IF YOU are a fan of ’70s prog-rockers Genesis, be excited, be very excited. Not only is original guitarist Steve Hackett out on tour playing even more songs from the band’s classic era, he says he’d be up for a band reunion.
He played and wrote songs throughout the band’s classic early period and has been revamping the songs for a series of “crowd-pleaser” gigs. Now he says he would join the rest of the original five-man line-up for a tour.
“I’m basically up for it any time but our agendas are widely differing,” he says. “Doing my own Genesis revisited shows has put my cards on the table. If there’s a problem, it isn’t me.
“It’s complicated, getting people to do stuff… I hope it happens at some point, and if it doesn’t, there’s a whole world outside.”
Hackett re-recorded some of the early material on his two Genesis Revisited albums and toured under the same name. Now he is playing Genesis Extended shows to include some of the songs missed out before.
“I did a three-month tour of Europe and then went back in the studio to make a new album,” he says.
“For the rest of the year I’m making the new album or touring the Genesis stuff. Next year I’m promoting the new stuff.”
He says he returned to the old songs simply because his audience loved them so much.
“I found that over time I was playing more Genesis songs live, and about five years ago it was making up a third of the set and it used to bring the house down,” he says.
“The thought occurred to me that a whole show would be an enormous crowd-pleaser.”
Hackett says it’s purely the quality of the songs that keeps them in demand. “The quality of what we did as a five-piece… that was the beginning for five people who were going to make an impression on the world stage,” he says.
“It was highly detailed music and it had a story, a narrative that goes with it from song to song. In the pre-video era the songs were extremely visual as little stories. They were films for the ear rather than the eye.”
When he reproduces The Musical Box or Dancing With The Moonlight Knight, he is faithful to the original – but sometimes gives them a twist. “I try to keep it authentic but often I feel the need to extend guitar solos, for instance at the end of Supper’s Ready,” he says.
“The audience don’t want the song to end and neither do I. I just don’t know what I’m going to play; I live for those moments when I can take the tune somewhere and add a few subtleties.
“But my whole set live is one enormous crowd-pleaser. I’m still very proud of all those songs, and they’re not the burden that people might think they are.
“I was really pleased when I saw Paul McCartney doing Eleanor Rigby, having avoided it for so long. I thought ‘he’s realised it’s the greatest song he’s ever written’.”
Hackett says he left Genesis in 1977 “because I’d had enough of composition by committee” but he’d have no problem working with Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Mike
Rutherford and Tony Banks again.
“My allegiance is to music rather than to any one band or organisation,” he says.
“Since I left I’ve covered so many genres. I know people think: ‘he’s a prog guitarist, that’s what he does’, but I’ve played music from Bach to blues and I’ve recorded flamenco, too. I love all aspects of the guitar and what it can do.
“I’ve done a hell of a lot of practising in my time – and some of it gets to be done in public.”