Steve Hackett is certainly a very busy man of late, on the day we talk, he has just returned from time in Borneo and a few club dates in Japan, amidst a wider Australian and New Zealand tour. Even so, he continues to be his usual self-effacing and courteous host, he is such a gracious interviewee and always has interesting things to say and learn from.
This interview is in advance of his upcoming season of shows entitled ‘Foxtrot At Fifty’, which will see him delivering a complete set consisting of that entire album. The tour will see Steve and his band playing the album along with various other classic Genesis material and some of his own solo material from the ‘Surrender of Silence’ album from last year. It is looking to be a busy few months again for Steve.
John Wenlock-Smith: Good Morning Steve, so how are you sir?
Steve Hackett: I am all right, fine, it has been a busy time, how about yourself?
JWS: We have had Covid actually.
SH: Ooh, that is nasty!
JWS: With Sue having asthma, she had it worse than me but we are both on the back end of it now so, hopefully, will be back to normal soon.
SH: Well, next week we go to Germany and Italy as we are doing some outdoor shows, which should be good, I like festival shows, they are genuine fun.
JWS: Then, when you come back, you have ‘Foxtrot at 50’ starting?
SH: Yes, that is right, in the autumn. I am looking forward to it, it is an album that is worthy of a revisit, some of it I have not played in 50 years!
JWS: You have also got the ‘Seconds Out Live’ album coming out in September?
SH: Yes, it is the best live album I have ever done. It sounds good, much better than the original album, which was not a good production sadly, whereas this one really does sound good. The drum sounds are better plus we took the key down for Squonk.
I think Genesis did that as well because a lot of those songs were written by non-singers and they forget that voices change as people get older and they can’t reach the high notes as easily as they used to, I know Phil cannot do it now. This latest version is exceptionally fine indeed, I guess time will tell though?
JWS: Yes indeed, I was listening to a friend of yours last week, Nick Fletcher?
SH: Yes, he is great, an extraordinarily accomplished and amazing player, the best jazz rock player in Britain today.
JWS: I was also going back and listening to some early Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green.
SH: Well I saw Peter Green many times over the years, he was always a fabulous player.
JWS: I also heard an album by Ryo Okumoto that you play on as well, a track called Maximum Velocity.
SH: Yes, a friend of mine is also on that album, Michael Whiteman, who sings and plays bass on the album. He is part of a band called I Am The Manic Whale, he is particularly good too, it is interesting that he is also on the album.
I have not heard the finished album though, so I do not know if I even made the cut or if I am one of several guitarists on there but enjoy it anyway.
JWS: There are some great keyboard players out there now like Ryo and, of course, your own Roger King, about time he did a solo album.
SH: I keep telling him he should but he thinks anything he did would not sell so he is reluctant to try.
JWS: Well, maybe he ought to cover songs he likes himself or something?
SH: I will tell him, but he is happy just playing on my stuff, although he will tell me if it is not any good, he can be vocal about it too. But they are all talented players and play like demons at times.
JWS: So what is next for you?
SH: We have been so wrapped up in touring that I have not been able to record much. I have got three songs ready but not had a chance to record them so, hopefully, that will happen before long and then we will be touring ‘Foxtrot’ around the world too, so busy days ahead.
JWS: Right then Steve, I had best let you get on but thank you once again for your time. Stay safe and well and we will hopefully see you in Buxton in September.
SH: Thanks John, take care of yourself and keep well.