Blog Post © 1 Woman Wordsmith, Leigh Ramsey, August 2010
I have long been (note: please pronounce it "bean" in true Brit style!) penning my own "Book of Love"-style paean to musician Peter Gabriel. Talk about "Love Town"!
So, anyway, when I read a tweet this morning that this--let's be balanced--poetical song-writing genius will be premiering in a Guitar Center "Session" on DIRECTV Channel 101 and in 3D on Channel n|3D on Saturday, Aug. 21, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, it was as if I had met the supernatural anesthetist himself. And, lemme tell you, he KILLED!
Peter Gabriel: First Rebel-Frontman of Progressive Rock Band Genesis
Gabriel, for those of you who don't or won't remember the 1970s and 1980s, was the outside-of-the-"Musical Box"-thinking frontman of 1970s progressive pioneers, British band Genesis. With his mates from Charterhouse School in Surrey, England, he formed Genesis (almost called "Gabriel's Angels," among other monikers), whose most memorable early line-up featured skinsman extraordinaire Phil Collins behind the kit; J.S. Bach with a Moog, Tony Banks; Mike Rutherford keeping the pace on the bass; and the Les Paul-inspired guitar god Steve Hackett.
Earlier this year, Genesis were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with The Stooges and frontman Iggy Pop, ABBA, and others--though this Gen-fan will note it was a distinct disappointment that neither did Gabriel appear with his mates to "ride the scree" nor did the one-man-short band play at the induction ceremony, likely owing to Collins' notoriously wonky back.
Gabriel himself is perhaps best remembered, if not for outlandish costumes such as a hemorrhoid or a gigantic flower-faced man or his reverse Mohawk hairstyle during his Genesis days through 1975, then for 1980s mega-hits "Sledgehammer," "Big Time," and "Shock the Monkey," or perhaps the haunting anti-apartheid anthem, "Biko" or wedding favorite "In Your Eyes."
Gabriel Not Just "Big Time" Soloist; He's Father, Humanitarian, & Businessman
What you might not know is that he also formed a record company, Real World Records, to suffuse the musical spheres with world music and its interesting polyrhythms, implicit social conscience, and danceable tunes from Afro-Celt Sound System to Daby Touré to Dengue Fever and Syriana (to name but a few). Oh, and he inaugurated several admirable projects, from the dance-and-music melange WOMAD to Witness, the latter of which aims to get video cameras into the hands of ordinary people worldwide to document human-rights abuses.
So, besides fatherhood, Gabriel has been a very "Big Blue Ball" busy man of late. Will you be tuning in to watch him on "Sessions"? I'll be there with my bells on when "Supper's Ready." After all, would you expect any less from a woman who deliriously wailed "Winston Churchill dressed in drag/He used to be a British flag" during the birth of her first child?
In the end, I'd like to leave you with the lovely-beyond-words (and I'm not even religious!) "Here Comes the Flood," a clip from the "Sessions," erm, session. Although longtime musical sounding board Tony Levin is not there with his amazing bass-kicking rig, Gabriel still has it with simple voice and piano. "Waves of steel held metal at the sky" ... "stranded starfish have no place to hide/still waiting for the swollen Easter tide"?
In my eyes, PG = Pure Genius.
Peter Gabriel appearing as the Moonlight Knight with Genesis (from the album "Selling England By the Pound," circa 1973. Photograph courtesy of a royalty-free Wikimedia Commons image via Creative Commons.
The Author's Children Graciously Posing with a Portion of the Family's Genesis, Gabriel, and Real World Records memorabilia
The author's daughter likes to dance to Genesis, but here she's looking pensive with part of the family's Genesis/Gabriel collection. The song "Selling England by the Pound" (from the same-titled Genesis album) begins with a "sad" flourish, according to this tot.
The author's son, she hopes, will "grow up" to appreciate both Genesis and Peter Gabriel someday, as well as Real World Records artists such as Afro-Celt Sound System (lying face-down in the left foreground).