Tuesday, November 18, 2014

the lamb lies down on broadway

Genesis plumbed the depths of the subconscious to come out the other side of a fractured finality in the experimental existentialist exegesis of this dense monolithic masterwork.  In the wake of the tour for 'Selling England By The Pound', the band began working on new material at the rat infested Headley Grange in Headley, Hampshire, England.  

Peter Gabriel:   "Several ideas for the album were presented in order for the band to exercise a democratic vote. I knew mine was the strongest and I knew it would win - or, I knew that I could get it to win. The only other idea that was seriously considered was The Little Prince which Mike was in favour of - a kid's story. I thought that was too twee. This was 1974; it was pre-punk but I still thought we needed to base the story around a contemporary figure rather than a fantasy creation. We were beginning to get into the era of the big, fat supergroups of the seventies and I thought, "I don't want to go down with this Titanic".  Once the story idea had been accepted we had all these heavy arguments about writing the lyrics. My argument was that there aren't many novels which are written by a committee. I said, "I think this is something that only I'm going to be able to get into, in terms of understanding the characters and the situations". I wrote indirectly about lots of my emotional experiences in The Lamb and so I didn't want other people coloring it. In fat there are parts of it which are almost indecipherable and very difficult which I don't think are very successful. In some ways it was quite a traditional concept album - it was a type of Pilgrim's Progress but with this street character in leather jacket and jeans. Rael would have been called a punk at that time without all the post-'76 connotations. The Ramones hadn't started then, although the New York Dolls had, but they were more glam-punk. The Lamb was looking towards West Side Story as a starting point."

Phil Collins:  "We were living at Headley Grange - this house that Led Zeppelin, Bad Company and the Pretty Things had lived in. it was a bit of a shambles - in fact they'd ripped the shit out of it. We were all living together and writing together and it went very well to start with. Pete had said he wanted to do all the words so Mike and Tony had backed off and we were merrily churning out this music. Every time we sat down and played, something good came out."

Mike Rutherford:   "I think that The Lamb is one of our best albums - one of our most different, anyway. We started writing, and it just came out very easily. After the previous album, it was a big relief. We realised quite quickly that we had three good sides - not just two good sides and another side, but three good sides. So we had to go for a double. Pete started the lyrics, and it finally became apparent we hadn't got a chance in hell of getting it finished by the deadline."

The process was complicated when Gabriel took a break to work with  filmmaker William Friedkin on the script for a film project; but, when Friedkin decided to work with Tangerine Dream on the music, Gabriel returned to the project.  

Tony Banks:   "Pete came back and we finished the album, and I really enjoyed it. We used a lot of moods - at times things were little more than improvisations on an idea. For instance, Mike would say, "Pharoahs going down the Nile" and he would just play two chords and instantly the rest of us would conjure up that particular mood. That one ended up on the album as "Fly on a Windshield". We did that with lots of the other tracks. The best jam we had in the rehearsal room ended up being called "The Waiting Room", which we called "The Evil Jam". We switched off all the lights and just made noises. And the first time it really was frightening."

Collins:    ""The Evil Jam" started wtih Steve inventing noises and Tony messing around on a couple of synthesizers - we were just mucking about with some really nasty sounds. We were all getting very intense; Peter was blowing his oboe reeds into the microphone and playing his flute with the echoplex on when suddenly there was this great clap of thunder and it started raining. We all thought, 'We've got in contact with something heavy here.' It was about five or six in the evening and we were making all these weird noises when the thunderstorm started and it began to pour down. And then we all shifted gear and got into a really melodic mood. At moments like that it really was a five-piece thing. We worked well together on "The Lamb" - the two albums gave us the room to do it. After we had prepared all our material, we went to another house in Wales to record. We put down the backing tracks in two weeks, and a month later we were still waiting for the words. Peter was well behind. Then he started saying, 'I need another piece of music to link these two songs.' We got bored with it in the end and nobody could help him because he was determined to do it on his own."

Gabriel:   "I was pretty good at manipulating but I think by "The Lamb" the resentment towards me was so big that I had very little space. And I felt the only way I could work was to go into a corner and function on my own. A lot of the melodies were written after the event - after the backing tracks had been put down."

The sessions for 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway' were produced by the band with John Burns at Island Mobile Studios in Wales and featured Tony Banks on Hammond T-102 organ, RMI 368x Electra piano, Mellotron M400, Elka Rhapsody synthesizer, ARP 2600 & ARP Pro Soloist synthesizers, and acoustic piano;   Phil Collins on drums, percussion, vibraphone, and backing vocals;   Peter Gabriel on lead vocals, flute, oboe, tambourine, and experiments with foreign sounds;   Steve Hackett on electric guitar and classical acoustic guitar;   and Mike Rutherford on bass guitar, 12-string guitar, bass pedals, and fuzz bass;   with Brian Eno providing enossification (treatments).  

Hackett:   "I was an innocent bystander on "The Lamb".  It happened despite me, not with me. All the things that I'd managed to hold back on "Selling England By The Pound" seemed to come back in full force here. The nightmarishly long sides - everything linked to everything else. I really felt it was very indulgent. I couldn't quite get to grips with it or contribute something great in a guitar sense. I don't think Tony's done a finer album. But I did feel the amount of stuff I was managing to put across was painfully small. My marriage, at this point, was on the rocks."

'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway' went to eighty in Australia, forty-one in the US, and number ten in the UK.  

Gabriel:   ""The Lamb" was intended to be like a "Pilgrim's Progress", an adventure through which one gets a better understanding of self -- the transformation theme. I was trying to give it a street slant, and that was before punk happened. I felt an energy in that direction, and it seemed that prancing around in fairyland was rapidly becoming obsolete." 




'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway'

'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway'
slideshow playlist:

'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway'
full album:


1. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway 0:00
2. Fly on a Windshield 4:52
3. Broadway Melody of 1974 7:37
4. Cuckoo Cocoon 9:48
5. In the Cage 12:01
6. The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging 20:13
7. Back in N.Y.C. 22:59
8. Hairless Heart 28:44
9. Counting Out Time 30:54
10. Carpet Crawlers 34:35
11. The Chamber of 32 Doors 39:50
12. Lilywhite Lilith 45:35
13. The Waiting Room 48:24
14. Anyway 53:41
15. Here Comes the Supernatural Anaesthetist 56:58
16. The Lamia 59:47
17. Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats 1:06:45
18. The Colony of Slippermen: Arrival / A Visit to the Doktor / Raven 1:09:46
19. Ravine 1:17:58
20. The Light Dies Down on Broadway 1:20:04
21. Riding the Scree 1:23:36
22. In the Rapids 1:27:43
23. It. 1:30:05

Gabriel's press release regarding his leaving Genesis:  

July 1975
I had a dream, eye's dream. Then I had another dream with the body and soul of a rock star. When it didn't feel good I packed it in. Looking back for the musical and non-musical reasons, this is what I came up with:

OUT, ANGELS OUT - an investigation.

The vehicle we had built as a co-op to serve our songwriting became our master and had cooped us up inside the success we had wanted. It affected the attitudes and the spirit of the whole band. the music had not dried up and I still respect the other musicians, but our roles had set in hard. To get an idea through "Genesis the Big" meant shifting a lot more concrete than before. For any band, transferring the heart from idealistic enthusiasm to professionalism is a difficult operation. I believe the use of sound and visual images can be developed to do much more than we have done. But on a large scale it needs one clear and coherent direction, which our pseudo-democratic committee system could not provide. As an artist, I need to absorb a wide variety of experiences. It is difficult to respond to intuition and impulse within the long-term planning that the band needed. I felt I should look at/learn about/develop myself, my creative bits and pieces and pick up on a lot of work going on outside music. Even the hidden delights of vegetable growing and community living are beginning to reveal their secrets. I could not expect the band to tie in their schedules with my bondage to cabbages. The increase in money and power, if I had stayed, would have anchored me to the spotlights. It was important to me to give space to my family, which I wanted to hold together, and to liberate the daddy in me. Although I have seen and learnt a great deal in the last seven years, I found I had begun to look at things as the famous Gabriel, despite hiding my occupation whenever possible, hitching lifts, etc. I had begun to think in business terms; very useful for an often bitten once shy musician, but treating records and audiences as money was taking me away from them. When performing, there were less shivers up and down the spine. I believe the world has soon to go through a difficult period of changes. I'm excited by some of the areas coming through to the surface which seem to have been hidden away in people's minds. I want to explore and be prepared to be open and flexible enough to respond, not tied in to the old hierarchy. Much of my psyche's ambitions as "Gabriel archetypal rock star" have been fulfilled - a lot of the ego-gratification and the need to attract young ladies, perhaps the result of frequent rejection as "Gabriel acne-struck public school boy". However, I can still get off playing the star game once in a while. My future within music, if it exists, will be in as many situations as possible. It's good to see a growing number of artists breaking down the pigeonholes. This is the difference between the profitable, compartmentalized, battery chicken and the free-range. Why did the chicken cross the road anyway? There is no animosity between myself and the band or management. The decision had been made some time ago and we have talked about our new direction. The reason why my leaving was not announced earlier was because I had been asked to delay until they had found a replacement to plug up the hole. It is not impossible that some of them might work with me on other projects. The following guesswork has little in common with truth: Gabriel left Genesis. 1) To work in theatre. 2) To make more money as a solo artist. 3) To do a "Bowie". 4) To do a "Ferry". 5) To do a "Furry Boa round my neck and hang myself with it". 6) To go see an institution. 7) To go senile in the sticks. I do not express myself adequately in interviews and I felt I owed it to the people who have put a lot of love and energy supporting the band to give an accurate picture of my reasons.

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