"Genesis is a strange band... they were privileged but brutalised": Steve Hackett remains "very proud" of his six years with Genesis, but has no regrets about leaving

Genesis in 1976
(Image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

Steve Hackett says he has no regrets about walking away from Genesis in 1977, and admits that while he's "very proud" of everything the prog rock stars achieved during his time as their guitarist, he views them as "a strange band".

Hackett played on some of Genesis' most-acclaimed albums, making his recording debut with the band on 1971's Nursery Cryme, and subsequently writing and playing on Foxtrot (1972), Selling England by the Pound (1973), The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974), A Trick Of The Tail (1976) and Wind & Wuthering (also 1976), before walking away to focus on a solo career. 

Writing for the blog section of his website in July 2018, Hackett stated, "I left Genesis because I had many ideas I could not move forwards otherwise and I needed autonomy, but my time with the band was special and the music we all created together was inspired." 

In a new [paywalled] interview with The Telegraph, Hackett insists that he is "very proud" of the group's success during that six year period, saying that they were "a knockout team". When the subject of the group's 2022 reunion tour, and specifically his absence from it, is raised, the guitarist says, "Genesis is a strange band. They ask you, and then when you say yes they say…  surplus to requirements. It’s so competitive."

"I hadn’t realised I was joining a team that was very competitive and would often try to unseat each other’s ideas," he adds. "I imagined joining a songwriters’ co-operative meant we were going to co-operate.

"But they’d known each other since they were 11. I think they were privileged but brutalised. That [Charterhouse school] system was designed to produce the next viceroy of India, the next prime minister, and competitiveness was bred into them." 

In what could be seen as a gently barbed jibe at his former bandmates, Hackett adds, "I choose to celebrate Genesis’s classic work with a band that relishes it."

Hackett will release his 30th solo album, The Circus and the Nightwhale, on February 16 via Inside Out Music.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.