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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.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Chris Squire remembered


Rock & roll has a tendency to claim lives and it often claims them young. It’s terrible to think about but it always has, all the way back to Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran, through Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison, all the way to the Cobains and Winehouses of more recent times. It’s sad but it’s to be expected from a business that allows kids to lose control at an age when they really don’t know any better.

Prog-rock, however, has been largely exempt from much of that. A lot of it has to do with the lifestyle choices of musicians who are serious about their craft, and there are many who follow a “new age” style of living, one in keeping with the musical and spiritual paths they tread. Surely some are just plain lucky, too. But, generally, proggers tend to live healthier lives and, as a result, despite being a subgenre whose origins are almost fifty years’ gone, there are very few major players who have left this earth.

Which is why the recent death of Yes bassist Chris Squire, at age 67, from leukemia, was all the more shocking and sad. Being the sole constant member in one of the longest-lasting and most successful of all the prog bands, Squire was more than just a star of the genre. He was the mostimportant of all the players, a figurehead if there could ever be one. His influence as a bassist could not be understated. Approaching the bass like a lead instrument, he played with a pick and often high on the neck, managing to simultaneously hold down the low end as well as offer melodic leads and counterpoint, every note carefully selected and skillfully executed. A towering presence on stage, Squire possessed an angelic voice that, along with lead singer Jon Anderson and guitarist Steve Howe, defined the Yes vocal sound, a thick, rich harmonic presence that took the model provided by Crosby Stills & Nash and sent it into the stratosphere. At times, Squire was a dominant co-writer in the band, though usually he was known for hanging in the background, soaking up the musical ideas offered by his bandmates and arranging them into the sort of dense sonic tapestries that made Yes what it is.

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