Where are they now? - Asia
and related projects

This page last updated: 9 May 2022
 
YES and projects with several Yesmen
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Igor Khoroshev
Oliver Wakeman

Benoît David
Jon Davison
Asia
CIRCA:
Yes ft. Anderson Rabin Wakeman
Others associated with the band

Asia Official website; MySpace page; Twitter; Facebook; Official Google Group; authorised fan club
Asia have announced a 40th anniversary tour starting summer 2022 (starting around Aug, it appears) with a new line-up of Geoff Downes (Yes; keys), Billy Sherwood (Yes; bass), Carl Palmer (ex-Emerson, Lake & Palmer; drums) and Marc Bonilla (ex-Keith Emerson Band, worked with Eddie Jobson; guitar, lead vocals). Rumour has that they will have a support act. "Bumblefoot" Thal, who was the guitarist and vocalist in Asia in 2019, said on social media: "Sadly I'll be unable to join @OriginalAsia on this wonderful tour - @SonsOfApollo1 rescheduled its Jan2022 tour to Aug, to my dismay it's right when Asia's tour was scheduled for. Will miss my Asia mates, they have all my love & support, I hope to see them when they hit NJ!" (Palmer said to fan Doug Curran in Oct 2021 that there were talks about a Yes/Asia/Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy tour for 2022 for Asia's 40th anniversary, but that does not now appear to be the case.) Management is by Martin Darvill.

Asia joined Yes, Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy with Arthur Brown, and John Lodge on a joint tour summer 2019 North American tour entitled the Royal Affair tour: see details under Yes. The line-up was Downes, Palmer, Sherwood and and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (Sons of Apollo, ex-Guns N' Roses; guitar, lead vocals), but with Steve Howe guesting for a portion of the set. Asia's set on the opening night of the tour was "Go", "Don't Cry", "Video Killed the Radio Star" (originally by The Buggles), "The Smile has Left Your Eyes", "Lucky Man" (originally by ELP), "Bolero" ("Cutting It Fine" extract, Downes keys solo), "Wildest Dreams" (with Howe on guitar and Thal just on lead vocals until end of set), "Sole Survivor", "Only Time will Tell", "Heat of the Moment". Asia are planning to release a live album from the 2019 tour: it was expected in 2021, but has yet to appear. Roger Dean has been doing a cover (as he did for Yes's live album from the tour). Asked in a Jul 2021 interview with TotalRock whether he might guest again with Asia as he did in 2019, Howe said, "Maybe there's a formula there that we could repeat, but I don't know." In another Jul 2021 interview, asked about the possibility of Asia touring in 2022 and if he would be involved, Howe replied:
I don’t know that there is anything official yet, but I know it’s an anniversary year [40 years since Asia was released] and there may be something going on but I'm not committed to anything. But that does not mean to say I wouldn’t do something. Let us wait and see. “Bumblefoot” Tha[l] did a great job the other year on the Asia tour, actually doing John’s job. He’s an amazing singer and guitarist, so if I'm not there he will be, and I'm happy with that.
In a Feb 2021 interview, Downes said, "I think that he [Wetton] would have wanted that music to be heard for as long as we're able to, really."  In a Jun 2021 interview, asked about recording an album with the 2019 line-up, Downes replied, "I think we've always thought about that. Obviously, Ron's very busy [...] we've not been able to do any live stuff [because of COVID-19]. So, it's really been put [...] in abeyance at the moment, but certainly I think that now things appear to be easing off on that front, we hope that we can get back out and maybe do another album." In another that month, Downes said "hopefully" Asia would do future live dates with Thal.
 
Asked whether there are any plans for the 2019 line-up to record a studio album, Downes tweeted Jun 2019, "I sincerely hope so. Feels like it might be time..." In a Jul 2019 interview, Downes said, "Hopefully, we'll do something in the future. I think [Thal]'s done a fantastic job. It would be a shame if we didn't continue and make some music together." On tour in Jun 2019, he said to a fan that he hoped to record an album with this line-up in autumn 2019, with a release to come before a new Yes album. Palmer, around Jul 2019, also said he would like to make an album, and Sherwood, in this Jul 2019 interview, affirmed he was open to that as well. At the end of an Aug 2019 interview, asked about his future with Asia, Thal said he would "roll with the flow of it all." He continued: "it raises a lot of thoughts [...] Do people want new music from this line-up or do they just want to come and hear the hits that they love? Uhm... do we do one song, just for the next tour, something like that; do we do a whole album? Honestly, I can go any which way. I'm cool with whatever."

Wetton had been receiving treatment for colon cancer from May 2015 and he and Downes wrote a new album through 2015-6. Touring was announced for 2017, but Wetton pulled out of the initial batch of dates because of treatment, with Sherwood announced as subbing for him, before then passing. In a Feb 2017 interview, Downes said, "John had already said that he wouldn't be well enough to do the tour and I had worked with Billy Sherwood in Yes and what was meant to be something of a temporary thing has become a full-time gig for him since things took a turn for the worse with John, who died earlier this week." In a statement about Wetton's passing, Downes said:
We were planning another album, but sadly he was not well enough to complete it. I feel heartbroken about this, as I knew John thought it was to be one of our finest albums to date. I remain as proud as ever of our Wetton/Downes writing partnership. I am hoping one day that I will be able to finish it, and that it will be appreciated by all those who loved his and our music, and most importantly, a legacy he would have been proud of.

Life will not be the same without him. And words are not really enough to describe the loss I feel right now, and the many friends and fans all over the World will also be feeling. It is the end of an era for all of us. But we will soldier on - the music of John Wetton needs to be heard loud and clear from the rooftops.

Final writing sessions with Wetton
In the Feb 2017 interview, asked if they planned to complete the album they had been working on, Downes replied, "Yes. I think so. He had a lot of material for it. I think we will definitely do something with it because I think John would like me to do that." Downes has reiterated this position subsequently. To the Feb 2018 issue of Prog, Downes said, "I am personally committed to finishing the songs we had started in 2015/2016." Asked on Twitter in Apr 2018 about plans for releasing this material, Downes replied, "Working on it". In a Mar 2021 podcast, Downes said, "I've still got some recordings I did with John Wetton [...] there's still some elements of that that I'd like to do at some point." Asked about the material, he replied:
There's probably about half a dozen, but because John was too sick really to, at the time, to take them any further. [...] deep down, I know probably [...] the direction he would like them to go in. So I've got those, those elements, they're there, and I really hope to get them, y'know, completed one day.

But the last 4 or 5 years have been pretty solid on the road with Yes particularly [...] it's been a lot of roadwork the last 10 years but the way it is at the moment, I think I'm going to have to spend a bit more time fishing around in the studio and see what I can come up with.

Work on this material may go back to Jul 2015. In a late Jan 2016 interview, Downes said he'd "been writing with John Wetton for another Asia album" and, on 11 Feb 2016, both Downes and Wetton tweeted about meeting up to work on a new album. Wetton said: "Looking forward to (yet) more writing today with @asiageoff Mr.Downes. Next ASIA record moves along apace." Downes later said: "Excellent day in Bomo with my old chum @arkangel2605 [Wetton's Twitter account] Very productive - new Asia album on the way!" On 3 Mar 2016, Wetton then travelled to meet Downes in Wales "to formalise new ASIA material", according to a tweet he made. Downes tweeted afterwards: "Excellent day with @arkangel2605 today at my studio. New Asia album en route!" In a Mar 2016 interview (possibly conducted in Feb), Downes said, "I've been working with John on some material since last year [2015] actually. John's been sick for the last year or so now and has been having some fairly extensive medical treatment. In between that we've been putting together some songs that we hope sooner or later we will actually go into the studio and do another Asia album." In an Apr 2016 interview, Downes said: "I have been working with him [Wetton] on some new material and hopefully we will get an album out in the not too distant future." In a later Apr 2016 interview, Downes said: "we are still writing and we [sic] be doing an album with John Wetton towards the end of [2016]." A May 2016 tweet by Wetton showed a CD-R and said, "next ASIA record is on here, now we just have to record it!" In an Oct 2016 interview, Downes said: "Asia, hopefully we'll get that back up and running soon. That's the idea. We've been working on new material, and we have a whole album planned." Wetton described the first song as 7.5 minutes long and as in 17/8. He also mentioned one song title was "Tattoo on Your Soul". Asked about that title by a fan in Jun 2019, Downes implied he called the piece "Indigo".

However, in a Jun 2017 interview, it was reported that Palmer "says it's too early to say if the new lineup, featuring Sherwood, will record together." In another Jun 2017 interview, Palmer talked about events and the future more broadly:
“We thought he’d make the March [2017] period for the tour, but he suddenly took a turn at the very end,” Palmer said. “Those last three weeks, he was very ill and he passed.”

Asia had already committed to opening for Journey, but Palmer wasn’t sure if they could continue or even if Journey [...] still wanted them [...]

But the band’s management said, “They still want you. Please find a bass player.”

As it happened, they had one in mind.

Before Wetton died, Palmer said the band had some difficult discussions about whether Asia would carry on.

The drummer said, “Before he did go, we asked Jo[h]n if we were to carry on, who would you want to take your place?”

Wetton chose Billy Sherwood [...]

Beyond this tour, Palmer doesn’t know what will happen next. He will keep playing music — that much is certain, but whether it’s with just his own band, with Asia or as part of another group, he’s not entirely sure.
Shortly before Wetton's death, in comments in Jan 2017, Palmer said, "I wasn't going to be making the next Asia album anyway because I was a bit concerned about the direction of the band. It was getting a little bit too middle of the road. I didn't realize that John was this ill when I made this announcement to him, so obviously I'll review that. If he can record at all I'll look at the situation again." In comments to a fan on tour in Jun 2019, Palmer implied that Wetton's vocals would not be used on a new album.

In an early Nov 2020 interview, Downes said, "At some point, I am hoping to complete some Asia material that I had begun with John before he sadly passed". In a Jun 2021 interview, Downes said:
I’m still working on those [final songs written with Wetton]. I’ve got some plans for them. It’s been difficult because there’s not a massive amount to deal with but at the same time, there’s enough for an album’s worth of material that will be significant. I’d like to get a lot of the people that worked with John and myself and all the people involved to offer some performances, which would be great. That’s really where I probably would see it going.
Palmer told one fan that Wetton's vocal recordingson these demos were not usable, implying the songs would have to be recorded with a new vocalist or vocalists. In a Sep 2021 interview with Prog Radar, he said, "I've still got unworked material from a session I had with John before he sadly died so there is potential there to craft something new. I feel that Asia has not run its course and that there is still some life left in the band. Again, we'll have to see what emerges from those sessions." The next month, the official John Wetton memorial twitter account announced that Downes "is leading a John Wetton tribute album with special guests, featuring unfinished Wetton/Downes songs." This appears to mean the 2015/6 material, although that has not been confirmed yet.
Other news
As a celebration of their 40th anniversary, Asia re-released Phoenix (2008), Omega (2010) and XXX (2012), their three reunion studio albums, plus the 2007 live album Fantasia: Live in Tokyo as a 5CD boxset entitled The Reunion Albums: 2007-2012 (BMG Records) on 11 June 2021. (Howe and Wetton started working together in 1981, a few months after Yes split up.) The release was organised with Howe, Downes and Palmer. The cover is a previously unseen artwork from Roger Dean, who has also updated the Fantasia art. In the latter Jul 2021 interview, Howe said BMG's interest came after he released his solo album Love Is through them.

BMG next released The Official Live Bootlegs Volume 1 on 26 Nov 2021, a 10CD box set of five live shows (2CD each), with new artwork by Roger Dean. The promo says, "This the first time these recordings have been made officially available by ASIA", which is slightly odd wording, but the contents have all been previously released. Shows:
  • 1982 Buffalo, NY, USA — released as Live in Buffalo in 2003
  • 1983 Worcester, MA, USA — released as part of Quadra in 2002 and as Live in Massachusetts '83 in 2004
  • 2007 São Paulo, Brazil — released as Live in São Paulo 23 March 2008 (the title was wrong: it was the 23 Mar 2007 show) in 2008
  • 2008 Tokyo, Japan — released as Live in Tokyo Japan 12 May 2008 in 2008
  • 2010 London, UK — released as At High Voltage 2010 in 2010
There was also a 24-track digital release under the same name with selections from across the shows. There appears to be a digital promo single of "Heat of the Moment" from the Buffalo show (e.g., on Spotify).


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Asia in Asia: Live at the Budokan Arena, 1983 is being re-released in an expanded form on 10 Jun 2022, with new cover art by Roger Dean. This was an MTV satellite telecast in Dec 1983 with the short-lived line-up of Geoff Downes, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer and Greg Lake. There is a deluxe box set (BMGCAT527DBOX); this contains: 2 coloured LPs with the full show remixed, plus 2 previously unreleased, post-broadcast encore tracks; 2CDs with the telecast remixed (including the post-broadcast encore tracks), plus the previous night's show (newly mastered); a Blu-ray with the original video (with remixed audio), plus a copy of the original laserdisc version with alternate camera angles. (Contrary to initial reports, the contemporary documentary "The Road to Budokan" is not included.) The box set also comes with a 40 page, 12" book with rare and unseen band photos and new sleeve notes with new quotes from the band members, as well as various art items and other knick-knacks. There is also a 1CD (BMGCAT527CD) or 2LP (BMGCAT527DLP) version; tracks:
  1. Introduction from Mark Goodman, listed on CD only
  2. "Time Again"
  3. "The Heat Goes On"
  4. "Here Comes the Feeling"
  5. "Eye to Eye"
  6. Steve Howe solo ("Sketches in the Sun")
  7. "Only Time will Tell"
  8. "Open Your Eyes"
  9. Geoffrey Downes solo ("Ihiri - The Setting Sun/Bolero")
  10. "The Smile has Left Your Eyes"
  11. "Wildest Dreams"
  12. Carl Palmer solo
  13. "Heat of the Moment
  14. "Sole Survivor"
There also appears to be a version of the box set without the vinyl, i.e. a 2CD/Blu-ray version, in Japan.

There was a vinyl picture disc release of XXX on 23 Apr for Record Store Day 2022 (celebrating its 10th anniversary), with art by Roger Dean. This was a limited edition of 1800 copies.

An Extraordinary Life is a forthcoming box set commemorating Wetton's life and based around a re-release of his studio solo albums: see details on main page.

Weezer sampled "Heat of the Moment" on "I Need Some of That", released 21 Apr 2021 as the fourth single from their album Van Weezer, released 7 May 2021. The album made #11 in the US (#1 Rock and #1 Alternative album), #11 in Hungary, #13 in Japan, #18 in Canada, #26 in Austria, #25 in Germany, #30 in the UK, #40 in Switzerland, #48 in Wallonia and #105 in Flanders (Belgium), and #83 in Australia.

Asia Featuring John Payne Website
In early 2006, Asia had consisted of Geoff Downes (keys), John Payne (bass, vocals, guitars), Guthrie Govan (guitars) and Jay Schellen (since worked with Yes; drums, backing vocals), when Downes left for the reunion of the original band. Payne/Govan/Schellen then formed GPS. The Asia Featuring John Payne name was contractually agreed with the reunion band on 9 May 2006, but Payne did not assemble a band until later, after GPS had failed to take off commercially. In May 2007, Payne/Govan/Schellen announced the formation of Asia Featuring John Payne, with Erik Norlander later announced on keys. Since then, AFJP have played scattered US dates with a set list covering both the Payne and Wetton eras of Asia. Their first show under this name was in Jun 2008, but Govan soon left the band. From the beginning, Asia Featuring John Payne were working on their debut studio album. The project was initially trailed under the name Architect of Time as a continuation or completion of the 2005/6 Asia sessions (though some of that material was used on the GPS album Window to the Soul). However, Payne was subsequently writing with Norlander and no material was carried over from Architect of Time (Payne also used the "Architect of Time" name for an unrelated solo release). The album name then changed to Americana. However, Payne's Vegas show, Raiding the Rock Vault, kept him busy and the album languished. Norlander left in 2014, and Schellen left in 2015.

By 2017/8, the a line-up was Payne, Johnny Fedevich (drums), Jamie Hosmer (keys), Moni Scaria (guitar) and Jeff Kollman (guitar). As an example set, they played Buffalo, NY on 20 Jul 2018, without Kollman: "Long Way from Home", "Only Time will Tell", "Who will Stop the Rain?", "Silent Nation", "Days Like These", "Desire", "Go", "Time Again", "Don't Cry", "Military Man", "Heat of the Moment", encore: "Sole Survivor". Payne also continued with his touring show, The Rock Pack, featuring various and changing classic rock singers backed by Scaria/Kollman/Hosmer/Fedevich. Payne played bass for the backing show and sang on Asia numbers. A Jul 2017 show, for example, had the following: "Only Time will Tell" (Payne lead vocals), "Time Again" (Payne), "Sole Survivor" (Payne), "Hold the Line" (Bobby Kimball (ex-Toto)), "Rosanna" (Kimball with Payne), "Separate Ways" (Steve Augeri (ex-Journey)), "Faithfully" (Augeri), "Anyway You Want It" (Augeri), "Double Vision" (Lou Gramm (ex-Foreigner)), "Cold as Ice" (Gramm), "Hot Blooded" (Gramm), "Heat of the Moment" (Payne), "Africa" (Kimball), "Don't Stop Believin'" (Augeri), "I Wanna Know What Love is" (Gramm with Augeri), "Jukebox Hero" (Gramm with Augeri). 2019 saw a joint tour by Lou Gramm and AFJP, with AFJP acting as Gramm's backing band for his set. The band had US live shows planned for 2020, but these were cancelled becaucse of the COVID-19 pandemic. The line-up was to be with Kollman and Scaria (guitars), Fedevich (drums) and Johnathon Gilcrest (keys). The tour with Gramm resumed Nov 2021 with 4 Californian dates. They have more US dates 21 May, 11 Jun, 2 Jul (also with John Elefante) and 21 Jul 2022.

Asia Featuring John Payne have now announced plans to tour in 2022 in celebration of both the 40th anniversary of Asia and the 30th anniversary of Aqua. The band have now announced 4 Californian dates 22-25 Jun 2022, followed by 9 US dates 6-16 Jul. The band are Payne (lead vocals, bass), Fedevich (drums), Hosmer (keys, backing vocals), Scaria (guitar, backing vocals) and possibly (reports vary) Alex Garcia (guitar, backing vocals). In a Feb 2022 interview, Payne said the set would be 1.5-2 hours long with material [SPOILERS—highlight to read] drawn from both albums, possibly up to playing both in their entirety if a longer set is possible, and with no material from albums like Aura or Silent Nation. Promo for the tour promises "Who will Stop the Rain?", "Someday", "Heat of the Moment", "Only Time will Tell", "Back in Town", "Lay Down Your Arms", "Sole Survivor", "Time Again", "Love Under Fire", "Heaven on Earth", "Wildest Dreams" and "Here Comes the Feeling". He also said that he had proposed a joint anniversary tour to the other Asia. He described the situation of there being two Asia line-ups as "not ideal", but that it was OK "as long as it's clear which version of the band" is playing. He said that, after this tour, future set lists may focus more on his era of the band, reducing the Wetton-era material to just "Heat of the Moment" and "Only Time will Tell".

In a Jul 2020 interview, Payne said he was working on a new AFJP album. He also spoke of plans to re-release his Asia back catalogue. In the Feb 2022 interview, he announced the album will be called Aviana and that Rodney Matthews (worked with Oliver Wakeman) has done a cover.

At the beginning of 2017, the Americana project re-emerged, but it was eventually released, in Feb 2018, as the eponymous debut by Dukes of the Orient rather than under the AFJP branding. The band are Payne (vocals, bass, additional lead and rhythm guitar) and Norlander (keys), with the album also involving Kollman, Govan, Schellen and others. Payne explained the re-branding in the promotional materials: "This started as an Asia FJP album initially but we, and the record company, felt releasing an Asia FJP album so close to the tragic passing of John Wetton lacking respect." In a promo video posted in Apr 2018, Norlander explained, "I felt strongly about re-naming the band because the Asia brand had changed so much". He continued, "It just became so muddy to me. And I thought, let's not throw another variation of Asia into this mix. It's already complicated enough for people to follow. This is an album of all original music. You [Payne] and I wrote all of this. None of this was left over from past projects. Y'know, people had asked about the Architects of Time thing that you started with Geoff in 2006, after Silent Nation. None of it comes from that. You and I wrote this as a new band. Let's re-name it as a new band." A second Dukes of the Orient album, Freakshow was released Aug 2020 on Frontiers. In the Feb 2022 interview, Payne said they are talking about a third album and would like to tour, but it has not proven financially viable to do so.


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YES and projects with several Yesmen
Jon
Anderson
Chris
Squire
Steve
Howe
Alan
White
Geoff
Downes
Trevor
Horn
Tony
Kaye
Peter
Banks
Patrick
Moraz
Bill
Bruford
Rick
Wakeman
Trevor
Rabin
Billy
Sherwood
Igor Khoroshev
Oliver Wakeman

Benoît David
Jon Davison
Asia
CIRCA:
Anderson Rabin Wakeman
Others associated with the band

Any news, additions or corrections, please e-mail Henry Potts. Thanks.