The Security Project is a very talented band that specializes in the music of Peter Gabriel. They take great pride in reproducing the music live by way of custom cutting edge technology. With an upcoming tour around the corner, they are set to support a new live album release "The Security Project 1". The talented musicians are former members of Peter Gabriel, Shriekback, and King Crimson, which include: Trey Gunn - 10 string touch guitar. Michael Cozzi - guitar, Brian Cummings - vocals, Jerry Marotta - drums, and David Jameson - keyboards. I recently corresponded with Michael Cozzi.
R.V.B. - Congratulations on your new Live album and your upcoming tour with The Security Project. What kind of preparation went into preparing for this tour?
M.C. - Thanks. Most of the preparation for our West Coast tour in May is logistical, everything from booking shows to shipping gear across the country, renting transportation etc… We are very hands on with all of this, it seems to be the model in this day and age, especially if you do not have tour support from a label. We have released the first of two live CD’s in conjunction with this tour. Released on Trey’s label 7d media. http://music.7dmedia.com/
The actual rehearsal preparation is the easier part. We will rehearse for 2 or 3 days max and we are ready. We know the music inside out. Usually for each tour we will add another song to the set the most recent one being “Family Snapshot”
R.V.B. - You guys obviously have a love for the music of Peter Gabriel... because of the complexity and unusual style of his music, is this more involved to play live as opposed to the multi-tracking in the studio?
M.C. - Yes it is very involved in a number of ways. Peter would spend a lot of time not only writing great unique songs but would push technology to its limits to create complex arrangements and layers of sounds never heard before. We do a similar thing live. We use cutting edge, often customized technology to perform the songs and do them justice and when I say live I mean live, no backing tracks or sequences, everything is played.
Having said that, The Security Project has never really been about mimicking Peter’s recordings verbatim as we sometimes like trying different arrangements or approaches to a song. An example being, Brian’s acoustic version of Mercy Street or the arrangement of “I Have The Touch” but at the same time honoring the spirit of the song.
Well obviously we start with Jerry Marotta. He was there, it’s his drumming on those first 4 Gabriel records and some of the 5th (“So”) He was the heartbeat of those songs and is the heartbeat of The Security Project. One of the most accomplished yet generous drummers I have ever played with. His ability and warm heart makes you a better player. His presence in this band brings an authenticity to the music that only he can. Very cool!!!
Trey’s instrument of choice is called a Warr Touch Guitar. It is a 10 stringed instrument that can be described as a cross between a bass and a electric guitar but with greater range. He is a master of this instrument probably one of the worlds best. The sounds he gets out of that thing is quite an experience. A notable thing Trey brings to this project apart from his great musicianship is that he will explore and push the boundaries of Peter’s music as shown in our live version of “Here Comes The Flood” and a mashup of “Games Without Frontiers” and “Of These Hope” from “The Passion of Christ” I should also mention he has a wickedly dry sense of humor. Cracks us up a lot.
With David’s background as an ex IBM R&D specialist coupled with his software developing background, he has an understanding of the technology we use that is way beyond most humans :-) He is able to bring the complex layers and textures of Peter’s music live on stage and when I say live I mean it’s just him, no sequences or backing tracks. It would literally take two people to do this under normal circumstances. On a few of the songs like “Biko” &“Family & The Fishing Net” he uses an unusual instrument called the Eigenharp, hard to describe, best to just Google it. Add the fact that he is a terrific player and that’s what David brings to this project.
It goes without saying that Brian has an amazing voice. He has the ability to really dig into the soul of what Peter Gabriel was conveying but still sound like Brian. He is a very genuine performer and you can’t ask for anything more from a singer. Another interesting factoid about Brian is that he has an almost photographic memory. He never forgets a lyric. Actually I have never seen him with a lyric sheet. Hence he is the go to guy for remembering the wifi code for each and every venue. Another notable fact about Brian is that he is a Scouser (someone from Liverpool) but we try not to hold that against him.
R.V.B. - What were your influences in London when you were learning the guitar in your early days in the UK?
M.C. - I was a late starter on guitar at 19. My first guitar was a classical nylon acoustic. It was originally a birthday gift from me to my Dad as he played a bunch of instruments but a few days later he gave it back to me saying that was one instrument he could never get to grips with so I took it to college and started learning classical tunes.
It wasn’t until I saw Steve Hackett in 1981 that I realized that I was completely drawn to prog music. So much to absorb, the unusual chord progressions, time signatures etc… Don’t get me wrong I love a good pop song, but the possibilities with prog seemed to be endless. At that time I got into electric guitar and was listening to Genesis, Gabriel, Zappa, Yes, Crimson etc etc…
R.V.B. - What would you say was your first break into becoming professional?
M.C. - That would have to be when I joined Shriekback in1984. I had been going to countless auditions up to that point but luckily this one stuck.
R.V.B. - How did you enjoy touring and opening for INXS and Peter Gabriel in the 80's. What did you learn from this?
M.C. - My first professional gig was with Shriekback. We supported Simple Minds at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre in front of 22,000 people. The main thing you learn with those kind of gigs is to get over stage fright quickly. Generally speaking touring in support of the bigger bands was fun because you got to meet them and play the bigger gigs but your set was often quite short so by the time you were getting into it, it was time to get off.
The most enjoyable support tour was with INXS in Australia. We would play the arenas with them and the next day play a small theatre on our own in the same town. The INXS folk were generous and allowed us to announce our theatre show at the arena show. Some good cheap advertising :-)
R.V.B. - How did you wind up in the United States and in the Seattle area?
M.C. - I had been touring and working in the States since the mid 80’s with a few different bands when a Shriekback “re-union” tour was put together by a new American record label called “World Domination”. This was in late 92 along with two other American based bands called “Low Pop Suicide” and “Sky Cries Mary”
R.V.B. - Tell me about the what went into building your studio?
M.C. - Around the late 90’s I started to get into writing music for films, documentaries commercials etc and after about 10 years of that it became apparent that I needed a facility to take my music and production work to a new level.
My wife and I bought a building in 2010 and built both our studios in there. There is a lot that goes into building a studio so I decided to do a detailed blog on it. http://moscozzi.tumblr.com/archive
It took the best part of a year to complete the project but I am happy with the result and spend way too much time in there.
R.V.B. - is composing music for films a different approach than creating songs?
M.C. - It really depends on what is required of you. Some film scores are basically songs without vocals so in that case it’s very similar. For the more traditional score type music it is very different. At the risk of over generalizing, songs tend to have shorter more repetitive chord structures and melodies “hooks” where as film scores as we know them create moods and atmospheres using melodies that evolve over a longer time period with less rigid tempos and time signatures. It was tough at first to adjust to that but it was just a question of sticking to it until it started to make sense.
R.V.B. - How do you enjoy producing and working with musicians that may play different genre's than you in your studio?
R.V.B. - Where is the current tour going to bring you?
M.C. - It’s the first time on the West Coast for The Security Project so this is a relatively short tour. We start with two shows in Seattle then head South to Portland, Eugene, Ashland, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, LA then San Diego.
Full details here…
R.V.B. - Does The Security Project have any plans to go into the studio and create any new music?
M.C. - Currently we are working on a studio interpretation of “Shock The Monkey” which should appear on the 2nd Live CD as a bonus track later in the fall but It seem like the logical next step. We are slowly but surely making our way towards that plan but are still enjoying exploring the possibilities of Peter’s music and he has one hell of a catalog to choose from.
R.V.B. - Good luck with the new release and tour.
M.C. - Thanks and hope to meet you at one of our gigs one day.
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
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For more information on The Security Project visit their website. www.securityprojectband.com
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