Interview: Steve Hackett on bringing Genesis classics to Harrogate's Royal Hall
Playing Seconds Out at Harrogate’s Royal Hall as part of his forthcoming UK tour will bring back thoughts of Steve Hackett’s final days with Genesis not only for fans but for the musician himself.
“I have happy memories of the time,” Steve tells me over the phone.
“It was a live album but it was my last project with the band before my departure.
“As a collection of songs it’s still held in high esteem by people across the globe.
“I once had the good fortune to stay with a famous actor on a visit to the United States.
“He must have stuck on Seconds Out as I left in the car. I could hear the album playing really loud across the road.”
Now aged 71, Hackett has built up a wonderfully prolific CV since he left Genesis in 1977 after his colleagues’ less than warm response to his desire to branch out on his own more with a free hand.
From the experimental prog rock of his debut solo album Voyage of the Acolyte in 1975 to the pastoral acoustics of the orchestral Under A Mediterrean Sky album released earlier this year, Hackett has never lost his love for stretching his talents and interests leading to a brilliant and diverse back catalogue.
The Pimlico-born guitarist, all-round instrumentalist and songwriter now looks on his days with his talented colleagues Collins, Gabriel, Rutherford and Banks as his “childhood”.
But, despite the highs of his career since the heady days of the 1970s, he remains proud of what he brought to Genesis as a young man in his early 20s.
His ambitious approach fuelled by other musical genres such as folk and classical made a significant but sometimes under-appreciated contribution to the band’s run of classic albums from Nursery Cryme to Wind & Wuthering.
Steve Hackett said: “I’d been very impressed with King Crimson and I wanted to expand the colours of the band when I joined in 1971.
“Peter Gabriel was a great innovator but I could see there were more possibilities in the band’s music and stage show.
“I was keen we should start each performance with a bang rather than meandering and to make it a theatrical experience with lighting.
“It was a fantastic time being part of a band going from strength to strength.
“I didn’t leave because of ‘musical differences’.
“The problem was, after Voyage of the Acolyte, I wanted to do work more autonomously but the others put a block on it.”
The forthcoming tour, which starts with a sold-out show in Leicester on September 10 and hits its penultimate night at the Royal Hall in Harrogate on October 22, will see Hackett play the entire Seconds Out album - plus tracks from his wider catalogue, including not only the excellent Under a Mediterranean Sky but also the rockier Surrender of Silence, his second collection of new material released this year.
Hackett's band for the tour contains many faces which will be familiar to fans from his impressive run of solo albums.
Joining him on his much-anticipated string of autumn dates will be his regular musicians Roger King (keyboards), Jonas Reingold (bass), Rob Townsend (saxes/flutes) with Nad Sylvan on vocals.
Craig Blundell (Steven Wilson, Pendragon) will be on drums and percussion.
He was voted by Modern Drummer and Rhythm Magazine readers as one of the top progressive and forward thinking drummers in the world.
Steve said: “I am looking forward hugely to being back on the road in the UK in front of real audiences again after lockdown and live music by Zoom, bringing the whole of Seconds Out back to life.
"The set features some of the most thrilling Genesis material, this time all numbers played in full, plus additional surprises."
It's been a time for revisiting the past for Steve Hackett of late.
In July his enthralling autobiography, A Genesis In My Bed, was published in which the multi-talented musician talks candidly about his early life, his time with Genesis, and, in particular, his personal relationships with the other four band members, with great insight into the daily goings on of this major rock band.
Steve Hackett’s Seconds Out + More Tour is at the Royal Hall, Harrogate on Friday, October 22, 2021.
For tickets, visit www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk