He has played in his own outfit, Beggars Opera, and also with David Bowie and Iggy Pop. For Bowie he played lead guitar on the 1977 album Low. He worked with Pop on Lust for Life the same year. The album included "The Passenger", regarded as one of Pop's best songs, for which Gardiner composed the music. Bowie biographer David Buckley described it as being "possessed with one of the greatest riffs of all time".