“Oh geez, no! It certainly doesn’t feel like 40 years ago but it feels good to do old stuff. Wind & Wuthering turns 40 and it will be good to celebrate it. The material stands the test and over the years the experience changes you; there is a certain amount of fog involved (laughs) but it feels good to know that the music is in people’s emotional calendars.”
Those are the words of legendary guitarist Steve Hackett as he elaborated upon his 2018 tour, Genesis, forthcoming new music, old music, a recent show with the Birmingham Symphony and his upcoming shows at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, Feb. 16-17.
The man who penned some of the most respected early Genesis material and has authored a successful solo career loves touring and writing new music as well as making new fans as he interacts with the old.
“We just did our fifth Yes ‘Cruise to the Edge’ and the progressive music fans are so good to us and I enjoy acknowledging them,” he said. “I’m not the type to dress in costume to avoid them; I’m no shrinking violet. I like saying hi to the fans. After all, they’re the people who’ve made my life great; I’ll always be civil to them.”
As the years pass, Hackett takes pleasure in the fact that his fans continue to clamor for his product. And as he continues to find ways to reinvent it, he finds great joy in revisiting it as well.
“I am constantly being asked about the old material,” he explained with pride. “I’m working on a boxed set retrospective, I’ve recently done ‘Wuthering Nights in Birmingham’ with a symphony orchestra, which spawned a live DVD and album and I’m really proud of it. We recorded it in Surround Sound and it came out far better than I could have hoped. I’ve been doing some acoustic shows, which are always nice, as it gives the music a different emphasis. I did one at Christmas and it was well received.”
Coming off what he calls “touring extensively” in support of his 2017 solo album, The Night Siren, this maestro of the six strings has no desire to sit still, and after a few weeks off has set out on the road for 2018 with an eye to the future.
“This tour is the Genesis Revisited Tour and it will be half Genesis songs and half my songs and some GTR as well,” he said. “We’ll be doing (GTR)’s ‘When the Heart Rules the Mind’ and some of the material I wrote with Mike Rutherford — ‘Firth of Fifth,’ ‘Dancing With the Moonlit Knight,’ ‘Musical Box,’ ‘Dance on a Volcano’ — “Please Don’t Touch” from 1978 and more. This set has been proved in front of a crowd and it really is such fun and feels great to celebrate the past.
“I’ve got some new music, too, but I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with that just yet,” he said. “I am working on a new album but that won’t be ready until the end of 2018.”
With stops in North and South America as well as Europe and Japan, Hackett says it is “looking good” that it will go on for quite some time. Length isn’t as foremost in his mind, however, as what he gives to the audiences he encounters.
“In the 1960s,” he said with a chuckle, “I saw and did so many gigs. When I talk with the musicians now they’ll say, ‘Oh we did this wrong or we did that wrong’ … I would like to think that I’ve grown as a musician and as a person since those times. To hear them talk, you would think that we were being scored at the Olympics and the Russian judges didn’t like what they saw: ‘Oh dear they missed that triple axel (laughs).’ Reality of the situation was that we were just making music and we were and still are our harshest critics, I suppose.
“I don’t fret over that stuff so much now. I want to put out a good product, play the great music from my past and present and let it unfold, so to speak. I’m having a good run of it and so I’ll enjoy it as long as I’m in good health.”
For tickets to the Feb. 16-17 Collingswood shows and more information about Hackett, visithackettsongs.com.