“The Eternal Experimenter” - Continuing the article begun in TWR#2. Translated by Guido Truffer.
ME/Sounds: Many rock musicians use costumes, make-up and fantasy creatures at the beginning of their careers and give up afterwards. You did likewise…?
P G: I don’t think so. In our culture people say that you are hiding behind a mask because of insecurity. But in other cultures the mask is a mechanism for a release. It helps people; to enjoy their personality to the full. If you study old fancy dress balls you will find that people behaved very much more openly. That’s why I use them to show the personality instead of protecting it. There has always been a history of using gimmicks in music especially in the UK - you have to be different ie Chuck Berry and his movements or Peter Townshend’s arm rotation. There are several bands which have a good “image” but no good songs. If you are packaged with an image it is difficult to shake that image off and when you do the whole thing may fall because the punters have come to identify with that image.
ME/SOUNDS: Is it a problem of the video generation?
P G: No. I want to make it clear that those “honest” musicians who dress in denim and leather are hiding behind a mask too by creating that image of themselves.
ME/SOUNDS: You have mentioned a dream project - a castle in the air by Peter Gabriel - your Lunar Park?
P G: I still have the project in mind but perhaps the realisation
will not happen for about another ten years. It is often more satisfying to
leave these things for the imagination rather than translate them into actions.
For example; there are some ideas for this park that will stimulate, challenge
and animate the visitor. And on another level there will be things that make
them think. That’s why we talked about those isolation tanks and the coloured
rooms. The English psychologist A D Laing saw some small white rooms in Tibet
which were changed by colour projections. He saw the effect was enormous on
the inhabitants of those rooms. Concerning the music, we are still treading
on some new ground but the arrangers found that there were some harmonic intervals
that appealed to both them and us. It may take several years to come to fruition
but then the dream is part of the creative process too.