A Genesis In My Bed
by Steve Hackett
Steve Hackett was the guitarist for Genesis during their Prog Rock years in the early to late 1970s. He left the band just before they began their transition from cult darling to hit makers. You’d think the guy might resent missing the golden ticket, but Steve doesn’t hold any grudges. He had a few minutes on the pop charts with the band GTR and he’s been able to make the music he wants, and make a living at it.
A Genesis In My Bed strikes a similar tone as Eric Clapton’s autobiography. Both artists are committed to telling their story as honestly they can. It feels like Steve is sharing a cup of tea on a rainy afternoon and telling you about his life. He’s interested in sharing how he felt at the crossroads of his life. He recounts humorous stories of his escapes from parental supervision as a toddler. He is almost painfully frank about his teenage quest to master the guitar at the expense of dating girls. He recounts his time in London before getting the Genesis gig like a buddy telling you about seeing Mick Jagger walking along Kings Road, but the really important thing that day was getting the latest clothes.
It’s refreshing to read Hackett’s account of the audition process for Genesis. He admits he was nervous and questioned if a working class kid like him belonged in a band with Public School boys. He did. He humbly talks about his contributions to Genesis records as contributing a melody to fit a chord progression here or suggesting a lyric there. He talks about encouraging Peter Gabriel’s theatrical stage antics.
There are points in the story where Hackett could have lashed out at people. It would be understandable if he’d been pissed at Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford for asking him not to release solo albums while still being in Genesis. Steve just says that he would have liked to stay and have a solo career on the side, but he had music that didn’t fit the band, so it’s time to leave.
The only time Hackett does grouse is about the way punk changed the record industry. As those unrefined hooligans gained ascendance, it made it harder for him to get his music out.
Steve’s solo albums provide an opportunity to share his interest in Spiritualism and life after death. His first album, Voyage of the Acolyte, takes inspiration from the tarot. Albums like Spectral Mornings and Till We Have Faces explore spiritual themes while finding diminishing returns commercially. He slowly settles into a niche performer, often playing with orchestras and recording his take on classical guitar.
The title A Genesis in My Bed is taken from a story about a night spent with a groupie. Steve expresses misgivings that the women just want to add to their collection of one night stands with rock stars. He gets confirmation when one of his new acquaintances shouts; “I have a Genesis in my bed!” The later part of the story finds Hackett coming to terms with “being a Genesis.” Part of that coming to terms has been taking on the role as guardian of the classic Genesis legacy. Steve has released several albums of “Genesis Revisited” albums and he frequently tours playing Genesis material. He can do things with the songs he couldn’t while in the band. Most importantly, Steve really enjoys sharing music he still loves with friends. If he’s always going to be known as “a Genesis,” that’s all right.