As Marillion’s wordsmith and voice, Steve Hogarth has waxed philosophical about a wide range of topics, from global warming to the nature of love to political turmoil.
“Lyrically I write about what I feel about at the time as in when it happens, so the lyrics from one album to another tend to mirror my life at that point in time,” explained Hogarth. “Sometimes they can be a couple of years out of date if I’ve got things I’ve written down and gone back to, but in recent times, they’ve been very much about where it’s been at. Somewhere Else was quite a literal album. I had just split up with my wife of 25 years. It was quite literal and a little bit bleak, whereas Happiness Is The Road represents the place I’m at now.”
And where he is now is a happy person with a new girlfriend, new baby boy and a good relationship with his ex-wife and first two children. The experiences of the last 10 years have helped bring many things into perspective to him about the nature and meaning of life, and he even has thoughts about what God is.
“God to me is all of us,” concluded Hogarth. “It’s everything that’s alive. It’s everything that’s precious on this earth. You could even argue [God] is everything in the universe. You could argue that God is relativity or that God waved a wand and created the Big Bang in order to know Himself or Herself. That makes a lot of sense to me. So I see God in all things, but I don’t seem him in the Bible too much or in institutionalized religions. I think they have their own agendas. They say they’re all about God; I say they’re all about committees and hierarchies. It’s all cliché and an oversimplification, I know, but religions are very divisive, and I don’t think that God would want that. I don’t think that God would want to set us up against each other.”
He confessed that while he touted Marillion’s musical diversity and desire to move ever forward, certain themes reemerge in his lyrics from album to album. Even though that’s natural, he joked that it bothered him a bit.
“Because my words are true things and reflect where I am in my heart and at the time, there tends to be a repetition about the things that I bang on about a little bit,” explained Hogarth. “I’m bound to talk about fame and what that does because I’ve felt it and also watched it. I’m bound to write love songs because I’ve been in and out of love, and I’ve known and seen a lot of other people’s loves as well. The amount of love I receive ought to be against the law. I’m so lucky because everywhere I go and we play live, I’m not looking at 2,000 people who are excited. I’m looking at 2,000 people who are giving me raw affection, and that’s incredible. It’s really beautiful the amount of love that I receive. I’ve written songs about the fans.
“I think to some extent now when I’m writing, and I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not, but I have taken a bit of a didactic turn,” continued the singer. “To some extent it’s like I’m in the pulpit when I’m writing songs. I’m trying to spread a message, but it’s not an institutionalized message, and I haven’t ‘got religion.’ In my ripe old age now, I really feel like I’ve got a little bit of insight into what it’s all about, and I want to try to share that with people. I hope they don’t think I’m preaching at them. I’m trying to throw some light into a dark place. My own dark places have been lit up in the last few years, so naturally I want to do that for other people.”