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.

Comments (35)
  1. This was an incredible amount of fun, Peter and Alan were a dream. I was so taken with how present, gracious, and curious Peter was, and Alan never ceases to amaze. Please watch it until the end, too (after the credits). Note Alan and me looking at each other in response to Peter’s comment. Priceless.

    We talked for an hour — editing was difficult because we really did have so much great footage. Let us know if you guys wanna see more — we’re game to show it.

  2. the vomit and shit analogy is great…

    dude does record world still exist in manhasset

  3. The show last night was great, but knowing there’s a guest star tonight is driving me crazy. I need parameters with that kind of statement. It could be Kate Bush for all I know. Seriously considering looking for a scalper.

  4. Congrats, guys. This is a great idea. The “artists in dialogue” thing is always interesting, and I love the old artist/young artist angle. Plus, I was a big fan of Decomposed, so yay for video content.

    A little constructive criticism: The editing felt rushed and kind of choppy. Let the shots breathe a little bit and maybe smooth out the transitions. Ideally, this sort of feature could support more than five and a half minutes.

    Again, good stuff, though. Look forward to the next one.

    • The editing was indeed rushed (we had one week and $0 budget), but I appreciate all constructive criticism.

      I found Peter, Alan & Amrit’s entire conversation fascinating, but Sam and I weren’t sure what the ideal length is for a video like this, so we went w/ 5min.

      That said, I’m glad a lot of you are into this concept/pilot and want more. Amrit, Sam, and I will work on getting the extra material up, somehow, sometime. Especially if you’re a music geek you will love it. They got really technical at points, talking about equipment I’ve never even heard of it.

      And of course Alan describing Focus Creeps’ “Sleep Paralysist” video (coming soon) to Peter…

      A surreal week.

  5. Yes yes please please please show us more guys! Wonderful interview, Peter is SO funny! I’d love to see all of the footage.

  6. Great interview. I would love to see the whole thing. Especially if you asked him any questions about The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. I’ve been trying to decipher that one since I was 10.

  7. I look forward to the next episodes. Great stuff!

    Also, I would absolutely LOVE to see the rest of the footage. Anything, everything, even the dullest moments. Please :)

  8. more please!

  9. “Flash forward to last Monday 4/26/10.”

    You were 3 days away from making a really cool reference to one of the most criminally-underwatched series on television right now. That’s a missed opportunity right there.


  11. can we stop giving credit to anything neon indian does… he sucks. have you seen him in concert? seems to barely be able to work his own equipment. every song is separated by a 5 minute rearangement of cords and loud accidental noises. amateur hour.

  12. Definitely interested in more footage! you guys did a really good job on this. We put up a little post about it

  13. babyrobin hit the nail on the head. While Alan may come across well in the conversation, his live show needs some serious improvement. I haven’t been able to take his album seriously since seeing him live. Maybe it was just an off night…

  14. I’m very much interested in that uncut footage. I wanna them talk about the most detailed aspects of musack!

  15. OMG Adam Goldberg in a wig!

    Dig the feature.

  16. Definitely keeping this story as the homepage “lead story” way too long.

    Doesn’t deserve it

  17. overrated bullsh&t

  18. are you ever gonna post the whole thing?

  19. ddogdunit  |   Posted on Jul 6th, 2010 0

    a record store closing on long island? weird for such a culturally thriving place…. (heavy sarcasm)

  20. Remember when I went to the record store to buy his first Real World compilation CD and a poster from the US album circa ’92 and during my college days. Ah, memories!

  21. First off, these are two of my favorite artists in the same room. I don’t know how you managed this, but it’s completely awesome, and I’m always enjoy hearing Peter talk about sampling.
    Second, do you have any idea what goes into Neon Indian’s music, and actually having to perform everything/layer the effects right there? Of course he could use some improvement, but he (in 2010 at least) was just starting out. It’s now 2013, and look at how much he’s improved.
    Both of the men in this interview are excellent artists in their own rights, and of course Peter Gabriel’s unbelievable. I’d like to dig up those videos of him doing sampling… I’ve heard too much of this machine he was storing with random sounds, and I think the whole process and everything he did was friggin awesome.

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