Steve Hackett chats about new album ‘The Circus and The Nightwhale’, re-visiting Genesis’ ‘Foxtrot’ live… and The Beatles

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Steve Hackett performing at The Van Buren, Phoenix, Arizona

Steve Hackett seems to be in a satisfying place creatively— even after five decades— as one of prog rock’s premier guitarists. Simply put, he remains just as influential as Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. But that’s another topic for another day.

Hackett released his 30th(!) solo album in February called The Circus and The Nightwhale, which arrived only after two years since his last release, 2021’s Surrender of Silence.

By the way, that isn’t trivial. In 2024, releasing new music after two years is quick. In short order, that doesn’t happen very often.

Hackett is also touring in support of the new album. He’ll be heading to Phoenix on Sat. April 13 at Celebrity Theatre.

With the new album, it’s perhaps less conceptual and more autobiographical. Hackett considers The Circus and The Nightwhale to be his most “personal” album of his entire career.

“Well, the record “begins”, if you like, in 1950, the year I was born”, Hackett said. “The opening track, People Of The Smoke, gives you an example of what growing up was like in post-war London.

“I remember all the smog from the trains, the very industrial-type areas, and of course, the importance of radio for me during my teenage years. Hearing The Beatles for the first time was definitely life-changing for me– as it was for many obviously”.

“Making the new album really was a pleasure. There are several different moods to the album, from Taking You Down to Ghost Moon and Living Love to the album’s closer White Dove. The band is playing incredibly well, as always. Everybody really stepped up to the plate on this album. I look forward to playing the new songs live”, Hackett said enthusiastically.

Since he brought it up, I had to ask Hackett if he ever got a chance to see The Beatles live

“No, I only saw them on TV”, he said regrettably.

He continued. “I do recall an interview that John Lennon gave around the time of Foxtrot (1972) or Selling England By The Pound (1973) where he referred to (Hackett’s former band) Genesis as the “true sons” of The Beatles. I remember being completely floored by that, we all were really.”

I asked Hackett how pivotal Foxtrot was and is for him on a personal level. By the way, he’s been performing the album live in its entirety on his latest tour. If recent reviews of his shows are any indication, it looks like Phoenix fans are in for quite a treat.

“Oh yes, it’s been a joy playing Foxtrot in full. We actually started this tour last year, and it’s been a real pleasure seeing younger fans in attendance, along with longtime fans as well.”

“When we made that album, we weren’t exactly an international band at that point. We could experiment non-stop musically and lyrically, because the album as a whole was what people responded to in those days”, Hackett recalled fondly.

He added. “Certainly an album like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band had a huge impact on us when we were recording Foxtrot. That (Sgt. Pepper’s) was a record that was way ahead of its time, and it may just be the greatest pop album ever made. It’s difficult to top The Beatles— no one can really”, Hackett stated bluntly.

IF YOU GO:
WHO: Steve Hackett
WHEN: Sat. April 13, 2024
WHERE: Celebrity Theatre
Tickets available at Celebrity Theatre.com and the Celebrity Theatre box office.

For our friends in Tucson:
Steve Hackett is scheduled to perform on Fri. April 12 , 2024 at Rialto Theatre.Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com.

Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents

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