Ex-Genesis Guitarist Steve Hackett Recalls Band Members Were “at Loggerheads” Before Peter Gabriel’s Exit from Group

Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett says he enjoyed his time playing with the band while Peter Gabriel fronted the group. However, as Hackett explained in a new interview with Ultimate Guitar, he felt that tensions within Genesis shortly before Gabriel’s 1975 departure had an adverse effect on the group’s music.

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“By the time it was The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway—Peter’s final album with Genesis—the band was beginning to fragment into factions,” Hackett recalled. “It was obvious Peter wasn’t going to stay. There seemed to be a competition between Peter and [keyboardist] Tony [Banks]—to see how much audio space they could fill.”

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According to Hackett, the creative clash between Gabriel and Banks led to the Genesis songs being packed with “very busy, crowded virtuosic keyboard work and very busy narrative-driven lyrics.”

He added, “[T]hese two paths seemed to be at loggerheads to a large degree. It became more difficult to define what the other instruments can do—because there was less ‘breathing space,’ as a result of this.”

Hackett said he felt that because of the competing agendas of Gabriel and Banks, a lot of interesting details recorded for The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway were buried in the original mix of the album.

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“[S]urround sound and later mixes have brought back the detail that should have always been on it,” Hackett maintained, “but I think [because of] the limitations of the mixing at the time and various personalities competing for space… [it] fell into that classic conundrum of what groups have to deal with when there is a power play at work.”

Hackett’s Favorite Genesis Albums

Hackett also noted that he particularly liked some of the earlier Genesis albums he played on, singling out Foxtrot (1972) and Selling England by the Pound (1973) as “phenomenal.”

“I don’t think there’s a weak track on either of those albums,” he enthused. “And that’s the strength of the collective songwriting team bringing that together.”

Hackett’s Friendship with Peter Gabriel

Meanwhile, Hackett told Ultimate Guitar that he’s still “friends and pals” with Gabriel, and has great respect for him on multiple levels.

“Peter is very, very creative. A sweet man. Very philanthropic. Inventive and visionary in so many ways,” Hackett said. “I think it was my privilege to work with him. I think we were all good for each other—the Genesis guys in the early days before it fell into factions.”

Hackett’s Upcoming Solo Album and Tour Plans

Hackett, who left Genesis himself in 1977, has remained a prolific solo artist while continuing to regularly perform his old band’s music in concert. The 73-year-old musician will release his latest solo album, The Circus and the Nightwhale, on February 16, 2024. Earlier this month, a music video for a track from the album, “People of the Smoke,” debuted on YouTube.

Hackett also has a bevy of tour dates lined up for next year. His 2024 itinerary includes a U.S. leg in March and April, as well as tours of mainland Europe in July, the U.K. in October, and Italy in November. You can check out his full tour schedule at HackettSongs.com.

Tickets for all of the guitarist’s shows are available at various outlets, including StubHub.

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