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Monday, 4 August 2014

Yes: Venerable Prog-Rock Icons Are the Opposite of Fragile

Yes0804-1.jpg
The 2014 version of Yes: Chris Squire (bass), Alan White (drums), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Steve Howe (guitar), and Jon Davison (vocals).


In his 40-plus years of sitting on the drum stool for classic-rock legends Yes, Alan White has thumped skins in locations all over the world and under all kinds of conditions. But it was a show on the high seas a couple of years back, part of the prog-rock-themed "Cruise to the Edge" that bordered on the absurd.

"The weather was rough, and it was the roughest when we played our set. And the stage was at the front of the boat, which was the roughest place to be!" White laughs today.

"We were playing and hit some bad turbulence, and Chris [Squire, bassist] went to sing in the mike and missed it by a foot. Steve [Howe, guitar] had his steel guitar sliding all over its track, and I was aiming at cymbals just hoping I hit them! And at the end of the show when we went to take a bow together, we hit another wave and all stumbled to the side!"

Thankfully for the band, there will be no such rough seas as they embark on a 35-date U.S. summer tour that coincides with the release of a new record, Heaven and Earth (Frontiers Records). The album is the first that longtime members White, Squire, Howe and Geoff Downes (keyboards) have recorded with new vocalist Jon Davison, who replaced Benoit David, who in turn replaced original/classic singer Jon Anderson amid some controversy a decade ago.

"He's great to work with and plays bass and keyboards in addition to singing," White says of Davison. "And he had a lot to do with the writing. The songs on this one came from different members of the band, and the whole thing is very song-based."


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