Notes From the Edge
Conversation with
Alan White & Geoff Downes
nfte #296

When it was clear that the More Drama tour was in jeopardy it was apparent that this conversation's posting on NFTE would be too. Prior to that Alan and Geoff consented to discuss their involvement in the band White and its participation in that tour--which included Chris Squire with Syn and Steve Howe performing solo--and both were eager to get that tour started. However as we all know the tour was cancelled due to visa problems for the members and crew who were trying to get out of the UK.

Whether the More Drama tour will reemerge still remains to be seen. Nevertheless Alan and Geoff's discussion about that tour was interesting from a historical perspective. Furthermore the discussion of White and the DRAMA days were compelling enough to warrant posting this interview, and Alan advised he also would like to see it appear, so here it is.


MIKE TIANO: First thing I thought I'd do to start with is to ask you, Alan, to give a brief history of the band White. Just how did this whole project come about?

ALAN WHITE: It stems from Merkaba, which was a local band in Seattle. It had a reputation... a few people left, few people joined and that kind of thing, and over a period of the last seven years I suppose I played with Steve Boyce and Kevin the singer and really struck a relationship with them.

So when I wasn't touring with Yes I'd go play with Merkaba, and then we decided to write together and it moved forward and to this point; Yes went on hiatus for a while, so we wanted to kind of just make an album, so it started there basically, and that I suppose was about a year prior to this.

MOT: So it's basically a situation of a few friends coming together and jamming. Very social thing too, wasn't it?

AW: It was very social. We would just turn up, and if I was in the audience, I'd just go and play with them and vise versa. It was good; it was just a good kind of relationship that developed into something that's more real now, because Yes is not working for a while, so we're just making it into something that works really good.

MOT: Just to get it out of the way, Yes is basically taking a break. You've been touring for a long time, and it's not that you're split up or anything or calling it quits. It's just that you'd like a bit of a change.

AW: Yeah, like 2004, 2003, we worked. We did a lot of touring, and I think some guys in the band were getting kind of exhausted, so they just wanted a rest, and rest their bodies kind of thing, but I don't want to rest. I want to go out and play again.

MOT: Let's talk about how Geoff became involved. You worked together again at the Prince's Trust, and I take it that's probably the first time you two had seen each other in a long time.

GEOFF DOWNES: Yeah, I mean I think we bumped into each other at various trade shows and things over the years, but once we got the Prince's Trust thing underway... Alan was working on his album or starting to work on his album, and it was just sort of a nice thing for us to get back together again and effectively put the DRAMA lineup back together again, if only briefly for the Prince's Trust show, and it was nice to have Trevor Rabin involved as well. So it was more of a kind of a bunch of friends getting together, and I think that when Alan said, "Look, you know I'm working on this album. Do you want to play keys on it?" I said, "Yeah, I'd love to," and it kind of escalated from there really.

MOT: So it was a real buzz for you guys to get back together with Chris and Steve, and like you said with Trevor as well, but having that lineup again. How did it feel for guys after all those years, actually playing together in that ensemble environment?

AW: Well, it's actually good, because you know you can only play just so many things so many times [with] Yes music, and this is a breath of fresh air because we're bringing music back from the '80s that we're doing, like from DRAMA, and it's exciting to play that music again, because we've never played it for 20-odd years. So to play this is kind of challenging, because we were all younger then, but now it seems to be as good as ever. It feels really good to play all the stuff, and we're getting a buzz out of it.

MOT: And the band White pretty much got a jump on things, because you were performing songs from DRAMA.

AW: Right. Yeah, because I thought it's a different thing, because DRAMA's the material that Jon never sang, so I thought it was an apt situation that we perform stuff like that first, that Jon never sang on, so it's good to stay away from that era, but perform stuff from the '80s, which a lot of people haven't heard for a long time.

MOT: Geoff, have you really been listening to these DRAMA tunes for a long time, or did you revisit them for the first time after a long period?

GD: Well, I think that a lot of people mentioned it to me in the past, because obviously quite a few people that come to see Asia also follow Yes very closely as well, so the two bands have got quite a bit of cross-pollination in terms of the fan base, and a lot of people said to me over the years, they said I'd love to see you guys get up and play "Machine Messiah" and "Tempus Fugit" again, and you know when we got together in London earlier this year, it was great to be able to play that stuff again. I mean, I had forgotten some of the stuff [laughs].

AW: We all had [laughs]. But and then we had to kind of pull Chris along with it a little bit, and Chris actually was very surprising after a couple of run-throughs, because I'd been playing it, and Geoff was tuning into it, and Chris was kind of lagging behind a little bit like he usually does, and then basically he, within two or three run-throughs, he was remembering all of the parts again.

GD: As you go into it, you do actually realize that the stuff from DRAMA was pretty complex and pretty far out in terms of the arrangements, and "Machine Messiah" is very complex piece, so I think it is nice first to go back and look at that again, definitely.

MOT: Was it just three of you or was Steve with you?

AW: No, Steve had some prior commitments. He had gigs in Holland, so he couldn't make it, but I think he's been doing his homework, so when he gets here to rehearse he should on par, otherwise we'll drag him along with us.

GD: [Laughs]

MOT: What songs are you considering, and what's it like looking at these songs again?

AW: Well, pretty much "Machine Messiah", "Tempus Fugit", and I'd mentioned, like you know, "We Can Fly from Here", which we'd been listening to and everybody seems to think it's a good idea to do that song, because we haven't done it since Madison Square Garden, so it'll be a good, extra bonus kind of thing to do on stage, so we're going to work on putting that together, which by the way, we've been listening to the live version, and I think it's going to be really great.

GD: Yeah, the actual studio version of that wasn't completed, because by the time we'd done the other material for DRAMA, that one had sort of fallen a bit by the wayside, and we literally couldn't get it on the album, so it wasn't actually completed in the studio, the Eddie Offord, the DRAMA recordings, but we took it live, and I think the live version is actually much more impactive then the studio version we were working on.

MOT: So the studio version never really reached completion. You started...

GD: Not really, no.

MOT: ... started to assemble parts and then it just kind of died? Is that what you're saying?

GD: Yeah, well I think because we were concentrating on the other stuff. You know, it was the days of vinyl...

AW: Yeah, there just wasn't room

GD: You have a certain physical aspect of... we had too much material to fit onto two sides of vinyl, simple as that.

MOT: And that's most unfortunate. Too bad CDs weren't around at that time, because as much as I like all the tracks on DRAMA, "We Can Fly from Here" is really, really a stellar track, the way the band had performed it live at that time. I was one of the fortunate ones who got to see you guys play it.

AW: But you also heard the studio version, so that was a good blueprint of what we were doing, and then we changed it.

GD: Yeah, but it was actually the first track that was put forward for DRAMA. We actually started working on it together, so I think that it's significant that we are doing it as a kind of period piece, you know, and I think a lot of people would like to see that live.

MOT: I think you hit the nail on the head, because except for fans that may have heard it through bootlegs and such--even though it is coming out on the live box set soon--fans are pretty much unfamiliar with it, so it will be an exciting addition, but that aside, it is a really an exciting track, and if you play it like you did with the same arrangement back then, then I think it's going to be one of the high points of the show.

AW: Yeah, I think it'll be great. It will be a nostalgia factor

MOT: I would like for Geoff to put a rumor to rest. Maybe you've answered this before, but I'll ask it anyway. There's a rumor that "We Can Fly from Here" was once demoed with you and Trevor and Chris Squire and Bill Bruford. Is there any truth to that?

GD: There's a lot of truth to that. Yeah, originally that was the... although I'm not even sure whether Bill Bruford was involved. I think it was mainly me, Chris, and Trevor, plus Paul Robinson, who did the drum track, who was actually on the show...

AW: He's the drummer from--he was on the tribute...

GD: ... he was the drummer on the Price's Trust...

AW: He was the drummer on "Video Killed the Radio Star" and all that kind of stuff.

GD: He was Buggles' drummer, basically, and so I think he did the original drum track on that. We worked with Bill Bruford on another track, but I don't think that ever came to any specific... never really happened.

MOT: The track you played with on Bill Bruford never saw the light of day.

GD: No.

MOT: Ok well great, you put that rumor to rest.

GD: That is, as far as I can remember, Trevor might have another slant on it, but that's how I remember it.

MOT: Speaking of Trevor, there's lot of question and speculation as to whether Trevor will join you on stage at some point during the tour.

GD: I just heard this morning, which I've not even told Alan about yet, but when Jim was in there talking to Trevor about the thing, and Trevor's talking about coming up to San Francisco and joining us there.

AW: Oh, ok.

GD: Because he's on a holiday in the area, and he said that he'd quite like to try and fit it in [laughs].

AW: I've actually spoke to him, and he said "Let me know the dates on the New York leg, and maybe I'll come and sing 'Machine'"... I said, "Well we're doing 'Machine Messiah'," and he said, "Well, that's a high B, isn't it?", and then I said, "Well, yeah, It's pretty high".

GD: [Laughs]

AW: And I said "We're doing 'Tempus Fugit'," and he said "I'll do 'Tempus Fugit'" [laughs], because it's pretty high, but he'll make it. We'll just have to force him a little bit.

GD: I think it'd be nice... I think it would be certainly worth a photo backstage for that one [laughs].

MOT: A lot of fans will be very, very excited for Trevor to join you, although the timing there might be key, because if he comes on in the middle of your set and leaves, people will say, what's he doing?

AW: No, it would be at the end. Also, he would probably sing "We Can Fly from Here".

MOT: Oh, he should.

GD: But I mean, there's the shows without Trevor, which are going to be most of them. Kevin, Alan's singer, he's got a great voice, and he can reach all of that stuff quite comfortably. The White band has been playing that material anyway for the last few years, so they kind of know that inside-out.

MOT: Getting back to White and your involvement there, when you first heard it, can you talk about some of the tracks that grabbed you and why they did?

GD: Well, actually around the time that we were doing the Prince's Trust show, Alan gave me a copy of the album that they effectively put together with their previous keyboard player, and he said, "Well, you know we're looking at this. We want to actually re-record some of this stuff and make it into something, a bigger kind of concept." And that's really when I listened to the stuff I thought there's some great songs on there, some really good songs, and they wrote some more stuff and added a few more tracks... each level that we've actually worked on the album it's come on another ten paces, and we actually mastered it yesterday.

AW: It was really, really great going in there last night and hearing the final... in fact when I walked in there and started hearing the stuff, I said it finally sounds like a finished record, and everything up to now is kind of like, "Oh well it's going to be like this"... shifting kind of things around, but now it sounds like a finished product.

GD: There's some very powerful rock choruses as well as some very progressive playing, so it's a good combination of accessible music if you'd like, and it's not eclectic stuff; it's quite melodic rock. I think it's a great angle.

MOT: I agree, some very, very creative and accessible tunes.

AW: You can take the Yes root down here and start, but with my last solo thing, RAMSHACKLED, I go to the side a little bit, when I stick to the kind of things to more explore other areas... it's a little bit out of direction from the Yes thing, but it's got elements of all that kind of stuff in it.

GD: You're not going to wait another 30 years before putting another album out? [Laughs]

AW: It takes 26 to think about it.

MOT: To be clear, even though the band is called White, and you were the genesis for bringing the musicians together, it really is a band...

AW: It's really a band; it's pretty much a democratic kind of... we all have a say in what's going on. I'm not the kind of guy who wants to rule the roost and say, "You must do this." We talk about a lot of things together and come to an agreement.

GD: That's one of the things that is why I liked to be involved, because it wasn't Alan and a bunch of guys. It's basically... I mean it is ostensibly Alan's band, but as he said each person puts in an equal amount ...

AW: Absolutely, and they're all great guys to work with, very amicable.

MOT: That's the point I was trying to make. It wasn't just a project in the sense that you just wanted to put out an album, so you brought some friends in to play some parts, it's basically very organic. You are a real band.

AW: It's very organic, and it's people I've known for a long time, and we have a good relationship socially as well as musically.

GD: I think also the band's got its own style as a result of that, and I think that there's not anything you can say, "Oh, it sounds like that or it sounds like that." It's actually developed its own style, and I think certainly from the original stuff that Alan gave me and the way it is now, it's got a very, very organic sound to it. In terms of taking that to a live stage I think it's going to really work, really well.

AW: I think you can enhance it even more live.

GD: Yes.

AW: Because we're going to be pretty much firing on eight and just really, really having a good time out there.

MOT: When you say enhance it live, can you be more specific?

AW: I think the band is very live sounding on the record, which was the object in the first place, to make it feel like it was a live situation, have some people reacting with each other, playing... and basically I think that will probably further itself, like it always did with Yes. A lot of things were constructed in a way that was regimented in the studio, but when it got live, it became more organic and kind of that's what developed in the music.

MOT: When you [Geoff] came into this project, White was already a functioning unit. Did you have carte blanche in terms of creating your parts, or did you guys discuss the type of things you wanted? Did you say to Geoff, here's what we're looking for here... ?

AW: I told Geoff straight away, I said just come in and give it a listen and put what you are on it...

GD: Yeah, he said just be yourself on that, so that was a nice thing to be able to do, because obviously they'd had their previous keyboard player had done certain things on there that... but they just said look, we're starting again and all this, and just do what you do, and I think that's a genuine... that's what makes it sound organic is that you got the genuine abilities of each person just doing their thing, and it all comes together.

AW: Which is great, because listening to the stuff last night, we brought some of that kind of definitely a keyboard factor out that's definitely Geoff in it, so making the whole thing gel really well.

MOT: It's not a matter of coming up with what you thought sounded right for the band, and you would probably have some conversation as to what worked and maybe what didn't work.

AW: Didn't really have to talk much.

MOT: Really.

GD: Yeah.

AW: It was just right there straight away.

GD: We just went straight in and got stuck in and said. "Let's have some of that on there."

MOT: You pretty much nailed it, which is even more encouraging, because you came in and you were at the right place at the right time.

GD: Well, also I think that all the guys are very, very--not accommodating, but they felt that I should play myself rather than follow any other preconceived notions of what music should be.

AW: And copy other parts.

MOT: At the same time, hopefully they didn't coddle you and say "It all sounded great." Did they have any objections?

GD: Of course they're going to push you in certain directions, but...

AW: No, I would have been out there in the studio and... [pounds fist in other hand]

GD: Yeah, "That's rubbish!" [Both laugh]

MOT: Let's talk a little about the DRAMA days and touring back then. Obviously there was some consternation from fans as far as Trevor replacing Jon. While you were touring, did you experience much negative reaction directly from the fans, on or off stage?

GD: I mean there was obviously, I mean it was hardest for Trevor of course because you know he was replacing Jon. It was not so bad for me, because I was replacing Rick, and you know you obviously had Tony Kaye and Patrick Moraz before me, so the keyboard player thing was not quite so precious to a lot of the fans, but obviously the lead vocalist was a thing that was the real stumbling block I think, and Trevor, to be fair to him, he rode quite a bit of stick from some of the fans, and it was not particularly a role that he felt most comfortable in, to be frank. And I still maintain that the album stands up as a great album, and when we did cut the stuff pretty good live as well, but you know obviously there were going to be some fans that just wouldn't accept it on the basis that Jon Anderson wasn't involved.

AW: Yes is like a chameleon changing colors all of the time. You have to have that kind of attitude when you look at the band, because it's been people are going in and out through all of the years, so you have to be a little bit broad minded, and I think Trevor actually filled his shoes great, and he did a tremendous job. Some of the things are very difficult to sing, like "And You and I"--it's very high, those types of songs, but I think I would say 90% of the time he reached those notes and really stood up for himself.

MOT: Well, I was always of the opinion that what Trevor should have done for those old Yes songs was to basically change the melody line a little or sing it in a different octave.

AW: That's a really hard thing to do when it's so ingrained in people's minds.

GD: It's very, very hard, yeah.

AW: If he starts changing parts of songs, it's like a thing that Chris says all the time--he hates to do things where you join songs together instead of playing the whole thing. Chris always says, and I agree with him, if you do a song, you gotta play the whole thing, or else other people go "Well, there's a bit missing", and if there's a bit missing, they're kind of let down, so I think you have to do everything in its entirety.

GD: And really melodically, a lot of that early Yes stuff was very, very identifiable. The melodies were sort of etched in stone really, so I think in many ways Trevor did have to follow that brief. I mean it was hard for him, there's no doubt about that at all. But it wasn't popular with some Yes fans I suppose when they took, or when you guys took the next direction with 90125, which was really I suppose continuing the DRAMA idea to some degree, and Trevor Rabin came in. That again, certain Yes fans weren't happy with that transition if you like.

AW: I think the attitude in the band was always trying to make ourselves feel better, so we'd always say to each other, "Well, you win some; you lose some," every tour and every album kind of thing.

MOT: But you were generally excited about this lineup as I recall, you thought about calling it the NEW YES ALBUM.

AW: Yeah, at that time, like a new version of whatever we were doing before. We were excited about it, and that's why we wanted to do, and we were getting a lot of excitement from Geoff and Trevor at the same time, because this was a new kind of functioning thing. It started with Steve and Chris and myself. At that time- this is an old story, but Rick and Jon went off to do their own kind of stuff, and we booked a rehearsal room, and we said whoever turns up on Monday morning is in the band.

GD: [Laughs]

AW: That's exactly what we said to each other, so we turned up at Rodan studios and that was it. They were in the next room, and we were playing, and they were kind of fans of Yes music. All of the sudden it was like the marriage that kept creeping around. All of the sudden equipment was in the room, and Trevor was in the room singing, and that's what became DRAMA.

MOT: It came together, again, organically.

AW: Very organically, yeah, the whole thing.

MOT: What do you think were the high points of the DRAMA tour? Do you remember any notable events?

GD: It was, I mean from my standpoint, it was a real challenge, because I'd never done any shows like that before, and most of my work before had been in recording studios, so to actually go take that transition from doing pop mimes, you know, on some Spanish television show doing "Video Killed the Radio Star", all of the sudden, you know, it was like, now hang on a minute, there are 18,000 people going to be watching you tonight. That opening night we did in Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens, was probably a significant night for me, because it was the first time I actually had to get through playing a 2 hour show in front of 18,000 people-

AW: For all those people yeah...

GD: --and that was a bit of a baptism of fire, and once I'd got that out of the way, that was pretty, pretty good.

AW: But believe you me, Yes fans being Yes fans, they were watching him like a hawk, and anything he may have done wrong...

GD: [Laughs]

AW: ... would have been noted down. Anyhow, for me, I think as far as highlights of that tour, I think Geoff and Trevor both did a tremendous job just taking those shoes, but the fact that we were recording with a new band with a new singer, a new keyboard player, playing some old material, but some really modern new materials we thought at that time, and to still sell out Madison Square Garden three nights was a pretty good achievement.

MOT: But there were venues that didn't sell quite as well.

AW: Yeah, obviously because people wanted to see what they thought was the real thing from the past at that time.

MOT: I also have to wonder if it had to do with where Yes was at in terms of the musical landscape at that time, because punk was coming to the fore, and it wasn't that fashionable to like Yes.

AW: You can't rest on your laurels all the time and play things that you did in the '70s and just forever and ever and ever and ever, and that's part of the reason of this kind of project right now with our White project and Chris' Syn project, and doing the DRAMA stuff at the end is a new adventure for us.

GD: I think also in terms of looking at it in a cold business fashion; it wasn't a disaster, the album did ok in America. It went gold; it was number 2 in the UK, and people weren't buying it because necessarily... I think people were genuinely excited to hear what it was all about, so I think the album stood up in terms of a commercial... it wasn't a massive selling album, but at least it did have some kind of an impact both in the US and the UK. I think our big problem was when we took the tour to the UK, and without all this sort of trappings of the big circular stage and everything like that, we were doing the theaters, most of which were sold out, but I think the actual presentation of it didn't look right for a lot of Yes fans, so I think that was a bit of a banana skin on the whole DRAMA thing, which is probably why didn't really take it much further, at that time.

AW: And in this period we're going through right now, I feel is like the Yes thing is kind of over here and it's on hold right now, but this is a kind of in some way a similar kind of situation where we're just venting what we have and getting out what we have, and making it something different right now with a view to other things down the road. Who knows what will happen down the road?

GD: But one thing is that it's actually great music to play live.

AW: It's great live, to play.

GD: I mean the DRAMA stuff is great. When we sat down a couple months ago in London and started working through it, it really is challenging, there're some great moments in it, and that's the bit I'm really looking forward to is actually playing it again.

AW: Yeah, me too. It certainly makes you keep your chops up, because "Machine Messiah", "Tempus Fugit"--those songs are not really that easy to play live, so that's a good, important thing, and it really keeps you together and on your toes.

MOT: To me, as a fan, it always felt like Yes. It did really sound like Yes music.

AW: And there was a period of time where we going through it... I mean it initially started with like I said, Steve, Chris, and myself, and developed into this through influence through Trevor and Geoff, and it turned into something else.

MOT: What's it going to be like for you juggling two bands here? Is this going to impact your involvement with Asia?

GD: I don't think so. I mean, we've done quite a lot of work over the last year, and I think I'm going to be taking a little time out of the Asia thing to do, not necessarily just to do this, but I think it just helps you to keep fresh, keep doing different things, and, yeah, the rest of the year is going to be pretty much dedicated on hoping we're going to take this show into Europe, and who knows, next year we'll probably do another album I would have thought, if the thing's going off...

AW: We've got plenty of material, that's for sure. There is a lot of material that's still hanging around.

MOT: And since your involvement with DRAMA, I don't think you have played with Chris in a long time.

GD: No.

MOT: You and Steve have had a pretty good relationship over the years.

GD: Yeah... no, I mean we've always remained fairly close. I think that the thing working with Steve is that we've always had a very good understanding of guitar and keyboards specters working together. I think Steve is very much an individual guitarist and quite a lot of keyboard players I would imagine would find it quite hard to work with him on the basis that he's very much a lead orientated, a lot of his parts are very individual melodies and things like that. I think that my style of keyboard playing is a little bit more suitable to work with Steve, and that's probably why we get on pretty well, because I tend to work more in an orchestral supported role.

AW: But you're also very articulate in the lines, and I think when you work with Steve, you both kind of very, kind of forgiving, so you have to be very forgiving and let the other guy do what he's doing for you to get through.

GD: So, I'm looking forward to working with Steve again on this stuff. I think it's going to be great.

MOT: Has Steve conveyed to you he's very excited about doing the DRAMA songs...?

AW: Yeah, I haven't actually spoken to him for a couple of weeks, but apparently Chris spoke to him the other day... and he said Steve's he's a very happy camper. He's ready to go kind of thing.

MOT: Steve just loves to play. He has other interests, obviously, but music is in his blood, definitely. What are the long-range plans for this particular tour, outside of America? Do you see this going all over the world?

AW: Let's say this is a little bit of an experiment right now, and people are viewing it like that in the business; it's an experiment, a venturing out with individual bands like this, and so I think a lot of people, maybe three or four gigs into the tour, are going to start to see that this is a well-developed kind of thing that can work, and I think the show will be a great show in general. Obviously any Yes tour take almost a week to kind of get in shape, so we're going to have a few gigs to get this in shape, but once it's in shape and we all know what we're doing, this thing's going to take legs.

GD: I think also it's going to be, there's quite a lot of variety in the show obviously having Steve's solo section in the middle. Syn is a very different type of band to White, and then you've got the closing segment with the DRAMA stuff. I think it's quite a good variety, and I think maybe Yes fans, that have seen, they've seen the classic lineup-

AW: In different formats [laughs].

GD: --they've seen these guys play "Roundabout" and all that era stuff. They've seen it many times, and I think this might hopefully be a sort of refreshing change for them to see the same guys but with a different angle.

MOT: From the perspective of this Yes fan, I don't want to hear any non-DRAMA songs.

AW: [Laughs] Not for a while.

MOT: I mean especially considering you have so little time to play as a unit on this tour. I definitely want hear those songs that you mentioned, in particular "We Can Fly from Here".

AW: I think I'm going to throw one other Yes song in my set.

MOT: That's different.

AW: It will just be one thing that's different maybe from 90125 era and stuff that will just like say, oh there's a little bit of that there, but just a teaser kind of thing.

MOT: Actually that's exciting, because it's your band playing it so it has a different spin on it, but it's not the unit playing the song instead of, say, "Run Through the Light" or something else that hardcore fans would rather hear the band play, so I think in that context that really works.

AW: Yeah, and it's just a different angle, so we're kind of moving around those areas and playing stuff that we hadn't played in a long time.

MOT: You touched on the possibility that should Yes come back together...

AW: Yeah, I mean who knows. We're all just open-minded through the end of the year, and we'll see what happens at the beginning of the year next year. Many things can happen, and Yes is like a chameleon changes color all of the time, and it could be a completely new group of guys next year [laughs] playing Yes music. You don't get Yes clone bands anymore, so it's like I think they all dissipated. What was it, Starcastle [laughs].

GD: Yeah, Starcastle, God I remember them

AW: Starcastle and there was another band somewhere back east, and they used to dwell on doing...

MOT: Well, not to go off on a tangent, but I remember from a fan's perspective Starcastle kind of filled a void because that's the period where you were recording all your solo albums. There was no Yes product, and here you had a Yesish sounded band...

AW: Yeah, they were capitalizing on the situation, when we all went off on tangents like this, but then we came back together, and were stronger than ever, so sometimes that happens. You just go do this, and you come back and it's really fun.

"Don't worry, Mike, these fingers aren't loaded."

MOT: The result was GOING FOR THE ONE, which is a stellar album in Yes' catalog.

GD: But in terms of Yes... quite a lot of activity really, because everyone's got their own sort of project albums coming out, with Alan's band, Chris' band, so this is a lot of activity of stuff coming out, and I think Jon Anderson's got an album out as well, as far as I know.

MOT: No, I don't think he's got an album, but he's going on a European tour.

GD: That's right.

MOT: And he does have a DVD coming out.

GD: So yeah, I don't think people should be disappointed. I think it's maybe a refreshing change for them.

AW: It's just we want to impress the Yes fans and keep their dedication going to the cause, driving it forward.

View video highlights
of this conversation

Visit the White website for updates on the band's activities

Notes From the Edge #296

The entire contents of this interview are
Copyright © 2005, Mike Tiano

Special thanks to Jen Gaudette and Paul Secord
This conversation was conducted on July 22, 2005

© 2005 Notes From the Edge