Sonic Perspectives

Music News, Concert Reviews, Interviews, Album Reviews, Exclusive Features and everything in between…

Interview with Steve Hackett (Genesis, GTR, Djabe, Squackett)

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Legendary musician Steve Hackett joins us for this lengthy interview upon completion of his North and South America tour, which mixed songs from his vast solo repertoire with selections from Genesis’ history. Steve continues to create new music at a steady pace, releasing studio and live albums to much acclaim and success. He just released the live Wuthering Nights double CD, which follows last year’s The Night Siren. He is already at work on a follow-up studio CD.

In this audio interview, Sonic Perspectives correspondent Scott Medina covers the impact that travel and world music have on Steve’s songwriting and performances. They also touch on GTR, improvisation in a live setting, spiritual inspiration, and the joys of collaborating with a wide array of performers and bands. The interview is available to stream right on the player below, as a downloadable podcast or you can simply read the transcription. Enjoy our conversation with this icon of progressive rock!

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Hi everybody, this is Scott Medina with Sonic Perspectives. We’re thrilled to have time to chat with Steve Hackett today. Hi Steve, are you there?

Yes I am! Hi, Scott. How are you doing?

Doing wonderful today. How is it out there? Are you at home right now?

Yes, home right now, which is just outside London, England, and it’s very cold here. We’ve had a warm spell and suddenly it’s really plummeted, so although it’s the beginning of summer, it’s like winter here, which is nothing unusual for anyone who’s visited these shores before. It is an island and the weather is always changing.

Well, it’s good that you’ve been on travels quite a bit lately, so you’ve probably had a lot of different kinds of weather, right?

Absolutely. I’ve been through all the seasons recently. Yeah. Different parts of the world for sure.

Yes, you’ve just wrapped up a tour of North and South America and then went over to Japan as well. How have those been for you personally?

Remarkably good! Attendance and enthusiasm has been good. And it’s been great, you know, both sides of the world. It’s been just terrific recently. So, everything seems to be lined up right now. It’s very good, all the dots line up with lots of separate things. Things are no longer just in their boxes. It seems that, a lot of what I’ve done in the past since 1971 – in fact, I started making records in 1970 –  it’s really good right now. People seem to know what I’m up to, enough people in enough places, which is a great feeling.

Yeah, you’re really reaping the rewards of all these decades of work. It seems like it’s just beautifully supporting you at this time in your life, that’s so fantastic. 

Yeah, it is a good time in life right now. I know it’s a cliche to say that, but it is a very, very good time in my life right now.

Well, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating that, especially after all the years you’ve put into giving so much music. It’s, wonderful that it’s supporting you as well. And, and I see from your travel blogs when you tour that you and your wife Jo get to do a good bit of sightseeing wherever you go. You really make the most of traveling the world, don’t you?

That’s right! Yeah, we do try and squeeze it in if we have time, you know, it’s not always possible. Sometimes it’s just one night in a place and time for the show. But we did a couple of shows in Japan and we decided…well, my wife had never been to Kyoto so we got to visit temples and got to see giant Buddhas and all sorts of stuff. It was a really great trip in different parts of Japan, all places are close really in Japan because of the bullet train, which moves with a mighty speed. And it was a really great trip I have to say, you know, two or three days spent not actually playing live was quite wonderful.

That’s fantastic. And for anyone listening to this interview, if you want to go to Steve’s website and look at his blogs, he has been very generous in posting lots of beautiful photos from their travels there. It’s great to keep up with your travelog in that way.

Thank you, yeah, it has been a travelog. More than that, it has been a personal journey. It’s been a byproduct of music, but it’s been more than that, it’s been things which would inform future songs. As I’m speaking here now, It’s windy here at the moment and there are some blossoms and they’re just drifting off past the window. As so I think once again, Japan, the cherry blossom time of just being in certain places such as Tokyo and in Kyoto, which is a bit colder. It was absolutely right for that. So it was a great time. It’s the ideal time to be there.

So can we expect on the next album some new songs that at least lyrically or musically are influenced by this trip you just took to Japan?

Yes, I think so! Many years ago I bought a Koto and I think it’s time to buy another one because my old one is in a sad state of disrepair. It’s time to buy a new one and celebrate all of that because I guess heading towards world music, started for me in the seventies during my time with Genesis. There were certain things that were starting to creep in that I would experiment with…the thumb piano, the kalimba. I was playing that with Genesis. And then the Koto, I like to think of that specifically with Spectral Mornings in 1979. Perhaps as a guitarist, I found it easier to use fingers on that to bend notes. I wasn’t always the most accurate of players, but with a little bit of persistence and with an idea to recording this thing, I could do things to it with surprisingly high standards. But what you have to remember is those things are tuned to a pentatonic five note scale and you can’t really play a bum note, so with a nylon guitar player technique you could make that go further. It’s not the traditional way of playing it, but I was able to use something that I’d learned elsewhere. But it’s a surprisingly beautiful, evocative sound. As soon as you hear that, you know you’re in the far east as soon as you hear that instrument.

Your last studio album that came out last year, the Night Siren, is filled with this music world music infusion. You’ve got Sitar on there, flamenco guitar, the uilleann pipes, the tar, charango and didgeridoo, and the scales that you’re using are based from around the world. So, how did you decide even which instruments to bring in during that recording on each song? And where did all that inspiration come from?

Well, my wife was a very keen world traveler even before we became an item and she was sharing the pictures of various places she’d been to in Greece and in Nepal, and they were extraordinary pictures. And those pictures seemed remote at the time, but I realize now – because we’ve traveled to so many places – I feel at times we’re a little bit like raiders of the lost map. Somehow the instruments from these regions often show themselves when we’re there. We were in India a few months ago and I was hearing some phenomenal drumming and I just recorded it on the spot. Same thing happened when we were in Morocco. I think there was quite a lot of that influence on the last album. At the moment with the new stuff – I’m halfway through a new album – and we’ve been recording one or two people with exotic instruments, but I’ve been concentrating on the songwriting most of all. So, I would think the instrumentation is perhaps secondary to the song and the lyric and the messages and the story of each of each tune. So we talk about that a lot. It’s a kind of film to the ear rather than the eye and I think stories come into the lot because my wife is a writer, so we talk about writing a lot and I’m able to talk to her about Genesis and what distinguished Genesis from a number of other bands who were around that sounded fairly similar at the time. I think the difference was that there was a heavy emphasis on the writing. Um, you have to be a good writer with Genesis if you’re going to get something done. It was a very strong team in that way. And sometimes I think the songs were stronger than the performances that we were able to do as an execution, especially in the very early days. It hadn’t quite caught up. Our personal technique perhaps wasn’t always quite up to the scale of the dreams that we had. But I think in time you work away at your craft and if you’re lucky, you don’t fall into that trap that many musicians do: starting out with passion and ending up with technique. I think you start out with passion, acquire technique and inform it with passion. And I liked the word you used earlier. You used the word “infusion”. I always loved the word fusion. I thought that was a wonderful term for the mixture of different schools of thought in music. The word infusion is very good as well. And years ago, I used to call it “collision” of different worlds colliding and if you could come up with something cohesive from that happy accident, that was it!

The song writing these days is largely done by you and Jo and Roger King, is that correct?

That’s right, it’s been a songwriting team. I think it usually starts up with me, but it might be something led by Jo, and whenever I come up against something and I’m saying to her, “Oh, let’s have a slow melody that’s a bit like this and a bit like that,” and she’ll go, “Yeah, I think it should go like such and such” and she’ll come up with a whole row of notes and I might end up just changing one of them, and you’ll have the beginning to the track “In the Skeleton Gallery”, for instance, from the Night Siren. So those are entirely her notes, and it’s one of the best moments on the album. I love those moments when I’ve got very little to do with it. I just sort of set the ball in play. We collected some drums from an Icelandic drummer named Gulli Briem. We were working with him with a Hungarian band in Sardinia and yeah, we twinned with some samples. We had something that sounded a bit like a string section that we did with samples and Jo’s melody. And I just sat back and thought this is a great moment, you know, this is other people. This is a little bit like collage, for me, collecting things. I think I always enjoy the things written by other people more than myself because when you’ve written something, even if it’s magic for others, you know where it’s come from. You have an idea if it’s come from your pen, whereas I think when you work with collaborators, you have that element of complete surprise. You will be completely surprised with what someone else came up with! So, I would always recommend a songwriting team, where you can pass the ball backwards and forwards.

I can really feel that collaboration in there. The songs, especially on The Night Siren go in so many directions, there’s whole different movements. You start off with a Flamenco intro and then you go into a more of almost a pop tune. Then you have a guitar jam, then you have a berimbau kind of overtone vibe going on…they go every which way. It’s amazing.

That’s right. It’s great to get things from different cultures and work with data. I guess in your own mind, you’re scanning the whole time, this massive jigsaw that’s got many disparate bits that are sitting around. Usually with me, I’ve got whole books full of this stuff and scraps of paper. I was interested in reading a book, the Hunter Davis book about the Beatles and John Lennon talking about the songwriting process and I think he didn’t give too much two away, but he said, “you have ideas and you join them up later”. And I thought at the time that Beatles songs were all written chronologically. But it seems that wasn’t the case. And it is heartening to know that people went through the same thing.  Those other people that pointed the way, that they’re going through the same processes.

Your songwriting and collaborations – mixed with your travels around the world – gives the impression of you being a peacemaker through music. I was wondering if this is something you’re consciously attempting to do and is part of your personal mission now?

I think so, yeah. I think to demonize “the foreigner” is a facet of modern politics, whereas I think globalization is what musicians do naturally. There are no borders for musicians, we must take things from everywhere. Therefore, music has this kind of ambassadorial quality. Now, I know that might sound a little bit pompous to say that – and we’re not official ambassadors – but whatever we do, we’re trading the whole time with people. And it’s become something extraordinary to have friends all over the world now and to be able to work with those people. It’s an extraordinary network and nobody is in competition. We’re just all in cooperation with each other. So, I often get to work with them, join them on their own projects, and certainly them on mine. I think it broadens the approach, whereas at one time I might have only been listening to the guitar, I find that I’m listening to everything, with a song arrangement. So, the devil’s in the detail and it’s a good idea to pay attention to the triangle, the humble triangle in an orchestral perspective. When you’re young, you think, “oh, what is the triangle? It’s just a toy, isn’t it?” But no, actually these are all valid tools to be used. You’re not going to use them all the time, but there’s no such thing as a useless instrument.

In addition to the numerous instruments that you’re playing on, also front and center is your voice. Even the latest album is very much a vocal album and your voice is sounding very strong. So I’m wondering how you’re feeling about singing these days?

Well, I change my approach every album with singing.  In fact, we just recorded something recently where I tried to borrow from the era of the crooner. My definition of the crooner isn’t necessarily someone who slides up and down the notes with bending, but rather that idea of crescendoing up into a note and being able to control it with vibrato and all the rest. So yeah, I guess I aspired to that for many, many years and I’ve just decided to try something recently, which was just piano and voice, start off with that and not let anything get in the way of it. So yes, I’ll step back from the guitar for a moment and let other things lead the way and let it take its course. I think that I used to do perhaps more of this, naturally when I was much younger, when I was first doing solo albums there was no pressure to try and be a guitar hero.  I think as time progressed, you know, I became more aware of the idea that I need to have an identity with this album or perhaps I should be exploring things on guitar more. But at other times I think, well, I’m a huge fan of keyboards and harmony and singing all of this stuff. Certainly, there were albums I’ve done where it was nothing but the guitar and there was no singing and they were all instrumental with nylon guitar and what have you. Sometimes with orchestra. But I think this idea of being literal can be a limitation. I would rather someone heard something accidentally and said, “Who was that? That was interesting. I didn’t realize.” That’s a romantic notion these days because of course we don’t receive music in the way that we did in our teens. Perhaps where a friend who would get your ear to the ground to say, listen to this band, you gotta listen to this singer or you’ve gotta listen to this stuff. So, I’m accessing new music when I’m so involved in producing new music can sometimes be slow.

Speaking of the vocal department…even recently, you’ve re-recorded a song previously sung by Max Bacon with GTR on “When the Heart Rules the Mind.”

Yeah, that’s right.

And it’s a wonderful recording. Again, your voice is really strong on it. What prompted you to want to re-record that?

Well, I think it was probably because it was around the birthday of that album, certainly within a year or two. And after doing shows which were a mixture of solo things and then of Genesis things, I thought “Is there anything else from my history that I could include in there to play live?” And if I’m going to play something live when I haven’t done it for a bit, the best way to do that, is to re- record it and put your own spin on it. And sometimes I’m very faithful to the original. Other times I’ll take liberties. So yes, there is that version. It has to be said that GTR had more success in America than it did back home in England. I always felt that its natural home was that side of the Atlantic.

Yes, I remember that album coming out and being all over the radio waves back in the eighties. But it was interesting when you debuted that song live, you were on Cruise to the Edge this past February, where Steve Howe was also on that ship. Did you ever entertain having Steve join you for those performances?

Yes! I did run the idea past him. And said, “Do you feel like joining me with this?” Maybe I’d left it too late. Perhaps I should have asked earlier. I felt that if I was going to re-record it with him, what was going to happen would be that it’d be his take on the song and then I wouldn’t have the ability to have entirely my own spin on it. But I would have been very happy if he joined me on stage with it at any time.

Speaking of GTR, I remember seeing the band play in Philadelphia in the eighties and you and Steve surprised the audience by being your own opening warmup act and each of you played about 20 minutes of your solo acoustic material before the GTR show. That was just wonderful.

Yeah, it’s funny. When I look back at that very different time, it enabled us to do something very low key compared with the idea now of “here comes the supergroup”. It was much more grassroots and perhaps the direction that GTR should have taken in a broader sense down the line. But, you know, we got one album out of it which was very well received, and I still have the gold album somewhere, so am very happy with that.

I know you often do get to play a bit of acoustic guitar in your live shows, but do you ever get a chance these days to play a full concert of solo acoustic guitar material like the Bay of Kings kind of era?

Well, it’s been a few years since I’ve done that. What tends to happen is if, for instance, when we were in Australia a while back, we were doing three different shows in Melbourne for instance, with two different rock sets in two different venues and then we did an acoustic trio with nylon guitar with Roger King on keyboard and Rob Townsend on the woodwind and brass. So I occasionally do shows like that, but I try not to confuse the audience with that these days because I’ve been investing in rock shows for quite some time to reestablish that with all the bells and whistles, literally. There may be some acoustic work within it, but essentially, you’re getting an electric show with big orchestral or acoustic overtones at times.

Since you did that acoustic trio set, would you ever consider doing something like that on the Cruise to the Edge as well, for example?

Well, we’ve done Cruise to the Edge and I’m also doing the other Cruise too, which was the Moody Blues one, both of them. Um, it’s entirely possible to do that. I hadn’t really thought about it. Yeah, it’s just some months away. What we tend to do is a Q and A session from time to time. And then that sometimes includes a performance, so sometimes includes acoustic performances as well so that people get an idea of the full picture.

Your current set list is nicely balanced between your solo career and the Genesis classics, about eight songs from each. Are you personally happy with that balance or would you like more time to play material from your own vast solo repertoire?

Well, in October in Britain we’re going to do shows with a 40-piece orchestra, now that might not be economically feasible in the United States, but more and more stuff like this is starting to happen. So, I think it’s whatever best suits that kind of symphonic sound, whether it’s a solo thing or a group thing. I think a lot of Genesis music was symphonic and so certainly classically influenced. I think we had some of the best harmony going in terms of the writing.  Um, many classical players would cite Genesis as, if not their favorite then one of their favorite rock bands, because of that. So, it seems like one side informs the other. A violinist like Joshua Bell mentioned Genesis as one of his favorites. I know it’s very much loved material, and it’s hard to be entirely one thing or the other. I always feel as though in order to please one team of fans, I’ve got to disappoint the others, so I’m trying to stack the whole show each way.

Yeah, I think you’re striking a great balance in it. And it’s just amazing because you do have such a vast solo career.

There’s a lot of stuff to draw from, isn’t there?

Yes, there is! And then you keep coming out with new fantastic albums. Hence there’s a lot in your quiver there.

Yeah, it’s been very good. The reaction to recent albums has been phenomenally good, especially at a time when artists are usually selling less, I’m finding that not only the studio albums but the live albums, like the last one we recorded in Birmingham symphony hall, that one is being treated like a studio album. The response has been so strong. I’ve been amazed that at the strength of a sales with that. So, I’m again very lucky to have that. Now that’s prior to doing the set that we did on the boat and we were touring just now in north and South America and in Japan. So “When the Heart Rules the Mind” wasn’t part of that, but there was quite a lot of stuff from Wind and Wuthering for instance. and then things that were written at the same time but cropped up on the occasional EP, stuff like “Inside and Out” which was a great little tune. And some of us in the band, you know, with hindsight felt that it should have been on the original album. I can give it priority. I’m able to do it live and the band did a cracking version of that. It’s a great little tune and it does that Genesis thing of starting off quietly and ends up with a roar…certainly the live version.

Yeah, that was wonderful for a nice little chestnut there for old Genesis fans to get to hear and bring that back. But as you say, that was the past tour of the Wuthering Nights release. And now in your new tour you’ve got a new bass player with you, Jonas Reingold from the Flower Kings and countless other bands. And how are you enjoying playing with him?

Oh wonderful. Yeah, he’s been really amazing. A real personality, an absolute powerhouse. He’s also a producer and writer and he plays many different kinds of bass. So, we’ve only just scratched the surface with him. He plays wonderful fretless and upright as well. I’m looking forward to seeing where we can take that further.

Fantastic. Yeah, he’s very versatile. In your history you’ve played with all of the top bassists from the progressive rock world and beyond with Squire and Wetton and Tony Levin and Pomeroy and Nick Beggs and so many others.

Yes! In some ways, that was really in the last 10 years that all of that happened. I worked with some of the best people in the business and they all had their own sound, their own approach. I think the fact is that they were all musicians first and bass players second, so it’s this dual aspect that I’m looking for, if someone’s got the musicality. Someone like Chris Squire, for instance did not play bass like a bass player, but he came up with counterpoint that worked very well as melodies within themselves, and maybe it was his training as a choirboy and he had been involved with choral music. And you can hear the link right through. 

Absolutely. Do you find that you play guitar differently based on who is playing bass with you?

Um, I think I’m influenced by the people that I work with. Yes, so that is no doubt the case, yes. People bring things to me and I’m only too happy to learn. I like the influence. I like to have my mind changed about things.

At the end of “Supper’s Ready” live on your current tour, the extended guitar solo is particularly incendiary, and I imagine that brought the crowd to their feet wherever you played. How much of that section is improvised each night or how much of that is a general form that you follow?

Well I normally start off with something that’s recognizable phrases. You’ve got the authenticity with the original tune. But then I go off the map and it’s never the same twice. On some nights it’s better than others. I’ve just got to give it everything and then try different approaches on different nights. But it seems to beg that. I think it’s the same spirit that…I remember reading something about that, playing that for years with Peter Gabriel when he was singing that a lot, he was saying in an interview that he felt like he was singing for his life out there night after night with that one. And I put that into the playing, you know? Yes, I put everything I can possibly do into it. And it’s never quite the same every time.

Oh, that’s fantastic. And you also lend your playing on other people’s albums, quite a few others, and you even sometimes appear live onstage with them, whether it’s Steven Wilson or Transatlantic or more recently, Dave Kerzner on the Cruise to the Edge. And I’m curious what you enjoy about collaborating with artists who actually grew up listening to you?

Well, at one point I didn’t really have the confidence to get up with people that I didn’t know that well, but in time I’ve learned to relax and enjoy that. So, I guess it’s where Phil Collins was at several years ago where at one point we used to go and do these sessions together. And I found that I often didn’t feel like I was equal to the task and so I withdrew from that. And then the more I played and the more I practiced, the more I realized that I did understand what was going on and I was ready for that. And at one point I was on stage with a percussionist and she wanted me to write an album for her to perform on the London Stage and we were playing at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and we didn’t have a single note prepared before we went on. I thought, well, there’s two ways to look at it. I’m either going to be a complete fool because we haven’t rehearsed, or this is a great opportunity to do what happens in free jazz and in other forms. And so, we did it! And I think the very first gig that we did, we operated like that with absolute telepathy! You would’ve thought that everything was rehearsed. It was like something was pulling our strings and I thought, “Wow, how is this possible?” So, it can change the way you look at it. You know, back in the day with Genesis, we had this kind of disciplinary approach to songs, gotta have a good verse and chorus, and not everyone agreed about what was a good verse or chorus… Well that was one school of thought. And there’s another school of approach that says, like Miles Davis said there are no wrong notes (a man who was famous for contradicting himself). But you just got to be brave and go for it.

Yes, well obviously your playing is infused with the emotional feeling which comes more from that improvisation and letting it come through you, as opposed to having it all composed ahead of time and…

Yeah, because I grew up in the 1960’s when I used to go to see the blues bands. Yeah, I was very lucky to see so many great a bluesmen. With John Mayall who really was kind of the Buddha of British blues, and I think his opposite number, Paul Butterfield on your side of the Atlantic, and I got to see each of them playing live and I was absolutely thrilled. The first part of my life was spent as a harmonica player, before being a guitarist and, you know, those guys were bandleaders and great harmonica players. I mean particularly the work of Paul Butterfield. And so, to the uninitiated, many people thought that hook was actually a guitar playing. Ironically, you know, all roads lead to Rome, you want to hear that wailing kind thing. Something like a police car siren put to music. So I loved the overdriven sound with vibrato and then acoustic harmonica where you’re using the hand to cup it and make it do vocal sounds. And I also got to spend a couple of evenings with Larry Adler who was a great player, chromatic player, who gave me some pointers about things much later after I’d been playing harmonica for many, many years, but I didn’t dare play harmonica in his presence because he was El Supremo on the chromatic. 

You know, one other collaboration that you’ve done that I didn’t know about until just recently, and perhaps many of your fans don’t know about, you referred earlier in the interview to that Hungarian jazz and world band, Djabe. I was just amazed to see that you’ve been playing with them for years. Could you tell us a little bit about that collaboration?

Well, what happens is I usually do about a week of gigs with them each year. Either in Hungary or in Eastern Europe in the main and Hungary functions kind of like a crossroads of Europe where they have wonderful players who come and join them. Sometimes it’ll be an American or British sax player. Someone like John Nugent who runs the Rochester Jazz Festival, or a wonderful tar player from Azerbaijan called Malik Mansurov. So, you have this aspect of world music that mixes with jazz and world fusion, although that term that you used: “infusion”. I think that’s a great term. So I love that, you know, the fact that I’ve got no idea what kind of instruments the guy next to me might be playing and I’ll be trying to fit in there and work out something with that. So I’ve worked with trumpeters, violinists, guys who play strange instruments from Africa, and things that I can’t name but you get influenced by it and it’s a wonderful thing to be there in the world that could be unfamiliar. So to accept change for all that it can bring. I’ve been working with the Sitar player recently, and she’s a wonderful virtuoso on the instrument. So it’s nice to have some real playing because I’ve been doing it all with trying to twin guitar with sitar. We’ve overlaid it with samples so you’ve got the attack of one and the authenticity of the decay and all that kind of stuff. To work with the real thing now…eventually I’ve gotten around to it!

So, on the Night Siren, is that you playing Sitar on there?

No, actually I’m doing a mixture of sitar guitar, Arabian oud, and sample and MIDI, so it’s a complicated process. All of it.

Ah! Well it must be very exciting also to do some of those Genesis classics with Djabe and those different arrangements that they come up with, with the lead line being on violin. It’s quite extraordinary.

Yeah, it is! There’s probably a lot of stuff up there on YouTube now where you’ll hear different versions of those things. I think a group melody, like the Firth of Fifth melody, will often translate from initially piano to piano and flute…I’ve heard it done on trumpet, flugelhorn, violin, or acoustic guitar doing it in a kind of slightly flamencos style with tremolando style. A good melody will translate like that.

Do your travels around the world and inspire you on a spiritual level as well?

Oh yes. Absolutely. Yeah, I’m thinking about that all the time and I think there are pointers all the time that perhaps this isn’t the only world that we’re going to inhabit. I’ve had various psychic experiences and clues. In as much as anyone can study it without adopting a fulltime guru, I would say it’s a fantastic area. It’s almost as if you feel as though you are part of a flow or something and the self-starts to breakdown a bit, you know, less ego and um…or perhaps less personal and more universal and sometimes of course, what is the most personal ends up being most universal. I think you can do heartfelt songs like that and not be afraid to show your feelings and people often like those things the best.

Yes.

In a way, you are making your vulnerability your strength. You’re showing more of yourself and to hell with it if someone says, oh, that’s too romantic, or what’s that got to do with prog or whatever, you know. You must be yourself. It’s a lifetime, isn’t it? Spent learning that lesson of honesty twinned with energy.

Yeah, the audience really appreciates it when they can feel that sense of humanity and connection. And as you said, vulnerability, too. 

Oh, yes! Sure.

When you’re in the middle of one of your solos, whether it’s the end of “Supper’s Ready” or another part, do you connect also on a spiritual level there, or are you really focused on the mechanics of playing?

Well, I try to be at one with the spirit of the music. Playing live, there is an aspect of, of having to stay on top of the mechanics of the thing, but I’m not so inured to the full emotional impact of it. And I also find the more that I play, things that I could think of that are great melodies, the better I’ll get at it usually. The technology is usually more reliable – touch wood – because every time you go up on stage, no one really knows whether everything is gonna work magnificently. Or if you’re gonna break a string or the drummer’s going to suddenly break the snare skin, you know what I mean? Those things happen. Yeah. The sort of break your leg aspect is what everyone is facing when they’re up on stage. But I haven’t broken any limbs, just strings!

Ha! Well, anything more in the coming year that you care to share. I know you’ve got the orchestra tour later this fall and you’re working on the new album now. And anything else that you’d like folks to know about?

I would love to be able to say, yeah, I’ve got this album and it’s a wonderful title and here it is, but I find myself…when it comes to albums, I’m usually grasping at straws with the what the title’s going to be. What is the album all about? How is the personality of it gonna reveal itself even to me – the so called “writer”? But I think it’s a team that builds it, and it’ll be a team that will give the clue at some point.

Well, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us today. It’s really been a pleasure and I will see you next year on the Cruise to the Edge.

Fantastic! I look forward to seeing you then, Scott. Thank you so much.

All right. Be well Steve. Enjoy!

You, too! All the best. Ciao! Thank you.

Share.

Comments are closed.