Guitarist Steve Hackett will celebrate Foxtrot’s 50th anniversary with a gig in Torquay

Legendary guitarist Steve Hackett will grace the stage at the Princess Theater in Torquay next month with his Genesis Revisited – Foxtrot at Fifty and Hackett’s Highlights, writes DAWN GILLINGWATER.

Steve had an incredible career with pioneering rock band Genesis and he’s also had huge success since then.

The tour will mark the 50th anniversary of Genesis Foxtrot’s acclaimed 1972 album, which played a pivotal role in establishing the band as a major force in British rock.

He said at the time of the album‘s creation “it wasn’t comfortable at all” with him.

“I was worried that Foxtrot was a bit too far for the listening audience,” Steve said. “Fortunately, I was wrong. Its relevance seems to have proven itself over a very long period of time because I’m sure there’s no other album that sounds like Foxtrot. Every time I’ve tried to write a song in the style of one of those tracks, it usually fails miserably and I think ‘No, that’s Foxtrot, leave it alone’.

Steve joined Genesis in early 1971 and achieved international acclaim as the band’s classical line-up guitarist alongside Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins.

When he joined, he said he felt like it took time to get “approval” from some members.

His intricate guitar work became a key part of Genesis albums from Nursery Cryme to Wind And Wuthering to the classic Selling England By The Pound.

“I was involved in a stormy private relationship and that, for me, was a huge distraction from the band,” he said.

“I used to be in situations with bands that didn’t last that long and, especially with Tony and Mike, I felt like they largely disapproved of what I was doing.

“Until I got that stamp of approval, the first day of recording Foxtrot, they both said to me, ‘We want you to stay, we love your playing,’ and I I thought ‘This is news to me, this is good news, so I better stay a while’.

“Looking back I guess Genesis was more reserved and I think that reservation could quite easily be misinterpreted as disapproval. So we held on and I have to say I’m very glad we did. .

“I was really a fan of how the guys could work together, write together and add things to each other. I would say the triumph outweighed the disappointments because the world thought it was very good.

He joined the group four years after their inception and felt that Foxtrot was a step forward for Genesis.

“There was a progression, certainly, compared to the previous albums and I think the quality of the writing has improved,” he said. “That’s not to say there weren’t gems prior to this, but it was the epics that drew me in. I loved Watcher of the Skies and what it did.

“The fact that it started with this almost insane classical orchestra in the shape of a mellotron, joined by a rhythm section that made it all the more powerful and the fact that it was the opposite of heavy metal.”

There’s no doubt that he enjoyed huge success with Genesis, with the band amassing over 100 million record sales. Steve was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the band in 2010 as a nod to his and the band’s triumph.

Aside from Genesis, his solo career now spans over 30 albums and is well known as a talented and innovative musician.

He doesn’t seem to stand still and is always looking to try new styles and ways of working. Most notably, he teamed up with Steve Howe of YES, in the supergroup GTR.

He has now been in the business for 55 years. Thinking about it, did he like it?

“Yeah, really, and what’s surprising is that I still like it. If I can, I try to play every day,” he said.

Steve’s final tour will mark the 50th anniversary of the legendary Genesis Foxtrot album which, in 1972, played a pivotal role in establishing the band as a major force in British rock.

“There will be things that I’ve wanted to play live for a while, songs that I personally find very good,” he said proudly.

“I feel like now is the time for me to show some of those songs again. Also, there will be some Genesis tracks that I know people will want to hear. I’d like to do The Devil’s Cathedral again; we recently played this live and it seems to be getting better and better all the time. i think overall it will be a really good show.

He’s also getting to work with his musician sister-in-law Amanda Lehmann, who will play some dates.

“She tells me she would like to be on a few and I’m very happy things have taken off for her with her album,” he said. “I’ve been informed that she’s currently working on another one and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.”

The lockdown imposed by the pandemic proved to be a particularly creative time for Steve.

He began by releasing Selling England by the Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith, a live recording from the hugely successful 2019 tour celebrating this Genesis classic as well as the 40th anniversary of one of his most beloved solo albums.

Lockdown also gave him the opportunity to write and record two new studio albums, the UK hit Under A Mediterranean Sky and Surrender of Silence.

The guitarist is also looking forward to releasing Genesis Revisited Live: Seconds Out & More in September.

“I finally got back on the road with my band in September and October 2021, our first tour in two years thanks to the pandemic,” Steve said.

“We performed Seconds Out, the entire Genesis live album, tracks like Squonk, Supper’s Ready and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, all of which I think have been largely overlooked in recent years. We also played a host of solo favorites as well as tracks from my latest studio album Surrender of Silence.

“We really had a great time and I must say the group was on fire. They embarked on this magical music combining the true spirit of Genesis with a virtuoso new approach. They produced extraordinary sounds under incredible lights. In my opinion, this show is a feast for the ears and the eyes; the best of so many worlds.

See Steve Hackett on tour at the Princess Theatre, Torquay on September 14. For tickets, visit www.atgtickets.com

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