Without Frontiers: The Life and Music of Peter Gabriel
Peter Brian Gabriel may have started out as a high profile rock performer with a penchant for theatrical costumes, but he was never going to age in the traditional rock manner.
Neither becoming a parody of his past self nor endlessly seeking self-consciously new images, instead he took his creativeness and perfectionism into fresh fields.
Throughout his career, Gabriel has been a pioneer in the music industry, pushing pop music to new heights while having the foresight to support emerging genres and technologies. From his work as a member of Genesis, to his hugely successful solo career (including the groundbreaking music video for Sledgehammer), to his ambitious collaboration with international musicians and artists, Peter Gabriel has been one of the most innovative and versatile artists of the past thirty years.
Writing a biography of this extraordinary musician was no easy task, but Without Frontiers proves that Daryl Easlea is more than up to the job. In the end, a portrait emerges of a man who parlayed his first successful career into a dozen more and who, despite his high profile, has somehow managed to live an enviably normal life through it all.
something very different. Work on the album began in May 1985, and it was fundamentally Lanois, Gabriel and Rhodes sitting in the studio rehearsing. Gabriel had prepared rhythms to use, and, in some cases, a simple set of chord structures for Lanois and Rhodes to improvise around. “We had a nice starting point,” Lanois said in Behind The Glass, Volume II: Top Record Producers Tell How They Craft the Hits. “In that kind of scenario, it’s not a good idea to have a lot of people around because you
Wembley, since the Live Aid concert in 1985, had become something of a spiritual home for the charity festival, staging the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday concert there, on June 11 – which was broadcast around the world to 67 countries. Human Rights Now! began with an all-cast performance of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ and ended with a similar performance by the amassed artists performing Bob Dylan’s ‘I Shall Be Released’. Gabriel performed a nine-song set, which opened with the
down to nerves on Peter’s part,” Kerr continued diplomatically. “We’re still talking. The last time I spoke to him he was telling me he’s trying to devise a way of recording in the car, because he gets all these great ideas when he’s driving. Imagine doing an overdub on the motorway! That’s Peter, I guess he doesn’t work like other people.” Peter doesn’t indeed work like other people. In time for Christmas 1990, with a marketplace hungry for new material, Gabriel acquiesced to Virgin’s wishes
chord with him. A romance blossomed, and on September 27, 2001, she gave birth to their son Isaac Ralph. Gabriel was delighted. Gabriel was still on good terms with Jill, now working as a counsellor and psychotherapist in Bath, and doted on his daughters, Anna, now a filmmaker, and Melanie, who sang with him, but like many rock stars who became fathers while they were on the album-tour-album treadmill, he regretted missing large chunks of their childhood. As a result he was determined to give
[as Peter], so he didn’t hang with the muso types,” Conroy says. “Mike would hang more with Steve and Phil, but Tony would go back to the hotel. Peter would always be involved with some ne’er-do-well fan who would want him to speak to the local fanzine and he was always around for that, but they weren’t backstage swilling ale like some groups we could mention.” Gabriel was to send up the band onstage years later at the Six Of The Best concert at Milton Keynes: “We would creep into a Holiday Inn