I first want to say thank you for your amazingly insightful work on the music of Genesis and in particular "The Lamb". I had the fortune of seeing the show early in the tour (in Waterbury, Connecticut). None of us had heard the album yet so it was all new and strange but it has literally been with me almost everyday since. The top of my head flew off with that whirling circular curtain during "The Lamia". Been looking for it ever since!
In one of your commentaries you mentioned what new territory it was for the band and in particular Peter Gabriel. You observed how Peter tried to shed some of the more "effete" styles found in their earlier work. I was a jolt for me seeing such a macho Peter Gabriel strutting around like "The Fonz" and using four letter words. It is definitely a gritty, smelly and dark world they took us all to. When Peter left the band, that world pretty much vaporized. I was expecting more "Harold Demure, from Art Literature" but instead got a totally in-your-face performance which I loved.
The reason I am writing is to ask a you a question.
In all your discussions with band members and other technicians and musicians who knew Genesis during that Lamb period, did you ever get a hint at how much material did not make the album. In other words, which of the following statements do you feel is most true:
1. Genesis used up virtually every idea lying around during the writing of The Lamb. It all went into the album.
2. There were several good ideas that didn't make it onto The Lamb album but they all pretty made their way into subsequent Genesis albums or solo efforts.
3. There were many musical "Lamb" ideas that were never developed/finished. So many in fact, that they could have done a triple rather than a double album!
It has always intrigued me to think of a reunion where Genesis revisits that world again. Everyone hopes for a reunion tour.
Not me! I hope for a new album - a truly progressive rock effort.
And yet, all the band members gave so much up to give us all the wonderful gifts they did so I wouldn't begrudge them wanting to lead a somewhat normal life and not work so hard. But still . . .
Well, thank you again for your efforts in keeping this incredible story alive. I saw The Musical Box perform The Lamb and it was extremely close to my memories. Please write back if you get a chance.
Hellay, dear Tom ~
What an excellent set of comments/questions you've sent in to me, my lucky friend - (to have seen the ORIGINAL Lamb Tour)!
*envious look, grin*
I'm glad my video work (and the extensive research that went into it) has spot-lit the contributing factors of Genesis & Gabriel's singular work...
In my opinion, any beloved artistic work (such as The Lamb)- deserves to have its admirers be aware of what led to its creation especially when it was produced within the Crucible of the recording industry, in 1970's-era England.
Hardworking touring bands like Genesis had no choice but to produce innovative work- on an annual basis - under the highly-pressurized gun of commercial, contractual agreements.
But, because of the extreme, personal circumstances which surrounded all the members of Genesis, in 1974, The Lamb deserves special note.
It's outright wild, Vonnegut-like surrealism honestly drew me to read as much historical insight as I could ~ out of sheer personal curiosity.
But as a newsperson, it was a fascinating to piece together the story behind the story, .
I'm just hoping my videos give a linear presentation of just how large a jigsaw puzzle it turned out to be!
As for your questions ~
Through my research and my personal discussions with Steve Hackett, I can tell you my take on what "rings true", as fact:
* None of the group liked the album, until much later in time (and this, only partially), due to the difficult circumstances surrounding its inception and final delivery. It is infused with some very tough memories, for all of them ~ especially Peter
Their opinion (to this day), is that despite some areas of musical brilliance - it is a flawed work with which they have to constantly live - especially with the re-playing & exacting replication of those flaws, as when the Lamb is performed live, by such tribute bands as The Musical Box.
You will notice that Gabriel always gives a humble disclaimer on The Lamb.
He says that it really is an "unfinished work" which needed more time to polish up than could be afforded him, by the rigorous writing, recording schedule - put forth by Charisma.
But, there is more to it than that... a back-story which we probably will never quite get the full telling of - thanks to Peter Gabriel's documented reticence of divulging any creative insights into his works.
Here's what I think (from reading & reviewing many of his and other member's of Genesis' interviews through the years) ~
*Back in 1974, Gabriel was desperate. He wanted OUT of "Genesis-The-Big", in the worst way. He wanted to create something of his own, a character which would offer the possibility of a way out of the democratic group and into his original, academic love: Film.
Although this sub-conscious thought may well have come to him, later on, during the actual Tour -
Rael's journey of self-discovery matched 24-yr-old Peter's own frustrations (to escape a world he helped to create)...a journey which would eventually end up being made into a feature-film.
In my video series ~ Analysis:Chamber of 32 Doors ~ I go through a lot of the layered details which follow this particular trail.
You see, Rael was based on much the same type of surreal character as that featured in a Alejandro Jodorowsky movie, which entranced Gabriel, entitled: El Topo.
Jodorosky's films was also rife with personal allegory and visual christian symbolism...and Peter loved this.
I don't think we will ever know when it was that Peter started to think of "Rael" as his possible way out of Genesis - but, he DID copyright the story of the Lamb, once the Tour was complete (making it his own intellectual property - outside the democratic grouping that was Genesis).
This p.o.'d the other band members, to no end.
Did they finally Rael-ize that Gabriel might have used their musical talents to help establish his credibility as a future solo artist - in the writing of the double-album?
Not wonder they wouldn't sign off on his using their co-owned musical compositions for the Lamb movie!
I'm not sure we will ever know the true answer to this, unfortunately....but, Peter tried for YEARS to work the Lamb towards becoming a full-length feature movie (even approaching and working with Jodorowsky to develop it with him).
As for your questions on the "extra, leftover ideas" of the Lamb ~ an old interview with Mike Rutherford revealed that there was enough conceptual material from Peter's storyline "to fill 3 LP's", when he came to the group with his storyline portion of the Lamb deal.
Hackett has stated that they all really scraped hard to gather as much workable musical material (from previous writing sessions) as they could, in order to fill out the needed quota of compositions to support Peter's voluminous story.
They also spent endless hours, jamming together within the rat-infested, haunted halls of Headley Grange to come up with brand-new stuff, as a group (with Peter coming in once in a while - from another room - where he was working on the lyrics to the stuff the band had already written).
The Lamb Session tapes revealed that Peter would sometimes join them in the jamming-room to wordlessly vocalize to their compositions - to help himself nail down the cadence of the proposed lyrics.
I agree that knowing how iconic The Lamb has become, over the years, the original members would want to take advantage of that pent-up expectation, by all of us, monetarily.
They (and Peter Smith) certainly tried hard to sell Peter on the idea, back in 2004...
And, it's possible that it may come to pass...someday (before they..and we..all croak! LOL)
But, with all the legal problems of copyrights, royalties and publishing rights, etc...who can say if they could even DO it, now?
Steve (along with many other original artists) doesn't even own a fair amount of his own music, anymore...which is so sad.
Knowing how rare the Twain Shall Meet (Genesis vs Gabriel Music-Making Machines) - I'm afraid that our (yours & my) hopes for additional Lamb material would likely have only come from Peter's failed movie venture...where we could have found out the "Rest of The Rael Story" Rutherford had referred to.
Heck, I'm just very thankful that The Lamb got made, at all (with all the $#*& hitting the fan, politically/emotionally), back in 1974...and that it turned out as profound a work, as it ultimately turned out to be (despite its claimed flaws).
I'm amazed, actually ~ since I've heard that most Brits of their socio-economic background rarely confide in each other.
(example: most of the member's of Genesis did NOT know what "Supper's Ready" was all about - until years later when Peter told Armando Gallo the background story of his wife Jill's alleged "possession" one night, at Coxhill, Gabriel's grandfather's estate...and her return from that spooky, spiritual experience. You know - "I've been so far from you..far from your loving arms. It's good to feel you, again! It's been a long, long time...")
If that remained true for the Lamb, as well: How did Banks, Rutherford, Hackett and Collins produce such gorgeously complex compositions (with Gabriel adding one or two, himself) - without really knowing the full intricacies of the storyline of Rael?
Here are MY sincere questions, Tom.
How did 24-year-old Peter come up with such a wildly creative and multi-layered (with sophisticated allegory, word-play and double/triple-entendres) - while being yanked in (at least) 3 different impossible directions - personally, professionally, creatively?
How did the release and subsequent tour of such a "different" album forever change the trajectory of Genesis, as an entity, and Gabriel, as a future solo artist (once he finished being "One with Cabbages")...ultimately, making them all more successful beyond their wildest expectations?
Well, I am hoping that my Analysis:Lamb Lies Down series has elucidated upon the extraordinarily difficult circumstances which surrounded Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett....and, especially, Peter Gabriel ... during the writing, recording, mixing and touring of The Lamb.
Much of these circumstances were from without:
The pressure, contractually & otherwise, from the record industry and fans to have a new album - meeting the then-common expectation of an "annual new album" from a group, as well as the fact that Genesis was deeply in debt, as a collective.
...but, also from within:
The aborted attempt, by Peter Gabriel, to leave Genesis (for an ill-interpreted opportunity with Exorcist William Friedkin), the seeking of more artistic control/contributions to the "Democratic group-writing" process (presented as a condition of him rejoining the group) and the nearly-fatal delivery/post-partem infections which almost took his wife and first child from him, during the Lamb's story/lyric writing process.
Add to that the fact that Steve Hackett was going through a contentious divorce, from his first wife...and, later, being under so much stress/duress - crushing a thin wineglass and severing a left thumb-tendon - and requiring surgical reattachment which not only delayed the start of the Lamb Tour, by many weeks, but precluded him from playing his solos at full, impressive interpretive skill during the first half of that tour.
No. I think we'd best realize that we are pretty lucky to have gotten what we got (because, in fact, it was not really meant to be).
The unfinished quantitative quality of The Lamb certainly adds to its enduring mystique....and keeps us bound to it, for all (unanswered) eternity.