Where are they now? - Geoff Downes

This page last updated: 15 Jan 2021
 
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 - Deckchair Poets etc. - 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 has been in Asia (details are on the Asia page).

In a 1 Oct 2020 interview in Sean Tonar's SOAL series, asked how he had been spending his time, Downes replied:

I've been working on a few bits and pieces, few projects. We've been exchanging a few files… um, on a new Yes album. So that's been pretty exciting. [...] I've done another album with Chris Braide as well. And that's pretty well finished now [...] Little projects here and there, really. People ask me to play on a couple of tunes, and send me the files and I get stuck in with it.

Downes Braide Association
The Downes Braide Association (DBA; Facebook, Twitter) 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 their fifth album (fourth studio album), Halcyon Hymns (Cherry Red), they are joined by Dave Bainbridge (Iona; guitar), Andy Hodge (worked with Gary Husband; bass) and Ash Soan (Trevor Horn Band/Producers, Rick Wakeman, worked with Dua Lipa, Adele, Will Young, Seal; drums), with Barney Ashton-Bullock (worked with Andy Bell, Giorgio Moroder, Dusty Springfield; narration). The musicians recorded their parts seperately during the pandemic. Backing vocals are by Joe Catcheside and Chris's children, Elijah and Sascha Braide, while guesting are Marc Almond (Soft Cell, worked with Chris Braide, Trevor Horn) and David Longdon (Big Big Train, Dyble/Longdon), both of whom were on DBA's previous studio album. Roger Dean live-streamed his painting of the cover artwork. The songs are intended to reflect a bucolic, halcyon summer. The album is due 5 Feb 2021 as a CD/DVD (DBACDVD005) or digitally and 26 Mar as a limited edition 2LP white vinyl (DBALP005). The DVD contains lyric videos for 3 songs ("Love Among the Ruins", "Your Heart will Find the Way", "Today") and Dean's live-streamed videos. Tracks:

  1. "Love Among the Ruins", first single, with a video directed by Paolo Marchetti
  2. "King of the Sunset"
  3. "Your Heart will Find the Way", second single, lyric video
  4. "Holding the Heavens", side 2 begins
  5. "Beachcombers"
  6. "Warm Summer Sun"
  7. "Today", side 3 begins
  8. "Hymn to Darkness"
  9. "She'll be Riding Horses"
  10. "Late Summer", side 4 begins
  11. "Remembrance"
  12. "Epilogue"
In Dec 2020 comments, Braide explained how, as the pandemic struck: "Marc Almond suggested I 'get stuck into another DBA record' to lift the malaise[.] Somehow [i]t was hard to muster any enthusiasm for it. We had all been so upbeat at the recent [live] shows and now here we were in a collective, creative void. [...] I opened up a folder of new DBA ideas Geoff had sent to me a while back and which I'd listened to briefly [...] I can't say why it happened but one day in the studio as I listened to the bits and pieces of ideas suddenly the songs started tumbling out as if by magic. I'm not exaggerating [...] These new songs sounded like personal reflections, they just wrote themselves." Downes commented, "It was so great to witness Chris's creativity making my fundamental ideas come alive. He took the bare bones of melodies, harmonies and textures I sent him, and somehow crafted these into something way beyond my expectations or imagination." On 26 Jun 2020, DBA tweeted that they were working on their fourth studio album, 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." In an Oct 2020 interview, Downes said the album is "pretty well finished now". In a Nov 2019 interview, asked about a new studio album, Downes had 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 had 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." Braide said of "Your Heart will Find the Way" that it "has an almost Yes like quality [...] It's also a great example of how Geoff and I will sometimes write. Geoff sent me the verse chord progression and the riff and then I added the chorus chord progression and the melody just fell out on top of those two elements. The brooding verse and majestic riff coupled with the uplift of the chorus dictated the lyric which is about listening to your inner voice and trusting your gut instinct to navigate you out of adversity…It's a positive self-affirmation of a song." Downes said of it, "It has become something of a feature of mine and Chris's songwriting where the verse (in the minor key) sets the mood of the piece only to climax into an upbeat chorus (in the major)."

"Love Among the Ruins" made #9 on the United DJ Radio's Heritage chart in the UK.

DBA played their debut live show at Trading Boundaries in Sep 2018. 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 there 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, which was due 2020, but has yet to appear. 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!" After re-releases of Urban Psalm, Zero (a new version of the 2002 Wetton/Downes release that predated the Icon name) and iCon, next came Icon II—Rubicon (ICON2CD; bonus track of "The Harbour Wall", previously only released in Japan) and Icon 3 (ICON3CD; also with a previously Japan-only bonus track, 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 many projects by Jersualem and their side projects, produced/engineered by Rob Aubrey (worked with Wetton/Downes). Jerusalem and Zorbonauts are more serious bands, while Deckchair Poets is a humorous project, and Zebras Don't Smoke is for covers albums. Zorbonauts' The Unobserved Beaver (Singsong Music, Singsong 110) is a digital-only release, out 16 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], cover
  4. "Shangri-La" [Cooke/Williams]
  5. "Badge" [Clapton/Harrison], cover
  6. "Spiders' Rendezvous" [Cooke/Williams]
  7. "My Death in Germany" [Hannifan/Williams]
  8. "Stone Free" [Hannifan/Williams]
  9. "Sick!" [Hannifan/Williams]
  10. "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" [Hannifan/Williams]


The first Zebras Don't Smoke album, Don't Mention the Swedes (Singsong Music), is an Abba tribute album, released digitally only on 20 Nov 2020, with Downes, Williams, Hannifan, D'Virgilio, Meros, Hawnt and Aubrey. Tracks:
  1. "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Gal After Midnight)" (4:49)
  2. "Under Attack" (3:51)
  3. "Elaine" (3:39)
  4. "Summer Night City" (3:41)
  5. "I'm a Marionette" (4:09)
  6. "The Name of the Game" (5:20)
  7. "Lay All Your Love on Me" (4:14)
  8. "Two for the Price of One" (3:51)
  9. "Hole in Your Soul" (3:43)
  10. "Tiger" (2:56)
  11. "When All is Said and Done" (3:48)
  12. "Get on the Carousel" (4:57)


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There are two more Zorbonauts albums coming: Armed Slobbery is with Downes, Williams, Hannifan, Meros, D'Virgilio, Hawnt, Ray Drury, Will Wilde, Cooke, Hall, Gina Briant and Aubrey. Tracks:
  1. "Driving Down Alvarado" [Anne McCue/Janet Robin], cover
  2. "The Void" [Cooke/Williams]
  3. "Your Oilfield's on Fire" [Cooke/Williams]
  4. "Echoes of the Charcoal Cenotaph" [Hannifan/Williams]
  5. "Yardbird" [Hannifan/Williams]
  6. "Beautifully Kinky" [Hannifan/Williams]
  7. "Not Fade Away" [Buddy Holly/Norman Petty], cover
  8. "Banging All Night Long" [Cooke/Williams]
  9. "Bloodhound" [Larry Bright], cover
  10. "Faith Healer" [Alex Harvey/Hugh McKenna], cover
  11. "Merry-Go-Round" [Cooke/Williams]
Next expected is The Smartypants Variations with with Downes, Williams, Hannifan, Meros, D'Virgilio, Hawnt, Cooke and Aubrey. This appears to have alternate versions of earlier Zorbonauts songs, or is it just a compilation? Tracks:
  1. "A Passage to Avalon" [Cooke/Paul Dean/Bill Hinde/Ray Sparrow/Williams]
  2. "Midnight Riders" [Cooke/Dean/Hinde/Sparrow/Williams]
  3. "Stone Free" [Jimi Hendrix], cover
  4. "Over the Chasm" [Cooke/Williams]
  5. "Mothballs" [Cooke/Dean/Hinde/Sparrow/Williams]
  6. "The Void" [Cooke/Williams]
  7. "Banging All Night Long" [Cooke/Williams]
  8. "Spiders' Rendezvous" [Cooke/Williams]
  9. "Faith Healer" [Alex Harvey/Hugh McKenna], cover
  10. "Into Another Dawn" [Cooke/Dean/Hinde/Sparrow/Williams]
Also forthcoming is Deckchair Poets' The Crop Circlers' Guide to Abstract Expressionism with Downes, Williams, Hannifan, Meros, D'Virgilio, Hawnt, Drury, Wilde, Cooke, Hall and Aubrey. Tracks:
  1. "Deckchair Poem 2" [Williams]
  2. "Beam Me Up Again" [Cooke/Williams]
  3. "Unfinished Words" [Neil Innes], cover
  4. "Dictators' Poor Image Projection" [Hannifan/Williams]
  5. "Roobaron" [Hannifan/Williams]
  6. "Mr Future" [Hannifan/Williams]
  7. "Joe Dempsey" [Billy Connolly], cover
  8. "Shadows" [Hannifan/Williams]
  9. "Bye-Bye Fly" [Hannifan/Williams]
  10. "Fool Too Long" [N Lowe/D Edmunds/B Bremner/T Williams], cover
  11. "Bleat" [Hannifan/Williams]
  12. "Even the Queen" [Hannifan/Williams]
  13. "Hey Napoleon" [Hannifan/Williams]
  14. "Pointing Percy" [Hannifan/Williams]
  15. "Fish on Your Car" [Hannifan/Williams]
  16. "Willy's Caught" [Hannifan/Williams]
  17. "Twang" [Hannifan/Williams]
  18. "Sheepless in Seattle" [Hannifan/Williams], instrumental
  19. "Sgt Friday" [Cooke/Williams]

First described by Downes in a Feb 2007 blog, Pulse was a project put together by Aubrey (engineer) with Downes (keys), Michael Holmes (IQ; guitar) and D'Virgilio (drums, vocals). Tony Levin (King Crimson, worked with Yes; bass) and Thomas Lang (Eddie Jobson, ex-John Wetton; drums) were also involved at some point. 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!!!"

However, asked in the Oct 2020 interview about the project, Downes said, "It was just a [...] off the shelf kind of thing we were doing. Never really did that much, I think we had a couple of tracks. But it never really, sort of, got the legs for whatever reason. So, I mean, maybe one day, y'know, a couple of the ideas will come out. But [...] it never really got developed."



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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.

Greg Lake and Downes' "Affairs of the Heart", a 1989/90 recording first released on 2015's Ride the Tiger, is included on the 2CD Greg Lake retrospective The Anthology - A Musical Journey, out 23 Oct on BMG. The album made #12 in the Oct 2020 UK Progressive albums chart.

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.

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

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

In the Nov 2017 radio interview, Downes said he had recently returned to doing film and library music as well. Asked in the Oct 2020 interview about the possibility of doing another New Dance Orchestra album, Downes replied, "I'm always open to doing another one".


vinyl

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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
Asia
CIRCA:
Anderson & Wakeman
Others associated with the band

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