By Larry Widen Special to OnMilwaukee Published Nov 02, 2023 at 4:01 PM

Legendary Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett joined the band in 1971 and played with Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins. His signature guitar work was a key element of several Genesis albums, including the classic “Selling England by The Pound."

After six years, Hackett left Genesis in 1977 to explore his music via a solo career. To date he’s made 30 albums that feature his love of rock, jazz, classical and blues, using both electric and acoustic guitar.

Prior to his performance at The Pabst Theater on Friday night, Hackett recalled a few memories from a long and storied life in the music business.

OnMilwaukee: How did you come to be a part of Genesis?

Steve Hackett: Genesis already existed and they were looking for a guitarist to replace Anthony Phillips who had left the band. I placed an ad to find a band and Peter liked the tone of it. He and Tony responded well to my playing and ideas when we met. I was thrilled to join the band.

Among your early influences included Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green and Jimi Hendrix. 

Yes, and Eric Clapton as well. All of them were particularly inspiring to me at the time with their energy and dexterity.

Describe the creative process within the band.

We would all come in with various tunes and ideas, and all of that was woven together into songs. We all influenced each other.

Did it become hard for you to work that way?

Genesis stayed together, but I left because I needed autonomy. Initially I wanted to do my own solo work while remaining in the band, but two of the members told me that was unacceptable to them.

The classic lineup first reunited for a show in 1982.

I was a part of that gig, which was great fun. I was thrilled to be playing with the band again on that night.

Can you talk a little about other musicians you’ve played with?

Certainly, Steve Howe from YES. And it was fabulous to work on the “Box of Frogs” album which included Jimmy Page along with many other greats.

Genesis became part of the Rock and Roll Hall Fame in 2010.

Yes, and all of us were very proud to be inducted.

What can the audience at The Pabst Theater look forward to?

Highlights include songs like “Supper’s Ready” and “Firth of Fifth," which the fans love. And the show will include the whole iconic Genesis album, “Foxtrot."

What’s next for Steve Hackett?

I’ll be doing additional shows across the U.S.A. in 2024, as well as releasing a new studio album.