BY JAMIE KNERR PROG-ROCK CORRESPONDENT The Security Project began performing together in 2012, in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the release of the seminal album Security by Peter Gabriel. The group explores Gabriel’s early progressive repertoire, taking much of its inspiration and material from his first four albums then expanding, deconstructing and reinterpreting it. The lineup includes drummer Jerry Marotta (who played on those first four albums and toured with Gabriel for 10 years), virtuoso touch-guitarist Trey Gunn (former member of King Crimson) keyboardist David Jameson and guitarist Michael Cozzi (former member of Shriekback). In October 2016 they took on singer Happy Rhodes as lead vocalist. All of the Security Project’s releases to date have been of live recordings, capturing the artistry and adventurousness of their stage performances. In advance of The Security Project’s November 5th performance at Havana in New Hope, we got Trey Gunn on the horn, here’s some of what he had to say:
PHAWKER: How did The Security Project come to be?
TREY GUNN: I think it was around the 30th anniversary of (Peter Gabriel’s) Security album…Jerry had played on the first four Gabriel records I believe…we just really wanted to perform it live. The question became: what do you do with it? Do you try to duplicate it, or do you do something else with it? We got together and played up at Jerry’s studio in Woodstock, which is an amazing old church. And it was actually really great. We weren’t really sure if it would work or not, but it did!
PHAWKER: How do you approach the Gabriel material as a band?
TREY GUNN: We try to have two or three main strategies, One is–can we authentically make the sounds from the record? One of the challenges is that on Peter’s records the sounds themselves are so much part of the composition…Another strategy is–what’s the core element or core structure of the song? Let’s get right to the heart of it, then mess with it. We’ve done something that most people would have said was impossible, making Peter’s music a repertoire.
PHAWKER: What was your initial feeling about the project?
TREY GUNN: There were two things that took me by surprise. One was how much Jerry’s vibe as a drummer was in the music. It’s just something about the way he feels the music in his body that’s particularly special. The other thing was how unusual the arrangements of some of these songs are. They just kind of flow from one thing to the next.
PHAWKER: Watching you play touch-guitar is a lot like being shown a magic trick; it’s fairly mind-boggling. Can you talk a bit about how you started on the instrument, and the techniques involved with playing it?
TREY GUNN: I was always interested in the touch instruments, from hearing the King Crimson record Discipline. But my first interest was really in the tuning, it’s tuned like a cello, not like a guitar. The percussive, interlocking aspect interested me as well. For a lot of time there we didn’t really have a body of techniques on the instrument, it was just kind of “put your fingers here”. Many people don’t know, but you have to use as little finger strength as possible to get the note out, the minimal amount of muscle you have in your hand to get that action. The only energy is just to get the string going, then you have to relax.
PHAWKER: Have you had any feedback about the project from Mr. Gabriel himself?
TREY GUNN: We have not heard, we know Peter knows about it. I haven’t actually heard from him directly though…