Interview: Rock legend on Beatle's support for band

Still creative, still adventurous - Ex-Genesis guitarist and songwriter Steve Hackett.
Still creative, still adventurous - Ex-Genesis guitarist and songwriter Steve Hackett.

When one of the key figures in the era of the rock album says he’s supporting record shops – including Harrogate’s HMV – it has to be taken more as a casual gesture.

As a member of Genesis in the heady days of 1970s prog rock, guitarist and songwriter Steve Hackett helped make the album, perhaps, the most important cultural statement of the latter part of the 20th century.

Part of the cover of Genesis's classic album Selling England By The Pound which will be performed by Steve Hackett in York as part of his next UK tour.

Part of the cover of Genesis's classic album Selling England By The Pound which will be performed by Steve Hackett in York as part of his next UK tour.


Still releasing new solo albums successfully, Steve says it would be a tragedy for music if shops like the troubled HMV chain were to disappear.


He said: “I don’t want to see record shops going. I hope HMV in Harrogate survives. I support the fightback of the album.
“When I record, I always want to do something with the details and expanse of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper.”

Steve Hackett's adventurous new work
Steve’s latest album, At The Edge of Light, is his 26th solo effort in a career of ever-moving creativity spanning nearly 50 years.
One listen to At The Edge Of Light album’s huge variety of styles and bold sense of musical adventure let’s you know two things.
At the age of 68, Steve may be about to take part in a luxury prog extravaganza on sea with other top 70s rock bands such as Yes in the neatly titled Cruise To The Edge but he’s not one to settle for rosy nostalgic laurels.


It’s also easy to see why, as Phil Collins took the reins of Genesis in the late 70s and pulled them away from more ambitious material such as Supper's Ready and The Cinema Show towards pop superstardom, the musically ambitious musician had to leave the band after their 1977 album Wind & Wuthering.


But, talking on the phone in a break from rehearsals for the sea cruise, Steve says the reason for the split wasn’t really the fabelled ‘musical differences’ at all.


Steve said: “After I did my Voyage of the Acolyte album I found pursuing a parallel solo career was a no-no.
“It wasn’t musical differences. I had so many ideas. Politically, it was becoming unhealthy climate in Genesis for me to work in.”


Despite his current exploration of everything from epic orchestration and guitar-driven rock to world music and ambient experimentation recorded with an amazing range of musicians from around the globe, his links to the famous band he left in 1977 endure.


But, despite rooking up with the likes of Collins, Rutherford and Gabriel in recent years for various major Genesis retrospectives and the band’s induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, he says a proper Genesis reunion is not on the cards.

A Genesis reunion?
Steve said: “I think a reunion is highly improbable. I remember listening to another band when they were asked the same question and they replied it will be a miracle if that happens.
“I still love the music Genesis made and I still honour it on tour with my Genesis Revisited shows.”


Steve Hackett live dates

Fans of Steve Hackett and Genesis will get a chance to see him live again when his next UK tour comes to York Barbican on November 19.
The series of UK-wide dates will see Hackett focusing on two classic albums, Spectral Mornings (1979), his third solo album, and Genesis’ ‘breakthrough’ album Selling England by the Pound (1973) with its hit single I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe).
The latter is one of Steve’s own favourite Genesis albums and, perhaps, surprisingly, a favourite of the late John Lennon’s.

Supported by a Beatles
He said: “To have a Beatle saying he liked our album at the time was was very important to us.
“But Genesis were not an overnight success. It was a very slow burn and we had to work hard.
“We were in New York when we heard about he had said in the interview he was listening to Selling England By The Pound.
“Without the internet, the news didn’t spread like it does now. We didn’t even have a gig to play.
“Our next shows were at the Roxy in LA. We played for three nights to 500 people in total.”

Best Harrogate gig of year - and it's only early 2019