Having been in existence since 1968, English prog-rockers Yes are true mainstays of the music world, with more than thirty studio and live albums under their belts. Founding vocalist Jon Anderson left the band in 2008, paving the way for newest recruit, Californian Jon Davison, to become a part of a group who had already released three records by the time he was born. The newly rejuvenated line-up of Davison, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White and Geoff Downes will tour Australia in November, playing their classic '70s Fragile and Close To The Edge albums in full, as well as releasing a new LP entitled Heaven & Earth.
You're the new boy in Yes, having joined in 2012. How did you come to be in the band?
It was kind of by simultaneous means, which was interesting. My friend Taylor Hawkins, the drummer for the Foo Fighters, with whom I grew up, was always – during the last few years prior to my joining – suggesting to Chris [Squire, founding bassist] that should he need a replacement, I might be a suitable option. So Chris was aware of me, and at the same time the Australian tour in 2012 was booked and the band didn't want to back out of it, so they were willing to take me on immediately. The manager called me first, saying there wasn't even going to be an audition and that I would have to jump right in, so the band could continue looking forward to the tour.
How much notice did you have before the tour?
I think we were off maybe a month later, or six weeks at most.
Were you aware of all of the band's material before you joined?
Yes, I was. Having been in a Yes tribute band, I knew most of the main tracks, but they were doing a lot of emphasis at the time on Fly From Here, so I had to learn the big bulk of that album, and there were a few others; a couple fromDrama I hadn't performed before. So there was a bit of a learning curve, but I had a lot of the material in my mind.
Have you had to change much to fit in, or are you more or less free to be yourself?
That's a good question. It's really a balance, you know? You want to do complete justice to the music, but you don't want anyone to feel that something is missing, so you really pay homage as accurately as you can. To do that, you have to really incorporate your own style into it as well; you can't be a clone. You have to incorporate what is uniquely you, so it's a fine balance between those two aspects.