The mutual admiration society Peter Gabriel’s spun out around himself extends today with some back-scratching by a fellow cross-generational crossover icon. Remember the m.o. with Peter’s Scratch My Back: hire an orchestra, cover a bunch of people you like, let them find out about it when the album comes out, sit back and wait until they return the favor by covering you. If you did this it’d be totally presumptuous, but then you didn’t write “In Your Eyes.” PG told Neon Indian (and this Indian) not to expect anything from Thom Yorke, or from Win Butler — “I always assumed there would be casualties” — but someone like David Byrne’s participation in Peter’s “exchange of ideas” was a foregone conclusion — the old Talking Head lives for this sorta thing.
On Scratch My Back Peter did “Listening Wind”; DB scratches Peter’s with “I Don’t Remember,” from Peter’s third self-titled release, known as III (or Melt, for Peter’s melting face on the LP cover). No surprise Byrne went with this one — maybe he saw some of himself in it: “I Don’t Remember” is anxious, and funky, and from the period when Gabriel was most entrenched in his experimentation with and pioneering of the gated drum sound in particular, and electronic music in general. David’s dark and demented synth-disco makeover could’ve come from then, or from now, and still sounded weirdly ahead of its time. Which is pretty much how Peter and David do it, why the rule.