Posts Tagged ‘Peter Gabriel’

Foxtrot, 1972

Today “Foxtrot” sounds as unique, dramatic, thrilling and ambitious as ever. It’s where the classic line-up of the band came fully into being; it’s when they realised how much they could do, how far they could go. “It was about creating a film for the ear rather than the eye,” says Steve Hackett. “And it even got to Number 12 in the charts,” Tony Banks laughs. “Of course the next week it went down to Number 27 or something, but it was our first moment  so we felt that we were underway, that we were heading somewhere different. “Foxtrot” was where we first started, in my opinion, to become a significant band.”

Recorded in 1972, almost exactly a year after the Nursery Cryme sessions, “Foxtrot” saw the group take a huge leap forward – both sonically and visually. Having already performed in Europe, Genesis booked dates in the US for the first time, and worked up a suitably ambitious live show – a key development of which was Peter Gabriel’s adopting of stage costumes.

Genesis, Foxtrot era stage masks

While all of its tracks are strong and inventive, Foxtrot is unavoidably dominated by the 23-minute, seven-part suite which graced what used to be side two. Supper’s Ready is one of the towering landmarks of prog, dovetailing short surreal pieces with moving neo-classical reprises and recapitulations, serene flows with shuddering staccato, parochial realism with pulchritudinous dreams. Across this fire from the skies, Peter Gabriel sings of battles between good and evil and love and war, of firemen, farmers, flowers (‘a flower?’), and a frog who was a prince (who was a brick) (which was an egg) (which was a bird). And of 666 and a new Jerusalem. Startling then, it remains a stunning achievement of vision and scale. Roger Taylor of Queen has called it, “at separate times, homely, beautiful, tortured and epic.” ‘We’ve got everything,’ it declares presciently. ‘We’re growing everything…’.While Supper’s Ready is the main course, Foxtrot should however be appreciated as more than just a set of appetisers leading up to it. It’s strange to learn that the album came about in a relatively ramshackle manner: no great master plan had been conceived.

A surprise to the rest of the band, Gabriel donned his wife’s red dress and a fox mask during their performance of Nursery Cryme’s ‘The Musical Box’ at Dublin’s National Stadium, on 28th September 1972. Further costumes were unveiled as the tour progressed (among them an “old man” costume that came into its own during performances of ‘The Musical Box’), while songs from Foxtrot were marked out by some of Gabriel’s most defining on-stage characters, including Batwing (a cape accessorised with wings, adorned during Foxtrot opener ‘Watcher Of The Skies’) and a large flower-headed guise, visualising the reference to Narcissus in Foxtrot’s epic closer, ‘Supper’s Ready’.

Gabriel, Genesis live, Foxtrot

B-sides are a relatively rare commodity for progressive rock bands. They often refused to stoop to the level of those pop proletarians, issuing singles. Additionally, if they had spare song fragments lying around, they could simply incorporate them into epic side-long suites. The track ‘Supper’s Ready’, which closed Genesis‘ 1972 album Foxtrot, was a bunch of shorter songs juxtaposed into one twenty minute piece.

‘Twilight Alehouse’ was recorded during the sessions for Foxtrot, although the band had been playing it live since 1970. It eventually surfaced as the b-side to ‘I Know What I Like in Your Wardrobe’, a single from 1973’s Selling England by the Pound.

Rather than a half-baked idea, it’s a fully formed Genesis song from their prime. It would arguably have been the weakest song on Foxtrot, but only because Foxtrot is a career highlight. ‘Twilight Alehouse’ bears the trademarks from the group’s progressive era – Peter Gabriel’s husky vocals and flute, Phil Collins’ virtuoso drumming, and Tony Banks’ dominant organ. Steve Hackett’s guitar is more prominent than usual, especially in the mellow opening section, where his rhythm playing is mixed louder than usual.

Because it’s a b-side, it’s hard to find information on who wrote the lyrics, which is always an interesting question for early Genesis – Gabriel was generally the strongest lyricist, but it’s not immediately obvious who penned these words. It’s an unusual lyric, almost like a love paean to wine from an alcoholic.

The band sought a producer who could capture their improving live sound, and to that end had meetings or sessions with Paul Samwell-Smith, John Anthony and Bob Potter. None was quite the right fit so David Hitchcock, whose work with Caravan had impressed, came in, with the more outspoken engineer John Burns.

Steve Hackett was fatigued by the heavy touring schedule and still somewhat intimidated by his fellow band members’ prowess (“these guys are so good”, he’s recalled thinking).

In 2012, having just re-recorded Supper’s Ready and others for his Genesis Revisited II album, he remembers the steps towards Foxtrot more fondly. “There weren’t a lot of days off; we were a hard-working live band,” he says. “Whereas with its predecessor, Nursery Cryme, we’d taken the summer off and written and recorded together as a unit, bonding the team, this time we were on the run, in and out of the studio. I remember flying back from Italy to be in there a day or two ahead of the others, who were travelling by road, just to finish off my guitar parts on the end of Supper’s Ready.”

We generally agreed to a man that we recorded Watcher Of The Skies too fast. To my ears now it sounds like a young band desperate to get the notes right in a race to the finish. Once we’d been playing it live for a while, we relaxed into it and it sounded bigger. The version that ended up on

Genesis Live is more in-the-pocket. That rhythm is almost impossible for any band to play perfectly! It’s full of pitfalls.Yet there’s lots of weird and wonderful stuff; it’s a band at its most creatively eccentric.”

Rehearsals (and writing sessions) in a variety of locations may have coloured the album’s angles and attitudes. Hackett recounts that Foxtrot was worked up in a variety of “drab, functional” places, until they moved (without Gabriel, who added the words later) to the Una Billings School Of Dance in Shepherd’s Bush. “There were girls dancing upstairs, learning their tap-dance and what-have-you. And the sound of that, those rhythms would come down through the ceiling. We were below in what had been a refectory, so you had a counter here and a gobstopper-dispensing machine there. It was all a bit strange, and the atmosphere influenced our subsequent efforts. Much of Supper’s Ready was written in the two weeks there. With the tap-dancing upstairs, you couldn’t be too serious for long, because you’d hear them: clumpety clump clump.

Watcher Of The Skies had grown out of Banks “fooling around” with the Mellotron. “We bought one of the ex-King Crimson Mellotrons,” he notes, “and Robert Fripp insisted it was the one they’d used on In The Court Of The Crimson King. Mind you, he had three, and I’m sure he said that about all of them when he was selling them.”

Hackett too emphasises the importance of that instrument to the album. “I’d kept hammering on that we should get one, saying it’d make our story-telling abilities so much greater. It meant that the band could function as a time machine, with all these various mythologies. The idea was that all the old instruments were there within the Frankenstein that was the Mellotron. It was like an alien orchestra being beamed to you by satellite. And you need to be able to smell the dust from time to time. It had a… cold warmth. I think it’s actually the most influential keyboard instrument in the whole of rock.”

Of course Paul Whitehead’s surrealist sleeve design is as much a part of the Foxtrot “immersion” experience as that pyramid-prism is to The Dark Side Of The Moon. Gabriel certainly dived in, courageously donning his wife’s red dress and a fox-head for stage shows. “It’s interesting how the most cherished albums have the most cherished sleeves,” ponders Hackett. “I think for fans of it there was always that feeling of looking at it and thinking: I’m onto something here that other people don’t necessarily know about. One’s taste becomes tribal: these albums become important bonding elements. Where language leaves off, music begins, and you share a dream.”

Gabriel, Genesis, Foxtrot Era

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Genesis Revelation WO AC

On January 24th, 1975, Genesis performed at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium during their Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour. The band knew it would be their last tour with front man Peter Gabriel; the audience didn’t. Just a few months later, drummer Phil Collins took over as lead singer, making this L.A. performance surprisingly historic. This recording which includes hit single “The Carpet Crawlers,” marks the last professional recording with then vocalist Peter Gabriel.

Gabriel’s departure threatened Genesis’ very existence as a band. After all, he was more than the front man; he interpreted the band’s proggy flights of fancy in literal and visual ways. Collins, who had sung backup to that point, didn’t have the same flair, but he did have the pipes. He reluctantly became the group’s lead singer, and as Genesis gradually transitioned from artful eccentrics to more reliable pop purveyors, his natural stage presence and ability to sing complex songs while drumming made the transition a smooth one.

Setlist :

0:34 The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway 5:36 Fly On A Windshield 8:41 Broadway Melody Of 1974 10:58 Cuckoo Cocoon 13:31 In The Cage 21:12 The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging 25:48 Back In NYC 32:01 Hairless Heart 34:23 Counting Out Time 38:22 Carpet Crawlers 44:07 The Chamber Of 32 Doors 50:55 Lilywhite Lilith 53:56 The Waiting Room 1:00:10 Anyway 1:04:58 Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist 1:08:43 The Lamia 1:15:56 Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats 1:19:10 Colony Of Slippermen 1:28:00 Ravine 1:29:38 The Light Dies Down On Broadway 1:33:16 Riding The Scree 1:37:49 In The Rapids 1:40:12 It 1:45:50 Watcher Of The Skies 1:54:35 The Musical Box

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Released in 1992, “US” is Peter Gabriel’s sixth studio album. It was released six years after the phenomenally successful So, was, at that time, arguably Peter’s mot personal record yet as he stepped into the confessional to explore and dissect many of the relationship issues he was then experiencing. But “US” is far from just being bleakly introspective featuring several songs that have gone on to be amongst the most cherished in the Gabriel songbook.

Singles taken from the album included “Digging in the Dirt”, “Steam”, “Blood of Eden” (an early version of the track was previously featured in the 1991 Wim Wenders film Until the End of the World), and “Kiss That Frog”. Promotional singles also included “Come Talk to Me” and “Secret World.”

On this album Gabriel explored the pain of recent personal problems; his failed first marriage, his relationship with actress Rosanna Arquette, and the growing distance between him and his first daughter.

The album was supported by the Secret World Live tour, named after its closing track, “Secret World”. The tour spawned a live album and a concert film. The album was also promoted through a first-of-its-kind interactive multimedia software released for Macintosh computers called Xplora1: Peter Gabriel’s Secret World, which featured several music videos from the album.

“Although US was not nearly as big a seller as So, I’m pleased that it is now getting better regarded, with hindsight, and I think it has some of my best songs on it.

Part of the idea of using US, other than the fact that it was another two-letter title which doesn’t give me huge room for variation, was the sense that there is a dividing line between ‘us’ and ‘them’. The further back you can push the dividing line, the less problems the world is going to have. The more people you feel compassion, sympathy and understanding for the better. It’s very easy to fall into a state of mind where you just put blame and responsibility on other people and you don’t connect with them. I know that my life works much better when I don’t do that.” ~ Peter Gabriel.

Levin Gabriel McGuiness

Peter Gabriel has long been a favorite artist of mine.  Peter Gabriel and his band performed for a live appearance at the third Rockpalast-Festival in the Grugahalle in Essen. Gabriel a well-known name in rock music; as co-founder, he was a singer with Genesis until 1975. Then in the three years since his separation from this band, he had received good reviews on two LPs of his own, had some hits and made a successful tour through Europe and the USA. that year,

Reflecting construction worker vests, builder’s gloves and shaven heads count among some of the outer appearances of Peter Gabriel’s band. With ladders as decoration and an appearance from the middle of the audience, he is trying to make his work as a rock musician transparent. After being with the mega undertaking Genesis, Gabriel for the first time questioned everything and did some thinking for himself.

Peter Gabriel was born on February 13th, 1950, in Cobham. In 1965, he played with his friend Tony Banks in the band ‘The Garden Wall’; In order to follow his solo experiments, Peter Gabriel left Genesis in 1975, at the end of their ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’ tour. In 1976, his first solo LP ‘Peter Gabriel’ was finished.

His music videos helped inspire many to get into stop motion and his live music has always reminded me how emotional a performance can get. Here is an early performance from the german “Rockpalast” series.

Peter Gabriel – voc/piano Tony Levin – voc/bass Jerry Marotta – drums/voc Sid McGuiness – guit/voc Larry Fast – keyb Timmy Capello – keyb/sax

Setlist

2:44 On The Air 7:05 Moribund the Burgermeister 12:29 Perspective 16:39 Here Comes the Flood 20:30 White Shadow 25:23 Waiting for the Big One 33:10 Humdrum 37:10 I Don’t Remember 42:35 Solsbury Hill 47:46 Modern Love 53:30 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

As Genesis continued the break through in the mid ’70s, Peter Gabriel abruptly stepped off the musical carousel. His decision was driven, in part, by a desire to care for his ill infant daughter. But more than that, Gabriel wanted to start anew creatively , free of the constrictions of being in a band.

“When I left Genesis, I just wanted to be out of the music business,” Gabriel has said. “I felt like I was just in the machinery. We knew what we were going to be doing in 18 months or two years ahead. I just did not enjoy that.”

Genesis did, of course become much bigger and, at least until Gabriel released a self-titled solo debut album on February. 25th, 1977, Gabriel simply vanished. He spent time with his child, and dove into a years-long studies of art, philosophy, world music and religion.

He said in 1977, “I felt that were were just at the point of breaking through to the big time. I just felt that if I’d stayed, I would have got trapped into roles that I was beginning not to enjoy – both within the band and within myself. It would have been much more difficult to let go, once we’d got some material mountain, if you like. But at that point, it didn’t make much difference. If my lifestyle had changed considerably as a result of success, it would have been more difficult for me to let go of all that and leave the band.”

“It’s a funny thing, but when I was the singer, everybody thought I created everything and wrote all of it,” said Gabriel  “Of course, when I left the band, they were way more successful without me. Everybody then assumed, ‘Ah, okay, he did nothing.’”

In truth, he’d never stopped composing. It just took a while for Gabriel to develop any patience with the business side of things again. This time, he pledged to do things differently. Even as “Peter Gabriel” made its way into stores , he was flouting industry convention even refusing, for instance, to release an advance single.

“I kept on with songwriting,” said Gabriel “I knew I wanted to do that, but I really wasn’t that interested in performing again. Then, once the songs came out, I realized that to get them done in a way I liked, I’d have to start recording again. I got back into the recording thing, and started enjoying it. And here, I’m back again.”

Musically, the nervy, lean Peter Gabriel – a Bob Ezrin production which featured King Crimsons Robert Fripp and Tony Levin; Larry Fast; and Steve Hunter of the Alice Cooper band, couldn’t have been a bolder step away from the lengthy prog excursions that had come before. “Well, I tried to do a lot of things to separate me from Genesis,” he admitted . “Sometimes you’d see people leave bands and do watered-down versions of what the band had done. I was determined not to do that. I was keen to get a new audience.” It’s a purposefully eclectic, anything-flies approach to songcraft, venturing from hard-hitting rock (“Modern Love”) to quirky art-rock (the vastly underrated “Moribund The Burgermeister”) to pastoral folk-pop (the lovely “Solsbury Hill,” which serves as a thinly veiled kiss-off to his former band) to, umm, barbershop quartet crooning (“Excuse Me”). No other Gabriel album is quite so gleefully absurd. Unfortunately, the album’s second half is tedious and overwrought, particularly the crawling blues of “Waiting For The Big One” and the thickly orchestrated “Here Comes the Flood” (which later appeared with a more subtle, stark arrangement on Robert Fripp’s 1979 album, Exposure). Overall, Car is a fascinating — if frustrating — first chapter.

Still, the album offered little in the way of narrative insight into his time away, other than the ageless “Solsbury Hill” – an autobiographical turn dealing with Gabriel’s split with Genesis. That too was part of the atmosphere of thrilling risk that surrounded this project. He was, quite simply, unbound – even lyrically. “Climbing up on Solsbury Hill/ I could see the city light/ Wind was blowing, time stood still/ Eagle flew out of the night.” Doesn’t matter if you’ve never been within 500 miles of Somerset with those 28 opening syllables, you’re right there with Gabriel, sharing in his moment of revelation. It’s the first and only time the song’s titular location is mentioned, but the mental image it invokes is burned in your mind

Part of the reason the song’s unusual time signature works is because it’s all in the guitars — that gorgeous spider web of an acoustic riff (played by Lou Reed and Alice Cooper guitarist Steve Hunter) circling the song’s perimeter and providing its pristine, immediately recognizable framework. But if the guitars are undoubtedly the blood pumping through “Solsbury Hill,” it still all stems from the beating heart of the drum thump,

The story of “Solsbury Hill”  of personal epiphany, of hard decision-making, and of breaking free — was unsurprisingly interpreted to be inspired by Gabriel’s split from his old group, and the singer-songwriter has explained, “It’s about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get, or what you are for what you might be. It’s about letting go.” It makes sense, and it certainly enriches the song to know just why Gabriel was worried about his friends thinking he “was a nut,” for making the risky choice to leave his best-selling group to go his own way.

“I just write down images that interest me. I’ve got an idea of what I’m trying to say, but there’s one part in “Humdrum” which I wasn’t clear about. You know, the words sounded nice when written down. I bought a dictionary, and that’s got hundreds of words. All I’ve got to do now is find out how to put them in the right order.”

“In Genesis, we were all putting in material in a polished band arrangement, whereas now I’m trying, as a writer, to arrange things differently, In a group, it was a compromise. You’d hand over your idea to a band interpretation, but now if I hear some things in my head, it’s possible just to try them and see how they work.”

Foxtrot

Many Genesis fans cite 1972’s “Supper’s Ready” is the ultimate example of the band’s ambition, a sprawling 23-minute epic divided into seven sections. It namechecks figures from the bible, ancient history, greek mythology and British political life, and was once described by Peter Gabriel as “the ultimate cosmic battle for Armageddon between good and evil in which man is destroyed, but the deaths of countless thousands atone for mankind, reborn no longer as Homo Sapiens.” It’s complicated. “Supper’s Ready” is a song by the band Genesis. The original recorded version appeared on their 1972 album “Foxtrot”, and the band performed the song regularly on stage for several years. Peter Gabriel summed up “Supper’s Ready” as “a personal journey which ends up walking through scenes from Revelation in the Bible….I’ll leave it at that”. He was also quoted in the book “I know What I like”as saying that the song was influenced by an experience his wife had of sleeping in a purple room, and the nightmares it gave her. The song as been reported as the band’s “undisputed masterpiece”

So why would anyone choose to spend months making an illustrated video to accompany the song? Nathaniel Barlam knows the answer. An artist and architect based in New York City, he works for a company that specialises in designing complex façade systems for skyscrapers and other large projects, but in his spare time he play drums… and works on illustrating songs. Nathan’s video for Supper’s Ready may just be the ultimate expression of his ambition.

Nursery Cryme 1971

Genesis before touring their new album, found themselves looking once more for a drummer – and also a new guitarist. After seeing their advert in Melody Maker, Phil Collins travelled to Peter Gabriel’s parents’ house to audition for the role of drummer, snagging the gig by virtue of his playing and singing skills, and having a personality that fitted the band.

A brief stint as a four-piece followed, before the group found an advert that prospective guitarist in Steve Hackett  who had himself placed in Melody Maker, seeking a band that was “determined to drive beyond existing stagnant music forms”. Duly hired, Hackett joined the new-look Genesis on the road in early 1971, before the group settled in to record their third LP, Nursery Cryme, in August. Genesis transitional Nursery Cryme served more as a signpost for future breakthroughs than a stand-alone accomplishment. The album actually became the bands first U.K. Top 40 album, but that was only after it became clear how important the then-recent additions to the band.

They brought a wealth of new musical ideas and energy to the group, which had released two largely ignored albums before Nursery Cryme arrived on November. 12th, 1971.

“Something definitely changed when Phil joined the band,” singer Peter Gabriel has said. “He was a real drummer – something I had never been too convinced of with [previous members] Chris Stewart and John Mayhew.”

For his part, Hackett eventually found a creative spark as a guitar-playing collaborator especially with keyboardist Tony Banks. “I will say, being in the band with Steve, who is also very masterful with the guitar and could get lots of different sounds with it, the combination of the two of us produced some combinations that were kind of unusual,

Genesis circa Nursery Cryme

Here’s a rare treat for fans of early 70s progressive rock: Peter Gabriel and Genesis together at the beginning of the band’s classic period, performing live on the Belgian TV show Pop Shop in March of 1972. The half-hour film captures the group a little more than a year after Phil Collins and Steve Hackett joined, and before Gabriel started dressing up in outlandish costumes. The lineup includes Gabriel on flute, tambourine and lead vocals, Collins on drums and backing vocals, Hackett on lead guitar, Tony Banks on keyboards and rhythm guitar, and Michael Rutherford on bass and rhythm guitar.

Here’s the setlist:

  1. “The Fountain of Salmacis”
  2. “Twilight Alehouse”
  3. “The Musical Box”
  4. “The Return of the Giant Hogweed”

The songs are all from the 1971 album Nursery Cryme  except “Twilight Alehouse,” which the group had been performing live since 1970 but wouldn’t release on an album until 1998, when the song was included in the boxed set Genesis Archive 1967-75. Peter Gabriel co-founded Genesis in 1967 and left the band in 1975. Phil Collins then took over on lead vocals.

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Jillian Rose Banks , known simply as Banks (often stylized as BANKS), is an American singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, California. She releases music under Harvest Records, Good Years Recordings and IAMSOUND Records imprints of the major label Universal Music Group. Banks’ sound has been described as dark R&B and compared to The Weeknd and Aaliyah, although she cites Lauryn Hill and Fiona Apple as her biggest influences. She says that music helps her release her emotions and for that reason kept her music private while she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Her vocals have frequently been described as “Aaliyah-like”, in addition to Billboard noting that “her rhapsodic voice possesses a frail vulnerability and recalls singers like Feist and Erykah Badu.

She has toured internationally with The Weeknd and was nominated for the Sound of 2014 award by the BBC and an MTV Brand New Nominee in 2014. On May 3, 2014, Banks was dubbed as an “Artist to Watch”

 

The_Lamb_Lies_Down_on_Broadway

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is a double concept album recorded and released in 1974 by the British progressive rock band Genesis. It was their sixth studio album, and the last to feature original singer and frontman Peter Gabriel.It was only a matter of time before Genesis attempted a full-fledged concept album, and 1974’s The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway was a massive rock opera: the winding, wielding story of a Puerto Rican hustler name Rael making his way in New York City. Peter Gabriel made some tentative moves toward developing this story into a movie with William Friedkin but it never took off, perhaps it’s just as well; even with the lengthy libretto included with the album, the story never makes sense. But just because the story is rather impenetrable doesn’t mean that the album is as well, because it is a forceful, imaginative piece of work that showcases the original Genesis lineup at a peak. Even if the story is rather hard to piece together, the album is set up in a remarkable fashion, with the first LP being devoted to pop-oriented rock songs and the second being largely devoted to instrumentals. This means that The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway contains both Genesis’ most immediate music to date. Depending on a listener’s taste, they may gravitate toward the first LP with its tight collection of ten rock songs, or the nightmarish landscapes of the second, where Rael descends into darkness and ultimately redemption (or so it would seem), but there’s little question that the first album is far more direct than the second and it contains a number of masterpieces, from the opening fanfare of the title song to the surging “In the Cage,” from the frightening “Back in NYC” to the soothing conclusion “The Carpet Crawlers.” In retrospect, this first LP plays a bit more like the first Gabriel solo album than the final Genesis album, but there’s also little question that the band helps form and shape this music (with Brian Eno adding extra coloring on occasion), while Genesis shines as a group shines on the impressionistic second half. In every way, it’s a considerable, lasting achievement and it’s little wonder that Peter Gabriel had to leave the band after this record: they had gone as far as they could go together, and could never top this extraordinary Album.
Genesis
Tony Banks – Hammond T-102 organ, RMI 368x Electra piano, Mellotron M400, Elka Rhapsody synthesizer, ARP 2600 & ARP Pro Soloist synthesizers, acoustic piano
Phil Collins – drums, percussion, vibraphone, backing vocals
Peter Gabriel – lead vocals, flute, oboe, tambourine, experiments with foreign sounds
Steve Hackett – electric guitar, classical acoustic guitar
Mike Rutherford – bass guitar, 12-string guitar, bass pedals, fuzz bass