When Steve Hackett called me from Boston a while back to talk about his current Genesis Extended tour–which hits Vancouver this Thursday (December 11)– I was curious as to which Genesis songs were going over best of late. And he was happy to fill me in.
“Well let me see,” he pondered. “We start off with ‘Dance On a Volcano’, and then we move on to ‘Squonk’–from the same album, Trick of the Tail–and in a way, the high-energy one–in a tricky time signature–is really ‘Dance on a Volcano’, but then ‘Squonk’ is…it’s like a mainstream rock number, really, isn’t it? But without a chorus. Got those tricky high parts for singers. And it’s really just a stomp, that one, a stomp and a march.
“Then you have ‘Dancing With the Moonlit Knight’, which is extremely experimental, which runs the gamut of styles from Scottish plainsong to Elgarian verse, anthemic, then something which becomes fusiony, little bits of musical evolution creep in–a hint of Mozart, and a dash of Mahavishnu Orchestra–and a lot of Genesis. And a little bit of Disney at the end of that too.
“We used to call one little squence ‘Disney’, where it was a very quiet little jam session where we all faded ourselves in and out of that, and I think it was a Genesis trick to sometimes use something…it became part of our style to do very quiet, restrained jams. And I think restraint was part of the style–not to always go for it with every solo, but for people to give each other space and learn to listen to other people. Shut up occasionally.”
So does Hackett have a particular fave Genesis song that he never tires of playing?
“Well actually I really love ‘Fountain of Salmacis’. I love it for all sorts of reason. Actually I think I love them all or I wouldn’t do them. ‘Watcher of the Skies’ still gives me a blast. ‘Firth of Fifth’–still get a rush from that. All of them, basically. There really isn’t a bad song that we play live, because I’m in sole charge of the choice of songs, although I’m open to suggestions when people make them. I think it’s a huge crowd pleaser. It’s really a set that’s designed for and by the audience.”