Monday, 6 February 2012

A different Jon: Yes change lead singer again

Surprise news arrived this morning from the promoter for Yes's Japanese dates in April. The announcement is only available in Japanese, but says that, due to prolonged medical treatment, Jon Davison will be taking the lead vocal role in Yes for the band's April tour leg instead of Benoît David. An extension of that tour beyond Japan is also announced, with the band to play Jakarta, Indonesia, and then a final show in Hawaii at the end of the month. This will be the band's first visit to Indonesia and, indeed, I believe only the second time they've played an Asian show outside Japan (Singapore in 2003 being the other time).

I'm sure more details will emerge over time, but my tentative understanding at this time is that the band had been planning to tour with David, but a problem emerged very recently (late January, at a guess) and Davison was brought in quickly to allow the April tour dates to go ahead. This seems to have been a change forced upon Yes rather than one they wanted to take.

I have no further details on David's medical problems, but wish him a prompt recovery. The obvious question is what happens after April. I don't know. It seems quite possible that, right now, the band don't know either. The Japanese promoter's announcement isn't clear... at least not after it's been through Google Translate... although one might read into it an implication that Davison is merely filling in for this tour leg, implying David will be back later in the year. The band have been looking at summer dates in Europe and North America, although nothing has been announced yet. What happens with those plans is also unknown.

For those of you who don't know him, Jon Davison was born in California and was a childhood friend and bandmate of Taylor Hawkins, now drummer in the Foo Fighters. Davison moved to Seattle and played bass in psychedelic band Sky Cries Mary. He later joined Yes tribute band Roundabout on vocals. He more recently joined Glass Hammer around 2010, appearing on their two most recent albums, If and Cor Cordium.

14:43 edit: The official Yes Facebook account has now confirmed the news with similar text to the earlier Japanese announcement. It describes David as having still not recovered from his illness at the end of the 2011 European leg, which led to three shows being cancelled. The announcement talks of Davison "joining [...] for this leg of the tour", so the implication still seems to be that David should be back in due course.

The surrealism of someone whose name appears to be a cross between Jon Anderson and Benoît David joining the band has not been lost on fans. Jon Anderson has previously guested with Glass Hammer (just before Davison joined), a band many feel are quite Yes-ish, and Davison also performs along side CIRCA:'s Johnny Bruhns in Yes tribute band Roundabout.

22:29 edit: I am amazed at how quickly information emerges these days. It wasn't like this when Wakeman left in 1997, or Sherwood left in 2000. Anyway, I expect there's plenty more to emerge, but what do we currently know... It seems David walked in January, leaving the band uncertain whether they could make dates booked for April. An approach was made to Jon Anderson, who said no, although we don't know what terms he was offered, of course. Very recently, Davison was booked.

David's situation is unclear, but the evidence now appears to be pointing to his being gone permanently. It occurs to me that Yes may be in no rush to confirm whether Davison is staying for the long haul. After all, they may want to see how they get on with Davison before rushing to confirm any permanent status.

18 comments:

  1. Some folks over at the Yesfans site will be mighty happy to see Benoit go, if that is the actual plan long-term. Of course, with Yes, we may never know.

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  2. Check this out Henry - it's Jon Davison singing Yes songs - pretty good :O)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O82GGiFB1Pk

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  3. If (big if) Jon was approached, it is only right that he said no on this occasion. How can the he stand in for his stand-in? And Jon has his own bookings, and plans, and musical career. If the question was asked of him, probably only right that it was asked, and right that he said no. If this happened, this could be a major step towards peace for the future (in the Yes camp.... not a global scale, ‘though that would be nice too... lol).

    I suppose Benoit knows the score in Yes, and will have seen at firsthand how Oliver was treated. So this illness might be his breathing space to think about how he wants his singing career to develop. And with a sizable chunk of the year being put towards Squackett and Asia, and maybe other projects that don’t require a Yes singer, maybe this is a good time for Benoit to look at opportunities that may be developing for him, and maybe not within the music business.

    Also note how the Anderson, Wakeman, Rabin project has dropped a gear. Which makes me think this is going to be a very eventful 24 months in Yes World? Thank goodness we have Henry to help keep track of it all.

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  4. ...As the Yesworld turns. Should be interesting if Davison stays with the band as long as his voice can hold out on the long tours. Horn had trouble and now (I assume) David also. Maybe Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman will be back. I just hope they do an album together first then tour even if it is limited.

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  5. Is there an online reference anywhere that Jon Anderson was approached?

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  6. This is perhaps a fanciful thought (many of mine are anyway), but I wonder if Jon Davison was Jon Anderson’s suggestion!

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  7. All we seem to have so far is a fan posting on yesfans that Jon Anderson was approached and that he declined. I imagine if the band had decided that they actually _wanted_ Jon back rather than (in this situation) *needing* him back to fulfill touring obligations... would have helped to make up Jon A's mind pretty quickly.

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  8. When JON ANDERSON is standing on the stage THAT IS YES, everything else is a joke

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  9. Would you rather have no Yes? I enjoy seeing Howe and Squire together. If Davison can help get the vocals back on track, this should be an exciting year.

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  10. So much for the sources saying Anderson was approached. http://www.examiner.com/classic-hard-rock-in-national/jon-anderson-was-not-asked-to-re-join-yes-says-he-does-not-talk-to-squire

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    1. I kinda figured that. I don't think Jon Anderson would do the Pacific tour anyway because Yes would want him to sing stuff from Fly From Here and Drama.

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  11. Donovan Mayne-Nicholls21 February 2012 06:39

    Not very happy about the developments. Three years of building up the band with a new singer down the drain. If Yes think they can change singers as often as keyboardist, we may indeed be looking at the end of Yes. Especially sad since the alternative (begging Anderson back in for a next tour) means going backwards again to greatest hits tours. Musically, Yes hadn't made anything good since Keys 2 (Keys 1 is a big letdown). Until BG, Yes used to be about playing most/all the new album on tour. Hell, they toured with orchestras supposedly for the sake of playing the new tracks properly and the only played three songs from Magnification. Ridiculous! I think Yes relied too much of late on Anderson as songwriter songwriter and the chemistry was no longer there. Howe expressly does not want to write with Anderson again.
    What was different about Benoit's situation to Trevor Horn's is that Horn was not hired to ape Anderson and he did bring his songwriting into the band. Yes need a singer with a distinct personality who contributes to the band's writing if they pretend to carry on indefinitely.

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  12. David B. was very talented, I have heard recordings of Roundabout, (trib,W/Davidson)
    and he is also very talented. On a performance
    level, grading just that, B+. This music is timeless, people need to understand that when we
    lost Beethoven the man, we didn't loose his music. As the original members grow older, we will see less and less of them, it will be up to those talented trib groups to experience YES music live. Something I have come to realize is
    we are all humans. Thanks for this site!!!!

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  13. Squire as usually is full of it, just as he did with Anderson he eliminated Benoit David from the band. He asked for some time off, Squire said he could and then return, and then without telling him bounced him from the band. Here is one line that mentions that

    http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/former_yes_vocalist_benoit_david_releases_statement_regarding_his_departure.html

    Furthermore Squire mentioned once that Anderson was approached and said no, and went further to say he and Anderson email often and spoke about Anderson. Jon issued a statement that he has not heard from Squire in years except one email to ask Jon for "free" tickets to an Anderson show. The nerve of Squire, first he bounces Anderson away, then he lied about their friendship and the ONLY contact he has with Anderson is to ask for FREE tickets?? I had seen Yes with David and they were good, but I am tired of the Squire financial show because that is all it is. He needs the money so he tours, and he cannot wait until perfectly good and great in Anderson singers get their voice rested, he just cast them aside to find another Anderson sound alike...So Chris, if you broke a finger should Steve find a bass player and tour without you? Yes was and always will be a great band, but the greed of Squire has hurt the band over the years, they should have waited until David could have toured.

    Here is the comments from Anderson:

    http://www.noise11.com/news/jon-anderson-reacts-to-chris-squire-yes-noise11-story-20120209

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  14. Before you are too harsh on Squire, jgh, Anderson's own claim that he hasn't spoken to Squire in four years is demonstrably wrong. In mid-2009, Anderson did three interviews in which he said he had recently talked to Squire: so that's just 2.5 years ago.

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    1. BTW I see you a huge Yes fan....I am sure you have much more access to information then I do. I just have see some things from Squire over the years I did not like, and the number one was not waiting for Anderson to recover so they can tour together. I think that did more damage then good as they played smaller places then they were used to. A Anderson lead Yes tour would put them back on a bigger arena tour and bring out more fans

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  15. Henry, I am sure your information is correct, but 2.5 years is still more then what Squire said. Also Squire makes it sound like him and Jon have a "cordial relationship" in which they might work together again, from everything I read that is news to Anderson that Squire feels that way. Also, it is strikingly similar how the last 2 singers were ousted by Squire simply because he wanted to tour when he wanted. You have to wonder why everyone else leaves the band and Squire is the only one always still there.

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  16. I trust in genious Mr.Squire that he keeps legendary YES alive. Doesn't matter who is the singer - next great album will follow...

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