Steve Hackett on why he “made the right decision” in leaving Genesis

Steve Hackett, former lead guitarist for Genesis, has shared the reason why he “made the right decision” to leave the band.

In an interview with Classic Rock, London-born Hackett shared that “there was an aspect of claustrophobia that invaded my time with Genesis,” he continued, “and I had to work outside the band. I think if you’re feeling creative and you’ve got that album or that book or that film inside you, you don’t want to let it fester. You’ve got to get it out there.”

“Genesis was becoming a little bit too much of a closed shop and it was affecting my ability to sleep,” he added. “I agonised over leaving the band for a good two years and then I thought, ‘No, I’ve got to make a leap of faith at this point in time.’ And there’s no doubt that I made the right decision.”

The lead guitarist was part of the band between 1971 and 1977, where he helped shape their creative arc in the band’s early days. He has since been cited as an influence on musicians such as Eddie Van Halen and Rush‘s Alex Lifeson.

Steve Hackett (Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

Genesis played their last show together in March 2022 at London’s O2 Arena. Guitarist and bassist Mike Rutherford later described the gig as “bizarre” and “emotional”.

“It was nice afterwards when everybody, including Peter [Gabriel] and Richard McPhail [tour manager from the seventies], were together in the dressing room,” he said. “Apart from that we kept backstage closed off.”


“But the actual show felt bizarre. I was kind of okay until I saw on my setlist that there were just four songs left. Seeing that in print made me emotional, but having got through all of the problems with Covid, it felt very good to see things through.”

Collins performed that show in a wheelchair, after a period of health problems relating to damaged vertebrae in his neck.

Rutherford later offered an update on Collins’ condition, saying: “He’s much more immobile than he used to be, which is a shame, but at the tour, he was in good spirits.

“He’s fine now at home, enjoying life. He’s worked so hard over the years. I think he’s enjoying his time at home.”