Exposure: Peter Gabriel/Neon Indian

Scott Lapatine | May 3, 2010 - 4:56 pm

The video you’re about to watch is a career highlight for me.

I became a Peter Gabriel fan(atic) after seeing “Digging In The Dirt” on VH1 in the dog days of ’92. That September, prior to the release of Us (i.e., Peter’s followup to one of the greatest albums of all time) Peter participated in “An Intimate Conversation About Us” for Westwood One, discussing and previewing clips from the album. I stayed up late to tape it off WDRE. I was enamored.

Back in the ’90s, people like me (music nerds) would go to a record store to buy albums the day they were released. Two weeks before Us came out, I entered freshman year of high school. I didn’t yet have a driver’s license so I asked my mom to take me to Record World in Manhasset on 9/29/92. Us was the first album I bought on the day of its release.

Flash forward to last Monday 4/26/10. It’s 11:20AM and I’m standing in the rain outside Other Music, waiting for them to open the store so I can buy Scratch My Back on vinyl. I thought it would be a nice prop for a video piece Peter Gabriel had agreed to do with Stereogum that afternoon.

My vision was that Stereogum would film Peter having an “exchange of ideas” with a like-minded young artist, much in the spirit of Scratch My Back and its forthcoming companion I’ll Scratch Yours. I heard that Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo was also a PG fan, and he agreed to join. Late last month, Alan, Amrit, and I met for tacos to talk Fairlight CMI, Frippertronics, WOMAD, WITNESS, ApeNet, Real World, gated reverb, etc. We then breathed Security for a week.

We were to meet Peter at a studio space in midtown where his 50-piece orchestra was rehearsing for this week’s Radio City gigs. My friends Sam and Ari handled logistics for the production, bringing a crew of three to handle cameras, lights, sound. Everyone worked for free.

At 1PM, a half hour early, Peter rolled into our makeshift interview room, no handlers, no publicist. I introduced him to Alan, breaking the ice by pointing out that my friends bought me Xplora1 for my 15th birthday, whereas Alan was too young to know what a CD-ROM is.

Amrit moderated their talk because (A) I suck at interviews, and (B) Amrit is much more handsome.

Peter and Alan hit it off immediately. They spoke for over an hour, and Peter Gabriel could not have been more gracious or forthcoming.

I hope you enjoy this video, it was a passion project for me and a dream realized to all involved. (Peter now has Psychic Chasms on CD, vinyl, and MP3.) In a nod to Scratch we’ve titled this video Exposure with the expectation that it’ll be the first in a series.

Amrit and I will be attending Peter’s show at Radio City tonight. It will be my first time seeing him live since Woodstock ’94 (where yes, I rode The Mindblender). There will be a special guest joining Peter tonight so if you’re going, don’t leave early. To our LA readers, the New Blood American tour concludes Friday at Hollywood Bowl.

If somehow you missed our breathless coverage of Scratch My Back/I’ll Scratch Yours, check out the archives.

Thanks to our camera crew (Sam Carroll, Ari Issler, Colleen Hennessy, Ron Beach, Josh Isaac), to Peter’s team (Harvey Schwartz, Gary Trew, Nate Auerbach), to Alan Palomo, and to Peter Gabriel, still my hero.