Monday, February 13, 2012

Steve Hackett on Early Genesis

Time for a Genesis revisit, thanks to former guitarist Steve Hackett. In his personal blog over at his website, Steve talks about a new project he's working on where he once again will revisit new musical interpretations of songs with which he was involved while in Genesis (1971-1977). As with anything Steve does, I'm looking forward to a class act.

One thing I want to point out from Steve's blog that my friends will find interesting, as I've made the same statement in trying to explain my love for Genesis and its music (as an aside, ALL eras, not just the Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins eras—I take the band as a whole). This probably more applies to the earlier material when the band drew on literature and fantasy as inspiration for their adventurous music, but even in their later days, they weren't beyond blowing past the 3:30 pop music limits and doing a song that might run 10 minutes for the purpose of telling a story. Anyway, here's Steve on that special thing that made Genesis the band that they were (and continue to be) . . . 

I refuse to dismiss the band's early work as the musings of five earnest young men playing mainly to bearded students. I'm sure I saw women there!
Early Genesis had its own take on romance. It was a romance of place, of time and most importantly, of story. Drawing on direct experience is a great way to write a song, but it's not the only way. Fiction can transcend the limits of ourselves and through metaphor can also plunge deeper into that rich inner world we all long to access. Many songs from those early times were like little vignettes and came across as a kind of film for the ear and the inner eye.

I've often told my younger friends who are now musicians themselves to try and capture that "magic," of being able to see music and lyrics as "little vignettes (or movies in my words) - film for the ear and that all-important inner eye. It's like a movie in your head, with the music all part of what you are seeing. Each nuance, each odd time signature, each counter-point melody in the background that you don't notice the first listen through - it's all part of the experience. 

Indeed, it's so much farther beyond the American bandstand-type, "Hey,'s got a good beat and you can dance to it." Way, way farther. The music of Genesis then actually required you to muse and think—and imagine. 

And at that, I had best close this post. I'm about to say something uncharitable about Genesis' critics, and we can't have that, can we? 

P.S. While I am at it, let me also direct you to Steve's online store, where you can get his latest recordings, and keep a watcher in the sky eye open for new material. 

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