerge to take what we do a lot further. I look upon us as an early, clumsy prototype.”

The stonewall barrier Genesis are thrown up against has always been built on the attitude that condemns anything which tries to make rock `n` roll something more…important. Surprisingly Gabriel goes along with that viewpoint:
“I don`t like the arty tag we`ve got. There`s a vitality and an earthiness, too. I`ve always disliked `culture` and the snobbery that surrounds it. I believe in getting art out of the galleries and on to the streets, something which has begun to happen in this century.
“Anyone can relate to art forms now – there doesn`t have to be a separation between culture and non-culture.”
Now hold on. What you`re saying amounts to a deflation of the so-called creative process in order to get down to the grits:
“True. Status Quo are just as cultural as Wagner`s Ring Cycle. As to the pleasure people derive from the two I don`t know, but in terms of entertainment they are the same.”
So where would we be if Shakespeare had said “enough of this Hamlet nonsense, I think I`ll write a limerick instead”?
“Er…you take your craft to the best of your ability. Maybe what we do appeals to those with complicated tastes, I dunno. In Atlanta they billed us as the `Hottest Thing To Come Out Of England`s New Intellectual Rock Movement`. Didn`t like that at all.”

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It`s impossible to tell when Gabriel is being completely serious and when he`s taking the piss.
The fact that he`s intelligent enough to parody the rock circus makes me wary of that spiel about art-on-the-streets. After all, he wrote “Get `Em Out By Friday” because he said social comment was getting to be unfashionable.
While lyrically he is a gas, the humour employed in the songs is essentially English (despite the visuals) – so why should Genesis` success be greater on the Continent where they can`t possibly understand the content?
Still the putsch continues – France, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, all taken by storm:
“I know what the N.M.E. would say. They`d say it was because they can`t understand the lyrics! I think Continentals like the exaggeration and the sense of festival, whereas the English are more reserved. People having a good time is the purpose of our gigs; that`s where fun and art coincide.”
Another aspect of Gabriel that often passes unnoticed is the tendency towards self-parody whilst wiping up the remains left by other rock stars` questionable achievements. For example, the final line of “The Lamb Lies Down”: “It`s only knock and knowall, but I like it.” In a sense completely destroying the created atmosphere:
“Well, that`s partly aimed at the Press and it`s partly a throwaway in story terms. It gets back to the thing about art. While it`s fun to be pompous and sermonise it`s still an illusion, a grand illusion. If you can retain your sense of humour and be cynical, it`s better.
“I go right inside my lyrics and laugh at them at the same time.”

Only in Britain does a refusal to take Genesis seriously border on active distrust of their motives:
“In America I find it much healthier. There`s room for different opinions and you don`t have to justify yourself when you like a band. Here you do, they make you feel guilty or something. Americans didn`t mind that I was telling them about an American. I didn`t pretend to be anything other than an observer there for short periods, I wasn`t unleashing the secrets of New York.”
Anyone who still holds the precious opinion that Genesis ain`t a rock band has their head well buried. There`s going to be a big ownup when the new show hits perfidious Albion because it`s mostly as legit as any other breed of rock being toted for the public`s edification.
Gabriel has even started borrowing from ancient Jagger and enjoys every minute of it, obviously:
“Of course – who doesn`t? Is there a man alive who hasn`t performed his Jaggerisms in front of a mirror? I know I have.”
Can`t tell if Gabriel is worried by criticism or whether he remains aloof. Particularly as he`s getting bleary-eyed again and groping for the toast:
“Sorry…” (croak, splutter) “I`m not being very…” (here my tape indicates a general running-down noise, somewhat akin to a rusty wheelchair being pushed off Beachy Head with the occupant still strapped in) “communicative.
“Although no artist enjoys being slagged, it doesn`t matter if the Press never accepts us.”
And when might that day come?
“Not until we can afford the outrageous bribes you journalists charge.”

I left Gabriel contemplating a plate of scrambled eggs, and proceeded to track down another band member. Eventually I unearthed Steve Hackett, who was delighted to natter.
Recently, the rest of the group have grown increasingly pissed off at Peter getting the lion`s share of publicity. But while they grumble in private, they`re too reserved to force the issue.
Phil Collins, The Working-Class Drummer, used to act wild. Breaking glasses and spraying toothpaste at foreign waiters.
But he`s settled down to the quiet life as well.
While the rest of us hotfooted it for a meal with the three-headed Labelle, Phil settled down for the night with a cup of Horlicks. In fact, apart from one brief appearance in the hotel lobby, no-one saw Collins until he played the show as extrovertly as usual. According to Gabriel, Phil is a much-changed man and wanders lonely as a cloud, mumbling “Nobody likes a smart-ass” to himself.
Steve Hackett, minus beard and glasses, is perhaps the most talkative and easy-going. Rather apart from the others, but aware of his right to speak out:

“On-stage, it`s true – we choose to make ourselves anonymous. But it annoys me when people think Peter did everything right down to writing all the songs and designing the stage. On the last album he wrote less of the music than us.”
Was he concerned at the lukewarm reception Genesis generally received in this country? (Even down to the level where, because of their backgrounds, it was claimed they hadn`t, indeed couldn`t, pay their dues!).
“We`ve only made it through audiences. Any Press accolade has been a by-product.
“As for that dues thing – crap. We`ve been the most available band in the world for seven years. Available to the situation where everybody thinks they own a part of us when they don`t. We`ve played to half a million people on this European tour, and we`re still bloody making it.”
For once the facts are inescapable. Genesis in Europe is THE major thing. Neither the Stones nor The Who (not even Led Zeppelin) can outdistance their box-office receipts.
Young blades and old-timers alike were agreed that the Palais Des Sports gig was the best, response-wise, that they`d ever heard in gay Paree.
Hackett points out where the poor kids have been misunderstood.
“Too often they criticise the form without being able to perceive the spirit. We use a lot of establishment ideas that others don`t. Not values but instrumentation, a lot of traditional elements.
“See, the Stones stood for everything that was negative, they were always putting down. We`re not like that.”

Hackett`s loner stance doesn`t stop him enjoying the fruits of touring, but he`s never exactly anxious to walk on stage. Before gigs his guts churn and he`s often physically sick.
Once in Detroit eight guns were removed from various members of the audience as they entered the hall:
“If I`d known that before, that would have been it. Anything like that and I`m off, I don`t want to know. We were in Leicester once and there was a bloke throwing bottles at the stage. Mike (Rutherford) just stopped playing – crunch – looked at him – y`know, really shocked – and the guy got up and smashed him in the face. So we walked off.
“I was shaken for hours.”
The question of violence affects the group in varying degrees, but performing “The Knife” (particularly in Italy and France where all major gigs become political events) brings problems. What the swarthy Mediterraneans don`t realise is that “The Knife” is a send-up of revolutionary attitudes, a satire – as in joke.
Banks, at the best of times is nervous about it all, but Rutherford, very tall and laconic, enjoys the experience in a masochistic way.

None of them are prepared to let trouble interfere with their safety. After they refused to encore in Brussels there was a riot which Rutherford reckons changed policy a lot:
“Encores don`t mean so much that we`ll watch them tear the hall apart. It`s not such a big thing after all.”
One half of Hackett would rather be playing in the Marquee on Friday night – but the other half wins every time, despite the aggravation:
“In the past I`ve had days of supreme confidence and days of supreme depression. The only key to success is persistence and, if I want something, I don`t give up.
“At school they asked me what I wanted to be. I said `famous`. In a way it hasn`t taken me by storm. It`s slightly calculated but involves a lot of emotion, too.
“I`ve got there on my own terms.”

So Genesis are going to carry on writing their self-contained vignettes and using their mellotrons.
They`re making no attempt to compromise either their intelligence or their potential. They are a group, a unit, with equal say and variable influence – though, whether they like it or not, Gabriel will always attract the most publicity because he has to. He`s the star around which the others revolve.
Then again, as lyricist and vocalist his is the personality that hits you first.
For a brief moment Gabriel-as-Rael and Rael-as-Gabriel coalesce into one person speaking with a common voice:
“I`ll tell you something. We`re not going to be a band to sit still. We`ll self-destruct before we stop running.”

A nice full-page ad from Yes.

A nice full-page ad from Yes.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Lol Creme, Pilot, Ramases, David Bowie, Pub Rock Special, Charlie Parker, Alice Cooper.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

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