This spring the Progressive Rock legends Yes are going out on the road and playing three of their classic albums (The Yes Album, Close to the Edge, and Going for the One). Recently I got the chance to chat with Yes bassist and the only member to play on every single Yes album and tour, Chris Squire. During our discussion we talk about the up coming tour, his take on the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, how Yes came into their sound and their upcoming “Cruise from the Edge” cruise.
If you'd like to listen to the interview you can do so here:
Chris Squire: I’ve never been on a cruise actually in my life for any particular reason. It’s kind of a noble thing. I understand it’s selling very well. I know people who are coming from Europe, some people from Norway even, are going to come on the tour, people from England. I guess it’ll be interesting to have 5,000 Yes fans on a boat for three days.
On who came up with the idea to do a cruise…
CS: Whoever does these cruises approached us. I think a week or two before us they’re doing one with the Moody Blues. I assume that they have done other cruises like these in the past. I think Kiss did one…someone told me. It’s new to us anyway. Yes is set to play “The Yes Album,” “Close to the Edge” and “Going for the One” in their entirety on their upcoming tour. Chris Squire on not playing “Roundabout” this tour CS: (Laughs) You having just said that, we probably will play “Roundabout” as an encore (Laughs). No “Owner of a Lonely Heart” on this tour though.
On the Progressive Rock genre/label...
CS: It really didn’t exist when we started. In fact the only kind of headline for what we were doing and the Nice which morphed into ELP (Emerson Lake and Palmer) and Genesis came along. The term used back then in the press was Art Rock. At some point Prog Rock came and I don’t know who made it that and it seems to be the title that stuck. It’s a hard definition to decide who’s Prog and who isn’t? There are definitely bands that are still around today like Porcupine Tree who are what I would think are Prog Rock.
On where the Yes sound came from...
CS: Strangely enough it wasn’t…the band that I was in prior to Yes which was an English band called The Syn had some of the blue print of what Yes became in that band. When I met Jon Anderson and we got together and started writing songs together everything came together at that point really. Then Tony Kaye came in on keyboards, Bill Bruford on drums and Peter Banks was the original guitar player for the first couple of Yes albums and he was also with me in The Syn. I think you could say that’s where the idea started in the 60’s. When Yes formed we sort of fine tuned the idea.
On the most recent Yes studio album “Fly From Here.”
CS: Yeah yeah I was very happy when we finished mixing that as well as everybody else that was involved with it. Trevor Horn the producer liked it, Steve Howe liked it. It was quite the strange event really that everyone actually ended up liking the album, because that’s not always the case, but yeah it ended up getting critical acclaim and I enjoy it very much even though we won’t be doing it on this tour.
On the Yes songwriting process...
CS: It’s kind of a combination of a lot of things. A lot of the music comes from myself having an idea and somebody else having an idea and you try to see if they work together and that’s what comes up with the thing that if just one person was writing the song they wouldn’t think of doing that. We jam awkward things together…it doesn’t always work and we don’t pursue that one, but quite often it’s surprising how with music you can mold one idea with another and have it come out sounding good.
If Yes ever gets into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame
CS: You think to yourself, well maybe just the band from the seventies or Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe, but then do you put Bill Bruford in and Alan White and then Trevor Rabin who was on “90125” which is our biggest selling album, so where do you start and stop? We’ll see what happens, I’ve always said if they do go ahead and do it, it’d only be fair to induct everyone who’s ever been in the band.
Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.