Okee dokee folks… Back in the mid ’70s, my friends and I would drive around in my 1965 Rambler station wagon. I had an 8-track tape player sound system and often Yes songs would make the endless loop in the deck. We would always find it amusing how you would hear the clank of the track change mid tune. Those Yes songs were long! Their prog-rock albums were a staple of my record collection and was the perfect soundtrack for headphone listening or night time cruising. I have been fortunate over the years to have seen Yes many, many times and in almost all of their band configurations. I even caught the show where the Buggles (“Video Killed the Radio Star”) merged with Yes. Nowadays Yes is like most bands of that era — a couple of original members and hired gun fill-ins. Long time bassist Chris Squire passed away a couple of years ago. Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman haven’t performed with them in quite a long time. I saw Yes at Bold Point Park a couple of years ago and I was still able to get a good fix of the music.
Two members of Yes will be playing solo area shows. Jon Anderson will be at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket on August 28 and Rick Wakeman will hit the Narrows Center for the Arts on October 19. I had the opportunity to speak with former Yes frontman, Jon Anderson. I always record these conversations so I can transcribe them accurately but unfortunately there was a glitch. Somehow because of either an equipment malfunction or a brain fart (I had experienced a concussion days prior) there was no recording. After realizing this I quickly jotted down a few notes from the conversation so I could make the best of the interview.
When I called him his initial comment was that he was sitting and staring at the ocean. He was in Connecticut and had played a show in Ridgefield the night before. The first thing I noticed about speaking with Jon Anderson was the feeling that I was engaging with a character from The Lord of the Rings. He had a magical way of speaking and he had the most interesting UK accent I’d heard. It was a fun chat. We laughed a lot. I commented that I noticed he had played Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury, MA a few nights prior and that my band had just played there as well. I told him we play Neil Young music. He said that he wanted to sing on one of Neil Young’s album but Neil never called him back. I mentioned to him that I was tied up with my own music stuff and was not sure if I was going to be able to get to his show. He told me that doing music was a gift and that I should be grateful; it was far better than “shoveling shit”! He said he should know as he actually used to shovel shit in his youth! I told him that while I was photographing Yes a couple of years ago guitarist Steve Howe gave me a “finger wag” as I snapped shots of him. I asked Jon “what’s up with that?” He replied that Steve can be a bit of a curmudgeon about having his pic taken. The more I talked with Jon the more I thought to myself “I HAVE to get to this show!” Anderson has collaborated with many artists over the years, some examples being Vangelis and Jon Luc Ponty. I asked Jon about what he is doing with music these days. He exclaimed that he has enough for ten musicals to present over the next few years. He added, “I just keep thinking of more music to make”. I then asked his age as I wondered if this would be a factor. Anderson is 77 but he is a youthful and spry 77 so I imagine that we will be blessed with much more of his work. Then I thought again, “I HAVE to get to this show!”
I asked what he was doing on this tour. He mentioned that he is working with Paul Green, the founder of The School of Rock. His band is made up of past members of School of Rock bands. If you have ever seen a School of Rock performance you already know how talented these kids are. Jon and I talked about our experiences with School of Rock bands and how we are always amazed by them. I inquired about what songs we could expect from him at the Stadium show. He immediately mentioned “Hear of the Sunrise”. This song came up a few times. He also told me that he would be covering songs such as Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, and something by INXS. He added that they would be playing a LOT of the classic Yes music that he is known for. Again I thought “I HAVE to get to this show!”. We went on to talk about how Yes bassist Chris Squire and Anderson added how lucky he was to have been able to work with him. After about 20 minutes we had to wrap the call as he needed to hit the road to his next destination. I thanked him and said, “I HAVE to get to this show!”. I decided then and there that I will MAKE THE TIME to get to this show. It will be worth it. If you are a Yes fan as I am you owe it to yourself to hear the true voice of Yes once sing these timeless classics.
Jon Anderson and the Paul Green Rock Academy Band will be at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket, RI on Saturday, August 28. Seriously, It’s “Your Move”, get your tickets now. For more, “Roundabout” to StadiumTheatre.com
That’s it for now, thanks for reading. www.JohnFuzek.com