EXCLUSIVE: Steve Hackett has spoken about working with Ray Wilson, and revealed his feelings about some of Genesis’ post-Hackett work. The guitarist, who was a member of the influential progressive outfit from 1971 – 1977, made his comments while speaking in an exclusive interview with eonmusic.
Hackett, who worked with Scotsman Wilson – Genesis’ singer between 1997 and 1999 – on live dates as part of his ‘Genesis Revisited II’ package in 2012, was emphatic about working with the singer. Said Steve: “Ray’s a lovely singer, Ray’s a lovely guy, and we did one or two things live”.
When asked about his thoughts on 1997’s ‘Calling All Stations’ - to date the final Genesis’ studio release and the lone album to feature Wilson on vocals - Hackett was complimentary: “I did listen to it, and I thought the title track actually was very interesting. Funny enough, listening to it again when we did the ‘R-Kive’ box set [in 2014], it cast a whole new light on things.”
Speaking about the band’s “slicker” post-progressive output meanwhile, the guitarist commented: “I’m more drawn to the early stuff”, before conceding: “I like the production on the later stuff; the slickness of it, but then I think that in the early days there were a lot more layers.”
Steve stepped away from Genesis in the late 1970s', leaving the remaining trio of keyboardist Tony Banks, singer / drummer Phil Collins, and guitarist Mike Rutherford to carry the band. Asked if he was surprised when Genesis became superstars, achieving mainstream success in the 1980s’ and early 1990’s the composer revealed: “Well that was a difficult period for me. I had my own band, I was touring, and I eventually got a hit single myself, but it seemed as if Genesis was a well-oiled machine by then that was garnering a tremendous amount of publicity.
He continued: “I had to remind myself of the reason why I left, and it was to explore new paths and to boldly go on my own. For me it’s always been about the music; it can’t be about the numbers - it can’t be a number crunching exercise”.
When asked if he could have imagined playing on the likes of 1986’s ‘Invisible Touch’, he said; “I don’t think I could have added anything to that. I think that Abacab , for me, I probably would have played some slide guitar on it or something. He then revealed: "I remember Mike Rutherford saying when Pete [original Genesis front man Peter Gabriel] had a hit with ‘Solsbury Hill’ [in 1977], he said “Oh, I would have liked to have played twelve-string on that.”
Steve Hackett is set to release 'The Charisma Years' - an expansive vinyl set - on 27th May 2016, as well as deluxe CD/DVD additions of some of his earliest solo albums. Ray Wilson meanwhile, returns with new album 'Songs For A Friend' on 3rd June 2016.
Look out for eonmusic’s full interview with Steve Hackett, plus a chat with Ray Wilson, to be published soon.