Steve Hackett

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Interview with Steve Hackett

by

Alan Weston

To date, Steve Hackett has had an amazing musical career that shows no sign of abating. From his first solo album Voyage of the Acolyte to his latest opus Wolflight, we find a musician who is very much firing on all cylinders and the fuel gauge is still registering full. Steve reckons this is the best thing he has done and it certainly is a fantastic album that will not only please but will also surprise Steve Hackett fans worldwide. It is a fascinating musical journey that touches on many cultural landscapes, bringing some world music elements to the recognisable sound of Steve Hackett’s guitar work, that once again demonstrates the man’s formidable compositional skills. I was very fortunate and privileged to be able to interview the great man. Many thanks to DPRP (and Steve) for this memorable interview.

 

Band Photo - Steve HackettAlan: Hi Steve, many thanks for taking the time to have a chat with DPRP about your new album Wolflight which is released in the UK on 30th of March on the Inside Out label.

Steve: Pleasure

Alan: I’ve listened your album quite a few times new and think it’s excellent.

Steve: Glad you enjoyed it. Thank you.

Alan: You’ve written so many solo albums Steve, does it get harder with time to come up with new and original material like Wolflight, avoiding musical ideas that you’ve previously recorded & written?

Steve: Well you know I think originality is something to be avoided at all costs. It’s an illusion to think that you can actually come up with anything that hasn’t been done before. You just and try juxtaposition existing ideas it seems to me. I’d rather go for something that’s authentically felt rather than something that claims to be original. I don’t really think it out. If I hear it in my brain and my heart then I record it and I wait for that to happen, I wait for it to resonate inwardly.

Alan: When interviewed by DPRP on the release of Beyond the Shrouded Horizon, you mentioned that the song-writing is a team effort to build the album. Has it been the same level of contribution to Wolflight from Jo (Steve’s wife) and Roger (King) in terms of writing the music, the ideas and lyrical content?

Steve: I think so. They are the team that write it. I do write the majority but it’s invaluable the input from others and sometimes that can be a case of the complete lyric, for instance on Corycian Fire was written by Jo, parts of other things that will be written by Roger or it will be a chord sequence that I then function with by playing something over the top, much the same as my days with Genesis when somebody might come up with a chord sequence, another person might come up with a lead line on top of that, so it’s a shared experience and I think all the stronger for it.

Alan: There’s plenty information out there now re the meaning of Wolflight, the hour before dawn, and I have to ask, does Jo (maybe Roger as well?) also get up at that time to share in the writing as I believe most of it was written at that time of day?

Steve: You know what (laughs) … no! I can’t get the staff for that time of day. That’s a private process that one. I’m often up at that time and I was today because I’ve got a cold and didn’t intend to be up that early. I was up at 4:30 today. Extraordinary thing though, I was sitting in a room while I wrote and, half an hour later, the light was up … so it’s getting earlier and earlier that wolflight. I often come up with ideas at that time in the morning. Insomnia it can be quite constructive.

 

Alan: The album takes the listener on a cultural journey that has many musical surprises from instruments like the tar and the duduk, use of orchestra, choir and of course rock instruments, that will probably challenge some people’s preconceived ideas about progressive music. Could you have recorded such an album 40 years ago or did you yourself need the spiritual & cultural journey to get to this point in your life for such an album to exist?

Steve: Well I think I became more and more open as time progressed and realised that part of what a musician does is to experiment. I think in my earlier times I wanted to control things more but I then came to realise that, for instance when I was working in Brazil many many years ago in the early 80’s, in order to get the best out of the musicians I was working with, in that case it was a whole bunch of percussionists, I had to go total immersion, I had to let them do what they do and then work on the top of it. So there is a side of me feels that’s the best way to go. In other words, to have someone like Malik Mansurov playing the tar, the man from Azerbaijan who opens up Wolflight, and have that backed with the didgeridoo (Sara Kovacs) twined with all those string drones, that picture is something where you just set things in motion and stand back and let people work their magic. So it’s not the same as being hands-on than working in the way that a group does where people try and control things as much as each other, and control each other. So I think I have a much less judgemental approach. If I see someone like Malik who’s like a cross between Ravi Shankar and John McLaughlin playing this instrument and he is a complete virtuoso on it, there’s no point telling him what to play … he’ll show me what it can do. So in a way it’s collecting data rather than writing in the conventional sense of the word. I’ve got to be passive in order to get the best out of some of these people.

Alan: Given such a diverse musical journey with Wolflight, did you consider using guest indigenous singers from those cultural regions that are represented by the music, as you yourself have said, to change people’s minds as to how they view music?

Steve: Well, in terms of working with singers from other places, I haven’t done as much of that as I would like. I have worked with a number of Americans. I’m hoping funnily enough to meet up with Buffy Sainte-Marie who I’m a long time fan of and her bass player Mark has arranged for me to see them in London (I’ve met her a couple of times before) and I’m hoping I get to get to work with her at some point. I’ve been talking about it far too long and not getting round to it unless I get on a plane and go and visit her. It will be a catch up and I hope to do something with her as I haven’t worked with any Red Indian singers up until now so I think the world music journey goes on. The quest for that sort of stuff, unlikely pairings, goes on and I think it’s an endless journey and fascinating because I’ve never really heard anyone sing quite like her. You know there are other people who obviously I got to work with. The late great Ritchie Havens which was an extraordinary experience either watching him at a distance or working with him eye ball to eye ball was still an extraordinary experience because he was the singer that inspired people such as Peter Gabriel. The man is a singer’s singer and I couldn’t help noticing when I saw Buffy Sainte-Marie many years ago at the Hammersmith, Morrissey was one of the guys backstage and I know she has been doing some shows with him recently, so I think many roads point to Rome or somewhere close.

Alan: Ritchie Havens was a great singer. I do have your second album Please Don’t Touch and Gabriel’s Ovo album.

Steve: Please Don’t Touch wouldn’t have had the strength that it did without him. I think the songs were as much about him as the little doodles that I wrote that he brought to life.

Alan: Same with the Randy Crawford track and that is just a beautiful piece of music.

Steve: Yeah, that was a case of having to tear up the script and start again. I had a set melody, the lyrics, the chords, the backing track so it seemed. It seemed far too constrained and I knew that she is a brilliant improviser and I said to her, look forget the melody and sing around it and then the magic started to happen. I loved her vocal performance, she’s just an absolute powerhouse of musicality to be able to work around something and still have it cohesive.

Alan: The title track Wolflight is a piece of stunning music that has many moods, colours, instrumentation from didgeridoo, tar, acoustic & electric guitars to orchestra, it certainly a tapestry of cultural signposts. Considering the opening track Out of the Body segues into Wolflight giving us effectively a 10 minute masterpiece, can you tell us something about how the ideas were developed to produce such a stunning piece of music?

Steve: Well some of the ideas I think originated way back, the year before I was in Genesis, and one of the ideas was sort of the distillation of a Genesis tune, I think I’ve changed it sufficiently that no one is going to sue me, but it’s partly about that. I was thinking not chronologically of course but because so much of it was about the ancestors and the tribes that made up eventually China and Asia from the wandering nomadic tribes, lyrically there was a story so I was thinking of the aspect of sitting round the camp-fire folk music and the ancient instruments, not the duduk in this case, but the tar played by Malik who’s from Azerbaijan where he said 50% of the people are still nomadic, so there’s that connection. So I imagined it as a camp-fire scene basically and we’ve done a video funnily enough which I let the director get on with many of the ideas but quite a lot of them paralleled the thoughts I had about it as well, so he’s come to the same conclusion in the big vistas and intimate sequences. But because there was this idea of a story which in a sense is man’s evolution and the connection with wolves, the wolf was man’s best friend before the dog, the wolf totem. In a sense I was thinking the outward journey, the connection with nature but then the inner journey as well experiencing what it means to have the influence of those creatures, so the inner journey was also important, so there’s two different things going on with the song. There was a whole ton of ideas which I ended up putting together and funnily enough the first thing recorded was something which was kind of Slavic sounding and I was thinking of Tchaikovsky’s Marche Slave and some of the stuff from Greece, the more elemental, spookier stuff. So influenced by those guys who were great writers and orchestrators both used folk music, a huge influence. So part of it is cannibalising and reconstituting your own history.

Steve Hackett - WolflightAlan: One of my favourite songs Corycian Fire, the percussion and the wonderful Armenian duduk with drone reminded me some of Peter Gabriel‘s work with world music. Has Gabriel ever been an influence or inspiration given your own interest in World Music?

Steve: Pete and I have conservations about this sort of stuff. When he went to Brazil for instance to work with percussionists, I’d already done Till We Have Faces and I used a lot of different percussionists out there and so Pete asked can I have your phone book and I said yep here it is. So there’s been the influence backwards and forwards and when he worked with the duduk I asked what is that great instrument the Armenian duduk? First of all I tried to impersonate the duduk on the guitar by using a cleaner electric guitar and E-bow to make the strings sustain and I got it fairly close but there is this thing the duduk does where it changes tone according to how hard you’re blowing the thing and Rob Townsend who has never played it before said I’ve got one of these, let’s try it. It’s only got a two octave range but it’s very expressive within that and I’d been listening to some of the duduk stuff I’ve heard and I said if you (Rob) can manage to get a vibrato over a whole tone that will be interesting for this. So what we used in the end after you get the opening sequence, on the second appearance of the duduk we left in the E-bow guitar, so you’ve got the two playing together, so it’s almost a little bit like a muted trumpet with lots of bendy notes with it, so I think it’s quite a unique sound. I think it’s one of the best moments. I actually wrote the phrases would you believe as I was trying to be a duduk but I couldn’t be a duduk and the phrases all just happened to fit on the duduk itself, so it’s lucky … pure luck!

Alan: The brilliant ending of Corycian Fire makes great use of a choir to produce a sense of foreboding, evil to some extent, that can frighten and it reminded me a bit of Jerry Goldsmith’s Ave Satani from The Omen. Can you tell us what choir you used and how in the writing process what inspired you to come up with the idea to have such an amazing dramatic cinematic ending?

Steve: Well I tell you, my wife Jo really wrote the lyrics and some of which are in ancient Greek at the end. Basically she’s a great grecophile and she wanted to introduce me to Greece and I travelled there with her and one of the places we visited a few years back was Delphi. To my mind I found Delphi to be very sad because so many of those ancient shrines and temples have been completely decimated and so there’s nothing left but she said I’ve been looking for this cave, the Corycian cave, also known as Pan’s cave, the Corycian nymph, Dionysus cave, the place where they originally did divination and the Greeks thought quite literally was the entry to the underworld. Anyway after about an hour and a half of marching up hill at one point, or in my case absolutely struggling, I said to Jo I don’t think I’m going to make this as I weigh more than you and you’re much younger than me! Eventually we came to this cave and it was absolutely stunning. I fell in love with the place and at the same time you get this feeling of enormous respect (everyone who has been there says the same thing), you feel it’s alive, there’s something in there … it’s very very odd! The other thing is you feel compelled to make music. I didn’t have an instrument with me at the time, so I started singing but it was the right thing to do, you have to burst into song which is indeed what they (Greeks) did so it’s bound up with Greek myth and the maenads and the women who used to go up once every two years to try and perform this ritual of reawakening the god Dionysus, so it’s somewhat seasonal as well. So a little bit of background to it but in terms of technically we used an East-West choir (software) so that basically it’s a sample of consonants and vowels, single note stuff, and we built up the chords from that. So I wrote the first appearance of the choir with the rising parts and Jo described what she wanted for the second half, which was this answering thing with male and female voices, kind of cutting across each other which is the bit that I think is probably most Omen like. But I couldn’t really do it, I couldn’t understand exactly what Jo wanted and Roger said, look I think I know what she wants here, so why don’t you guys go off and have a cup of coffee and come back in an hour or two and I’ll play this back. When she heard it she said this is exactly what I was after. So you get those stabs, sort of ostinato things. At that point in fact Roger abandoned the lyrics and he just went for the strongest vowels that they pronounce so you’ve got the dominae thing in there which is common to all those Omen like things. So that’s some of it but there’s more to it than that, it’s heavily layered. We used some distorted cellos, again they were single note sample things but with the bendy bits portamento stuff. We were able to do it so we used two cellos distorted and also cloned the harmonies with my voice in the early part of it … sorry I’ll be talking to you all night about this! There’s quite a lot to it, I changed the drum sound about three different times and then had Gary (O’Toole) do it. It’s a thunderous drum sound and it’s multi-layered and there’s some Brazilian stuff in it that I recorded many years ago when I was out there. Then it’s all been processed and changed so much I can’t remember what the original thing was … it was a probably a samba and it’s been changed so much.

Alan: The track Love Song to a Vampire is another great song from the album that relates to a relationship that turned into a nightmare. It sounds personal, but I was wondering how much would you say of what you write is born from personal experience (like the song The Wheel’s Turning) compared to other sources (like Black Thunder which is about a slave rebellion)?

Steve: Well, some things are personal sources like The Wheel’s Turning which is definitely personal because of my own experiences of growing up in the 1950’s in a very grey, foggy time in London’s history with Battersea Power Station belting out the fumes across the water from where we lived in Churchill Gardens, these flats that had been built right at the beginning of the 1950’s. Across the water was Battersea park and London’s only permanent funfair at the time and I got to work there just before being a teenager, think I was 12 years old, and I was working on the one-arm bandits. I loved that, so I felt like a king in my brown coat dishing out change. Loved that and loved the music that was around at the time so it was all very much bound up with that, whether it was Jan and Dean or the Stones first album. Absolutely loved it, it was a very very exciting time. I’d thought I’d discovered The Rolling Stones personally and they were playing it on the dodgems … how cool was that you know! Also the music of Chris Barber, Sidney Bechet’s Petite Fleur, that was being played on the rota. So I think the whole song was a kind of musical ride really and a trip back into yesteryear. It’s extremely nostalgic and I was trying to conjure up the kind of mystery of first encountering this frightening thing called a funfair but then, jumping ahead to now and looking back on it and the sweetness of certain melodies that were around at the time, thinking of Roy Orbison, I tried to make the voice sound like the 1960’s really, once it gets into its stride. Yea, I think I was after a sugary-sweet pop song but without the sugary-sweet lyric perhaps.

Alan: Dust and Dreams is a superb instrumental that morphs into the last song Heart Song which you’ve dedicated to your wife. Both feature some fantastic soaring guitar solos that are up there with your best. Do you hear part of these solos in your head (like a vocal) when writing or do they fall out by doodling away over the chord progressions?

Steve: That’s it, you’ve got it. Doodling away over the chord progression is the one. Once you’ve got a sound that you feel you can go anywhere with that’s appropriate to the piece, that enables you to do all the rest I think. There’s a minor sequence that repeats itself over and over again. I think it was originally written as an adagio, an idea for a string adagio and then we thought that could be a bit gloomy. Instead of doing that we put it to a rhythm, so change upon change in a progressive way that you do and then this soaring guitar sound, probably got a little more brightness on it than I would normally do but then there’s a lot of effect on the guitar. One of the guitars I have is a Fernandes, and the Fernandes can sustain a guitar in a way that it lets the guitar breath, certain sounds I can only get with the Fernandes that I can’t get with another guitar. There’s no tyranny of volume with those guitars as you can get sustain at very low levels and be able to hold a conversation over the top so we’re not using an amplifier as such, we’re flooding it with effect … it’s quite a slow repeat echo and there’s reverb on top of that, so it’s got this slow blooming kind of quality that visually it’s taking it up to the skies. I though it was probably the album at it’s most Pink Floydian in a way, there’s something of the slow rhythm. You’re quite right, doodling away over the top. I do a doodle and then if the doodle isn’t good enough I refine that doodle. So I might play a phrase 2 or 3 times or if there’s one particular note that I can’t get in tune I’ll do that. It’s like a refined jam except that the people aren’t in the studio at the same time. It’s not being done in real-time but it’s certainly being edited. You’re responding to something that could stay fixed but it doesn’t have to because I think editing and sampling and playing these days are all one of the same, they’re part of the same process. It’s just which part of the computer are you going to go to you know, what’s the man? what’s the machine? I make it as real as I can, I prefer to use finger vibrato than I do tremolo arm but sometimes it’s only the tremolo arm that’ll do certain things like the burbling technique of flicking it to make it growl in a way.

Alan: I recently saw the Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti in Edinburgh and the accompanying program said she still uses violin teachers. One of your trademarks is having a beautiful classical guitar piece, as in the track Earthshine, and I wondered if you are still developing your technique by learning from others?

Steve: Yes I do and I am developing my technique (and techniques) all the time. Now I never had conventional nylon guitar lessons but that meant that I had the advantage of everyone else being my teacher, except they didn’t have to be vested with the title. So if I wanted to play like a plectrum player I could and if I wanted to use all the fingers I could and I’ve learnt a tremendous amount by watching people and talking to them. For instance, I was, a couple of years back, in Andalusia in Spain and talking to a gypsy guitarist who played really really well and he was doing certain things that I wished I was able to do at the time. There’s also a certain amount from Andres Segovia and Julian Bream and it might be as much or as little as one phrase or one way of using the right hand. I borrow from everyone. The flamenco guy showed me one technique that I’ve managed to master now, it’s one of those things where an unbelievable amount of noise comes from the thing. But then I’ve added to that technique with doing a thing which is lifting off, on and off the left hand as well so I’m making it even more of a racket! So I’ve got all these various techniques, many of which don’t have names and they should have, so before I pop my clogs I’ll work with someone and pass on this legacy of techniques. Much like tapping that I came up with in the very early days which would eventually be named by Eddie Van Halen. So techniques are a good thing as long as you don’t fall back on them too much. It’s like a box of tricks. Putting a whole bunch of tricks together is what could make up a virtuoso but it won’t turn you into a composer. So the guys who I really admire are (laughs) the guys who … it’s assumed that you’ve got a fabulous technique and you can do everything … are Chopin and Bach but those guys could write as well. The quantum leap … what’s the difference between those two? There’s a fair amount of Chopin in my acoustic guitar playing. The piece Earthshine is closer to Chopin than it is to Paco de Lucia but then some of the hand movements might be closer to him, say on the beginning of Love Song to a Vampire which has got a kind of flamenco or Moorish introduction but then there’s the Slavic influences as well. The chords might be closer to Tchaikovsky. So I’m borrowing from all these people. I don’t claim to be original I’m just prepared to take from everywhere.

Alan: Don’t know if you have heard Plant & Page’s stunning live version of Kashmir (available on the album No Quarter) that brought together rock instruments, orchestra and World Music musicians that took that song to another plateau. Could you ever see yourself re-visiting previous material and re-representing or re-interpreting it?

Steve: You mean doing it with orchestra?

Alan: Just doing it different, maybe with world musicians, that sort of thing.

Steve: Right, well I think that’s a very good idea, I think that’s a terrific idea. Just in terms of re-approaching earlier material I’ve sometimes used real orchestra or certainly real orchestra instruments to rerecord things. I have been doing quite a lot of revisiting recently, mainly in the direction of Genesis. So if I were to do that with my own stuff I would need to look at it again and you have to create space for people like Malik Mansurov and aspects of the duduk. So the real challenge is to be able to integrate this stuff and it can be done. Everything can be done in time and you just got to have lots of patience. If this album (Wolflight) does sufficiently well then it will pave the way for those all important air-tickets I’ll have to send to people in order to stand on perhaps a British stage and do this stuff. I’d love to do it at the Albert Hall, that would be great.

Alan: From October 2015 you will be touring “Steve Hackett Acolyte to Wolflight” which I believe will feature old and new material plus a smattering of Genesis numbers. Will we see guest singers again as with the Genesis Revisited tour?

Steve: Odd dates there may well be. You know, I’ve got my mates calling me up saying will you do a guest appearance here and there and I’ve said well if touring allows, yes I certainly will. I hope to be able to stand on Steven Wilson‘s stage as I suspect he probably does mine as we have done in the past and may do in the future. Roine Stolt obviously will be in the band, which is great. He’s actually standing in for Lee (Pomeroy) who’s working with Take That and ELO these days and Nick Beggs is working with Steven Wilson. We seem to be sharing him, some years he gets him and other years I do. I had Chris Squire on the album so I’ve been spoilt for wonderful, world-class absolutely ‘stonking’ bass players.

Alan: Given your use of orchestra and choir plus instruments like the tar, will you be able to perform such songs as Wolflight, Corycian Fire or Dust and Dreams faithfully live?

Steve: When you do this stuff live you have to think in terms of a core band and how it might go. At the moment I’m not in touch with Malik Mansurov for instance, but to be able to do this he won’t have heard back the performance that I’ve done with him, and all the stuff that he did we then edited into that compressed twenty seconds or so. This is entirely offensive because you’ve taken just really the fast stuff and you’ve not allowed it to build but on the other hand I thought if I’ve got an audience that’s encountering this stuff for the first time, to let that stuff build over thirty minutes or so that he does might be less interesting to them and I’d be creating a whole different kind of album. It depends how well Wolflight does. If people are really interested in the back story then they can have the full works. I realise what I came away with is several potential albums .. there was some incredible stuff with trumpet and didgeridoo which was Sara and Ferenc Kovacs playing together. Father and daughter who’d never actually played together that music, never recorded anything together professionally and that was so stunning but it’s so weird and so unexpected and off-the-wall I hope to be able to bring that to people. If it does well and people want the equivalent of deleted scenes, yea you can have the director’s cut down the line.

Alan: I first saw you on tour a few years ago at the Queens Hall Edinburgh and you played Shadow of the Hierophant and I never quite got that song until I heard it live. It was the spine-tingling crescendo of sound towards the end that simply blew me away. I’ll be seeing you again for the 3rd time in a row in Glasgow this October, any chance this 40 year old song will be part of the set?

Steve: Yea, I hope to play it again. Part of the story with that is that ideally you’ve got a girl singer who can do the tune. So far I’ve not attempted it with a male voice. To do it in it’s entirety obviously that’s the ideal but I think the end of it works in its own right.

Alan: It was fantastic, such a tingling sensation.

Steve: The build right at the end that starts with what was originally a glockenspiel and becomes this kind of processional crescendo, again to my mind it felt like an ancient Greek idea which is why I’d called it Hierophant, the head of a secret cult. One can imagine that in the present day with rock instruments and technology of the 1970’s of course, one should translate that to now, we’re not even using real bass-pedals any more, we’re using something that sounds like it and I’m not using the Mellotron choir as such, but it builds to all of that, so we use Mellotron and then Mellotron plus. It’s a big sound. Yea, I’ll do that live.

Alan: Think of Glasgow

Steve: Right!

Alan: You’ve worked with people like Neal Morse, Roine Stolt etc. Like these guys, would you ever consider being part of a band project that featured other established artists to form a super prog group? For example could you ever see yourself in a collaborative project with Steven Wilson that spawned albums and tours yet still maintaining solo output?

Steve: I think all things are possible and I’m aware because I’ve been working with some extremely talented pals in recent years. Now the pairing with Steven Wilson … he played live at the Shepherds Bush Empire, he did a version of Hierophant with us which is out on a DVD called Fire and Ice … I played on Grace for Drowning, so far that’s been the extent of the collaboration. He’s actually remixed some of my early stuff in 5:1, Spectral Mornings and Please Don’t Touch, which is supposed to be coming out later in the year if an album cover ever gets sorted out (laughs) and in a way there is a group of individuals but maybe it doesn’t exist in the way that bands used to exist where you ride off into the sunset together.

Alan: When you think of Roine (Stolt) he’s in The Flower Kings, Transatlantic and Agents of Mercy.

Steve: Like I say I’m working with him and he’s very talented, no doubt about it. All these guys are not just guitarists but conceptual thinkers. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with Steve Rothery too. Often we are out together the three of us for dinner, the three Steves, it’s a natural consequence of an extension to our social lives where we talk about nothing but music. I think it would be lovely if it happened at some point so there’s various bands and pairings have been mooted down the line. I was thrilled to work some years ago with Ian McDonald (of the original King Crimson) on a couple of projects which was such a huge influence on my early musical life and such a big influence on Genesis. So a whole ton of people that I would love to be working with.

Alan: I read in the recent prog magazine that you’ve already started work on your next project. Early days but will you continue along similar lines in the use of orchestra and world music influences?

Steve: I think once you’ve started it’s hard to switch off the tap. I like to think I’ve evolved to the same point that The Beatles were at from 1967 onwards it seems to me. Yea, there’s something about the mid sixties, 1966 lots of wonderful things happened. Guitar sounds really started to happen. Guitar heroes were born. 1970’s … keyboards arrived in the big sense of the word and in the 1980’s drums developed, drum sounds compression, distortion ambience and all that. It meant that in each decade, something came to the fore but the lovely thing about the era of The Beatles was that before technology afforded so much at the tips of fingers, people were forced to use man power and of course The Beatles had access to the whole, well their fingers and their ears of course. I like to think there’s a legacy isn’t there, that remains to be picked up on. No longer was music the sole denison of pop music of the English or Americans once India was invited to the party, it was never quite the same sense.

Alan: My left field Genesis question relates to The Lamb. Next to SEBTP, the Lamb is my favourite Genesis album. Over the decades there has been mention that this might be made into a film one day. Do you think that will ever happen and if it did who would you have playing the part of Rael?

Steve: Well that’s interesting isn’t it! Playing the part of Rael, my goodness … well … that’s a real poser, I’ll have to have a think about that. It’s a very good idea and I know that Peter Gabriel has been harbouring that dream for a long time. Whether The Lamb manages to translate literally to the Broadway stage or turned into a movie. If it was it would be the first progressive film and perhaps the first progressive musical translated to film. I hope that that happens one day. Selling England by the Pound, you mention that as well, for me I think there was something about the integration of disparate musical ideas that exist in the first track alone, Dancing with the Moonlit Knight. You’ve got everything from the influence of Scottish plainsong right on the front to the Gregorian mixture of appealing to the “citizens of hope and glory” in a hymnal kind of way or hymn like I should say, then you’ve got the fusion of all those opposites and tricky time signatures and what have you with a sort of ‘Mozartian’ flourish to kick the thing off with the Mellotron choir, then you’ve got that kind of resigned acceptance at the end with the quietest jam session I think that any rock band has ever done as an outro. So that touches on a number of sources and I think The Lamb of course has got other things to offer but you know there are very dense lyrical keyboard moments, equally dense action packed lyrical moments, so its a ride that doesn’t really let up on The Lamb.

Alan: Many thanks for taking time out to answer my questions on behalf of DPRP and all the best for the album and tour and I’ll be seeing you in Glasgow.

Steve: Sorry about slowing down towards the end I was trying to come up with considered answers there!

Alan: It was a left field question!

Steve: Got my knickers in a twist at the end!

Alan: I might have gone for Benedict Cumberpatch or somebody like that!

Steve: Benedict Cumberpatch, does he sing? That’s the thing and does he look like a Puerto Rican punk living in New York!

[At this point Steve and I chatted about Scotland which DPRP readers would not be interested in!]

Alan: All the best Steve.

Steve: Thank you and all the best.