Where are they now? - Geoff Downes

This page last updated: 21 Jul 2020
 
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
Asia
CIRCA:
Anderson & Wakeman
Others associated with the band

On this page: Solo - DBA - iCon - Other projects

On other pages: Yes - Asia - With Trevor Horn

Geoff Downes' official sites: Official site; Official online store; MySpace page; Twitter; Official Facebook; Official Fan Page on Facebook

Asia & Yes
Downes is in Yes (see main page for their activity) and Asia (details are on the Asia page).

Downes Braide Association

The Downes Braide Association (DBA) is Downes and Chris Braide (ex-Producers, This Oceanic Feeling, written for Trevor Horn, Sia, Paloma Faith, Lana Del Rey, David Guetta, Cheryl Tweedy, Glenn Tilbrook, Clay Aiken, Will Young, Kylie Minogue, S Club 7). On 26 Jun 2020, they tweeted that they were working on their fourth studio album, with Dave Bainbridge (Iona; guitar), Andy Hodge (worked with Gary Husband; bass) and Barney Ashton-Bullock (worked with Andy Bell, Giorgio Moroder, Dusty Springfield; spoken word), these three adding their parts separately. Hodge tweeted the same day in response, "DBA 4th album is being recorded right now". Ashton-Bullock replied the next day, "Some of lockdown has been spent shaping poetic verse & dramatic speeches for our all new @TheRealDBAMusic album [...] A fusion of pop, prog & poetry." Roger Dean will be live-streaming his painting of the cover artwork.

Their third studio album was Skyscraper Souls (Cherry Red, X2XCD003). The album was performed, written and produced by Downes (piano, keys, programming, Vocoder) and Braide (lead vocals, piano, keys, programming). Also performing are Ash Soan (Trevor Horn Band/Producers, Rick Wakeman, worked with Adele, Will Young, Rick Wakeman's English Rock Ensemble, Seal; drums, percussion), Hodge (bass guitars), Dave Colquhoun (Rick Wakeman, ex-Francis Dunnery, ex-Paul Young, ex-T'Pau; guitars) and Matt Bourne Jones (trumpet). There is narration spoken and written by Ashton-Bullock. Andy Partridge (worked with Steven Wilson, ex-XTC) performs background vocals, lead & acoustic guitars, mandolin and sleigh bells. Tracks:
  1. "Prelude", with Andy Partridge (guitar)
  2. "Skyscraper Souls" (18:09 duration), with Kate Pierson (The B-52's, worked with Chris Braide, Sia; harmony & additional vocals); lyric video for the first part of the song here
  3. "Glacier Girl" (approx. 2:30 duration), with Partridge (mandolin, acoustic guitar, sleigh bells) and, in the outro, Braide's 2 sons supply vocals
  4. "Angel on Your Shoulder", with Matthew Koma (worked with Zedd, Tiesto, Carly Rae Jepsen, Hilary Duff; backing vocals), Patrick Howley (guitar solo) and Downes on Vocoder; Downes said, "The song was originally intended as a BUGGLES tune. I had the basis of this idea some years ago, and had been kicking it around ever since."
  5. "Tomorrow", with a vocal duet by Braide and David Longdon (Big Big Train, ex-The Tangent), who also contributes flute; spoken word poem by Thomas Campion (1567-1620)
  6. "Lighthouse", with background vocals from Tim Bowness (No-Man, Henry Fool, worked with Andrew Booker)
  7. "Skin Deep", with dual lead vocals from Braide and Marc Almond (ex-Soft Cell, worked with Chris Braide, Trevor Horn)
  8. "Darker Times", with Partridge (guitar, vocal arrangement)
  9. "Finale", with Partridge (guitar); reprise of "Prelude"

Braide's sons, Elijah and Sascha, provide vocals on tracks 2, 3, 5 & 6. Tracks 2-7 were from original ideas by Downes, with Braide seeming to have written most or all of the lyrics and to have led on arrangements.

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In a Nov 2019 interview, asked about a new studio album, Downes said, "Yes, although we mainly work remotely as Chris is in LA and I'm in sunny Wales, but we will be working on ideas and putting something new together before too long I hope." In another Nov 2019 interview, Downes said, "We're talking about it [...] It's really down to scheduling [...] I imagine [...] over the next year or two, there should be another collaboration in the works."

DBA played their debut live show at Trading Boundaries, East Sussex on 28 Sep 2018, which sold out. The duo performed with Hodge (bass), Colquhoun (guitar) and pre-recorded drums, plus guests Almond (vocals) and Longdon (vocals, flute; on "Tomorrow" and another song). Roger Dean was also at the evening showing artwork. In response to a fan who tweeted their should be more shows, Hodge replied, "We're all in agreement with you, it's just a matter of how and when really...Keep spreading the word and crossing your fingers and we'll get there sometime!" In response to someone saying they would love to see DBA play in the US, Downes replied, "So would I ! Let's hope we can make that happen sometime soon." Live in England (Cherry Red, X2XCD004) is a 2CD/DVD (NTSC Region 0) release of the show, released 29 Nov 2019, with a Dean cover. Tracks:

  1. "Skyscraper Souls", includes "Prelude"
  2. "Machinery of Fate"
  3. "Live Twice"
  4. "Vanity"
  5. "Suburban Ghosts"
  6. "Bolero/Video Killed the Radio Star", Downes solo
  7. "Glacier Girl"
  8. "Angel on Your Shoulder"
  9. "Tomorrow", CD2 begins here
  10. "Lighthouse", video
  11. "Skin Deep"
  12. "Darker Times"
  13. "Finale"
  14. "Heat of the Moment"
  15. "The Smile has Left Your Eyes"
  16. "Dreaming of England"


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A 2LP version follows 14 Feb 2020. The band played 2 more shows 14/15 Feb, again at Trading Boundaries. The set was expected to include some material by Asia. The 14 Feb show was reported to be nearly sold out by mid-Oct 2019. The line-up is Downes, Braide, Longdon, Hodge, Ashton-Bullock and Bainbridge.

Marc Almond has also been performing "Skin Deep" live, in at least one of his shows, with Braide, Hodge and Soan in his live band. (Braide, Hodge, Soan, Colquhon and Pietrini also worked on Almond's Chaos and a Dancing Star, released Jan 2020.)
 
In a Nov 2019 interview, on the topic of more live dates, Downes said they would like to do them, but it's "down to timing". He said, "it's not on the backburner" and that they would definitely try to do something if the opportunity arises. Asked Mar 2017 about the possibility of DBA touring, Downes had  replied, "Not yet, but certainly not out of the equation." On Nickey Radio in Nov 2017, asked about touring, Downes said, "I think at the moment it's very much an album album", but that "I'm looking forward to it [touring], if it's going to be possible". He noted that a tour is "not an easy concept", citing a poor appetite from promoters, but said that "if we were offered some nice dates somewhere", they would consider it. In one of the previously mentioned Nov 2017 interview, asked about touring, Downes replied, "We have discussed it, it's not something that has been discounted. Initially, when we only had one album, it would have been a struggle to have a tour but we decided it might be nice potentially now that we have more material. It would take some careful planning because we both have a lot of things going but certainly something we would consider." Braide also replied: "In [or]der to really make it work we would have to devote a lot of time to it and my schedule and Geoff's are pretty hectic at the moment. I haven't taken one week off this year [2017] which I'm certainly not complaining about. [...] Having said all that, no one would like to hear the DBA songs played live more than me. [...] It may happen." Braide also confirmed a desire to go on making albums together. In Downes' Dec 2017 interview, he said, "We've discussed [touring]. Chris is very-very busy with all of his projects [...] I'm also touring quite extensively [...] But when a little time comes up, I think we'd certainly be looking at maybe doing a few gigs, but not a full-blown tour." To the Feb 2018 issue of Prog, Downes demurred, pointing to a busy 2018 touring schedule with Yes and possible Asia and The Buggles, as well as Braide being busy, but he ended, saying, "But we've built up a nice catalogue of music and it would be great to take it out live." He made similar comments in a Mar 2018 interview: "We've talked about doing a couple of live shows. We wouldn't discount the idea. It's just getting a run of dates that you can do as just doing one or two dates would be impractical so it's just getting the time to be able to do it. If someone offered us a nice run of dates we'd look seriously at doing it."



A new version of their 2015 album, Suburban Ghosts, was released digitally only in Dec 2018. Suburban Ghosts 2018 (X2X Records) is described as a remix, but appears to involve new recordings with Patrick Howley (worked with Braide; electric guitar), Andy Hodge (bass) and Ash Soan (drums). The album was remixed by Braide and mastered by Mike Pietrini. However, as of early Jan 2019, the tracks were mixed up. The band's Twitter account said 4 Jan that they were working on fixing this. Tracks:
  1. "Machinery of Fate" (5:26, as opposed to 5:12 originally)
  2. "Suburban Ghosts - Parts 1 & 2" (6:39, vs. 6:46)
  3. "Suburban Ghosts - Part 3" (but this is actually "Vanity"; 4:13, vs. 4:14)
  4. "Vanity" (but this is actually "Suburban Ghosts - Part 3"; 5:59, vs. 6:00)
  5. "Number One" (4:12, vs. 4:20)
  6. "Interlude" (1:23, vs. 1:14)
  7. "North Sea" (but this is actually "Live Twice"; 4:54, vs. 3:52)
  8. "One of the Few" (but this is actually "North Sea"; 5:14, vs. 5:15)
  9. "Time Goes Fast" (but this is actually "One of the Few"; 4:02, vs. 4:03)
  10. "Live Twice" (but this is actually "Time Goes Fast"; 4:05, vs. 4:06)
  11. "Dreaming of England" (5:47, vs. 5:52)
  12. "Finale" (1:49, as before)

Icon
The full Wetton/Downes Icon back catalogue is being re-released through Cherry Red, to finish with a career-spanning box set due 2020. Asked about unreleased Icon material on Twitter in May 2018 (before the re-releases of iCon to iCon 3 were announced), Downes replied, "A few gems waiting in the vaults [...] Stay with us there!"

First came Urban Psalm in Jun 2017, a 2CD/1DVD live album recorded at a one-off show in St Mary-Le-Bow church, London, in Jan 2009. The band included Dave Kilminster (guitar), Hugh McDowell (ex-ELO; cello) and Anne-Marie Helder (Mostly Autumn, Panic Room; vocals, flute). After a previous limited release DVD, this was the first general release of the performance. Next came Zero in Nov 2017, a (as Downes described it) "Remastered and re-jigged" version of the 2002 Wetton/Downes release (which predated the Icon name). Downes tweeted 22 Sep 2017, "It was originally released as a WD album, but now seems appropriate to fit in as part of the Icon cycle of albums." Jun 2018 brought a remaster of iCon (ICON1CD), with bonus tracks of all of the band's "Heat of the Moment" EP (some of which were included on previous editions).

Icon II—Rubicon (ICON2CD) is remastered and comes with a bonus track of "The Harbour Wall", previously only released in Japan. Icon 3 (ICON3CD) is remastered and also includes a previously Japan-only bonus track, inserted as the 10th track. This is a live version of "Live Another Day".

With Trevor Horn
The Buggles news is under Horn and the pair have been working together on new material, and a possible tour and musical. Latest news here.



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Pulse, Jerusalem and Deckchair Poets
Downes has guested on several projects by Jersualem and their side projects, Deckchair Poets and Zorbonauts, produced/engineered by Rob Aubrey (worked with Wetton/Downes).

Zorbonauts' The Unobserved Beaver (Singsong Music, Singsong 110) is a digital-only release due 24 Jul 2020, with Downes, Lynden Williams, Ollie Hannifan, Nick D'Virgilio (Big Big Train, ex-Spock's Beard, worked with Genesis), Dave Meros (Spock's Beard), Rachael Hawnt, Bob Cooke, Rachel Hall (Big Big Train) and Aubrey. Tracks:
  1. "Don't Give a Monkeys" [Hannifan/Williams]
  2. "Over the Chasm" [Bob Cooke/Williams]
  3. "Mississippi Summer" [Kahn]
  4. "Shangri-La" [Cooke/Williams]
  5. "Badge" [Clapton/Harrison]
  6. "Spiders' Rendezvous" [Cooke/Williams]
  7. "My Death in Germany"
  8. "Stone Free" [Hannifan/Williams]
  9. "Sick!" [Jimi Hendrix]
  10. "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" [Hannifan/Williams]
Zebras Don't Smoke is a new spinoff project for covers-only projects. The first album under that name is Don't Mention the Swedes (Singsong Music), an Abba tribute album, forthcoming as a digital release only, featuring Downes, Williams, Hannifan, D'Virgilio, Meros, Hawnt and Aubrey. Tracks include "Summer Night City", "Under Attack" and "Elaine". There also appears to be another Zorbonauts album to follow, called Throw a Halo on It, with Downes, Williams, Cooke, D'Virgilio and Meros. Singsong Music are also doing a digital re-release of Jersualem's Escalator, which Downes also plays on, due 14 Aug 2020.

Released Oct 2019 was Tall Tails (Angel Air, SJPCD603), the first Zorbonauts album with Downes (keys), Williams (vocals), Hannifan (guitars), D'Virgilio (drums, percussion), Meros (bass), Hawnt (vocals), Bob Cooke (Jerusalem; additional guitar), Rachel Hall (violin) and Will Wilde (harmonica). Tracks: "Midnight Steamer", "She Came Like a Bat from Hell", "Beyond the Grave", "I See the Light", "Murderer's Lament", "Simple Man", "Frustration", "Kamikaze Moth", "Hooded Eagle", "When the Wolf Sits", "Primitive Man". The album re-interprets material performed and recorded by Williams in his early period in Jerusalem; all material was written by Cooke/Paul Dean/Bill Hinde/Ray Sparrow/Williams. Details in Yescography.


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Nov 2019 brought Deckchair Poets' Always Piste at Christmas (Angel Air, SJPCD604) with Downes, Williams, Hannifan, D'Virgilio, Meros, Hawnt, Cooke, Hall and Wilde again. Tracks: "It's Christmas", "The King", "Hot Water Bottles", "Reindeer in the Sky", "Ebenezer", "Go! Rudolph! Go!", "Shout", "Mistletoe", "The Man in Red", "Champers and Hay", "What a Waste", "Iced Buns", "Merry Christmas", "Where This River Flows". All songs were written by Hannifan/Williams, except "Where This River Flows" by Cooke/Williams. Details in Yescography.

On 11 Oct 2018, he tweeted, "At work today on the new 'Jerusalem' album with Rob Aubrey and [...] Lynden Williams." That has yet to appear, unless it became one of the other projects described. On 14 Nov 2017, Downes had tweeted about working with Aubrey, although it is not known whether this was for Jerusalem, Deckchair Poets or Pulse.

First described by Downes in a Feb 2007 blog, Pulse is a project put together by Aubrey (engineer) with Downes (keys), Tony Levin (King Crimson, worked with Yes; bass), Michael Holmes (IQ; guitar), D'Virgilio (drums, vocals) and Thomas Lang (Eddie Jobson, ex-John Wetton; drums, although it is unclear if he is still involved). Downes wrote:

[In Feb 2007] We [Downes, Holmes & Aubrey] were working on a few tracks that they have been putting together at their respective studios. At the moment it's what you might call a 'virtual' project, with people sending in their stuff/parts from all over the World. [...] It's a fairly interesting but low-key kind of project, and the material - quite different and unusual, but at the moment is still very much a kind of 'work-in-progress' type of thing. Any of you prog-heads out there will probably love it all and lap it up

In 2009, Aubrey described Pulse as being close to completion. In Jun 2011, one track, "Immortalized", was previewed on a radio show (available on podcast, see show 7B, around the 33 minute mark). Interviewed on the show, Holmes described how Aubrey put the album together and also working on one Pulse track that is over 7 minutes long. D'Virgilio said in a Nov 2011 website message that:

I will be going back to London at the beginning of 2012 with Cirque [Du Soleil] and during that time I will be able to get back down to Rob Aubrey’s studio to do some more sessions with [...] BIG BIG TRAIN and even try and finish a project that got started a number of years ago now called “PULSE” with Mike Holmes of IQ fame.

While on Facebook in Feb 2012, he said: "Hangin with Mike Holmes, Geoff Downes, and Rob making music! WHOO HOO!!!"



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Other news
Downes was the musical director and played piano for a performance of "Imagine" by Nathan James and Friends ft. Paul Rodgers, released on YouTube. The video was produced and directed by Nathan James (Inglorious), and mixed and produced by Josiah J Manning, with project management by Maria Lundy at QEDG Management (manage Yes, Asia and Downes). The video encourages donations to Samaritans UK, Women's Aid, Clic Sargent and Dots - Dogs on the Streets. The other performers are Calum Ingram, Toby Jepson, Danny Vaughan, Dan Byrne (Revival Black), Jasmine Rodgers, Michael Sweet (Stryper), Oliver Lewis, Deborah Bonham, Olivia Jageurs, Caleb Johnson, Phil Beaver, Danny Dela Cruz, Wyatt Wendels, Cormac Neeson, Dino Jelusic, Chloe Lowery, Vinnie Colla, Sophie Burrell, Dan Stevens, Dave Kilminster (works with Roger Waters, ex-Wetton/Downes, ex-John Wetton, ex-Qango), Jeff Scott Soto, Kris Barras, Heather Leoni, Andrew Freeman, Rob Baynes, Shaun Richards.

Downes plays "Lucky Man" on A Tribute to Keith Emerson & Greg Lake, produced by Billy Sherwood: see on the main page for details.

Downes guests on a track on Crossover by David Cross & Peter Banks: see on main page for details.

Downes appeared on John Wetton's solo album Rock of Faith, which is included in the forthcoming An Extraordinary Life box: see details on main page.

In the Nov 2017 radio interview, Downes said he had recently returned to doing film and library music as well.

He tweeted Jan 2014: "Soon to be released - GD App designed by Apple alumnus Ken Segall focusing on Asia, Yes, Buggles, Icon, DBA, NDO etc...Watch this space!!"





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
Asia
CIRCA:
Anderson & Wakeman
Others associated with the band

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