“Don’t judge a book by its cover” - Without Frontiers - The Life And Music Of Peter Gabriel by Daryl Easlea reviewed by Alan Hewitt.
It has been a LONG time, hasn’t it? As someone once said. And indeed it has been a good while since anyone has had a stab at tackling the life and career of Genesis’ most enigmatic member.
Thank goodness, the person responsible for doing so this time is someone as well-informed and percipient as Daryl Easlea as tackling Peter Gabriel’s fascinating and at times frustrating career takes someone with the patience of several saints. Daryl’s work will be familiar to many of you through his contributions to both Record Collector and Mojo among others and his knowledge of popular music is second to none and, I have to admit to a tinge of pleasure in being able to review something by Daryl after all his kind words about my own work over the years.
He has just the right credentials for tackling this subject then and throughout the three hundred plus pages of text the story unwinds in a superbly readable fashion. With plenty of contributions from many of the people associated with Peter but unsurprisingly without any major input from the man himself, the story is nevertheless, given a fresh slant and there is plenty of meat to the text without descending to scuttlebutt and many amusing anecdotes from some of Peter’s associates proving that far from being a po-faced individual, Peter is possessed of a highly developed sense of humour.
Easleas’s own insights into the music are refreshing too and he gives his opinions as one unencumbered by the luggage of hero worship making this a refreshing change from some of the more recent attempts at telling Peter’s tale. Okay, to the anoraks among us there are a few minor errors in terms of information but everyone makes mistakes and these are not sufficient to spoil what is essentially a well informed and above all, enjoyable look at Peter’s story thus far and this will become along with Spencer Bright’s work one of the standard references for Gabriel fans for the foreseeable future - well done that man!
Daryl Easlea: Without Frontiers The Life And Music Of Peter Gabriel.
Omnibus Press ISBN 978-1-78038-315-6.