STEVE HACKETT may be more widely know as a former member of iconic British band Genesis, but since leaving the group in 1977, he has gone on to firmly establish himself as an accomplished and varied musician in his own right.
With a new album out, The Shrouded Horizon and a UK tour, including a gig at the Brook on Wednesday, the guitarist shows no sign of slowing down.
Raised in the London suburb of Pimlico, the young Hackett was drawn to music from an early age, especially the harmonica, which his father would, regularly play around the family home.
“You have to remember that I was born before the advent of rock ’n’ roll,” he says with a laugh “My dad played the harmonica and I kind of followed that lead.
Even at the age of four I would try to play like Larry Adler and people like that, but it was when I heard the recordings of Mario Lanza, that I really become interested in music.
It was an ecstasy moment for me.
The first time I heard Ravel’s Bolero, it had a great effect on me as well, it sounded spooky, weird and powerful.”
These first musical footsteps and a love of classical music have stayed with Hackett throughout his career, and he admits to them having a huge influence on him as a musician. Picking up the guitar at the age of 12, he quickly found common ground between the musical genre of blues and his love of classical music.
“If you look at both the blues and classical musical forms, they have a great number of similarities, they are both player focused mediums, it’s all about the individual notes coming together to create a total sum larger than its parts, and that was something that really appealed to me.”
Listening to the blues tinged guitar sounds of Brian Jones and Keith Richards; the self taught guitarist started to develop his own unique style of playing, and quickly found himself playing in various local bands.
Joining Genesis in 1970, after vocalist Peter Gabriel spotted Hackett’s advert in a copy of Melody Maker, the guitarist stayed with the band for seven years before deciding that he wanted to concentrate more on his own songs and compositions.
His first solo outing, Please don’t Touch still carried the mixture of progressive rock and a classical sound that Hackett had become known for in Genesis. It wasn’t until the release in 1981 of Cured that the guitarist moved more in to the mainstream pop music genre. Since than Hackett has expanded his musical style to include many other musical genres.
“I feel it’s a shame when people pigeon hole musical styles, after all it is all music, whatever you call it, pop, rock, blues or classical. It still creates the same feelings and emotions.
On the new album there is a track that has a country music feel to it, that’s something I never really explored before, but it fits in with the rest of the album, and has taken me into another musical style.
“Musically, I consider myself a kind of Bach ‘n’ blues kind of guy.”