Peter Gabriel: The idea was to get rich and famous. We were in a group that was sort of disappearing into the oblivion. I mean that was one side of it. But there was another side, which was an evolution, but we loved the sound of 12-string guitars. This was old days, so it meant there weren’t electronic tuners. Three guys with 36 strings at their command would sit there twiddling knobs until they got their guitars in tune. So there were long pauses between each song. And if you’re in a small club and there’s an audience and a bunch of musicians, you just got something going, and then they’re sitting there and all the energy is being dissipated. They look to the mug behind the microphone to do something. So I started telling stories.
So partly, there were characters coming out in these stories and emerging. We had on one album a character which Paul Whitehead had created with a fox head and a red dress. And I sat around with Paul Conroy, who was working at our record company at the time. And he was saying, “Well, why don’t we get someone to walk around the gig in a fox head and a red dress?” And I thought, “Oh, I might as well give that a go.” So I went into my wife’s wardrobe and pulled out a red dress, which was, in fact, an Ossie Clark dress. But at that point, I was thin enough to get into it. And we got this fox head made up.
I remember the first gig I wore it was in this former bullring in Dublin, which was not exactly the most enlightened, transgender environment. And there was a shock. Literally, you could hear a pin drop when I walked out in this costume. And I thought, “Oh, that’s interesting.” And the band, of course, didn’t really know that I was going to do this. I had mentioned something with the fox head, but I didn’t discuss it because I knew there would not be a majority vote going my way. And the same when I came up with a whole lot more costumes of the rainbow.