Steve Hackett talks with The Evil Jam, interviewer Mark Kenyon.
The last time I saw Steve Hackett was when he was guesting in his brother John’s band at the London Astoria, I finally manage to catch up with Steve a mere three years later. Within those years Steve had released Wild Orchids as well as another Live album from 1983, he had also toured with his own Acoustic Trio which of course features his brother John and his long time friend and musical cohort Roger King.
TEJ: Can you describe what it was like being a guest in your Brothers band when John played Sheffield and London in May of 2006?
SH: It was great to be able to be a guest on John’s show for a change. I thought he made a really good front man, with the gigs that supported his Checking out of London album. He had a cracking band too. Let’s hope he does more of it!
TEJ: Your last rock album was Wild Orchids, was there a reason as to why you didn’t go on tour to promote it?
SH: Touring plans are easier for me to implement these days.
TEJ: Can you tell us more about your new website and the level of your involvement with it?
SH: www.hackettsongs.com is my new official website. I am hands on with it and am constantly involved with its news and content.
The aim is to communicate as directly as possible with fans and to keep building on creative ideas. It’s good to be able to talk about projects as they’re developing, like for instance I’m putting the finishing touches to a new rock album and I like to present my brainchild as a proud father should!
TEJ: You have let the visitors to the site know that your working on a new rock album can you tell us more about that?
SH: My new rock album is another Monster of the Id! I can barely contain it. It weaves in and out of so many styles, which come naturally to me. There’s an influence of Turkish, Gypsy, jazz, blues, Vaughan Williams. There are plenty of electric shocks in store, like stepping on to the live rail of a train track…
TEJ: Will this rock album involve the talents of Roger King?
SH: How can any of my albums not involve the great King of the keyboards?
TEJ: Can you describe what an average day is like when you’re recording an album?
SH: On an average day I’m up at 6am working through ideas on paper and quietly playing guitar so that I don’t wake up neighbours! Usually Roger and I start work around 11am and continue all day until we both fall over.
While other musicians have their addictions, Roger prefers to starve, but consumes vast quantities of PG tips and sometimes cracks, imbibing a chocolate biscuit or two together with me.
TEJ: When do you think the album will be released?
SH: The album release should coincide with the autumn tours.
TEJ: Are you able to divulge more about your collaboration with Chris Squire?
SH: Chris and I exchange MP3s and I’ll be seeing him over the next few months. I’ll have more time to concentrate on our joint project once the recording of the new SH album is finished, which should be by the end of the month.
TEJ: Talking about Genesis for a moment, Have you been involved with the Live Box set that Nick Davis is currently working on, and if so at what level
SH: Nick Davis and I communicate regularly and I think he does a fine job on the band’s archive material.
TEJ: How do you feel about joining the 1970 to 1975 line up on a possible future tour?
SH: I’m too busy to think about reunions right now as I’m so committed to my own band shows. There doesn’t seem to be anything on the cards at the moment involving myself or Pete. But I’ll keep you posted if there’re any changes.
TEJ: I noticed that you were on an Electric tour in Italy in March why did you start the tour there?
SH: Vania of Blue Sky approached me when I was guesting at the Dusk Day convention in Orvieto with a view to doing something together. The Romans have always been keen to lend me their ears…
TEJ: How did you come to have Nick Beggs on board for Bass duties on this years tour?
SH: Nick Beggs is a great bass and Chapman Stick player, who has become a close friend. He’s tremendous fun to work with. He and I met back in the 90s when he was the MD for Belinda Carlisle and we immediately hit it off together.
TEJ: I noticed that your Amps had changed instead of the Peavey Classics you were using Marshall Amps was there any reason for this?
SH: Like most guitarists Marshall Amps go in and out of favour with me, but for live work I always end up coming back to them because they produce such a great sound. I originally bought the very versatile Peaveys as harmonica amps.
TEJ: I also noticed that you didn’t appear to be using the Goldtop Fernandes on the Italian tour was there any reason why?
SH: The black Fernandes I’m currently playing has a slightly fatter tone and slightly thinner neck than the Gold Top, but they both make an extraordinary sound and sustain from here to kingdom come at very low volume.
TEJ: Are there any plans to either release or record a live album of this year’s tour?
SH: This very day I’m assessing eight hours worth of live shows to bring you the very best excerpts for your delectation!
TEJ: What has prompted you to invite Dik Cadbury to go out on tour with you after an absence of 27 years?
SH: I met Dik recently at a John Acock birthday reunion. We stayed in touch and realised we were both still fans of the incredible work he and I did together with Pete Hicks, Nick Magnus, John Sheerer and my brother. Spectral Mornings remains one of my favourite albums, especially vocally. I feel we all made a great sound together.
TEJ: What are your plans after your autumn tour?
SH: There’s the Anglo-American project with Chris Squire, which seems to be picking up illustrious personnel. I can’t go into details, as it is early days…
Many thanks to Steve Hackett for giving us at TEJ a window in his very busy diary.
For more information about Steve Hackett please visit his official website hackettsongs.com