Steve Hackett

For more than three decades, world-renowned guitarist/composer Steve Hackett has been known for his innovative tone and extraordinary versatility as a guitarist and composer. He helped define Genesis’ sound as lead guitarist in the classic line-up and went on to have a highly successful career as a solo artist, and also as part of the ’80s supergroup, GTR, with Yes/Asia guitarist, Steve Howe.
Following the success of his previous Genesis Revisited, earlier this year Hackett released his latest album, Genesis Revisited II, via InsideOut Music. The new album features some of the best-loved songs from Hackett’s Genesis years with the band from 1971-76. Among its stellar array of 35 guest performers are John Wetton (Family, King Crimson, UK, Asia), Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Conrad Keely (… And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead), Simon Collins (Phil Collins’ son) and many others.
In 2010, Steve Hackett was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame at The 25th Annual Rock and Roll Hall alongside his Genesis band mates from the classic line-up: Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford.
Hackett continues his 2013 world tour in support of Genesis Revisited II and performs at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall on Wednesday, April 2nd at 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit or call (904) 209-0367.
EU Jacksonville had the honor of speaking with Steve Hackett at his home in the UK via telephone.
EU Jacksonville: It’s an honor to speak with you. Back in the day I saw you with Genesis performing Selling England by the Pound and few years later, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
Steve Hackett: Right. I enjoyed the “The Lamb” album in particular, I must say. It was a very interesting time when we first started to tour with that album. It took a while for it to do well in the market but I was particularly proud of the album at the time. Eventually it started to garner interest from all sorts of people, including John Lennon. But as I said, I’m very proud of that album and I think it was a very good time for the band.
EUJ: It remains an epic piece of creativity, in my opinion.
SH: I know what you mean. I’m starting to introduce one or two songs from the “The Lamb.” Bit by bit I’ve started to introduce them into our current set, certain selections that I’m particularly fond of from it, like “Fly on the Windshield,” “Broadway Melody of 1974,” and “Lilywhite Lilith.” Obviously, there’s much material to choose from throughout my years with Genesis. And I’m even working up a tune that was written before I was in the band, “The Knife” from Trespass. Although that was written before I joined Genesis, it was certainly one that we performed extensively in concert. It’s been a long time since I’ve done it, about 40 years, but I love the all out energy of the song.
EUJ: I have your Genesis Revisited, which I think was very well done. I’ve long been a fan of [bassist, vocalist] John Wetton and [drummer] Bill Bruford.
SH: Right. They both did a brilliant job on that album, I think.
EUJ: Especially on one of my all-time favorite songs, “Watcher of the Skies.”
SH: We’ll be doing that song again during this tour.
EUJ: Fantastic! What was your impetus for doing a second Genesis salute?
SH: Genesis Revisited was very well received, and over the years, many people in the music business continued to tell me how very much they’d had been influenced by the music of Genesis. So I rounded a number of them up. So there are between thirty-five and forty performers on this GRII album, many of them different vocalists. I really enjoyed going back to the material. I wanted to expand on it. And also approach it with today’s technology and that experience. Precision has always been an interested of mine, an obsession, you might say. So I think the new versions of the songs on Genesis Revisited II are extremely precise compared with the originals. Also the challenge of being able to work within a large team, of course. I also wanted to add orchestra in places, because I feel that potentially, the original Genesis was somewhat orchestral in spirit … There were so many influences of so many different things. Film music was an influence. Classical music was an influence.
EUJ: You can hear that in the instrumentation you used, particularly with the mellotron.
SH: Exactly. In the days when I was with the band I wanted to expand the keyboard arsenal so we could make more complex sounds. But you take it even further when you add an orchestra because it means you’re not just limited to the primary sounds of the mellotron. I think so much of Genesis’ music is film music. My preferred expression is that we produced film for the ears, rather than the eyes.
EUJ: Also the fact that Genesis’ music, at least during your tenure with the band, was created before the dominance of music video.
SH: I think there was something uniquely visual about the songs themselves, as they oftentimes told complex stories. And of course you had the other element of what we were doing, with Pete’s [vocalist Peter Gabriel] costumes, make up and persona acting and the lights. Of course, with “The Lamb” we took that as far as technology would allow back then. But always I keep coming back to the fact that, then and now, the music is the real star of the show. Speaking of which, earlier this year the Genesis Revisited II’s ‘cast of thousands’ {laughs} did a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, which I think went rather well, so there will be a forthcoming DVD and Blu Ray of that performance sometime this summer. So I’m continuing the world tour of this Genesis show, it’s back by popular demand. So many people from around the globe enjoyed it last year. And I’m realizing it could be a job for life. But I’m anxious, after we finish this tour, to get back to the new work that I’m writing at the moment. It’s part of it. I want to bring the Genesis dream back to people. Yet there are many who are equally as interested in what I do outside of the Genesis milieu, as that continues to be growing fan base for me. And so on and on it goes.

About Robert Kaye