Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett, is a British musician (singer, songwriter, but above all else an exceptional guitarist) who most people will recognize as the guitar player of some of Genesis best releases as well as a prolific solo artist with some twenty four albums or more under his name. He also has collaborated with a lot of other people, including (Ayreon, John Wetton, Steven Wilson, just to name a few) and apparently is faster than the speed of light, in replying… I am beginning to suspect he might be doing all those things, during “wolflight” which coincidentally happens to be his latest solo album’s title... Read on...
Steve Hackett photo

Hello Steve and congratulations on “Wolflight”, one of the most complete solo albums of yours so far if I may say so…
S: Thank you, appreciated, I had a great time creating it and I am very pleased with it.
You’ve got an impressive twenty four solo albums to your name apart from your “output” of albums with Genesis, GTR and numerous other collaborations... do you ever sleep or put the guitar, down?
S: I do indeed, but one has got to channel their inspiration into something creative and music is my passion so I make music.
Specific to “Wolflight” can you give us more info about the album? Whence came the inspiration for the title?
S: The “Wolflight”, mentioned in Homer, is the that time between sleep and consciousness when creativity is at its most powerful, hunting like the wolf, but in my case for musical inspiration. The theme of the wolf is also behind the people the title song is about, the Mongolian and Siberian horsemen whose totem was the wolf.
The theme of freedom runs through the album... From groups of people fighting for their freedom to the struggle for personal freedom. There is also a sense of travel through both space and time. Instruments from several different cultures are used, from the Australian digeridoo to the tar from Azerbaijan and an Arabian oud (lute). The album goes back in time to a slave uprising in the American Deep South and a lot further back to the nomadic people and also the women in Ancient Greece who invoked the God Dionysos in the Corycian cave near Delphi. Yes, it is a spooky place to visit and you feel an extraordinary presence there. Travelling to unusual places can really bring to life a song, unlock new ideas. I was inspired for this album by many places, including Mexico, Morocco, Greece and Hungary...

Prior to “Wolflight”, you had released the second of two Genesis “revisited” albums and the performances that concentrated on that material must have just finished recently... By the way will there be a third installment in this series?
S: I have always loved the Genesis music from the time I was in the band in the 70s. With the recent “Genesis Revisited” album I aimed to stay true to the original songs whilst enriching the sound with orchestral elements and slight changes. I haven’t any current plans for a third “Genesis Revisited” album, but you never know down the line! I am involving additional numbers not played before on my Genesis Revisited shows for my upcoming tour which will be part solo and part Genesis.
Do you ever wish you had done things differently and not departed from Genesis?
S: I don’t regret leaving Genesis because although I enjoyed my time with the band, it finally reached the point where I needed to explore my own ideas more fully. I needed autonomy. There were no big problems within the band. It was just time for me to move on.
For a guitarist of your talents, you’re probably more recognizable as a member of Genesis than the brilliant solo artist, even though your career did begin while the band had already found some success, does that irk you?
S: I think some fans became more aware of Genesis later on after I had left. In other cases people were not aware of what I was doing, but I have a good following anyway, and I always enjoy exploring new musical ideas as a solo artist.
GTR, was something akin of a supergroup, that didn’t quite last, at least as you’re concerned... what are your memories from those days and would you get involved in something similar these days?
S: Yes I would be prepared to be part of a supergroup again if the opportunity presented itself. GTR was a generally good experience, but reached the point where we needed to go our separate ways.
You’ve done a lot of things in your career, rock albums (with all sorts of different influences in them & some classic inspired albums) even a blues album... is there some musical direction that you would feel inclined to try out or an angle you’d like to explore in greater depth?
S: I always like to explore new ideas. I would love to do more with orchestra. I enjoyed blending more electric with orchestra on “Wolflight”.
There’s always talk and speculation in the media about a Genesis reunion and it refuses to go away… would you be part of such an event (that has failed to materialize in the past) if an offer came up?
S: I would probably join if there was a Genesis Reunion, but I do not know of any plans for that. I don’t know what it would take to get everyone interested in a full band reunion.
“Wolflight” on the road: What are your touring plans? Could we ever dream that an artist of your stature might perform in Greece?
S: The current tour covers several countries in Europe and Scandinavia as well as North America. I hope to tour in more territories next year, and for sure I would love to play in Greece if I’m given the chance. I have told my agent this too! (i.n.: Bring Steve to Greece now – stop bringing the same lame bands again and again)

Steve Hackett photo
Weird questions: If you were Steve Almighty – god for a week – what would you do with that omnipotence ?
S: I know it sounds a bit cliché – But if I were omnipotent for a week I would want all the people who are sick to be cured.
If you were reincarnated into any other virtuoso guitarist who would you like to be?
S: It would be great to be a combination of Andres Segovia, Paco de Lucia, the young Peter Green or Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix, all rolled into one!
Which one of the seven deadly sins would best describe you… ?
S: I guess wrath is a sin I can suffer from, but I always aim to keep that character under control!
If you could collaborate with a dead musician, who would that be?
S: I would love to do something again with the late Richie Havens, who had such an amazing voice. (i.n.: Richie was the guy who famously opened up the Woodstock fest and a great a prolific artist, who was pretty active until he fell sick. A great singer with whom Steve collaborated back in the late 70s on his sophomore album, “Please Don’t Touch”, singing the classic “Icarus Ascending”)
If your wife sold your guitars, to fund the purchase of an expensive piece of jewelry what would your reaction be?
S: That is very hypothetical because my wife is not materialistic and is totally behind everything I do. So I guess I would be completely stunned! (i.n: Oh these questions are really meant to be light...)
Yours is the epilogue…
S: Thank you very much for the interview and my best wishes to your readership and all my fans in Greece.