Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett has weighed in on who he believes to be the classical composer responsible for the birth of heavy metal music.
Hackett recently sat down with Rock History Music, for an extensive interview that saw him offer his expertise on classical music, originality and his musical hero. composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
During the interview, Hackett acknowledged that to be inspired by a classical musician was be inspired without competition.
“I’m a fan of many people, great writers, and we all have the same thing – the anxiety of influence when you have heroes, whether they are classical heroes that are non-competitive in that,” he explained.
Hackett then continued to proclaim that Tchaikovsky is the inventor of heavy metal music.
“Tchaikovsky isn’t releasing any records recently but there’s the legacy of the amazing orchestrations, composition concepts, and all the rest. Arguably, the inventor of heavy metal. The cannons going off on the ‘1812 Overture’ – if that isn’t heavy metal, I don’t know what it is,” he mused.
Listen to ‘1812 Overture’ by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:
Elsewhere during the interview, Hackett revealed that he doesn’t believe it is possible for anyone in music to do something new or completely original. However, one can appropriate a thing of the past and make it feel fresh.
“So, it would be a mistake to think that anything that one could do in music is new. All you do is you put your own slant on it. So I’d like to demystify it and say that whatever I’ve done, I think with enough patient attention to detail, and working with great collaborators, I think that if everyone’s a detail freak, the music will get better,” he explained.
“I don’t think it can be taught. You can teach people to read, and you can teach people to play, but the quantum leap that is writing – satisfactorily for yourself and others – is a thing that comes over time. There has to be a burning ambition to do it.”
Steve Hackett released his last album, At the Edge of Light, back in 2019.