Saturday, March 6, 2010

More Than This, There Is Something Else There

And my Heaven will be a big Heaven/ And I will walk through the front door

-Peter Gabriel

The band Genesis will soon be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Their original lead singer, Peter Gabriel, has said he will likely not attend as his tour is about to start at the same time. While die hard fans would surely like to see Gabriel there, it almost seems appropriate he is not.

Bands have had more success after an original lead singer left I am sure. But how many splits worked out this well for both sides? Gabriel became huge after leaving; and so did Genesis. Gabriel did far more interesting things as a solo artist than Genesis ever did without him, and really with him.

Gabriel was using African and other world musicians long before the likes of Paul Simon. A former drummer who loves good percussion, Gabriel even helped create, along with his bass player Tony Levin, attachable drum sticks that stick to your fingers while playing bass. Gabriel loves elaborate staging but yet doesn't rely on it. He finds ways to enhance the music, not make it secondary. As sophisticated as Gabriel can be, he can tone it down to just he and a keyboard for some songs. And for my fellow fans of sad songs, nobody does sad much better.

And for everything I find interesting about Gabriel, lately I am drawn back to his music much for the same reasons of other artists I gravitate to. I find a searching in his lyrics. Not one from artists who one time or another professed faith, like Dylan, Van Morrison U2, or Cat Stevens; but a search of a man that finds there is something more beyond this world, but who is so far not ready to say what that might be.

"Solisbury Hill," Gabriel's first single as a solo artist was about him leaving Genesis. And it evokes imagery of listening to an unknown voice.

I had to listen had no choice
I did not believe the information
Just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom-boom-boom
Son, he said, grab your things I've come to take you home

To keep in silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut

In, "Lay Your Hands On Me," Gabriel opens with the narrator speaking of how he is not interested in the spiritual:

No more miracles, loaves and fishes, been so busy with the
washing of the dishes

But then he comes back around to the spiritual by the 3rd verse. "No more miracles" becomes "there are no accidents."

But still the warmth flows through me
And I sense you know me well
No luck, no golden chances
No mitigating circumstances now
It's only common sense
There are no accidents around here

I am willing - lay your hands on me
I am ready - lay your hands on me
I believe - lay your hands on me, over me

"It's easy to be philosophical; to sit back and look at your life. Especially with a little wine. And what you see is a bit like being inside a car, you only see whats in front of you, you don't see whats above or below. And the moon for example sits up there; and every day it pulls the sea in and out. Controls the menstrual cycle. And at the time of the full moon the murder rate is up three times. Yet, most of us have no idea where the moon is or what phase it's in. Which only goes to show.

There is always...'more than this.'"

-Peter Gabriel

"Come Talk To Me," written to Gabriel's daughter after he and her mother divorced.

Start at 5:00 mark
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