Steve Howe

ARTICLE ABOUT Yes FROM SOUNDS, May 17, 1975

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

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Down on the farm

Howard Fielding talks to Steve Howe

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

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

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EXTROVERT

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

HUMILITY

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

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.
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ARTICLE ABOUT Steve Howe (Yes) FROM SOUNDS, September 28, 1974

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

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

Not so much a living, more a way of life

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

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

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

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

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Ron Wood, The Sharks, John Cale, Michael Fennelly, John Sebastian, Sparks, John Entwistle, Maggie Bell, CSNY, Scott English, Tommy Aldridge, Tom Scott, John Grimaldi, Brian Robertson, Lorraine Ellison, Tony Visconti.

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

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

ARTICLE ABOUT Steve Howe from New Musical Express, November 15, 1975

Steve Howe is a very talented musician who have made just as many solo albums as he has made albums for Yes. This interview tells us the story regarding his first ever solo album called “Beginnings”. And as is customary with an artist belonging to a bigger band – we get to hear a lot about Yes too. Which is not a bad thing at all… Enjoy!

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New music and old arguments

If it cost £40,000 to make it should be good. That`s Steve Howe`s solo album we`re talking about, the mysteries of which were partially unveiled to Steve Clarke along with more revelations from the Wakeman Affair.

Steve Howe`s cats are playing in the garden of his Hampstead home. His missus has gone off to collect one of the kids from school. And inside the tastefully furnished lounge, the master of the house is making with the verbals on the Yes – Wakeman split, just in case anybody still cares.
According to Howe, Wakeman wasn`t always learning his lines properly during his latter days with Yes. Or to be more precise, when it came to rehearsing that controversial Yes twin-set “Tales From Topographic Oceans”. Rick hadn`t exactly got the music down pat.
“You see,” says a disgruntled Howe, “we`d have a rehearsal and – I hate to say this – but he wouldn`t know what to play. Sure there was a lot of the music – four 20 minute pieces where you had to know all the chords inside out. And when this started to fall apart, when various parts of numbers didn`t quite hang together, we`d have this situation where four people would be looking across at one person going, C`mon, Rick!
“Rick almost realised that he`d cut himself too big a piece of the cake. He actually hadn`t rehearsed well enough, “claims Howe,” so obviously during the `Topographic Oceans` tour he became very unhappy, with himself and with Yes.

“But this is general with Yes. To start with learning `Roundabout` was a hell of a feat. Now of course we throw it off. It`s easy. The same would have happened if we carried on playing `Topographic Oceans.` It would be just as easy as playing `Relayer` is now.
“So there was this insufficiency of actual work before the tour. We found that side two of `Topographic Oceans` needed a lot of work from Rick and he couldn`t seem to contribute it. We thought Rick`s not rehearsing! He`s off out with his promotion men from A & M (Wakeman`s record company for solo releases).
“Obviously we didn`t talk to him.
“When that tour ended it had started to be felt within that Rick was gonna leave. Then he said he wasn`t, and then Yes decided that he should leave and then Rick said one more chance and we said, `Great! One more chance! Let`s rehearse this new album (“Relayer”) with him. And then, right at the last minute, he got up and said, `No, I don`t think I can go through with it.`
“I haven`t even seen him since then. He`s never called me. He didn`t even call me to say, `Good playing with you Steve, I`m not going to play with you anymore`. There`s been no contact at all.
“Rick certainly did talk about `Topographic Oceans` a lot with us although he never mentions this in anything he says. We all agreed to do that record.
“We were all crazy to do it.

“Rick gets upset if we even mention his name in the papers, which I think is unreasonable because if I can talk about one musician I should be able to talk about anybody without feeling I should watch my words – because he hasn`t watched his words as regards me.
“He hasn`t had to call me up or apologise or anything. So I feel we`re pretty even. I don`t feel he owes me anything. I don`t think I owe him anything at all. It was a very even situation where we know he tried and we know somewhere deep down inside he lost sight of what Yes were attempting to do.”
But surely Rick`s personality/lifestyle was far removed from the Yes lifestyle of You Know What?
“Initially it wasn`t. His humour was ours completely – Python and everything. Drinking wasn`t disallowed in Yes. It`s never been disallowed. What I`m saying is, because of extremes, because Rick did take things to extremes.
“He doesn`t have any trouble holding it but during the recording of `Topographic Oceans` he started to realise that none of us wanted to indulge.
“Everybody has fun. Everybody has vices. But when they`re talking to me, if they`re not talking honestly, constructively and creatively then they can sod off for all I`m concerned.
“I don`t really blame A & M Records `cause they`re a very nice record company. But they do a lot of geeing up with Rick, a lot of looking after him. We weren`t really getting that from Atlantic at that time. It was making a gap. I don`t think it was anything we created. We were waiting for him to come into the room – but no, he was out with A & M.
“Silly trivial little things like that instigated this gulf between us.”

So (gulp), did Rick turn up blotto for Yes rehearsals, Steve? “Jon could come in totally drunk and I`d be amused,” hedges Howe. “And most probable I`d put down my guitar and find something to do. If one can make use of one`s location or one`s state of mind it`s great. But with Rick it was a little bit different. He wouldn`t say, `I can`t do anything today,` but when the next day came we said, `What`s that tune you were playing yesterday, Rick? And he didn`t know. We knew we had a problem with Rick. There was this whole feeling that we were losing touch with the real Rick. He was putting on a show for us that we wanted so much to break down. He wouldn`t admit that he was making mistakes. He couldn`t talk about it.”
In fact one of the last remembrances Howe has of Wakeman was of the time when individual members of Yes were going into Morgan studios to add over-dubs to “Topographic Oceans”. Wakeman had just completed his session and was leaving the studio when Howe walked in.
“I`d just heard strains of `What Happened To That Song` just as I`d come in the door.” Howe recollects. “Rick was leaving. He said he`s finished. I asked him whether he`d put Mellotron on the last verse. He said he hadn`t, but he had finished. And he went out the door and I listened to his track. Rick hadn`t done anything at the end at all.”
So Howe substituted guitar for Wakeman`s mellotron.

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Like I said before, Howe-Towers is in Hampstead. You know that salubrious part of London where a lot of 18th Century artists used to live, and where a lot of 20th century poseurs do live. And it`s a fairly modest abode when one considers the wealth that composing members of Yes must have collected over the years.
The carpet just avoids rubbing up against your crotch and instead of two stereo speakers, there`s four. It`s not a quad set-up though. Howe`s most recently played album, judging from the cover which rests ontop the low glass coffee table, is “Revolver”.
So you see, Steve Howe, while not living in Hefner-style opulence, isn`t short of a brown one or two. Why, his solo album – the real point of our visit – cost something like 40 grand to make. And “Topographic Oceans” clocked up 90 grand`s worth of studio time.
As a guitarist Howe knows an awesome amount, exploring many styles and going off at wild tangents one doesn`t normally associate with rock guitarists. In conversation he`s not the most economical of speakers, often coming on with an intense stream-of-consciousness type rap, fast-thinking his way from one subject to another without any prompting from your interviewer. I mean, our interview ended with Howe paying compliments to the music press. I hadn`t even brought up the subject.
But to “Beginnings”, Howe`s solo album and the first of a complete quintet of Yes solo elpees. Squire`s is next and the remaining three are promised for release early on in the new year. “Patrick and Alan are both in the final stages,” informs the guitarist, “And Jon`s well into the midst of it.” (Rumour has it that Alan White`s record is something of an R and B album, probably in contrast to the more grandiose aspirations of the other`s albums, if group contributions are anything to go by).

Howe reckons “Beginnings” is most definitely a rock album and the material (which will be featured on upcoming Yes tours) spans a wide time period. So why, really, did he make it?
“I`ve always planned to record my own material in its rawest state without any other – very helpful and objective – ideas on it. We`ve all made solo albums within the Yes context. `Topographic Oceans` was a concept that Jon and I presented to the band in the same way that I presented these songs to different performers.”
Musicians included on “Beginnings” are Moraz, White and ex-Yes drummer Bill Bruford. Howe, of course, plays guitar (and bass), sings and wrote all the material. Roger Dean (of course) designed the sleeve, it`s being marketed as a closely-affiliated Yes album.
Howe denies that the album is simply the indulgence of an affluent rock star. The theory is that every band has fans who get off on one instrument in particular, and the solo albums are aimed at those people.
Says Howe: “People who get off on the guitar should get off on this.”
He played me several tracks, and at least one of them convinced me that it is in fact Howe who is the lynch-pin of Yes. The music sounded overtly Yes-ish, although Howe`s own vocals bore no resemblance whatsoever to mountain stream purity of Anderson`s voice. (In fact they sounded a little like Jack Bruce`s).
The album was recorded over four months – longer than Howe originally envisaged. However, he had a free hand and there was no question of skimping. Eddie Offord receives a production credit, but Howe says Offord`s role wasn`t as great as it is in a Yes album, by virtue of the amount of energy Howe himself was expending.

Howe wrote his own lyrics, and, of course, he has contributed to Yes`s lyrics in the past.
“My style is quite different to Jon`s. He makes much greater use of vocabulary… he even surprises himself sometimes.
“If people who review Yes records are smart then they should be able to spot what I`ve written and what Jon`s written because we`re very different.”
It turns out that the title “Close To The Edge” itself was Howe`s idea, and he contributed extensively to the lyrics of “Topographic Oceans.”
He also came up with lyric ideas for “Relayer” – “I`d say something like `We go floating down the river`, and Jon would change that to `We go drifting down the streams` (the way it appears on the record).
“And there were my words `She won`t know what it means to me.` Jon changed that to `To Be Over`. So Jon with his creativity disguised it into something that you have to consider to be over. It was a much broader lyrical statement.”
Anderson`s lyrics have often been criticised. Howe defends them.
“If somebody says it`s a load of rubbish, I feel they`re not being true to their brains. Something like `A seasoned witch can call you from the depths of your disgrace` is an odd collection of words, yet the images fly off like sparks.
“That`s the idea. It`s better than a song that just says” – he half sings – “I went down the road and bought myself a packet of Rothmans`. With a lyric like `A seasoned witch` etc you`re considering disgrace, seasons… you`re considering a whole range of different things. To me it`s exciting, enlightening and that`s what progressive music should be about.

“I feel that `Long Tall Sally` was progressive music and can be played in a totally new way. The excitement Little Richard injected into something like “Jenny Jenny” passes on to us, and we write songs like `What Happened To This Song We Knew So Well` which is also a lyric of mine. So there you are, you have two things which aren`t that far removed.
“I feel that I could go on stage and play that number – `Jenny Jenny` or `What Happened To That Song` – and not feel that there`s that much difference. If I could live out all my fantasies like that I`d be touring with rock `n` roll bands one week and performing with brilliant guitarists like John Williams as much as I could.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With a great, big thank you to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Nils Lofgren, Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Ivor Cutler, Kiss, Spud, John Cale.

This issue is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT YES FROM SOUNDS, May 17, 1975

Well, here we go again with another Yes article, this time a short interview with Steve Howe. I hope y`all like it!

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Down on the farm

Howard Fielding talks to Steve Howe

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

Struggle

After a struggle I got him round to the present tour, and showed puzzlement that the material selected dated back as far as `The Yes Album`, and that he still played `Mood For A Day` and `The Clap` as his virtuoso sections. That`s apparently because the band have featured the new stuff in America on recent tours, and felt they`d like a change. Since they hadn`t played in England for so long also, the set chosen had public reaction in mind.
It`s more popular and more before the kill, “It`s all to do with composition.” My mind is still a mess of frets, fingerboards, C-sharps and B-flats, pick-ups and plugs and the thickness of notes and thinness of bodies – but it`s really quite simple.
Every time a new set of music was to be written for an album, Steve sat down with the guitar of the moment, and the music evolved from the idiosyncratic features and capacities of that particular instrument. So `The Yes Album` is mostly Gibson 175; `Fragile` is Gibsons Switchmaster; `Topographic` is Les Paul Junior (single pick-up, please note), `Close To The Edge` is Gibson Stereo; and `Relayer` is Fender Telecaster. Spefic extra items merit other special guitars, but the bulk of any album concentrates on one guitar only.

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Granted the intimacy thus created between songs and guitar, it seems almost rewarding to play familiar songs, and anyway, he pointed out, Yes don`t just play their material routinely – there are lots of subtle changes and variations.
Ho-hum, I thought, he`d have to say something like that. So the next line of attack was to be more penetrating. If the band now play what suits the audience, could it be that they had lost their way in terms of leading their followers, and were going round in circles? Perhaps a little hint, too, that the latest material wasn`t as good as the old – was a little too close to a Yes stereotype?
I could see straightaway he`d answered that before, as he gently implied that such comments reflected a lack of discrimination in the ears of the critics. In fact he said that the next Yes album would be more `Yes-like` still, if possible. It`s to be another double which will be so much a step towards the band`s ultimate ideal that it will displace the old material. It`s to be an `expedition` – a pioneering exploit going far beyond the previous parameters of their music, and far outstripping the present production, presentation, and stage techniques.
So I thought just one more chance before I yield to this nice, modest but too clever young man. What about all those guitars on stage? Could the audience really differentiate between them? All 10 of them?

Extrovert

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

Humility

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

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper 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 Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Roxy Music, Steve Hillage, Bobby Bland, Maria Muldaur, Barry White, Allen Toussaint, Nils Lofgren, Bay City Rollers, Neil Young, Dave Greenslade, Status Quo, BTO, Link Wray, Ladies in rock, Hedgehog Pie, Van Der Graaf Generator.

This edition is sold.

ARTICLE ABOUT Yes FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, March 4, 1972

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. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog! Thank you!

I didn`t choose to print this concert review with Yes only because I like the band. The last time I printed an article about Yes I got a lot of hits on my blog, and I really do like hits like dogs like to lick their balls. So as an gesture to the Yes fans, and a small hint to other fans – get me readers, and your favourite band or artist will be featured more prominently here.

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YES in America

They`re bringing some of the old British
mystique back to the U.S. rock scene, reports Anne Tan

The scene is the Academy of Music, fast becoming a not-very-worthy successor to the defunct and lamented Fillimore East. The first two groups have gone on and off – a rather incompetent American group called Compost and a British offering of excellent musical standard, the Mark Almond Band.

The time is late Saturday, early Sunday morning. The auditorium is quiet with the occasional restlessness of a crowd waiting for the headlining act – Yes.
The tape goes on. It`s loud and clear, the majestic strains fill the converted cinema and, in the darkness of the stage, is the sudden small glow of a hand-held flashlight – light applause goes through the audience.
The tape ends, Rick Wakeman lays down the opening chords of “Roundabout” and the stage lights go on.
The auditorium erupts into one seething crowd of ecstatic Yes fans, shrieking, applauding, stomping, whistling, some already on their feet.

TOP BILLING

Yes has arrived. Yes has reached top-billing status in the tough, cold town of New York. Yes has reached this status all over the country.
Their fourth album, “Fragile” is No. 4 in the charts. This tour is different from their previous ones. On the first, back in the late summer of 1971, they were third on the bill to Humble Pie and Jethro Tull, although ask lead guitarist Steve Howe about touring with Jethro Tull, and he sighs for the kind of rigorously supervised perfection of that tour and the kind of kinetic excitement of playing in superlarge auditoriums.
“You don`t feel closed in,” he says, “it`s free. I like playing those big halls, you feel it`s really worth it knocking yourself out to give a good show.”

LOST SOUND

But New York City doesn`t have a suitable big hall. There is Madison Square Garden, but the drawback here is that sound gets lost beyond the first twenty or thirty rows of seats. To overcome that takes a tremendous amount of money invested in equipment.
There is Carnegie Hall – usually the ultimate downfall for a group because the acoustics defy description.
Not that the Academy of Music is any great acoustic bargain. The first time I heard Yes there they played through a sound system that had been giving them problems all night and wound up being inaudible vocally, Chris Squire`s bass getting totally lost as did the lower notes of Rick Wakeman`s keyboards.
But success is its own reward. The reward of having your album high in the charts translates neatly into terms of billing.
As the top act Yes can now command the kind of public address system it wants.

Tonight, as most nights, the Academy of Music has attracted a strange audience.
There are the younger people from their sheltered homes out on Long Island who flow in for a concert, get stoned on pills, and disappear afterwards back to stable security.
There are the pleasantly mellowed heads, some of the customers of the former Fillmore East, with their hash.

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LETHAL

Finally there are what are called the ripple-and-red crowd. Reds are secconals and ripple is a kind of sweet, fruity wine, and the combination is lethal – the head is aggressive and paranoid and the vibrations of such freaks are bad. Here is the stuff of which riots are made.
There are the perpetual encore-demanders, the threateners, the hasty hecklers, the loud-mouthed yellers, and they always take up their seats towards the back, which means they get small satisfaction both aurally and visually during the concert.
Yes is playing to one of these audiences. They have clapped enthusiastically, cheered, whistled, stomped, but there is a bulk of the nasty crowd which has interrupted Steve Howe`s acoustic solos a few times.
They don`t think too much of the classical background which shows very prominently in Rick Wakeman`s keyboards solo, and Rick is labouring under the strain of an ill-tempered mellotron.
The show is over and the group holds its customary post-mortem.
Chris Squire, looking rather worried: “I don`t know about your solo, Steve, it seems the acoustic break goes on too long…you know, it brings them down too much.”
“I don`t think the acoustic numbers are quite what they meant before,” Steve says. “I mean, before they were meant to be just that, you know, a quiet break.”
They go through different ideas – maybe the possibillity of playing “The Clap” before “Mood For A Day”, although this presents technical problems.
“You see, `Mood For A Day` I play with my fingers and `The Clap` I use the plectrum, so it`s better for me to play the one with the fingers first while they are supple – but I could try it,” says Steve.
“Anyway,” Bill Bruford says, `Yours Is No Disgrace` just isn`t the right encore – it`s much too long, an encore should be just a taste of what`s gone before. In fact, I am against the whole idea of playing encores at all.”

RIOTS

You can`t get away with not playing encores. The audience can get nasty if denied them – chairs have been thrown, halls have been torn up.
Rick Wakeman sighs in the face of this fact: “Even if we played for four hours, they`d still demand an encore.”
Rick points out that “Your Move/All Good People” fits in much better at the end, it`s a great finishing song. Everyone agrees.
“You know, we`re a very conservative group,” Bill Bruford says thoughtfully. “I mean, we tend to find something that`s good and stick with it, but I think sometimes that we should change for the sake of change.”
So they go back to replanning their set.

OVERLONG

They are supposed to get up to Burlington, Vermont the next day, but the night is running overlong and the snow has been falling hard and fast all day so there is the possibility that the Vermont trip is out for the next day.
It`s exhausting. As Steve says: “I have a date sheet that shows another 33 dates, I don`t want to think about anything else.”
On this tour they are combining the West and East Coasts, with most of two weeks concentrated on the East and finishing off with dates in Los Angeles and San Diego.
This means moving equipment over vast areas of territory and the only time off is the day they fly to California.
Steve, Chris, Rick, Bill and Jon are sighing for their return to Britain and the old familiar halls where the audience is a kind of family.
If anything, America is a little pie-eyed over anything out of Britain, but Yes are bringing some of the old British mystique back into the American rock-and-roll scene.

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Some of the concerts that week around the U.K. A really exciting time for music!

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Don McLean, Felix Pappalardi (Mountain), Dave Cousins, Carly Simon. Denny Cordell, Bob Dylan, Tommy Hunt, Hookfoot, Gilbert O`Sullivan, Paul Williams, Greyhound, Mahalia Jackson, Chicory Tip, Curved Air.

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