Peter Gabriel Talks Punk, Calls Genre Boundaries ‘Bullshit’

Peter Gabriel

In a recent, loose-limbed interview with Mojo, Peter Gabriel ruminated about the ’70s rivalry between punk and prog-rock. In particular, he discussed the class divisions between supposed “working class” punk bands (like The Sex Pistols and The Clash) and bands like Genesis, who held a reputation for being “snotty rich kid(s).”

“It used to piss me off seeing all these ‘people’s hero’ musicians – like Joe Strummer – who’d come from a similar background to mine, but were keeping it quiet,” Gabriel told the magazine. “In Genesis, we were always very straight about where we came from, and we were middle-class, not aristocratic.”

Gabriel — as much as any songwriter in the history of rock — has always blurred genre conventions with his music. And he says that’s the ultimate goal.

“I’d love to have a songwriters’ event where you had the Sherman Brothers playing their songs for Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book next to Trent Reznor and Dr. Dre – and everyone talking about how they put songs together,” he says. “That’s what fascinates me – how you arrive at a song and the processes you go through. Everything else is bullshit.”

And I’ll Scratch Yours, the song-swap sequel to 2010’s Scratch My Back, is out September 23rd.

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