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Interview:
Steve Hackett at the Royal Oak, 5 Things To Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Steve Hackett left Genesis 40 years ago, but he's hardly been wanting for work since.

The British guitarist has released a steady stream of recordings since his "Voyage of The Acolyte" in 1975. "The Night Siren," which comes out March 24, is his 25th solo effort, and Hackett has been part of high-profile collaborations with Yes guitarist Steve Howe (GTR), the late Yes bassist Chris Squire (Squackett) the all-star Ayreon and his own son John Hackett on 2000's "Sketches Of Satie."

Hackett is back on the road this spring, introducing the music from "The Night Siren" as well Genesis material -- particularly from the group's "Wind & Wuthering" album, which is also celebrating its 40th anniversary...

"The Night Siren" is among Hackett's most provocative albums, both musically and politically. The album features musicians and styles from around the world, a amalgam that he acknowledges is designed to make a statement. "It's a dangerous time in the world right now," Hackett, 57, says by phone from his home in England. "We're very aware that the lunatics have taken over the asylum, and it's up to all of us to lead and find a better place. I feel like I'm sitting on top of something that's worthwhile, that's got a life of its own somehow, some sustance beyond whatever you might expect it to do in the marketplace. It's got a real peace message, a world music unity message that feels very good necessary to put out right now."

Implicit in that message, Hackett adds, is the combination of different global music.s. "I've done a lot of traveling and was interested in exploring the most unlikely combinations," he says, "like sticking colors together that never should work like we did back in the 1960s when you'd paint your bedroom orange and blue. So there's Peruvian influence, Icelandic influence, Indian...many souvenirs from all over the world."

One of the album's most affecting tracks is "West To East," which features both Israeli and Palestinian musicians playing together. "It's very anthemic and I'm very proud of the words my wife Jo and I wrote together," Hackett says. "Getting Israelis and Palestinians on the same song does feel kidn of nice. They work together, and that's a great thing -- at some cost to themselves. Not always blessed are the peacemakers; Sometimes cursed are the peace makers, each side feeling let down by the other. 'Why would you work with an Israeli when you're a Palestiana? Why would you do that?' Well...why not?"

Although "Wind & Wuthering" marked the end of Hackett's tenure with Genesis, he still holds the album in high regard. "It was a great album," he says now. "It was the last of the line of the story of storytelling albums. I think the music the band was doing changed after that. There was a different ethos. But ('Wind & Wuthering') was still of the era of films for the ears rather than the eyes -- lost of stories, lots of little, quirky things. Cartoons in a way, and very expansive."

Genesis reunion rumors continue to surface periodically -- and especially this year with frontman Phil Collins coming out of a lenghty performing hiatus. "I'm always open to it," says Hackett, who participated in the group's ?? "Meanwhile, I want to honor the music of the band, which is why I do it in my shows, still."

Steve Hackett: Genesis Revisited and Classic Hackett 2107

Wednesday, March 1. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St.

Tickets are $29.50-$79.

Call 248-399-2980 or visit royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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