Steve Howe

ARTICLE ABOUT Steve Howe FROM Sounds, November 8, 1975

Just a so-so review for Mr. Howe. Still, the album reached No. 22 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 63 on the US Billboard 200. So he couldn`t be too disappointed.

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Howe`s about that then

Record review by Phil Sutcliffe

Steve Howe: ‘Beginnings’ (Atlantic K50151) 38 Mins ***

THE FIRST of the queue of Yes solo albums — at the end of which I suppose the question will have to be ‘was it worth it or should they have combined the best of each into one group creation as before?’ No verdicts yet of course but ‘Beginnings’ is the sort of devotedly-made yet patchy effort you expect from privateering band members.
I would say four of the tracks are thoroughly pleasing to listen to and three of those are the instrumentals, all of them couched in fairly easily-listenable terms rather than bearing forward the Yes banner of experimentation.
As a whole, both verbally and vocally, it’s not too strong. There’s too much philosophising (the first word of the album is `Life’ with a captial L — a bad omen).
Alone, Steve’s voice is high and thin. Singing the opening line of ‘Will 0′ The Wisp’ its plaintiveness is right (Break the chains is that keep us here’). Otherwise it wavers once or twice but he generally has the good judgement to build up the harmonic layers into a richer texture – particularly enhancing ‘Pleasure Stole The Night’ which otherwise tends towards a dreary hymnal quality.
The first side is much the weaker, only redeemed by the instrumental `The Nature Of The Sea’ where the delicacy of so much of Yes’s work gets a look in – a calm-ripping mandolin, a guitar leaping around it like the sun sparkling on a flying fish. Perhaps for a moment I sensed inspiration rather than work.
`Doors Of Sleep’ is overproduced round a not too distinctive melody, while the other two tracks on the side fall away after promising acoustic openings. In fact ‘Lost Symphony’ features the unlikeliest sound on the album — rugged brass riffs which don’t seem suited.
However, turn it over and you are greeted by seven and a half minutes of pleasure: the title track. Chamber music I guess, nothing to do with rock but I trust we are long past arguments against that. It’s sweet sound. Melancholy strings, flute just beautiful, oboe and bassoon officious and jaunty in the faster movements, while Howe weaves amongst them picking some lovely acoustic. Patrick Moraz orchestrated it to flow and charm and delight and it does.
`Ram’ is ‘The Clap’ revisited and again it’s nice to hear a well-played acoustic ragging around. But you have to wait till the last track before you can grab some really successful rock. One of the reasons is Bill Bruford who I reckon the most pungent drummer to emerge from the Progressive era. He doesn’t follow the guitar hero, he whips him along. The result is Howe in a lather tearing an enflamed solo across the crackling skintight beat and for a few minutes sounding as hot as he is live.

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The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Yes FROM Record Mirror, April 29, 1972

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

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YES – NO PLACE TO PLAY

Steve Howe talks about the venue problem to Val Mabbs

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

PERFECT

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

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IDEA

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

TAPES

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

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A fantastic product – or so it seemed?

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

 

ARTICLE ABOUT Yes FROM SOUNDS, May 17, 1975

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

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Down on the farm

Howard Fielding talks to Steve Howe

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

STRUGGLE

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

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EXTROVERT

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

HUMILITY

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

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

ARTICLE ABOUT 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.

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