This is a really fun article featuring Yes as they still, even after three albums, were a somewhat “small” band in the scope of things to come. The new guy at the time, Mr. Howe, turned out to be a very important member of the band.
If someone know who the original journalist was that wrote this article, please give me a hint so he is given his due when it comes to credits for this article. The name was not printed in “Sounds”.
Enjoy this great time travel, back to a time when Yes were a student band.
Yes is one of those bands that everybody who knows about music claims to admire, but who have nevertheless never gained the recognition or the success that they deserve. They are, inevitably, one of the most popular bands on the college scene today -inevitably, because they are a profoundly musical group at what is, by present day standards, a very reasonable price. Like Quintessence, and Argent, Yes are a group that seem to have been waiting at the door for a long time.
There are strong indications, though, that Yes are beginning to happen and if they do it will no doubt give great satisfaction not only to them but to the many social secretaries who have booked them in the past, and who have later told me just what good value they are, both onstage and off.
I had the chance to talk to Jon Anderson of Yes a couple of weeks ago about the university and college scene in general, and he showed a sympathetic understanding of the problems which student organisers have to face.
Jon didn`t think that his music was any better received by students than by anyone else. Reaction from all kinds of audience tended to be much the same – which is how it should be, of course, since students don`t have a monopoly of musical appreciation (though some of them seem to think so).
“We like to play colleges and clubs because that way we reach the widest possible audience. For instance, if we play an ordinary date in Manchester then at the university, we`ve reached as many people as possible unless we did the Free Trade Hall.
“I also think that a concert at a university – any concert – is a good thing because it brings the students together under one roof. In large places like Leeds, Birmingham or Portsmouth, where they`re scattered about all over the place, this is particularly good.”
John had a lot of sympathy for college promoters in a lot of the technical colleges in the cities.
“Some of them have halls that are pre-Victorian, and they are very badly supported, often because they`re competing with a university up the road with much better facilities.
We played in one hall once, it was twice as high as it was long. The acoustics were awful – the sound came out really distorted. You can`t expect to hold concerts in a place like that. But compare that with somewhere like LSE. They`ve only got a small hall – I don`t suppose it seats more than 900 people – but its got a tremendous atmosphere, good lightshow and so on.”
I asked Jon about the band`s future plans. He told me that they were going to America with Jethro Tull (they should be there now, in fact) and they were very hopeful that they would be able to build on the small but solid foundations laid by their previous two U.S. tours. The band will not be appearing in this country again until late autumn – Jon hopes to do a tour then, to coincide with a new album which he hopes will be released towards the end of the year. They would fill in the gaps between now and then writing and rehearsing new material.
The inclusion of new member Steve Howe means that the main brunt of writing has been taken off Jon: he and Steve now do a lot of composing together. This has the additional advantage of providing one more direction to the already wide range of Yes` music. Some of Steve`s work appeared on their most recent album, but he is coming even more into it as the re-constituted group finds its feet.
Then, in the autumn, a few more college gigs. It may be that by then Yes will have achieved the recognition that has been predicted for them for so long. I doubt if this will mean that they will stop doing college and university dates, though, even if greater commitments prevent them playing at them quite so often. Jon`s sympathy for what most student promoters are trying to do (even if they so often fail through lack of experience or whatever) is apparent. When I asked him about the bad experiences Yes had been through, or the colleges he wouldn`t go back to, he said there were none.
“We`ve had a few problems, I suppose, but I don`t want to put students down. Even when they cock things up, they`re trying to help us and that`s what counts.”
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Traffic, Bronco, Humble Pie, Kate Taylor, Gary Burton, Tony Williams, Stephen Stills, Murray Head, Sandy Denny, John Sebastian, Clouds, Heads & Hands and Feet, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Curtis Mayfield, Scotty.
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