Comment from Robert ~
My name is Robert van der Gon Netscher and I'm Dutch. I'm from 1965 and although I learned english from an early age on (14), popmusic started to influence me on a much earlier age. More likely at 6-7, causing my little teenage brain to phonetically transform the English language into something that I could…. 'sing', but not necessarily understand.
I love you, I kiss you, I need you….those were the no brainers but what to make of…."mountains come out of the sky and they stand there…" or "Slubberdegullions on squeaky feet"....now that was something different.
We all mishear lyrics once in a while but at that young age I would actually create new words. Because of this, lyrics have always been secundary to me and often still is. The music always came first and the voices (lyrics) were more treated (by my brain) like an instrument or sound. As opposed to something meaningfull. Its like listening to African music; you just love the song and you just have to sing along…but you have no idea what the words are or what they mean. Or…. you're an avid Salsa/Merengue lover but don't understand spanish except for the word 'Amor' or 'Curazon'. Anyway….you get the idea.
At age 17 I was going through the ranks: YES, Genesis, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Frank Zappa….what were these people singing about? Growing up in Holland I was somewhat familiar with Britisch society. Before cable-TV we did have a little BBC radio and TV…. but American culture was still far away from me.
With that in mind,… picture me on my bycicle on my way to school, listening to LLDOB. Tears would come to my eyes and I could not explain why. It must have been Peter's voice. The Analysis video's you made on the Lamb and in particular on the song 'Broadway Melody of 1974' has pushed me back into "all of it".
I enormously appreciate the work and effort you put in making these video's. They are an addition to my 'Lamb - experience'. Don't mind any negative feedback, as long as you're having fun with it and are able to share that…."IT" is worth IT….IT is here, IT is now!..;-)
ps. I definitely am going to get the book LLDOB you recommended. I think I have some catching up to do.
Take care and thanks again.
Reply from Lil :
IT was such a delight to receive your lovely (and tremendously moving) e-letter, today, Robert.
Although your story is in many ways unique (being a non-english speaker...like some of the other Genesis/Lamb-loving folks who have written me) - the way you both described and encapsulated the "organic" feelings we all, as a group, seemed to have transformed through, via Gabriel's lyrics and Genesis' music - was deeply, intensely familiar.
Much like a Tuning Fork which hits the truest, sweetest note...a frequency which only those of us who grew up and lived through the years following The Lamb (and other early Genesis albums) can hear.
It's almost as if we (whose psyches have been profoundly influenced by this enchanting, humanistic & clever aural art) have become galvanized into a worldwide organization of people who seem to get "IT" - as a group of enlightened, graced individuals .
I sometimes try to explain to other people (including many of those in my family) - the lyrically-visualized beauty..the melodic magic..the allegorical inter-weavings of that which emanated from this group of extraordinarily talented YOUNG men, in the 1970's.
I know there are many who revere (and worship) the exquisite works of the jazz and classical masters, throughout the decades (and centuries)..and I could certainly draw the analogy to them, in terms of what mattered the most to us - (or YOU / ME, the child, the teen, the young adult) - as we travelled along the path to maturity.
What had meaning to us (during our times of youthful loneliness or happiness, of group discovery through musical experimentation, the soundtrack to early loves or times of passion) often engraved itself on our now often buried or deeply entrenched "earlier selves".
For someone born in 1960, I often look back (as many people do) on the various eras in my life...and wonder what made me the person I was, at that time (and of that particular mind). What dictated my actions, my decisions, my move to turn Left, rather than follow the crowd which turned Right.
So many ascribe to the "Onion Theory" of life...peeling back the individual layers of who we were - allows us to better understand who we are, now.
And, I can honestly state that ever since I turned 15 - Gabriel's voice and art (in all its different permutations) has not only kept me company...it provided me a common thread throughout the various era'd, woven patterns of my life.
He's kept me collected, enthused and inspired - throughout, I'll admit, even it's most difficult passages.
His dulcet tones entertained/soothed me when I missed my first-ever boyfriend, desperately, when we parted (The Musical Box - "Oh, brush back your hair and let me get to know your flesh") ..confused & intrigued the hell out of me (The Lamia - "only a magic that a name would stain")....excited me when first I saw him in concert & knew the real thing, in person (Here Comes The Flood - "We'll say goodbye to Flesh & Blood")...filmed my first-born's eye's, extreme close-up (In Your Eyes - "I see the doorways of a thousand churches")... tamed the terrifying pendulum-swing of my helicopter, while learning to first hover - (Mercy Street - "the tremble in the hips, of kissing Mary's lips")... dealt with the disintegration a marriage (Digging In The Dirt - "Stay with me, I need support")...delighted me & my eldest daughter when we saw him & Melanie in concert, hanging upside down & then bouncing in a GIGANTIC bubble (Growing Up - "..and on the drawing is the name i took.")...regaled me with the full history of a life shared, together, in music, as I faced the triple threat of empty-nesting/dying parent/dismantling of beloved analog studio (YouTube clips of all his work, through the years)...& recently, seeing him, in Saratoga, still singing strongly, in front of his New Blood Orchestra (San Jacinto - "I hold The Line...the Line of Strength that pulls me through the Fear...").
..and the tears roll down my swollen cheek. I think I'm losing it...getting weaker! I HOLD THE LINE...
And, with that being said...I think that it is all of us, collectively, who "hold the line" in this world. Linked together by these songs, this music (of not only Gabriel...but of Tony Banks, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins...and even Anthony Phillips) which became so intrinsic to our inner selves.
We know each other. Like some secret, unfathomable, pure brotherhood (with admittedly, a few sisters - like me! LOL)
My friend Tom Lord-Alge calls us "The Faithful" - (he, too, among us)...and, he works with Gabriel. Yet, he acknowledges that he is a Lamb fanatic...an "IT" fan, at his deepest core.
Former WNBC Television's Investigative reporter Scott Weinberger rounds up all of his former teenage band buddies..and they buy out the first 2 rows of the Tribeca shows when The Musical Box comes to town.
Why this fervor. This dedication. This endemic exultation to a group long disbanded?!
It is because of IT.
When we meet...or write to each other...or listen together to that which escorted us so vividly to who we are, today - we can look at each other and say "You are IT". You understand. You get IT. *deep, sincere smile*
Take care, over there in Holland, Robert...all my best to you and yours,
xoxo Lil (Leigh)