In the wake of issuing his new Genesis Revisited II project, Steve Hackett has inevitably been asked about getting back together with his old bandmates. He’s not the one, unfortunately, that’s holding up such a reunion.
Hackett last performed with Genesis on stage in 1982, and last worked with them in the studio in 1999. Since, Phil Collins has announced his retirement, Tony Banks has turned to classical music, and Mike Rutherford has made a point of limiting the number of Genesis songs in his setlist as Mike and the Mechanics continue to tour. Peter Gabriel, meanwhile, has famously avoided their old songs.
That leaves Hackett, it seems, to carry the torch. Getting back together, he told Bill Turnbull and Susanna Reid of BBC Breakfast on BBC1, “has been discussed,” though nothing has come of it. “I’ve always said I’m up for it,” added the guitarist, who was with Genesis from 1971-77 — a period that bridges both the end of the Gabriel years and the beginning of the Collins era as frontman.
Hackett’s commitment to the music of that time has played out through a pair of Genesis tribute albums, beginning with Watcher of the Skies in 1996, but it actually goes further back.
“I think 1982 is probably the last time we all played together live,” Hackett says. “That’s a long time. That was when Pete was doing WOMAD, and it lost a lot of money. Genesis reformed, and I flew back 3,000 miles to get on stage for a couple of encores, to bail out WOMAD at the time. He was the guy who got me the gig in Genesis, so I owe everything to him, actually.”
Gabriel rejoined his Genesis bandmates in ’99, for an update of “Carpet Crawlers” to be included on a new compilation. Along with that WOMAD show, he appeared on stage with Hackett back in 1983, at a charity event that also included Rutherford. They did “I Know What I Like,” as well as a take on the Four Tops’ “Reach Out.”
Hackett makes it clear, however, that the thing keeping them apart these days isn’t Gabriel, so much as Collins — who has been stricken with back problems.
“There’s the old retiree, so I think it’s probably not necessarily going to happen,” Hackett says. “As I always say, it’s always possible but improbable. I’m up for it. If they call me, I’m there.”
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