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Thread: Steve Howe Autobiography

  1. #101
    I got the book from the library yesterday and skimmed parts of it. First impression: I agree with what I've read in past posts here, some interesting stuff but a strange, dry book.

    I never found out why Asia fell apart so I looked at that section. Howe writes the band was unhappy about mistakes in the shows in the second album tour. He doesn't say who made the mistakes, but tells us that the band asked Wetton to leave. Then, after a failed attempt to replace him with Greg Lake, the band starts work on a third album with Wetton and then Wetton announces that he can't work with Howe anymore, and apparently has the support of the rest of the band. No explanation of why Howe might have made Wetton feel that way or how Wetton got Downes and Palmer to switch sides.

    Oh well, I'll read further about Yes and see if I learn anything.
    Last edited by pb2015; 1 Week Ago at 11:43 AM.

  2. #102
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    I got the book from the library yesterday and skimmed parts of it. First impression: I agree with what I've read in past posts here, some interesting stuff but a strange, dry book.

    I never found out why Asia fell apart so I looked at that section. Howe writes the band was unhappy about mistakes in the shows in the second album tour. He doesn't say who made the mistakes, but tells us that the band asked Wetton to leave. Then, after a failed attempt to replace him with Greg Lake, the band starts work on a third album with Wetton and then Wetton announces that he can't work with Howe anymore, and apparently has the support of the rest of the band. No explanation of why Howe might have made Wetton feel that way or how Wetton got Downes and Palmer to switch sides.

    Oh well, I'll read further about Yes and see if I learn anything.
    Wetton had been fired at Howe's insistence so when the band asked him to rejoin he did so at the condition that Steve leave. Can't really blame him, can you?

    I think Steve and the others really shot themselves massively in the foot with the firing of John Wetton. Had he stayed in the band, the Asia in Asia broadcast would probably have propulsed the band into the stratosphere and they would have had the same staying power as the likes of Def Leppard or Journey. Unfortunately the egos took over.
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  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by popeyebonaparte View Post
    Wetton had been fired at Howe's insistence so when the band asked him to rejoin he did so at the condition that Steve leave. Can't really blame him, can you?
    According to Steve's bio, they did work as the original quartet for a little while, maybe just two weeks, until a meeting was called...

    I think Steve and the others really shot themselves massively in the foot with the firing of John Wetton. Had he stayed in the band, the Asia in Asia broadcast would probably have propulsed the band into the stratosphere and they would have had the same staying power as the likes of Def Leppard or Journey. Unfortunately the egos took over.
    Evidently John was in such poor state that his firing was deemed inevitable by the rest of the band and management. They were in the middle of a tour and still doing well commercially.
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  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    I got the book from the library yesterday and skimmed parts of it. First impression: I agree with what I've read in past posts here, some interesting stuff but a strange, dry book.

    I never found out why Asia fell apart so I looked at that section. Howe writes the band was unhappy about mistakes in the shows in the second album tour. He doesn't say who made the mistakes, but tells us that the band asked Wetton to leave. Then, after a failed attempt to replace him with Greg Lake, the band starts work on a third album with Wetton and then Wetton announces that he can't work with Howe anymore, and apparently has the support of the rest of the band. No explanation of why Howe might have made Wetton feel that way or how Wetton got Downes and Palmer to switch sides.

    Oh well, I'll read further about Yes and see if I learn anything.
    "Dry" is a good way to describe the book. Although I enjoyed it, I did not really learn much new that I did not already know.

  5. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by popeyebonaparte View Post
    Wetton had been fired at Howe's insistence so when the band asked him to rejoin he did so at the condition that Steve leave. Can't really blame him, can you?
    It was my hunch, but in the book Howe seems to be trying to avoid saying it.

  6. #106
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    In this world that seems to encourage ghost writing, Mr. Howe’s 100% solo effort was refreshing to me. The “dryness” and “strangeness” is due to his direct, straightforward style. It perfectly reflects the personality he has exhibited in his interviews over 4 decades.

    Mr. Wetton was also very honest about his out-of-control behavior for large chunks of time.

  7. #107
    I'm holding out for the Igor Koroshev autobiography...
    You say Mega Ultra Deluxe Special Limited Edition Extended Autographed 5-LP, 3-CD, 4-DVD, 2-BlueRay, 4-Cassette, five 8-Track, MP4 Download plus Demos, Outtakes, Booklet, T-Shirt and Guitar Pick Gold-Leafed Box Set Version like it's a bad thing...

  8. #108
    Quote Originally Posted by Garden Dreamer View Post
    I'm holding out for the Igor Koroshev autobiography...
    Oh it’s a classic of Russian literature... Crime And Punishment

  9. #109
    Quote Originally Posted by popeyebonaparte View Post
    I think Steve and the others really shot themselves massively in the foot with the firing of John Wetton. Had he stayed in the band, the Asia in Asia broadcast would probably have propulsed the band into the stratosphere and they would have had the same staying power as the likes of Def Leppard or Journey. Unfortunately the egos took over.
    The band were already stratospheric: Asia was the best selling album of 1982 in the US (outselling Thriller). I don't see why "Asia in Asia" would've made much difference had it been with Wetton. If the band didn't have staying power, maybe that was just that the second album was weaker or because the stars just weren't aligned next time around.

    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    Evidently John was in such poor state that his firing was deemed inevitable by the rest of the band and management. They were in the middle of a tour and still doing well commercially.
    This is all about Wetton's drinking, yes?

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  10. #110
    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotron View Post
    In this world that seems to encourage ghost writing, Mr. Howe’s 100% solo effort was refreshing to me. The “dryness” and “strangeness” is due to his direct, straightforward style. It perfectly reflects the personality he has exhibited in his interviews over 4 decades.
    It does give you an insight into Howe's thinking... but it could still have done with an editor guiding him more! It's not a book I'd particularly recommend unless you're a big fan. Bruford's autobiography is great, some of the books about Yes (Aymeric's, Chris Welch's) are great. Get those before this.

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  11. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by bondegezou View Post
    The band were already stratospheric: Asia was the best selling album of 1982 in the US (outselling Thriller). I don't see why "Asia in Asia" would've made much difference had it been with Wetton. If the band didn't have staying power, maybe that was just that the second album was weaker or because the stars just weren't aligned next time around.



    This is all about Wetton's drinking, yes?

    Henry
    I was thinking the same thing. Asia's really weak 2nd album is what sunk them, and they never recovered. It has been a while since I read the book but Steve implies substance abuse in both Asia and Yes, he does not really come out and name names in the book.

  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by bondegezou View Post
    It does give you an insight into Howe's thinking... but it could still have done with an editor guiding him more! It's not a book I'd particularly recommend unless you're a big fan. Bruford's autobiography is great, some of the books about Yes (Aymeric's, Chris Welch's) are great. Get those before this.

    Henry

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    An involved editor could have improved the final result without taking away any of the positive elements or removing any of the “Steve-ness” of the book.

  13. #113
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    There’s a number of blatant errors in Steve’s book. Too bad he didn’t have a competent proofreader/factchecker. The most embarrassing was that Miraval studios used to belong to Jacques Cousteau, when he really meant Jacques Loussier, the pianist of Play Bach fame.

  14. #114
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    I was thinking the same thing. Asia's really weak 2nd album is what sunk them, and they never recovered.
    The 2nd album was weak and may have been the reason, but my thinking is that the music with Lake was so disappointing to a worldwide audience expecting the great sounds and vocals from the first album, interest in them died off. I believe that if Wetton was in Asia in Asia, it would have put a face to the singer in the band, and their popularity would have continued to expand.

  15. #115
    Quote Originally Posted by irongoalie View Post
    The 2nd album was weak and may have been the reason, but my thinking is that the music with Lake was so disappointing to a worldwide audience expecting the great sounds and vocals from the first album, interest in them died off. I believe that if Wetton was in Asia in Asia, it would have put a face to the singer in the band, and their popularity would have continued to expand.
    I don't think enough people were paying attention to "Asia in Asia" that it could put that many people off! Asia sold 10 million worldwide. "Asia in Asia" was broadcast on MTV, which at the time was available in 18 million homes, a fifth of US homes with a television. But it won't have been watched by everyone who could watch MTV. 4/5 of US homes and everyone else in the world didn't even have the opportunity to see it.

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  16. #116
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    Shoot, I thought Lake in the Asia in Asia concert was pretty good. I think, for most casual fans, Lake was a bigger draw than Wetton. As far as the sound of the band, I don't think it was radically different from the Wetton lineup. Lake's vocals, some might say, were an improvement. I was looking forward to seeing new music from this lineup. Alas, it was not to be. Why didn't it work with Lake? My impression is that he was somewhat of a diva and may have had a hard time working with everyone else.

  17. #117
    Wetton did a very frank interview with Eric Blair , you can find on YT. Interestingly he also says he doesn't really know what happened between him and Howe/ Management/ why the band seemed to oust him. He was in Paris resting after the first tour schedule and spoke to Geoff Downes by phone , just to check in , Downes told him he better return to London quick and go to the management office. So all pretty cloak and dagger . No one seems to quite know who made the decision to oust him. It sounds like probably management and then the rest of the band had to sort of carry that through, after all Downes and Wetton seemed to work very well together and be big buddies. The other thing about Alpha for me was the much more formulaic drumming , CP's very busy unison run style had been pared back since Love Beach but retained his very distinctive style even on PM and Asia debut but something was missing on Alpha.

  18. #118
    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    Why didn't it work with Lake? My impression is that he was somewhat of a diva and may have had a hard time working with everyone else.
    In Howe's book he mentions Lake made some "rock star" demands and that the band had to lower the keys of several songs for his range.

  19. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    Shoot, I thought Lake in the Asia in Asia concert was pretty good. I think, for most casual fans, Lake was a bigger draw than Wetton. As far as the sound of the band, I don't think it was radically different from the Wetton lineup. Lake's vocals, some might say, were an improvement. I was looking forward to seeing new music from this lineup. Alas, it was not to be. Why didn't it work with Lake? My impression is that he was somewhat of a diva and may have had a hard time working with everyone else.
    As someone who entered the contest to go there, the eventual show minus JW was awful for this fan. And Lake was not a draw in any way to any Asia fan I knew in 83 - it was roundly panned amongst us - and we liked ELP!

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  20. #120
    It also seems that Astra, the proverbial "difficult third album" was what ‚signed the deal‘ about them not being a consistent AOR force that delivers massive income for the hungry label.
    This despite (or because?) having some strong mainstream hooks, way more generic riffing guitar and further paring down of the ‚busy‘ drums.
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  21. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    I was thinking the same thing. Asia's really weak 2nd album is what sunk them, and they never recovered. It has been a while since I read the book but Steve implies substance abuse in both Asia and Yes, he does not really come out and name names in the book.
    Probably with good reason, given that there are numerous people who confirm that he spent half of his time stoned out of his mind. Elias certainly makes this accusation numerous times in interviews about the Yes Union debacle.

  22. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazland View Post
    Probably with good reason, given that there are numerous people who confirm that he spent half of his time stoned out of his mind. Elias certainly makes this accusation numerous times in interviews about the Yes Union debacle.
    Yea, I think just about every member of the band had some level of substance issues including Howe himself.

  23. #123
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    Happy 74th Birthday, Mr. Howe
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  24. #124
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    Yea, I think just about every member of the band had some level of substance issues including Howe himself.
    Not Bruford...
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  25. #125
    Quote Originally Posted by popeyebonaparte View Post
    Not Bruford...
    He's talked of some very early (pre-Yes) gigs when he was definitely not sober, IIRC.

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