Anderson, Jon; Chris Squire, Steve Howe; Alan White; Billy Sherwood (Yes)(January 2000)

[In 1997, John Gabbard conducted an interview with the members of Yes circa 1997 -- Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White and Billy Sherwood -- for the former Warner Cable show AudioVision of which he was the host. Below is the transcript -ed.]

All: Hi John!

JG: Welcome to Audio Vision.

All: Thank you!

Open Your Eyes (1997)JG: I just want to tell you I listened to the album Open Your Eyes & I've been a big follower of all your albums and I've probably seen you more than any other group. And I'm not just saying that - 'cause I've seen a lot of groups in the past. I just want to say that this new album - it's kind of got the ingredients of everything you've done in the past. I think that people are going to be looking forward to hearing this new thing.

All: That's good, thanks.

JG: Jon, if you could tell us about the new album and the new member, or not the new member, Billy Sherwood.

Jon Anderson: Billy's been around a long time with the band. He helped to produce the last two albums, the Keys to Ascension project. In fact, the Keys to Ascension II is coming out; It's out now. It seemed natural; he was working with Chris on some songs. Earlier this year we just started writing together. It just seemed a natural event for Billy to be involved in the band and to come on tour. It's a good feeling, and like you say, you enjoy the new album. Billy's been a big Yes fan. We're lucky to have a really good keyboard player on the tour from Moscow, he's Igor [Khoroshev]. He's a big Rick Wakeman fan.

So there we were with the new album, Open Your Eyes and everything seems to be pointed towards the twenty-first century; can we keep the band going smoothly. We're gonna tour for the next year or so and see how it goes; we're pretty excited.

JG: The songs on this album are more shorter, but with it being more guitar oriented and less of the keyboards. I just like the feel of it, especially Chris - I think there's a lot of input. Not that there hasn't been in the past, but your feeling on this album is really impressive. I enjoy it a lot.

Chris Squire: Thank you very much. Thank you.

JG: And the Keys To Ascension, what can we expect... I guess some of the live stuff from the concert you did?

Keys to Ascension IISteve Howe: That's right. It's got another ... it's a double CD like the first one. The whole first CD is live; the second one is all studio with Mr. Rick Wakeman which is his last visitation with us. So if you want to catch that you can get retro feelings from that. There's some long tracks on... "Mind Drive" is a very long, very good. It's kind of a companion if you like to Open Your Eyes but more if you want the older style of Yes and you want to know what Rick was doing on his final joint with Yes.

JG: You know Yes has been around for quite a few years. In fact I think you're embarking on your thirtieth year, 25 albums.

All: Next year.

JG: There's only a few groups - there's the Stones, Genesis, and maybe Floyd, but after all these years it seems like you just keep getting stronger. It's the people, the fanship feels lucky. No matter, I think Steve summed it up pretty well. He says the record is just another season of Yes, but everyone may not like it or may not accept...

SH: It takes a bit of time to get on board with it. Each album takes a bit of time for some sector of our fans.

Alan White: Part of the secret is trying to create new music all the time and looking to the future.

JG: And that's what this is. This is the Yes of the 90's, not the Yes of the 70's or 80's.

All: That's right.

Billy Sherwood: This is the Yes of 2000! That's what this is.

JG: That's True. It's almost 2000.

BS: That's right.

CS: You seem to have said everything we would have said.

BS: Except there will be a surround CD available.

JG: CD ROM I guess?

BS: Yea.

CS: That's what I would have said.

AW: I believe cutting edge technology.

BS: I think that's what I was looking for was cutting edge technology.

CS: You're in Cincinnati, right?

JG: Yea, Cincinnati. Is there a video that's going to be from the Keys concert that's going to be coming soon?

SH: Yea, it's been released in Europe. There was a few little problems with it when it came out, and they withdrew it. I think they got the production running in England now and they're considering releasing it now in America.

JG: I was looking at some of the setlists that you have and it's phenomenal. You give a cross of everything everybody wanted to hear. The response especially from the audience - at least on the internet - has been " hey, don't miss this show" Some people have seen it and traveled three or four hundred miles just to see it cause they like you so much and it was such a powerful show.

CS: Yea.

AW: I think cause we've been on the road none of us has really looked at the internet but we have very positive reports like you say on the show, and it's a very powerful vision of the band, that you gotta love the show.

JG: One of the songs on the tour, "The Revealing Science of God" It's been awhile. I think you played that here in Cincinnati probably about twenty years ago but it's good to hear songs like that.

AW: Cincinnati...

JG: ...and it just brings back the memories.

AW: Can I just say something here?

All: Sure.

AW: Cincinnati's the only place we ever played the whole of Topographic; right - from beginning to end. [all laugh] It is!

JG: Well I should feel special. I was here; why is it...

Tales From Topographic Oceans (1973)AW: I don't know. We just came off stage that night. It was when we did the whole Topographic tour we played the whole thing in its entirety, and we all went backstage and said "dammit we played it right from beginning to end" cause not every night it was like that.

JG: Has to make you remember this town I guess, huh? Now Chris, there's been some talk that a little bit of this album is kinda little bit of your solo upcoming record, maybe a few songs, correct?

CS: Well yea, there's a little bit of repair work [all laugh] I guess when we get off the tour in the year 2001 I'll get back to it. Finishing it off.

JG: And Billy is also... did he produce it or did you guys produce it?

BS: We did it all together - at my place. I have a studio in Los Angeles and we all met there. We all participated in the process even though Chris & I got the ball rolling if you will. As soon as it was in motion everyone jumped on board and it became a team collective effort on the production and the songwriting and everything about it.

JG: And I wanted to say something about the audiences today. It seems like - I know Jon was saying a little earlier, or one of you was saying about - the audiences... you see people like me being 43 but their kids enjoying your music & then of course the people like myself. It's such a wide spread of age. The audiences are just getting better over the years, correct?

SH: We're getting... We're pulling in the children of the fans or they're in fact just younger people who've heard there's this band Yes exists in the same league as a Genesis, Pink Floyd, and other bands. ELP that were around in the 70's and I think the curiosity gets the better of them so keep being curious and find out what we're like because we're not like a lot of bands. In fact, I don't think there's anybody quite like Yes. So in a way when we come around it's a wonderful opportunity to see that version of Yes and Yes itself at that time.

BS: And this music is kinda multi-generational. Once somebody hears one of the many albums, they're hooked - usually.

JG: I wanted to ask you about this new movie which I'm sure you're familiar with. It has the title of the song "Starship Trooper." Is there any tie-in? Or what's goin' on with that?

CS: We tried :-)

BS: Yea they took the song title.

SH: I have a song called "Brave Heart." You think I didn't try and get that sold :-)

BS: You didn't get that message from Mel? [all laugh]

SH: Jon had the inspiration to write that song back in 1970 when that came out.

JA: I had the book. [Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers -ed. PW] I was a Sci-Fi freak. I was reading those kind of books. I just thought it was a very strong title for a song. I just had this vision of the Starship Trooper finding the self and the soul and the light within, y'know.

BS: I don't think it had to do with blowing up aliens left and right; more of a positive statement.

JA: No, I just liked the title.

SH: I think they didn't realize that a band like Yes had a song "Starship Trooper" and they've never even looked at a license on it, cause that tune means a lot to a lot of people, and maybe that's good for us. We're not getting trashed by that film.

JA: I went to go see the movie. I like those kind of movies... those sort of crazy, tied-to-your-seat kind of movies.

CS: Independence Day

JA: Independence Day was great.

BS: Certainly was. Good Job Dave.

AW: Might change the lyrics :-)

JG: Thank you guys for joining us here on Video Vision. Good luck to the rest of your careers. You take care. As I said, out of any band that's ever played a note at all, you guys are to me ... you're number one in my book. Ya don't get any better... I really appreciate it.

BS: Carry on for eternity.

SH: Flattery will get you everywhere.

AW: Bye!

[So as I re-edit this review (just the coding, not the text), I feel compelled to add: here we are in 2011 ... or I am when I write this... and Yes have just released a new album, Fly From Here, their 21st studio album! Add in the dozens of live albums and compilation albums and that number is something like 60! And they're in the 43rd year! 'Course, Anderson and Sherwood are no longer with the band (neither is Khoroshev), Wakeman came back briefly... I'll also note that the very first interview we (re)published was this one... and at the time, the "we" was Gabbard and I. -ed.]

[2015 update - sadly, Chris Squire passed away in June of this year -ed.]

Yes (1969)
Time And A Word (1970)
The Yes Album (1971)
Fragile (1972)
Close To The Edge (1972)
Yessongs (1973)
Tales From Topographic Oceans (1974)
Relayer (1975)
Yesterdays (1975)
Going For The One (1977)
Tormato (1978)
Yesshows (1980)
Drama (1980)
Keys To The Studio (1980)
Classic Yes (1982)
90125 (1983/2004)
90125 Live - The Solos (1985)
Big Generator (1987)
Union (1989)
Yesyears (1991)
Yesstory (1991)
Greatest Hits (1993)
Highlights: The Very Best Of Yes (1993)
Talk (1994)
Affirmative: The Yes Solo Family Album (1994)
Keys To Ascension I (1996)
Keys To Ascension II (1997)
Open Your Eyes (1997)
Yes, Friends And Relatives (1998)
Beyond And Before: BBC Recordings 1969-1970 (1998)
Something's Coming (1998)
Friends & Relatives (1998)
The Ladder (1999)
Millennium Collection (1999)
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (2000)
Yes, Friends and Relatives - Volume Two (2001)
YesSymphonic (ep) (2001)
Magnification (2001)
Keystudio (ep) (2001)
3 For 1 Box Set (2001)
Original Members Of Yes (2001)
Extended Versions (2002)
Friends And Relatives: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 (2002)
Yestoday (2002)
In A Word (2002)
Yes Remixes (2003)
Friends And Relatives: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2 (2003)
Roundabout: Best Of Yes Live (2003)
The Yes Story Gold (2003)
The Ultimate Yes - 35th Anniverary Collection (2004)
(Re)Union (2004)
Topography: The Yes Anthology (2004)
Inside Yes 1968-1973: A Critical Review (2004)
The Word Is Live (2005)
Live And Solo: The Collection (2006)
Greatest Hits Live (2006)
An Evening Of Yes (2006)
Yesstories: Group & Solo Tales (2006)
Essentially Yes (2006)
The Definitive Rock Collection (2007)
Roundabout & Other Hits (2006)
Live At Montreux 2003 (2007)
Works (2007)
The Best Of Yes: 1970-1987 (2007)
Symphonic Live (2009)
The BBC Recordings 1969-1970 (2009)
Introducing Yes (2009)
Wonderous Stories: The Best Of Yes (2009)
Union Live (2011)
Fly From Here (2011)
In The Present - Live From Lyon (2011)
Heaven & Earth (2014)
Songs From Tsongas (2014)
Like It Is: Yes At The Bristol Hippodrome (2014)
Progeny: Seven Shows From Seventy-Two (boxset) (2015)
Like It Is: Yes At The Mesa Arts Center (2015)

9012LIve (VHS/DVD) (1985/2005)
Greatest Hits Video (VHS/DVD) (1991/2001)
Yesyears: A Retrospective (VHS/DVD) (1991/2003)
Yes: Live - 1975 At Q.P.R. (VHS) (1993)
Live In Philadelphia 1979 (VHS/DVD) (1996/2003)
Keys To Ascension (VHS/DVD) (1997/2001/2009)
The Union Tour Live (DVD) (1999)
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (VHS/DVD) (2000)
The Best Of MusikLaden Live (VHS/DVD) (2000/2003)
Live In Amsterdam (VHS/DVD) (2002)
Symphonic Live (DVD+CD) (2003)
Yes: Special Edition EP (DVD) (2003)
YesSpeak (DVD) (2003)
YesAcoustic (DVD) (2004/2006)
35th Anniversary Concert: Songs From Tsongas (DVD) (2004)
YesSpeak - YesAcoustic - 35th Anniversary Edition (DVD) (2005)
Critical Review 1968-1973 (DVD) (2005)
Greatest Video Hits (DVD) (2005)
Inside Yes Plus Friends And Family (DVD) (2006)
Acoustic Live (DVD) (2006)
Total Rock Review (DVD) (2006)
Close To The Edge: Rock Milestones (DVD) (2007)
Live At Montreux (DVD/BR) (2007)
The Lost Broadcasts (DVD) (2009)
Rock Of The 70s (DVD) (2009)
Union Live (2011)
Live Hemel Hempstead Pavilion October 3rd 1971 (2014)

Added: January 20th 2000
Interviewer: John Gabbard

Artist website:
Hits: 1132
Language: english

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