...BECAUSE SOME OF US THINK THAT THIS STUFF IS IMPORTANT
What happens when you mix what is - arguably - the world's most interesting record company, with an anarchist manic-depressive rock music historian polymath, and a method of dissemination which means that a daily rock-music magazine can be almost instantaneous?

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.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Concert Review: Yes classics a thrill at Meadow Brook

ROCHESTER HILLS >> On the day it released a new album, Yes gave fans a generous helping of old favorites at the Meadow Brook Music Festival.
Yes didn’t ignore the just-released “Heaven & Earth” on Tuesday night, July 22; it rolled out one song from “Believe Again,” its first album with current frontman Jon Davison. But the group’s current tour continues to showcase the veteran prog-rock quintet’s classic albums, a concept it began last summer. On Tuesday Yes reprised 1972’s “Close to the Edge,” which it played during April 2013 at Detroit’s Fox Theatre, but the real treat was the previous year’s “Fragile,” a set that opens with Yes’ first big hit — “Roundabout,” which was quite odd to hear as the fifth song of the night — and closes with the epic “Heart of the Sunrise.”
The real delights, however, were in between with seldom-performed instrumental segue tracks such as “Cans & Brahms,” a 90-second-plus showcase for keyboardist Geoff Downes, and drummer Alan White’s take on original Yes percussionist Bill Bruford’s amusingly short (35 seconds) “Five Per Cent For Nothing.” Bassist Chris Squire and guitarist Steve Howe, meanwhile, both earned standing ovations for their showpieces, “The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)” and the acoustic “Mood For a Day” respectively.
Davison continues to grow as a capable frontman for Yes, channeling co-founder Jon Anderson’s flower-child innocence with flowing body gestures and meaningful, skyward looks. His voice also captured Anderson’s alto nuances, and a beard grown since the last time Yes played the area made him look a little less like a boy among much older men in the lineup.
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GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Clearlight - Infinite Symphony - Movement III



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Solar Transfusion
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Clearlight Visions
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Les Contes Du Singe Fou
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Tribal Hybrid Concept
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Forever Blowing Bubbles
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Impressionist Symphony
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Clearlight Symphony
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Best Of Clearlight
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THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem


Rob Ayling writes: 

"Thom the World poet is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearances with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied with in seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not? why not indeed!!" (The wondrous poetpic is by Jack McCabe, who I hope forgives me for scribbling all over it with Photoshop)



LYREBIRD IN A RAINFOREST
TO COME ACROSS A POET IS A RARE OCCASION
To hear their solo singing in deep green is rarer!
You may think you see the shaking of wings
as she shakes and quivers there
This is her only habitat
This is where she lives and digs
To be beauty is what we seek to be
Just to be-some bird whip singing in a light forest
Some bright spark shining in the dark
Watch as the instrument of troubadours
is transformed into something more...

A SLEW OF JON ANDERSON/JEAN LUC PONTY STORIES ALL BASICALLY SAYING THE SAME THING

  1. Music Legends Jon Anderson and Jean-Luc Ponty Announce Formation of New Music Ensemble
    Broadway World

    YES's original singer/songwriter for 35 years, Jon Anderson has had a successful solo career, which includes working with such notable music artists ...
  2. Music Legends Jon Anderson And Jean-Luc Ponty Announce Formation Of New Music Ensemble ...
    Music Indistry News Network

    Los Angeles, CA - Music legends Jon Anderson and Jean-Luc Ponty announce the formation of a new ensemble - The Anderson Ponty Band!
  3. Jon Anderson Announces New Band
    antiMUSIC.com

    (Prog) Former Yes vocalist Jon Anderson has unveiled his latest project featuring jazz-fusion violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, and says he's delighted to be ...
  4. Jon Anderson and John Luc-Ponty Form The Anderson Ponty Band
    Noise11

    Jon Anderson said of the new entity “A breakthrough feeling came as I sang with Jean-Luc's music, to be in a band again is very exciting on many ...


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Mastering Engineer Maor Appelbaum Relies On Sennheiser HD 600 In Creating New Yes Album

Old Lyme, CT, July 29, 2014: Since forming in 1968 and subsequently releasing more than 20 studio albums including classics like FragileClose to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans, Yes built its international success on the very foundations of progressive rock. Still very active as one of rock's most influential bands, Yes recently opened their latest chapter of musical innovation with the release of Heaven & Earth. Produced by the legendary Roy Thomas Baker (Queen, David Bowie) and mixed by Billy Sherwood (Nektar, Motorhead), Los Angeles-based Mastering Engineer Maor Appelbaumgot the call to put the finishing touches on the classic band's latest sonic creation, keeping his Sennheiser HD 600 audiophile grade headphones close by.
Appelbaum, who runs Maor Appelbaum Mastering and works across a broad range of genres, chose to use the Sennheiser HD 600s as a studio reference tool to bridge the gap between album production and listener. Over the course of the project, he listened as both a technically minded professional and as a passionate music fan, with the ultimate goal of delivering an emotionally engaging listening experience. In the conversation that follows, Appelbaum discusses the ins and outs of mastering a modern day classic.


What is your role as mastering engineer?
I bring an objective ear to the process. Since I haven’t heard a project before, I can listen like a fan yet have control over the outcome. I am the buffer between what is created in the studio and what finally arrives to the listener's ear. My ultimate goal is to help create a better, more emotionally engaging listening experience. Part of how I do this is through critical listening, which is evaluating how the music's 'feeling' is presented from a frequency perspective. In making my evaluations and decisions, the tools I use are very important to me. For example, I have an excellent monitoring system with many sets of speakers so I can control how these frequencies are presented. I also use headphones to help me hear other details that might be missed by speakers.
How did you begin working on the new Yes album?
Billy Sherwood and I have collaborated on many albums together, and in the past two years I have mastered around 20 albums that he has worked on. He is very well known in progressive rock circles and we have a very good, longstanding relationship. One day he called me asked me to master the new Yes album and it was a great surprise. Once the mixes came in, I wanted to take them to the next level, while keeping the openness of the recording and all the dynamics in tact.

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CORKY LAING: Life on the Rock: Keeping the rock 'n' roll faith



By John Stanton

Contributing Writer

(July 25, 2014) One summer evening, a half-dozen or so years ago, at the Cape Cod Melody tent, there was a show called Hippie Fest. It featured a series of acts that were well out of their prime, the ghosts of classic rock radio: Country Joe McDonald (without the Fish) Mitch Ryder (without the Detroit Wheels, or his voice) the Zombies and Badfinger with only one or two of the original band members. It was a sad reminder that your old tie-dyed T-shirts should never again be taken out of the closet.

I began to wonder how it feels when your gold record, or your hit song, was in your 20s and you are now into your 60s. It is a question that has stayed with me since that concert. So this week I asked Corky Laing. He was the drummer for the hard-rock band Mountain. His big hit came in 1970, with the song "Mississippi Queen." He was 23 years old when the band got its first gold record.

“You can get so into yourself that you end up not knowing what you are saying sometimes,” he said. “I used to have to keep asking friends whether I had become an a-hole. Immaturity and success sometimes equals that. On top of that the testosterone aspect of rock and of drumming kicked in. It gets to be kind of an addiction.”

Read on...

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Playing God
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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Gordon Giltrap - Heartsong




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Acoustic Troubadour 
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THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem


Rob Ayling writes: 

"Thom the World poet is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearances with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied with in seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not? why not indeed!!" (The wondrous poetpic is by Jack McCabe, who I hope forgives me for scribbling all over it with Photoshop)

AGE SHALL NOT WITHER
D H LAWRENCE POSITED TWO WAYS TO AGE
One-to be cankered like some gnarled tree

Two-to grow beautiful in the blessing of time's changes
Old is the new you!To be @ease with looser flesh
w/sags and tucks and turkey necks.To roll w/flab and fat
in places that were once petite/allows ease with days
as they speed fast past us into pits of hollow forgetfulness
Senior moments become lost days.Years flash by faster than memories
Bands you loved are now nostalgia/re-uniting for the money
and those ghouls who wish to see one die on stage
You become what you once revolted against
There is only today.Tomorrow remains a blank check


Or was that a blank sheet?or just blank?

Bassist explains why he keeps saying 'yes' to Yes

NEW YORK — Over the course of its 45-year history, progressive rock band Yes has housed 19 members and sported enough different versions of the band to warrant a PowerPoint presentation.
The man who has always been the one constant in the band since its inception is bassist and co-founder Chris Squire.
"It's been very educational for me," says Squire. "I consider myself privileged to be able to have played with all the different members. I've learned a lot from everyone who has been in the band."
Currently Yes is rolling with a lineup that is both old and new. Squire is joined by longtime cohort drummer Alan White, who has been half of the rhythm section since 1972.
Guitarist Steve Howe, who served from 1970 to ‘81, returned for a three-year stint from 1990 to ‘92, only to come back in 1995 and stay for good.
During his time out of the band, Howe played in Asia with keyboardist Geoff Downes, who was a member of Yes from 1980 to ‘81, then rejoined in 2011.
This month Yes is releasing its first studio album with singer Jon Davison, titled "Heaven & Earth."
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A BLAST FROM CRYSTAL'S PAST (Four years late, but look what I found...)

A photo of a young woman dressed as a gothic witch
The new Pagan star of the Museum of Science and Industry's Genius show in Manchester. Image: Vicky Johnson-Brown

A gothic witch from Lancashire will star in a major Museum of Science and Industry exhibition on the work of Leonardo da Vinci after prevailing in a three-month search for the Manchester Mona Lisa.

The museum's Da Vinci – The Genius show launched a competition in Aprilto find a Mancunian answer to the largest current European exhibition on the legendary artist, which features revealing insights into his 15th century processes.

Chorlton imposter Carol Hodge beat a 20-strong shortlist of men, women, dogs and photoshop curiosities to triumph in the online poll, posing against a smouldering backdrop with her faced caked in thick white make-up and black eyeliner, topped with a spiralling black hat.

"I want to say thank you to all the people who took the time to vote for me," she said.


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Yes makes a case for Rock Hall enshrinement with time-capsule Rocksino show (review)

NORTHFIELD, Ohio – The guy across the aisle at Wednesday night's Yes concert grabbed me by the shoulder as the band left the stage after playing the entire album "Fragile'' and asked the question:

"How can these guys be doing this for 45 years and NOT be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?'' he wondered with adrenaline-fueled incredulity.
How indeed?

Steve HoweChris SquireAlan White and Geoff Downes have been putting the prog in prog rock for decades, and doing it better than just about anyone else. And even with Jon Davison, a mostly passable substitute (but only a substitute) for original vocalist Jon Anderson, they're STILL doing it as well as anyone and better than most, much to the delight of a sold-out Hard Rock Rocksino.

Sometimes – at 57 – I wonder if the adage that age is just a number is mere wishful thinking.
Then I get to hear Howe, 67, turn his fingers into blurs as he flies up and down the necks of multiple guitars and lap steels in a single song, bending strings into different sonic ZIP codes. "Siberian Khatru,'' the opening tune (they did "Close to the Edge" in reverse order, then two new songs, then followed with "Fragile,'' also in its entirety) was a primer in coaxing sounds out of stringed instruments.


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Record Bin: The bizarre world of Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band's "Trout Mask Replica"

The circumstances revolving around the recording of Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band's third album, "Trout Mask Replica," were about as hellish and unbelievable as you could imagine. Captain Beefheart himself (AKA Don Van Vliet)—a self-described paranoid schizophrenic—practically held the band hostage as they learned and recorded the songs that would make it on the record. But for a little context, let's go back a few years. 
The band's first single, a cover of Bo Diddley's "Diddy Wah Diddy," was released by A&M in March 1966, but after it and a subsequent single failed to deliver commercial success, the label dropped the band. Shortly thereafter, Buddah Records signed the band and released their debut LP, "Safe As Milk"—and though the album did find some measure of critical and commercial success, the label quickly became known for artists specializing in "bubblegum pop," and the band knew that this was not a place where they needed to be. 

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band. (Photo: Contributed)
After a few independent studio sessions—the bulk of which would later become their "Strictly Personal" and "Mirror Man" records—it fell to Van Vliet's childhood friend and über-musician Frank Zappa to help the band realize their musical potential. It was around this time that Zappa had started a pair of record labels (Bizarre Records and Straight Records) and offered the band an opportunity to record with total artistic freedom. The resulting sessions produced the songs that would make up "Trout Mask Replica."
Having rented a small house in the Woodland Hills suburb of Los Angeles, Van Vliet began asserting his creative and emotional dominance over the band immediately. This would include sessions of lengthy verbal abuse and, according to the band, would often involve some measure of physical violence. The whole situation was described by drummer John French as having a "cultlike" atmosphere, and a visiting friend was recalled as having said that "the environment in that house was positively Manson-esque." 
And though the means can't always be said to justify the end, the music the band produced with the "assistance" of Van Vliet (and the production help of Zappa) was fractured, awe-inspiring and often downright bizarre. Working from within a confluence of genres, including folk, jazz, rock and blues, the band became the model for rhythmic experimentation. Touching on aspects of politics, love, conformity and even the Holocaust, this album seemed like the unconscious thoughts and ramblings of mad men—which to some degree, it could be argued, it was.


Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work..


Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work..

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: MICK FARREN MEMORIAL July 27 2014 (Andy Colquhoun)

THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem


Rob Ayling writes: 

"Thom the World poet is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearances with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied with in seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not? why not indeed!!" (The wondrous poetpic is by Jack McCabe, who I hope forgives me for scribbling all over it with Photoshop)

BROUGHT UP BY THE ENEMYPEACE CHILDREN/INDIGO CHILDREN
Holders of that Woodstock 60s promise
that we can gather without murder
and that LOVE and PEACE are not reliquaries
Well-they called our fathers THE GREATEST GENERATION
we grew up in their shadows
men of fist and violence,prepared for war
but never weakness.Decisive and death dealing
We grew up with and under them
Now we are elders ,aware of worlds of war
yet not subscribing to violence
We send pulses of footprints and videos
from peace demonstrations.We walk streets for peace
@core of all,we wish life not to cease.Call 4 CEASE FIRE!
Our friends-forests ,water,earth have been defeated
Fracking,mining,slash and burn are military terms
We love water too much to exchange for oil and gas

Love multispecies too much to bar refugees
We Do Matter-as much as elements and elementals
Spark of Life in Art shines -match stick or effulgent
As long as there is life-we can live in peace.


"Our only enemy-is a military culture"

40th Anniversary Edition of Frank Zappa's Apostrophe(') Now on 180-Gram Vinyl

40th Anniversary Edition of Frank Zappa's Apostrophe(') Now on 180-Gram Vinyl
The ZAPPA FAMILY TRUST presents more freshly remastered music with the 40th Anniversary Edition of Frank Zappa's Apostrophe(') on audiophile quality 180-gram vinyl. Cut directly from the original quarter-inch stereo analog master tapes, the special edition of the iconic 1974 album will be released on September 30.
Featuring definitive Zappa cuts "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow" and "Cosmik Debris" among its original nine tracks,Apostrophe(') was Zappa's highest-charting album, peaking at No. 10 on the Billboard 200. The Gold-certified album has been remastered for vinyl by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering and manufactured for the world at Pallas Group in Germany.
The 40th Anniversary Edition of Apostrophe(') continues the ZAPPA FAMILY TRUST's ongoing commitment to the restoration of Frank Zappa's albums on audiophile quality vinyl. Joe Travers, Vaultmaster, Zappa Archives, is working on the new LP releases with Bellman.
In 2012, when the rights to the iconic composer's masters reverted back to Zappa Records and the ZAPPA FAMILY TRUST headed by Zappa's widow Gail Zappathe family made his entire recorded catalog available on iTunes for the first time and began remastering the albums for reissue on vinyl. Presented with proper care and attention to detail, the releases honor the iconic legacy of the Composer, Guitarist, Bandleader, Filmmaker and Irrepressible Wit.

High Voltage Men: The Magic Band Plays the Music of Captain Beefheart

The Magic Band (80)iTunes has autonomously decided that the music of Captain Beefheart, as played by the re-formed, re-constituted Magic Band ain’t nuthin’ but the blues. We beg to differ over this arbitrarily allocated tag. It’s surely obvious to anyone who has ever heard Don Van Vliet’s ideas about contemporary music that any album which bears his name should be filed under “extraordinary”.
This recording is from last year’s London shows featuring a line-up that included Magic Band originals John “Drumbo” French and Mark “Rockette Morton” Boston, along with Denny “Feelers Rebo” WalleyEric Klerks and Craig Bunch. It has to be said that The Magic Band in all it’s permutations is one of those confusing musical entities shaped by a combination of long standing founders and a subsequently fluid membership. However, this particular incarnation is very much in tune with one particular core value of the Beefheart manifesto, and that is electricity. It ran through everything that Beefheart did musically, and contributed much of the shock value of the music. It’s present here and the wattage is palpable even on a little silver disc.

Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work..


Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work..

Yes perform album classics, new songs at Hard Rock Rocksino

Yes perform Close to the Edge, Fragile, hits new and old in Northfield Park, Ohio.There’s a moment in Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi when Luke Skywalker looks with pity upon his infirm teacher.  Yoda won’t have it. “When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not!” snaps the wispy-haired wizard—who then passes away. The gentlemen in Yes resembled Templar Knights and tenured professors more than rock and roll heartthrobs when taking the Hard Rock stage in Northfield Park Wednesday night.
Pity them not.
Old? Perhaps, but the Yes men are still sprightly and virtuosic. And their music has aged like wine.
The progressive rock band was founded in England in the late ‘60s, after all, and sure, some members of the “original” and “classic” lineups look every one of their years. But given the loose, life-affirming set delivered by the group’s current incarnation before a near sellout crowd, it’s still a bit early to start dialing any assisted living facilities.
The ensemble—initially assembled by singer Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire—has seen countless roster changes over the decades, starting with the addition of guitarist Steve Howe(ex-Bodast, Tomorrow), who replaced Peter Banks (now deceased). And when drummer Bill Bruford left to join King Crimson, Alan White settled in behind the throne.
He’s been there ever since.
Yes enjoyed massive success in the Seventies, crafting one mind-bending album after another and packing in stadiums for concerts of quasi-mystical proportions in an era dominated by arena rock, glam, and disco.
The momentum appeared to shift (for the worse) when keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman jumped overboard in 1979. Swedish synth player had subbed for Wakeman on 1974’s excellent Relayer album, but the caped crusader returned for 1977’s magnum opus Going For the One. Following a strained Tormato tour and botched sessions for a follow-up album, both Wakeman and Anderson tendered their resignations.
Squire, White, and Howe carried on as Yes, recruiting singer Trevor Horn and keyboardist Geoff Downes, who—as The Buggles—topped the charts with “Video Killed The Radio Star.” This lineup recorded only one album together, 1980’s overlooked, cyber-punk Drama, before disintegrating.
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Yes Special - Interview with Geoff Downes and Heaven and Earth Review

Legendary progressive rock band Yes, one of the most influential and respected bands in the genre have outlasted many of their contemporaries, crossing from West Coast psychedelia into epic traditional progressive rock symphonies, new wave FM rock, back to progressive epics and beloved anthems over the course of their 46 years, evolving band line-ups and 21 studio albums.

Their latest opus, Heaven and Earth (released in the UK on 21st July, and in the States in July 22nd) marks the first studio release with Jon Davison (who replaced Benoit David back in 2012) on vocals, and Geoff Downes third studio album, firmly consolidating his place as their keyboard player with the classic line up of Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White.

I was lucky enough to grab a brief chat with Geoff recently to talk all things Heaven and Earth, and the impact that Jon Davison has had on the band,

‘It’s a bit different from other Yes albums, Jon has been given a freer run, and it very much reflects his style. It’s a different album from Fly From Here, and the stuff we did with Trevor (Horn), working with Roy Thomas Baker has another style, something that a diverse band like Yes can bear.’

I asked Geoff about the writing process of the album,

‘It’s all new material; we had a clean slate that enabled us to take it in a direction that felt natural to all of us. Yes is fantastic music, and it’s nice to be able to make a contribution even at this stage in the bands career, Benoit wasn’t so much of a writer, whereas Jon has really contributed to the album’

I think Geoff was being overly modest, as he and Trevor Horn had a massive impact on one of my favourite Yes albums, 1980’s Drama, 

‘Drama, that came together in the studio, I’m very proud of it still, it sounds very fresh, and its what Yes needed at that point to move into a different arena for this type of music’

Of course with Geoff back on keyboard duties it’s nice to hear some of the Drama songs performed live,
‘Its good to play tracks like Tempus Fugit and Machine Messiah as they fit nicely into the set, we performed a few on the Fly From Here tour, and hopefully we’ll do more going forward’

I did wonder, which tracks from the new album would make it into the live arena?

‘We start rehearsals next week, we’ve practiced some of the songs so we have an idea which ones will work, we may only do a few from the album, certainly Believe Again, maybe one of the shorter songs and move them around in the set.

Read on...

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