The Mammoth Steve Hackett Interview

This interview is a combined interview from backstage interviews conducted at The Robin 2 In Bilston and The Assembly at Leamington Spa with a catch up interview conducted at Steve’s home in Twickenham, along with other questions asked of Steve via email just to round things off nicely. We hope you enjoy reading through the Interview and we thank Steve Hackett and Jo Lehmann as well as Nick Beggs and the most considerate tour manager I have ever met Mr Brian Coles.

Steve Hackett and Nick Beggs interview Robin 2 Bilston 2009

MK Mark Kenyon Interviewer

SH Steve Hackett

NB Nick Beggs

BF Ben Sound Engineer

TM Tigger Lighting Engineer

The Evil Jam recently sat down to interview Steve Hackett, we were very fortunate to have Nick Beggs join us as well here you can read the results of 40 minutes of conversation.

MK Recently Michael and I saw the show in London which was quite nice, the level of musicianship has been brought up quite a few notches in comparison to the previous tours.

SH, Yeah it has gone up a notch, I think the live stuff is improved because of the combination of material and the personnel that are Performing it. It’s often a subtle change.

MK Yes it is

SH Its all in the details, But I find I respond to people I am working with and the crowds. Also I think there is an aspect of getting older where you do feel as though the clock is ticking and I am more inclined to do all the things that I really enjoy in one way or another so there seems to be less time to have the sort of usual detours via things that I aspire to play but struggle to play.

BF and SH have a conversation about the show the interview is paused! three minutes pass by!

SH sorry about that digression but it might be the only chance I get before the show!

MK I saw you five years ago at the Shepherds Bush Empire and again just last weekend, it was quite different to see you on stage with a Bassist who also plays Chapman Stick.

(At this stage in the interview we are joined by the excellent Nick Beggs)

MK Yes it was very different, a similar sort of surprise would be if you (Steve) came on stage with an Electric Sitar instead of your usual Electric Guitar or Acoustic Guitar.

SH Yeah there is quite a bit of rearranging going on I would say but obviously Nick has been playing stick for quite some time and is one of the foremost exponents.

MK Nick your one of only two people I have seen play Chapman Stick in this country

NB There are a number of amazing Chapman Stick players in England but they are not very high profile because it is quite an alternative instrument, the reason for me learning it in the first place is because I was always fascinated by it and when Steve asked me to join the band I felt as though I would augment what I do into Steve’s arrangements. Fortunately it seems to be working and also with the new record I was able to throw some Chapman Stick into those parts too.

NB It just seems to be a natural bolt on really seam less I hope.

MK The first time I saw a Chapman Stick being played was in 2002 by a lady called Carrie Melbourne.

NB Yes she is a very good player.

Copyright Evil Jam 2009

Steve Hackett and Nick Beggs

MK She appeared to be holding it similar to a violin player, and you seem to have a different technique?

NB Well I think your right, but ergonomically there is only one way to hold a Violin by holding it under you chin and with the Chapman Stick there are lots of different ways of wearing it posturally some people like to look down at the instrument, Emmett Chapman doesn’t look at the fret board there are a lot of variables in the approach.

MK Do you find playing either the Chapman Stick (NB) or Guitar (SH) intuitive or do you have to look at what your fingers are doing or if they are in the right place?

NB Well I personally from my own position I am learning something from about playing everyday I am only a fraction away from the path of where I want to get to with the instrument I have only recently been able to use my little finger on my right hand with the Chapman Stick it has taken quite a lot of discipline to rework all of the voices that I knew, I noticed the other day I just did it and I finally got some pay off.

SH it’s very nice when that happens

MK Nick how are you finding the tour compared to working with Kajagoogoo which is quite a bit different to Steve’s music

NB there is a lot more gravitas to working with Steve than what Kajagoogoo is because it’s a POP band the kind of instant gratification Popsicle but personally this is here (working with Steve) where I feel most comfortable musically because that is the music that made me want to become a professional musician in the first place it wasn’t pop, Prog (Progressive Rock) is where my heart is.

MK We saw you in London and it was great, we have read a lot about what you were bringing to the tour and the shows.

NB Really? , That’s nice to know

MK Well we had read a lot about it but we hadn’t seen you for ourselves, then we saw the show in London and we found you to be a fun gregarious guy onstage.

NB It’s a great honour to be in this band because everybody is extraordinary and I am a big fan of Steve’s music, and when he asked me I felt like WOW everything had come full circle

SH Well I feel genuinely to be very lucky to be working with Nick he’s very very good. All the guys in the band are you know, obviously Nick has had a very high profile and history at the end of the day it’s about the playing and also the fact that we are all friends that’s important. I have worked in some situations that are much more competitive and obviously that’s a little different when you’re a player in a band rather than leading it.

MK If we can just talk about your new website for a moment, I have seen the video of Nick in the Knight Rider car which made me laugh a lot.

NB Oh is that on there?


SH yes these things are very much Jo’s influence on the website it was funny

MK There is also footage on there with you (Steve) doing these sketches around 1968?

SH Oh yeah these were when I was around 18

MK In one of them you’re outside the Bank Of America?

SH I thought it was the American Embassy, You’d get arrested for that now as a terrorist if you did that now.

MK The sketch in particular was called something like “Steve gets a mortgage for his Harmonica”

SH Yeah it was a buskers thing, a friend of mine way back in the 60’s was making student films I was putty in his hands a pawn and he just wanted me to look like a busker so I did and I had a little Harmonica that I used to play a small four note thing that you could play tunes on. I’m just stood there in a hat and its all sped up very Chaplinesque, You see in those days I had a beard and glasses and long hair and I had always wanted to look at least 40 that was the thing, and here I am in February I’ll be 60 and I think I’d rather to be in my twenties again.

NB Do you remember I showed you that photograph the other day of You and Peter (Gabriel) and you said you had your Polish Dissident look it was so funny.

SH The Polish Dissident look is the one! The wrong glasses (laughter) and often the wrong rain coat.

MK You may cringe when I bring this up now

SH the Strawberry Jacket?

MK Yes I bought all the Genesis box sets and I saw you wearing the Strawberry Jacket

NB What’s the Strawberry Jacket?

SH Ah it had a big Strawberry on the back (It didn’t Steve is teasing us and Nick)

Steve Hackett and that Derek Smalls look! (Courtesy of Charisma Records)

MK Have you seen Spinal Tap? Steve was the bassist Derek Smalls

NB Derek Smalls


SH I was Derek Smalls, I am Derek Smalls.

MK It looked like a Silk Strawberry Jacket

SH don’t remind me

NB Was that Trick of The Tail?

SH Stack heel shoes, No earlier Selling England time ’73 I sat there on stage with a bright Strawberry Jacket.

NB Hey listen we’ve all done it

MK I think I saw it on the Shepperton Film footage (released as an extra for Selling England by the Pound SACD/DVD remaster) of October 1973.

SH Well I toured that jacket, I had a series of jackets that were a bit like that.

MK You had a very serious pose with you sat down like that.

NB That’s right! You all did.

SH people just used to sit down those days, PETE was the show running about everywhere and the rest of us all sat down and it wasn’t until Pete left Monsieur Gabriel we well some of us learned to stand up.

NB Well you were playing Bass pedals and you were all playing really complicated pieces and I thought hey this music is so difficult that they all have to sit down to play it and that’s why I liked it.

Genesis in the very early '70's! (Courtesy of Charisma Records)

SH A lot of people used to sit down to play and a lot of audiences used to sit down in places, Where you would have standing tonight (Robin 2 November 18th 2009) if this were a Genesis gig in 1972 that audience would probably be all sitting down on the floor just like Children in a class room in primary school. there used to be such reverence in those days for all things that latterly became known as Prog but that wasn’t exceptional most audiences used to sit down for most bands in those days unless it was a wet muddy field.

MK What like the conditions at the Six of the Best gig?

SH Absolutely.


NB What is Six of the Best?

MK The 1970 to 1975 era Genesis reunited in October of 1982 to help Peter Gabriel pay off debts he had left over when he had tried to organise the very first Womad concert, sadly Peter was getting death threats about money that was owed. Genesis heard about this and offered to pay the debt from the money made on their previous nights gig. Peter refused and came up with the idea of a One off reunion.

NB Now I remember and I remember hearing about this

MK Well sadly Steve came on for only two songs but when he did come on the crowd went ballistic in a positive way so I have been told by those that were there, and from what can be heard on a few bootlegs of the gig.

SH It was a great moment I did “I Know What I like” and “The Knife” with them I flew back three thousand miles when I heard that the gig was on to be part of it, I got on a plane and had practically no sleep. I would have liked to have been on for more of it. I think they (Genesis) had managed to rehearse at the Hammersmith Odeon, because they were doing there own show there they were really knackered it was the end of their tour and everyone had that pale and interesting green look because they had been on tour for a year I think already at that point and right at the end of it they decided to incorporate another set into it with Pete so it was more of a party than a gig plainly not everyone knew each others numbers Pete got up and tried to play along on the drums to Turn it on again and didn’t remotely know how it went, It was taken in the spirit of FUN so it was half Karaoke really, it poured with rain yet such an amazing atmosphere on stage and back stage.

SH I just felt wonderful to be on stage with everybody at that point because although we had this history together so much had been done subsequently everyone had done solo things with success and I just thought Oh what a proud moment to be on stage with them all again we were all practically laughing our heads off and all hugging each other the stiff upper lip had gone completely maybe no one else will admit to this I was there and I know and I got completely legless and I had to be carried home along with just about everyone else.


SH I was completely gone


MK Yeah I heard that the weather was terrible

SH Yeah it poured throughout the whole gig luckily on stage it was dry those that were there at the front suffered mightily from the deluge.

TM and Steve talk about lighting cues and the placing of the interval, as this conversation ends I say

MK If only there was “Dark town” in the set

SH Dark town? A version of that number, we did do it earlier but we have incorporated most of the new album except “Last Train To Istanbul” although it becomes part of the intro and outro.

MK its makes a lot of sense playing most of the new album, because you have a new album to promote as well as you have a limited time on stage.

SH well its quite a long set around two hours and twenty minutes to two and a half hours depending on any noodling.

MK How did you come to choose the set?

SH I let Nick choose the set


SH It was largely Nicks input funny enough based on the former set we were previously playing and the potential set that we might do, so we were all furiously rehearsing away in private to come together and update the set . So I have broken with tradition in a way because really the sets that people usually enjoy are the ones that feature old favourites as much as possible but it seemed as if the new numbers in this set have been embraced almost immediately by audiences as if they were always there.

NB They’re quite instant songs though, and the material is quite approachable though in my opinion and I don’t know what you found when you first heard the album (Mark) but we listened to the material back in the mix and I thought do you know this has a kind of pop sensitivity to the songs which makes them quite instant

MK There were some songs where easy to get into upon the first listen of the album, But there where parts of the album were you had to listen hard to the first piece of a song which at times was subtle or even pastoral and then you could relax when then Rock element kicked in sometimes a sort of Led Zeppelin feel in a few places which was nice but I suspect not as instant as a three or four minute pop song. But that said most people that go and see a Steve Hackett show or buy a Steve Hackett album are not usually the kind of people that look up and down the top 40 singles chart and go off and buy whatever is in the said chart.

NB No they’re not!

MK Steve’s music and shows are much more than the Popsicle thing which appeals to me hence why I visit many gigs and to see him play and the band gelling along side him playing real live music. Unlike something along the lines of Pop Idol or X Factor which is all about one person who is often a product of the manufactured machine that some people like but it does in fact very little for me.

MK I most certainly wouldn’t want to watch such an artist in a live setting.

SH you know it must be very difficult for those people, I think

NB I think your right

SH Who haven’t had the benefit of playing a lot of different venues and a lot of different sizes of gigs to people who run the gamut of being totally indifferent or completely overwhelmed but it is a good grounding because you learn that its not just inheirtant in the music for instance if we are talking about success with Genesis when we performed numbers like Watcher Of The Skies people used to just go to the bar and it wasn’t until there was some kind of visual element. Until there was sounds lights and costumes and make up and all the rest presentation is what I have learned.

SH Presentation is what engages an audience not what sells a song and obviously I have worked with some masters who have done that in the past, but I cannot see me going on in a pair of Bat Wings.


SH I don’t think I could pull it off, Peter Gabriel did.

MK Yes people do under estimate the presentation side of things

SH I have had my moments of fake blood and fake snow as well as various things which have probably brought me closer to flying pigs and keyboard players on ice. The fake blood was something I got into in America in my more tasteless days.


Steve Hackett Leamington Spa 1st Dec 2009

I Catch up with Steve this time about a fortnight later in Lemington Spa as part of a long interview graciously Steve is able to give me some more of his precious time in between the Sound check and the mini party that is about to commence back stage with band members and family members present. We make our way to Tammy Wynette’s Pink Gypsy Caravan and interview number two commences.

The setting for the interview (Courtesy of Ben Fenner)

SH Steve Hackett

MK Mark Kenyon Interviewer

MK You started the tour in Cornwall

SH Right

MK and your winded/ending the tour up in Leamington Spa how has the tour been for you?

SH WONDERFUL, I cannot tell you how crazy it is to be up playing in front of people with this band obviously we have a lot of fun in rehearsals and we seem to have the same amount a of fun in public, as a lot of bands usually have fun in private. Its been a blast you think about the passing of time when your on stage and the audience is loving it, It always feels like the first time you got up on stage and did it and it was going right I’m mixing up a lot of things here but it does feel kind of timeless.

The tour has been wonderful I couldn’t possibly put it into words it seems like an incredibly colourful chalk box of memories. a way I just get an idea of. Its so many things friends/family camp repartee hysterically funny moments some of which have been on stage some of which happened backstage. It’s extraordinary surreal that we are now sitting in Tammy Wynette mobile home with chrome white and pink sofa’s and mirrors covered in this protective plastic wrapping which I imagine was supplied at the factory and has been that way ever since.

SH Nick Beggs said you imagine that Marylyn Monroe got changed in something like this on the set of Some like it hot perhaps.

Out of Carnglaze Caverns

MK Oh it is incredible luxury, I think its only you (Steve) that has the strangest gigs with regard to venues or backstage areas because I remember seeing you on the Acoustic Trio tour of 2005 when you played the Carnglaze Caverns.

SH Yes that is a strange gig

MK Yes it was awfully nice

Steve Playing inside Carnglaze Caverns

SH Yes it was nice, and awfully cold I had a heater blowing on me because I think it was the coldest gig I had ever done

MK Had it been August instead of April I think it would have been much much better

SH Well I wonder? I suspect it’s still probably cold in there because of the nature of playing in a deep inner cave unless it’s a centrally heated cave but none the less that was a good gig. It it was an acoustic one wasn’t it.

MK On this rock tour you all seem quite upbeat and happy as a band

SH Yeah it is

MK Without suggesting otherwise but you as the band leader seem to be much happier than you have appeared for a long time.

SH well that’s true and it’s been a difficult period to get to the point where we could mount shows again and release records. It has taken a lot of effort by a lot of people to get it to this point but that isn’t the point the point is the older I get the sweeter it gets because you realise that if I look back and I think twenty years ago I was almost 40 and as I am nearly 60 as I will be in the next two or three months and whether there is another 20 years is anyone’s guess. it does get all the sweeter because you realise that the clock is ticking but I come back to this issue that I feel as though there has been no passage of time inside and I still have incredible hunger for it.

SH So I think it is special and not just for me, Maybe what I am trying to say is that people imagine that I take it all in my stride as it were a bit like the lyric from Serpentine Song. But I don’t. I’m always taking stock and thinking yes this is my element but I always want it to be better and when we are improvising I always want to remember more phrases I could have put that little bit in or I could have done that there’s always the next night and its just an expression of your spontaneous enthusiasm.

MK I have seen two shows already on this tour and the two previous rock/electric tours that you did in 2003 and 2004 I think you would be hard pressed to improve on what you have got at present.

SH I’m glad you think so!

MK I don’t think unless you jumbled around the set list every night I really don’t think you could improve too much more. Generally I think it’s quite easy for people to improve on the nought to the 90 percent but to improve on the 90 percent to 100 percent is the hardest part that final 10 percent to improve on. I think you and your band are there now.

SH A lot of people have been saying that they like this set particularly and the characters on stage.

SH I’m doing things because I really like them there aren’t too many agendas going on I’m not being someone else’s version of what they think I ought to be. Now that might seem like a sort of strange thing for someone to say in my position.

MK Is it almost a suggestion that you have more control over your own destiny these days than you have done previously?

SH Yeah I think there is that, I mean I always had artistic control over what I have done but I don’t get too much of people saying to me that are involved in my career “I don’t think you ought to do that” or “You shouldn’t do that” and I did have a lot of that in past and its nice to know that I am working with people who are functioning without agenda and who just like to be doing it I mean for instance Amanda (Lehmann) she comes alive on stage the sheer joy coming off her when she is on stage performing every now and again I hear the vocal balance and you only catch glimpses of that when your on stage it’s a microcosm going on your own little tempest of things that’s going your monitoring yourself and your not really getting the overall balance, you get a sense of it but nobody on stage really knows what’s going on out front you get an idea of the level of enthusiasm from people and even if I am not wearing my glasses and I’m pretty much blind as a bat without them I can still sense and I can still see or I think I can see the whites of peoples eyes and see them lighting up like Christmas trees I can see them moving even if they don’t think they are moving sometimes.

MK Would you say you have been well received on this tour and that you receive a good vibe from the audience

SH Yes! All of that, it’s been wonderful and very emotional in many ways.

MK As though music has become a hobby or pastime rather than your work?

SH Yes almost as though music has become a hobby by comparison.

MK Coming out of that “DARK” period which I think is the only way to describe it can you tell us as to whether you have been recording the tour at all? With regard to releasing a live album further on down the road?

SH Further on down the road, we are recording shows now and I have not heard a single note that we have played so there will be an awful lot of assessing what was recorded whether every last note of every gig got recorded I doubt it, its never happened before because there is always Ah sorry missed the front of such and such and although it was a good performance of so and so that you really wanted that was the night the machines went down so you have got all those aspects of hair in the gate stuff to go through before I can really say to you it would be lovely to release that gig in its entirety so maybe I will work with highlights I don’t know.

MK Well it’s always nice to have something other than the memory

SH Yes

MK So that you can go back to the recording and go ah I remember that was the gig that something extra or interesting happened during Mechanical Bride or that Los Endos was maybe a bit longer. Like the night that John Paul Jones joined you on stage for Los Endos.

SH have you got a version of that I would be most interested in hearing it

MK I’ll see what I can do.

MK You have become a lot more accessible recently

SH Oh yes that’s for sure!

MK Previously there seemed to be a chain of people you had to go through in order to finally get to you (Steve). But now it’s just Steve.

SH I have to say that Jo (Lehmann) has made a point of making sure when emails come in that I see them so I can then respond to them, where as before so much of this stuff was deliberately being withheld and that makes a big difference. I am not operating Steve Hackett dot com.

MK I am aware of that!

Promo photo from Editors personal collection (Courtesy of Charisma Records)

SH OK! The domain name is owned by Kudos Management, People are still writing to that I know, but I have no access to them.

MK That’s sad

SH Yeah sad! But coming back to the positives, yes I am more accessible now via and if somebody writes to me I get to read it.

MK So good and positive things have been happening then?

SH At the end of the day and at this point in time we seem to be going up and up to be honest it’s a different world audiences have been wonderful been there and have been great, tours have been possible I’ve managed to put a Rock band back on the road

MK which is no mean feat

SH Well again you know because I am in the driving seat it means I will know if something is going to work or not so life is very different now and yes people can contact me directly and I am only to happy to do it. I go out and sign items at gigs, I’ll go out and meet people at gigs depending on what’s going on backstage. Sometimes friends and family or colleagues whom I have worked with over the years come by and I have to entertain them. At the Salford Lowry for instance two different rooms were full of guests. Chris Squire and some of the Yes guys showed up at the same time. I was trying to sign stuff in theatre as well as in the lobby and trying to be in four places at once!

MK It’s not possible to compartmentalise yourself like that!

SH NO! But I did try, I will try after a gig to get out and meet people and sign things people will say to me you look really shattered Steve you know and when you do a gig some of these shows are now two and a half hours

MK Which is a long time

SH Yeah it is a long time so I come off stage and ideally have a cup of tea!

MK Darjeeling is nice

SH It doesn’t always work out that way but I love doing it even though at the end of the show I can play guitar and do all those things but incredibly I lose my ability to be able to do the simplest things like tie my shoe laces! I’m punch drunk after a gig but it’s nice.

MK it’s just probably you coming down from the adrenaline of the performance

SH Yes there is an awful lot of adrenaline and excitement going on, that’s why I rarely drive on gig days I can be an unsafe driver coming away from rehearsals and I know that doing a rehearsal is almost like doing three gigs back to back especially for a live show.

SH it is an energy drop and like an altered state of consciousness?

MK Well not only are you the guitarist in the band but your also band leader as such these days more so you have to have the businessman hat on as well. Maybe that is why it is an overwhelming experience for you?

SH If I am a businessman it is very broad strokes, I’m not good at working gadgets other than guitars

MK I’m not very good at working Guitars but not so bad at working with gadgets, so you have skills that I don’t and vice versa.

SH As a very dear friend of mine John Acock used to say it’s the age of specialisation. You don’t have to be that. You can choose to be a renaissance man and work every gadget going and I’m amazed that people can, perhaps it is to do with my approach to music I find I need to dream or to be on cloud nine or even a meditative state in order to come up with things. Alpha (the sleeping state) is very important to me

MK Do ideas come to you in that way?

SH I need to leave the channel clear I know that in the days when I did try and engage with technology more fully, I would end up invariably wiping something which I had spent three hours trying to get one phrase and that’s just quite sad.

SH I like someone to work the knobs which is normally Roger King if it is something musical and in business Jo (Lehmann) works far harder than I do but we confer on everything and the point is its all under one roof.

MK With 2009 drawing to a close what are your next plans

SH more creativity and more shows as well as more music as they say on radio more recordings. I do have a number of unfinished projects which need to be resolved there is little point in discussing these as they’re not ready for delivery

MK Is the project with Chris Squire tied up by the same issues?

SH We have got a number of songs, funny enough I was listening to some of that stuff today at home and I was thinking how good it sounded and how good it can eventually sound again maybe an extra 20 percent that makes all the difference. Its not just about a song is it, its about the details I have been a detail freak for ages now with music and I have realised that is what it is all about whether your listening to one instrumentalist playing extraordinarily well its still about the details and what’s happening in production is the icing on the cake.

MK Your recent album “Out Of The Tunnel’s Mouth” is FULL of detail there isn’t one song on it that isn’t

SH Replete with detail

MK Yes replete with detail, there is no moment where it is bare but the detail is like a cherry on an already iced cake.

SH Good way of putting it

MK Much like your current touring band the previous tours you were all climbing a hill of talent and effort now your band along with you are getting very near the top of it. You have also taken a gamble playing the majority of a new album.

SH I haven’t done that for years, I thought lets bite the bullet and go for it because it felt like it was a time for a change otherwise I was going to be playing a set that was safe obviously they are many more songs that I could choose to play. But who’s to say that in the future I could go back and pick songs to play from various things as there is a lot of music out there, far more than I could possibly do in my life time I would say.

MK News has reached me that your playing your first rock date in a number of years at Nearfest in the USA are there any plans at present to play more dates whilst your there in June?

SH the truth is I do not honestly know I hope they’re will be other dates around that date, I had a chance of doing the Rochester Jazz festival with John Nugent at the time but there are complications with that because it was offered as a Djabe gig with me being involved them.

MK That’s a very different Animal

SH Yeah it is a different Animal it’s a way of jamming and being totally spontaneous throughout the course of the whole evening a different vibe again.

MK It was quite interesting to learn about the news of your involvement with Djabe through your new website where as previously the fans may not have been aware of what you were getting up to, which takes us back to your new found accessibility and you have been writing these travelogues of your adventures similar to Michael Palin’s around the world in 80 days especially with your recent journeys to Serbia and Thailand.

SH I have had chances to visit those places when it seems as though it is almost an extension of the Italian tour thinking where you have a number of experiences and music is part of that experience almost as if it’s a meal with an extended family with a gig thrown in that’s the Italian experience. Admittedly visiting these other places is almost like that not quite an extension of the social scene but in the wider sense of which music is involved in it but that’s part of it.

MK Like in a Michael Palin kind of way?

SH I think so I expect that when Michael Palin visits places he films them but that might only be a part of his day

MK An hour perhaps

SH Might be an hour of his day. I’ve no idea but the equivalent is this diary going on in my head. I do try and write back as though I am corresponding. It’s almost as if you feel like your out there as a correspondent in a sort of news story of your own life that’s breaking news at that point in time. It has made me more aware and more observant. It has also meant that I have been able to articulate my feelings more fully about these places and experiences that go on. Of course with the written word when you have got time to edit your words into something that is a little bit more polished I find I am very comfortable with that. Whereas I find when I read back an interview where I have spoken I don’t always manage to convey properly what’s in the old grey cells.

MK Sometimes I have the same issue when asking questions

SH it is hard to come up with the perfect prose isn’t it? When you’re speaking out loud it’s a sort of verbal jazzing.

MK It can be hard, especially if you look up to that person or really admire there work I was doing some research for the interview today and I watched some of your live DVD’s and its hard to imagine that I am interviewing you I was even more humbled when your offered to make me a cup of tea backstage.

SH Yeah well of course we are all human at the end of the day and we often forget that I was a bit like that with Buffy Sainte Marie. I listened to her records so much when I was young I had an idea of her life being so packed with emotion and I realised when I met her very breifly that she is very down to earth and not cosmic. Funnily enough I just got hold of a DVD of her at home feeding her goats and I was thinking…


MK This is very down to earth

SH Yes indeed very down to earth. She likes to be at home working with the earth and I thought that was very very nice. What any artist cannot possibly realise is just how much their work means to other people probably more than it means to the artist and that is saying something if you do it for a living.

Brian Coles tour manager comes in to inform Steve about the time (they both are responsible for tonights show)

MK moving along quickly Steve tell us more about your show

SH Well I don’t think of it as just my show, there are a number of people in this band who are all magicians in their own right and they thrill me with the amount of rabbits they can pull from their own personal hats. That is what it’s all about for me.

MK With the success of this tour which appears to have been a success

SH Oh its been a huge success

MK Will there be a tour next year (2010) of the UK

SH Every chance we will do that. We might go to other venues as I am not entirely sure of the wisdom of going back too often to the same places.

MK Well it will be nice to see you out on tour again

SH My priviledge!

With that I left Steve and his band backstage and I made my way into the Hall for the start of the gig!

Michael and I set off from Coventry and around two and a half hours later following the directions Steve gave us we are parking the car and ringing his door bell. He and JO answer and we are invited in. We are treated to a cup of tea and some lovely chocolates, after a 15 minute ordinary chat I finally remember why I am in Steve;s presence and I start the interview and push the button on the tape recorder.