ARTICLE ABOUT Yes FROM New Musical Express, August 26, 1972

When highly motivated and skilled musicians start a rock band, you get the likes of this group, creating music that may be difficult to get into, but also a group that will never fail you when playing live. This review clearly reflects that. Many people wish that they could possess just a tiny little bit of the musicality of the members of this band, and rightly so.
Read on.

Canada: Well-balanced Yes

Martin Webb: Vancouver

YES, WHO HAVE been playing in Vancouver and Seattle recently, could be the best-balanced rock band around.
I heard them here in Vancouver, and they proved just about everything that I could possibly ask for. Their music is exciting, varied, and highly original. On stage they manage to display their individual instrumental and vocal virtuosity within the confines of the group’s ensemble playing, rather than engaging in a succession of boring ego-maniac solos.
From beginning to end, I didn’t hear one unnecessary note.
I don’t mean that they’re non-experimental, or that I didn’t enjoy the “Clap”, or Rick Wakeman’s “Hallelujah” thing — with the choir somehow coming out of his maze of keyboards — it’s just that since practically everything they do is so different and well planned from the start, they don’t need to use any uncontrolled feedback screeches to add an illusion of the avant-garde to an otherwise mediocre piece of material.
Their whole attitude towards reproducing their recorded sound “live”, is radically different from any other group I’ve ever experienced. Aided by their enormous array of electronic instrumentation and effects — including a stereo P.A. — they are able to stick pretty much to their recorded sound and arrangements. But where they can’t, they don’t botch everything up by going ahead anyway. Instead, without a musical letdown, they insert a substitute phrase that lends itself more to in person presentation.
The result varies just far enough away from the recorded version as to make the piece more interesting for the musician and the listener alike. They are so obviously equally aware of quality both in the studio and on the stage.
I still find their songs difficult to get into after only one hearing. They played two new numbers, “Siberian Khatru”, and “And You And I”, and I was able to enjoy a certain over-all feeling that they had about them. I even remembered a few small parts. But I`ll have to listen to the new album “Close To The Edge” five or six times before I really start grasping either of them.
It’s not music that has you instantly humming it for a day, and fed up with it the next. Yes music is too unpredictable and uncliched for that. The depth of the music makes it take a while to grow on you but I bet that we won’t be snickering at their records when they’re just five years old.
Yes’s increasing popularity stems, I believe from the fact that they just might be the most well-balanced rock band around. Avoiding the wishy-washy trap, they’ve somehow come up with a style that holds something for almost everybody.
When I spoke to the band their main topic of conversation, in between singing, guitar playing, and gulps of greasy chips and chicken, wilted salad and iced milk, turned to the criticism they’ve been receiving in the English music Press for not having played at home in a spell. So may I give this reminder of the British dates they have lined up, starting with the Crystal Palace Bowl (September 2). Steve Howe also mentioned something about the Rainbow in the new year.

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ARTICLE ABOUT YES FROM New Musical Express, March 27, 1971

Luckily for us all, the great war between the US and China didn`t happen, but at the time it may have seemed a possible scenario. The sixties and the seventies were great, but people were a little bit worried and scared underneath it all.
Enjoy this one from the home of Mr. Anderson in the posh area of Kensington, London.
Read on!

From groups` group to people`s band

By Roy Carr

“They ought to play Frank Zappa`s `Peaches En Regalia` on Two-Way Family Favourites instead of constantly churning out `Land Of Hope And Glory,` because it just isn`t relevant today.” That was the candid opinion of Jon Anderson, the somewhat shy and fragile frontman with Yes.
An open critic of the BBC`s radio policy, he continued. “It`s unfortunate that the BBC still persist in playing what the term popular discs… the majority of which are badly made and so very contrived.
“I`m not alone when I say that radio in this country should really open up and show some signs of awareness. I don`t mean that they should flood the air-waves with progressive music, but they should be far more discerning in what they choose to play.”
Though the morning sun was high in the sky, there was a most noticeable chill in the air when I popped round to the Anderson abode in Kensington. A chat and a cuppa it was to be, while Jon`s charming lady Jenny attented to their lovely two-month old daughter Deborah. We had no sooner settled ourselves when the door bell rang and in dashed the band`s guitarist Steve Howe. Rubbing his cold hands together he smiled as he complained about the cold, his smile turning into a look of appreciation at the sight of the steaming mug of liquid warmth that was immediately placed before him.
Yes haven`t arrived at their present position overnight. After being indentured to other bands it has taken them two long years of hard slogging and three commendable albums to progress from being a “Group`s group” to a people`s band.
In that passing of time they have carved out one of the most positive and equally satisfying identities to be heard on either side of the Atlantic.
Now that they have secured a firm foothold, they are eager to expand every facet of their musical capabilities.
As John went on to inform me: “Just the other day, the Symphonia of London approached us to perform with them at the Royal Albert Hall, on the evening before the Proms commence.
“I gather it’ll be a fusion of modern electric music with a small orchestra. I must make it clear that we don’t want to do a rock meets classics thing. Anyway, they must have a very good idea as to what they want to do because it was them who made the initial approach.”

Still the unashamed romantic and musical dramatist, Jon elaborated, “As far as our own solo concerts are concerned we intend to reach even wider dimensions by utilising electronic things.
“At the moment we open up by using a tape of `Also Sprach Zarathustra` from the soundtrack of `2001′ played through the P.A. and believe me it really wakes up the audience and makes them most attentive.” At this point Steve interjected, “Without being pretentious, we have plans to play half-an-hour of popular classics on tape prior to us actually going on stage. We feel that it will put both the band and the audience in a relaxed mood and also give some people their first chance of hearing some of the finest music ever written and performed.” If Yes are endeavouring to make the public musically perceptive, they are all deeply concerned with the way in which Man is blindly forging his own destiny. A dilemma which is constantly reflected in Jon’s probing lyrics. He feels that not only are we in constant peril from unilateral armed conflict, but by his own progress Man is killing both himself and this planet daily with pollution — the cancer of technological advancement. “This is how I came to write ‘Yours Is No Disgrace’ (a track from the Yes Album, which this week stands at No. 10 on the NME album chart). “There was this guy on Late Night Lineup who’d written books about P.O.W.s. and he made some statements which completely shattered my illusions. “Apparently, Borneo is half Indo-Chinese, so that when China finally kicks out the Yanks from Viet-Nam they are going to want the other half of Borneo which is BRITISH. Which means that we will have to send out troops to defend our interests. Anyway, this guy reckons that within eight years we`ll be fighting the Chinese and eventually
both America and China will be at war with each other.”
As the conversation was getting a bit heavy, we once again turned our attentions to music, with Steve picking up an acoustic guitar to play part of the Concierto de Aranjuez.
“You know, my own personal ambition is to eventually play this in concert,” then with a laugh sheepishly admitted. “At the moment, it’s way beyond me, but maybe I’ll get around to it in 15 years time.”
Acknowledged as one of this country’s most accomplished rock guitarists, Steve continued.
“Every musician has to have an ego to enable him to get both his technique and personality together. But once you’ve achieved that you have to consider the audience, then if you have any common sense the ego thing becomes virtually non-existent.”
To which Jon added in his quite hoarse tones, “It’s really just strength of character to enable you to put across your music. Speaking for myself I’m into entertaining the audience… In fact I’m one of the audience.
“Quite frankly, self-indulgence on stage doesn’t really turn too many people on. Just a few freaks who mumble about a guy doin’ his own thing.”

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ARTICLE ABOUT Yes FROM New Musical Express, January 23, 1971

About a month before the release of their third album but the article still contains some very weird spellings of band-members names. Still, it is a very good read of a band still finding their feet at a very early stage of their wonderful and long career.
Read on!


Yes move into the gap left by Nice

By Roy Carr

SOME cheerful dullard in his misguided wisdom recently asked Yes, (quote) … “When are you chaps going to happen?” To which he was promptly and most politely informed, “But, we’ve been happening for the last two years.” A logical statement which I am quite certain added to his obviously pixilated condition.
Now, those of you who, like myself, are avid supporters of Yes, will immediately comprehend not only the validity but the positive subtlety of that reply.
By now everyone must be aware that Yes are by no means a fly-by-night hype. You must know the score by now…. one glossy over-publicised album, bad, in-person gigs and subsequent oblivion.
Since their original conception they have constantly displayed a maturity which very few bands ever achieve. If one has to draw a parallel it is to state that Yes have the same indefinable magic that made Buffalo Springfield and the Lovin’ Spoonful contemporary pop legends.
Indeed, since the lamented demise of the Nice, Yes must surely be the strongest contenders for the position of Europe’s most outstanding quality music band.
But, this has only been attained by virtue of their sheer hard work, an unshakeable dedication to their music and the channeled energy of their mutual admiration for each other.
It was singer-composer Jon Anderson who clarified his group’s position in these words. “I don’t think we’ve got the loyal following so that people can point to a specific time and say, `Yes have now made it.’ We’re on a sliding scale which is going up and away in a ‘favourable direction.”
Jon’s feelings being that it is bands like Led Zeppelin and Mungo Jerry who emerge with an almost instantaneous reaction.
“Personally speaking, the way in which our band is moving means that we’ll be making music longer than a lot of other groups who ride in and quickly out on the crest of instant acclaim. Actually, I can’t see any foreseeable end to it”
In this Aquarian age, when sheer romanticism has often been ridiculed and swept aside in the rush towards trendy permissiveness and its resulting hang-ups, Yes have acted as an equilibrium. For besides helping to re-introduce some basic sanity, in an effort to counteract the paranoia (the cancer of creativity) that abounds within the industry, they have infiltrated into realms of neo-fantasy and gargatuan musical splendour.

On more than one occasion, Jon, along with the other articulate members of Yes, Tony Kaye (organ), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squires (bass) and drummer Bill Brufford have spoken about this admitted theatrical trait.
Chris defined it thus: “Every number we do is just like a little musical score, yet we still leave enough space for individual freedom. All the classics were written as a theme and variation concept, and I feel that it’s got to return to this… people being indicative of a theme.
“We’re influenced by these but only to the point that we incorporate dramatics and this theme and variation basis. In our extended version of Paul Simon’s `America,’ we use this most beautiful vehicle to reflect our personalised observations of what we feel about the numerous diversities of that particular country.”
Jon, who at first glance appears to be physically quite frail and charged with nervous energy, elaborated on that particular line of conversation. In his most naice, hoarse tones he reveals his present sources of inspiration.
“I’ve read quite a lot of semi-science fiction, mainly novels by Ray Bradbury and Keith Luamer.” Which probably accounts for such album song titles as `Astral Traveller’ and `Starship Trooper.”
“Apart from that, I’ve also spent a great deal of time listening to the works of the more popular classical composers….. Stravinsky’s ‘Rights Of Spring,’ Dvorak’s ‘New World Symphony’ and Holst’s `Planet Suite.’ In fact it was the ‘Planets’ which gave me the idea to use a passage from ‘Neptune’ as the instrumental segment in our arrangement of `Everyday’.”
Jon quite openly admitted that this was his direct influence insofar as the theatrical side of the group’s musical presentation is concerned. It has had it’s desired effect, for Yes have been approached to furnish the musical scores for two motion pictures which are due to go into production later this year.
“I feel that our background will enable us to enjoy writing for this media,” Jon continued.
“Until recently it’s been people like Henry Mancini and John Barry who have had a monopoly in the film industry. But now it appears that bands like Pink Floyd and Soft Machine are proving to be very successful within this context, especially as they are well into the space music thing.”
However, with a new album and an extended American tour imminent, certain Yes by-products have had to be shelved for the time being, the most notable being the 1001 basses project of the ‘Jolly Green Giant’ Chris Squires.
“It is to be a Concerto for bass-guitars,” Chris revealed as he peered down at me. “I intend to use quite a number of different players including Greg Lake and Steve Howe. We’ll be using deep sounds which have never been used on record before. I want people to feel it as well as hear the music, if you know what I mean.”


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ARTICLE ABOUT Chris Squire (Yes) FROM Sounds, January 31, 1976

This one may be a bit too technical for those of you who aren`t musicians, but it still may be a good read. PersonallyI have a lot of love for the bass. I even have one laying around my house without the time to properly learn to play it. Oh well, maybe someday…
Read on!


Fuzz to phase with Squire Superbass

By Tony Mitchell

I’D LIKE to say ‘Thank you very much, SOUNDS readers’ ” said an evidently flattered Chris Squire when I told him a short while ago that he’d been voted number one bass player in our poll. He added that it meant much more to him that it had been you, the readers, who had put him top of the list rather than some panel of pop pundits. Chris, of course, is probably more responsible than any other single musician for championing what some of us call the `Rickenbacker’ sound. The fact that many people just call it the ‘Chris Squire sound’ shows just how important his contribution has been. So I asked Chris what he thought about the obviously renewed popularity of the Rickenbacker bass guitar.
“It’s interesting to talk about that because they do seem to be more popular now than they ever were,” he said. “There were definite phases when a few people were using them, then there were hardly any around at all, but now you’ve only got to turn on Top Of The Pops and you see half a dozen.”
Chris first came across the instrument when he was about 17, working in Boosey & Hawkes in Regent Street. He was learning to play bass on a cheapish guitar, but had the opportunity to buy a better bass through the company’s ‘electric’ branch which was then in Piccadilly Circus. At the time B&H were main agents for Rickenbacker, and, says Chris, at that time “it just looked like the best machine available.”
“I had been to see the Who and Entwistle had used a Rickenbacker, and I suppose you can say in a way he turned me on to the sound of it.


“So I bought one, and I must admit I’ve never come across another one that sounds quite like it. I still mainly use that first one, and although I’ve bought others since then, I’ve never quite found one that achieves that same colour.
Did he, then, prefer older instruments in general?
“Undoubtedly there are new instruments which do have different advantages because there obviously is a greater understanding of pick-ups, phasing and all that kind of stuff. So I wouldn’t say, as some people do, that it’s impossible to pick up a good new instrument.
“If all some of the big manufacturers were interested in was swelling their quarterly profits, at the expense of quality, then in the long run I think they’d lose out. I mean, look at our car industry …”
Preferring not to, however, we moved on to discuss strings, and the appearance of Chris’s name and picture in ads for Rotosound strings, made by James How.
“I’ve met James How and he really is interested in developing new strings and better things for musicians,” Chris said. “He’s really dedicated to that sort of thing. He made a fantastic set of strings for the Rickenbacker whereby you don’t have to have the signal travelling through all these cables when the effect is switched out. It’s a special switch box, and when you press in the control, not only does it bring into circuit the wah-wah, but it also switches a switch in a box behind the amp which sends the signal to the wah-wah, so when you switch it off again it cuts out the feed and it goes straight through to the amp again.”
In other words a by-pass control! But there’s more … “Apart from those I’ve got a Hammond reverb unit and a tremelo that I had made by a guy, and a Mutron, and another little box called a Compact Phaser which is definitely the best phaser going in my opinion — it gives such a wide range of sounds. It’s a very clean, neat, quiet unit.”
Despite the quality of this device, which is actually a studio phaser, Chris still maintains that there is only one way to get the genuine tape phasing sound, and that is by doing it with tape. “It’s a very broad spectrum — a different kind of phasing. And then of course there’s flanging …”


“As well as those things,” Chris continued after an unsuccessful attempt to put into words the exact difference between the two, “I’ve got a nice echo unit which I got from the States.’ It’s operated on a foot eight-string bass which I designed.”
How did Chris come to design the guitar?
“Well I put to them that I wanted an eight-string bass and I also had a few criticisms of the standard bass that they were making, so I asked them to make this eight string bass very similar to my original four-string bass.
“However, when they made it, it was strung like they string their 12 strings, with the thick string first in each pair, and we experienced teething troubles with that arrangement. I had to take it to Sam Li and he changed it all round so that you hit the thin string first. I believe they’re making them like that now.
The reason for having the strings round that way, Chris explained, was that when fingering with the left hand, it was natural to ‘aim’ for the nearer string of each pair. If that string were the thinner of each pair, you would naturally hold down the thicker one as well, but if the thinner were behind the thicker, you would tend to hold down only the thicker one properly. Simple, isn’t it?
“They did tell me at one time that they were going to name it the Chris Squire bass. I have used it quite a bit now and it’s very nice.”
Had he had any basses custom-built by anyone?
“Actually I haven’t. I’ve been approached a few time by Alembic, and people who used to work for Alembic, and people who were going to work for Alembic, who all of course promised that they could make a better one than you could get from Alembic. But in fact I haven’t ordered anything yet.
“I already have quite a selection of bass guitars. Gibson, Fender; a couple of six string including a Danelectro, which is a very good guitar. It feels like it was made of toughened hardboard or something, and it only cost me something like 100 dollars in the States three years ago, but it sounds great.”


Talking of sounds, it must be pretty widely known that Chris is well into effects. I asked him to describe some of the equipment he uses, and why.
“In my opinion the best fuzz-box for bass is the Maestro Brassmaster. I’ve used it for a couple of years and haven’t come across anything better. One of the main characteristics which I like is that it has a mixer control which allows you to let through a certain amount of the straight-through sound and put the amount of fuzz you want on top.
“I think the Cry-Baby wah-wah is the best one ever made. Admittedly mine has been specially doctored so that, again, you can let through a certain amount of straight-through sound and use the wah-wah at the same time.
“I have quite a complicated stage set up actually. It’s worked out on the theory that if you are going to use effects, the amount of lead you have to use with them is fine when you’re using them, but when you’re not, you don’t want the signal travelling through miles of cable.
“So I worked out a system pedal and it works on a revolving disc principle, but you actually use the foot pedal to control the amount of echo. I can’t remember who makes that, I`m afraid.”
“Another thing which isn`t available here that I’ve been using for the last four or five years is a set of Dutron bass pedals. It’s a simple one-oscillator device but it produces a very nice sound through a Fender amp and a JBL 2×15 cabinet.
“But on my last trip to the States I got from Moog one of the sets of Taurus bass pedals that they now produce. I’m really excited about this development because although it’s basically the same technique, you’ve got a lot more facilities. My road manager has built both sets of pedals into one unit. That way I can have either the old ones or the new ones or both!


“Of course bass pedals have a limit to what they can do — the best use for them is sustaining notes; you can’t play anything very fast on them. I use them to add some bottom to a particular chord or something. It gives me the advantage of being able to play something high on the bass guitar and put in a low note with them … so it works for me.
“It’s almost as if Moog developed the Taurus bass pedals with me in mind, though I’m sure he didn’t.”
Presumably Chris was fairly choosy about the amplification he used for this set up?
“Funnily enough most things work — I can get a sound out of most amplifiers. I use Sunn speaker cabinets with a mixture of JBL and Gauss speakers, the reason for that being that the JBLs are harder and you get more brightness out of them, but I can’t take everything JBL – the Gauss have got more of a roundness to them.
“I think there are about four Gauss and two JBLs in each cabinet. I know I could get a lot more sophisticated about it if I wanted to — a W-unit with horns and crossover unit and all that — but I really don’t know if I’d be any better off.
“Most of the time I use a Marshall 100 watt amp, which is something else I’ve had for a long time. I stopped using it for a while when Yes first went to America and started using Sunn transistor amps which I got a very good sound with. But for me they did just lack that singing valve quality which is hard to achieve with transistor amplifiers. Mind you, solid state stuff is improving all the time.
There’s one other thing I’ve picked up in the States called the TMI Frequaliser. You use it as a pre-amp with a power amp, and it has such a wide range of tone controls with boost and cut that you can balance the sound — the volume of any string or particular note — according to the hall you’re in.”
Basically this unit is a sophisticated graphic equaliser, and Chris was so keen for people in this country to hear all about it — with the possiblity of an arrangement to import it being made in the near future — that he offered to let us give one a thorough going-over. Naturally we took him up on this offer, and so, thanks to our number-one pollster, an exclusive review of this device will appear shortly in SOUNDS.
Thanks again Chris, and as the saying goes, keep on plucking!


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ARTICLE ABOUT Steve Howe FROM Sounds, November 8, 1975

Just a so-so review for Mr. Howe. Still, the album reached No. 22 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 63 on the US Billboard 200. So he couldn`t be too disappointed.


Howe`s about that then

Record review by Phil Sutcliffe

Steve Howe: ‘Beginnings’ (Atlantic K50151) 38 Mins ***

THE FIRST of the queue of Yes solo albums — at the end of which I suppose the question will have to be ‘was it worth it or should they have combined the best of each into one group creation as before?’ No verdicts yet of course but ‘Beginnings’ is the sort of devotedly-made yet patchy effort you expect from privateering band members.
I would say four of the tracks are thoroughly pleasing to listen to and three of those are the instrumentals, all of them couched in fairly easily-listenable terms rather than bearing forward the Yes banner of experimentation.
As a whole, both verbally and vocally, it’s not too strong. There’s too much philosophising (the first word of the album is `Life’ with a captial L — a bad omen).
Alone, Steve’s voice is high and thin. Singing the opening line of ‘Will 0′ The Wisp’ its plaintiveness is right (Break the chains is that keep us here’). Otherwise it wavers once or twice but he generally has the good judgement to build up the harmonic layers into a richer texture – particularly enhancing ‘Pleasure Stole The Night’ which otherwise tends towards a dreary hymnal quality.
The first side is much the weaker, only redeemed by the instrumental `The Nature Of The Sea’ where the delicacy of so much of Yes’s work gets a look in – a calm-ripping mandolin, a guitar leaping around it like the sun sparkling on a flying fish. Perhaps for a moment I sensed inspiration rather than work.
`Doors Of Sleep’ is overproduced round a not too distinctive melody, while the other two tracks on the side fall away after promising acoustic openings. In fact ‘Lost Symphony’ features the unlikeliest sound on the album — rugged brass riffs which don’t seem suited.
However, turn it over and you are greeted by seven and a half minutes of pleasure: the title track. Chamber music I guess, nothing to do with rock but I trust we are long past arguments against that. It’s sweet sound. Melancholy strings, flute just beautiful, oboe and bassoon officious and jaunty in the faster movements, while Howe weaves amongst them picking some lovely acoustic. Patrick Moraz orchestrated it to flow and charm and delight and it does.
`Ram’ is ‘The Clap’ revisited and again it’s nice to hear a well-played acoustic ragging around. But you have to wait till the last track before you can grab some really successful rock. One of the reasons is Bill Bruford who I reckon the most pungent drummer to emerge from the Progressive era. He doesn’t follow the guitar hero, he whips him along. The result is Howe in a lather tearing an enflamed solo across the crackling skintight beat and for a few minutes sounding as hot as he is live.


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