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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Yes' Alan White on the Early Days: "People Thought We Were Crazy"

AlanWhiteYesDrummer.JPG
Maxink via Wikipedia
If there exists one genre of popular music with the most cantankerous and anal fans and critics, progressive rock would take the prize. Some of rock's most talented musicians work in the genre. They often bring experience from classical music and a working knowledge of music theory. Some of the bravest musical experiments were pioneered within the genre, yet rule-breaking is received with much doubt. One long-suffering band of this aspect of prog rock is the U.K. act Yes, which made its recorded debut in 1969.

As much of a devoted following as Yes has, it has often been haunted by criticisms of its ever-shifting lineup. Then there's the arty ponderousness and its sellout for new-wave pop appeal in the early '80s. When Alan White first joined the band in 1972, replacing Bill Bruford, the first album he participated in wasTales From Topographic Oceans, a double LP of four songs that averaged 20 minutes. "A huge, long project," he recalls of the album, speaking over the phone during a tour stop in Aspen, Colorado. "It was about six to eight months until we finished the album, so we spent a long time doing that."

To top it off, White says, the band would perform the album in its entirety during a subsequent tour. "In fact, we were one of the first bands that did that concept of doing one whole album onstage," he says. "People thought we were crazy, but a lot of people came to those concerts."


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