Yes

ARTICLE ABOUT Yes FROM Record Mirror, April 29, 1972

I really liked this interview with Steve Howe – the journalist, Val Mabbs, did a very good job here.
You`re gonna enjoy this one a lot if you are a Yes fan!

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YES – NO PLACE TO PLAY

Steve Howe talks about the venue problem to Val Mabbs

FOLLOWING an extensive tour of America, Yes returned home to find that not only had the Rainbow Theatre, where they had made several appearances, closed, but also London`s Royal Albert Hall had imposed a ban on pop and rock groups.
Two events that only illuminate the growing problem in Britain, where many excellent bands continue to emerge, but the work circuit continually decreases.
Steve Howe sat relaxing in his cosy Hampstead flat, pondering the difficulties of working in Britain, and the comparison to America.
“It’s getting to be much more tricky,” says Steve. “The failure of the Rainbow Room was really a shame, because to me it was the nicest and best gig to do and I was looking forward to going back there. I don’t like the idea of playing in a ‘swimming pool’ like the Empire Pool much — it’s a little cold.
“The last tour we did in October was of city halls, and we packed it out, but though we loved it I don’t think we’d like to do that again. We’d like to play where we can get more people together for more of an event.”

PERFECT

The latest idea among the group members is for Yes to appear at the Crystal Palace, following their return from a further American tour which is planned to begin in July.
“To me Crystal Palace seems the perfect venue because it’s very organised, you can get a lot of people there; there are trees and grass and a nice bank to sit on.
“We’ll definitely do a British concert probably there, and I’ve got a fascination for playing at the Roundhouse,” Steve told me, but admitted that a tour of Britain is not a lucrative prospect for any group. “From a group’s point of view you have to work very hard and not get much back — it’s not a nice way to look at England but you can’t make money here.
“This idea for Crystal Palace could turn into a small tour, but we’ve got to have a strong act with several other groups to see. We really hope to get Jonathan Edwards — a folk rock star yet to be ‘born’ in England! — and at least two other bands, but not out and out heavy rock groups.”
For six weeks, with only four days’ rest, Yes have toured America, and due to the vastness of the country and the abundance of colleges and halls to cover, could continue for years to return constantly. But despite the enjoyment they obtain from touring there, Yes have no intention of moving permanently to that vast country.
As they plan to go into the recording studios throughout the entire month of June, and will be spending a month prior to that in rehearsal however, Yes will not be appearing in Britain until their September concert.
The idea is to do an album with an American tour to run in the new songs and then to come back for the show in England,” Steve explained.
When I queried if Yes might not be interested in appearing on one of the festival bills he told me, “In a way they seem a little old-fashioned to me. A festival lasting three days induces so many bad spirits I think. They’ve been a success and I’m not wiping them out completely, but I like the slightly more reserved idea of putting on a show — when the sun is out!”
Mr Howe is greatly moved by the sun, and admits that although he wrote a large amount of new music during the first tour of America, which was in the summer, on the subsequent tours the flow has declined.

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IDEA

“I’m glad this time though that I wasn’t using up more of my energy writing with the cassette, although sometimes when an idea comes I regret I’m not near a tape recorder, because it’s good to capture the song as it comes; just for your own amusement.
“The tour was hard work, particularly on the West Coast where the audiences are a bit more resistent. On the East Coast our reputation spread very quickly, now we’ve covered the West Coast supporting for the third time and there’s been a gradual build up.
“This time was the first they’d ever heard us in San Francisco, which is a whole England if you like, and you’ve got to get that from one show … !”
On stage Yes’ act is developing naturally, but following their American tour, Yes plan to use their recording engineer Eddy Offord permanently to mix their on stage sound.
“Originally he came over to help with the live recordings,” Steve explained. “And he helped with the PA and was turning out some incredible mixes — now we hope he can always mix our sound. The problem is he can’t record the set and mix it on stage, so we just let some guy loose in there to record us live.”

TAPES

Eighteen boxes of sixteen track tape are now waiting to be sorted through, when Eddy returns from the States, and it is planned to use two of them, along with two live tracks from the forthcoming tour, for a live Yes album. The Yes studio album, will consist of one piece of music on the first side, based on events in people’s lives, with a loose theme of leaving places.
Just one more recorded item to look forward to is an album which Steve and Jon Anderson are planning to record with MD Johnny Harris.
“One side will consist of Jon’s songs, which Johnny Harris will be working on, and we’re hoping to do ‘Mood For A Day’ with an orchestra. All this takes a lot of work, and it’s in the early stages, but we’re taking the first steps.”
In the meantime Mr Howe, having rested for two weeks, is already hankering after working again. “I wanna play,” he says characteristically. And therein lies the essence of Yes!

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A fantastic product – or so it seemed?

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

 

ARTICLE ABOUT Rick Wakeman FROM SOUNDS, June 7, 1975

A really interesting and long review of this big and very ambitious undertaking from Mr. Wakeman.
Have fun and read on!

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Ice cool Rick!

Mick Brown reports on Rick Wakeman`s concert on ice at the Empire Pool Wembley

In Camelot, nature calls. “These bloody costumes are so authentic they don`t even put flies in them”, grimaces a knight, patting his chain mail in frustration. “They`d just piss `emselves in the Middle Ages. That`s why they smelt so awful…”
His friend stubs out a cigarette, pulls on his helmet and attempts to struggle into his horse – a heavy frame, suspended on straps from his shoulders. “Fall over in this, love, and there`s no way you`ll be able to get up again. That`s what I`m dreading…”
On stage Rick Wakeman is picking his nose for the benefit of a French television crew. The stage is a large, cumbersome tub afloat a sea of ice, its cardboard-battlement sides bursting at the seams with musicians and singers. Wakeman`s keyboards are ranged on a raised dais centre-stage, 14 in number, some £20,000 worth of the most sophisticated wires, patches and circuitry available. Speakers, slung from gantries above the stage, give off a predatory buzz.
“We can`t hear the choir”, says Wakeman. “Can you turn off the buzz please. Can you just… please… bloody hell, TURN IT OFF. Thank you. And these lights. It`s the Empire Pool, not the Empire Stadium. A concert, not a bloody football match.” The lights blink out.
Wakeman turns to his keyboards. David Measham, conductor of the New World Symphony Orchestra, raises his baton. The two vocalists from Wakeman`s English Rock Ensemble step to their microphones. The English Chamber Choir and the Nottingham Festival Group shuffle expectantly in their seats. The music swells into force, rumbling up into the rafters, rippling around the empty stadium. A handful of knights step onto the ice and trace elegant circles around the stage. One scoots the breadth of the arena, executing a series of subtle twists and turns which culminate in an ignominious prat-fall. Oh, bloody hell…
“It`s very dodgy”, Rick allows, “because one man`s meat is another man`s poison. There are people who just want to go along to see a band, hear their songs, clap their hands and go home. I can understand that. And that`s all some performers like to give their audience. There`s others who try to bring, for want of a better word, entertainment into it; the theatrical side of things, but without over-riding the music – which is what we`re trying to do. I want people to leave thinking `we`ve had a nice time, some nice music, a bit of a laugh, a few serious bits`… I want the show to embrace as many emotions as possible, like a film.
“Everybody thinks I`m crackers, and that what we`re doing has nothing to do with music at all. To me it has. It`s like if you play a record on really good equipment and then play it on shitty equipment, you can`t tell me it`s going to sound better on the shitty equipment. The presentation is all important. If something is presented in what you feel is an appropriate way it can only help you to perform the music better.
“What upsets me is that it`s been reviewed by people before they`ve even seen it. It`s been knocked really hard by so many people who`ve already decided it`s a huge joke. I just hope that if some of the sceptics who are coming along really do enjoy it that they`ll have the balls to lay it on the line and say so. Because if it doesn`t work I`ll be the first to own up…”

PYTHON

As it happened, both Wakeman and the sceptics have a bit of owning up to do. For while the show vindicated Rick`s contention that rock on ice is not as incongruous as it may seem, the experiment was far from being an unqualified success.
Wakeman is perhaps the finest exponent of keyboard music in this country. As a composer he has incredible vision and scope, and the technical skills to weave rock, classical and avant-garde themes and ideas into a meaningful fabric. But in his eagerness to equate `entertainment` with `ambitiousness` Rick is in danger of forgetting that the essence of music is its simplicity.
He opened the show with a selection from `The Six Wives Of Henry The Eight` and material from the new Ken Russell movie `Lisztomania` and from the outset it was apparent that the taste of the icing threatened to drown the flavour of the cake. With everybody on stage trying to assert themselves the more subtle nuances of Rick`s music all but vanished in an excess of sound. Only when Rick`s keyboards soared free could his virtuosity be truly appreciated particularly during the quieter, more reflective passages of `Catherine Howard`.
The sound-mix had a lot to do with it; the Rock Ensemble`s rhythm section battered virtually everybody else into a fuzzy mid-distance on occasions, so that half the choir could have taken off for a quick skate around the arena without being missed, and the two vocalists, Ashley Holt and Gary Pickford Hopkins appeared to be projecting their voices from inside a cardboard box.
They are the sort of problems that were doubtless ironed out for the second and third nights, and indeed the sound had improved considerably by the start of the second half. The first came to an amusing conclusion with Rick announcing something `sweet and gentil` – a swirling Wagnerian vignette which capsized into an electric honky-tonk version of the Charleston, complete with ice-skating flappers. The piece de resistance was saved for the second half.

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After a short declamation of people who review shows before they`ve seen them (obviously a sensitive topic that), and a quick joust with his sequined cape (which wouldn`t stay on) Rick launched into `The Legends Of King Arthur`. Let it be said immediately that it was the ice-skaters who stole the show: the duelling sequences were skillfully executed (so was the Black Knight); Guinevere looked appropriately ethereal as she gracefully navigated the arena, while Holt and Pickford Jones sang a particularly soppy ode in her honour; and nobody fell over.
It quite took me back to my childhood, in fact; a feeling reinforced by the fact that I found the plot totally incomprehensible (is there a plot?). For `Merlin The Magician` the skaters moved aside for a movie, shot at Rick`s house in Buckinghamshire presumably, which was derivative in equal parts of Monty Python`s Search for the Holy Grail and Silvikrin Shampoo`s Search for the Ideal Head of Hair (Wakeman`s of course). All of which tended to reduce the actual music to the status of a tricky but forgettable soundtrack.
Rick`s keyboards trilled effectively enough, the Orchestra and band pumped away with great gusto and the choirs were in fine voice, but somehow the sum never fulfilled the promise of all the parts. In fact, only at the climax of the piece did I feel that the music was invested with anything close to spirit – a stirring crescendo of sound which all but drowned narrator Terry Taplin`s valediction to King Arthur and his Knights, and which seemed almost capable of bringing them back from the dead.
`Journey To The Centre Of The Earth` followed. Taplin reading the text as if it were the Ten Commandments and Wakeman performing as if he were the guy who wrote them. No ice-skaters or home movies (not even an inflatable dinosaur which had been pumped up during afternoon rehearsals); just the score, which contains perhaps some of the best material Rick has ever composed, but which, again, suffered from a collective over-indulgence; a howitzer opening a can of beans. By the end of the evening – after three hours music – the energy was beginning to pale somewhat. At its quietest the music was just soporific, and at its loudest and lustiest it could barely stimulate awakeness, let alone emotion.
But the company left the stage to rapturous applause which suggested that the full-house Wembley crowd were more than happy with the evening`s entertainment. Rick himself strode off beaming. Obviously the show had been all that he had hoped for too. I`ve still got reservations about the idea – especially as he now apparently plans to write an album around the concept of Mythological Gods. But isn`t it about time for him to lay such ideas in a peaceful grave, drop the orchestra, chorus, choir and Ensemble and get down to recording the definitive keyboard album? Solo.

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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!
The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Yes FROM SOUNDS, May 17, 1975

I didn`t get a whole lot out of this interview besides the fact that Mr. Howe is obsessed with music and his guitars, but we all knew that before. It may be interesting to the Yes fanatics out there which guitar he used on each album, but they may know this already? Anyway, here goes… Read on!

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Down on the farm

Howard Fielding talks to Steve Howe

Now that the only people who can afford country estates are pop stars, I thought I`d do an interview with a musician for one of those earthy farming magazines – `Artificial Inseminator`s Weekly` was the one I had in mind. But Steve Howe was the wrong man to pick – all he can talk about is guitars – so here we are in SOUNDS again.
The scene was all right, in the heart of Somerset pastureland, and the farm we were on was for sale. Steve did stroll round the fields, conversed briefly with the odd calf, but clearly preferred the feel of the slenderer necks of his Gibsons. Mind you, it was my own fault. Having just seen the second Yes concert at Bristol the night before, it seemed a good idea to start off with a reference to the battery of guitars used at the concert.
It only took half a query, and Steve had flashed out an antique guitar catalogue of the 1920s, and was enthusing about his collecting mania – harp mandolins and all.

STRUGGLE

After a struggle I got him round to the present tour, and showed puzzlement that the material selected dated back as far as `The Yes Album`, and that he still played `Mood For A Day` and `The Clap` as his virtuoso sections. That`s apparently because the band have featured the new stuff in America on recent tours, and felt they`d like a change. Since they hadn`t played in England for so long also, the set chosen had public reaction in mind.
It`s more popular and more before the kill, “It`s all to do with composition.” My mind is still a mess of frets, fingerboards, C-sharps and B-flats, pick-ups and plugs and the thickness of notes and thinness of bodies – but it`s really quite simple.
Every time a new set of music was to be written for an album, Steve sat down with the guitar of the moment, and the music evolved from the idiosyncratic features and capacities of that particular instrument. So `The Yes Album` is mostly Gibson 175; `Fragile` is Gibsons Switchmaster; `Topographic` is Les Paul Junior (single pick-up, please note), `Close To The Edge`is Gibson Stereo; and `Relayer` is Fender Telecaster. Specific extra items merit other special guitars, but the bulk of any album concentrates on one guitar only.
Granted the intimacy thus created between songs and guitar, it seems almost rewarding to play familiar songs, and anyway, he pointed out, Yes don`t just play their material routinely – there are lots of subtle changes and variations.
Ho-hum, I thought, he`d have to say something like that. So the next line of attack was to be more penetrating. If the band now play what suits the audience, could it be that they had lost their way in terms of leading their followers, and were going round in circles? Perhaps a little hint, too, that the latest material wasn`t as good as the old – was a little too close to a Yes stereotype?
I could see straightaway he`d answered that before, as he gently implied that such comments reflected a lack of discrimination in the ears of the critics. In fact he said that the next Yes album would be more `Yes-like` still, if possible. It`s to be another double which will be so much a step towards the band`s ultimate ideal that it will displace the old material. It`s to be an `expedition` – a pioneering exploit going far beyond the previous parameters of their music, and far outstripping the present production, presentation, and stage techniques.
So I thought just one more chance before I yield to this nice, modest but too clever young man. What about all those guitars on stage? Could the audience really differentiate between them? All 10 of them?

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EXTROVERT

Couldn`t it be just a little extrovert?
“Ah, well,” he said, pausing blasphemous to have suggested that he could play the piece on anything other than the original instrument. I had to agree. Quite right, Steve, fair enough, use as many as you like.
I was capitulating, when he melted by boots with the remark that he thought it was all getting a bit silly, really, and he was going to cut down in future and develop a consistent single guitar approach, using things like phase switches and other unmentionables to vary the tone and texture. He`s even practising a `thin body style` – more funky, see.

HUMILITY

He just kept going on after that, and was still mouthing about acoustic resonance when I left discreetly, feeling a little slack-jawed myself. Still, it came in useful, this humility, when I came out of the third Yes concert and stepped into a queue of Bay City Rollers sleeping bags waiting overnight for tickets.
Less stern stuff, I thought, pen in hand. “Do you hope to grow up one day?” “Who are the best group in the world?” “Aren`t you cold?” With incredible economy of mind and body, she flashed back the answer to all questions in a single word, “Yes”. It`s sad that one so young should be so wise.

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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!
The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT YES FROM SOUNDS, April 26, 1975

You will be hard pressed to find a more positive concert review than this one. It seems to me that Mr. Sutcliffe really enjoyed himself. So read on!

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Yes, the ocean monsters, send us home happy

Phil Sutcliffe catches the Yes tour in Glasgow

It ain`t easy being a Yes fan, you know. Reveal your secret in the wrong company and they go “ya boo”, and beat you about the head with Chuck Berry 78s.
The inverted rocksnob theory is that because the lads don`t encore with `Johnny B Goode` they`re strictly for bourgeoisie intellectuals from Pseud`s Corner.
Well, hear ye. Just cop yer whack for the new Yes tour. I`ve just seen three of the opening gigs and you can argue `til you`re blue in the suede shoes and you won`t persuade me that Yes are anything but one of the best rock bands in the world. That`s as in Rock On, Get Yer Rocks Off, ROCK.
After the relaxed delights of the Newcastle nights, Glasgow was the business end, notebook out, mental computer switched to “analyse”, self-inflicted third degree of “Ve haf vays of making you tell us vy you are enjoying yourself.”
A later than last minute dash up the stairs of the Apollo and there was Alan White, punching into the startling broken time opening of `Sound Chaser`. Short drum volleys surrounded by silence and a rippling run on electric piano. Just right for grabbing idle minds out of their between the acts lethargy.
Instantly the typical Yes audience concentration descended and there was a kind of mutual limbering up. `Sound Chaser` is no classic in terms of tune, but it does demand some of those moments when teamwork has to be so perfect, it`s an aesthetic thrill in itself.
It was so when Steve Howe and Chris Squire hit the main riff in high speed cohesion as if the ryhthm was flowing in one bloodstream, and again, when Jon Anderson went into his vocal percussion “Chas-Chas” backed by Howe and Squire. Their certainty and attack caught that big “Yeah” from inside you which is a clichè of soul music but means it`s buzzing whether it`s Beethoven or boogaloo.

Such a sense of abrasion – that was the surprise. First number over and the audience exchanging “this – is – really – going – to – be – something” glances. They switched on the glitter ball above the stage and in a rain of flickering lights the electronic crickets of `Close To The Edge` started chirping.
It`s never been better, a piece of music that grows and grows. `Close To The Edge` is packed with some of the richest themes that Yes has ever written, and they are given full orchestral weight by Moraz sticking to the Wakeman script on organ and synthesisers, working in intricate sympathy with Howe`s guitars.
The sheer size of it is very satisfying, but you don`t just sit there feeling mellow and inwardly syphonic. The composition is a compound of excitement and beauty and in Glasgow, more so than the earlier gigs, there was that new wildness in the playing. Not just commitment, but abandoned.
Although I have never been able to penetrate their words, their playing is dramatic in a purely musical sense, with no literal meaning, so it takes your emotions on switchback rides into regions uncharted by vocabulary.
In Glasgow, one floodlit second early in `The Edge` caught what I`m trying to express. The first movement is an all guns blazing chaotic attack in which Howe fires his volleys at will across the bass and drum rhythms. It was controlled bedlam and exhilarating in a strange way.
Responding to funk the pleasure is getting into a groove and staying there just bopping away. With Yes, their rhythms reach you alright, and you tap your foot and shake your head but the time criss-crosses and changes so much you never get it quite right so that you`re permanently under an ecstatic kind of stress.
Anyway, you`d about jerked yourself to bits in the chaos section when for that exquisite second everything stops, Anderson sings one long “Aah” into silence, then with eye-bugging precision, the pandemonium music rips away again.

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Contrast is the name of the game. Yes are aware that it can be equally effective to use every one of their fifty million watts – or none. The three years matured version of `Close To The Edge` is the high point of their music  to date, tasteful and tasty.
Have you ever had that feeling that you`ve covered two numbers out of a dozen and you`ve only got a hundred words of your allocation left? Hm. A summary of the evidence your worships:
Post orgasm on the edge `To Be Over` is sweet but anticlimatic. Pee time – and you probably need one as Yes value for money always means a set of more than two hours.
`The Gates Of Delirium` also seemed patchy until the simple, beautiful denouement with `Soon Oh Soon`, Anderson`s melancholy voice supported sensitively by Howe on pedal steel.
With which they switched to something entirely different. Yes go acoustic! Some story. A medley of old favourites, the lovely harmony vocals of `Don`t Surround Yourself` and `Long Distance Runaround` alternating with Howe solos (he did a bit of `Topographic` in Glasgow, but thought it wasn`t well enough known and said he`d revert to `Mood For A Day`), rounded off by `The Clap` as happy making as ever.
Also in there, the spotlight picked up Patrick Moraz at his other piano, the grand, and he performed an impressive piece of fast fingering which only took off when he veered towards a boogie for a few bars. Still, the Scots, like the Geordies, applauded him with real affection.
The whole segue is an excellent choice of programming, taking the tempo down while maintaining interest through the variety of sound ready for the big finish.
Which consists of `And You And I` (in fine shape with the intimate relationship between Howe and Moraz on the main themes again a feature), and `Ritual`, the fourth side of `Topographic Oceans`. What a way to go, as they say.

Of course, it`s mainly built on bass and drum leads and the result is naked excitement which can`t be reconciled with the group`s legendary stockbroker mansion lifestyle. You spill sweat with Alan White, then in comes Anderson, the gentle healer, arms flapping like a fledgeling bird, with the balmy beauty of “Nous Sommes Du Soleil”, and we`re all children in the sun.
They let the Glaswegians whip up the “encores!” into a fair old froth of frenzy, then gave them `Roundabout` (ah, `Roundabout`, shall I compare thee to `Brown Sugar` for thou fillest my brain with rock), and `Sweet Dreams`, which is a singalongayes of `Yesterdays`.
And we all lived happily every after. But may I mention two details which have escaped this highly audio and ever so non-visual account.
Chris Squire is wearing matching rings of ostrich feathers round his knees and ankles and therefore from the waist down, looks distractingly like a cross between a chicken and a shire horse.
As to the ocean monsters (Alan White`s has found a mate since the last tour), your enjoyment of them will depend on the prevailing wind. Waving their tentacles or ears in full view they looked extremely silly, but if the dry ice smoke wafts up and shrouds them they take on a light of their own in the primeval depths before we crawled out into the sun or Sauchiehall Street.

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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: Frank Zappa, Gladys Knight, Women In Rock, Betty Wright, Steve Harley, Peter Frampton, Labelle, Peter Skellern, Ray Davies, Larry Uttal, Chris Spedding, Anne Murray, Sweet Sensation, Bernard Purdie, Mike Harding, Ronnie Lane.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Steve Howe (Yes) FROM SOUNDS, September 28, 1974

A lot of readers of this blog appreciate Yes and this excellent musician. I suspect that “badfinger20” will like this post as he (or she?) is one of the most eager to “like” my posts. Thank you. It is nice that all my work with this project is appreciated.
Read on.

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Pete Makowski talks to Steve Howe and discovers that guitars are…

Not so much a living, more a way of life

For those of you who have been waiting for the grand opening of Steve Howe`s guitar shop, I have a `good news, bad news` story. First the bad. The Hampstead residential council have refused permission to let Howe turn the top floor of the band`s `vegy` food store into a musical store.
But this does not mean that Howe will not be displaying and selling any of his guitars, oh no, and here`s the good news “I`m going to have my guitars on display in a showroom of a Gibson dealer. I could have sold them privately, but I`d like the kids to have the opportunity to get them on H.P., the same way I bought my first Gibson” said Howe in the comfortable surroundings of his Hampstead flat.
Everyone`s seen pictures of Howe`s guitar collection in magazines and in the booklet enclosed in the band`s “Fragile” album, but it`s not until you see the guitars close up that you realise what a priceless collection this man has. As I entered his guitar room, I was confronted with a priceless collection of Gibson guitars, and it seemed hard to believe that some of these instruments have been around for almost half a century.
Each guitar was polished and scratch free, but this becomes understandable when you talk to Howe, for guitars to him are more than just a way of making a living, they`re more of a life style. “Some people have three cars, I get pleasure out of collecting guitars.
Steve gets his guitars via a contact in the States and he has currently been expanding his collection with the addition of pedal steel guitars. “That is my key instrument at the moment. I`m practising it and I`m playing it on the new Yes album.”

The last time I spoke to Steve he said that he was experimenting with the pedal steel and wanted to include it on his planned solo effort. “There are still things that I want to learn. I`ve only been playing it for a few months. When I`ve finished my album, I`ve already laid a track down, I hope that there`ll be quite a lot of pedal steel on it, I`m hoping to do one number all pedal steel, the album should be finished around the new year. I`ve got a lot of enthusiasm for pedal steel and just as much for mandolin, which is an amazing instrument.
“A mandolin is just a guitar an octave up. All the sessions I do are on guitar and it`s really nice to pick up a mandolin and play it. It`s like a break, it`s not like playing a different instrument but it`s got different progressions and different tuning.”
Going back to Steve`s earlier years when he was strumming in his front room, I wondered how he envisaged his future career would be. “I used to have a faraway dream of being in a successful band with good musicians around me. When I was twelve I dreamt about having a Les Paul. When I was in a group called Tomorrow I wasn`t seeing that dream anymore. I couldn`t see myself selling a lot of records. People used to say I was crazy because I didn`t realise what I contributed to various bands I was in, I didn`t know what they were talking about. I think everyone says that to someone in a group.
“When the group split up just before I joined Yes I started to realise what I wanted. Before then I had so many restrictions – the people, the possibilities, the managerial side… everything didn`t offer very much so I could only offer so much.
“If a young musician has started playing for his dream, it will take him a long time to see that dream come true, he`ll have to go through all the stages of life, he`ll have to get to twenty three and think `God, the world`s a terrible place` and then suddenly you`re through it.”

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Does Steve look at the steps of his career as a natural progression?
“All my failures were natural. If I`d been successful then I would have blown it.
Something that has excited Howe is the fact that his five year old son Dylan, is showing the signs of being an aspiring musician. “All he can do is strum the guitar, but to me that is so inspiring. There`s this thing about lack of musical knowledge, it`s like the Jon Anderson story. Jon doesn`t know the theory of guitar but he can still find great chords for songs.
“In classical music it`s better to know everything about it, but in rock it`s better if you know very little in theory.”
I asked Steve if he used tutors in his early years. “No”, was the firm reply, “when I bought my first guitar I also bought a tutor, but couldn`t get past the second page. I didn`t have any idea what music was, it was like Chinese to me. So I left the tutor and began listening to tunes and played them on guitar.
“There are things that I would like to learn, but I`d like a teacher who also performed. I don`t really agree with generalising with tutors because most of the people I`ve met are self taught, I`ve never met anyone who`s had lessons, but that doesn`t mean to say that all the tutors are bad.”
An interesting project that Steve hopes to fulfill in the future is a book featuring all of his guitars.
“This is something I hope to do next year. There`ll be a few pages of text where I`ll try to write a history of the guitar – from the early days when it was considered a cumbersome unfashionable instrument, up to today`s developments. I want the photographs to be of high quality. When you`ve got a lot of guitars you don`t want to keep them stored away in an attic, you want to kind of release them. You don`t want to give them away because you worked hard to get them and selling them is pretty detrimental.
“I want to keep mine because my son might play guitar. I`ll keep them until I`m old and grey, and I wouldn`t mind being buried with my Gibson 175.”

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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: Ron Wood, The Sharks, John Cale, Michael Fennelly, John Sebastian, Sparks, John Entwistle, Maggie Bell, CSNY, Scott English, Tommy Aldridge, Tom Scott, John Grimaldi, Brian Robertson, Lorraine Ellison, Tony Visconti.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
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