Where are they now? - Yes
and projects with multiple Yesmen
This page last updated: 18 Oct 2020
On this page—Yes: 50 Live - Early years archival box - Next album - Cruise to the Edge - On tour - Other live releases - Steven Wilson remixes - Covers of Yes songs - Documentaries & books
Projects involving multiple Yes men: Yes featuring Anderson Rabin Wakeman -
CIRCA: (Sherwood, Kaye) - Crossover by David Cross & Peter Banks (w/ Downes,
Kaye, Sherwood, O Wakeman) - John Holden albums
(w/ Sherwood, O Wakeman)
|Yes news YesWorld; official
SoundCloud; official MySpace;
Yes are Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood, with Jay Schellen (ex-CIRCA:, ex-Asia, ex-World Trade, Unruly Child, Dukes of the Orient) supporting on tour. Meanwhile, Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman were working together as Yes featuring Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman, but that band has now finished: they are covered here.
Schellen filled in for White on the band's 2016 US summer tour while White was recovering from back problems and an operation for a herniated disc. White then returned to the band for Nov 2016 Japanese dates, but Schellen played the bulk of the shows on his own. Schellen remained with the band through their Feb 2017 touring, with White playing more of the set. The band then announced a dual drummer format for summer touring, with Dylan Howe (Steve's son; Steve Howe Trio, Wilko Johnson Band, ex-The Blockheads) as the second drummer instead: White and D Howe each played part of the set alone, and part was together. Around Nov 2017, Sherwood and Downes separately suggested the next touring would just be with White, but White had further health problems and said on 2 Feb 2018 that, "The wonderful doctors at Virginia Mason Hospital, Seattle, had in November detected a bacterial infection in my joints that severely limited my mobility [...] I'm making good progress in recovery and looking forward to performing in a limited capacity on the Cruise. Playing drums has been rewarding physical therapy but it will take a little time to build my strength to full capacity. My friend and comrade Jay Schellen will be helping me". See details on White's page. Schellen continued to play the bulk of live shows. Schellen was to remain for 2020 touring before it was cancelled and is expected to play in 2021.
Howe, White and Downes took part in Rock 'n' Roll
Fantasy Camp online masterclasses on 13 Sep 2020.
(In issue #111 of Prog
(Jul 2020), Howe mooted the possibility of the band doing live
online performances at the end of 2020: "We might look at doing
something across the internet. That's not on the cards right now,
but it really ought to be. It ought to be something that we're
working towards and we are, albeit very indirectly." However, he
walked back on those comments in his Jul
2020 interview with Yes Music Podcast: "I may've,
inadvertently, said that Yes might do something on the Internet. I
don't think that's accountable. [...] I don't know that it's going
to be possible. Sure, I'd be delighted if we can have something,
y'know, but that's not on the agenda.")
The band are working on material for a new studio album: in Jul, Davison described how the band were writing together (albeit working remotely), although a timeline for recording is unknown. Meanwhile, From a Page is an EP of previously unreleased 2010 sessions with Oliver Wakeman and Benoît David.
In his 25
May 2020 live painting session, Roger Dean
said, "There [are] [...] two important Yes projects going on at
the moment. I can't tell you what one of them is, that's a big
mystery, to me to to a degree, but I will be doing preliminary
paintings for that. And the other project is we're looking to do
something with Close to the Edge, which will have as many
as 6 to 8 paintings in it, not just the original but a lot more,
plus some of the narrative that the original was based on. So,
that is probably going to come out some time around the 50th
anniversary of Close to the Edge" (which would be Sep
2022). These two projects are in addition to The Royal
Affair Tour. Dean was asked about these in a later May
2020 webcast: he described the former as "very secret: I
don't know much about it myself". In Aug
2020, Dean said he would be painting the cover for a new Yes
studio album, due 2021, so I would guess that is the secret
Music writer Jon Kirkman reports Yes have now signed to BMG, with The Royal Affair Tour (see below) being released by them. A rumour has that there is a deal for 3 albums.
In a Jul
2020 interview, Davison was asked if there was any talk of
retirement by Yes members. He replied, "No, there really isn't
[...] Everyone's having a ball [...] Each year, [...] [Howe] is
getting happier with the sounds and what we stand for. And
apparently, he's much happier than he was in years past, before I
even joined, so he never talks of it [retirement]". In a Mar
2018 interview, White also said the band have no plans to
retire, adding, "It's just what I do. I've been doing it all my
life. We do work in bundles, we do a lot then rest for a while."
LP1, side A:
1. "Close to the Edge"CD2:
from Here - Return Trip and more work with Trevor
Fly from Here - Return Trip re-visited Fly from Here with a new mix and lead vocals by Trevor Horn, and additional instrumental recordings by Howe and Downes, plus a previously unreleased song. Tracks included "Don't Take No for an Answer" [Howe] (4:22), a previously unreleased song from the 2010/1 sessions for Fly from Here with Howe on lead vocals and Horn on backing vocals. Oliver Wakeman described on Twitter how "Don't Take No for an Answer" was a piece "that Steve wrote & demo'ed with myself and Benoit before Trevor came on board". It seems it was further worked on in the early 2011 album sessions, after Downes replaced Wakeman. There was further work on it for this release, by at least Downes and Horn.
There was inititally a CD, download and vinyl versions, 180g gatefold LP or a 12" picture disc, through a dedicated website only. It was then made available through Burning Shed (as FFHRTCD on CD and YES001LP as gatefold LP, the latter having since sold out) and was the 12th best selling album at Burning Shed of 2019. The album received a general UK release on 6 Dec through Yes Records (distributed by Cherry Red) on CD and LP. There is a limited edition release of the picture disc (YES001PD) through Burning Shed, out 7 Aug 2020, including a postcard.
It was back in Dec 2016 when journalist Jon Kirkman, appearing on an edition of the Yes Music Podcast, described a May 2016 interview with Horn (published in his book): "the last recording that he [Horn] worked on with them was Fly from Here [...] Trevor has re-recorded all the lead vocals for that album". He described how Horn played him the album and the interview continued:
Kevin Mulryne: Was that [re-recording the vocals] his idea?
I think something will be coming out on Warners this year  that will be a historical view of Yes. That`ll be a nice release for Yes fans. They generally try to get everything that comes out so we`ll make sure it`s something really special.Trevor Horn also mentioned a Warner release. One report from the London Fan Convention (24/5 Mar 2018) had that the Warner retrospective will not include anything new (i.e., not previously released).
I did a compilation for them featuring songs recorded all over the world and picked out all of the best versions of all of the great songs and they turned around and said it was going to cost so much money to get licensing that they wouldn`t be doing it. I wish they`d told me that a few months ago before I`d done all of the work pulling it all together. They said they were just going to put another best of album but we already have several of those. I wanted to do something a bit different but the label just didn`t want to do it which was a shame.So, I think that was implying a release was coming out, but which was not curated by Anderson...?
I'm quite involved. I sort of feel like the pivotal man at this point. We're early on. We're just constructing and compiling demos. [...] what generally happens is another member will send me an instrumental sort of snapshot of an idea with which I'm able to build on, lyrically and create my vocal melodies. [...] I would say we have about half an album's worth of strong material. But, again, it's all in the early demo stages still.Davison also described the differences in writing this way, saying he preferred going "at my own pace" rather than being in a studio and being "on the clock". He continued: "Normally, we would already be in the studio or, at least, y'know, one-on-one or in subgroups". Asked about the writing process, he replied, "Generally, one person starts something [...] they [...] bring forth the idea and then we all can contribute. And every member in Yes is a composer [...] there seems to be a place within the tapestry of each song for every member to have a voice."
Babb: We were going to have him on this, this new '90s project that we're doing, but we talked yesterday: he's tied up. They're in the studio right now, so, with Yes.Howe has been more guarded in comments, but has talked of an announcement being made around the autumn. In a 17 Jul 2020 interview, asked about the impact of the pandemic, Howe said:
Tonar: […] I heard they'd been kicking some ideas around, so...
Babb: They're still kicking. Let's put it that way. I think they're back to the drawing board
the opportunity to go into the studio – Yes will make an announcement in a few weeks about what we’re tentatively, well not so tentatively: tentative at the moment – but yeah, sharing some songs, looking at material...because, for a good album, there’s no way you can do that quick. Unless you’re on a magic hiatus, like Yes were when we made The Yes Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge and Topographic Oceans! [...]In an Aug 2020 interview with Prog-Watch on Progzilla, Howe said, "We're working on things" and again talked about an announcement in a few weeks. He said they are "sharing some songs" and building up a body of material, but talked of wanting to "tak[e] some time". The Jul 2020 issue (#222) of Eclipsed magazine also had an interview with Howe. Asked whether the pandemic lockdown could lead to a new Yes album being completed, Howe answered that yes, this could be a lucky consequence of what has happened, and there will be an announcement soon. In his Jul 2020 interview with Yes Music Podcast, Howe was more cautious and tight-lipped, saying, "Any talk about new record, I've got to say less about it, and all I can say is that, y'know, in a few months, we might see an announcement coming up of us, y'know, mentioning what might be going on in that period. But, at the moment, I'm not saying anything at all." Issue #111 of Prog (Jul 2020) had an interview with Howe, which described him as "coy and noncommittal" on the possibility of a new album.
But things are much different now, people live in different countries, and there are not so many opportunities, so one has to sort of plan. But certainly, even in my own writing and recording work, this is gonna be a golden opportunity for that, and I daresay a lot of musicians will turn to their recording system and think, ‘well: I could do some more!’
Estamos empezando con ello, hay alguna música ya escrita, poca cosa… Es posible que empecemos a grabar después de Verano, pero hasta 2021 no habrá nuevo disco. No puedo concreter nada más, lo siento.A rough translation would be: "We are starting with it, there is some music already written, a little... It is possible that we will start recording after the summer, but there will be no new album until 2021. I cannot be more specific, sorry."
Howe: I'm not in a position to say yes, certainly in any way at all. I guess what we've been doing is [...] making a concerted effort to arouse material and do a little bit of collaboration. But basically we're still building a sort of pot, I suppose, of things. And until that's kind of there and we've got that sort of worked out, then we'll start talking about that we're actually doing it.In May 2020, Kirkman said on Facebook that a new album is "In the works" and that work has progressed since Aug 2019.
Howe: But until that point, we're not doing it. But as I say, we're making concerted efforts to see what it would be and how it could be. So, it's mildly being processed.
Kirkman: Watch this space! (Laughs)
Howe: Watch this space! (Laughs)
as we did before Fly from Here, and not so much before Heaven & Earth [...] I have a habit of holding Yes back and saying, 'Let's just get this right.' [...] we need a bit more of this kind of thing. So... There's a process going on that, that could, could result in what you said [new material], but [...] I rarely or don't talk about it much until, y'know, it's sort of on the table and the process is coming to a head [...] if things go well, there well could be [a new album], but I think it will have to go through a few more testing times.The Nov 2019 issue of Prog magazine reported that the band have "started working on new material", and quoted Howe as saying, "We're keeping our mouths shut at the moment, but there's a lot of creativity and it's all lining up." In a Nov 2019 interview, Downes said, "when we get going in the New Year , once we've completed the early European dates, then I think we'll start on something, we've been swapping ideas already." (It's not quite clear what Downes means here: the band had announced Cruise to the Edge 27 Mar-1 Apr 2020 and a European leg 24 Apr-7 Jun. So did that imply recording after 7 Jun?) In a later Nov 2019 interview, Downes said, "Certainly [...] there will be a Yes album at some point over the next year or so."
There’s a good chance there will be. We haven’t got all the pieces quite together yet but we’re working towards a direction where we could start to think that we’ve got it. And I think it’s about how much you believe in your own music and how much we believe in the collaboration we have. So, if we’ve got the right vehicles – which we’ve got a wealth of – I think we’ve got to whittle it to the point where we start to think we’ve got it. So, we’re not thinking that we’ve got it but it’s an option!At the end of the band's summer tour, in a Jul 2019 Billboard article, asked about doing a new album, Howe said: "we'll see -- that is the most honest and best answer I can give[.] We certainly still write music. I have a new solo album [...] so I'm obviously writing. But to get the right team writing together [for Yes] is something we hope for. So let's put it this way -- I hope so." In a Jul 2019 interview, Downes said, "There's a fairly large window [between touring] this time[.] That's when we'll start talking about going into the studio and doing some new stuff." Indication that activity may be gathering pace came late Aug 2019: Downes tweeted a picture on 30 Aug of himself and White, saying, "Hard at work in the studio yesterday with my good friend, king drummer and Yes bandmate, Alan White." Downes' wife, Martine, posted the same picture of them to Facebook (since deleted), saying:
Wonder what these boys are up toIn a Jul 2019 interview, Sherwood said, "I think there might be the possibility of a new album". In an Apr 2019 review of a John Lodge show in the UK, the reviewer mentioned meeting Davison, "who revealed that Yes are currently writing new songs for a forthcoming album". In response to this report, journalist Jon Kirkman said the band had "been doing that since the end of last year ". In a Jun 2019 interview, done just as the summer Yes tour was starting, White was asked, "Are you guys in the studio right now for a new album?" To which he replied, "No, that's going to be coming down the line."
I’m very good at not making promises that are premature. Basically, in a low-key way, we’ve been getting ready to investigate each other’s music. And if that is very productive, then we could have something pretty good. But we have to feel that way about it. We’ve got interest from labels and things like that, but we’re not taking anything on[ ]board until we’ve got the kind of thing we like. [...] there is sort of hope that we will find good ways of developing new songs, it’s [a] fairly early process. It wouldn’t take much time once we got the space.In another Jun 2018 interview, asked about the possibility of a new album, Howe replied:
We are starting to share things and have some plans, but nothing official. There is a lot of interest, but nothing until we internally have that feeling that we are growing the music together. We may put some time aside over the next 6 months to do a little more of that [...] It has to be right, it has to feel right. We have to assemble an outer shell that helps us make the record. It could be exciting, but there are no actual plans or a date or anything like that.And in a third:
The trouble is, when you’ve got so many albums out that people love, it’s hard making more that they’re gonna love as much. [...] That’s a pretty hard act to follow. Sometimes I felt we shouldn't bother. If we can’t make an album as good as those [it's ambiguous here whether "those" refers to The Yes Album-Tales from Topographic Oceans, or through to Drama], don’t bother. But the other part of me says I make solo albums. I do collaborations. And basically Yes can still make records. We’re not making any promises, but we’re going to look at some stuff after this tour and see how we feel about the music. But you’ve got to be realistic about expectations. [...] The world doesn't move around what Yes’s next album is. It might move around what Coldplay’s next album is or some other band. So I understand that and I think we make albums for our fans. And that’s a pretty good thing.And a fourth had this:
Howe predicts [...] some new Yes music [...] “Later in the year  there may be an opportunity [...] where we can be creative. But we haven’t rushed out and accepted a huge advance from a record label because we don’t want to do it like that. We want to have our music lined up a little bit[,] then we’ll look to how we’ll release it and how we’ll do it if we get that far. But there’s no promises, and we haven’t made a commitment to our public or any business concerns that we need to make a record. We love the support we may get, but basically until there’s music to play there’s nothing more to talk about. Individually we’re gathering momentum but that’s about as much as I can say.”In an early Jun 2018 interview, White was asked the same, leading to this exchange:
White: Everybody's got material. We are trying to figure out a plan – probably won't be until possibly next year .Later in Jun 2018, White said, "I think next year  [...] everybody's got a lot of music ready to record, so next year , we'll put our heads together, come up with something, something new." In a Jul 2018 interview, he again talked of 2019 at the earliest. In a May 2018 interview, asked about new music, Downes said, "Yes, I think it's very important for a band to continue to have a creative output of new material. [...] We're talking about going in the studio in the fall . There are a lot of ideas floating about and hopefully we'll be able to put those to good use and come up with a new album for next year ."
Interviewer: How do you approach composing?
White: I create on the piano. I have a little stockpile of ideas. I come up with ideas and beats and chord sequences. I'm not much for writing lyrics and melodies. I like writing chords and structure.
We hope to start working on new songs later in . I think that we`ll approach it in a slightly different way this time as I think we didn`t really have the strength of material for an album at that point [Heaven & Earth] and I`m not blaming anyone for that. If we do another album we`ll be conscious that we have great material that`ll be another point in the history of Yes.In another interview from the same period, he said, "We're hoping to do some new YES material. We've been a bit preoccupied with the 50th anniversary, but there's time for a new YES album pretty soon. It's important that we present new music." While in a Feb 2018 interview, he said, "We're hoping to do some new Yes material[.] We've been a bit preoccupied with the 50th anniversary, but there's time for a new Yes album pretty soon. It's important we present new music." In an Oct 2017 interview, Howe also hinted at a new album: "As to new music coming from the band? well, you never can tell..." And in a Dec 2017 interview, Howe said, "We've got an interim period where we're going to be fairly secretive about what we're up to[.] Maybe we're building up repertoire for a future project, but we can't say. We've got ideas, but I can't say more than this right now." In a late Dec 2017 interview of his own, Sherwood said of the band's 2018 touring, "hopefully along the way, there will be a spark and we'll start looking at making a new album, which I would never be opposed to." Asked about new material in a mid-Mar 2018 interview, Sherwood said, "I would be happy to do a new album. I think enough time has passed now that it's not disrespectful to Chris [Squire] and I know that Chris would have wished us to continue. We could make a new album now, and it would be a positive thing."
We`ll be spending a lot of time out on the road but we will be fitting in some writing at some point too. We`ll be in The States in June and July so after that we`ll work on some new Yes material
when we came together [...] we would sort of try to, er, combine the ideas, expand the ideas [...] especially Geoff and I, we had a big prog piece, but unfortunately we didn't have time to finish it, so that'll probably be on the next album, and we've got a bunch of extra material too that just didn't make it because of, we had sufficient time for this album and things were just left undone [...] due to lack of time.In the Jul 2014 issue of Prog, Howe, Squire and White all confessed to no knowledge of the piece, but Downes said: "We started it initially in a studio in Phoenix with Chris and Alan — we spent time jamming it and I compiled various section. [...] when Jon came to Wales [...] we worked on it some more [and on "Subway Walls"] [...] we just didn't have time to put it together for the record. It doesn't have a title [...] It comprises about seven or eight different styles of music and is extremely progressive. It has the potential to be a Close to the Edge-style track in terms of landscape and duration, or a Fly from Here. I've got the original demo and I hope to develop it at some point." In a Jun 2018 interview, without mentioning whether it would be on a new album, Downes described the track:
Jon [Davison] came over to my studio in Wales before we started going in the recording [of Heaven & Earth]. And we actually wrote two lengthy tracks, one of which was “Subway Walls” and the other one is still, as it stands unrecorded, but we did a substantial demo of it. And they are both, you know, 10 minute kind of tracks. And I think it was a great way that we worked together on that, because we literally had some different ideas and they just came together, and we put the whole thing together like that.In a Jun 2014 interview with Jon Kirkman, Squire said, "I think some of that [...] longer track [...] is actually used in "Subway Walls" [...] On the other hand, [...] Geoff and Alan both came to Phoenix [...] in November [...] and we went in the studio there and did some instrumental stuff [...] that we thought would be part of a bigger piece, but that didn't actually get used on the album just because we drew a line [...] I'm sure they'll re-surface in the future." In a May 2014 interview with Aymeric Leroy, Downes also described the piece and speculated it could be on the next album. Davison said to a fan after the band's 9 Jul 2014 show that the band "are working" on the piece and that they hope to make it the "centrepiece" of a follow-up album. While most consistently referred to as "Horizons", a rumour early in 2015 had it with a working title of "Pyramids" (with the album to be named the same) and to be ~18 minutes long. (Prior rumour had suggested that further material left off Heaven & Earth was receiving some attention from the band for a next album, with several pieces indicated. As well as "Horizons" and "Breaking Down on Easy Street", also mentioned had been: "To the Moment" (by O Wakeman, left over from Fly from Here, but now released on From a Page); "Midnight" (possibly originally from Squire/White); and "Don't Take No for an Answer" (which ended up on Return Trip). There was also reported to be a Howe/Davison piece and a Squire/Downes/Davison piece. Downes described one piece as having a "Tempus Fugit" feel, although which he meant is unclear. They had already begun work towards a next album before Squire died. Squire, Davison and possibly White met in Squire's studio in Mar 2015 to go through ideas.)
Everybody has ideas and develops songs. Once you get the basic idea for a song, it tends to take hold and then everybody contributes different pieces of music and certain lyrics and things like that. Things are tossed around quite a bit while we’re creating it. It’s something that just sort of falls together because of the people in the band.But Howe in comments on the Cruise to the Edge 2017 was more reticent and seemed to suggest there were no immediate plans. Asked about the possibility of a new album on Twitter, Downes said 3 Mar, "Next year  would be good, 50th Anniversary and all that. Let's see..." It appears White's back problems may have introduced some delay. In a late Mar 2017 Q&A, White said:
Usually the demos are a one person kind of thing. But when you throw it out there, everybody’s creative juices get involved.
I have many ideas for music. A lot of the stuff I write is in collaboration with other artists including the members of YES. [...] I have things in my mind and demos I’ve recorded. I have a couple of songs that I did with Chris that we’re never released that I was thinking about reviving. It’s an excellent piece of music. Chris came up with certain chords and I wrote the melody. So, I’ve got some interesting stuff like that around. [...] in the back of my mind I have some music hanging around that I want to eventually record. I’m also getting new musical ideas all the time.Asked specifically about when Yes will do another album, he answered:
We all have it in our minds to record another album but it’s a question of trying to find time to get back into studio together. Geoff Downes is on tour with Asia for a few weeks this summer and YES will also be on the road in August & September playing about 30 shows. It’s quite possible we’ll be touring later in the year  as well, so trying to please everyone, it will realistically be 2018 before we can block out enough time to do this. We all continue to write even when we’re doing other things like touring.In his late Mar 2017 Q&A, Howe was also asked about doing a new album:
This is asked quite often. We like the fact that people anticipate and enjoy new music. Much of our focus admittedly is on the great pieces from the 70s and around that era. So we take it slow.An Aug 2016 report had that Howe, Sherwood and Davison have been writing together, with Feb 2017 as a possible time for joint writing sessions. A Sep 2016 report from a different source also had principally Howe, Sherwood and Davison writing together, with Downes also contributing, and said that material was coming together. Asked in a Nov 2016 interview about whether there will be a new album, White said: "Everybody's got music in their minds. [...] we do stuff at home [...] you've got to get that stuff out of your brain and get it recorded. [...] Everybody's very enterprising in that area." He went on to say that it is important for the band to keep doing new material. Asked whether he and Sherwood had "gotten in a room and tried to create new music" in a Jul 2016 interview, Howe replied:
I tried to slow down ‘Heaven & Earth’, because I thought maybe we could refine it. But we’ve gotta get some material that we think is really worthy of doing this, first of all, and that’s gonna take a bit more writing and a bit more collaboration.
And there’s every chance that Jon Davison and I will do some more writing like we did on ‘Heaven & Earth’. YES albums are all about collaboration. Not only in the writing, but also in the arrangements because the skill of the great records in the 70s was definitely that we arranged the hell out of something that was really quite innocent. We’d drum it up to be something. And I think that allowed the musicianship and the ideas to flow.
Well, kind of. Officially, we’re kind of moving slowly looking at new material. I’m one of the guys who’s most reluctant to start any kind of rush forward because I’ve been writing and Jon [Davison] has been writing. I’d be very surprised if Billy hasn’t been writing. There’s obviously going to be a pause to look at, at some point, but I think we’ve got our work cut out for ourselves pretty much all year. Maybe it’s a thing we’ll do after our cruise next year in February . We may, but that’s only just a “may” because we still need to be sure about what we’re doing now.In an Aug 2016 interview, Davison talked of writing new material while touring: "I identify and get inspired by being a musician on the road. [...] I find that I get a newfound zeal when we're on tour [...] I'm always jotting down lyrics on tour." He then continued:
[...] You don’t book a record until you know what you’re going to play. With everybody’s demoing the possibilities are endless, but that’s actually part of the problem too, because we’re all very smart-assed people, you know. It is like, “Here’s a track, it’s me, it sounds like a band but it’s me.”
We do that, but actually true Yes records are written with fragments. Keys to Ascension was a good example of that. We didn’t come in and play anybody’s song. We actually kind of did the rehearsal thing and wrote together and that’s very trying and we’re all long in the tooth about that, but that’s one of the best ways to generate what we can call Yes. They are more of a collaborative record, but they take a long time and maybe that’s why we ought to take a long time.
we’ve just gotten to know each other better and the dynamic is more diverse. What I learned from doing Heaven and Earth is that we need to allow ourselves more time as a band. We kind of rushed into the studio to do Heaven and Earth because we were so busy touring [...] so people brought in their own ideas and said “Hey, here’s my idea, let’s work this up as a band and take your idea and work it up.” I’d rather take time to write our material as a group. I think that’s what Yes did in its best moments and that’s what I’d like to carry on doing, if possible.An Aug 2016 interview with Downes had this exchange:
Interviewer: There was a talk of an unfinished longer song with Jon Davison. [see above]In another Aug 2016 interview, Downes said creating new material is "important for any band's longevity". He also described songwriting in Yes as "very much more cooperative, more of a group effort" than his songwriting with Wetton in Asia. While another Aug 2016 interview, this time with Howe, described the band as "not yet planning new material", waiting for White to record and, as Howe said, to make sure "we've got the right kind of music and mindset to do something". In a Jun 2016 interview, Howe was asked about doing a new album: "we have tremendous interest from labels and people [...] we're certainly not saying we'll never do it, but [...] there are a few criteria that Yes should hit. There's no obligation that we do make another record, but there's no reason why we shouldn't. [...] if we're going to, we've got to decide what kind of record it is, because, obviously, something like Close to the Edge is really worth making, y'know, Close to the Edge 2, but it wouldn't be if it was a pastiche of Close to the Edge, but if it was something as inventive as that. It takes a very inventive band, takes a lot of skilled engineering and production and, and we most probably have some of those [...] strengths available, but [...] it's about getting there, um, and it's about making the decision when we do this [...] [F]irst and foremost it's about having some exceptional songs and [...] that is the make-or-break-it [...] [W]e've got to hit some pretty big bars to get another record, but certainly we love the interest, but we're certainly not going to rush anything. So, therefore, if you wait, you'll find out the answer. [chuckles]" The interviewer then asked whether it "becomes impossible" to make a better album than your previous works after a long and successful career. Howe replied by saying he felt he was still developing as a "guitarist individually", and then said: "[W]hat it would take is that internal creativity again [...] I don't think you're ever too old to do this, but how you get picky enough, and how you get clever enough to realise... honest enough, most probably, to, to really collaborate, that's a skill... that might be something that you're more prepared to do when your 20 or 30 and less prepared to do when you're 60 or 70. [smiling] So, I can't deny those things play in. But I don't think they're actually an obstacle. They could be an ingredient that you've got to work round".
Downes: Yes that’s still there, it’s not completely on the back burner.
Interviewer: So is new YES music maybe in the plans for next year ?
Downes: I hope so yes, I think it’s always good to do new music, it enables the touring to have a different angle, I mean we’ve been doing The Album Series for a while now but when you have a new album out it’s always nice to throw in a couple of the songs. [...] it not only keeps the fans interested I think, but it shows that we’re not just prepared to sit back and play the part, we always think about the future.
There are no plans, no, no. We don't have plans to do that. We have offers. We have other people wanting us to do it. Er, we're always being encouraged if you like, but when a band is ready to make a record — and we weren't necessarily when we made Heaven & Earth — when a band is ready to make a record, it knows and it has the audacity and the confidence to know that it's doing something really great and I think that's a calling that I'm prepared to wait for. But as members collaborate a little, they might get an idea, they like this song [...] but when you look at an album, it should be about 30 to 40 to 50 minutes long, so you need a few songs, y'know, and the standard and the excellence they should be at if you're going to honour what we've done beforeA Mar 2016 interview raises the possibility Howe is working on material that could go towards a new Yes album. The text reads: "he's continually writing and recording ideas, any one of which might possibly end up on the follow-up to 2011's Time [...] or perhaps as part of a new track for Yes. "I think it is a need that I have, a need to invent music in order to feel that I am a guitarist…"" In an Apr 2016 interview, published in Dutch, Howe had this on the topic:
Het maken van albums is trouwens helemaal niet zo spannend als het lijkt te zijn. Doe dus maar geen moeite om me te vragen of we een nieuw album gaan doen, dat zien we dan wel weer. Als we een paar dingen kunnen vinden, de juiste nummers, de juiste arrangementen en de goede locatie voor de opname, maar ook een producer die bij ons past en die er om de juiste reden is. Maar daar zijn we mijlenver van verwijderd, weet je, we hebben absoluut geen haast. We hebben sowieso geen tijd op dit moment om er te veel over na te denken. Jon [Davison] en ik zijn gewoon doorgegaan met schrijven, dat is normaal. Hij is bijna altijd aan het schrijven. Maar om uit te zoeken welke richting we uitgaan, dat is nog helemaal niet aan de orde.That is, Howe and Davison are continuing to write material and Howe says he loves making new music, and the band may do a new album if they find the right material that meets the standard and the right producer, but they are a long way from doing so and not in any hurry.
ik kan niet veel meer toevoegen dan op een andere manier te zeggen dat als we materiaal kunnen vinden dat aan de norm voldoet, dat we dan misschien iets hebben om over te praten. Maar ik hou van het maken van nieuwe muziek en men zou verwachten dat het heel makkelijk is om dat te doen met Yes, maar dat is het niet, weet je, het is een groot project, het is een verantwoordelijkheid. Maar er is veel interesse dus we hoeven niet ongerust te zijn.
I’m always into making new music [...] That said, YES runs at its own pace. I’m not trying to come into this situation and jump into the front seat and grab the wheel, I’m very much a team player when in bands, A team member with strong opinions musically but never the less, part of a team working as one. That said.. with regards to YES I’m along for the ride right now, so if that vehicle starts heading towards a new album, I’m obviously extremely happy and excited to contribute and do whatever the band would like me to do with it and I have a ton of ideas about things that could go on and how to do things differently while maintaining the essence of that core YES feeling. [...] I’d love to make a new YES album and I’m ready willing and able at a moments notice to do so. On a personal note…. I believe in the band so much so that I could see a huge renaissance if you will by making a great new exciting fresh YES record and then touring that record.In May 2016, in comments to a fan during the band's European tour, Sherwood indicated that a new album was inevitable, but that it was still early days.
I really can't comment on that. We're not wholly sure. [...] we're not interested in doing it very soon. The last record was quite difficult and we have to learn from that. It could be years in the pipeline. It certainly would be a huge mistake to make some quick record and put it out [...] because we've got something really tricky to live up to, it's called things like "Close To The Edge" [...] I would say [...] we better not do the wrong thing. Therefore, to do nothing is a lot safer ground, to move along slowly, until we know a bit more.In another Aug 2015 interview, Sherwood revealed that, around May 2015, before learning of Squire's ill health, he met Squire, who asked him, in the words of the article, "to take an active role in a planned Yes studio album". Sherwood said: "These were the things we were speaking about - making a great new album and trying to revive Yes on a level that would mean something to the world in a big, big way." It appears Sherwood was to have produced. Another Aug 2015 interview with Sherwood has more on those plans and the future:
That’s the beauty of Yes, [i]t doesn’t relent [...] A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me and I kept telling him, ‘Yeah, I understand that but we[']re going forward with you in it. I’ll produce it. But you’re going to be the guy playing on it.[’] He kept telling me, ‘No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that’s something you want to do.’ And I have to keep making music. It’s just what I do. [...] I’m a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music.In this interview from around Dec 2015, the interviewer says, "I have to assume there's another Yes album in the works." Sherwood replied:
I do too; and with that we’ll just see where this goes. But I don’t think Yes is done producing new music. I am known for being one who pushes forward with new music and the band wants to, I’m sure, move forward too. It’s just a matter of the timing and when. [...] with Chris’ passing it’s very fresh for everybody so it’s not necessarily a topic going on right now. But the evolution of Yes is always about new music. It’s not just about touring. [...] I would love to make a statement with this band that shows vitality and forward thrust.Asked in a Mar 2016 interview, Sherwood said:
I'm about making new music, that's what I do. I make a lot of it and so making new music with Yes is something that I'd love to do. That said, Yes runs at its own pace [...] I haven't re-joined the band to become a dictator and set everybody's schedule the way I would like it to be [...] I just go with the flow until we're ready to make new music and at that point, turn the faucet on and let the water flow, so to speak.One of the interviewers then raises Howe's comments saying there are no plans, but speculates that Howe could readily change his mind "when the moment's right". Sherwood responded:
Well, I mean, er, I think that everyone is capable of changing their mind about things depending on the situation, and I know that, y'know, with Chris's passing, it's definitely too soon to be rushing into the studio to make another album. But I think for the band's long-term health and prosperity, the path that we're on right now, just playing live and showing people that it's still alive and well and that this is what Chris wanted, the band wanted, I think doing that and getting around the world and showing people, for the lack of a better phrase, proof of life, will tee up the inevitable next record and it will all come naturally when it comes. But I don't have a problem with people changing their minds about things. [...] Anything's possible [...] had you asked me, do you believe you'll be the bass player in Yes in 2016 next to Steve Howe, y'know, I probably would've said no, because it's no mystery that, y'know, Steve and I have worked closely together and have been [at] odds at times, y'know, I think we've produced some great music through all that and I think that's what Steve really respects the most. He's a man who says what he thinks and I appreciate that because at least you know what you're dealing with, y'know. He's capable of changing his mind, but when he does, that's when things will start changing direction. Again, I think it will all happen naturally.Previously asked about recording plans in a Jan 2015 interview from NAMM 2015, White replied, "we've all got music [...] revolving around all the time. We've just got off the last album right now and [...] so, no, we're just laying back, smelling the roses a bit and then we'll be back at it." In a Nov 2014 YesFANZ interview, asked what he will be doing in the band's downtime until summer 2015, Davison said: "a lot of creative ideas that I want to get down on record – just to record some demos and things and it's a good window of time to get back into the studio and my wife and I have a campervan [...] we can head for the hills, we can go into the forests and I can write there." (However, he did not specify what this writing would be for.) Later in the interview, he specifically talks about Yes's future:
[Heaven & Earth] was done in such a pushed and rushed sort of fashion that we didn’t get to collaborate as much as a collective, there was definitely a one-on-one [...] which was very productive and that was a wonderful experience [...] but what we would like to focus on for the next one is collectively coming together, actually being in one room at the same time and creating the music as a unit. [...] Basically just jamming it out and recording it and piecing it together that way, that would just be great. I think that would give it a whole new roundness and really expand [...] what we could do. [...] I want to have more time to explore as they did in the earlier years and really stretch things and see how far out on a limb we can go and of course you need funding to do that (laughs) …….. so we will see if we can actually make that happen in the practical sense as well.Asked about whether there is a possibility Billy Sherwood would produce a new album, Davison replied, "I would say so. Yeah. Definitely." He also said he would like to work with Horn at some point.
The whole landscape has changed. If everybody who ripped off our album were prepared to give us two months' work of their lives for free, then maybe it would be a very well-balanced situation. [...] They’re taking more than two months – but let’s just whittle it down to two months’ studio work [...] So the reason why we do this has changed a lot. Some people in this band might say that the reason why we do it is because we’re musicians and we’re supposed to make new music. But that’s a bit blind. That’s a little like a mouse saying, ‘I’ll walk across this road even though there’s a cat on the other side.’ [Laughs]
[...] It took me a long time to decide that I would agree to do [Heaven & Earth]. [...] The Rolling Stones, The Who, Aerosmith [...] they make records and they don’t even chart! [...] some of the biggest bands in the world. Yes needs to learn this. [...] [It] is a very, very different scene, and it’s [...] mostly due [...] to the internet. People got the needle about labels making money, but they have to because they have to print, distribute and promote the record, and give us a lousy percentage. Yeah, I could moan about that.
But now we’ve got the situation where people take the music for free [...] it does hurt. It does grieve me that our rights and our copyrights are abused all the time. And yet, we’re stupid enough to go and make another record, which immediately is put on the internet by somebody.
So the inspiration is quite different. I make time, I make my Homebrew series, I’ve done records with Asia – I do things for quite a few different reasons. But when it comes to a high-profile group like Yes… It’s a very complicated question you ask me.
series (with remixes by Steven Wilson)
Panegyric re-released a series of Yes albums: in order, Close to the Edge, The Yes Album, Relayer, Fragile and Tales from Topographic Oceans. The releases included bonus material and new stereo and 5.1 Surround mixes by Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, No-Man, ex-Blackfield, worked with Steve Hackett, Ian Anderson, Marillion, Theo Travis). The new stereo mixes were then also released on the 6LP The Steven Wilson Remixes (Atlantic Catalog Group), mastered for vinyl by Chris Bellman. This had a new cover by Roger Dean, and he also did new covers for Close to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans, and re-worked the remaining covers (with Fragile looking the most changed). The Steven Wilson Remixes has also seen a digital release. The album was nominated in the Reissue of the Year category of the 2019 Progressive Music Awards, but did not win. On Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music, several tracks are sub-divided as follows:
There was talk about me doing “Drama”, an album I really love and that would sound great in 5.1, but not all the members of that line up are keen for the album to be remixed—which is totally understandable—and I wouldn’t want to do something without the band being behind it.The one band member opposed to Wilson doing Drama could have been Downes judging by this Sep 2015 tweet: asked if Wilson would be doing a Drama remix, Downes replied, "I bloody well hope not!" Although in a Jul 2014 interview, Downes said, "I would like to hear Drama in 5.1, the album was heavily overdubbed at the time, and so it would reveal a lot of detail". But, in an Aug 2016 interview, he said the multitracks for Drama couldn't be found, also saying, "I know Steven Wilson does a very good job" of the 5.1 mixes.
In an Aug
2015 forum post, Wilson said:
I believe that the multitrack tapes for Going for the One are currently [missing]. First 2 Yes albums I would think unlikely, not enough potential sales...etc But never say never.
I really hope Tales and Drama will eventually be done, they are (perhaps somewhat perversely) my 2 favourite Yes albums
Preliminary work for a Going for the One release was
done. In an Apr 2014 interview, Howe was asked whether it is
"open-ended that as many of the catalog masters you have in hand"
will be included in the series, he answered, "I don't think we
should say yea or nay yet, because there could be logistical
things or even a question of taste." On this latter point, the
interviewer teases out that Howe is referring to Tormato.
Howe goes on, "It's not that it's dreadful; it's just that we
didn't quite get it right. I don't know if a remix would make it
right, but I really can't say because I don't think it could,
because if you're going to be true to the original, then you have
to base it on the original."
Asked about further archival releases on the 2015 Cruise to the Edge, Howe also said there was
plenty more in the vaults.
Cruise to the Edge
Cruise to the Edge (Facebook) is a series of progressive rock cruises featuring and co-organised by Yes, and run by music cruise company On the Blue. A 2020 Cruise was planned for 27 Mar-1 Apr, but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yes, as usual, were to headline, with other acts to have included Glass Hammer, Steve Hackett, Dave Kerzner & Friends, Fernando Perdomo, Gong, Marillion, The Flower Kings, Le Orme, Anathema, Moon Safari, Flying Colors, Saga, Haken, Pendragon, Lifesigns, Riverside, Stu Hamm, Nerve Bundle (with Steve Lukather), Simon Phillip's Protocol, Marbin and Alex Machacek ft. FAT. There had been planning towards a 2021 Cruise too. Instead, Cruise to the Edge will re-start in Apr 2022 (with tickets for the 2020 cruise carried over).
The sold out 2019 Cruise to the Edge was in Feb on the Royal
Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas out of Tampa, FL.
Attendance was around 2000. Yes headlined, with Tony Kaye
guesting, while also appearing were The Sea
Within (with Tom Brislin),
Steve Hackett, John Lodge (The Moody Blues),
Brand X (their first show had White, Downes and Davison in the
audience), David Cross Band ft. David Jackson, Adrian Belew Power
Trio (with Sherwood in the audience), Frost*, Soft Machine, PFM
(with Sherwood in the audience), Spock's Beard, Neal Morse Band,
Focus, Alan Hewitt and One Nation, Riverside, District 97 (with
Sherwood in the audience), Pendragon, Airbag (with Sherwood in the
audience), Electric Asturias, Mike Portnoy
(ex-Dream Theater), Jordan Rudess (Dream
Theater), In Continuum (with Dave
Kerzner), Fernando Perdomo (Dave Kerzner
Band), Gazpacho, Pendragon, Enchant, Haken, IO Earth,
Rachel Flowers, Baraka, UniKuE, Marbin and Magic Pie. Fish (ex-Marillion) was scheduled, but had to pull
out because of family circumstances, with Michael Sadler a last
minute replacement. The cruise was again hosted by Jon Kirkman.
Yes's first set (7 Feb) was: intro: "Firebird Suite",
"Parallels", "Sweet Dreams", "We Can Fly", "Nine Voices" (up to
here with Schellen on drums), "Clap" (Howe solo), "Madrigal" (with
just Howe on acoustic guitar, Sherwood on backing vocals and
Davison on vocals and acoustic guitar), "Close to the Edge" (with
Schellen), "And You and I" (with Schellen), "Siberian Khatru"
(with White); encore (all with the addition of Kaye): "No
Opportunity Needed, No Experience Necessary" (with Schellen;
Downes as second keyboardist; seems to be Howe's first live
performance of the piece), "Roundabout" (with White), "Starship
Trooper" (with White; Schellen on additional percussion). Rachel
Flowers opened for the band both nights with a solo piano set.
Yes's second set was the same, except omitting "Starship Trooper".
The Mike Portnoy & Friends show (8 Feb, I think) included a
Transatlantic set by Portnoy (drums), Neal Morse (keys, vocals,
guitar) and Roine Stolt (guitar, vocal), with Ted Leonard (vocals,
guitar), Randy George (bass), Bill Hubauer (keys, backing vocals),
at which they played the band's "Suite Charlotte Pike Medley"
(which interleaves the band's "Suite Charlotte Pike" and The
Beatles' Abbey Road). Davison guested with them to sing
"She Came in Through the Bathroom Window". Other events on the
cruise included a Roger Dean exhibition (and a live painting
event), and a Q&A with Howe, Dean and Hackett. UniKuE, a
ukulele-based covers band, played "Roundabout". Late night
sessions included various Yes covers. In particular, there was a
Late Night Live session with a Yes set performed by Perdomo, Joe
Cass (Fernando Perdomo band), Joel Simches
et al. This included a performance of "Tempus Fugit" with
Downes, Perdomo, Simches, Cass, Patrick Igoe and Rob Rutz. Later
than the Late Night Live sessions, Brislin and Chris Clark did
piano versions of Drama plus "Sound Chaser", while some
other passengers also covered Yes material on the piano. Brislin
and Ted Leonard (and, I think, also with Clark) also did an
impromptu Kansas selection.
There was a sold out (1100 capacity) pre-cruise show on 3 Feb,
Tampa, FL by the Neal Morse Band and the Dave Kerzner Band, with
support from Marbin. The Dave Kerzner Band set included Pink
Floyd's "Time" (with the McBroom sisters) and Rush's "Tom Sawyer".
The line-up for the latter was Kerzner (keys, backing vocals), Jon
Davison (lead vocals), John Wesley (guitar), Derek Cintron (drums)
and Roger Houdaille (bass). On Facebook, Kerzner said of the show,
"Fernando Perdomo, Wes Dearth, Randy McStine, Durga McBroom,
Lorelei McBroom, Derek Cintron, Roger Houdaille, Andy Robbins,
Ruti Celli, Joe Deninzon, Jon Davison, Billy Sherwood, Nick
D'Virgilio, Gabriel Agudo and Jay Schellen (we didn't get to do
our planned songs with some of them but hopefully we will on the
boat!)." For his 2 shows with In Continuum, Kerzner promised,
"special guests from Yes, Genesis and Pink Floyd joining us on
stage!" Davison performed in the first show. He also sat in with The CJ's Live Band
at a 31 Jan Florida show before the cruise, including singing
"Owner of a Lonely Heart".
The previous Cruise to the Edge was 3-8 Feb 2018; it was close to
sold out. It came 5th in the 2018 Prog Readers' Poll,
event category. Yes headlined (with White playing in a limited
capacity, Schellen also on drums, and with Tony Kaye
guesting—see more below); the band
rehearsed in Tampa beforehand. Other acts included Glass Hammer, Stick Men
Levin and guest David Cross (ex-King
Crimson)), Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy, Steve Hackett (with
a set to include solo, Genesis and GTR
material), Dave Kerzner (worked with Billy Sherwood, Jon
Anderson, Steve Hackett), Marillion, the Adrian Belew
Power Trio, Gong, Sons of Apollo (debut shows from new supergroup
with Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian (both
ex-Dream Theater)), Saga (playing their final shows
ever), Martin Barre (ex-Jethro Tull), Neal Morse
(with a partial Transatlantic reunion as guests), Focus, Enchant,
Lifesigns, Moon Safari, Haken, Knifeworld, Baraka, IOEarth, Bad
Dreams, Thank You Scientist and others. Roger Dean
was also on the cruise. (The previously advertised Sound of
Contact and Anathema both had to pull out.) (In a Dec
2017 interview, Downes said Patrick
Moraz would also be with them, but he wasn't.) The cruise
had a tribute to John Wetton, including The Aurora Project
performing Asia's "The Last to Know" on 7 Feb.
There was a pre-cruise concert in Tampa on 2
Feb by Dave Kerner's All-Stars playing the music of Pink Floyd.
The line-up was based around the Dave Kerzner Band, with Kerzner,
Fernando Perdomo, Durga & Lorelei McBroom
(worked with Pink Floyd), Derek Cintron and Roger
Houdaille, with guests including Billy Sherwood and Jon Davison
(just on "Comfortably Numb"), Steve Rothery
(Marillion, worked with Steve Hackett), Harry Waters (Roger Waters' son; keys), Gabriel Agudo (In
Continuum), John Wesley, Wes Dearth, Randy McStine,
Rick Armstrong (Neil Armstrong's son), Andy
Robbins (Brit Floyd), and Jamison Smeltz.
The set was all of Dark Side of the Moon, "Shine on You
Crazy Diamond", "Have a Cigar", "Wish You were Here", "Run Like
Numb" (with Sherwood on lead vocals, Kerzner on keys and
additional vocals, and Davison joining the McBroom sisters on
backing vocals). Baraka opened the evening, and Carl Palmer's ELP
Legacy performed a set at the end. On the first day of cruising,
Stick Men with David Cross played: intro, improvisation/"Larks'
Tongues in Aspic, Part Two", "Hide the Trees", "Mantra", "Sartori
in Tangier", "Shades of Starless", "Cusp", "Prog Noir", "Level
Five", "Open, Part 3".
Yes did a Q&A with Howe, White, Downes, Sherwood, Davison and
Schellen. Their set on 4 Feb was: intro: "Benjamin Britten's Young
Person's Guide to the Orchestra", "Survival", "Time and a Word",
"I've Seen All Good People", "South Side of the Sky", "And You and
I", "Madrigal", "Clap" (Howe solo), "Bolero" (Downes solo, from
Asia's "Cutting It Fine"), "Soon", "Going for the One", "Don't
Kill the Whale", "Machine Messiah", encore: "Yours is No
Disgrace", "Roundabout", "Starship Trooper". The main set was with
Howe/Downes/Sherwood/Davison/Schellen, while the encore was with
Howe/Downes/Sherwood/Davison/White/Kaye (with Schellen on
additional percussion). The second set was the same, except with
"Madrigal" replaced by "Leaves of Green".
Also on the cruise, Dean did a Q&A and painted live. Downes
guested on a performance of "Into the Sun" by the Dave Kerzner
Band. Some Yes members sat in on the Late Night Jams.
we created the brand, Cruise to the Edge, and we got something that’s quite palatable, quite manipulable. That isn’t to say that we’re going to keep doing it, we don’t know. Each time we do it, it is a test. “OK, are we going to do it again?” They always want us to commit to another one, but it depends on how it goes.On tour
We all were [looking forward to playing Relayer]. Relayer is a formidable piece of work, and I was really putting in the days and weeks to try recapture some of those amazingly complex Moraz parts. Hopefully when all this awful business dies down we’ll be back and ready to roll.The band were planning to tour Europe Apr-Jun 2020 with a set including all of Relayer (in the second half of the evening) in order and "a selection of CLASSIC CUTS". Mainland European dates have been rescheduled to 11 Apr-13 May 2021, although the possibility of further pandemic disruption must exist. There are dates in Portugal (1), Spain (2), Italy (3), Switzerland (1), Austria (1), Germany (3), Czech Rep. (1), Poland (2), Estonia (1), Finland (1), Sweden (1), Norway (1), Denmark (2), Luxembourg (1), France (1), Belgium (1), Netherlands (1). This is almost but not quite the same order as 2020 plans. A second Polish date has also been added. The 8 UK dates have been rescheduled for 16-28 May (different order), plus a 26 May Dublin, Ireland show. For most shows, 2020 tickets are valid for the new shows, but there are exceptions: check local arrangements.
I’d say, very tentatively, that Yes has a quest that’s all encompassing. It’s never been a band with limitations. So there’s no reason why it couldn’t include some of this material as well. It’s been dabbled with a little bit along the way. Back in 1976 we each played songs from the solo albums [...] Maybe we could do a very select show where we could incorporate our outside work, much like Asia did, very successfully, when we re-formed. Everybody [in Yes] has things they’ve done outside the band, so it’s something that could be considered.The 2020 Cruise was to run 27 Mar-1 Apr 2020, but has been postponed. (There was already prior planning towards a 2021 Cruise too.) Yes were to headline and to play a short run of south-eastern US dates before the cruise, with support from Alan Parsons. These tour dates were also cancelled. Howe said, "Running a relatively large show aided by our 12-piece crew and full production requires insurance coverage, which is currently unavailable to us for a variety of reasons beyond our control." There were to be five dates 19-25 Mar in South Carolina (1 show) and Florida (4 shows). The Florida shows were announced as going ahead with Alan Parsons headlining, with support on some dates from Robby Steinhardt & The Music Of Kansas. On 15 Feb, Sherwood posted to Facebook a video of him rehearsing "Sound Chaser", saying he was "preparing for this next YES touring cycle which starts in Florida." While that implied that song was to be in the set, in a Feb 2020 interview, Howe said that this leg "won't have any Relayer".
We’ve become more interested in really looking at the original recordings as much as possible, taking everything we can from them. There are obviously compromises we might make, but that doesn’t really matter. What we’re interested in is giving a sense of realism to it. Without that realism, we might as well not even go and play the right notes. [...] and I think that’s brought together with improvisation.In a Jun 2018 interview, Howe was asked what happens after the 50th anniversary tour. He replied, "we'll keep thinking about the set list; we want to have a different approach to that. And we might have a more collective approach – [touring] with other bands – next year . We've got other things we might do as well; we've already got Japan [scheduled]." In another that month, Howe said, "After doing this  summer tour on our own, we might think about special team-ups". As for future set lists, another Jun 2018 interview with Howe describes the situation thus:
After all, a solo is a solo, and you can play what you like. [...] There’s got to be some freedom. But again, it’s nice hearing the raw, core tunes that call in that solo.
After bassist Chris Squire’s death in 2015, Howe inherited the job of putting Yes’ concert set list together. “I make a set list generally with two considerations. There’s gotta be some challenges; There’s got to be some things we haven’t been playing in the last two years or so. [...] you’ve got to go do some homework at home. But the other thing is we’ve got to make it possible. [...] our set list is generally a mix of challenging new things -- or new in the context of what we’ve been playing recently -- and then some really familiar stuff, but not the same-old, same-old -- although we can’t do a show without ‘Roundabout.’ [...]”
Downes also talked sets in a Jun
Interviewer: Are there any songs that you personally would like to retire? [...]
Downes: We approach each tour differently. [...] it’d be nice maybe to look at a couple of 80’s era Yes tracks as well. And maybe even something from the 90’s, you know. Well we do a couple of tracks from the 90’s anyway. [...] there’s so much there [...] you’ve got 22 or 23 studio albums to pick material from, that’s a pretty enormous body of work to tackle. But certainly, I’m game to try anything that’s in the Yes catalog.
Interviewer: [...] is there a song or two you wish you guys could play, specifically?
Downes: I think I’d like to just do one of the big pieces from the album Relayer. We did a little bit of that, but something like either “Sound Chaser” or maybe “Gates of Delirium,” which would be an enormous challenge to actually learn something like that [...] quite a fascinating challenge to do that.
In a Jun
2018 interview of his own, White said, "we tried not playing
"Roundabout" for a while. We got so many complaints because we
didn't play it, we've been playing it ever since." Asked in the
Yes Music Podcast about YesWest material, Downes replied, "that
would be something a lot of the fans would appreciate [...]
certainly I think Steve's up for doing some of it". Asked about
the possibility of performing "The Gates of Delirium", he began
by remarking on the challenge of doing so, but continued,
"everything's possible […] Whether or not we do it next year
, I don't know. We might do it the year after . We
might even at some point attempt the whole of Relayer. That's... that's
something that has been put forward. I think in terms of it being
the fiftieth anniversary of Yes that the focus is going to be more
on a historical view of Yes's music rather than any specific
albums". In his Mar
2017 Q&A, White had said, "we plan to play the entire "Relayer' album in the UK next year
", but he backed away from that by this Aug
2017 interview: "I think next year  should be a really
good selection of songs from every era. We actually thought about
playing the whole "Relayer" album,
but I think that would be too much for the kind of show it should
be next year  for our 50th anniversary." In the Feb 2018
issue of Eclipsed,
Howe also said they wanted to play all of Relayer but described
this as challenging to do. In the mid-Mar 2018 interview, asked
about whether Relayer
is a possibility for summer US dates, Sherwood replied, "You never
know. I've been lobbying for that for years now as it's one of my
favourites. [...] As of yet it's not been spoken about, so we'll
just have to see what happens." Sherwood in a Nov
2017 interview said he would like to play "The Gates of Delirium" and
"On the Silent Wings of Freedom". Asked in his matching
interview what songs he would like to include, White
"Awaken" and "Mind Drive"; he implied that, with
Kaye present, they would do "Yours is No Disgrace". In the
#YES50 tour programme, out Mar 2018, Downes said, "I'm excited
about taking on the Relayer
album". At the Jul 2018 YesFanFest, Howe
was asked about doing Relayer
in 2019 and replied, "Maybe". In an Aug
2018 interview, asked what songs he would like to do,
Davison picked Relayer
first, then saying, "I'd like to bring to the stage all of Tormato and Relayer
and make the '70s Album Series a complete thing. Beyond that, some
of the '80s and '90s material." He then mentions "The More We Live—Let Go"
and "Shoot High Aim Low". In a Jul
2019 interview, Sherwood supported the idea of playing "Sound Chaser".
Asked how set list decisions come about, he replied:
The #YES50 tour saw the band celebrating their 50th anniversary. They played 35 US dates Jun/Jul 2018 (28 Jul Atlanta at 1762 capacity sold out). There was another Fan Convention on 21 Jul. Downes tweeted 25 Apr, "Been working very hard this week on the new Yes set for USA 2018." The band rehearsed for about a week before the tour started. In Oct 2017, Sherwood on the New Ears radio show, talked of Yes also playing South America and Japan in 2018, but Howe in Jun 2018 said they would be touring Japan after the next Cruise to the Edge, which is in Feb 2019. Management in Jun said that the band "are hopeful to get down to Oz and NZ but as ever that is in the hands of local promoters." In a late Dec 2017 interview, he said, "there's a summer tour coming, and I believe Japan is on the radar, and some other territories." In a late Dec 2017 interview, Downes said, "there is big US tour planned for Yes in June and July, and possibly some more Asia shows in the autumn." They started the tour with the Cruise to the Edge in Feb 2018; and then toured western Europe with 13 dates 13-30 Mar 2018: 10 UK (Bristol at 1834+ capacity and Manchester at 2341 capacity sold out; 24 Mar London at 2286 capacity was close to sold out), 1 each for the Netherlands, Belgium and France (sold out, 2500 capacity). Rehearsals started 6 Mar. The tour leg included 2 London dates on the weekend of 24/25 Mar, when a 50th Anniversary Fan Convention was held.
Steve [Howe] usually does it, and we have suggestions along the way, but Steve's got a really good sense of ebb and flow in the set. If too many songs are in the same key and they’re bundled up together, he can move them around, and based on tempos and all that type of thing. We sort of just wait for Steve to give us the set list. [...] then [...] anyone’s allowed to throw in their opinions but usually it’s pretty spot on, I’ve found.
The line-up consisted of Howe (guitars, backing vocals), White (drums), Downes (keys, backing vocals), Sherwood (bass, backing vocals) and Davison (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, additional percussion, sound effects), with Jay Schellen (drums, additional percussion) following further health problems for White. Tony Kaye guested with the band on Cruise to the Edge 2018 and on the US leg, but was not on the European leg. Patrick Moraz guested with the band on 20-1 Jul, playing "Soon" (with Downes also on stage playing), and also appeared separately at the US Fan Convention on 21 Jul. Trevor Horn guested with the band for 1 song at the 2 London dates and in Paris; he also guested with the band on 20-1 Jul. He sang "We Can Fly" on both nights (with backing vocals from Davison). For the 21 Jul encore of "Starship Trooper", Horn, Moraz, Brislin and Schellen were also on stage (additional percussion).
On their opening night of the US tour, most of the show was with Howe, Downes, Sherwood, Davison and Schellen; set: intro: "Firebird Suite", "Close to the Edge", "Nine Voices", "Parallels", "Mood for a Day", "Leaves of Green" (slightly extended version), "We Can Fly" (Davison described this as being closer to the Return Trip arrangement in this Aug 2018 interview), "Sweet Dreams" (explicitly the 1975 arrangement), "Heart of the Sunrise", intermission, "Perpetual Change", "Does it Really Happen?", "Soon" (White joins on drums for the end and plays the rest of the show), "Believe Again", "Awaken"; encore (Tony Kaye joins too): "Yours is No Disgrace", "Roundabout", "Starship Trooper". Schellen plays additional percussion while White is behind the drum kit. The second night saw the same set, except "Perpetual Change" was omitted. However, the set soon stabilised to having "Perpetual Change", but not "Believe Again", and White joining for "Awaken" rather than coming out during "Soon". With interval, the show is about 3 hours long. Their third night and a number of others (including 13-4 Jul) were casino shows with a substantially shorter set: "Close to the Edge", "Nine Voices", "Parallels", "Sweet Dreams", "Soon", "Awaken", "Yours is No Disgrace", "Roundabout", "Starship Trooper". In Anaheim, White sat out "Yours is No Disgrace". At the 21 and 23 Jul shows, Yes played "Second Initial"/"Madrigal" instead of "Mood for a Day"/"Leaves of Green".
André Cholmondeley was the guitar tech and Steve Rispin was the
bass tech. On the European leg, there was a 124-page 12"x12"
tourbook, with new interview material, by the Gottlieb Brothers. The US
leg saw that expanded further with 24 additional pages, including
material on Return Trip from Horn. This expanded version
is a limited edition of 1000 copies.
They played the first two nights at the same 897-seat venue in St Charles, IL, selling out the first night and selling out or nearly selling out the second night (reports conflict). The 6 Jul 2018 show was at capacity (1550). Tom Brislin and Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic, Neal Morse Band, Flying Colors, ex-Dream Theater) were in the audience for the 21 Jul show. The 16 Mar Glasgow show sold 1433 tickets, grossing $93,926.
The European set was: intro: "Firebird Suite", "Yours is No
Disgrace", "I've Seen All Good People", "Sweet Dreams" (the 1975
arrangement), "South Side of the Sky", "Onward", "Mood for a Day",
"Wonderous Stories", "Parallels", "And You and I", interval, "The
Revealing Science of God", "Leaves of Green", "Ritual"; encore:
"Roundabout", "Starship Trooper". ("Onward" wasn't played in
Newcastle.) The evening was 2 hours and 50 minute long, including
a 20 minute interval. Most of the set was with
Howe/Downes/Sherwood/Davison/Schellen; White replaced Schellen on
the drum kit partway through "Ritual" (with Schellen continuing on
additional percussion) and played the encore (with Schellen on
additional percussion). At both London shows (24-5 Mar),
Howe/Downes/Sherwood/White/Horn played "Tempus Fugit" as the
opening number of the encore and "Starship Trooper" was
abbreviated ("Life Seeker" was greatly shortened). On 24 Mar,
"Onward" was dropped from earlier in the set, while on 25 Mar, it
was "South Side of the Sky" that was dropped, with "Onward"
dedicated to multiple members of the Squire family in the audience
(including his brother, sister, niece and possibly nephew). Horn
and "Tempus Fugit" were back in the same slot for the 30 Mar Paris
show, with "Onward" omitted. Steve's daughter Stephanie and her
partner (who both worked on design elements of Nexus),
David Cross (ex-King Crimson, worked with Peter
Banks), Lisa Wetton (John Wetton's widow)
and Keith Emerson's partner attended the 24 Mar show. The 25 Mar
performance was introduced by Bill
Bruford, who then sat in the audience for the show. Hugo
Barré (Mabel Greer's Toyshop) attended the
30 Mar show.
Asked if there are plans to play any other albums in a Feb 2016 podcast interview, Howe said: "eventually [...] we'll have to play Relayer. [...] We'd need a while to get ready to play that one. We talked about other records and I said Time and a Word one day [...] it's off the mark with America because they really don't know that record." In another Feb 2016 interview, Howe, again talking of playing full albums, said, "we hope one day to resurrect [Relayer]." An Aug 2016 report had that the band have discussed doing Relayer in 2017 or 2018. Downes said in an Aug 2016 interview: "We have considered playing [Tormato] [...] but Steve doesn't think it's strong enough as an album. [...] Alan feels the same, it's not got that depth that the other albums have got [...] Relayer is up there as a possibility." Asked what album they will do next, he replied, "We're still discussing whether to do that [continue playing full albums] [...] but with this line-up I don't see us doing any other full album other than Relayer, if we were to do anything." In Howe's interview, he went on to say: "There's other sorts of set lists we mustn't ignore. In other words, I'm saying, ya, I like playing albums [...] but it's not the only game in town, y'know. And there's other sets that I've invented in my mind, and circulated, that do a different... tell a different story. And we've got to be careful not just to tell the same story, oh here's another album." He gave as an example of another set list approach, "Like we did last summer , that was a very kind of friendly [...] set, couple of new songs [...] it was bubbly [...] there are other great, great set lists". The interviewer then suggested doing Magnification tracks. In reply, Howe first talked about prior albums: "I quite like Keys to Ascension studio tracks [...] that's quite a nice era" and after he'd heaped praise on Bruce Fairbairn and his production of The Ladder, Howe said he'd found it "difficult" to pick tracks from Open Your Eyes and Magnification that he's "fully committed to now. Of course I've got enjoyment for them [...] Certainly, as an album [i.e., playing Magnification in full], I don't think so". Howe continued, "There is one track [...] I would single out" from Magnification; he didn't identify it, but said it's not "Spirit of Survival" or "In the Presence of".In a Feb 2017 interview, Howe discussed the band's set and possibilities for the future:
I like playing new music. I’ve done 12 solo records over the years – I’ve been delighted to not have to only play old music. But my favorite stuff is definitely looking at Yes.On Eddie Trunk's Sirius XM radio show from the Cruise to the Edge 2017, White said the band had been discussing playing material from Relayer, including "Sound Chaser". He later spoke of "doing some things from Relayer", i.e. not the full album. He also said, "We can't get away with not playing "Roundabout". We've tried many times." Also on the cruise, asked what other albums they might tackle, Howe again said they would like to Relayer (but that it would take "an enormous amount of work to capture the performances on that album"), but he also mooted "Keys to Ascension" (presumably meaning the studio tracks on Keys to Ascension 2) and Magnification. Asked about Tormato material, he was more negative, saying the album "wasn't designed for the stage" but that "maybe one day we will try to revisit it." In his Mar 2017 YesWorld Q&A, White said, "'Relayer' is a hard album to play but we're discussing performing that album next year ." Asked about playing songs from Tormato, he also said "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" would be "a great song to include".
It doesn’t have to be that old – we might come onto the ‘90s at some point and start looking at Keys to Ascension or something. There’s a lot of music that we’d like to look at. But we do get a lot from the ‘70s, and we don’t have a problem.
I think you’re right; ‘The Remembering’ would be an interesting choice [...] But there are also so many other hidden gems on the albums that have been historically been overlooked by the touring band over the years. Talk, Big Generator, Union, The Ladder, & Keys to Ascension also have some killer tracks. How about ‘Mind Drive’ as a suggestion? ☺
In an interview for the Feb 2014 issue of Prog, Downes was asked about doing other albums and replied, "We've never discussed this at all, but it's not been ruled out. [...] I can see the subject coming up [...] But what we don't want to become is a band who just live in the past". He then talked of the possibility of varying tour set lists so that they "do a lot of more contemporary material on one tour and the next time we do something a lot more nostalgic." In an Apr interview, Howe said, "the one that everybody wants to hear is 'Relayer.' But we're not ready for that yet. [It] would be a heck of a challenge. [...] at the moment we haven't got the time or the inclination yet to do something like that."
In the interview
with Vintage Rock conducted around Apr 2014, White put forth
Drama and Relayer as two albums he would like to
perform. In a Jul
2014 interview, Davison said: "There's been talk about any
of the earlier albums up to '90125'". In a May
2014 interview, Squire said he hoped that they will do a
tour one day playing material from the 1980s. He describes as
interesting the idea put forth by the interviewer for a tour
featuring Drama, 90125 and Big
Generator. Reports from backstage on the 2014 summer tour
suggested that Squire wanted to do all of Heaven & Earth,
Howe and Davison wanted to do Relayer, and White and
Downes wanted to do Drama and possibly 90125;
US promoters are said to remain keen on 90125. One report
from backstage on the 2015 summer tour has that Howe and White
would like to do all of Time and a Word, but promoters
prefer Relayer, which might produce a 3-album set of Time
and a Word, Relayer and Drama. In an Aug
2015 YesWorld Q&A, asked what Yes pieces he would like
to play, Sherwood replied:
There are many, but there’s only so much time in a set. As things progress, which looks like they are, we’ve had some successful touring here so far and there’s other promoters and more opportunity coming online – I envision YES being back at a place where it plays by itself for three hours, rather then playing with another band, and at that point with a three hour set that we can fill, there’ll be some other material that I’m definitely gong to be suggesting.
[...] There’s plenty of stuff out there that I would love to dive into, but my favorites, if I could choose – ‘Gates of Delirium’ would definitely be part of the set and so would ‘Tomato’ – a lot of it – I love ‘Future Times/Rejoice’, ‘On The Silent Wings Of Freedom’, ‘Release, Release’.
He also mentioned "Gates of Delirium" in answer to another
question, but added: "but I don't know how far my vote goes just
yet… give me some time!" He is then asked which albums he would
pick if doing the whole album format; he nominated Tales from
Topographic Oceans and Relayer.
Away from the while album format, several comments point to
individual tracks under consideration of some sort. In a Nov 2014
interview for YesFANZ,
Davison talked about the new material in the set:
we have been doing two [new] songs [...] live [...] [W]e were doing [...] 'To Ascend' for a while to start out with but it just didn’t quite stick as well with the ebb and flow of the concert, but we would like to incorporate at one point as much of the new album as possible. We’re all still very focussed on that. We just haven’t been able to promote that sufficiently in that regard because we are down to a 2 hour time limit [...] but we will get more of that into the live context.
I would really like to do 'Light of the Ages'
Asked in a Dec 2013 interview about playing YesWest material, Squire explained: "[It's] because of the character of the music, and the character of the guitar player as well. Trevor [Rabin] doesn't do a bad job of imitating Steve [Howe], but it doesn't work as well the other way around. I wouldn't really push the issue." Asked about playing '80s material in his May 2013 Q&A for YesWorld, Davison replied, "I think it would be really fun to perform Changes, It Can Happen, and/or Shoot High Aim Low." In a Jul 2013 interview, Davison said, "What I'd like to do is continue it; with maybe Fragile, Relayer and Drama following it up." In Downes' second Q&A, he said, "whilst we are currently focusing on the 70's Yes, there was some great music came out in all chapters of the band's existence [...] Personal favourite is "Changes"", while White said to a fan in Apr 2013 that the band had considered playing the piece, and that he would also like them to perform "Endless Dream". In a Jun 2012 interview, Squire said that White had suggested including "Perpetual Change". In one of the Jul 2012 interviews, Squire said:
with past members
The question of a reunion between Yes and Yes featuring Anderson Rabin Wakeman (which had disbanded by early 2020), or between key past members and Yes, has always refused to go away. It has appeared very unlikely. In a Dec 2017 interview, Todd Rundgren, who had recently toured with Yes, said, "There are actually two versions of Yes. There are conflicts between members of the band."
Howe on one side and Wakeman and Rabin
on the other have had the strongest words against the idea. In a Jul
2020 article, commenting on the idea of a reunion, Howe
said, "I don't think [fans] should stay up late nights worrying
about that[.] There's just too much space out there between
people. To be in a band together or even to do another tour like Union
is completely unthinkable." He continued, "What I've done with
Alan, and Chris until he passed, [...] has been trying to build
something much more stable [than Union] and not so
haphazardly sensational [...] Yes is about people who love working
together and can. That word 'can' carries the whole story. That
means compatibility and the same awarenesses about what we want to
do." That said, in an interview
conducted around Feb 2020, Howe commented on his relationship with
Anderson, saying, "Jon and I get on really well now. We have the
history and the friendship. But it's probably better that we don't
attempt to work all the time together – because of this and that.
But nobody knows what the future holds." A Jul
2019 Billboard article quoted Howe as saying that
Yes "has had nothing to say" about Yes featuring Anderson Rabin
Wakeman using the band name. It went on to quote him: "Anybody can
play Yes music; [w]e'd never stop anybody doing what they want to
do[.] Basically I say 'Good luck' to them." However, commenting on
ARW's hiatus from activity in 2019, Howe also said, "we're not
unhappy, so that maybe tells you something."
In an Oct
2019 interview, Wakeman said ARW should not have used the
'Yes' name and that their next tour (to have been in 2020, but
which never happened) wouldn't. He said a reunion would not work:
"I can't see it happening, although I've learned in rock &
roll the word "never" doesn't exist. [...] Let's put it this way,
it's highly unlikely. You've got more chance of Donald Trump
getting divorced and marrying Hillary Clinton." He argued that
neither band should have been called 'Yes' since Squire died: "If
you want my real honest answer, the whole Yes thing is a mess
since Chris died. It's a total and utter mess for the fans and the
people because nobody knows what the hell is going on. Nobody
knows who is in what, who is doing what. It's just one hilarious
mess." In an Aug 2020
interview, he said, "when Chris passed away, that was it
for me. Not the end of Yes music! But the end of the name Yes.
Because Chris was the only founding member who remained
throughout [...] I felt when Chris passed away, that was the
time to retire the name, in his honour and in his memory. No
reason why we can't all go off and play Yes music [...] Steve,
myself, Jon, whoever — that's fine. But the name Yes, out of
reverence and respect for Chris and the music, the name, I
think, should've been retired. [...] that's the reason why, when
anybody says, 'Is there ever likely to be reunion again?', my
answer is, well, you can't have one without Chris." In a Sep
2020 interview, Rabin said, "I heard talk of... an
interview somewhere where there was talk of maybe a [Yes]
reunion and that's something that will never happen, not
with me." He continued, "It's kind of ridiculous. I don't
even think there should be a band with the name Yes without
Chris Squire in it." He also said that the only "remaining
legitimate Yes members" were White, Howe, Anderson, Wakeman
and himself, continuing, "Without Chris, [...] it wouldn't
be something that would include me."
White has had a different tone when answering questions on this
topic. In a Feb 2019 interview from the Cruise
to the Edge, asked what he would still like to accomplish
with Yes, White said, "Well, it will be good to, maybe, in
the future, see some kind of union tour. […] I don't think it's
totally out of the question […] we'll see what happens." In a
follow-up interview with Sherwood, told about White's comments,
Sherwood responded, "Wow... he's the great uniter in the band,
y'know. He's always wanting that to happen." Asked about the
possibility of a reunion in a Mar
2019 interview, White said, "I'm not going to say definitely
no. I'll say there is a possibility, but everybody is getting up
there in age now. I don't see it as out of the question in the
next few years [...] I definitely won't say "no." It's a "maybe.""
In a Jun
2019 interview, asked about "bringing together many members
of Yes from the past 50 years", White replied, "I'm not going to
say no because anything's a possibility. Maybe one day everybody
will just come together and be able to do a big show of everything
again, which might be in the future. But as of now, we're just
getting on with this Yes." In a Jul
2019 interview, Sherwood was asked about a reunion, and
answered, "that question's a little above my pay grade [...] from
my perspective I just see us going along this same course right
now because we're a really happy unit moving forward [...] I know
that the fans are speculating about another union-type scenario,
but I don't know. I think it's kind of a long shot, to be honest
It is Anderson who has been most supportive of the idea. A Jul
2020 article reports Anderson as being "keen on a reunion".
It quoted him:
It was talked about three years ago, why don't we get Yes back together, it's the 50th anniversary of the band and I said, 'I don't see it, there would be about 15 people onstage, it's too much'[.]
But I had a dream the other week. I was backstage and I realised that's what happens: I'll start the show with my guitar and I'll sing a couple of songs and then Steve[ Howe]'s band will play, then I'll sing a couple more songs and Rick [Wakeman] and Trevor [Rabin] and myself will come on and do something and then all of a sudden we'll all get together and do 'Close To The Edge' and 'Awaken' and Bob's your uncle.
My mantra has always been it'll happen when it happens
In another Jul
2020 article, Anderson was asked about the possibility of a
reunion, producing this exchange:
Anderson: Nobody has said, “Let’s do it.” But I think it would be great to get the Yes band back together. Obviously, it’s not going to happen this year with the coronavirus, but maybe in 2021 or 2022.
Interviewer: How would it work since Howe’s version of Yes features Jon Davison as the singer?
Anderson: We’ll figure it out. I’m not worried about that part. I just can’t wait to sing on a stage again.
In an Aug 2020 interview, Anderson responded to Howe's comment that a reunion is "unthinkable" by saying, "But he knows that I'm very open, but he has his own pocket decision to take". He continued, "I wouldn't go back into that band because I don't think they're that good [...] They're good! But they're not that good." In part 2 of the same interview, asked if he would sing on stage with Davison, Anderson replied, "Yeah, why not? [....] Of course I would. I'd sing with the band, y'know. I had this dream that I had a guitar and I was going to open the show by singing a couple of songs [...] And now Steve Howe and his band... eh... and I'd sit there [...] and sing along with some harmonies or whatever. And they'd come off stage, and then Trevor and Rick, are you ready yet? [...] And then we all did "Close to the Edge" and "Awaken"." In a Sep 2020 interview, Anderson appeared to comment on that interview, saying, "I misspoke a little bit about the other band, because as far as I'm concerned, I work with really good musicians, and I expect brilliant things to happen [...] So, Steve and his band? I don't mind, they go out and sing songs that I wrote, and me and Steve wrote - which is fantastic – and keep the flag flying [...] They're very good at doing Yes classics, but I've been waiting for some new Yes classics, you know. It's very hard without me."
Howe guested on Anderson's 1000 Hands
(albeit remotely). After discussing this, a Mar
2018 interview with Anderson has this exchange:
Interviewer: Of course, you'll never get the band back together [...]
Anderson: No. No, it's just one of those things. Life isn't... that organised. [chuckles] [...] For some reason, for whatever many reasons, it's not meant to be. That's OK. I've got things to do.
Interviewer: Yeah. Well, you've certainly got good relationships with everyone and you've kept in touch.
Anderson: Yeah, yeah, you keep in touch and, y'know, like anything, you have highs and lows. Like any family. Because we're family people. We're brothers, all musical brothers. Sometimes you love each other, sometimes you don't.
Later in the interview, Anderson was asked about his "next dream"
after 1000 Hands, he replied:
I really want to do the final, great Yes album. I've got an idea of what it looks like, what it sounds like, but I'm not sure how to pull it off. [...] it's one of those things. I know what it should be, I know there's a lot of people who would love it to happen and I would love it to happen as well.
interview later that same month, talking about Howe's
appearance on the album, Anderson said, "I just called him up and
he said he'd love to play on it[.] I haven't sang with him in
many, many years. It felt really comfortable and cathartic to do
that. We're brothers. Sometimes you don't understand or
misunderstand your brother and want to do different things. I
think that is called a family." The article then raises the
question of a reunion:
“I’m very open to it,” says Anderson. “It’s been 50 years now. You think something has got to happen. To me, a great album has to be made. That’s what I think. I don’t know how it’s going to be made, but the final Yes event should happen. I’ve talked to a couple of people about it and they get it. I really want to do this. I’ve even written eight songs for the record that I’m thinking would work with a full orchestra and a choir.”
Is Steve Howe into this idea? “I don’t know,” says Anderson with a sigh. “Maybe he’ll read this article and say ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ I don’t know.”
2019 interview with Anderson had this exchange:
So is the recent Anderson/Howe collaboration on “1000 Hands” a harbinger of a real Yes reunion? Anderson doesn’t say no.
“When it happens, it’ll happen,” Anderson said.
In yet another
Mar 2019 interview, Anderson said, immediately after talking
about ARW, "I've always said it would be nice to do a Yestival and
get everybody together on stage, that's like a magic wand to make
that happen, but you never know in this life." And, in yet another Mar
2019 interview, asked what is the possibility of a reunion
with Howe, Anderson replied, "I don't know [...] If I got the
right phone call, I'd be there."
When Howe was asked by Prog magazine (Apr 2019 issue)
about prospects of a re-union with Anderson and Wakeman, he
replied, "We're happy doing our own parallel things. It's always a
challenge to build the time to work with the people you are
working with, let alone the people you did work with [...] let's
leave it at that for now."
Asked about tensions between the two bands, Downes said in the
Nov 2018 issue of Prog, "Any real direct confrontations
have hopefully been nipped in the bud. As time has progressed it's
become less critical. When they first came out they were pretty
gung-ho—they were making a lot of comments in the press which were
not very pleasant, calling us The Steve Howe Tribute Band. [...]
For the most part, we've attempted to keep the high road and not
get involved too much with slagging them off." Later in the same
interview, he went on: "they do their thing, they've got their own
agenda going on. They're not getting in my face. That's all I'm
particularly bothered about." In a late
Sep 2018 interview, Howe said any re-union is "completely
off the table".
In an early
Jun 2018 interview, Howe said this on the two bands
When ABWH went out, Bill, Rick and I basically wanted to carry on being called ABWH. We weren't really interested in being called Yes, but there was a contingent in the band [i.e., Anderson] and the management [i.e., Brian Lane] that very much encouraged us to rejoin Yes. Actually, the three of us ended up with nothing. That lineup didn't continue after Union so we lost everything.
ARW came out and they justified their existence. They're ARW. Nobody can deny them the right to do that. Now there's a bit of game playing going on, adding that particular thing [presumably Howe means here the "Yes featuring..." part of their name]. I don't know if they are going to make things more interestingly confusing by calling it quintessential Yes [a reference to ARW's promotion for their 2018 touring].
It's up to them what they do. They're free, we're free. We're tolerant and they're tolerant. Hopefully, people won't go around saying "We don't like those guys." [Anderson in Mar 2017 said, "We don't like them" about Yes] We never said that. We want to be sharing and positive about everything we can generate, which I think is important.
If the fans have got a choice, now, to see different versions of things, then so be it. I can't see a problem.
In a Mar 2017
interview, Wakeman and Anderson both dismissed any
possibility of a reunion. Asked about that in a Dec
2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Rabin replied,
"Oh, I very much doubt it. It's kind of like, if it's not broke,
don't fix it. We've got the ARW thing right now and we're just
loving it. That's certainly where we're at right now." In a
Howe replied to a similar question: "We know the 50-year
anniversary is going to be quite colossal. The Union tour
was popular with many fans, but it would have to be re-thought if
we were considering that. It would need some reinvention. But
that's a ways away." When the interviewer returned to the question
of repeating the Union tour, Howe continued:
As long as its not trying to put a square peg in a round hole. The Union tour [...] [f]or the fans, it was seen in a particular light. But internally, it was complex. [...] you'd have to think about how it could work in a different way. It's nice seeing people play together, but it's really about the mood and the willingness and the love and the sharing. It just comes down to a lot of other things, unfortunately, like business and technical. Those other parts both help and interfere and destruct. A few people have said to me that although it was great to see us together all night for the Union tour, it was really a lot to try and fill your ears with. But I do appreciate that people are thinking about seeing us together, and that's a very nice sentiment.
Some of that was put to Anderson in his Rolling
Stone interview and he was asked whether he thinks
anything will happen to commemorate the 50th anniversary. He
I'll call you! You'll be the first person I call [laughs]. Like anything, my idea of Yes is ARW at the moment. That's what I feel is the Yes I always dreamed of coming back together with.
In a late
Jan 2017 interview, Howe was asked about the Union
tour, and replied, "It's not something that we know we're going to
do again. Obviously it would need good planning." White was asked
why don't they "go back to Anderson & Wakeman" in his Mar
2017 YesWorld Q&A; he replied:
Well, you know, I’m open to anything in the future. I’m not opposed to the idea of that down the line but I’m part of the YES touring band and it makes more sense to continue with the group of musicians I’m currently working with… we have a great working vibe between us. You asked why we don’t “go back” and that’s really key because I always try to be positive and continue to move forward instead, I want to make progressively new and interesting music and we’re performing great on stage together. I’m happy with the way things are and looking forward to continuing on with the current YES line up.
In his late
Mar 2017 Q&A, Howe was asked something similar. He
This topic has gone round the houses a little bit. Before we can take on board ideas, there has to be a good line of communication. And as far as I understand ARW aren’t really interested in doing this and we’re most probably not really interested in doing this either.
Now that sounds like a big shut down, but in another way, one’s gotta understand that things aren’t always what they appear. Reinventing the ‘Union Tour’ is not really a concept that anyone from either of the lineups of YES or ARW have endorsed.
So basically, I would say, it’s not foreseeable. I think there’s ways that we can celebrate YES’s 50th year and most probably they want to as well. I think the complexity is unmeasurable by the fans. Those things aren’t easy. It’s not any one person that’s particularly making it difficult, but people can make it difficult and then it’s gotta be done in the right spirit. I’d say don’t hold your breath.
In a May
2017 interview, White was a little bit more positive:
"There's a possibility [of a reunion] way down the line here[.]
The next tour is the 50th anniversary of the band, so who knows
what will happen then."
Relations between the band have not gotten any better since ARW switched name to "Yes featuring Anderson Rabin Wakeman". Howe was interviewed for an article in the Jul 2017 issue of Prog on the subject, using language described by the magazine as "both damning and colourful", but he subsequently asked for his comments not to be used. However, it is also revealed that:
he [Howe] wrote to them before, their tour, wishing them good luck. "That's my true spirit: that anyone can play Yes."
In the same issue, Downes and Wakeman both professed to be
unbothered about the other band, although their language comes
across as rather passive aggressive! Downes said: "We're focusing
on what we're doing [...] We wish them well. We've got no axe to
grind. We hope they succeed. They may have something against us.
If they do that's their problem not ours." Wakeman: "I don't care
what they do. They're fully entitled to do whatever they live.
[...] I have no idea what they're doing [...] It's of no interest
to me. [...] They're not a rival band. They're another lot out
there playing Yes music, same as we are. We're just doing it our
way [...] Good luck to them." Sherwood meanwhile said that he
would go see Yes featuring ARW perform if he was free.
Asked how he feels about the other band touring at the same time
as them, White said in an Aug
2017 interview, "It's quite funny. Quite frankly, I don't
think about it very much. [...] They're doing their thing." In
answer to a similar question in this Aug
2017 interview, Sherwood replied:
It’s interesting and strange at the same time. I haven’t really been paying too much attention to it because we keep staying on our track [...] I’m happy to hear as much Yes music in 2017 from the participants thereof and see the music thriving. There’s the obvious political push and pull that goes on in Yes; it’s always been that way and will always be that way. [...] there’s always much chaos and many moments to have it. (laughs) It’s really not surprising that we’re in this current state of affairs, but we go forward as Yes doing what we do.
On Eddie Trunk's radio show
broadcasting from the Cruise to the Edge 2018 in early Feb,
Sherwood said much the same: "From my perspective, I'm a long-time
Yes fan, the more Yes music out there in 2018, the better. Um...
obviously there is a lot of politics involved, but that's way
above my pay grade. I just want to play the music […] It's all
good as far as I'm concerned."
Before hearing they would be inducted, in a Nov 2016 interview, asked about a reunion with Yes if the band get inducted in the Hall of Fame, Wakeman said: "I think there's no chance of us ever reuniting[.] There's not a hope in hell of that happening."
In an Apr
2016 interview, Howe was asked whether it is fair to say
that Anderson will never be back in the band. He replied: "I don't
think that's fair at all [...] I don't know what the future holds
[...] We're just moving ahead as we are. [...] We need
certainties, y'know, we need availabilities, we need, y'know,
commitments and things like that". He was later asked if the band
still has good relationships with R Wakeman: "Well, I hope we try
and keep good relations with everybody, y'know [...] people put
their foot in it occasionally [laughs] But [...] there are always
people from the bands you've been in that you have stayed
closer to and other people you haven't and that very much depends
on who makes any effort and who's got any time and, y'know, how
much you can, so, y'know, it spreads itself evenly across the...
so many members of Yes [laughs] that we've had, besides the other
bands I hasten to add I've been in. But, y'know, um, it's a lovely
thing, y'know, there's a pool of musicians and, y'know, we can
reach out to each other when we want to." In a Jul
2016 interview, asked whether they would work with
ex-members, Howe focused on the current band's plans and said:
"Well, I guess what we're going to do is we're going to try to
contain ourselves in our ambition and figure out how to keep these
things going. It takes a lot of work and a lot of agreement."
Asked in the Dec
2016 interview when he last spoke to Anderson, Howe replied,
"I don't know whether I can reveal things like that. It's a little
bit personal. We've been working in different bands and different
areas for a very long time."
Sherwood was asked in an Aug
2016 interview about the band's future: "Could another
merger be on the horizon? Who even owns the Yes name?" The article
“All that stuff is above my pay grade,” Sherwood says with a laugh. “Let’s be honest. Did anyone think Yes could survive Chris Squire not being there? I wasn’t sure, and I was the one being asked to do it. But it seems to be surviving and thriving.” The future is “a hard thing to even discuss, because you just don’t know until you get there.”
Sherwood says he tries not to draw “hard lines” about authenticity. “Life evolves and music evolves and bands change,” he says. “We’re losing guys. That’s sad to say, but it’s true. But the music lives on and it’s a testament to the music.”
Aug 2015 interview, Howe was asked whether "Chris' passing
make it any more likely we'll see Yes work with former members
like Jon Anderson or Rick Wakeman in some capacity, even just for
one big concert to celebrate the band's legacy?" He replied:
I'd hate to say no, so I'll say I don't know. [...] From inside it's quite different. We have to try to stay on our course, and if we change something that changes multiple other things, then we don't know where we are. We spent a lot of time in 2008 kind of finding out where we are, with Benoit and Oliver Wakeman and now with Geoff Downes and Jon Davison and now with Billy Sherwood. In other words, we can't open the floodgates without thinking. So sure, we give these things some thought, but until we come to a conclusion, we'd rather do nothing than the wrong thing.
In a Sep
2015 interview (conducted late Aug), Howe talks about
several past members of the band, saying how they met with Moraz
while on tour. He then says, "We have some contact with Jon
Anderson. [...] I think we ought to see this group as sort of an
In an interview
recorded in Apr 2016, White said, "I talk to Jon [Anderson]
[...] on occasion. [...] I call him on his birthday, and that kind
of stuff. [...] Rick, I haven't seen him for an awful long time.
I'd like to see him again, y'know, because we used to get on very
well." Asked if Anderson and Wakeman might ever return to Yes, he
said, "I wouldn't rule it out [...] put it that way, but I think
Jon doesn't want to do these long, arduous tours any more and if
it was, it would be a kind of cameo appearance at some bigger
venues like London [...] or Los Angeles". Asked in an early
Nov 2016 interview whether, in the context of putting on a
united performance should Yes be inducted into the Hall of Fame,
there is animosity between the two bands, White replied: "There's
a certain amount, y'know. I actually talk to everybody, so... so,
it's a matter of other people sorting their opinions out". In the
2016 interview, Howe was asked, "How do you feel about ARW
being on tour now? Do you think that's a good idea? Are you cool
with it?" He replied:
[Laughs] It's an idea that has every right to exist, as much as ABWH when we were together in the late 1980s. Basically there's room for anybody to play Yes music. We love to hear other people play Yes music. These guys have quite a bit of credibility to do that and they are outstanding musicians, so there's no reason why they shouldn't go out and play. There's not any reason.
Apparently responding to comments by ARW in a number of
interviews, Sherwood posted
to Facebook in early Oct 2016:
In light of current events...
In my view, anyone who puts on the uniform I.E. served playing with Yes, making records, touring etc... deserves respect for doing so (regardless of era), without ending up under a bus. It's my honor to play under the "YES" flag, of which there is only one flying... I have always been loyal to that flag... even at times when I was under fire for doing so (see OYE lol). I know Chris was loyal, as he was the only member to NEVER leave... I'm humbled and honored to now be back in "YES" [...] especially having been personally asked by my long time friend and musical comrade (inside and out of YES) Squire himself, he asked me to carry on in his position in the "band" and so it shall be done. My heart and soul are in it to win it, every time I play those bass parts I'm thinking of Chris and "YES" and what it all means to have had fate guide my life in this most unexpected manner, Yes was my world growing up as a kid. It became part of my career as an adult, a very surreal destiny indeed. With that I will continue to serve, putting on the uniform of a "YES" man once again, and as I promised Chris, I'll give it my full passion and priority... always remembering my fallen hero.
Asked in a May
2016 interview if he could see himself reuniting with other
members of Yes, Anderson replied, "No, just Trevor [Rabin] and
Rick [Wakeman]. That's enough." In an Apr
2016 interview, Anderson was asked about the continuing Yes,
replying: "It's just business, and it's a group of people going
out there and playing music that's very valid. I have a different
perspective on what it is, and there are bands out there
performing Yes music, called tribute bands[.] That's kind of the
feeling of what's going on. That's why me and Trevor [Rabin] say,
'Well, listen if we're going to get together [in Anderson Rabin
Wakeman], we've got to reignite Yes[.]'" In another May
2016 interview (presumably conducted in Apr), Anderson was
asked whether they would reunite in the near future. He replied,
"No, just Trevor and Rick. That's enough." Asked in another Apr 2016
interview how, if he had "a magic wand", he'd like to see
Yes wrap up, Anderson replied: "Create some of the greatest music
in the next 20 years. I'm still Yes, I'm still part of Yes in my
heart and soul. I didn't leave the band, the band went off on
their merry way when I wasn't very well. [giggles] [...]
I've got it in my DNA".
In yet another
May 2016 interview, Anderson said, "My history is intact
musically[.] Yes became a brand and a business deal and that is
not my idea of what music is. Music needs to touch you
spiritually. When it is driven by money, then it takes away the
joy of creation." In an interview for the Spring 2016 issue of Progression,
Anderson was asked if he "keeps tabs on his former band". He
replied: "Not really, no. I know they're on the road. Musicians
need to make a living and that's what they're doing. [...] there's
only two of them left". And in this Jun
2016 interview, he said: "people ask me, "What do you think
of Yes?" I, honestly, never left Yes. Because Yes has been my
life. The band itself are doing what they want to do. I can't tell
them what to do, because it's not my band. They've got the name,
but I've got the state of mind about what true "Yes music" should
[Squire] would just always call and be in touch, and we never stopped talking. On numerous occasions since I’d left the band and was very busy doing film work, he called a number of times and said, ‘You know, I think it’s time for you to get up from your desk job and get back on the street.’ And you know, I was always a bit reluctant about, if the band’s going to be called Yes, for it to not have Jon in it. It seemed a bit strange to me. But the prime reason was that I was just so busy with what I was doing and really enjoying it. Chris put me together with two of the managers that were there during the time, but, besides that, we just remained very good friends.Asked in a Jul 2014 interview whether there is "an irreducible core to this band, somebody without whom you would just say, let's call it a day," Howe responded:
[laughs] Not really. We’ve all been replaced by somebody at one time or another. What I’m concerned about is that if one loses the idea of the adventurousness in this music — the dynamics that we need to play with that make the sensitivity and the crescendos and the lulls and all those things — if we suddenly think that we don’t need to do that, that we just play the songs, hammer them out, that would be a nonsensing of Yes, really. When we play “Five Percent for Nothing” for the first time ever onstage, we will be showing, if not ourselves, we’re showing the audience also that we’re challenging ourselves. If we don’t, then this isn’t Yes [...] That would be a good reason for you to moan all over the Internet, that Yes have lost the flame to be adventurous and to be musical and to be subtle as well as powerful [...] Subtlety is what Yes is.In the Mar 2012 Classic Rock, Squire floats this possibility, once suggested by R Wakeman around the time of Union:
I really feel that the name should have been retired. I think it was disrespectful to Chris. There were all sorts of stories going around that “Oh, Chris wanted it to continue.” I know for a fact people that spoke to Chris and that isn’t true.In an Aug 2014 interview, Davison said:
[Yes's music i]s similar to the way classical music works. Long after those marvelous composers [...] passed, and the centuries moved forward, their music lives on. It’s not so much about the personality anymore. And people have a hard time seeing that now, because obviously the members [of Yes] are still alive, apart from Peter Banks [...] But it’s so easy to associate the music with the personality, and that causes a lot of conflict among fans. But ultimately, it’s about the music, and just taking the music forward. And there will always be a Yes. And I’m a lover of Jon Anderson as much as I’m a lover of Chris Squire, but you can’t fight it. And when something has that power to it, it’s beautiful, and beauty transcends all of that personality, and it’s always gonna belong, you just can’t put a cap on it and say, “Well, the original members aren’t doing this music anymore, so it’s over.” That can never be. It just can’t be.In a Jul 2012 interview for The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Howe explains Yes's longevity by saying, "[T]hat's the answer to your question: We change[.] We're like an orchestra; an orchestra can change membership." In an interview for the Feb 2014 issue of Prog, Downes was asked how long he can see the band continuing: "As long as people want to see and hear us. [...] If we can get on a stage to play, and the fans still buy tickets, then we'll do it. [...] There's a lot more life in us." In an Aug 2015 interview, White was asked, "Chris [Squire] often joked that Yes could conceivably continue on with completely new members, that the name could just encompass the spirit and go on for new generations. Now that idea seems even more possible." He responded: "[Laughs] I never heard that one, but the music is kind of timeless, really."
Someone asked me the other day, “Do you think the band will ever get to the point where there’s no [classic] members?” And I said, perhaps, because it’s the music that makes it all worthwhile. There are a few Yes tribute bands out there, but not as many as other tribute bands because the music is quite hard to play.In a Jul 2019 interview, asked if Yes could continue on "for decades", "with younger generations", Sherwood answered, "Yeah, I do. I could see that happening. Because the music is so good…it's like classical music [...] Anything that's timeless is always going to be revisited. And while we would love all of the original members to still be alive, reality is that life goes on and we lose people as we go. But the music lives on and I think that's important and I think it will go on in the future." In an Aug 2019 interview, asked whether Yes could continue after his death, Howe said: "I'm not overly possessive in what Yes is. I know that to help Yes you've got to have good ideas so if a guitarist could replace me and add good ideas then I don't see why not." In a Jul 2020 interview, Davison was asked if Yes will continue on, replacing members; he replied: "Well, it's hard to say, it's hard to imagine, y'know, losing these key members, these classic original members. It's possible, but of course we would need their blessing. [...] I can see it happening. [...] I think both Chris Squire and Rick Wakeman in the past have said, Yes will always go on, just like as true, monumental works of music in the classical style have gone on. [...] So, in a way, they have given us the blessing to do so. So maybe Billy, Jay and myself are like Star Trek: The Next Generation."
Animated film project: Roger
Dean's "Floating Islands" film or something else
Yes had preliminary discussions about possible film ventures, including one being developed by Roger Dean. In an Apr 2007 interview for Mexican newspaper, Reforma, Squire said that the band have been in contact with Universal Pictures about making an animated movie about the band's history from their formation to the present day, including their more representative songs. The article makes a comparison with The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine":
Hace poco la compañía Universal Pictures se mostró interesada en hacer una película de animación en la que se muestra un poco de nuestra trayectoria musical, desde cuando surgimos, hasta la actualidad, incluyendo obviamente, nuestras canciones más representativas. Lo estamos analizando, todavía hay algunas puntos por precisar, como la historia, de qué trataría y cómo se abordaría, cuáles etapas de la carrera se incluirían, las canciones, pero creo que es muy pronto para hablar del tema, esperemos pronto poder dar más detalles. [...]An Aug 2012 interview with the same newspaper, Reforma, raises the idea again, along side plans for a live residency by the band. The article is not specific, but Squire seems to respond that both ideas are being considered, but will not occur in 2012 or 2013. See details above.
Son muchos años, muchas anécdotas que contar, creo que tendríamos que seleccionar muy bien lo que quisiéramos abordar, porque una película, comúnmente tiene una corta duración, cerca de dos horas y es muy poco para contar tanto, ya casi cumplimos cincuenta años de estar juntos.
It is unclear how Yes are or were involved with planning for
"Floating Islands". The film was expected to feature music by the
band. Asked in the Mar 2008 interview about Yes making some music
especially for the project, Dean replied: "all members of the band
have spoken enthusiastically about doing that. [...] That's
definitely what we would like." He goes on to say he would like
both existing and new songs, and discusses the options for either
existing or new recordings of old songs. He talks about both
"Awaken" and "Soon". Back in Jun 2007, Dean had said that Yes are
not currently involved with the project beyond authorising the use
of their music. A report from around 2005 had that the film was
intended to contain 8-12 classic tracks (a re-recorded "Close to
the Edge" was mentioned in one rumour) and at least 4-5 new
recordings. In Jun 2007, Dean confirmed there had previously been
discussion of Yes writing new music for the film and that the band
had been thinking of "re-recording everything" (presumably meaning
re-recording classic pieces), but that there hadn't been any
discussion of new music recently with Yes then being dormant.
Further back, there were more reports from Yes about contributing. In a Dec 2004 Delicious Agony interview, White said, "We're starting to write music for it." In his Christmas Newsletter 2004, Wakeman said: "There are certainly ideas in the offing which include [...] making a film/and/or DVD with Roger Dean involved with all of the visuals which I particularly like, but there is much to be sorted out within the band itself before any decisions". Wakeman indicated that one of their main reasons to prefer the DVD format over CDs is Internet piracy. In an Oct 2005 interview with Squire for YesFANZ, he said:
We are looking at various options from the various major companies. Universal have shown interest and we are going to be looking at trying to put together a show that maybe then after the film has been made of the same, we can then tour the world with that kind of a look and with that kind of combining the film and the touring aspect.The interviewer, Brian Draper, then raised the Dean project. Squire:
I think Roger’s floating Islands idea is a very good project. But after Lord of the Rings was made [...] with such good quality, it[']s hard to know quite whether Roger may be a bit late in thinking about that because it has been done so well with the correct amount of money [...] His idea, I fully support it but I am not quite sure where it is going to go. I had a couple of meetings with him to try and figure it out but so far nothing is happening.In a late May 2020 webcast, asked about the film, Dean said it had "never been off the agenda". He said he was working with a scriptwriter, but described them as "working on it by stealth". He also said part of the story being turned into a script was in the previous Yes tour book.
[...] I think pretty much [he is looking for funding]. [...] Yes is a separate entity really from Roger [...] I have to look out for what’s best for Yes as opposed to Roger. But I think the idea of animated film for a Yes musical project is a good one but there are various options on the table that we are looking at.
Archival live releases
|Songs from Tsongas
receives its debut release on vinyl. A 4LP release (Ear
Music, EAMLP14312) is out soon: different retailers list
different dates in Jul or Aug 2020. Tracks—LP 1:
YES must have recorded many things beyond 1972, hopefully tapes survive and will turn up in good shape. I have mixed some of their live stuff before, but it was considered (I agreed) too poor to release, with sound issues, keyboard tunings, etc. In particular a 1976 show we found with Patrick could have been amazing (JFK Stadium in Philadelphia maybe?), but the tapes made it clear it was a very sour night.Jon Dee (who organised the Rock Aid Armenia project with Squire, Downes and umpteen others) was tasked by Yes's management to collate soundboard and FM radio broadcasts that could be released. (If you have high quality copies of such, please contact Jon.) He has sent various recordings to Yes's management, including of the showcase by Cinema when they were looking for a record deal.
of Yes songs & other news
Cov3r to Cov3r is the third in a series of covers albums by Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy and Randy George. It includes "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" with vocals from Jon Davison: see under Davison for details.
An orchestral version of "Owner of a Lonely Heart" sung by Trevor Horn is on Trevor Horn Reimagines the Eighties. Trevor Rabin is putting what he described as "a variation" of "Endless Dream: Silent Spring" on his forthcoming solo album: see under Rabin for details.
The New Empire cover "Looking Around" on their debut album Second Lifetime: see details under Banks.
Swedish band Manticore covered "Release, Release" on their Aug 2018 album Next Step: Flight 19 (Space Place Records). The 6-track album also includes 3 original pieces, a cover of Greg Lake's "I Believe in Father Christmas", with lyrics by Peter Sinfield (worked on "Run with the Fox"), and a cover of a John Wetton solo song.
Allegaeon have recorded a prog-metal cover of "Roundabout".
Caballero Reynaldo's previous versions of "I've Seen All Good People" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart" are on his 2020 compilation album, Antologia Vol. 1 (1995-2020).
Barrow, has written a book about Yes's music. "Solid Mental
Grace: Listening to the Music of Yes" (Cultured
is now out. Orders
available here. Simon explains the book's approach:
Aymeric Leroy (translated Bill Bruford's autobiography) wrote "Yes" (Le Mot et le Reste), a 352-page history of the band in French, now out.
Journalist Jon Kirkman (worked with Yes, Asia; Cruise to the Edge host) wrote an authorised book about Yes consisting of full interviews with various band members, "Time and a Word: The Yes Interviews" (Facebook, YouTube; Rufus Stone Limited Editions), which was initially released as a limited edition. An updated, large format, softback version followed under the name "Yes Dialogue" (Stereo33Books) as a large format, limited edition (600 copies). The book then received a general paperback release under the original title. It contained new and archive interviews with current and past band members, covering Anderson, Squire, Bruford, Kaye, Banks, Howe, Wakemans R & O, White, Moraz, Downes, Rabin, Sherwood, Brislin, David and Davison, as well as with Phil Franks, the photographer for The Yes Album. The book also contained many photographs, many not previously published (including from Moraz' personal collection). New material for the softback included additional interviews with Squire, Downes, Sherwood and Horn (Horn's conducted in May 2016), and interviews with Roger Dean and Mabel Greer's Toyshop's Robert Hagger and Clive Bayley. Kirkman is now re-releasing the book through Lulu as four paperback volumes with more interviews (including another with Kaye), but without any photographs. The first two volumes—"Dialogue" (ISBN 978-1-78972-377-9) and "Dialogue 2" (ISBN 978-1-78972-396-0)—are now out, with the final two due around Nov/Dec 2019.
Kirkman has another book, the limited edition (330
from Photographic Oceans", with 275 live photos of
the band in concert—live, from sound checks and
backstage—from 1969-2019. The book, now out, includes an
Kirkman has two more books, "Tales
from the Prog Vaults" (now out) and "Tales from the
Prog Vaults 2" (due), with various unseen interview with
prog musicians, including Downes and Sherwood.
New Day Yesterday: UK Progressive Rock & The 1970s"
(Omnibus Press, ISBN 9781780389202) by Mike Barnes was
released 27 Feb and covers progressive rock from the late
'60s and through the '70s.
Sid Smith is
working on a book compiling many of the liner notes he has
written over the years, corrected and expanded. The book
will largely cover music of the 1970s and will probably
include his notes for the Panegyric Yes re-releases.
Garry Freeman (author of "The Bootleg Guide" and the forthcoming "Emerson, Lake and Palmer—A Live Guide 1970-1978") has been working on "Yes—A Live Guide 1968-1979" (Helter Skelter Publishing). The book aims to review as many shows as possible from this period, including details on equipment specifications and so on. The Gottlieb brothers are working on a book on Yes collectibles and Bill Martin (author of "Music of Yes—Structure and Vision in Progressive Rock") has been rumoured to be working on a new Yes book.
"Melody Makers" is a documentary film about the magazine
Melody Maker, principally from the mid-1960s to the
end of the 1970s. Interviewees include Steve Howe, Alan
White, Chris Squire, Roger Dean, Barrie Wentzell (Melody Maker photographer),
Chris Welch (Melody Maker
journalist, Yes biographer), Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Steve Nardelli (The Syn), Sonja Kristina (Curved Air) and Judy Dyble (ex-Fairport Convention, ex-Giles, Giles
& Fripp). The film was shown at a number of
US and UK film festivals in 2017. It was released in North
America on Nov 2019 and is now available on DVD and
my review here.
And people ask me, “What do you think of Yes [today]?” I, honestly, never left Yes. Because Yes has been my life. The band itself are doing what they want to do. I can’t tell them what to do, because it’s not my band. They’ve got the name, but I’ve got the state of mind about what true “Yes music” should sound likeIn late Jan 2017, ARW started using the 'Yes' name in promotion, billing themselves as "Yes feat. Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman (ARW)". They did so against the wishes of the current Yes band. See more under ARW. When ARW then made a press announcement switching to that name on 10 Apr, Yes announced:
While Jon Anderson has rights to use the name as one of the co-owners of the trademark, Yes' position is that every effort should be made by promoters, ticket agencies and all involved to respect Yes' magnificant and loyal fanbase and minimize confusion regarding the use of Yes Featuring Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman.An Apr 2017 UltimateClassicRock article reports that, at the time of Squire's death, ownership of the Yes brand (whatever precisely that means) was jointly held by Squire/Anderson/Howe/White. The article talks of a gentleman's agreement to that point between Anderson and Squire over use of the name, although it is unclear whether this is their theory or was confirmed by sources. They quote management for the continuity Yes as saying that while Anderson "has a co-ownership right to use the name", he also "presumably" has "a duty to ensure that the use does not cause unnecessary confusion for fans." Yes management also said they had been given exclusive use of the classic Dean logo. (Roger Dean himself said to one fan in late 2017 that he is open to doing cover art for ARW.) The article quotes Anderson's management too: "Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman have as much right – if not more so – to call themselves Yes, since Jon Anderson, the co-founder of the group, has always had the rights to use the name and the trademark".
They`ve been really cool about it. It`s never been a problem. I had a conversation with the other guys and just said to them to let people know who`s in the band as I keep getting phone calls about me playing somewhere but I`m not in your band, so please tell people who`s in the band so they don`t expect to see me.A Jun 2018 article in The San Diego Union-Tribune stated that, "A longstanding agreement stipulated that the only band that could be billed as Yes was the one that included Squire. After his death, Squire's widow told Anderson she saw no reason he, Wakeman and Rabin could not also assume the Yes name. So they did." Asked in another Jun 2018 interview whether each band has the other's blessing, White said:
Well, I don’t know. I don’t really think about it much, to tell you the truth. It’s their thing; their version of Yes. We do our version, but really this band is still Yes. There are comments that come from the other camp, but I wouldn’t reply to the comments because I don’t need to.Rumour suggests there have actually been ongoing arguments over the use of the Dean logo, with ARW periodically using it and then stopping using it.
It’s a lot of business stuff. We own the name. They own the name. Jon Anderson and I own it, but the logo we own, because Steve Howe owns most of the logo.A Mar 2019 interview with White had this exchange:
Interviewer: Who owns the name “Yes” since there are two of them now?
White: Well, there’s not really two of them. This Yes I’m in is the guys with the Yes name and always had it. And so legally, we are still Yes. Even though the other guys were in it for long periods of time at different times, they’ve all done other things. Chris and myself had never done anything else. We just carried on.
Interviewer: But they call themselves “Yes featuring ARW.” How is that legal if you guys own the name?
White: They can legally do that because Jon still has some of the copyright. It’s kind of a legal thing. They they can say “Yes Featuring ARW,” but they can’t call themselves “Yes.” We own the logo.
|The The Peter Banks Musical Estate are
The Right Honourable Recording Company Ltd, NOISY010) by
David Cross and Peter Banks, was released 17 Jan 2020 in
Europe and is due 24 Jan in the US. The album is based on an
afternoon session of improvisations by Cross (ex-King
Crimson) and Banks on 10 Aug 2010. In an interview
in the Jul 2015 issue of Prog, Cross had described
the session: "he was astonishing. [...] I couldn't keep up
with what he was doing. [...] It was a big experience for
me. I've got that tape hidden away. But who knows? Perhaps
one day that will get released." Banks had wanted this
material to be released.
Additional musicians were recorded during 2018/9 and the resultant album was produced by Tony Lowe and Cross. Those guests are: Geoff Downes, Tony Kaye, Billy Sherwood, Oliver Wakeman, Jay Schellen, Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson), Jeremy Stacey (King Crimson, ex-The Syn, ex-Squackett), Andy Jackson (worked with Pink Floyd) and Randy Raine-Reusch (worked on The Ladder). Tracks:
Buy David Cross & Peter Banks' Crossover
Bayley and Bob Hagger (ex-So Rare)
reunited Mabel Greer's Toyshop in 2013. They recorded, with
Sherwood and Tony
Kaye, an album, New Way of Life. In an interview,
Hagger referred to the original Paris recordings, "the Paris
Tapes", with just him, Bayley and Barré, "before Billy
produced the music and Tony joined. The label want to
publish a separate album with that music that gives a
slightly different feel. It is less sophisticated but has an
immediacy." However, this has yet to appear. In another
early 2015 interview,
Hagger again referred to "the Paris Tapes", saying, "it's
worthy of another album at some point".
Max Hunt (Yes tribute band Fragile, worked with Jon Anderson, Fish) joined on keys in 2015. (Bayley & Hunt went on to release a duo album in 2020: see under Bayley.) A 9-track album, The Secret, was released in Dec 2017 on CD, performed by Bayley (guitars, lead vocals), Hunt (keys, guitar, backing vocals), Hagger (drums, percussion) and Hugo Barré (JP Raillot Quartet, works with Alex Keren; bass). The final track, "The Secret", was written around an existing guitar solo by Pete Banks. The band have been hoping to tour the UK and possibly Europe.
Tribute to Keith Emerson & Greg Lake (Purple
Pyramid/Cleopatra Records) is a tribute album of mostly ELP
songs and one King Crimson song produced, recorded and mixed
Sherwood, who also played bass and additional guitars.
Drums are by Jay
Schellen. The album was released first through
Bandcamp on 18 Jan 2020. General release, including a
coloured LP, came 10 Apr. Tracks:
Prog Rock Christmas (a.k.a. A Prog
Christmas; Purple Pyramid) is an album of Xmas tunes,
again produced, recorded and mixed by Sherwood, who also
provided additional drums, bass, guitars and keys. There is
a CD and limited edition 12" colour LP (red or white) out 1
Nov 2019 in the US and 15 Nov in the UK. There was also a
digital release. Tracks:
Tracks 11-13 are only on the CD version. "Linus &
Lucy" and "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" were produced,
recorded and mixed by Sherwood in 2009 and released on An
All-Star Salute to Christmas.
Sherwood started production at the beginning of Mar 2019, recording acoustic 12-string for "I Believe in Father Christmas". Furr recorded backing vocals for the album with Sherwood on the Yes tour in Jun 2019. Haslam was recorded by Rave Tesar (Renaissance); Kristina by Norton; Van Leer by Geert Scheijgrond.
Kerzner wrote on Instagram on 11 Jun 2019 about "A cool collaboration with Jon D[avison] and friends"; he expanded on Twitter: "Working with Jon and Billy on a new album/project". In a 4 Jul 2020 interview, asked about the project, Sherwood said, "We've been working on some things and should have some news [...] in the coming months". I presume this Arc of Life, described above. As well as In Continuum and a Yes tribute album (see next paragraph), Kerzner had written in Sep 2018 on ProgressiveEars.com that, "I may do some more stuff with both Jon, Billy and Geoff (either separately or in combination with each other)." Again on ProgressiveEars.com, now in Aug 2020, Kerzner said he had "more than one side project with various musicians from Yes [...] in one band/project the music is co-written by me and in the other it isn't so..." Soon after on Facebook he said, "I have yet another original music project that's Yes-related but it's almost completely unannounced apart from me hinting about it. There is a band name and no one but the people involved know what it is. It also involves someone from King Crimson but that's all I can say about that! Haha." In a Sep 2020 ProgressiveEars.com post, Kerzner mentioned that he's working with Jimmy Haun (ex-CIRCA:, ex-Chris Squire Experiment/Conspiracy, worked with Yes, Jon Anderson, Steve Porcaro), although he didn't say on what project. He later posted, "I'll be able to share more info about the project [with Haun] soon. Got a few in the works involving some of the guys mentioned in this thread [about Yes]. One project that I'm co-leader/co-singer of and another where I'm just the keyboard player for a change."
Released Nov 2018 was Yesterday and Today: A 50th
Anniversary Tribute to Yes by Sonic Elements. Sonic Elements (Facebook; SoundCloud) is a group
of progressive/classic rock projects led by Kerzner dating back
some years and connected to his music software development company
Sonic Reality. Kerzner
performs keys, bass is mostly by Billy Sherwood
or Fernando Perdomo (In Continuum, The
New Empire, worked with Mika), with other guests
including Tony Kaye, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison, Jay
Schellen, Tom Brislin,
Johnny Bruhns (ex-CIRCA:, ex-Yoso, ex-Yes tribute band Roundabout;
guitar), Mark Murdock (ex-Empire, The
New Empire) and others. Details
in Yescography. Tracks:
The basic 13-track album is released through Cherry Red (RCPLCD06),
with the bonus tracks available digitally. The two bonus tracks,
plus the album sampler, were released digitally as a standalone
through Bandcamp. There is also a special
edition, with the 13-track CD and 10 high res digital
tracks: the two bonus tracks as before, plus "Times Gone" (with
Sherwood; the bonus track from XYZ—A Tribute to Rush),
"Yescape" (with Kerzner), "Cinema Demo" (with Sherwood, McStine),
"Changes Demo" (with Sherwood), "I'm Running Demo" (with
Sherwood), "Soon (Instrumental)" (with Perdomo, Cass), "The Fish
Mash Up" (with Sherwood, Perdomo, Kerzner), "Wurm Jam" (with
Dunnery, Perdomo). Kerzner is open to the possibility of a volume
Further Sonic Elements releases are expected, including a
lot of work with Sherwood. The original idea for Sonic
Elements was to do tribute albums using drum tracks
available through Sonic Reality by various famous
drummers: a Rush tribute using Peart's drum tracks, a Pink
Floyd tribute using Mason's, etc., thus mixing
elements like the original recordings (parts recorded by
the original drummer) with new elements, although the Yes
tribute didn't take this approach. Then, as Kerzner
ProgressiveEars.com (Nov 2018):
Thus "Trifecta" and "Times Gone", which were released on
Tribute to Rush, featured newly composed
material performed by Sherwood and Kerzner to an existing
drum track for Rush's "YYZ" and "Tom Sawyer" respectively
that was recorded by Neil Peart for a sample library at
Sonic Reality with producer Nick Raskulinecz
(worked with Rush).
edition of XYZ—A Tribute to Rush was
released 12 Jan 2020 to commemorate Neil Peart's death.
This includes "Times Gone", which was only available with
some versions of the original album, and then adds three
more songs: "I Can't Take You with Me" by District 97
(5:36); "The Impulsive Type" by Glass Hammer (4:37); and
"Man Unkind" by In Continuum (5:50). "The Impulsive Type"
is another new piece based on a Peart drum track from
2017's Untold Tales: see on
Jon Davison's page for more details. "Man Unkind" is
from In Continuum's Acceleration Theory Part One:
AlienA: also described
on Davison's page. These extra songs are also on the
XYZ—Charity Edition (Dedicated to Neil Peart),
which raises money for charity.
Earlier that month, Kerzner explained on
with Billy I've already recorded a LOT of material, both original and cover/tribute material that's been sitting here waiting to be finished when the time slot opens up. [...] Billy and I have been friends for decades so we could always collaborate deeper at some point and do more than experimental creative re-workings of drum tracks. That would be fun. The only thing is, he's one of the busiest guys I know (and I'm quite busy myself!)
Sonic Elements Fantasy Interactive
Dark Side of the Moon w/ Alan Parsons
Sonic Elements XYZ Fantasy Band Tribute to Rush featuring Neil Peart Drums
Sonic Elements Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Fantasy Soundtrack Tribute to Genesis
Sonic Elements Trifecta (original music with Billy Sherwood and drums from Terry Bozzio, Rod Morgenstein, Neil Peart...)
Sonic Elements TBA fantasy progressive rock project featuring...
... all involving Sherwood in some capacity. A 5-song EP, XYZ—A Tribute to Rush,
was released previously. Details
in Yescography. In Apr 2012,
Kerzner said that there:
will at least be another EP of
different [Rush] material (the "keyboard era" stuff) and then
eventually a full album and that will have different versions of
some of these songs on it as well.
Plus there's going to interactive versions of the songs similar to Jammit except they can work inside products like AmpliTube where you can play guitar through modeled amps and pedals or inside Garageband and play anything you want. That's coming along with Neil Peart's isolated drum tracks. But these interactive versions are more for musicians to interact with.
In an Oct 2012 post to ProgressiveEars.com, he said the next
Rush-related release would be the full-length album Moving
Signals & Waves, covering tracks from the Rush albums Moving
Pictures, Signals and Permanent Waves.
Mixing was going on in May 2013. Confirmed tracks for the album
Man" with Sherwood (vocals, guitar, bass), Kerzner (keys)
and Perdomo (guitars); "Spirit
of Radio", with Sherwood (bass), Kerzner (keys), Mike Keneally (ex-Frank
Zappa, ex-Stanley Snail, worked with Robert Fripp; guitars),
D'Virgilio (vocals); and "Subdivisions", with Kerzner, John Payne
(ex-Asia, Asia Featuring John
Payne; vocals) and Erik Norlander (ex-Asia
Featuring John Payne). Another song on the album
features Kerzner (keys), Sherwood (bass, guitar), Steve Hackett
(Squackett, ex-GTR, ex-Genesis) and Keith Emerson
(ex-ELP), while either that one or another features
guitar from both Hackett and Francis
Dunnery (ex-It Bites, ex-The Syn, worked with ABWH).
The album was also to include the 4 Rush tracks on the XYZ
EP, but in different versions. At various times, Kerzner or
others have described covers of further Rush songs:
Dunnery is also singing on some of the Rush songs.
Glass Hammer did a track for the Trifecta release, but
this was eventually released instead on Glass Hammer's Untold Tales
under the title "The Impulsive Type" (see under Davison,
who is on other tracks on that album). Seemingly referring or
related to the Trifecta album project, in Jan 2012,
Kerzner said on Facebook: "Among the various music releases you
can expect [...] are some original tunes, many of which have been
done with ex-Yes-man Billy Sherwood along with SR sampled grooves
of great drummers such as Rod Morgenstein of the Dixie Dregs."
There was an accompanying
clip to a piece entitled "Razors Edge" with Sherwood and
samples from Morgenstein. Then there's "Racing Through Time" (sample),
another original piece by Sherwood, this time using a sample
library from Alan Parsons. On Facebook in
Aug 2020, Kerzner referred to: "possibly an album of all
original music released this year as well with Billy singing
most of it and playing bass and some of the guitar. Me on keys
and second vocals, acoustic guitar and producing it."
Also due is a Genesis tribute. The plan, after some evolution,
was for a tribute to The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway led by
Kerzner (keys) and Dunnery (lead vocals), both of whom also worked
on Steve Hackett's Genesis Revisited 2 album. The album, It:
A Tribute to Genesis & The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (teaser),
was due 2015 but has been delayed. On Facebook in Mar 2020,
Kerzner said the album would be released this year. It features
multiple guests, including Sherwood, Steve Rothery
(Marillion), Lee Pomeroy (Anderson Rabin
Wakeman, Rick Wakeman, It Bites, Steve Hackett),
Dan Hancock (ex-Giraffe), Martin Levac (The
Musical Box) and Nad Sylvan (Steve Hackett).
The album is
described as "done in a "classic rock-meets-modern film
score" style combining authentic vintage instruments from the 70s
(including sounds recorded at Genesis' studio with engineer Nick
Davis) along with a full orchestra." Previous reports have also
mentioned the involvement of Stan Cotey (ex-Giraffe),
McStine and Mark Hornsby
(worked with D'Virgilio), plus the use of samples of
Tony Banks' keyboard playing. Sherwood plays on at least
"Lilywhite Lilith". He also sang lead vocals on versions of that
song and "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway": those and "Chamber of
32 Doors" sang by Sylvan were expected as bonus material on the
album. A Peter Gabriel cover, "Rhythm of the Night", with Dunnery
(vocals), using Sonic Reality's Jerry Marotta drum library was
also mooted. In Jul 2020, Perdomo mentioned
on Facebook Tony
Levin recording bass tracks for "the Genesis Tribute Album
Dave Kerzner and I are producing".
The Pink Floyd/Dark Side of the Moon project involves Nick
Mason (ex-Pink Floyd), Davis, Dorie Jackson (works
with Dunnery, ex-The Syn; vocals), Guy Pratt (worked
with Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson; bass), Colin Edwin (ex-Porcupine
Tree; bass), Natalie Azerad (vocals), Durga & Lorelei McBroom (vocals). The Sonic Elements Facebook
page in Jan 2013 said: "I've assembled a Sonic Elements band in LA
this week to work with the McBroom sisters [...] Billy Sherwood,
Randy McStine, Fernando Perdomo and myself (with Pink Floyd's
rhythm section already recorded/sampled)". An update in Jan 2014
announced The Dark Side of Sonic Elements album for 2014
with Sherwood, Dunnery, McStine, the McBrooms and "utilizing the
brand new Sonic Reality 2014 sample library releases from Nick
Mason, Guy Pratt, Alan Parsons, the McBroom Sisters and more."
This has yet to appear.
I was just talking with Francis Dunnery about finishing up The Lamb tracks next month [Apr 2018]. The Rush tribute is the closest to finish and I was just holding out to do a track with David Longdon of Big Big Train [...] but it would have to be built from scratch since I don't have the drum track from Neil Peart for that song... and I was going to play it from the keyboard using Neil's drum samples but it's in 5/8 and a little tricky. A fun challenge but I need a bit of time to do it right. Arrrggghhh. Maybe I'll still do it. There's also an original music side to the project too and I have material from Glass Hammer, Billy Sherwood and others for that as well. The Floyd tribute split into two projects, one I did with Alan Parsons participating and the other that's become a female led Floyd tribute sung by the McBroom Sisters and it'll be their album that I'm co-producing which will also have original songs written with various people who played with Floyd like Guy Pratt, Jon Carin and others. Even a tune they wrote with Lemmy from Motorhead will be on that one. Some of the guys from Australian Pink Floyd are helping finish that album because I've gotten a bit too overloaded to do ALL of them at the same time. There is also another Genesis-related Sonic Elements thing that may come out as well but it hasn't been announced publicly so that's probably the lowest priority. Then there's the Yes stuff which I don't know if I have enough to do a full album of Yes music. Might put those on an SE compilation album or something just to get everything I've worked on a home and unless we do any others (might) that will wrap up the tributes. Obviously if they do really well for my distributors there could be more. [...] I'm imposing my own deadline of releasing them all before the end of the year . Probably around Summer time or at least by the end of the year  as I'll be playing some of it on CTTE!Fernando Perdomo and Mark Murdock are also in The New Empire, who are working on a tribute album to Peter Banks to include new material and covers of Empire, Flash and Yes. Kerzner also guests. See under Banks for details.
John Holden (Facebook) released Rise and Fall in Feb 2020 digitally through Bandcamp and on CD from his website. Details in Yescography. Billy Sherwood (bass) and Oliver Wakeman (piano, keys) guest. Holden emailed in Mar 2019 to say 6 songs were written, and 4 were ready to mix. Sherwood and Wakeman had appeared on his first album, Capture Light, and also returning are Oliver Day (works with Oliver Wakeman, Yes tribute band Fragile, Winter Springs), Joe Payne (works with Oliver Wakeman, ex-The Enid), Jean Pageau (Mystery), Peter Jones (Tiger Moth Tales, Camel), and Emily Dolan Davies (worked with Bryan Ferry, The Darkness). New guests include Simon Fitzpatrick (Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy, Celestial Fire; bass, Stick), Vikram Shankar, Sally Minnear (Kerry Minnear's daugther; Celestial Fire, worked with Dave Kerzner), Jon Camp (ex-Renaissance), Michel St-Père (Mystery), and Nick D'Virgilio (In Continuum, ex-Spock's Beard, Big Big Train, ex-Genesis, ex-Tears for Fears, worked with Chris Squire). On 4 May 2019, O Wakeman tweeted about finishing a piano session for a song on the album with vocals by Payne. On 12 Jun 2019 on Yesfans.com, Holden said he had just finished mixing a song for the second album with Sherwood (bass), O Wakeman (keys) and D'Virgilio (drums). There was final mixing going on in Sep 2019. Tracks:
Capture Light was released Mar 2018 and produced by
Holden, who was responsible for guitars, bass, keys and
programming, while Day (electric & acoustic guitars, lute,
mandolin) appeared on tracks 1-5 & 8. Details
in Yescography. Sherwood was on 1 track and O Wakeman
on 3 others. A piano arrangement of "Seaglass Hearts" performed by
Shankar is available for free on
Leon Alvarado (worked with Rick Wakeman, Billy Sherwood, Trey Gunn, John Goodsall) has described a forthcoming project called White Car with Billy Sherwood, Jon Davison and Johnny Bruhns (ex-CIRCA:, ex-Yoso). Alvarado said on 20 Mar 2020 on Facebook, "This is coming down the pipe but because of the Covid-19 situation we aren't sure as to when it will be completed." However, asked about in a 4 Jul 2020 interview, Sherwood said he "didn't know about that project".
Planetary Overload Part 1: Loss (GEP, GEPCD1061; details in Yescography), released around May 2019, and Part 2: Hope, due later, come from United Progressive Fraternity (Facebook). The band are led by Mark "Truey" Trueack (Unitopia) and Steve Unruh (The Samurai of Prog). Tracks—CD1:
Phase I: Dawning on Us:
1. "Loss (Anthem)", with Jon Davison guesting
2. "What Happens Now" [Trueack/Unruh]
3. "Cruel Times" [mus: Salati/Racz/Trueack; lyr: Trueack]
4. "What are We Doing to Ourselves" [Trueack/Unruh]
Phase II: Destraction and Destruction:
5. "Stop-Time" [mus: Unruh/Magnus; lyr: Trueack/Unruh]
6. "One More" [Unruh/Trueack]
7. "Mercenaries" [mus: Unruh/Williams; lyr: Unruh]
8. "What If"
9. "Forgive Me, My Son"
Phase III: Growing
10. "Dying to be Reborn"
11. "Seeds for Life", with Davison guesting on backing vocals
12. "Loss to Lost" [mus: Cides, Gancedo García, Trueack, Unruh; lyr: Trueack], based on Guillermo Cides' "You're Still There"
CD2 consists of 9 "surreal mixes" by Romantechs, i.e. Trueack, Unruh and Lebled and guests, including one of "Seeds for Life".
video for "What Happens Now" credits Trueack (vocals), Unruh
(vocals, flute, violins, slide guitar, keys, percussion, mix),
Lisa Wetton (John Wetton's widow; vocals),
Marek Arnold (Damanek; sax), Cides
(Stick), Brendon Darby (trumpet, flugelhorn), Mark Franco
(fretless bass), Clive Hodson (trombone, alto sax), Angus Keay
(electric guitar), Christophe Lebled (worked with
Jon Anderson; keys, piano, synth), and Jerry Marotta (worked with Tony Levin, Peter Gabriel, Iggy Pop; drums).
Another for "Loss to Lost" credits Trueack (vocals), Raf Azaria
(vocals, piano), Unruh (vocals, electric guitar, sitar guitar,
flute, percussion), Bawden (vocals), Cides (Stick), Jesús Gancedo
García (works with Guillermo Cides; drums).
The band's website credit Trueack (vocals, songwriter, artistic direction, co-production), Unruh (violin, guitars, flute, vocals, songwriter, co-production), Lebled (keys, soundscapes, guest arranger), Cornel Wilczek (Qua; orchestration, conductor on "Seeds for Life"), Dan Mash (Damanek; bass), Matthew Atherton (Sound; vocals, soundscapes, synths), Arnold (sax), Joe Toscano (The Loving Tongue; drums, vocals), Mark Franco (Sound; bass, vocals), and with guests including Jon Davison, Claire Vezina (vocals), Michel St-Père (Mystery; guitar), Angelo Racz (keys), Nick Magnus (ex-Steve Hackett, ex-The Enid; keys), Michelle Young (ex-Glass Hammer; vocals), Gancedo García (drums), Hasse Fröberg (The Flower Kings; vocals), Cides (Stick), Bawden (vocals), L Wetton (vocals), Steve Hackett (ex-Genesis, ex-GTR, ex-Squackett; acoustic guitars), Charlie Cawood (Knifeworld, Mediaeval Baebe; oud, bağlama saz, bouzouki, hammered dulcimer, zither, pipa, zhongruan, liuqin, 12-string acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass), Azaria (piano, synth, slide guitar, electric guitar), Hodson (alto sax, trombone, trumpet), Marotta (drums), Keay (guitar), Alex Grata (Sixth Sense, Voices of Babylon; vocals, piano, synths, loops, electric guitars, acoustic guitars), Hans Jörg Schmitz (drums), Colin Edwin (ex-Porcupine Tree; fretless bass, soundscapes), Phill Soka (CosMoS; drums), Brendon Darby (trumpet, flugelhorn), George Perdikis (guitar), Valentine Halembakov (guitars on "Forgive Me, My Son"), Matt Williams (electric guitars, acoustic guitars, backing vocals on "Mercenaries"), David Hopgood (Unitopia; drums on "Mercenaries"), Marc Papeghin (French horn) and Ettore Salati (worked with David Jackson; electric & acoustic guitars on "Cruel Times", arrangements). Narration is from various environmental leaders and scientists, some participating directly—lead of which is Dr James Hansen (ex-NASA)—some licensed from existing material. A 60-piece orchestra also perform. There are also contributions by Gordo Bennett (arranged "Seeds for Life") and Cindy L Spear (lyrics for "Forgive Me, My Son"). Artwork is by Ed Unitsky (worked with The Tangent, The Flower Kings).
The project dates back some years. Trueack and
Stephen Layton (worked with
Jon Anderson) made contact in 2009 and planned a
project called The Hope to feature multiple guest
musicians. That led to Jon Anderson
guesting on an album entitled Fall in Love with the World,
the United Progressive Fraternity debut, released 2014. The Hope was then initially
expected in 2015, with early reports giving the following tracks:
"Home", "Hope", "Reality Breaks Through", "Broken World", "Water"
(an alternate version of the piece on Fall in Love with the
World with Anderson), "In the Palm of Your Hands", "Dreaming
the Truth", "Follow Me", "Leading Me On", "Cruel Times", "Free the
People", "Hope (Reprise)". A Dec 2015 update said that,
"Significant progress has been made regarding development of
lyrics, arrangements, vocalists, and musicians allocated for each
track." The project evolved further, splitting into 2 albums.
Trueack was also, at various times, in contact with Anderson, Billy Sherwood
Squire about possibly guesting, but none of them are now
involved. There was talk of Igor
Khoroshev contributing keys and arrangements, as
described here, but he is not listed as being involved on
the website and not on Loss.
Any news, additions or corrections, please e-mail Henry Potts. Thanks.