PETER GABRIEL releases ‘Road to Joy’ – the sixth track from his forthcoming album i/o

Peter Gabriel
Credit: Nadav Kander

On the full moon, Sunday, 4 June, Peter Gabriel released the sixth track from his forthcoming album i/o. This month the song is Road to Joy, and the first version to be heard is the Bright-Side Mix by Mark ‘Spike’ Stent.

Written by Peter Gabriel and produced by Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno, Road to Joy features Soweto Gospel Choir, a string arrangement from John Metcalfe and contributions from a number of Gabriel’s current touring band; long-time collaborators Tony Levin (bass), David Rhodes (guitar) and Manu Katché (drums) as well as two newer members Don E (bass keys), ‘he did the funkiest bass line that you can imagine’ and Josh Shpak (trumpet), ‘beautiful playing, a super musical guy.’ The song was recorded at Real World Studios, Bath, The Beehive and British Grove, London and High Seas Studios, South Africa.

‘I’m working on a project which is partly a story focused around the brain and how we perceive things and this song connects to that. It deals with near-death experience and locked-in syndrome situations where people are unable to communicate or to move. It’s an amazingly frustrating condition. There have been some great books and films about this subject, but at this point in our story the people looking after our hero manage to find a way to wake him up. So, it’s a lyric about coming back into your senses, back to life, back into the world.’

The song is one of the last tracks to emerge for the i/o record, but it has some DNA from an earlier project; ‘It was actually very late in the record that we got to this. There had been a song that musically I’d started, I think, around the OVO project called Pukka. It was very different to this, but it was actually the starting point for coming back to this song. I just felt there was a good groove there, and I wanted something else with rhythm and so we tried a few things when I was working with Brian Eno. The excitement and energy in the song was something that I was getting off on. I felt we didn’t have enough of that for this record.’

As with previous full moon releases, Road to Joy comes with an artist of the month, and for this June release, that artist is Ai Weiwei and his work ‘Middle Finger in Pink’.

‘I’m a big fan of Ai Weiwei, both as an artist, as a designer and as a human rights campaigner. He’s an incredibly brave man and regularly risks the wrath of the Chinese government. But his work is exceptional, often political and quite extraordinary.

When I was hustling him, I think he had absolutely no idea who I was, so it was an uphill battle at first, but he was open to talking and we got to know each other and hang out a little bit.

I was delighted when he agreed to being a part of the i/o project and generously sent us three designs. He has this middle finger image that he uses a lot in his work, and it is often directed to those in power.

He’s definitely been at the root end of power, as his father was before him. So that’s an important symbol for him and I guess in the context of the story I am now working on, death is the dominant power, and the hero is coming back to life and raising his finger to death.’

Just like the previous full moon releases, Road to Joy will come with differing mix approaches from Mark ‘Spike’ Stent (Bright-Side Mix), released on 4 June. Tchad Blake (Dark-Side Mix) and Hans-Martin Buff’s Atmos mix (In-Side Mix), released later in the month.

Since the release of Four Kinds of Horses, last month, Peter Gabriel has begun the European leg of the i/o tour, which is garnering rave reviews across the continent:

i/o The Tour 2023

Europe & UK

Tuesday, 6 June Antwerp, Belgium Sportpaleis

Thursday, 8 June Zurich, Switzerland Hallenstadion

Saturday, 10 June Cologne, Germany Lanxess Arena

Monday, 12 June Hamburg, Germany Barclays Arena

Tuesday, 13 June Frankfurt, Germany Festhalle

Thursday, 15 June Bordeaux, France Arkea Arena

Saturday, 17 June Birmingham, UK Utilita Arena

Monday, 19 June London, UK The O2

Tuesday, 20 June Nottingham, UK Motorpoint Arena

Thursday, 22 June Glasgow, UK OVO Hydro

Friday, 23 June Manchester, UK AO Arena

Sunday, 25 June Dublin, Ireland 3Arena

North America

Friday, 8 September Quebec City, QC Videotron Centre

Saturday, 9 September Ottawa, ON Canadian Tire Centre

Monday, 11 September Toronto, ON Scotiabank Arena

Wednesday, 13 September Montreal, QC Bell Centre

Thursday, 14 September Boston, MA TD Garden

Saturday, 16 September Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center

Monday, 18 September New York, NY Madison Square Garden

Wednesday, 20 September Washington, DC Capital One Arena

Friday, 22 September Buffalo, NY Keybank Center

Saturday, 23 September Pittsburgh, PA PPG Paints Arena

Monday, 25 September Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena

Wednesday, 27 September Cleveland, OH Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse

Friday, 29 September Detroit, MI Little Caesars Arena

Saturday, 30 September Chicago, IL United Center

Monday, 2 October Milwaukee, WI Fiserv Forum

Tuesday, 3 October St Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center

Saturday, 7 October Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena

Sunday, 8 October Seattle, WA Climate Pledge Arena

Wednesday, 11 October San Francisco, CA Chase Center

Friday, 13 October Los Angeles, CA Kia Forum

Saturday 14 October Palm Springs, CA Acrisure Arena

Monday, 16 October Denver, CO Ball Arena

Wednesday, 18 October Austin, TX Moody Center

Thursday, 19 October Dallas, TX American Airlines Center

Saturday, 21 October Houston, TX Toyota Center

All dates are on sale now. /


Xsnoize Author
Mark Millar is the founder of XS Noize and looks after the daily running of the website as well as conducting interviews for the XS Noize Podcast. Mark's favourite album is Achtung Baby by U2.

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