Peter Gabriel

This strip is kind of on the bitter side and I did not photo-reference the shot from the “Shock The Monkey” video in the first panel. I didn’t want to watch it again!! The monkeys featured in it are surely dead.

In junior high school, I was reeeeeally into two Peter Gabriel songs; “Solsbury Hill” and “Games Without Frontiers”. We used to joke that the French lyrics in the latter track actually said “She is so fuckin’ A.” This was in cringe-inducing suburban New Jersey.

Peter Gabriel did this thing where he didn’t give his albums different titles. He used to be the lead singer and floutist of the band Genesis. He finally relented with So in 1986, which everyone took as typical Peter Gabriel attitude about making his discography less confusing. He’s kind of a pompous ass, but the thing is, he can easily back his attitude up with sheer compositional talent.

Gabriel scored Martin Scorcese’s controversial 1989 adaptation of The Last Temptation of Christ. I’ll just say it; it’s the peak effort of Gabriel’s world-music connections. It absolutely still holds up, possibly more so than its film companion. Gabriel was so faithful to ancient music styles and instruments in this soundtrack that he later released Passion- Sources, which revealed the Middle Eastern and African pieces in which he found inspiration.

Look, folks, this is what Peter Gabriel is capable of:

So yeah, that’s leagues better than singing “get wet with me” alongside Paula Cole, know’m sayin’? That’s in another league from “In Your Eyes”. Even though that featured Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, which reminds me; if you’ve seen Natural Born Killers, you’ve heard parts of Passion before. This is but one example:

Birdy is a 1985 Alan Parker movie with Matthew Modine and Nicolas Cage, which Peter Gabriel scored with Daniel Lanois. Parts of it were also re-used by Oliver Stone in Natural Born Killers, like “The Rhythm of the Heat”, which was featured in the psychedelic “Drug Zone” sequence.

I used to dig the song “Red Rain”. The drums and percussion sounded unbelievable on LP. I was relieved when I researched it and found its origins to be not overly political. Compared to songs like “Biko”, anyway.

The song is a combination of several inspirations. The lyrics directly reference a recurring dream Gabriel was having where he swam in his backyard pool drinking cold red wine. Another version of the dream had bottles in the shape of people falling from a cliff. Once they smashed with impact onto the ground, the people-shaped bottles had red liquid coming out, and then it began to rain the same red liquid.

Earlier in his solo career, Gabriel had an idea for a movie, Mozo. In it, villagers were punished for their sins with a blood-red rain. “Red Rain” was to be the theme song. This idea was eventually scrapped, although there was a mention of Mozo in the song “On the Air” in Peter Gabriel. “Down The Dolce Vita”, “Here Comes The Flood”, and “Exposure” reference the Mozo story, as well.

Strongly percussive in nature, the song features two notable American drummers: Stewart Copeland from the Police played the hi-hat for the rain-like background sound and was requested by Gabriel due to his mastery of the instrument, while the rest of the drumming was provided by Gabriel’s regular drummer Jerry Marotta. Author Daryl Easlea wrote that the song was “a brooding opening to the album” which reflected “two very current Eighties obsessions: AIDS and nuclear fallout”. Stephen Thomas Erlewine has described it as “a stately anthem popular on album rock radio”.


Look, it was the middle-’80s, you knew there was gonna be some AIDS sprinkled in there.

In conclusion, Peter Gabriel’s music holds up better than my strip does. The primary reason behind certain strips never being posted on the site before is because I don’t like them as much. I’ve probably said this before too.

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