Steve Hackett Discusses Revisiting 'Seconds Out' for Upcoming Goodyear Theatre Show

click to enlarge Steve Hackett. - Lee Millward
Lee Millward
Steve Hackett.
For an 18-month period, COVID grounded Steve Hackett. The time off gave Hackett the opportunity to conceive of his next tour, however, and the former Genesis guitarist decided to revisit the 1977 Genesis live album Seconds Out. Last year when touring resumed, the band played the album in its entirety on a tour dubbed Genesis Revisited: Seconds Out + More. It brings the trek to the States this month.

Steve Hackett's Genesis Revisited — Seconds Out tour comes to the Goodyear Theatre in Akron on Sunday, May 1.

“Last fall, we did a UK tour that’s the most extensive that I’ve ever done. It was 31 dates up and down the country, which was great,” says Hackett via phone from the UK. “We’ve done European stuff and we just came back from Poland where we were a couple of hours away from the conflict going on in Ukraine. At this point, we’re happy to go anywhere. We’re on a world tour basically that started last fall, and it should keep going, God-willing, around the globe.”

Hackett has been "revisiting" the Genesis songbook for some time now. Way back in 1996, Hackett, who left Genesis in 1978, first re-recorded Genesis material for Watcher of the Skies: Genesis Revisited. He followed that album up with 2012’s Genesis Revisited II.

Seconds Out represents what Hackett describes as “a particularly creative” period even though singer Peter Gabriel had left the group and doesn’t appear on the album.

“We’d been recording shows for a couple of years,” says Hackett when asked about the origins of the album. “Finally, we played a show in Paris we felt was the best show that we’d done in that era. Chester Thompson was on drums. We were all extraordinary musicians. When [drummer] Phil [Collins] wasn’t singing, he was running back to the drums. He was very young and fit back then. That was rather wonderful to see the level of energy going on stage. Of course, we lost Peter [Gabriel], who was an extraordinary frontman.”

Gabriel’s departure left Genesis without one of its most creative forces, and Hackett says he was displeased the band didn’t approve of Gabriel’s desire to pursue a solo career.

“[Gabriel] wanted to have a parallel solo career and [bassist] Mike [Rutherford] and [keyboardist] Tony [Banks] were not keen on him doing that,” he says. “I left for the same reason. I wanted to have a parallel solo career too. I needed creative autonomy. It’s not musical differences. It really isn’t. It was just the way Genesis was being run at the time. Until it became a three piece, people were not really allowed to do things outside of the band. I don’t think bands should be run like that. I think it’s important to have creative outlets beyond the band. I don’t think bands should be sucking you dry. I’m very proud of the work I did with the band, but I had to operate outside of it in order to start my own little thing.”

One aspect of Seconds Out that Hackett says worked particularly well for the original live show was concluding the show with “Dance on a Volcano” and “Los Endos.”

“On the original recording, I remember not being happening with the quality of the mix or the production," he says. "But in the fall when we were touring, we recorded a show in Manchester, and it sounds wonderful. For my money, I managed to do the corrections I wanted to make. Better late than never is what I say. It’ll be interesting when that comes up, and it will be an absolute comparison. With any luck, it will be a great moment but not harmful to any of the band’s history.”

Hackett’s touring band will feature keyboardist Roger King, bassist Jonas Reingold, saxophonist/flutist Rob Townsend and singer Nad Sylvan on vocals. Craig Blundell (Steven Wilson, Pendragon) will be on drums and percussion. It’s a much different incarnation, obviously, than the Collins-fronted Genesis that just wrapped up a farewell tour.

“Genesis has been a three-piece creatively for quite some time now and have managed to rationalize that,” Hackett says. “It’s a creative impulse they share. Let’s put it this way, if Peter Gabriel and I had been involved [with the recent tour], it would have been more into the 1970s than into the 1980s. It was more album-based when Peter and I were involved. [The group] became more singles based once MTV supported that second incarnation of the band. It seems as if there will be no more [Genesis] concerts now, but I very much intend to continue championing the work from back in the day, and I’m very happy and very proud of it.”

A real road warrior, Hackett, 72, hopes that he can continue to keep the music of Genesis alive for years to come.

“I have been blessed with good genes from my mother’s side,” he says, adding that he intends to play Genesis’s 1972 album Foxtrot on his next tour. “I have an uncle who lived to 108 and an aunt who’s about to turn 104. I hope all those genes get passed onto me, so that I can put on a good show when I’m 112.”
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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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