Steve Hackett: "There's Just Not Enough Serious Music Out There"

Categories: Interviews


We recently posted part one of our interview with prog legend Steve Hackett, guitarist for the Peter Gabriel-fronted iteration of Genesis. He's performing the band's early works this week as part of his Genesis Revisited show at Parker Playhouse Saturday, April 5.

Read part one here" "Steve Hackett Calls Genesis 'a Very Competitive Band'."

New Times: You mentioned being in contact with Peter. The last interview I found that mentioned feedback from your former bandmates about the Revisited project was a few years old. Have any of them given you anything recently?
Steve Hackett: No, absolutely not. Genesis doesn't work that way. I think the guys in the band don't want to be seen endorsing or criticizing it. I think for them, it's a no-win political situation, so "no comment" is the favored stance that they take. So, you know, if they think something is great but they weren't part of it, there'll be one reaction, which is "no comment." If they thought it was absolutely dreadful, it would still be "no comment."

I'm always trying to explain this to people because I don't think people get the mindset of a bunch of guys who were so competitive, but that's how they feel about it. You can call it a repressed Englishness or reserve or call it steely politics -- that's how it is. And everyone else in the world finds it strange that there would be no public reaction to what I've done. That's just the way the band operates, you know?

I think people operate on the assumption that there is still a friendship there, being that you are all open about remaining in contact.
Oh! There's still a friendship. But I think an unwillingness to be drawn on the work, especially when it comes to reinterpreting the band's work. I've gotten used to that. It's just the way life is. It's almost like the way the Chinese think; it's pretty inscrutable. Or, you know, Vulcan philosophy if you will, if you're a Trekkie.

Have there been any changes on the front of a reunion at this point, or does it remain completely improbable?
Well, I haven't heard anything recently. There doesn't seem to be a move amongst anybody to represent the obvious thing. I've always let be known, perfectly and publicly, that I was up for it, if it were on our terms. But if that's not on our front, I would certainly work with the music. And for the rest of this year, that's what I'll be doing. It'll be my second year of touring Genesis music. So I'm putting aside all other solo work considerations until the end of this year -- although I'm working on another album of my own original material. But I don't think I'll be presenting that to the public until the following year.

You've put out a staggering amount of music over the last couple of years. How do you remain so inspired this deep into your career?
Well, I don't know what it is that really motivates someone. I was thinking about this today, but I've come across a lot of really great musicians, and before I turned professional -- many years ago -- I would often come across guys who were really great guitarists, for instance. Guys who were technically way ahead of me, and I would form a band with them, which might last one or two rehearsals and we'd break up and they'd go to whatever else was the main job for them.

I guess it's just one of those things. I think at the end of the day, people who stay in music do it because the music is really important to them, over and above any commercial consideration or financial gain. There are some people who do it because they love music. And I'm always thinking about what I'm going to do next. What am I going to do next? What kind of music? Where are we going to take it from? Is it going to be from the West? Is it going to be something like world music? Is it going to have a world fusion vibe? How much do you take from jazz? How much do you take from blues, from pop? Soul. You name it! Country! Who am I going to sound like as a singer? It's endless, isn't it?

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