Friday, September 12, 2008

Yes To Tour Without Anderson, Finds Replacement

By MARGIE SZAROLETA, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The classic rock band Yes, which was forced to cancel their 40th anniversary tour this year due to the illness of its lead singer, has decided to relaunch the tour with an "understudy" — a Yes tribute band singer.

Benoit David, who sings in several Yes tribute bands in Montreal, will replace Jon Anderson on the "In the Present" tour, which kicks of Nov. 4 in Ontario, Canada, according to bassist Chris Squire.
"I think it's all going to work out fine," Squire told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "Of course, realistically, there's an element of risk, but there always is."
Yes, which consists of Squire, Anderson, guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Alan White, scrapped their anniversary tour in June after Anderson suffered acute respiratory failure and was ordered by doctors to rest six months.
Squire found David on the Internet after a friend sent him a
YouTube clip of David's tribute band, Close To The Edge. Squire liked what he saw and called David to offer an audition.
"The first thing he said to me was, 'Well, I'm looking around to see where the cameras are in case I'm being punked,'" Squire said.
Yes has taken a page from another classic rock group, Journey, who selected Arnel Pineda, a sound-a-like of old lead singer Steve Perry, to be their singer after the group discovered him singing Journey songs on YouTube. Pineda sang on the group's successful comeback album this year and has also been touring with them.
It's not the first time Yes has had a singer besides Anderson. Trevor Horn sang on the 1980 Yes album "Drama" when Anderson briefly left the band. Squire hopes to work songs from that album into the set for the upcoming tour, plus a few songs he said were not Anderson's favorites to perform live but the rest of the band likes.
"You can't ever really replace Jon Anderson, because he's been such a force in the music business," Squire said. "We look upon his replacement as more of an understudy."
Squire said he is hopeful Anderson will be well enough to do shows next year.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yes Launch Tour Without Jon Anderson And Rick Wakeman

Members will be joined by Oliver Wakeman on keyboards and vocalist Benoit David to perform the group’s classic repertoire in live spectacular
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 10, 2008—Albums like Fragile, Close to the Edge Tales from Topographic Oceans and 90125 and singles such as “Roundabout,” “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and “I’ve Seen All Good People” are just some of the enduring classics that have made YES one of the most influential and groundbreaking groups in rock & roll. Now, the classic YES line-up of guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White will launch the "In The Present" tour starting November 4th in Hamilton, Ontario, marking yet another chapter in the art-rockers’ amazing, 40-year career of legendary live performances. The three will be joined by keyboardist Oliver Wakeman, the son of YES’ Rick Wakeman, and vocalist Benoit David, a Montreal, Quebec, native and vocalist in several YES tribute groups, who was discovered by the band on the Internet.
With a remarkable 40-year career that has time and again redefined the boundaries of rock, YES was formed in 1968 by Chris Squire and Jon Anderson, who shared a mutual interest in vocal harmonies and classical music. With drummer Bill Bruford, guitarist Peter Banks and keyboardist Tony Kaye, they became YES, earning a residency at the famed London venue The Marquee Club, where they played with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd, releasing their self-titled debut album in July 1969.Guitarist Steve Howe, who went on to play in the popular prog-rock groups Asia and GTR and continues releasing acclaimed solo albums and touring, brought an experimental cutting edge to YES for their 1970’s The Yes Album, their first number one album in the UK. Drummer Alan White, who had been hand-picked to play on John Lennon’s Imagine and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, came aboard in 1972. YES then went on to conquer America and played at some of the largest paid attendance concerts of all time including the JFK Stadium in Philadelphia in 1976 to a crowd of over 130,000 people.YES postponed plans for a 40th anniversary Close to the Edge and Back tour in June, when vocalist Jon Anderson suffered a severe asthma attack and was diagnosed with acute respiratory failure. Commented Squire: "This isn't an attempt to replace Jon Anderson, because as we all know, that would be impossible. With Benoit, we are bringing in a talented singer so that we can go out and honor the music of YES for the fans who have waited for the past four years to see us perform."A dominant force in rock music for more than four decades, YES has created some of rock’s most enduring and compelling hits, selling more than 30 million albums worldwide. The group has defined music history with their dynamic instrumental contrasts and abstract lyrics. Their symphonic use of sound and innovative musical styles continues to make them the most successful progressive rock band in history and their amazing career continues to defy many of their rock counterparts.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hawkwind's Keyboardist Jason Stuart Passes Away

Sadly news also this week of another keyboard player who has passed away. Hawkwind's Jason Stuart died on Monday 8 September following a brain aneurysm on Friday. He was 39. The following appeared on the Hawkwind site...
"We first met Jason when he was playing keyboards with Captain Rizz, who supported us on the Alien tour in 1995...
We remained friends, Jason jamming with us at parties and in the studio. In 2004 he joined the band full time playing a batch of live dates and recording the studio album Take Me to Your Leader. We spent the next 4 years working together both on the road and in the studio...
Jason will be sadly missed by us all, he was a much loved member of the Hawkwind family and became a major part of all of our lives…Its difficult to imagine how things will be without him, but in order to go forward, we must remember the many happy and funny times we spent together...
Jason was an integral part of the band, a wonderful keyboard player and a great character. We will miss him, he lived just down the road from us and many hours were spent playing music together and reminiscing about our adventures in far off places. I will always remember when we visited the Oracle at Delphi and much to his delight he discovered the ancient tablet with the first written notation of music... We will never forget you my friend..."
(Dave Brock)