'70s - Steve Hackett (2011)
‘Momentum: The Steve Hackett Story'
STEVE HACKETT is renowned as an immensely talented and innovative rock musician. He was lead guitarist with Genesis as part of their classic line up with Gabriel, Collins, Banks and Rutherford, that produced acclaimed albums such as Selling England by the Pound.
With STEVE's extraordinary versatility in both his electric guitar playing and his composing, he involves influences from many genres, including Jazz, World Music and Blues. He is equally adept in his classical albums that include renditions of pieces by composers from Bach to Satie, his own acoustic guitar compositions that have gained the admiration of many, including Yehudi Menuhin, and ambitious guitar/ orchestra albums such as A Midsummer Night's Dream, recorded with the Royal Philharmonic.
With Genesis, STEVE's guitar playing produced some of the most memorable moments, from the sensitivity of his acoustic sound on Horizons and Blood on the Rooftops to the dramatic rock guitar solos of Firth of Fifth and Fountain of Salmacis.
As he embarked on his solo career he developed his exceptional range, pushing musical boundaries into exciting areas, inventing new sounds and also techniques such as 'tapping'. His solo career went from strength to strength and the mid eighties not only saw the hit single Cell 151, but also the STEVE HACKETT and Steve Howe super group GTR, highly successful in America.
After GTR STEVE worked further with many renowned musicians such as Paul Carrick, Bonny Tyler, John Wetton and Brian May, who has credited STEVE as an early influence. STEVE went on to produce his hit album Genesis Revisited. He went even further back to his roots with Blues with a Feeling, whilst continuing to challenge his own 'horizons' with an amazingly eclectic mix of sounds, genres and a sense of the exotic that excites his many followers to this day.
Recent albums have possessed a high level of sophistication, along with an everpresent powerful dynamic, from the dramatic and atmospheric darkness of Darktown and Wild Orchids to the colourful voyage through time and space of ToWatch the Storms. 2009's Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth, written and recorded in the midst of domestic and professional upheaval, was released to an overwhelmingly positive response from fans and reviewers alike, many of them proclaiming it his best ever.
STEVE's live electric gigs take his fans on an extraordinary journey drawn from a rich musical heritage. Perennial Genesis favorites such as the mighty Firth Of Fifth sit alongside solo classics, while more recent material, with much of Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth now included, demonstrate that Steve is an artist still at the very top of his game. Supported by some of the best musicians on the planet, STEVE's unique guitar work remains the fulcrum on which this challenging and exhilarating show is balanced.
The new Double Live CD 'Live Rails' is a worthy documentation of his last world tour for "Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth" including new material and classics from the STEVE HACKETT and Genesis catalog!
Exclusive Magazine recently sat down with Steve Hackett and discussed his time spent in Genesis, his new double album, his love of touring the world, and, of course, ... Penguins!
Taking it from the top and at what stage of growing up did a young boy from Pimlico (London, UK) decide that music was going to be his future? "It was a gradual dawning throughout my childhood as music became more exciting with the progression of the '60s."
Your earliest playing experience came with Canterbury Glass, Sarabande, and Quiet World who all performed Prog Rock. What are your memories of those days and do you still speak to any of the guys you once played with? "My memnories of the early days are of many rehearsals but very few gigs! I'm not in touch with any of the guys from Canterbury Glass or Sarabande, but I am very much in contact with Phil Henderson and Dick Driver of Quiet World. We still sometimes work together with orchestral ideas."
Amazingly, the reason you were asked to join Genesis was all down to you placing an ad in Melody Maker (UK music paper) in which you adamantly stated: 'Seeking musicians determined to strive beyond existing stagnant music forms'! Wow, quite a statement, and being that it worked, what made you choose Peter Gabriel's Genesis thereafter? "It was five years of ads. Genesis were interesting textually and gave room for sonic exploration. I could use the guitar like a synth and we were all fans of varispeed. We listened to each other, we had several eureka moments together, and we were all intrigued by a wide range of style and sound."
During your time with Genesis you had a rather unique stage image, to say the least! Wearing glasses and seated in a hunched position over your guitar, you were most definitely the counter to Gabriel's extravagant costumes and stage theatrics! Did you set out to assume this position on purpose, or was there more to its 'creation' than meets the eye? "With the Polish dissident look I was too busy pouring over my guitar experiments to be a fashion guru!"
You've had massive success since those days as a solo artist, and aside from the release of your brand new CD, which album of yours from days gone by would you say truly encapsulated the best you could have ever been at the time? "I enjoyed Spectral Mornings. It was my first touring band and I loved the way everyone sounded. We covered rock, classical and folk influences in a hearfelt way. They were a magic combination, as are my band today."
Talking of your new album, 'Live Rails,' this wonderful 2-disc CD is a live set of material (2009/10) from throughout your solo career, plus versions of some Genesis classics, and even some new material! This is quite the collection, my friend, but listening back to it is there a favorite moment for you musically captured that always makes you smile? "I particularly enjoy the intro leading into Every Day and the vocal harmony combination on Emerald and Ash and Serpentine Song."
Indeed, your motto for the last tour, Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth was always "Train On The Road." So, does that explain why this new CD is entitled 'Live Rails'? "Yes, the train theme has served us well during the last two years. Like a train I feel this team is akin to an unstoppable force."
Brought together from recordings made whilst on tour in NYC, Paris and London, and knowing you've toured the world many times over, is there still a city out there that you have yet to explore - musically or simply as a tourist - that you would still love to take the time to go and see? "Yes, there's Prague, Athens, Istanbul, Sydney, Wellington... where would you like me to stop? There are many places I yearn to visit, either as a musician or a tourist."
Your website states that there will be 'more surprises than ever before through 2011' - so (and as we're not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing), please name one upcoming surprise! "A European tour is being planned for around October, but we can only confirm upon signing contracts. I hope to be back in the States asap over the next year."
After all these year, all these interviews, all the radio and TV exposure, what one thing do you think we, the public, still truly do not know about Steve Hackett? Ergo, is there one thing you can kindly reveal right now about yourself that has never been brought to the surface before and that might just knock the socks off all that read this interview? "I've just read two books by Robert Moss, one of which is called The Secret History of Dreaming and the other is called Dreamgates. I'm intrigued by the endless possibilities that are posited by dreams, from Clairvoyants to shape-shifting and by the deeper meaning that dreams can reveal."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love penguins ... do you, perhaps? "Yes I do. They are obviously a very caring species in very challenging environments working together, achieving the seemingly impossible, huddling for warmth and nurturing each other. I think they could teach humans a few things or two!"
Steve, thank you for doing this for us today and we wish you well for the future, my friend - "Many thanks! Best wishes."
Interview: Russell A. Trunk
Lead Photo Credit: Ben Fenner