Tuesday, 30 March 2010

New Jon Anderson interviews

There's a couple of new Jon Anderson interviews accompanying his short solo tour. The MusicStreetJournal one has this fantastic quote that may, or may not, explain many a pet cat's behaviour in the garden: "Flowers – we give flowers as a gift – for love, for remembrance, for harmony. And flowers have three components: They smell, like a perfume, they color, and they also make sound. But, you know we’re not cats, so we can’t hear it. But, they do make a sound. And it’s been pretty well proven on many levels…."

What's particularly interesting about that interview and a local US newspaper one is that Anderson's attitude to Yes continuing without him appears to have mellowed from a few months back. Whereas previously he was saying he was fit and ready to re-join the band, now he talks about not being capable of doing the sort of big tours Yes are doing: "Those guys [Howe/Squire/White] like to be on the road, they're like journeymen. I'm not like that. My body would never be able to do what they do. I can't do four or five shows a week, or all this hotel travelling. My body just wouldn't take it." And he appears more accepting of this: "I had to let the past go. I had to just let go of the band. Let go of that energy that I’ve been working with for many, many years. Now I’m working on a new sort of energy".

Anderson also makes a couple of tangential comments about his final period with Yes and writing music: "About four years ago I just put in an ad on my website: "Musicians Wanted" because I wasn't getting much feedback from my close people, which was the band. So I thought, "hey I'll just reach out to people who want to work with me." And then, talking about large-scale pieces: "They're exciting to do, because they are like climbing mountains. And I used to drag the band up the mountain half the time, and sometimes a couple would stay with me all the way. And of late it just became "Well, if you want to do that, Jon, you're going to have to do it by yourself.""

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

ABW... R?

Online fan discussion continues to be dominated by Rick Wakeman's announcement of a project with Trevor Rabin and other ex-Yesmen. Wakeman seems to have confirmed Jon Anderson as the third man, as widely predicted. Now, the March 2010 issue of Classic Rock Presents... Prog claims Bill Bruford will come out of retirement as the fourth member of this group.

I like Prog magazine, but my gut feeling is they're wrong. It would be a dramatic volte face for Bruford, who has so firmly retired and who has so often made clear a complete lack of desire to ever re-join Yes. That said, it wouldn't be the most surprising turn of events in the story of Yes...

[18 Mar update: Bruford has now denied his involvement.]

The possibility of ABWR has seen comparisons drawn to the original ABWH, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, the rival Yes line-up formed in 1989. The pull of the historical parallels is so strong that fans seem almost to presume that the bass player will be Tony Levin (or Jeff Berlin) again, that Bruford will play electronic drums again, that there will be a tour of Yes music plus again and an almost inevitable new Union with the current Yes line-up.

Stop! Do not be taken in by these fantasies. ABWH was 21 years ago. 21 years is as long as the time between Yes's first album, Yes, and ABWH! We're in a completely different context now and there's little reason to expect this to unfold in a similar way. I wouldn't be surprised to see Anderson and R. Wakeman back on stage with Howe/Squire/White at some point - the nostalgia will always exert a powerful gravitational pull - but I expect an ABWR, or AWR, in 2011 to be a very different beast to ABWH in 1989. Let's wait for a new story to unfold rather than trying to force it into the shape of an old one.


Friday, 5 March 2010

First half of 2010

In January-June 2010...

Musician : gigs played or announced : albums announced

Trevor Horn : 1 gig : 1 album
Jon Anderson: 5 gigs : 0 albums
Rick Wakeman: 11 gigs: 1 album (but it is 3 CDs)
Steve Howe: 67 gigs : 2 albums

Steve Howe is playing more than one gig every 3 days in the first half of this year!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Is May a possible date for recording a new Yes album?

I see Alan White is doing the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp in London at the end of May. Nothing odd about that, you might imagine, what with Alan having done multiple previous Camps in the States.

But London is a bit further to travel than previous Camps. Might Alan be over in the UK for anything else around that time? Chris Squire is based in London now, and Steve Howe and Oliver Wakeman are both in the south of England. It would make sense to record a new Yes album in the UK. Squire has talked of recording in March-May. They'll need to work around Howe's touring plans (with his Trio in March and with Asia in April/May), but could plans be firming up? Could Alan be doubling up a stay in the UK to do both the camp and record with Yes?