“A Genesis In My Bed” - Steve Hackett's autobiography reviewed by Alan Hewitt.
Long overdue and with a gestation period to match one of his former bandmate's albums, here at last is Steve's own take on his amazing life story.
This is a difficult book for me to review as I have been a small part of that story for over thirty years now, and there are so many memories I have which make it hard for me to do so without bias, but as always I shall do my best.
First things first, for the avoidance of doubt and to negate any criticism of Steve's narrative, there are legal reasons for the virtually complete omission of his relationship with Kim Poor. Those reasons are not mine to tell, but they exist nonetheless and that should be borne in mind when reading this book.
OK, now that that is out of the way, what does Steve tell us that we might not have been aware of beforehand? Surprisingly the answer to that is quite a lot when it comes to the initial chapters on his family background and childhood. In fact, I read those chapters to the accompaniment of albums such as Darktown and Guitar Noir where the music brought the text vividly to life. I also found myself nodding in recognition of many things as even though some twelve years separate Steve's birth from my own, my own childhood in Sixties Liverpool where many parts of the city were still showing the scars of their wartime trials and tribulations and the cast of characters whom Steve mentions were equally present in my own childhood - on several occasions I was brought up with a jolt of memory as something Steve said which sparked a particularly vivid memory!
Steve is, as always, a refreshingly honest raconteur of his own story, and he brings many of the characters who have shared it with him vividly to life. His honest reflections about his first girlfriend and wife make particularly interesting reading.
As we get into the story of his musical life too, there is a surprising breadth of detail although fewer revelations. Relations with various band members are, to some extent glossed over and this is not surprising, Steve has always been diplomatic about such things and no purpose is ever served by raking over the coals after all this time.
However, to my mind, his career since Genesis is the one area where the book doesn't do it's subject anywhere near full justice. Forty three years pass by in what reads like a roll call of names, places with little substance between them. I am sure an exploration of the interplay between such pivotal characters as Roger King and his new wife, Jo who, as anyone who knows them will tell you, play an enormous part in just about every aspect of Steve's life these days would make for fascinating reading. Mind you, to do so would make for a much bigger book - not that you would find us complaining if it were!
In some respects, this book mirrors Mike Rutherford's autobiography; it's a good starter but we are left waiting for the main course!
STEVE HACKETT: A Genesis In My Bed - The Autobiography. Wymer Publishing ISBN 978 1 912782 38 3 (Hardback).