Make CONTACT with the Security Project
Several years ago, I heard that drummer Jerry Marotta and King Crimson alumni Trey Gunn had formed a band performing Peter Gabriel music. Jerry played drums with Gabriel from 1977-1986, so this news peaked my interest. The new band was called the Security Project and they claimed to perform “the timeless music of Peter Gabriel re-envisioned”.
A few clips surfaced on YouTube and while the music sounded great, their original singer was way too nasal sounding for me. Nothing kills my mood quicker than great music with mediocre vocals. The band shook things up a little and enter their second vocalist and another singer from a Gabriel-era Genesis tribute band. While the new singer was an improvement, he still only sounded like Gabriel about 40% of the time and the rest of the time sounding close to the real deal but not close enough to seal the deal.
One day I received a phone call with news that their second singer was being replaced with Happy Rhodes, a female vocalist with a 4 octave range. This news excited me. While the music was being reinterpreted, the first two singers were trying too hard to be replicas of the original. The introduction of Happy fulfilled the goal of re-envisioning the music of Peter Gabriel.
On November 1st, the Security Project is releasing their 4th live album, CONTACT, and the first full length one to feature Happy. This will be followed by a short tour that starts on November 2nd in Kingston, NY and ends in Chicago on November 21st.
CONTACT opens with an almost haunting version of “Lead a Normal Life” that finds Trey Gunn tackling the marimba piece, originally played by the late Morris Pert, on his Warr Guitar. After several listens, this song might be my favorite track on the album. This is followed by a complete reworking of “I Don’t Remember” that reconstructs the band’s old live version that copied the way Peter did the song live. A complete fresh remake that should inspire the band to take on more of Peter’s catalog in this way.
“San Jacinto”, “Rhythm of the Heat”, “Family Snapshot” “I Have the Touch” and “Lay Your Hands on Me” are all pretty much played straight forward as far as the music goes. With the first two live albums from the Security Project I often felt I’d rather throw on Plays Live if I wanted to hear PG’s vocals. But Happy’s vocals let you know you’re not listening to Plays Live. With Happy, even if the music is close to the original the vocals are different enough to make it a really pleasurable listening experience.
Peter Gabriel Re-envisioned
The band nails “Intruder” with another reworking of a classic PG track. Gone is the gated Phil Collins drum beat, replaced with a funky Marotta rhythm that works. When Happy kicks in with a high vocal range, I don’t even miss the original and get lost in this new version that shifts between elements of the original and something completely different. Hearing Happy’s higher vocals leaves me wanting to hear her more in this range and less in the low range. “Intruder” definitely comes in as one of the strongest tracks on the album.
Right in the middle of the album the band perform “Mother Stands for Comfort” by Kate Bush. You can tell Happy is in her comfort zone singing Kate Bush and she handles the vocals with ease. One can only hope to hear the band rotate in some other Kate Bush songs in the future.
In addition to the rhythm section of Marotta/Gunn, the band is rounded out by Michael Cozzi on guitars and David Jameson on keyboards and a strange instrument called the Eigenharp. Cozzi is a longtime member of Shriekback as well as Sky Cries Mary. David’s synergy of computer science and keyboards makes him the logical choice for covering the parts of Larry Fast.
Like two other songs from Peter’s third album (Melt), “No Self Control” and “Games without Frontiers” get the Security Project makeover and the results are not disappointing. My 6 year old daughter is obsessed with Happy’s take on “No Self Control”. Phil’s slamming drum fills are replaced by Marotta’s tribal drumming. I never thought I’d hear this song thrown on my daughter’s playlist between Katy Perry and the Trolls soundtrack. But thank goodness it is.
Before Happy joined the band, they reworked “Games” into something really special that morphs into “Of These, Hope” from the Passion soundtrack. I love this arrangement more than any of the live versions from Peter. The transition into “Of These, Hope” has a very beautiful ethereal feel to it. If only the band would tack a hybrid of the studio/live version of “Milgram’s 37” on the end, it would take this arrangement to the next level and give PG fans an unexpected treat.
With CONTACT the Security Project fully delivered their promise to re-envision the music of Peter Gabriel. While I’ve retired the band’s first two albums, except for the Genesis classic “Back in NYC” that features Jerry on vocals, I expect I’ll keep this album in rotation for years to come. If you’re a fan of Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, do yourself a favor and make CONTACT with the Security Project.
Security Project On Tour November 2017
Nov 2 - Kingston, NY (BSP - Front Room)
Nov 3 - Newton, NJ (Newton Theater)
Nov 5 - New Hope, PA (Havana Club)
Nov 7 - Northampton, MA (Iron Horse)
Nov 8 - Pawling, NY (Darly's House)
Nov 10 - Boston, MA (Regent Theater - Arlington, MA)
Nov 11 - Schenectady, NY (Van Dyke Lounge) 2 shows
Nov 12 - Syracuse, NY (The Lost Horizon)
Nov 14 - Cleveland, OH (Beachland Ballroom)
Nov 15 - Louisville, KY (Headliners Music Hall
Nov 17 - Indianapolis, IN (The Irving Theater)
Nov 18 - Auburn Hills, MI (Callahan's Music Hall)
Nov 20 - Milwaukee, WI (Shank Hall)
Nov 21 - Chicago, IL (Reggie's)
For more info visit: www.securityprojectband.com