Jon Anderson


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:
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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).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Jon Anderson (Yes) FROM SOUNDS, September 9, 1972

Now this should be a fun interview to read for fans of Yes. A young Jon Anderson speculating on what the future holds for the band, some musical discussion and a little bit of spirituality and environmental worry.
This is why I like to share these articles with you all.


Jon Anderson in the talk-in

Interview by Penny Valentine

With the release of their new album “Close To The Edge” this week, Yes have come to a real highpoint in their careers. The album has been greeted with critical acclaim as the band`s finest recorded work to date. On Saturday Yes previewed the album for the first time at Crystal Palace. Three days before, Jon Anderson, a week back from the band`s first US tour with new drummer Alan White, talked about the album, its motivation and the whole future of Yes.

“Close To The Edge”, appears to be a concept album in a sense – was there something you deliberately set out to say through it?

Well it`s very difficult getting hold of a theme to work on unless you`re in the heavy league – Pete Townshend with “Tommy”, “Sgt. Pepper”, there hasn`t been too many. It`s been one of the things we discussed. We`ve always been searching for say a little theme to develop round and it`s never gone “ping” in my head or anybody`s head of a certain aspect.
Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, did it with “Tarkus” – the idea of the monster. And you can run round in circles looking for a theme. The only thing that`s developed slowly but surely in Yes is that it`s developed through the songs – like on “Time In A Word”, there was a feeling of a search.


Herman Hess (the author) makes you realise there is the reality of life and there is another journey. Now once you start thinking about the journey, spiritual journey, a religion that hits you and that you can accept then you can start working on it. But it`s very difficult for modern day teenagers to accept any of the religions, most of them – Catholics, Protestants – it all seems to be a power crazed idea. The fact that they won`t join together and become a whole – because they`re all after the same trip so why don`t they become a whole with the Jewish religion, Buddhism, and develop it into something complete and strong, something that anybody can look up to.
I don`t think anyone can look up to the religions we`ve got at the moment unless they`re very deeply involved and brought up to accept and not question it. Through the development of the “Yes” album and “Fragile”, certain songs like “You`re move”, for me writing all the lyrics, I was questioning myself most of the time – what am I searching for? Because you can either write about love, moon and June, and so on. Or you can question the political status of the planet we`re on – which is very easy to do, but very hard to come up with any realistic answers.
I was listening to the answers last night and the way it left me was with a feeling that like a lot of people I`m still dreaming.
The idea with “Close To The Edge”, was to start with the river – something very, very natural – and then the river to become electronic and develop into some music and go through a few dreams that I`ve had… it`s very difficult to explain.


Would you say then that the album was very much a reflection of yourself and your own way of thinking?

Well yes. It`s the first thing I`ve written that I`ve related to anything that happened in MY life – the rest of it has been vague dreams of what I wish. At that time when I was singing “Time In A Word”, I was really on top of it. I was really feeling I`d grabbed hold of something deep inside and started a journey.
I couldn`t put it into any category of a set religion – just a feeling that through music and travelling, the only good thing you can do in life is give as many good vibrations out as is possible. Even to people who are not willing to give them back – just trying to find a code of life I suppose, a good pattern to work to, how you treat yourself, how strict you are with yourself.
It`s very difficult under certain circumstances to be strict with yourself. We were talking last time about drinking – I used to drink a lot and it`s very difficult to just turn round and say “no more”. Everyone`s got two voices knocking around in them and you have to accept which voice is the best of the two – one`s the Devil and one`s God in blatent terms. And once you accept there are two voices inside you and you`re willing to listen to the good one you`ve started the journey.
You can only reap from things that you see around you, the people you meet – you just learn from other people more than anything as you know. I have a feeling I`m being very vague about this.

If this album is the strongest reflection of your state of mind – wasn`t it a problem to transfer what was happening to you to the rest of the band, so the whole album turned out the way it did?

Not really. Because I think any band that stays together a long term starts searching for the eutopia of musicianship. Which is not having to say so much, and so much having to come out of five individuals, and nobody questioning each others acts – just accepting they`re good enough musicians to know what they`re doing, they`re not idiots. Consequently, if Rick comes up and says he`d like to try something he can damn well try it.
I think it`s having great respect for each other so that nobody questions anyone`s ideas and consequently the whole finished product is five heads together making music rather than say one person pushing a band and the rest falling in happily and accepting a leader.
At the moment we haven`t got a leader as far as the music`s concerned. When it comes to any heavy trips I possibly put my foot down sometimes – that`s possibly because I`m older than the rest. But that`s only on a logical personal level. I`d never question them on a musical level, because I`m nowhere near their kind of musicianship.
I can always question their logic because sometimes I feel I know a slight bit more of what the band could be doing in the future. I always look to the future faster than they do – probably because they`ve got so much to think about NOW, technically and musically. They have to perfect their playing whereas I`ve only got my voice to contend with, which just comes out after a while.

I presume you`re very interested in Yes` longevity, it`s lasting quality over a long period of time?

Yeah, well it`s got to the stage now where we`re following in the tracks of Jethro – the stage where you`re readily accepted in America. You forfeit a lot of British dates to do America because it`s such a big place. It`s not a question of going there to make more money, it`s just a fact that there are an awful lot more people there, and having played so many times around England you only want to play here when you`ve got something really heavy to show them.
That`s why, instead of rehearsing with Alan and doing an English tour we went over to America before we came to England. Because it was more important for us to do a good show at Crystal Palace. As far as management and record companies are concerned America is the best one. But as far as we`re concerned it`s not a question of  that – we`d rather go through the rehearsal feel of getting the show together in America where you`re playing a similar concert area every night and can really involve yourself in your music.
I think certain bands per year get to a certain stage and they stay there – never getting any higher as far as public acceptance is concerned. The only way you can do it is to develop your music. You`ve got all the facilities because you`ve reached this point with financial security if you like, knowing you can play where you want to. And once you`ve got over those barriers the only other barrier is your musical ones.
When we finished “Close To The Edge”, a month later you look back at it you wish you`d have done this here and that there, and know you`ll do it on the next album. Actually we wanted to do the next album straight away when we got back from the American tour.
We`ve all got so much music anyway, knocking about and we were all excited about Alan becoming such a very strong part of the band within a couple of weeks and talked so much of what we could get into the next time we recorded, that we all wanted to record as soon as we got back.
In fact we got ourselves to a bit of a fever pitch about it. So there`s no question of “Edge” being an ultimate in any sense, it`s just a good stride forward in terms of keeping 20 minutes going.
I was listening to it last night and I feel it really builds to that last verse which is a very strange last verse! Because everything drops out and it`s like standing on a hillside somewhere – it`s all very ethereal suddenly. I tend to think that maybe some people will start putting it down thinking we`re trying to be too God-like or something.



In that respect then do you feel you`re having to hold yourselves back?

The only times you question yourself as a musician is when you`re not really sure if it`s right. And I think if you`re not sure it`s right, don`t give it to the public. Because you`re just fooling yourself – just pretending, being pretentious. That`s the way it works it`s very easy to lose contact.
When we`d finished “Edge”, it just didn`t feel wrong. It felt perfectly right for us to do this long piece of music. While we were making it we didn`t know what we were doing,, we were just hoping it would turn into something worthwhile to listen to. We weren`t thinking in terms of making a heavy piece of music and it`s still quite a way from what we`re capable of getting into.
Maybe the next one I`d like to spend six months recording and try something really mammoth – I don`t know. When you listen to any music with a lasting value you don`t hit it off right away – Sibelius or anything – you have to listen to it and listen to it and then you get it and think “wow that`s what he was on about, that`s amazing how he developed that to get into that.”
Because we haven`t gone through the musical upbringing of heavy classical trained musicians it would probably take a long long time for rock musicians of today`s standard to reach that level. Instead of people who go through five years at a college of music, a rock musicians probably got to go through ten years or more to become as competent as musically intelligent and musically aware.
That`s why generally the good music of today is delivered by older people or people who have studied very quickly at colleges – people that have spent maybe 10-12 years on the road are the ones that come out with the goods at the end of it. People like Jim Webb studied to make music and it comes through his work. I think everyone has it in them to make music, it just depends how they make the approach.
All the things Jim Webb had in his head he could relate to through that training he had, he could put it down and the result was some brilliant music. And if he hadn`t had that he`d still be slogging away around America trying to get his music played. Now the fact that everybody in Yes has been going for over eight years means we`ve had that training and it`s starting to come out.


Getting back to your own spiritual outlook – were you brought up as a very religious person?

Well the first time I went to church seriously was when I decided to go and join the choir and I really thought I was going to find something in this whole church thing. My father wasn`t very well at the time and I went to pray – you know to kneel down with hands together, through these motions praying to something you`re not sure of – and I went home and my dog was dead.
It just didn`t seem right. It was illogical to me. That day I`d really decided to try and reach this thing in this church. Since then although I can accept people enjoying church and enjoying the social aspect of church as a meeting place. But in general I think there can only be five per cent of churches that makes you feel actually elated. I wouldn`t knock it but it certainly isn`t my idea of what the word religion is all about to me.
It just doesn`t seem logical that the Protestants and Catholics are killing each other 500 miles from where we are now – it`s illogical that can be called religion and has to do with this strange ultimate being that controls the planet. I have this strange fixation about the rivers, the trees, the mountains, the ocean – the ocean is alive, watching us.

I rather got this on the album – that it came over with an ecological feel…

People are realising the importance of the earth on a “let`s help the planet” kind of trip. But I don`t think it is that. I think if anybody needs help it`s us and the planet that has all the ingredients to help us so it`s not a question of “oh we`ll save our planet” I think the planet earth has all the ingredients to save US and if we look at it in the right perspective we`ll realise a hell of a lot of things.
Until we stop looking down on this planet and say we`ll save this river or this lake because it`s part of the National Trust and all this crap then possibly we`ll realise there`s much more going on than we`re ready to accept. We think we`re destroying earth but really it`s rebounding very quickly back on the human species.


I get very worried that people who read this will think “oh yeah he`s rapping on about something even we don`t know about.” People aren`t willing to accept that this could be the truth just as they`re willing to accept what Edward Heath says or a scientist says is the truth.
Nobody knows what the real truth is about the whole idea of life as a reality but all the things we`ve been brought up to accept people have come to realise are not so – that the English Government is not such a good idea that we spend more on making arms and looking after arms that are useless than we do about looking after spastic children, old people, people that have helped to perpetuate the life style in England.
It`s the same in America and whether the kids are going to vote. This November is very very important. This time in America I was telling them to vote, which I`ve never done before. I only did it on stage once because I don`t want to be heavy and tell people what to do. But every time I went on radio stations I`d say to them to use their vote because if you believe you`ve got something to say in life, for your children or your parents or whatever, you must do it.
It would tear the American political scene wide open if all those kids went out and voted heavily for McGovern or just heavily for something they really believed in. I only wish there was someone who`d come along in English politics and lay out the same trip. But I suppose musicians should stick to their music – it`s going to read  like I`m jumping on another bandwagon talking about politics and spiritualism… but it IS all in the music and whether it needs explanation is another thing.

When you said earlier that you were more concerned immediately with the future of Yes than the others – how do you see that future shaping up?

Well you can only dream about what will happen. I didn`t think Bill would be leaving, he did. I didn`t think we get such an incredible replacement as Alan but we did. I hope that next year we can put on some sort of – if you like – extravaganza, more of a show. There`s so many things I talked about with the band two years ago that we`re still not getting into – the ultimate light show, things like that. But you can only dream a few ideas and hope they could develop into reality.
I think Yes are slowly making an imprint on today`s music – only a slight one at the moment because there`s so much good music around – as are Lindisfarne and bands like that, and after all we`re only all a part of the jigsaw, nobody`s the whole musical jigsaw. You have to be thankful to be a part of it and experiment enough so that younger musicians can learn from you and in five years` time they`ll be making music I`ll be gasping at.


Certain musicians keep up there all the time and develop all the time, carrying on making music, and I think we`re a band that as individuals will be doing that for a long time to come. We`ve been lucky we`ve learned from the experiences of others what not to do and what traps not to fall into and be wary of.
I was thinking back on the Beatle thing. Five years ago I just would NEVER have believed Paul McCartney getting done for drugs and turning round and saying “well it`s good publicity”. And I would never readily accept John Lennon preaching a lot of very good, very beautiful things and then turning round and slagging off Paul in the same breath – which is right in the middle of an interview in SOUNDS last week.
God, they`re talking about peace and love and having a dig at Paul. God it must really be a thorn in their backsides. So this kind of eutopia within groups is very difficult to achieve and sustain – because of the financial trip and everything else. As a band we`re very lucky that each addition to the band right from the beginning has always had the same feeling continuing – that we are out to make good music. Simply that. Not better music but as good as we can make. Developing our ideas through what we`ve learnt from older musicians like Stravinsky, Bernstein, Tchaikovsky.
We do tend to attract musicians who flower out with us – like Steve did when he joined which was really the band`s first kick, then Rick and now Alan, I feel we`re very much that kind of a band. When it comes to thinking about what Yes is and why musicians do want to join the band I think it`s because Yes are a school – a musical school to learn from. The vehicle for musicians to work around.
Whether in the next years there will be new musicians in the band God knows, I don`t, it`s hard to say. But because we haven`t restricted our musical tastes at all we really have no barriers and can play anything we want to play within reason. That`s why I feel there`s no question that the next album will be better than “Close To The Edge.”


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: John McLaughlin, Faces, John & Yoko, Eagles, Genesis, Nazareth, JSD Band.

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.


This is a really fun article featuring Yes as they still, even after three albums, were a somewhat “small” band in the scope of things to come. The new guy at the time, Mr. Howe, turned out to be a very important member of the band.
If someone know who the original journalist was that wrote this article, please give me a hint so he is given his due when it comes to credits for this article. The name was not printed in “Sounds”.
Enjoy this great time travel, back to a time when Yes were a student band.



Yes is one of those bands that everybody who knows about music claims to admire, but who have nevertheless never gained the recognition or the success that they deserve. They are, inevitably, one of the most popular bands on the college scene today -inevitably, because they are a profoundly musical group at what is, by present day standards, a very reasonable price. Like Quintessence, and Argent, Yes are a group that seem to have been waiting at the door for a long time.


There are strong indications, though, that Yes are beginning to happen and if they do it will no doubt give great satisfaction not only to them but to the many social secretaries who have booked them in the past, and who have later told me just what good value they are, both onstage and off.
I had the chance to talk to Jon Anderson of Yes a couple of weeks ago about the university and college scene in general, and he showed a sympathetic understanding of the problems which student organisers have to face.


Jon didn`t think that his music was any better received by students than by anyone else. Reaction from all kinds of audience tended to be much the same – which is how it should be, of course, since students don`t have a monopoly of musical appreciation (though some of them seem to think so).
“We like to play colleges and clubs because that way we reach the widest possible audience. For instance, if we play an ordinary date in Manchester then at the university, we`ve reached as many people as possible unless we did the Free Trade Hall.
“I also think that a concert at a university – any concert – is a good thing because it brings the students together under one roof. In large places like Leeds, Birmingham or Portsmouth, where they`re scattered about all over the place, this is particularly good.”
John had a lot of sympathy for college promoters in a lot of the technical colleges in the cities.



“Some of them have halls that are pre-Victorian, and they are very badly supported, often because they`re competing with a university up the road with much better facilities.
We played in one hall once, it was twice as high as it was long. The acoustics were awful – the sound came out really distorted. You can`t expect to hold concerts in a place like that. But compare that with somewhere like LSE. They`ve only got a small hall – I don`t suppose it seats more than 900 people – but its got a tremendous atmosphere, good lightshow and so on.”
I asked Jon about the band`s future plans. He told me that they were going to America with Jethro Tull (they should be there now, in fact) and they were very hopeful that they would be able to build on the small but solid foundations laid by their previous two U.S. tours. The band will not be appearing in this country again until late autumn – Jon hopes to do a tour then, to coincide with a new album which he hopes will be released towards the end of the year. They would fill in the gaps between now and then writing and rehearsing new material.


The inclusion of new member Steve Howe means that the main brunt of writing has been taken off Jon: he and Steve now do a lot of composing together. This has the additional advantage of providing one more direction to the already wide range of Yes` music. Some of Steve`s work appeared on their most recent album, but he is coming even more into it as the re-constituted group finds its feet.


Then, in the autumn, a few more college gigs. It may be that by then Yes will have achieved the recognition that has been predicted for them for so long. I doubt if this will mean that they will stop doing college and university dates, though, even if greater commitments prevent them playing at them quite so often. Jon`s sympathy for what most student promoters are trying to do (even if they so often fail through lack of experience or whatever) is apparent. When I asked him about the bad experiences Yes had been through, or the colleges he wouldn`t go back to, he said there were none.
“We`ve had a few problems, I suppose, but I don`t want to put students down. Even when they cock things up, they`re trying to help us and that`s what counts.”


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Traffic, Bronco, Humble Pie, Kate Taylor, Gary Burton, Tony Williams, Stephen Stills, Murray Head, Sandy Denny, John Sebastian, Clouds, Heads & Hands and Feet, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Curtis Mayfield, Scotty.

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.