Here is one more for the Yes crowd. I hope you enjoy this one. Have a good read.
Warning by H.M. Government
There is no mention of brown rice on this page
Persian rugs and health food in general?
Well, OK …yeah, but not in any harmful quantity. There is, however, CHRIS SQUIRE talking about the interminable Topographical Oceans and a delicately coloured pen-picture of the Yes men on the road.
By Chris Salewicz
I`m hunting through the cartridges in the glove compartment of Chris Squire`s `63 Rolls Royce as we head out of Liverpool towards the M62 and Manchester, next town on the Yes datesheet.
There`s one cartridge in there with “Ocean Boulevard” stickered across it.
“Only trouble is,” observes Squire, speaking in that mode generally defined as the laconic, “it`s not on there – actually, it`s one half of `Tales From Topographic Oceans`.”
You droll fellow.
As a matter of fact, having now listened to that album a considerable number of times, I`ve come to terms with it to the extent of firmly believing “Requiem” (Side Four) to be the most dauntingly stimulating “live” piece Yes have yet performed.
What do you think Mr. Squire? (Bearing in mind that Patrick Moraz, who hadn`t joined the band when the album was recorded, holds this composition in the highest esteem – though his qualification, “Has the listener these days the time to listen to a piece of music that long and that complex?” probably pinpoints the critical dilemma).
“What do I think of it?…Well, it`s 80 minutes worth of music, right? Now, of that 80 I`m not saying it`s all perfect – but there`s some good bits… Overall I think it`s quite a project for any band to undertake….
“Like, if we`d spent another year on it, it could have been better, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
“`Topographic Oceans` had a lot of space in it. Which most popular records haven`t. Most popular records are action-packed to the last semi-quaver… between the heavy, important themes there were those areas that were possibly a little cloudy. Possibly people mistook that for being indefinite, as opposed to merely relaxing.
“And possibly it bored some people listening to those things.”
And of course that album was just about set-and-match for those who would damn Yes as the ultimate in Pomposity Rock. A lot of their detractors seem to find some rather suspect Great Tradition attempting to assert itself in the band`s work.
“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Squire nods as “Free Man In Paris” gets under way on the “Court And Spark” eight-track. “I can understand that annoying some people.”
…and which tends to interlink with the way the Yes health food etc `life- style` has been played up.
“Played up? Yeah. Overplayed…
“But you have to make an effort to find an alternative,” he decides, as we hit the motorway.
I`m thinking of the lack of monosodium glutamate in the band`s collective bloodstream, actually.
“It was Steve and I on the third States tour. We were in this hotel in New York and ordered a steak and they brought us the most tasteless piece of shit you`ve ever had in your life. And so we said for the rest of the tour – it was summer – we said that we`d just eat salads.
“And it kind of developed from there.”
It is perhaps unfortunate that Steve Howe`s father is a master chef.
“It`s so ridiculous because it`s just a personal food taste, and for some reason an `anti`s` developed in the press. Doesn`t really matter, though… As long as they keep on mentioning the name of the band.”
Talking of which there are those constant Press bracketings with ELP -rivals in technological ostentation.
“We don`t really have any need for Persian rugs… You know, what with having all the Rembrandts to trample about on.
“I don`t know if you`ve ever looked at Yes`s equipment, but it`s really smaller than most bands. I mean, ELP have od`d on their state gear. In fact, we`re using less equipment than we were three or four years ago.
“There`s a certain style of doing things which I think was injected into the original thing of Yes and I think the thread is still there actually.”
He eases up on the accelerator, having spotted a police XJ6 in the rear-view mirror.
“Wanting a good vocal thing and a very good rhythm section. Wanting it, in fact, so that everybody was good on their instruments.
“A democratic band, though, is what was always wanted from every member. You know, like Patrick is as important as Jon to me because with his knowledge Patrick can obviously contribute things that Jon can`t and vice-versa.”
One day last summer he received a suitably euphemistic phone call from manager Brian Lane requesting him to “assist on keyboards” during some Yes rehearsals. Subsequently, he removed himself from his Refugee cohorts, Lee Jackson and Brian Davison, to take care of the keyboards control-module vacated by Rick Wakeman`s fleeing paunch.
Offstage, Moraz appears to wander through his existence in a bemused Gallic (all right, Swiss-Gallic) haze, visibly troubled by the lack of females in the band`s British audiences. However – when he leaves the Liverpool Empire via the stage door to find not a waiting car but a few hundred Scouse fans, of both sexes, who burble “Paddy!” and pin the Swiss gnome of rock against the theatre wall – the unease merely intensifies.
Indeed, it`s only during the sound-check for the first Manchester gig that Moraz appears totally contended.
As the 12-man road-crew go through their perfectionist motions (“The blue`s off there. The green`s a bit out of line…
Yeah, projector`s coming 41 and 42… What humming? WHAT`S THAT BUZZING!?”), he methodically works round his 16 keyboards and slides into a slow jam with Squire`s bass rumble.
Alan White, Jon Anderson and Steve Howe all arrive, check their instruments and split from the theatre. The unlit fibreglass giant crabs and toadstools meanwhile lend the impression of a fairground in the process of construction for a Doctor Who set.
“Originally I wanted Yes to be just The Nice with Vanilla Fudge harmonies,” Jon Anderson mentions after the gig.
I`d have seriously bitched with him over that during the Wakeman era, but the introduction of Patrick Moraz has trampled underfoot the concept of Yes as pre-packaged, Just-Add-Voltage Muzak.
Moraz has obviously injected Yes with a stylised sense of the absurd that has been the catalyst in reasserting the band as one of the foremost rock outfits this country has produced.
And that`s “rock” as in “rock `n` roll”.
At eleven the next morning in his identikit automated hotel room, an unshaven Moraz is listening to a cassette of Miles Davis` “Live Evil” on his portable Sanyo stereo. His musical tasts are apparently pretty catholic -Led Zeppelin could have been put on just as readily as Miles.
He also claims that Yes were the first rock band he ever saw perform on stage. As if in some confused need for identity-confirmation, he has slipped on a Yes T-shirt with the battered denims and Japanese printed boots (by Andy`s Of Shepherd`s Bush), lending him the appearance of some surreally butch Genet matelot.
“Yes are a very influential band,” he pronounces before dealing with an unpleasant coagulation of early morning phlegm.
But maybe a shade sterile?
“Sterile in what sense?”
“I tell you what: in a band like this with musicians playing the way they play… if it`s not organised it could get lost every minute. And that`s why every night after the show we talk about what happened in that number and why this didn`t happen in this number.
“It used to be like this, but I don`t think it is now – because…I mean, they had to search their way…they had to organise their music highly. Now it`s probably even more organised, but there`s more room for solos.
“Every number is played like a giant jam session really.
“Maybe Rick didn`t move much onstage,” he free-associated, pensively contemplating the Manchester rooftops, “but I move a lot because I feel it – I feel it rock – and I go with the music.
“It`s like when you make love to a chick, you know. When you find a rhythm and you can go on for hours.
“Sorry about this. This little non-musical bracket. Do you want some more tea? Do you want some toast?”
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.
This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Billy Connolly, Sailor, Rick Wakeman, Elton John, Henry Cow, Robert Wyatt, Report on New bands in New York, John Cipollina, Herb Rooney (Exciters), Status Quo, Cecil Taylor, Patti Smith and Television.
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