In 2010, when Peter Gabriel released his cover collaboration Scratch my backwe put the Progfather, as we dubbed him (much to his amusement), on the cover of Program Magazine.
Part of the cover saw Sid Smith reuniting with a bunch of people who had worked with Gabriel on his solo albums (until 2002 At the top) to give their thoughts on what it was like to work with the big man.
At the top, of course, legendaryly took ten years from Gabriel. We’ve been waiting for a follow-up for 20 years. The internet is full of rumors about I/O, a working title for his new album, which is reportedly being recorded right now. Italian news magazine SPECCHIO reported that he was working on new material, and Gabriel posted photos of him with Tony Levin, David Rhodes and Manu Katche at Real World Studios on his Instagram page.
For now, browse Peter’s solo studio albums and soundtrack work…
PeterGabriel 1 (Car) by Bob Ezrin (Producer)
If there’s anything that made me work with Peter Gabriel, it’s his natural sense of humility. Humility in the Christian sense of the word in that he is a humble guy. I was impressed that such a brilliant person could also hold himself to such a realistic level of esteem. All I know is that Peter played me Here comes the flood in my living room when we first met. I was producing albums for Kiss and Alice Cooper, working to tight deadlines. In the middle of it all I lay down singing Here comes the flood instead of my own records! There aren’t many songs I’ve heard from the writer that are this great.
Peter Gabriel 2 (Scratch) by Robert Fripp (Guitarist/Producer)
Peter’s second album is a much more subtle proposition that speaks volumes on the production side. I think it’s impossible to judge unless you’ve listened to it at least ten times. Peter was afraid to use me as a producer. He knew that my production would not be “commercial” and he was right. I did not guarantee any success. What I wanted was to record it faithfully. I could have produced only two or three cuts and let Bob Ezrin do the others. It was therefore with some reservations about Peter’s commercial interests that I was chosen to produce the album.
Peter Gabriel 3 (Melt) by Steve Lillywhite (Producer)
I think a lot of people have cited Peter’s third album as a new departure in sound. I see Peter as a really important artist. He is extremely talented, but he has to push himself. It’s not easy, unlike Phil [Collins]. Things probably come easier to Phil than anyone I’ve ever met. And things are getting harder for Peter than for anyone I’ve ever met. He’ll put off making a decision until the last possible moment, but that’s only because he doesn’t fool himself into thinking he knows what he’s doing.
Peter Gabriel 4 (Security) by David Lord (Co-producer)
I love how he really perseveres and fights through things you might not think will work. I could be sure he wouldn’t make a song out of that idea, sure he was going around in circles and going nowhere – he always knew in the end that he would. He doesn’t like being proven wrong, although he is not dogmatic. Most people I find musically interesting would consider Peter influential, although I don’t know what effect he had on the mainstream charts.
Birdy by Alan Parker (director)
We got along so well, he’s such a nice man. It was such a refreshing change to work with megalomaniacs like Roger Waters. Peter’s record company was very difficult at first, so I phoned them and asked if they would be ok with Peter taking a little time to do this, and they said as long as it wouldn’t take more than two months because that Peter was already a year late or something. He had strong opinions and I would never be able to persuade him to do something he didn’t feel comfortable with, but we didn’t have a confrontation as such.
So by Tony Levin (bassist)
On Highligths I asked the drummer, Jerry Marotta, to play on the bass strings while I fingered – not a new idea, but what is it! Then, live, I was trying to play that part with a drum stick in my hand. One day at soundcheck, Peter looked at me and said, “Why don’t you tie sticks to your fingers?”. What a good idea! I asked my tech, Andi Moore, to help me figure out a way to do this, and lo and behold, Funk Fingers! Of course, the first sets broke the low strings – some adjustments had to be made!
Passion by Martin Scorsese (Director)
I started listening to Peter’s music in 1982-83 and I particularly liked heat rhythm with his drums, then I am going to swim where the lyrics start pretty ordinarily before taking off to a spiritual level, especially in the live version… I said I’d be interested in him doing the music [for The Last Temptation Of Christ] because, to me, the rhythms he uses reflect the primitive and his voice reflects the sublime – it’s as if the spirit and the flesh were there together… Of course he had to do it out of love because there was almost no money in it. Normally, he says, it takes two years to make 40 minutes of music, and that was two hours and 40 minutes, which he did in three months!
Us by Daneil Lanois (Producer)
It’s true that Peter loves detail, but he also loves performance. Having watched Peter for a long time now, I know that’s the aspect of recording he enjoys the most: giving the hell out and playing with the band. His attention to detail usually goes into the realm of sonic creativity. He likes to innovate sonically and I encouraged him to spend time on that.
OVO by Peter Gabriel
With music, I’m doing something I’ve never done before – both looking back to a whole range of folk references and then looking forward, bringing industrial elements to it. So from my perspective, I’m pushing into areas that I haven’t explored, which I really appreciate. I really enjoyed working with the singers, who all brought a lot to the music. Elizabeth Fraser, Paul Buchanan, Alison Goldfrapp, Larla O’ Lionaird and Richie Havens have been some of my favorite voices for a long time and I was thrilled that they agreed to participate. Their performances covered a real palette of emotions that OVO family to life.
Long Walk Home: Music from the Rabbit-Proof Fence by David Noyce (director)
I think Peter’s major contribution to the film Anti-rabbit mesh was not only to emphasize the drama which is the traditional function of a film composer, but he also gave the film a poetry. Peter was largely responsible for allowing the audience to really participate in the emotions that were at play in the story. What he first said to me was: “I want to make a score that comes out of the ground. I want to make a score that expresses Aboriginal unity with their land. He said he wanted me to provide him with all the real sounds that would be used in the effects and the ambient track of the film – birds, bugs, winds, rain, water, all kinds of animal sounds. Peter then sampled, programmed and synthesized these sounds and incorporated them into his score.
By Richard Chappell (Engineer(
I think Peter invited Chad Blake because he was performing himself and wanted to get a new pair of ears towards the end of the project to keep things under control. Chad is very willful and having someone like him around him is good discipline. We tried a few songs with him, and Peter liked the results, so we kept going. Chad is a genius with what he can do sonically…Peter would be here to record stuff with me for the same song that Chad was mixing, and we would walk to the main building to add those things to the mix. Chad would either agree or disagree, and they would have to work out between themselves what was going to be used. SS