Steve Howe has crafted a legendary career with his hands, and he takes that very seriously, indeed.
“Over the years, I’ve learned there some things you’ve just gotta say no to,” the long-time Yes guitarist tells Radio New Zealand — and that includes shaking hands.
Howe doesn’t shake hands with strangers, something that must make the high-priced meet-and-greets favored by classic-rock bands an interesting experience. It’s been his cautionary practice, however, for years.
“I say no to sugar, meat, fish, lots of things,” Howe says, “but handshakes is a golden rule, because — I like shaking hands, you know. It’s a nice sentiment. But you can feel a bit crippled an hour later, when you realize there was some contact there that was overzealous, or a bit too much like a wrestler’s grip. A gorilla grip, I think we’d call it!”
Howe says he understands how stand-offish this rule might seem. “It’s almost rude that I don’t,” Howe admits, “but the thing is, I’ve got to put my work first. So I make that rule. And I think it’s not just guitarists. Whether you are a pianist or a flautist, or anything — a cellist, can you imagine? When you shake a musician’s hand, people, do it gently.”
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