Yes

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!

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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.

Pick-ups

“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 …”

Wah-wah

“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.”

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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!

Brightness

“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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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 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.

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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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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 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.

IMG_2941

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!
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