by Rick Grant
After 40 years of selling 30 million albums and touring the world, the members of Yes have nothing else to prove. However, like all musicians of any age, they thrive on performing in front of live audiences. So, they like to book short tours to get inspired by the live experience.
Now, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Alan White own the Yes brand. For this tour, they enlisted the help of Oliver Wakeman (son of Rick Wakeman) on keyboards, and Benoit David as lead singer. The group will be performing live at the Florida Theatre this Monday, March 14th.
Presently, the group has been working on a new album in the studio and will be playing some of the new songs along with its vast repertoire of hit music that over the years has become legendary. In fact, the entire Yes’ catalogue has become part of our pop music lexicon.
Yes’ music is a fusion of progressive art-rock with symphonic wall-of-sound concepts. Today, the band still enjoys the support of millions of fans young and old. The older fans bring their kids to see the band.
Initially, the band didn’t need a new album this year as justification to play live gigs in the States. They just wanted to get out of the sterile atmosphere of the studio and rock-out.
When I finally tracked down Chris Squire for a phone interview last Wednesday, he was at the House of Blues venue in New Orleans just before the band’s sound check. He was with his 3 year old daughter.
I asked Chris about their new album, which they’ve been working on in the studio.
“Yeah, we’re working hard to complete it. But we just had to get out of the studio or lose our inspiration. We like going out on short tours playing the House of Blues and other smaller venues. It’s much more intimate and exciting. It also keeps our playing skills in tune.”
“We do have the ‘Union’ double DVD and double CD now available for fans. It is a really well produced product and features live footage of selected concerts,” Chris said.
Then I broached the subject of how most artists are having to tour to make a living because their albums are being pirated for free, and the radio stations are not playing their new material.
“Well, we have fans that probably get our material for free, but they continue to buy the new albums and our packaged product that have bonus features that they couldn’t get anywhere else.”
“But, all those years of free file sharing has hurt all artists. But we have to work around the problem. Besides, we love to play live so that can sustain us. Radio programming has changed since our early years. And, satellite radio is a new possibility for artists to feature their new material,” Chris said.
Thus, the Yes legacy rolls on–older and wiser, with 40 years of experience and 30 million records sold.
In contrast, most of the new alt-rock bands have a life span of one album and one tour, if they’re lucky.
The original members of Yes bring the seasoned artistry that only groups of their status can sustain over many years and will be performing live at the Florida Theatre on Monday, March 14. www.floridatheatre.com for ticket info.
Interview with Chris Squire of YES
by Rick Grant