IT is 40 years since Steve Hackett released his first solo album and he is celebrating the fact with a nationwide tour in October.
That first album, Voyage of the Acolyte, set the scene for many more solo works, most notable Spectral Mornings.
At the time of his early solo outings, Hackett was better known as the guitarist with Genesis, who he had joined in 1970 as a fresh-faced 20-year-old.
Genesis had just ridden the storm of singer Peter Gabriel’s departure in 1975. when Hackett – following the success of his solo work – left in 1977.
The ensuing years have seen both he and Genesis enjoying success and he has decided to go out on the road to celebrate the 40 years from the release of Acolyte and had also released a new album Wolflight.
As well as his solo work, Hackett will also be performing a new ‘Genesis Revisited’ set, which has become part of his live shows in recent years.
So, in effect, we will be enjoying a ‘best of Steve Hackett’ evening.
“I think that’s a very good way of putting it,” he says. “It’s the very early years and the show is in two halves: solo and Genesis.”
Hackett is keen to point out that even though his records go out under his name, he has expert help.
“Even I the solo work, there’s always a team. I have worked with some special talents and I have to be a fan of the people I work with.”
One such person being Chris Squire of Yes who recently passed away.
“Chris was a great bassist and he never played the bass guitar like a bass, he played it more like a lead guitar.
“We made an album together a couple of years ago under the name Squackett which I’m very proud of.”
Hackett’s guitar work appears to be an infusion of many styles, but what were his influences?
“In the early days, my father played a number of instruments and got me playing guitar and harmonica.
“Then, as I got older, I bought every Shadows record going and I also liked The Beatles and The Stones and by the age of 12 I was an avid radio listener.
“When you’re hungry for music, you tend to have a different way of listening and I took it all in.”
Then other influences came in.
“I became interested in the blues, then I heard the album Segovia Plays Bach and I thought it was a miracle how the guitar could be played like that.
“But basically I listen to and like everything.”
So, what can we expect in this tour?
“I’ll be playing two separate sets; the first set will be my solo material and I’ll be cherry picking pieces from my entire career including a few from my new album Wolflight. I hope to do the title track, Out of the Body, Wheels Turning, Love Song to a Vampire and Loving Sea.
“It’s difficult to pick which songs to do because I can’t do everything. There’ll be some surprises though because I don’t like to be always doing the same thing – for instance I’m not the kind of person who would go out and just do hits. Although it is always great to have a hit record.”
The Genesis Revisited set has proved popular and Hackett has been putting together a brand new set of early Genesis classics.
“Some of the songs I haven’t done in a long time and some not at all.
“Some of the songs have been asked for and I’m aiming to do tracks like Can-Utility and the Coastliners, Cinema Show, Get ’em out by Friday and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
“Everyone has their own favourites and although I’ve done a lot of the epic elements I want to give the audiences something different.
“Plus it’ll all be in surround-sound so it’ll sound great.”
As regards the future, Hackett has a lot of plans.
“After the UK dates, I’ll be touring up to Christmas and then I’m building a new studio in the garden and will start making records there.
Steve Hackett is at York Barbican on October 14 and Leeds Town Hall on October 20. For details visit http://www.hackettsongs.com/