Brentwood, 8.53pm: 14°C, scattered clouds

Still hitting the right note – after years in the limelight

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

If I had realised that I was able to meet and interview my musical heroes I would have probably set up Phoenix as soon as I had left school!

When I was 18 I was a budding guitarist and although I never quite mastered rock music I had reached a fairly good standard playing classical music. One of the musicians I most admired was former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, who was touring his second classical solo album, Momentum. I had played a couple of his songs at a school concert and got to meet him on the tour too.

Roll forward to 2019 and I’m chatting again to Steve about his forthcoming tour. I’ve been fortunate enough to interview him a few times over the last 5 years or so and in that time he has been working harder than anyone I know – constantly writing, recording and touring. It’s amazing for a musician who has been in the limelight since the early 1970s, when he played on and co-wrote six top ten albums with Genesis.

He’s been enjoying some success again too – his last two solo albums, The Night Siren and At The Edge Of Light have both reached the top 30 in the UK and the top 20 in Germany.

I’ve caught him live a few times recently too and his band sound exactly like early Genesis, with singer Nad Sylvan sounding so much like Peter Gabriel it’s uncanny. There’s a fantastic ensemble of musicians behind him too.

I chatted to Steve about his plans to take two classic albums on the road to be played in their entirety – the 1973 Genesis classic Selling England By The Pound and his own solo album from 1979, Spectral Mornings. What I love most about the interview is that Steve has a loyal fanbase and doesn’t really need to “sell himself” in interviews and articles – but he’s so passionate about his music that he’s got all the time in the world to chat to you about it, which always makes for an enjoyable experience from our point of view.

The interview can be heard again at Steve’s live show will be coming to Essex on 27 November when he plays the Cliffs Pavilion in Westcliff – and you can also see him at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith two days later.

* Lots more great guests coming up on Phoenix FM over the next seven days. Brian McGovern, co-founder of Chelmsford homeless charity Cool To Be Kind will be talking to Stewart Pink on One 2 Three and Brentwood art gallery owner John Brandler from Brandler Galleries will be chatting with Mike Porter on The Breakfast Show.

* TV comedian Duncan Norvelle will be live in the studio on Sunday chatting to Nigel Fitzmaurice on Stepping Out.

* There will also be live music in the studio from Parilla, Risky Business, Anna Wells and Five Candles.

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