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The Security Project offers a Peter Gabriel fix, without the man himself

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Saturday, October 22, 2016

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It's safe to say Peter Gabriel's first four albums made a significant impression on the members of the Security Project.

Led by Jerry Marotta -- who played drums on those records -- as well as former King Crimson guitarist Trey Gun and Michael Cozzi of Shriekback, the Security Project specializes in playing material from that part of Gabriel's catalog, as well as songs from Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway." So far it's released a pair of live albums from its tours since 2012, showcasing its own distinctive treatment of the music.

It's a combination side project, tribute band and intensive musical exercise for those involved, and it's a Project that Gunn says offers plenty of Security in its opportunities...

The Security Project was born when a mutual friend suggested to Gunn and Marotta that they put together a retrospective salute of Gabriel's "Peter Plays Live" record for its 30th anniversary in 2003. "Originally Jerry and I both said, 'Nah, not really' -- separately," recalls Gunn, 55. "But then it was like, 'Well, is Jerry gonna do it?' an he said 'If Trey's gonna do it, I might be interested. It was kind of a little stand-off and we actually tricked each other into it, basically. We took two or three days and played through the material and it was really cool. It wasn't just a rehash. We could see how you could take this material and kind of update it and actually interpret it. And we could play some of the stuff Peter doesn't play anymore. That's how it started."

Gabriel's material also proved too good NOT to try to take on, Gunn says. "It's a little bit of a Mount Everest kind of material," he says. "Peter's third and fourth records just kind of blew my head open when I heard them, especially the third record. I was hit with it and my musical sensibilities and sensations were just blown out of the water. It's crazy, beautiful, unusual, strange stuff that seemed to come from another planet. So I have a huge love for the material."

That attitude, however, was something of an ongoing gauntlet for Gunn and the rest of the band as it works through Gabriel's repertoire. "The challenge of it is just enormous," he acknowledges. "It seems impossible; In fact, even when we get together for rehearsal it seems impossible to play this stuff and not have it feel empty or have it feel like it's a nostalgic shadow of something good. We kind of took on all those challenges. That's why it's interesting to me. The chance to dig into something that you love and see what's inside, what makes the car run, is really a fascinating thing to do."

Gabriel himself has not weighed in on the group, however. "We haven't heard directly from Peter," Gunn says. "We know he knows about it. Tony (Levin, Gabriel's bassist) has seen us play. David Rhodes (Gabriel's guitarist) knows about it. I've been in touch with (Gabriel's) publisher because we had to secure rights to use the material, and the publisher was amazingly supportive; They even said, 'You're not just copying this stuff. You're reinterpreting. This is not rehash.' So that was pretty special. They know we're taking it seriously."

The Security Project released its second live album this year, and Gunn says that makes more sense than doing new versions of the material in the studio. "We're recording every show, and Michael is a great mix engineer, so we'll have more recordings," he promises. "We never thought we would make any kind of record; That would be an idiotic idea. Why would you listen to our record when you have the authentic versions? But we think what we do is different enough that if you like (Gabriel's) records you'd be interested to hear what we do with those songs.

The Security Project

Sunday, Oct. 23. Doors open at 7 p.m.

The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

Tickets are $20.

Call 248-544-3030 or visit themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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