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Thread: New interesting interview with Rick Wakeman

  1. #1
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    New interesting interview with Rick Wakeman

    Rick was interviewed by Rolling Stone and had lots of stuff to say:

    Some of the quotes that caught my eye:

    On the Union tour:

    "But there was friction between Trevor and Steve. To be fair, nothing detrimental to Steve, Trev openly wanted everyone to play on everything. He did actually suggest that on “Owner of a Lonely Heart” in the middle, how about Steve, you do the guitar solo because the crowd would love it. Steve wouldn’t even be onstage when we did it. I thought that was a shame since it could have done a lot of good. I could see where Steve was coming from, but I thought he was wrong."

    On the early 2000s tours:

    "The band was playing really, really well. Come 2004, it started to go wrong. I won’t point fingers, but there was a lot of excesses going on in certain areas outside of the music. It was really affecting the playing of some of the band. That was difficult for Jon because Jon, basically, was reliant on what happened onstage with the instruments signaling what was happening and it was all over the place...The last two years I didn’t enjoy because I was mainly spending the set listening for who was going off on a tangent because of, shall we say, over-indulgences in something and trying to salvage the situation. That was no fun. It was no fun at all."

    On going out without Jon A:

    "What happened was, Jon was very ill. He actually died. He was brought back to life. He was extraordinarily ill. And there was a conference call which was Steve, Chris, and Alan. They said, “Look, Jon is obviously not well, but we’re going to go out without him.” I said, “Look, you can’t go out without Jon. Zeppelin can’t go out without Robert Plant. The Who can’t go out without [Roger] Daltrey. When you have a distinguishable voice, you can’t go out without it.” They said, “Well, we are. We’re going out without Jon. Are you in?” I went, “No. I think it’s wrong, especially when you have Jon who is really, really ill. I don’t think it’s right in any respect. Let the guy get better, then we’ll go out.” “No, we’re going out now.” I said, “OK, good luck. But I can’t do this.” There was nothing nasty said. Chris spoke to me a little while later and said, “If you’re not going out, who would you recommend to do some keyboards with us?” I said, “There’s lots of people that can do it, but if you want to save yourself money on T-shirts, getting a new name on, both my boys, Oliver and Adam, are very capable of doing the job. But you won’t get Adam because he’s with Ozzy Osbourne, as happy as you like and he’s not going to leave Ozzy. But you can get Oliver and he’s done an album with Steve. Steve knows him very well. So that would be fine.”"

    On using the band name 'Yes':

    "When Chris died, he was the only founding member still left in the band. He’s the only guy that had been in every incarnation of Yes, through thick and thin. I felt with so many different band members in and out that when Chris passed away, the decent thing to do would be to say, “OK, we’re putting the name Yes on the shelf. That’s it.” We can still play Yes music. Steve, if you want to have a band, play Yes music. Jon, you can too. Anyone that has been in the band is fully entitled to play Yes music, but do it under a different name. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it degraded the name and the word and the music by what happened after Chris died. We did end up going out because promoters wanted it as Yes Featuring ARW, but it just confused people. They had no idea who they were going to see and what was going on. It was wrong and I was very against it, I will admit. But we’re going to do some farewell shows next year and they are going to be ARW. It may be “ARW Performing an Evening of Yes Music.” That’s fine. But not Yes in the name of the band."

    On ARW recording new music:

    "I always supported new music if it was really special. We started sending music backwards and forwards to each other and there were some pieces that started to come together that had big possibilities. I felt very much that it was time, not just to do songs, but we needed a couple of real epic things, like 21st-century “Awaken.” And Jon liked that idea, so did Trev. We started putting a couple of things together that were really coming together well.

    But there was two problems. One, which is finance. There are no major record companies these days who would pay the money that would be needed to do a project like this properly. The only way we could do that is if we’re all together in the same room working like we used to. We have to work together and put things together like a jigsaw. We would need two months, minimum, in a room somewhere. You’ve got the difficulty that Jon lives up in San Luis Obispo and Trev lives down 1,000 miles away in Los Angeles and I’m in 7,000 miles away in the East Coast of England. The bass player, Lee Pomeroy, is in Southern England. And the drummer, Lou Molino, is also in England. It’s not like, “Let’s all meet up for coffee and have a chat about this.”

    It needed to be properly financed for all us to get together. Also, we needed to choose somewhere where we could all work together, whether it be on the West Coast or in England or whether it be somewhere neutral. We never got around to agreeing on where that could be. There is certainly the basics of music that could possibly well be a very good album, but I personally, and I don’t think Trevor and Jon did, don’t want to put out an album just because we could. There was a sort of single put out, “Fragile Touch,” which, not for me … it was a nice song. But people forget I’m a Yes fan too. I was a member of a band I was a fan of, so I’m entitled to say “I like this” or “I’d like to hear this.”

    “Fragile Touch” was a nice enough song, but it wasn’t what I wanted to hear from Yes. I wanted to hear some great playing and what I call some surprises. You go back to “Close to the Edge” and it’s full of surprises. You’ve got no idea where it’s going to go once it starts. That, to me, is what Yes music is."

    On Chris Squire wanting Yes to carry on:

    "There were all sorts of stories going around that “Oh, Chris wanted it to continue.” I know for a fact people that spoke to Chris and that isn’t true.

    There’s a lot of things … Life is too short. I’m not interesting in getting into arguments or creating bad feelings and things. I don’t care what other people do unless it affects me. If it affects me, I’ll come in like a rocket. If they are happy and they feel justified by that, than that is fine. It’s like when we were Yes Featuring ARW. It didn’t feel comfortable because I couldn’t justify that’s what we should be doing.

    If you want my real honest answer, the whole Yes thing is a mess since Chris died. It’s a total and utter mess for the fans and the people because nobody knows what the hell is going on. Nobody knows who is in what, who is doing what. It’s just one hilarious mess. It would make a great cartoon series."

  2. #2
    Member Top Cat's Avatar
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    Great interview, thanks for posting Dan.
    It's nice hearing Rick being candid about his time with Yes and also Yes and Jon's illness and all the Drama since then.
    Kind of cleared up some things for me, especially the ARW Yes name change when touring.

    As far as the Union tour, on the DVD I have, it's clearly evident Howe's lack of uh excitement about sharing the stage and guitar time with Trevor.
    At times making you feel uncomfortable, like being at a party when the hosts had an argument and the tension is still filling the room.
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  3. #3
    Much had been said (by me and others) on FB about the numerous factual inaccuracies and embellishments in Rick’s recollections, BUT this is a great interview nonetheless, more in-depth than nearly any Wakeman interview I’ve ever read. So kudos to the interviewer !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Roth View Post
    I wanted to hear.....what I call some surprises. You go back to “Close to the Edge” and it’s full of surprises. You’ve got no idea where it’s going to go once it starts. That, to me, is what Yes music is."
    That's a great comment. In fact, I would submit that it's one of the defining characteristics of prog. And, beyond that, one of the defining characteristics of, not "good music" because everybody has a different definition of that, but of the music that I like.

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    (aka timmybass69) timmy's Avatar
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    That RS article was a good read. Thank you for sharing that (as I never frequent anything RS).

    It made me remember the CA interview where Steve Howe makes the statement that there was something disfunctional with the 80s Yes because they only recorded two albums in eight years. Now, this is the same man, who got Tony Kaye fired from Yes. He had the issue with Anderson in the late 70s. Howe got John Wetton outsted from Asia during the tour supporting Alpha. He was a wet blanket in the Union band when everyone else tried to make the most of it. Why is Howe always at the center of weird relations?
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by timmy View Post
    Now, this is the same man, who got Tony Kaye fired from Yes. He had the issue with Anderson in the late 70s. Howe got John Wetton outsted from Asia during the tour supporting Alpha. He was a wet blanket in the Union band when everyone else tried to make the most of it. Why is Howe always at the center of weird relations?
    Howe may well respond: "After all, I am Steve Howe."

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by timmy View Post
    It made me remember the CA interview where Steve Howe makes the statement that there was something disfunctional with the 80s Yes because they only recorded two albums in eight years. Now, this is the same man, who got Tony Kaye fired from Yes. He had the issue with Anderson in the late 70s. Howe got John Wetton outsted from Asia during the tour supporting Alpha. He was a wet blanket in the Union band when everyone else tried to make the most of it. Why is Howe always at the center of weird relations?
    You are citing all of these as facts when they're really your own narrow-minded interpretations of what happened. Do you really think it was Steve Howe's decision, as the junior member of the band to fire Kaye in 1971 ? Sure, Howe didn't particularly like Kaye musically or personally, but it was 100% Anderson and Squire's decision. Similarly, Wetton was fired from Asia not because mean Steve Howe hated him but because Wetton was addicted to drugs and alcohol to a degree that made him unable to perform to a professional standard, so it was a band/management decision, not just Howe's. It was Howe's decision to quit after Wetton returned in 1984 but there was some overlap. Probably Wetton hadn't yet recovered (as he later admitted... that issue continued for many years afterwards). As for Howe's falling out with Anderson in the late 1970s, it's well-documented that Anderson's millionaire habits were fast depleting the band of their money with him spending way more than his share of the band's diminishing revenue, so again Howe's reaction was absolutely justified and rational.

    Get over the hatred and be a little more objective, it's NOT always Howe's fault. In fact, it rarely is.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    As for Howe's falling out with Anderson in the late 1970s, it's well-documented that Anderson's millionaire habits were fast depleting the band of their money with him spending way more than his share of the band's diminishing revenue
    Hey! We all tend to forget that it wasn't cheap to align yourself with the Astral Plane in 1978!

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    (aka timmybass69) timmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    Get over the hatred and be a little more objective, it's NOT always Howe's fault. In fact, it rarely is.
    LOL. Fanatic much? Sheesh.

    BTW - Did you ever see the bootleg video where he is freaking out at the guy running the spotlight during a soundcheck? Even Squire called him out by making a joke aimed at him. He probably could have made his point and moved on with soundcheck. Everybody has off days.
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    So just who was overindulging and in what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    As far as the Union tour, on the DVD I have, it's clearly evident Howe's lack of uh excitement about sharing the stage and guitar time with Trevor.
    At times making you feel uncomfortable, like being at a party when the hosts had an argument and the tension is still filling the room.
    Rick talks about how Trevor wanted Steve to play the OOTLH solo and Steve wasn't interested. Maybe there was more to that story - maybe Trevor wanted the Roundabout intro in return? Who knows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve983 View Post
    So just who was overindulging and in what?
    Well, obviously Rick and Jon were not part of this "overindulging" (according to Rick).

    As interesting as this interview is, Rick certainly puts himself (and Jon A) in a pretty good light, as in everyone else was wrong. Steve didnt want to play the solo, others were overindulging, Rick thought it was wrong to go out with Jon, Rick knows that Chris didnt want Yes to carry on, etc. I am sure Rick is a nice guy, but he comes across as pretty guilt-free of all things messy in Yes.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Roth View Post
    I am sure Rick is a nice guy, but he comes across as pretty guilt-free of all things messy in Yes.
    But Wakeman was just the keyboard player. How much harm could he have done?

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    I remember the back-and-forth between Rick Wakeman and Jonathan Elias in the pages of Keyboard. The album was evidently a Frankenstein, but it's got some good tunes. If it rubs anyone the wrong way, throw on Keys to Ascension. That's when "the boys were back!"

    That said, the Union show was freakin' great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve983 View Post
    So just who was overindulging and in what?
    Wasn't Chris Squire the big indulger of the entire entourage? God rest his soul.
    Chad

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    ^Definitely the impression I've always had. I don't get the sense any of the others concerned were...and certainly not by then.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Roth View Post
    I am sure Rick is a nice guy, but he comes across as pretty guilt-free of all things messy in Yes.
    By all accounts a nice man, but...yeah. They all have their own versions of 'the truth'!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    ^Definitely the impression I've always had. I don't get the sense any of the others concerned were...and certainly not by then.



    By all accounts a nice man, but...yeah. They all have their own versions of 'the truth'!
    Exactly. I have always found most of Rick's versions of the 'truth' to be the most unlikely, he always puts himself in the best light before anyone else together with a few big shovels of BS. Just my opinion of course

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    This was probably the most thorough interview by Wakeman I'vve read. Greatly enjoyed reading this. I didn't realize after Alan broke his ankle during the Paris sessions after the 10th Anniversary Tour, that this event was what led the band to disperse, ending those difficult sessions. I also didn't realize they had an American tour booked for 1980 and now suddenly they needed a new singer and keyboard player. I'd always assumed the tour was booked after the Drama band came together.

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    The only part of Rick's interview I have trouble with is saying "Nobody knows what's going on" with the current version of Yes. I don't think you have to try very hard to know what exactly is going on. Steve is trying to keep the legacy going by hook or crook. Sure, there's a financial motive in there, but I do think Chris' death affected him deeply and he now sees himself as "the keeper of the flame" (which is part of why he's OK keeping the name going without Jon or Chris.) Also, I doubt very much that Billy Sherwood was lying when he said that Chris asked him personally to replace him.

    Rick is a very principled guy, which is admirable. But he can also see things as very much black-or-white. Also, I'd love to see ARW produce a CTTE Pt 2 as much as anyone (hell, I think Steve would love it), and I think they have it in them to do it. Some millionaire Japanese Yes fan just needs to throw them the money.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by abhorsen View Post
    I didn't realize after Alan broke his ankle during the Paris sessions after the 10th Anniversary Tour, that this event was what led the band to disperse, ending those difficult sessions.
    Sounds more like the final breaking point than what really led to the momentary end.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrus View Post
    Also, I'd love to see ARW produce a CTTE Pt 2 as much as anyone (hell, I think Steve would love it), and I think they have it in them to do it. Some millionaire Japanese Yes fan just needs to throw them the money.
    Well, ARW have worked on "Bolero", a song that started as a 20 minute demo from Wakeman. Based on what Wakeman and the other two have said, this can't be about financing a record or EP. What financing did Rabin have to put on Jacaranda? How did Anderson manage to make 1000 Hands? How did Rabin make "Fragile"? How did Styx finance The Mission in 2017 and the current album that they are working on?

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    Quote Originally Posted by yamishogun View Post
    Based on what Wakeman and the other two have said, this can't be about financing a record or EP. What financing did Rabin have to put on Jacaranda? How did Anderson manage to make 1000 Hands? How did Rabin make "Fragile"? How did Styx finance The Mission in 2017 and the current album that they are working on?
    I thought what he meant was, the 3 of them need to be locked away in a room for 2 months to work all the parts out, as well as booked studio for weeks. That would be very expensive, plus I don't think anyone at this stage of their careers want to devote that much solitary time away from family, plus coming to agreement on what location it would be.

    I think I read or heard Tommy say it took Styx 2 years to record the Mission(did it between touring), and Rabin recorded his solo album in his home studio, right?
    Styx is working on a new album???
    Last edited by Top Cat; 10-14-2019 at 12:51 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrus View Post
    The only part of Rick's interview I have trouble with is saying "Nobody knows what's going on" with the current version of Yes. I don't think you have to try very hard to know what exactly is going on. Steve is trying to keep the legacy going by hook or crook. Sure, there's a financial motive in there, but I do think Chris' death affected him deeply and he now sees himself as "the keeper of the flame" (which is part of why he's OK keeping the name going without Jon or Chris.) Also, I doubt very much that Billy Sherwood was lying when he said that Chris asked him personally to replace him.

    Rick is a very principled guy, which is admirable. But he can also see things as very much black-or-white. Also, I'd love to see ARW produce a CTTE Pt 2 as much as anyone (hell, I think Steve would love it), and I think they have it in them to do it. Some millionaire Japanese Yes fan just needs to throw them the money.
    My understanding at the time was that as Chris entered treatment for his illness, they had a tour booked (of course) and he championed Sherwood to replace him. At the time Chris had every intention of returning, not realizing how quickly his illness would sadly take his life.

    I would so love to get some new music out of Yes! What music they have produced post 2000 I quite like a lot of it.

    Lastly, fuck Trevor Horn for insisting the band bring back Downes, if this Wakey recollection is true. Oliver Wakeman is a much better fit for the band than Downes. Not only the live band demonstrated this but his collaboration album with Howe from the early 2000's demonstrates his creative side. That one album is better than any one thing Downes has done IMHO as a progressive rock keyboardist. Downes's skillset is perfect for the likes of Asia, which is to day, not progressive rock really. Downes is the English Jonathan Cain. He took over for Gregg Rollie in Journey for the Escape album and onwards.

  23. #23
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abhorsen View Post
    Lastly, fuck Trevor Horn
    You mean the fat, dumpy guy?
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    Quote Originally Posted by abhorsen View Post
    Lastly, fuck Trevor Horn for insisting the band bring back Downes, if this Wakey recollection is true.
    It's pretty well documented that that's how it went down(es).

    But in context it sort of made sense. They were dusting off "Fly From Here", plus they had to come up with new music to go with it to have a full album. That old Buggles stuff had a very particular sound and texture to it that Geoff Downes has in his DNA. Oliver Wakeman -- not so much. And as the producer Trevor Horn felt it within his purview to make that call. I'm sure he thought that after the FFH album was done the band could then decide to keep Geoff or release him and bring Oliver back, but the tour and album did well enough that they decided to continue on with Geoff. There were other benefits around replacing Oliver with Geoff as well, including the fact that Steve was working with Geoff in Asia at the time, and they could tour all of Drama without as much time or effort.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    I thought what he meant was, the 3 of them need to be locked away in a room for 2 months to work all the parts out, as well as booked studio for weeks. That would be very expensive, plus I don't think anyone at this stage of their careers want to devote that much solitary time away from family, plus coming to agreement on what location it would be.
    As we know, Wakeman says a lot of things. Didn't any of this getting together / finance stuff occur to Wakeman when he and the others spoke excitedly about having a lot of good material in 2016 and 2017? Rabin also said around the start of 2018 that they were going into the studio and Anderson implies that it didn't happen and that he wanted to spend two months then on it around February and March.

    I think I read or heard Tommy say it took Styx 2 years to record the Mission(did it between touring), and Rabin recorded his solo album in his home studio, right?
    Styx is working on a new album???
    Tommy Shaw did much of it in secret with a writer outside the band and then at a certain point told the others what he was up to. He says they are halfway through a non-concept album.

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