Where are they now? - Geoff Downes

This page last updated: 8 Jun 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 continues to lead Asia (details are on the Asia page).

In an Oct 2020 interview in Sean Tonar's SOAL series, asked how he had been spending his time during the COVID-19 pandemic, 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.
In a Jan 2021 interview with A Better Way of Life, Downes said he is using the time to write, but that he hopes to be back touring soon. In a Feb 2021 interview, asked about writing for DBA and Yes, he said:
I’ve been working on quite a lot of stuff over the last year, because obviously we haven’t been going out on the road at all. We’ve been exchanging ideas for the next Yes album as well. But as far as working with Chris [Braide], the ideas that I can perceive as being good for DBA, I kind of put them in a compartment and send those over to Chris and then the same with Yes. It’s a different vehicle that your creative process is drawn towards. The way that I write is bound to have some similarities here and there, but I try to keep it as separated as possible.
In a Mar 2021 podcast, asked what was next for him, Downes talked about a new Yes album and finishing off the last Asia tracks written with John Wetton, before saying, "I've still got my solo career that I, er, fish out from time to time". In a May 2021 interview (conducted Apr), he talked about currently working on a Yes album, but also how, "I have been quite occupied, doing other smaller projects here and there." As for the future, he talked about the 2021 Yes tour, then added, "And if there are any opportunities for the DBA, ASIA, or even The Buggles, I would be up for 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, Clay Aiken, Will Young, Kylie Minogue, S Club 7). On their fourth studio album, Halcyon Hymns (Cherry Red), they are joined by Dave Bainbridge (Iona; guitar, mandolin), 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) providing 4 spoken word pieces. Braide played some acoustic guitar and a bit of electric guitar, while Bainbridge played all the guitar solos and more. (Dave Colquhoun who played on the previous DBA album was busy working on Rick Wakeman's The Red Planet, thus Downes recruited Bainbridge. Lee Pomeroy, who played on prior DBA material, was also on that project.) 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) on 1 track each, 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. Braide was the main lyricist. The album came out 5 Feb 2021 as a CD/DVD (DBACDVD005) or digitally and later 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. The album is organised around its 4 LP sides; tracks:

  1. "Love Among the Ruins" (6:23), first single, with a video directed by Paolo Marchetti; Downes in one interview said this was the original planned title for the album; in another interview, Braide said this was his favourite on the album
  2. "King of the Sunset" (6:36)
  3. "Your Heart will Find the Way" (5:19), second single; began with a verse pattern and riff from Downes, Braide added the chords in the chorus; lyric video
  4. "Holding the Heavens" (7:53), Downes in another interview and another said this was the original planned title for the album, while in the former interview, he said this was another title considered; side 2 begins
  5. "Beachcombers" (3:30)
  6. "Warm Summer Sun" (4:33); Downes identified this as one of his favourites; began with some chords from Downes
  7. "Today" (6:58), third single, lyric video; side 3 begins
  8. "Hymn to Darkness" (2:58), which began with an idea by Downes he played on piano
  9. "She'll be Riding Horses" (4:34)
  10. "Late Summer" (2:23), side 4 begins
  11. "Remembrance" (11:43)
  12. "Epilogue" (0:35)
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." Downes had sent his initial ideas towards the end of 2019, he said in Better Way of Life Jan 2021 interview. In another Jan 2021 interview, Braide said, "with the virtual shutdown of the industry and tours being cancelled etc. it was very much a case of 'right what can I do now then?'. This album came out of that period, Geoff had sent me some ideas and I got to work on them. I chose to look at the world as it was when I was younger, the endless summer days, cycling around everywhere, pure rose tinted nostalgia for a world that had been but suddenly was not available to us now." Although Downes said in another Jan 2021 interview that the album would probably have been made and in a similar way without the pandemic. He also described how he talked to Braide about wanting to draw more on classical and English church music influences, and the album as "more acoustic". In the former Jan 2021 interview, Downes said of the album, "I think it's [...] got quite a lot of influences. It's got classical undertones [...] there's a lot of pathos in the album. There's optimism in a lot of the titles [...] even though there's an air of nostalgia [...] there's a lot of depth of influence from, say, English church music [...] and the classical music I was trained at music college for [...] It's progressive pop, for want of a better term". In a Feb 2021 interview, Braide talked about the album having specifically northern English roots, not just English roots. In another Feb 2021 interview, Downes talked of "Love Among the Ruins" beginning with a "classical part" from him; and of "Holding the Heavens" being the first song Braide worked on and sent back to him. In a joint Feb 2021 interview, Braide said "Your Heart will Find the Way" was the first song he finished writing on, followed by "Love Among the Ruins". More generally, Downes said in a May 2021 interview: "Chris is really the lyricist. I feed him the musical ideas and I even hint at the melodies. That's where he creatively puts the words to the music. But he also contributes a lot musically and production-wise as well. So this is only one side of him." He also discussed working with Barney Ashton-Bullock: "He has freedom. He is a poet. Sometimes when you work with people you are better off letting them be themselves rather than saying this is what you should be doing. I am not the one to tell him to make poetry. That is not my gig. So if you bring someone in, you have to let them roll with the ball. In the case of Barney, we said here are the songs titles, some of the mood and the music, see what it says to you."
 
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 #1 on the United DJ Radio's Heritage chart in the UK for 2 weeks running in Jan/Feb 2021. The album made #23 in the UK Indie album chart and #7 in the Indie album Breakers chart for artists who have not yet made the full top 40 (12 Feb). It was #83 on the physical sales chart and #84 on the sales chart, but did weaker on streaming, thus not making the overall top 100 in the UK, although it did make #96 in Scotland. It was as high as #10 on Amazon UK's Hot New Releases chart.

In Downes' Better Way of Life Jan 2021 interview, he explained how Braide has moved back to the UK and said, "I'm sure we'll have [...] discussions at some point about DBA 5."

DBA played their debut live show at Trading Boundaries in Sep 2018. The duo performed with Hodge (bass), Dave 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." In his Jan 2021 interview, Braide likewise expressed the hope that they could play live in the future, while in his, Downes said they would like to play live with Bainbridge, Hodge and Soan, and possibly additional players. 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 followed 14 Feb 2020. The band played 2 more shows 14/15 Feb 2020, 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 performed "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."

The band is with at QEDG Management.

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) was 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 album received a physical release on 19 Mar 2021 on Talking Elephant (TECD462).


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), video
  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 (Singsong Music) 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 (Singsong Music) 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]
Released digitally 26 Feb 2021 was Deckchair Poets' The Crop Circlers' Guide to Abstract Expressionism (Singsong Music, Singsong 129) 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], video
  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]


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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 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. 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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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.