As a young man Peter Gabriel tried his hand in any band that would have him. R&B, rock, soul, jazz - it didn’t matter as long as he could play and learn.
- The recent passing of Johnny Thompson had many people referring to his deep and broad knowledge of all aspects of magic, stage craft, and show business. I’m struck by how many people in magic today choose a specific area and stay focused on it forever. Broadening your study feeds you in ways you can never foresee. Do it.
When it comes to talent, he feels we would all be amazed at what we are capable of if we really made an effort AND let enthusiasm be our compass.
- We’ve all heard artists suggest that hard work and persistence often trumps “talent” but I love that Peter Gabriel adds enthusiasm to the equation. Being excited and eager about anything is the juice that feeds us – without it, talent is pretty useless.
It’s hard to imagine early Peter Gabriel without the outrageous costumes. When asked why he did it, he replied, “…to get rich and famous.”
- He adds more to that answer - but it’s interesting to note that’s his “gut” response. In retrospect, one would look at those early images of him and assume that they are witnessing a true artist trying to express something deeply profound. But as it turns out, the initial motivation was more practical. He wanted the band to get noticed. There is no shame in including a desire for success in your plans as an artist.
When asked what he feels his core talent is he said, “I’m a hustler. I try to get things to happen and I work hard.”
- That’s an amazingly honest answer. Among Gabriel’s long list of job titles you’ll find artist, musician, inventor, story teller, social activist, and film maker - but he sees himself first and foremost as a hustler. Being a successful artist takes endless enterprise, don’t let anyone tell you different.
His thoughts about being a “Weekend Rock-star” are also pretty helpful for anyone that lives completely insulated within the magic community (both online and in the real world). In short, “It’s a fun place to get your ego stroked but toxic if it’s your permanent abode.”
Other lessons you’ll encounter if you take the time to listen?
The value of listening to “elders” with no stake in the game, other than a successful outcome for everyone. That fact that sometimes, you’ll need to spend a long time surround by crap to get to your goal. And perhaps the most important one of all…
“There will be plenty of voices that will say you’re crap, you can’t do this, it will never work. Don’t be one of them...”
Click here to hear to hear the complete interview.