Chris Squire

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!


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:
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 Chris Squire (Yes) FROM SOUNDS, January 19, 1974

Always a pleasure to give you an article with this excellent band and their excellent bass player and founder.
Hope you find it as good as I did.


Hello Squire!

Interview by Pete Erskine

Mr. Goodwin, a well known publicist is on the phone. “They would like,” he is saying, “to answer some of the criticism they`ve received in the press. They`re not angry,” he continues, “in fact, someone else want to see them the other day and he`d written a really bad review and he was amazed that they didn`t seem to mind.”
They really don`t; well, Chris Squire doesn`t, why should he? “Tales Of Topographic Oceans” went gold, representation of a genuine advance order in excess of 250,000, before it even reached the shops.
Squire`s personal attitude to the album is slightly inscrutible.
“On the whole,” he says mildly, “I`m really happy with it. It was like an ever-opening flower as it went along… it just seemed to develop. I mean, playing it and learning the words was like something opening up to me; it wasn`t as if anyone started with a clear conception of what it might turn out like. Jon probably had the clearest vision…
“I honestly couldn`t expect anyone to attempt a review after only having heard it a few times because there is so much in it. It`s not as if there`s been a lot of works like it in the past to relate back to. In many ways the manner in which it developed was a surprise to us. It was an eye-opener. The whole thing seemed to have a strong force behind it. We all felt it but none of us knew what it was. We simply let ourselves be carried along by it to the point where we couldn`t take it any further so we had to wrap it up.
“I think, too, that you have to be involved with Jon`s style to begin to understand his lyrics. You said you didn`t understand the lyrics but I don`t think it that important to get anything across in terms of message. It`s far more important to begin to make people think for themselves.”

Having spent several days attempting to digest the work the only impression I seem to get, is a recurring one of someone tossing a jigsaw into the air and recording the pieces as and where they fall. Squire admits the album is “subtle” while others prefer to describe it as “fragmented”.
“Can you really see it as an overall concept?” I wonder.
“Yes, I can now, I think it`s a powerful work, it`s a double album and yet it is far more than twice as intense as `Close To The Edge`.
“It is eighty minutes long and there`s an awful lot of relating to do. Different sections have got to be heard so many times for you to ascertain any kind of link between them. For example side one and side three are interlinked by identical melodies although they might be manifested in different ways. A phrase in one section might be hinted at again in a different form in another; even I didn`t begin to see those things until much later.
“It may sound egotistical but critics don`t worry me a bit. My attitude is that if they fail to understand now, then I sincerely hope they will later. Someone read me a letter sent in to a music paper by some guy who said he`d always dug us, bought all the albums and so on and that he`d bought the new one, taken it home and played it over and over again and just couldn`t get into it…”
Subjectivity aside, I still think that if Miles Davis and Chick Corea, for example, are supposedly “over the public`s head” then how come a large section can readily devour the complexities of current Yes? Is part of it little more than intellectual snobbery, which feeds on the old “chosen few” sentiment, which of course, thrives in direct proportion to the resistance it encounters?


“Quite possibly,” Squires muses, “I can`t really say yes or no on that one. All I can say is that I don`t believe those things are without foundation – there will always be a percentage who pretend, but, perhaps, even if they start with the wrong attitude they might learn in the end – at least they`re playing the album so in time they might even come to appreciate it. Or else their perverse attitude might turn others on to it.
“From my own point of view the only statement I can make, as a musician, is to say that I think musicians do play for themselves, whatever they might say, and for me `Topographic Oceans` has been a source of personal satisfaction; I haven`t felt as strongly about any of our albums since `The Yes Album` when Steve joined us – then there was a feeling that we were toying with the unknown; but with that album we created a statement which was prially resolved in `Fragile`. That was our first US album and then we made `Close To The Edge` and that was another `searching` album; that`s been the pattern with us – we ask a question or series of questions with one album and seem to answer them with the next. There`s always a `searching` album before the really positive one.
“`The Yes Album` and `Tales Of Topographic Oceans` have been the two album high-points for me, maybe not so much in the intrinsic qualities of the music itself, perhaps more in terms of a feeling captivated.”
The opposing school of thought has always said rock music should be instant and disposable – the throw-away thing it perhaps really is.
Squire concedes that Yes are probably not really a rock band at all.
“Everyone has to have influences,” he says, “gleaned from every kind of source. Some are content to listen to what`s gone before and keep it going, not deviating much from the accepted line. But it is hard for people to accept new things. One should be ready to accept everything that comes along and in that way one can`t help but gain.

“Every member of Yes has gained from making `Topographic Oceans` although in some ways it was a heavy task, but that`s the point; any slightly heavy experience endured is going to increase your knowledge.”
Originally it had been intended to find a suitable situation for recording the album in a custom built studio. Producer Eddie Offord had various plans but none materialised. Even so, rather than return to the familiar surroundings of Advision, the band opted for Morgan Studios and began constructing the piece last May starting with eight weeks of intensive rehearsals leading into the studio proper in July. It could possibly have been the most carefully prepared album in history, which may or may not be a good thing.
It surely has been a surprisingly tense experience, though. It`s rare to encounter anyone nowadays with complete faith in himself and what he`s doing; so rare, in fact, that it seems quite un-natural like being stopped on the street by the automated Jesus freak with the glazed eye and wan smile; blissed-out – Squire appears to be slightly so. There`s a kind of quiet zeal in him. It is certain that he regards the new album as something spiritual because of the amount of faith he has in it that people will understand it, if not at this point in time, then at least in the near future. Correct me, but I`ve always been sort of wary of blind faith, perhaps it`s not truly “blind”, but in the sense of being too heavily involved in one thing and one thing alone… to the exclusion of almost everything else; perhaps Yes`s music has become too personalised, too inward-looking for it to be anything but frigid and slightly distant.
The interview, as such, stumbles off on a tangent. For example, Squire attributes the supposed shortage of good US music to the upsurge in the popularity of the nasal habit (it`s spoon-size folks). Sly seems to have profited by it, he opines, but mostly it`s just another facet of unfulfilled talent becoming prematurely eroded. Other names spring to mind. Squire also laments the demise of the clubs, as does everybody, seemingly, and the lack  of space within the business for new talent unless it is heavily subsidised (in which case it is invariably relegated to hype).

“The whole economic advancement has affected the business because it`s taken the action out of the little clubs which was where rock and roll always stemmed from in those times, and it`s taken it into vast arenas and closed circuit TV and I suppose this generation is growing up with different ideas and identities.
“The scene definitely needs livening up… but in a way bands like us are just as guilty of playing along with the game and I`m sure people can see it from that point of view, but on the other hand if a gig arena is a thing to go and play in, and if that is where the business is nowadays then we can only try and make the best possible use of that kind of media, by investing as much as we can in sound equipment and a total investment in the whole ideal of music. We`re therefore trying to bring those kind of bigger events into the close-knit situation where the audience can identify with the band. Despite everything I feel that Yes are getting closer to the audience all the time.”


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: Bob Dylan, Jethro Tull, Bryan Ferry, Nazareth, Rick Wakeman, Paul Butterfield, Sweet, Tim Hardin, Average White Band, Cozy Powell, Robin Dransfield, Andy Roberts.

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:
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.


The first part of this story was printed a little while back and here is the just as excellent part two. This story of Yes` beginning deserves to be read as it is an fantastic account of their early days. Enjoy this write-up from one of the most talented music journalists around in 1972, Mrs. Valentine.
Have a good time!


How Yes stopped being the little band round the corner and learnt to cope with success Part 2

Penny Valentine concludes her interview with Jon Anderson and Chris Squire

For Yes, the year of 1969 was almost exclusively devoted to “slogging round the country”. The music seemed to be gaining wider acceptance, still on a small level and there was hardly any money in the coffers. But while the feeling inside the band stayed at peak enthusiasm nobody was worried. At the end of the year they played Bristol University – second on the bill to the Who:
“I`ll never forget that night”, says Jon. “Not because we were so brilliant but because the Who lent us their PA system and Pete Townshend came on stage after our set and really gave the audience an amazing bit of chat about us.
“We couldn`t believe it. It was an enormous pat on the back. When you play with a band like the Who that you`ve admired for years and then something like that happens – well it gave us the incentive to keep going. We knew then we weren`t on the wrong track”.


By then “Time And A Word” was being formulated. Again the band were in desperate search of guidance and strength inside the studios. They got Tony Colton in as a producer and Tony Cox to help out with arrangements:
“In a strange way Tony Colton influenced the band a lot. We needed some sort of egging on and he did that”, says Jon. “Eddie Offard was our engineer on that album and again, because Tony told us we were on the right track, it spurred us on.”
“Jon had a lot more confidence than I did on that album. I think I`d lost a bit by then…”
They both think “Time And A Word” was too sterile and clinical to really get to the public – certainly it didn`t smash the charts apart. But by the beginning of `70 when it came out they had other problems to contend with.
It was getting very obvious that Pete Banks was losing his enthusiasm – and Jon Anderson was the first to be aware of it:


“We were rehearsing so much that it was obvious there was going to be one person lagging behind. It turned out to be Pete. He didn`t have the gall we had, the conviction. During rehearsals he`d always come in right at the end, and when we were cutting the album we were obviously losing pace with him. He`d just sit about and never be that enthusiastic.
“What was even worse was that at the same time we`d stopped being so green and thought we`d got the wrong manager. Roy Flynn booked us on a whole series of really weird European dates, and so just when we thought we ought to have been charging around Britain solidifying ourselves we were somewhere in Europe”.
In Spring of 1970 they came back from Europe depressed and forgotten. Pete Banks officially quit and the band made the decision to lay off. “We weren`t getting anywhere so we decided to do nothing”, says Squire.


There was so much depression inside the band that nobody even felt they wanted to replace Banks. They just wanted to withdraw into themselves, disappear and not have to cope with yet another outsider. But just before they went off to Devon for their withdrawal period, a new young guitarist – Steve Howe – came on the scene.
Chris had already seen him play with Tomorrow and been very impressed with his work. He suggested bringing him in to Anderson. Only Squire and Jon were for the idea but in the end Howe joined them in Devon:
“At the time Chris and I were still the strongest members of the band”, says Jon. “But while we were away we suddenly realised that not only had we found someone who could replace Pete in the group but we`d found someone as strong as we were – which was really a surprise.”
They stayed in Devon for nearly six months. During that time they rehearsed and wrote all the material that was later to appear on “The Yes Album”. Confidence had somehow miraculously returned to everyone – a feeling invigorated when they returned to London to play their first concert dates and were amazed to find that they weren`t the forgotten men they`d supposed.


“Everything around us – management, equipment, money – was in a complete shambles”, says Chris. “But the main thing was that we were confident in our music. So we ignored everything else and hoped it would turn out okay. There was a unity in the band that was like the unity two years before, a unity that had dwindled right off was somehow back again.
“When we got back on stage we even tried things we weren`t really capable of. We`d give anything a try. We didn`t care what was happening behind our backs. All we knew was that we felt really happy we were a group again”.
Apart from the pats of encouragement here and there and the Marquee residency under their belts – (Anderson says that probably the one thing that gave them a feeling of having made any ground at all was the encouragement and help they got from the Marquee people) – Yes were still, on top of it all, having trouble with their albums.
When it came to recording sessions for “The Yes Album” the band again looked round for a really strong producer to put their ideas into action:
“At the time we wanted Paul McCartney but in the end there was Eddie and us and for the first two weeks of recording we were scared stiff”, recalls Anderson. “We suddenly saw what we`d got ourselves into and then slowly we realised we could, in fact, make our own album without needing anyone else to be there. Because we were so sure at that point what we wanted musically to come out on that album it was a lot easier than we thought.”
“The Yes Album” was released at the end of 1970. Because of a national postal strike SOUNDS a few weeks later carried not the national chart, but the Virgin record chart, and in that line-up “The Yes Album” was number one. Chris Squire says now that he firmly believes because of this and because anyone looking at it would think it was the genuine chart it got interest going for the very first time for a Yes album.


Whatever the reason three months later “The Yes Album” made it`s appearance in the top five and the band had their first hit. Meanwhile all the mess that had up until now surrounded the band and hindered it`s advancement sorted itself out. During the beginning of 1970 Chris Squire had met Brian Lane in his hairdressers. Lane was to become the band`s new manager and through him they went with Hemmdale – a public company that had never before been connected with rock music. A lot of people outside the group thought this was a particularly strange move but for Yes it was to give them the hard core security background they needed.
All through the rest of the year Yes`s first American tour was on the cards but never quite materialised. In fact it was the start of 1971 that saw them in the States for the first time – by now the album and a single from it were in the US chart:
“Brian had had a lot trouble getting us a really top agent in America” says Chris. “But eventually we went out with Jethro Tull which was really excellent. We`d never worked with a band as amazingly big as that in our lives and for five weeks we were playing to between 15,000 and 20,000 people every day. The really strange thing was that having thought we`d got out there and nobody would know much about us, we were really strong in a few places like Philadelphia. The guy came out on stage and said `the first band tonight will be this new British band – Yes` and about half the place went into uproar, because they knew about us from earlier albums and what we`d been doing.”
For once the band really had something to be “up” about. But at the smooth passage that had just started unwinding in front of them was coming to another rough patch. On their return from America Tony Kaye left:
“During the course of the tour we were aware that the music we were playing needed more colour” says Jon. “And really at that time Tony wasn`t playing anything other than organ. We all like Tony but – well he was more interested in other things, a bit of a midnight raver. We`d been back about a week when we all agreed it would really be advisable to look for someone else. I`d never seen what Rick Wakeman could get into -but all of a sudden everyone else in the band was very strong on him coming in.”


It turned out that the two people most into the Wakeman replacement were Chris and Steve. Steve it turned out was the one person who`d been having most trouble working with Kaye through the US tour:
“He was the least happy” says Chris “Because he`d spend hours tuning up before a gig and it was really frustrating for him to go on and then have Tony charge in with the wrong chords. And Tony did get very lax. His confidence got to the point where he`d flaunt his body around and then put his fingers in the wrong place. It`s really important to know when you`re with a band everyone`s really trying equally. Everyone`s got to be equally interested in making sure the gigs are as perfect as possible – that`s what makes a band worth their salt.”
It was with Wakeman`s entrance onto the scene that things appeared to settle for the band. Not specifically because of Rick but simply that at the precise time he joined Yes were well on the way to cementing their standing on both the home and US market. More, it was with Rick`s joining, that Yes` future attitude to their work and their musicianship within the group was solidified:
“I remember Rick coming along and telling us what he wanted” says Jon. “Then we turned round and told him what WE wanted. That by then we only wanted musicians who would put their whole entity into Yes – and I must say that`s something that he did learn to do. Rick can now go on stage and combat eight keyboards and on the best of nights he`s amazing to watch. It was at that time that Yes became a band that was very strict with itself in a lot of things besides their music.”
During the American tour Yes had written all the material that was to be laid down on their “Fragile” album – cut just at the time Rick came into the line-up. When “Fragile” emerged from Advision studios onto the open market it sold better in the States than it did in Britain – something both Jon and Chris think was a direct result of the material content:


“`The Yes Album` was conceived in Devon” says Jon. “And I think it was a much more English album because of that. When we got to America that first time we were so shocked in lots of respects – at the situations we face there – it got reflected in the songs we wrote. So I suppose `Fragile` came out as a more American album.”
One of the biggest things “Fragile” did was that, while it may not have clarified the band`s position here, it was the instigator of much of their next work – the “Close To The Edge” album. Of all their work it has been “Close To The Edge” that has possibly really reflected in both critical and commercial terms what Yes stand for now. The zenith of their work to date. The final pat on the back that showed very clearly that Yes are now successful in every term:
“What happened on `Fragile` helped make `Close To The Edge` what it is” says Jon. “Personally I learnt a lot from that about vocals and we used tapes for the first time – something Pete Townshend had been talking about for ages. As Bill Bruford used to say – the rock scene follows Pete Townshend around – which in a sense it does.”


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: Melanie, Roxy Music, Medicine Head, Jimmy Cliff, John Entwhistle, Paul Simon, Fleetwood Mac, Nick Mason, Steve Tilson.

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:
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.



A very nice article and interview that explains a little bit of the trials and tribulations that Yes had to go through early in their career. I really liked this one by Mrs. Penny Valentine, given the name Penelope by her parents in 1943. She worked for a large number of publications as a music journalist and also worked as a press officer for Elton John`s record label in the 70s.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Valentine died young, only 59 years old, after succumbing to cancer in 2003. She will be remembered by her writing of brilliant articles like this one.


How Yes stopped being the little band round the corner and learnt to cope with success Part 1

Penny Valentine talking to Jon Anderson & Chris Squire

Down at Middle Earth a band took the stage for two appearances. Under the unlikely name of Mabel Greer`s Toyshop they consisted of one bass player, a singer, a guitarist and a drummer.
It was 1968. The bass player was Chris Squires, the singer Jon Anderson, the guitarist Clive Bailey and the drummer a guy called Bob – neither destined to stay in the band much longer or indeed have his surname remembered.
Nobody, that night, fell over with surprise. In no way was it the dynamic start of a band that were over the next four years, to consolidate a very special position for themselves as elite maestro`s of a new form of rock music.
In those days the format was rough and almost flung together. The energy that was there had no real direction, the ideas were fuzzy. There was no sign that a sophisticated set of entrepenours was about to bud.


A few weeks later – after a lot of talking – rehearsals started in Kingston, the drummer split for warmer climes (a paid week`s gig in France) and Bill Bruford turned up in answer to a “drummer looking for work” advert.
Something was beginning to stir. Chris Squires remembered a keyboard player called Tony Kaye and got him out of bed in Lots Road where he was out to the world in his basement flat. Literally 24 hours later at a college in South London they played their first date.
That appearance, four years ago this month, with no rehearsals and no money behind them was Britain`s first introduction to a band called Yes who were to go through self-inflicted poverty, enormous business hassles and four personnel changes before finally being accepted as a total entity.
It seems a long long time ago now. Up in Chris Squires` big breezy flat in London there`s an air of contented enthusiasm. Jon Anderson`s on the phone to the band`s manager, Chris`s wife is talking to Jon`s brother – back from Spain for a couple of weeks – and Motown`s golden oldies (picked up in the States) are blasting from the record player.


Outside in the crisp autumn afternoon sits Squires` dark blue Rolly Royce. Once the band tabbed “the group of `69” and then again “the group of `70” – Yes are finally enjoying the success that always eluded them on the grand scale. `69 – it turned out – wasn`t to be their year at all. Neither indeed was `70. Nothing was going to happen overnight for Yes.
For those two years they remained on the precipice of fame – not quite able to tip over the top. Chances came and went, and if it hadn`t been for the absolute belief and dedication of Squire and Anderson, if it hadn`t been for the hours of talking, the weeks of rehearsals, the search for ultimate perfection it`s doubtful that the band would have ever stuck it out.
For years it seemed they were just the little band round the corner. Available and hard working they always seemed to be around, yet something always happened to stop them making that early bid. They drew the people in and they gained respect from other musicians, but the real hard core commercial success that would have lifted them way off the ground – well they had to stick it out to get that.
They were not going to be any overnight miracles and maybe, just because of that, Yes are the kind of band they are today.
It`s understandable then that talking to the two founder members now you get this feeling that both Chris and Jon feel there`s still a long way to go. They`re very wary about sitting back and smiling at their achievements.
Their energy level is still so high it`s as though it`s only just been tapped. And all the best selling albums, headline appearances, Rolls Royces in the world aren`t going to change that.

We go back to that night at South London. It didn`t open any flood gates but it was the first pat on the back of encouragement they had ever got:
“We played `Midnight Hour` and a few 12-bar things and one number we`d vaguely rehearsed. It was total luck that we managed to get through the set”, says Anderson. It was Jon who was going to get the band to survive through the later rehearsal time that was to prove so invaluable to them. He`d borrowed £300 from a friend called John Roberts. He`d worked out that by paying each member of the band £5 a week they could survive and get themselves together for about 10 weeks:
“We`d had some vague chats about what we liked and enjoyed in music. At that time the Nice were getting very big around London and they were extremely good, very revolutionary and into arrangements. I think we were aware, having been with other bands, that you can throw a lot away simply by playing music for the sake of it. We knew it was better to sit down and work hard and arrange the music to our own specifications than dash headlong into work for the sake of surviving and earning money.”
Squire, Anderson, Bruford, Bailey and Kaye spent the time rehearsing at the Lucky Horeshoe cafe in the West End. Their aim was to come up with a set good enough for a residency at the Marquee – at that time the main stepping stone to getting a band off the ground in the London area.
Suddenly mid-way through rehearsals came their first set-back. Bailey decided to quit. It was, it turned out, simply a question of money. The stamina to survive through this bad patch simply wasn`t there. Bailey decided to turn his hand to promotion. “He just disheartened”, says Anderson now.

As luck would have it Squire again came up with an answer to the problem. He`d played for two years in a band called the Sin which also featured a guitarist called Pete Banks. Sin, remembered Squire, had also been into music based on strong arranging qualities. Immature stuff to be sure, but he felt Banks would fit in well with what Yes now aimed to do.
A week before their longed for date at the Marquee, Pete joined the band. Again reactions were going to be mixed. The band played elongated and fairly complex versions of well-known material – including “Eleanor Rigby”, “Every Little Thing” and some numbers from Anderson`s favourite album at the time – Fifth Dimension`s “Magic Garden”. Audiences through the Marquee and some 10 or 12 out of London dates over the next couple of weeks were confused:
“We were very enthusiastic about what we were doing”, says Squire. “But in general the audiences weren`t quite as enthusiastic as we were. We were doing all these gigs through people like Rocky Rovers – well-known promoter of dull gigs at £20 a time – just to keep us going.
“It was difficult getting through to audiences because we were so involved. It wasn`t the direct stuff they were used to, and sometimes it just wouldn`t come off. I suppose now those things would sound fairly banal, but we felt very excited because it was the way we wanted to go musically.”
Anderson, in particular, was feeling that for once things were going well. He was writing for the first time, and because the band were happy with their music he didn`t worry so much about the audiences reaction. They all lived together in Drayton Gardens, drove their own van, lugged their own equipment to gigs – yet the community spirit so important to a band was growing by the minute.


One night the band were about to clamber into bed at Drayton Gardens when the phone rang. It was around 1 a.m. and it turned out to be the call that finally got them their first real acknowledgment. It was from the manager of Blaises in Cromwell Road. Sly and the Family Stone had been booked for an appearance and – not a rare occurrence as it turned out – hadn`t flown in from the States.
Roy Flynn, at that time manager of Blaises and the Speakeasy, had a club full of top names from the music business and nobody to come on stage. Running around in a panic he`d bumped into Tony Stratton-Smith, then manager of the Nice. Stratton-Smith had told him there was this small band that were going to be very good. As they only lived round the corner and weren`t working much why didn`t Flynn give them a call?
“We had this very small-time equipment and we were still half asleep when we arrived”, remembered Squire. “We did the material we`d got together for the other dates, and included “Something`s Coming” from “West Side Story” which was a Pete Banks` idea. There were a lot of very heavy people down there that night – the Nice were all there and a lot of top business people.
“I think because we`d come in at the last minute and were this little band from round the corner they accepted us very readily and it went down better than any other gig we`d played up until then.”
Still the Blaises date wasn`t to be the opening of the flood gates. A few weeks later Bill Bruford decided he wanted to study economics – a three-year course. He left the band and enrolled at Leeds University. For the few dates that were booked by Roy Flynn (now the band`s manager following their appearance at his club), they brought in Tony O`Riley, a drummer who turned out to be not totally reliable.

“He just kept falling to pieces”, says Anderson. The band staggered on until – as fate would have it – they were booked to play a concert at Leeds University. Bruford apparently came along that night, took one look and decided economics could go by the board:
“Being an outsider looking in I think he suddenly realised what the band could do and missed it”, says Jon. “He came back with us for the Albert Hall date, went back to Leeds to sort things out and then re-joined permanently.”
The Albert Hall date was, in fact, Yes`s appearance at the Cream “farewell” concert. It was a plum date pulled off by Flynn, who knew the Cream and Robert Stigwood from his time at the Speakeasy. It was the first ever big concert date the band had played in their lives:
“We went on stage with 20 amp speakers and played this really amazing gig”, says Chris. “We really thought we`d made it that night. We were as nervous as hell but with 5,000 people clapping – well that was a very loud noise to us.
“It was funny because before Christmas that year we played about four Albert Halls in a row – one was for a Czech relief concert with Family – and everything seemed to be happening very fast. We did our first TV appearance around then too `Magpie` it was, at Christmas!”
Things were certainly picking up speed. Robert Stigwood offered them a huge contract worth thousands which they turned down out of loyalty to Flynn, and they got their much sought-after Marquee residency (“To a certain extent we had to bullshit John Gee a bit to get it”, says Squire disarmingly. “Suffering the pleasure of going round to his house and listening to Frank Sinatra records, saying how much we dug him”).


Yes`s following began to pick up momentum. By the Spring of 1969 they began to feel a little more secure in their music and Roy Flynn had signed them to Atlantic records. They were ready to cut their first album using some of the stage material plus group numbers like “Dear Father” and “Sweetness” and a number written by Squires and Bailey called “Beyond And Before”.
The eagerly awaited first recording session turned out to be something of a disaster:
“We`d got this eight-hour session booked and we just didn`t play one note of music”, says Jon. “We wanted a special organ to sound really incredible – like The Band got with their organ. So we`d ordered this special Hammond and we sat around waiting for it to arrive.
“Unfortunately that was the exact time that Ahmet Ertegun (Atlantic boss) decided to drop in and see what his new band were up to. He spent six hours waiting with us before he decided to give up. In the end we had to record without the organ and add it on later.”
The entire sessions for Yes turned out to be slightly traumatic. And they pinpointed the band`s problems with recording. A new venture for them though it was, they had this vague idea of what they wanted the band to turn out like on the first album. In the end result the album was a total disappointment to them:


“We looked towards the Beatles and the Beach Boys who had really strong people producing them and felt that Yes needed that type of leader”, says Jon. “We felt we had enough music and ideas to warrant a very good producer. In the end we got a man who`d been a film dubbing editor and who didn`t know any more about production than we did.
“It`s a shame because I feel with a good producer the album would have been a lot more listenable to. Looking back it seems a shame that a young band can be manipulated in that way. It was a shambles and that`s the way the tracks came out”.
When the album came out the band sat back and waited for reaction. None came. Squire says that it was hardly promoted at all in Britain, certainly not at all in America. What they didn`t know was that despite that there were some American bands who`d got hold of copies and were doing Yes material on stage.
Still the band wouldn`t allow themselves to be disheartened…


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: Ginger Baker, Johnny Nash, Wild Turkey, David Bowie, Linda Lewis, Osibisa, Lesley Duncan, Yes, Plainsong, Kenny Jones, Ian Carr, Mike O`Shea, Lou Reed, Bread.

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:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
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ARTICLE ABOUT YES from New Musical Express, June 7, 1975

Here is one more for the Yes crowd. I hope you enjoy this one. Have a good read.


Warning by H.M. Government

There is no mention of brown rice on this page

Persian rugs and health food in general?
Well, OK …yeah, but not in any harmful quantity. There is, however, CHRIS SQUIRE talking about the interminable Topographical Oceans and a delicately coloured pen-picture of the Yes men on the road.

By Chris Salewicz

I`m hunting through the cartridges in the glove compartment of Chris Squire`s `63 Rolls Royce as we head out of Liverpool towards the M62 and Manchester, next town on the Yes datesheet.
There`s one cartridge in there with “Ocean Boulevard” stickered across it.
“Only trouble is,” observes Squire, speaking in that mode generally defined as the laconic, “it`s not on there – actually, it`s one half of `Tales From Topographic Oceans`.”
You droll fellow.
As a matter of fact, having now listened to that album a considerable number of times, I`ve come to terms with it to the extent of firmly believing “Requiem” (Side Four) to be the most dauntingly stimulating “live” piece Yes have yet performed.
What do you think Mr. Squire? (Bearing in mind that Patrick Moraz, who hadn`t joined the band when the album was recorded, holds this composition in the highest esteem – though his qualification, “Has the listener these days the time to listen to a piece of music that long and that complex?” probably pinpoints the critical dilemma).

“What do I think of it?…Well, it`s 80 minutes worth of music, right? Now, of that 80 I`m not saying it`s all perfect – but there`s some good bits… Overall I think it`s quite a project for any band to undertake….
“Like, if we`d spent another year on it, it could have been better, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
“`Topographic Oceans` had a lot of space in it. Which most popular records haven`t. Most popular records are action-packed to the last semi-quaver… between the heavy, important themes there were those areas that were possibly a little cloudy. Possibly people mistook that for being indefinite, as opposed to merely relaxing.
“And possibly it bored some people listening to those things.”
And of course that album was just about set-and-match for those who would damn Yes as the ultimate in Pomposity Rock. A lot of their detractors seem to find some rather suspect Great Tradition attempting to assert itself in the band`s work.
“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Squire nods as “Free Man In Paris” gets under way on the “Court And Spark” eight-track. “I can understand that annoying some people.”
…and which tends to interlink with the way the Yes health food etc `life- style` has been played up.

“Played up? Yeah. Overplayed…
“But you have to make an effort to find an alternative,” he decides, as we hit the motorway.
I`m thinking of the lack of monosodium glutamate in the band`s collective bloodstream, actually.
“It was Steve and I on the third States tour. We were in this hotel in New York and ordered a steak and they brought us the most tasteless piece of shit you`ve ever had in your life. And so we said for the rest of the tour – it was summer – we said that we`d just eat salads.
“And it kind of developed from there.”
It is perhaps unfortunate that Steve Howe`s father is a master chef.
“It`s so ridiculous because it`s just a personal food taste, and for some reason an `anti`s` developed in the press. Doesn`t really matter, though… As long as they keep on mentioning the name of the band.”
Talking of which there are those constant Press bracketings with ELP -rivals in technological ostentation.
“We don`t really have any need for Persian rugs… You know, what with having all the Rembrandts to trample about on.

“I don`t know if you`ve ever looked at Yes`s equipment, but it`s really smaller than most bands. I mean, ELP have od`d on their state gear. In fact, we`re using less equipment than we were three or four years ago.
“There`s a certain style of doing things which I think was injected into the original thing of Yes and I think the thread is still there actually.”
He eases up on the accelerator, having spotted a police XJ6 in the rear-view mirror.
“Wanting a good vocal thing and a very good rhythm section. Wanting it, in fact, so that everybody was good on their instruments.
“A democratic band, though, is what was always wanted from every member. You know, like Patrick is as important as Jon to me because with his knowledge Patrick can obviously contribute things that Jon can`t and vice-versa.”
Patrick Moraz…
One day last summer he received a suitably euphemistic phone call from manager Brian Lane requesting him to “assist on keyboards” during some Yes rehearsals. Subsequently, he removed himself from his Refugee cohorts, Lee Jackson and Brian Davison, to take care of the keyboards control-module vacated by Rick Wakeman`s fleeing paunch.


Offstage, Moraz appears to wander through his existence in a bemused Gallic (all right, Swiss-Gallic) haze, visibly troubled by the lack of females in the band`s British audiences. However – when he leaves the Liverpool Empire via the stage door to find not a waiting car but a few hundred Scouse fans, of both sexes, who burble “Paddy!” and pin the Swiss gnome of rock against the theatre wall – the unease merely intensifies.
Indeed, it`s only during the sound-check for the first Manchester gig that Moraz appears totally contended.
As the 12-man road-crew go through their perfectionist motions (“The blue`s off there. The green`s a bit out of line…
Yeah, projector`s coming 41 and 42… What humming? WHAT`S THAT BUZZING!?”), he methodically works round his 16 keyboards and slides into a slow jam with Squire`s bass rumble.
Alan White, Jon Anderson and Steve Howe all arrive, check their instruments and split from the theatre. The unlit fibreglass giant crabs and toadstools meanwhile lend the impression of a fairground in the process of construction for a Doctor Who set.
“Originally I wanted Yes to be just The Nice with Vanilla Fudge harmonies,” Jon Anderson mentions after the gig.
I`d have seriously bitched with him over that during the Wakeman era, but the introduction of Patrick Moraz has trampled underfoot the concept of Yes as pre-packaged, Just-Add-Voltage Muzak.

Moraz has obviously injected Yes with a stylised sense of the absurd that has been the catalyst in reasserting the band as one of the foremost rock outfits this country has produced.
And that`s “rock” as in “rock `n` roll”.
At eleven the next morning in his identikit automated hotel room, an unshaven Moraz is listening to a cassette of Miles Davis` “Live Evil” on his portable Sanyo stereo. His musical tasts are apparently pretty catholic -Led Zeppelin could have been put on just as readily as Miles.
He also claims that Yes were the first rock band he ever saw perform on stage. As if in some confused need for identity-confirmation, he has slipped on a Yes T-shirt with the battered denims and Japanese printed boots (by Andy`s Of Shepherd`s Bush), lending him the appearance of some surreally butch Genet matelot.
“Yes are a very influential band,” he pronounces before dealing with an unpleasant coagulation of early morning phlegm.
But maybe a shade sterile?
“Sterile in what sense?”

“I tell you what: in a band like this with musicians playing the way they play… if it`s not organised it could get lost every minute. And that`s why every night after the show we talk about what happened in that number and why this didn`t happen in this number.
“It used to be like this, but I don`t think it is now – because…I mean, they had to search their way…they had to organise their music highly. Now it`s probably even more organised, but there`s more room for solos.
“Every number is played like a giant jam session really.
“Maybe Rick didn`t move much onstage,” he free-associated, pensively contemplating the Manchester rooftops, “but I move a lot because I feel it – I feel it rock – and I go with the music.
“It`s like when you make love to a chick, you know. When you find a rhythm and you can go on for hours.
“Sorry about this. This little non-musical bracket. Do you want some more tea? Do you want some toast?”


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own  webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Billy Connolly, Sailor, Rick Wakeman, Elton John, Henry Cow, Robert Wyatt, Report on New bands in New York, John Cipollina, Herb Rooney (Exciters), Status Quo, Cecil Taylor, Patti Smith and Television.

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:
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.