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Steve Hackett

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Steve Hackett from 2017

MSJ:

I know I interviewed you for my book Poetry of the Air, but in terms of Music Street Journal interviews it's hard to believe, but it's been over a decade since we interviewed you. What's been new in the world of Steve Hackett?

Life has been good over the last ten years. I've released albums, several solo, and some joint projects such as "Squackett" with the late Chris Squire of Yes. Most have been original material, but I also released Genesis Revisited II. My career has gained momentum over the last ten years with increased audience numbers and album chart positions, and my band has travelled the world with a combination of Genesis Revisited and solo shows. It's an exciting period with a lot of creative inspiration too.

MSJ: I recently reviewed your new album with Djabe (in fact, it made my "best of 2017" list). I'm wondering what you can tell me about that project (how did it come about, will there be more collaboration with them, any insights)

I'm glad you enjoyed the Djabe album and thank you for the review. I join them every year for shows mainly in Eastern Europe, and we had a fascinating time recording for The Sardinia Tapes. Their music is broad-based, involving jazz, gypsy violin, rock and world music. They are based in Hungary but often involve people from other countries who bring with them unusual instruments and sounds such as the tar from Azerbaijan, Slavic cimbalom, and Australian didgeridoo. It's exciting to work with their combination of sounds.

MSJ: You've got a new live album coming out. What can you tell me about that?

The new live album is Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham, out on January 16th. It's my show celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Genesis album Wind and Wuthering, which includes big favourites like "One for the Vine," "Eleventh Earl of Mar" and "Blood on the Rooftops." The album also includes other Genesis favourites as well as solo classics and songs from my most recent album The Night Siren. It's a great mix which I think everyone will enjoy, and includes videos too - a peek backstage and three music videos from The Night Siren.

MSJ: I understand there is going to be a tour, too. What can you share with the readers about that?

The tour will involve several special Genesis favourites like "Supper's Ready" and "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight," as well as GTR's "When the Heart Rules the Mind" and solo too, including tracks celebrating 40 years of my album Please Don't Touch...

MSJ: I (as a lot of people) was a big fan of the Squackett project. Obviously with Chris Squire gone that project is no more. Is there any unreleased music sitting around that might show up at some point?

No, we released all the music we played together on Squackett. I'm glad you enjoyed it. We had a lot of fun recording it together. He was a tremendous character, great friend and hugely talented musician.

MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play in the future?

There are many rock guitarists I'd like to play with such as Steve Rothery, Steven Wilson and Joe Bonamassa.

MSJ:

What's the best thing that's ever been said about your music?

I like it when people say it's eclectic. It's best not to be typecast!
MSJ: What's ahead for you?

Lots of touring work and I'm half way through a new album. It's always an exciting adventure.

MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading or streaming of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
I'd say a hindrance because it undermines both standards and funding.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them or posting them online?

I don't mind so much, as long as they don't post whole concerts online. Sometimes I post links to good Youtube footage.

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
I recently bought a Muse album. I like their music as it involves various genres. I listen to loads of things, from Bach to Miles Davis.
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
I'm reading The Wisdom of Near Death Experiences by Penny Sartori (a subject I find interesting) and I'm also starting to read Richard Macphail's My Book of Genesis. He is a special friend to us all, and I'm enjoying the book. The other book I'm finding of great interest is Christopher Sandford's Union Jack about Jack Kennedy's relationship with the U.K.
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

Last night I saw a James Bond music tribute band, which actually was very good called "Q The Music." Check them out!

MSJ: Do you remember the first concert you attended?
It was John Mayall's Bluesbreakers with Peter Green in 1966.
MSJ: Have you come across any new gear recently that you love?
I love playing the Fernandes guitar because it has a great sustainer pick up.
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
I just bought a Dobro and I'm experimenting with country picking on it.
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
When I fell backwards on stage. I was wedged between two monitor cabinets with the feet in the air, unable to move and pinned down by my guitar! The roadies had to lift me up…
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Bach, Picasso and Einstein
MSJ: What would be on the menu?
Cheese on toast. My favourite food to be shared with friends!
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
It's always a pleasure to tour America, to see my pals there and to visit all those beautiful places.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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