Podcast Transcript

interview Steve Howe

[00:00:00] The Rolling Stones was just a different sort of band. I mean, it was more where I’d been. You know, I’d been in a band playing blues, you know, so they were influenced by blues, and they didn’t interest me very much. Although I wanted the gig when, bless his heart, Brian Jones died. I mean, I was looking for that gig.

I would have jumped in there and said, hang on, you know, but I just couldn’t get through to anybody. Welcome to the Taking a Walk podcast, hosted by Buzz Knight. Buzz talks with musicians about the inside story on their legacy, their process, and so much more. On this episode, Buzz’s guest is Steve Howe.

Classic rock fans will know Steve from Yes. He was also part of Asia, GTR, and Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe. He’s had a tremendous solo career and he’s a legendary progressive rock guitarist who continues to make his mark with inspired music. Steve Howe joins Buzz Knight next on Takin a Walk.

Well, it’s an [00:01:00] honor to have a returning guest to the Takin a Walk podcast, as we’re going to take a virtual walk down memory lane with the great Steve Howe from Yes. Hello, Steve. Hi, Buzz. It’s nice to talk to you again, sir. Nice to catch up with you too. Good. Hope you’re well. Doing very well. I’m talking to you.

I couldn’t be any better. So let’s go back in time here and talk about the first concert experience that you, that you experienced in your life. Okay. All right. I was about 14. I was, maybe I was 13. Anyway, I was still wet beyond the ears, 13 or 14. Uh, a school band, a bit of a school musicians. We went on stage at a youth club and We didn’t practice or tune up or talk about anything.

We just said, let’s play shadows, you know, the shadows tune. So we played Apache, um, you know, [00:02:00] the famous guitar instrumental. So basically it was pretty awful. And after that, I didn’t play on stage for about a year and a half. It was dreadful really. Um, I could tell it wasn’t that good, but I thought, well, it didn’t put me off completely.

So when I met Kevin Driscoll. bass player in the group called The Syndicats. Uh, basically we formed The Syndicats together when I met him. And that’s when I started playing in, in pubs and things like that. But that first concert was, uh, was, uh, I was toned deaf to it. You know, it just didn’t make sense, but that’s because, you know, there was no preparation.

And did you actually play at a prison also? Well, that’s what happened when I got together with Kevin and we formed a group and we got, we’d got a, I don’t know, Tuesday evening or something, uh, a youth club. And it was connected to what’s called Pentonville prison. No, great. Uh, but anyway, so that was in the area of North [00:03:00] London we lived in, um, and basically, yeah, yeah, every week for a while we, we played there.

And the only thing we knew that had anything to do with the prison was that as we packed up the gear, some prisoners came in and tidied up the venue. So, uh, yeah, it was kind of weird. It sounds a little spinal tap ish. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Johnny Cash at Fulton Prison. Yes, exactly. I love your appreciation for, um, all diverse styles of music, and I think if I’m, uh, if I’m correct on this, one of the first concerts you experienced as a fan, uh, was heavily roots oriented around, like, Chuck Berry?

Does that sound right? Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah. The first major kind of proper major concert I went to was, uh, what they called a package tour. You know, there was most probably five names. I think Eric Burden and the animals, uh, Paul Perkins was actually top of the [00:04:00] bill, but we didn’t know him anywhere near as well as we knew Chuck Berry.

So Chuck Berry was like the, The pre thing. Yeah. So that was my, I mean, I’d seen like people finding clubs obviously, and things like that, but this was like sit down, lights out show. And Chuck Berry was absolutely magical. You know, I mean, he did things, you know, well, he was the package, you know, singer, guitarist, songwriter, performer, you know, so he leapt about the stage doing his duck walk and things like this.

And he was absolutely great. And, uh, I think that’s, that’s a major. Contribution, you know, we knew Chuck’s music, Bill Haley, Little Richard, uh, and other people, but that was, that was when it was all happening in that direction. Did you have an aspiration at that point to do a duck walk? Well, well, I mean, I did do them occasionally.

Yeah. If I did one at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when I was playing bass on Owner of a Lonely Heart with Yes, because I just sort of thought [00:05:00] it was getting a bit kitsch. So why not get kitscher? I love that. Now I know you have great admiration also for the, the work of, uh, Chet Atkins. Uh, did you ever get to experience him play live?

Yeah. Yeah. I saw him a few times. Um, and then I met him a few times as well. And it was absolutely great. Yeah. I took him to a concert in London and, uh, me and, uh, a guy called, uh, Doug Turner, uh, who was a great picker himself, uh, went, went to see him, and because Doug was in the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society, we got to meet Chet, and I actually gave him the music to clap, although I’m not sure he ever played it, or even looked at it, but, um, later, um, When I developed my career a lot more, we, uh, we, I saw him, well, we played together on the same bill in, uh, in, uh, Germany for two nights, uh, with Larry, Larry [00:06:00] Colton, I think, no, Larry Coriel.

That’s right. Larry Coriel, me and Chet did our own spots. And there was a sort of a jam at the end, but. As I never thought Chet Wood, he didn’t, he didn’t join in. And, uh, I joined in a little, uh, at that concert and, you know, I had a little ride about Germany with Che to and fro the shows. He was very nice, very sweet, very, very relaxed.

And, and his, uh, his accompanist told me that Chet did take a shine to me. So , that’s awesome. You mentioned Larry Corelle. I gotta tell you a funny story. I briefly, while I was in college at the University of Dayton, um, held the esteemed position there of, uh, the concert director for the university. And Steve, I was terrible at it because I was working on the radio and going to college.

So I really was bad at the job, but, but I did succeed in booking Larry Coriel, uh, at the University of Dayton. [00:07:00] And, um, once the show was over, And I guess maybe this happened with a lot of artists. Uh, he, he decided to come over to our house and party with us, with my college buddies. He was so nice. Oh, was it?

Good. Okay, good. Well, that’s sweet. Yeah. I know you have tremendous admiration as well for, obviously, the Beatles in terms of what they, uh, represented in, uh, you know, your sort of influences and everything. Can you talk about what, uh, the Beatles meant as you were a, a musician sort of coming through the ranks and developing your style?

Well, they were quintessentially central, you know, to that era. It was only Bob Dylan’s freewheeling that had any kind of comparable weight, you know, in effect, opening a door. So when the Beatles came out and, you know, their Please Please Me album, I mean, they were just literally a sensation, you know. You just can’t imagine what, [00:08:00] What effect it was, it was a bit like the pandemic.

But to say something nice about the pandemic is kind of hard really. But basically it was like that, like that it spread across the world. And you know, we were so proud, you know, that this was not only, You know, a Brit band, it was a Liverpool band, it was a Brit band, and there was like, total, like, wipeout, you know, this band, there was no competition, there was no band that was as good as that anywhere in the world, of course, they came, you know, the Byrds, and, you know, all the great bands, you know, that were going on, of course, were going on, but I mean, the Beatles were just like, just there, they were, you know, so anyway, to, to wind it down, then, basically, when, when they came out, the first thing, I, I didn’t, I didn’t, I don’t read music, but I bought sheet music because it had the chord symbols on it, you know?

So anyway, I’d buy the, you know, the Beatles sheet music to understand better the chords that they were using. Sometimes [00:09:00] stupidly, the chord chart was in a different key. Can you imagine? Kid buys, got a guitar, he buys the chord chart, right? You know, the song, please, please. It’s just a different key. What use is that?

So anyway, you work out the chords and they were just harmonious, you know, and of course George was a great guitarist. They’re all great, you know, they all had, I mean, you know, and Ringo was just as great as all the guys. They had that so much individual style that it took away from the fact that a lot of other music, well, they had George Martin.

I mean, come on, let’s admit that they had tremendous guidance. So in fact, it was a perfect chemistry. for, uh, for about a bit like, yes, with Eddie Offord, you know, we had a run where it was great working with Eddie and, and for the Beatles, George was, was a companion. They, they, they must’ve just enjoyed having him there so much because he was so talented, you know.

And, uh, impressions through your [00:10:00] development of the Rolling Stones and what they meant to you. Well, the Rolling Stones, we, it was just a typical sort of band, I mean, it was more where I’d been, you know, I’d been in a band playing blues, you know, so they were influenced by blues, so they didn’t interest me very much, although I wanted the gig when, bless his heart, Brian Jones died, I mean, I was looking for that gig, I would have jumped in there and said, hang on, you know, but I just couldn’t get through to anybody, and they had, you know, the marvelous, um, replacement lined up anyway, in, uh, Mick, um, Taylor, so basically, When I go off the point, I can forget what the question is.

So basically, uh, where were we? Oh, we’re just talking about the Stones. And you just, uh, threw me for a loop on that. I want to go back to the notion of, okay, so, uh, Brian Jones passes away and, and your eyes light up and you say, I think I could, uh, join that band. So that’s, that’s amazing to hear that. What do you think would have happened if you [00:11:00] did?

Uh, they might have thrown me out of course, um, they might have been a bad influence on me. No, what I would say is look. They’ve got so much to offer. I mean, they’re still going, you know, and I love them, you know, and I really, really love them, especially after that television program where they featured one of the members on for a whole program.

It was so, that’s a great band, like Queen, you know, like other bands. So basically there’s a lot of harmonium there harmoniousness and uh, you know, it’s it’s just um, They’re just a different animal all together, you know I mean, although they did actually play a lennon and cartney song it did help them along their way but basically the stones were the sort of opposite of the Beatles in a way because they were finding a way of developing what I’d become tired of, which was the blues.

You know, I’d done the blues and I love them still, but I didn’t want to play the blues. So the Stones were like the, the parallel universe going on that said, no, we can play the blues, but we’ll play it [00:12:00] like this, you know, and I think they’re a great band. And, uh, Yeah, everything about them too is great, but they weren’t as much my thing and as much my development along with Les Paul, Chet Atkins, The Beatles, you know, and then, you know, maybe Frank Zappa or, you know, other people came along that, that you were knocked out with, Paul Simon and, uh, basically The Byrds and all these other bands, great bands from America.

So there was an awful lot happening, but the. But, but the Beatles stood out in a different way, because the Rolling Stones had notoriety, sort of bad notoriety. Great fun. I mean, you know, the poor guys got targeted by these idiot policemen in London who thought that, you know, smoking marijuana was, was, uh, was like smoking, like taking hard drugs.

So they were fixated with that idea. This wasn’t fun and they were going to stop it. So the, the, the Stones and the Beatles got targeted. And that’s a dreadful thing. But there again, before that, there were greater crimes against, you know, homosexuals and, you know, I mean, [00:13:00] the world’s been a very cruel place.

So going back to what isn’t cruel is that the Beatles were great. The Stones were great, but not as much my thing. Yeah, I got it. And so, uh, let’s just go a couple of more, uh, of, of the great bands and what they meant. Um, uh, The Who and Led Zeppelin, what did they mean? Well, I can’t really do this. You know, how can I review a band as big as Led Zeppelin in a sentence?

I admired Jimmy and I remember meeting him in Denmark Street. I wonder if he remembers, and he said to me, I just formed a new band. It’s going to be called Led Zeppelin. I said, really? Oh, yeah. Great. Good luck. I like playing Led Zeppelin. It was like, what an enormous band. You know, they, they had their pop hits as well, you know, well, I wouldn’t say, you know, I’ll take the as well out of that.

They had their pop hits and they were a great band, you know, and, um, you know, there was great strength in, in their writing. Of course they had, [00:14:00] Like the similarities, they both had a very wild drama, you know, but a lot of drummers are fairly wild. Yeah, well, what’s amazing about Yes is, um, you created music that really previously didn’t exist in a whole category that really didn’t exist, uh, in terms of, you know, the, the style and what it led to in terms of other bands.

Tell me how it feels to have had that sort of impact on a whole, uh, new genre. Well, I think it started, you know, 1967, you know, when, when the, the in crowd became Tomorrow and we played My White Bicycle and there was a whole new, like, new year to move up to. But there was a bit of a lull, you know, after that, London was a very dark and cold place.

And then suddenly, you know, I joined Yes. And basically, um, progressive rock was already happening in Yes when I, when I joined. And I didn’t know they were playing that really. They were playing their own songs, you know, [00:15:00] and that’s what was vital to me that the band wanted to play their own songs. So basically, um, that, that meant that my, uh, opportunities, you know, as a guitarist primarily, uh, First and foremost, really, was that, okay, I could get in here and play some, you know, really good guitar.

These guys can, you know, they understand improvisation, they want structure, improvisation, harmonies, you know, it was like the whole canon, the whole wall of sound was going to come from, yes, you know, we could do everything. And, you know, when you see Yes songs or something like that, you know, that film, I mean, the band plays so sort of magnetically close, you know, that it’s quite surprising.

You know, it surprises me. We’re playing the same notes that we wrote, but they came from the studio and went on stage and Yes grew, you know, Yes, that was the test. So the albums that we didn’t play much on stage were for good reason because they didn’t work on stage so much and we didn’t enjoy them and there were [00:16:00] arguments about who plays what or why this doesn’t you know if we improvised you know had to be a structure because on stage you need structure as chris always said you know so anywhere that was a bit too jammy we could never reproduce on stage and we we we we had to think something else to do and um So yeah, I mean, watching everybody else absorb, you know, the electronic development of keyboards, and then what was possible for the guitar.

And then in GTR, I was doing like some MIDI guitar, and there was a lot of synth stuff going on, like there was on drama. But basically, you know, Asia was a kind of interesting diversion for me to get more sort of like pop orientated rock, you know, and I love that too. That was great fun. So, um, it kept developing, you know, Keys to Ascension with Yes in the mid 90s was a, another attempt to find the, the pulse, you know, we did a lot of things great and we did other things not so great.

And then, you know, by 2004, I mean, Yes had come back to a [00:17:00] Roger Dean stage and we were playing big venues. It was all very exciting and we stopped. And then, uh, we had a long gap of three years. So when we regrouped with Chris and I and Alan primarily getting Benoit, David, and Oliver Waidman in, we basically just had to forge a new way on for Yes that wasn’t restrictive and had a full commitment from people.

Although I was in Asia as well at the same time, which, uh, uh, eventually wore out and I left Asia in 2012 because I wanted to concentrate on Yes and my own solo music and I couldn’t do all these things at once if I had Asia in there as well. So basically I think It’s developed, and I think Merit to the Sky and, um, any future records we make, The Quest, the things we’re doing now is to, to show that we’re partly got one foot, like, really, with much respect for all the old material, and another foot in the [00:18:00] idea that to do that, to play the old music really well, the group’s got to be a real group.

It’s got, it’s got to have music going right now. And that’s what Mirage in the Sky is, you know, and that’s what we, we thrive on is a balance of, yeah, we’ve, we’ve, we love playing Starship Trooper. Nobody can take that enjoyment from us. It’s a great feeling. But there again, you know, it’s not so much that we need to play all this new music on stage that, that would be, you know, a challenge and interesting one.

And, um, but I think we just balance it more minimally so that we don’t appear to be sort of like, you know, comparing the music. Some of it, you know, we need more time on to, to play new music on stage. So maybe there’s a reason why that should happen. But at the, at the most point, we, we are enjoying the credibility of the music that I had part of, but you know, a lot of it was John Anson and all the other guys, you [00:19:00] know, what Patrick Mraz did for, you know, for Elia was sensational.

So the progginess has just kind of like evolved and become, uh, accepted, you know, and hopefully, you know, we can influence. We’ll be right back with more of the Taken A Walk podcast.

Welcome back to the Taken A Walk podcast. What’s the first band, uh, after Yes in the progressive movement that you were really wowed by? Well, I mean, I used to listen to Soft Machine a lot, you know, in the early days. And now, of course, you know, they’ve got John Etheridge as well. So, that kind of work is interesting.

Um, I, I saw that we were part of a pool, you know, and it wasn’t really about pop records, you know, at all, you know, it was about albums, but of course Genesis took that leap like Yes did in the 80s, which I’m no part of, with the owner of a Lonely Heart Saga. [00:20:00] So basically that kind of era of a band. isn’t very proggy, you know, but it’s, it’s, it can be very useful.

And, and in many ways, Genesis showed that, um, how very powerfully, um, not only, you know, but also it highlights that, you know, people like Peter Gabriel, you know, their talents were missed in, in Genesis, but he could develop his talent, but also Genesis could turn theirs without him. So that, that’s the story of, uh, You know, having a team of people that like working together.

One of the things when I first saw Yes! Back in the, uh, mid 70s that wowed me was, uh, the incredible sound at the concert, just the amazing sonic nature of it. Uh, tell me how that ultimately became such an important part of, yes, that, that amazing sound in the concerts. Well, if you’re talking [00:21:00] about, I mean, really.

Partly that’s Claire Brother Sound. You know Claire, bro. Claire is called now, but Clear Brother Sound Audio. Claire Audio was WW. We heard that on the Jethro to, and we said when we come back, we want Claire, you know, because we heard the sound, but a similar thing happened. like a few years earlier than that, because that was like 1971, 72.

But of course, in 1970, we bought Iron Butterfly’s PA because we wanted to sound like we did on their tour. You know, they wanted to sell, we wanted to buy. So we bought the W bins, mid range horns and high, high horns. And we bought this system and we started to really care about how we sounded, because we didn’t really like the sound of the PAs that were available in, in England generally.

So we had our own PA. Then we went to America and we said, And we, we swore blind that we’d never play without Claire. Sometimes we’ve had to, uh, certain things have changed, but whenever we can, we, we still want to play with, with that sound because they’re, [00:22:00] they’re top notch, you know, the top of the game, but the, the way it was in the, Beginning in the 70s was that Eddie started mix, Eddie started mixing the show and that was wonderful, you know, that was very exciting, uh, it got a bit carried away and unfortunately we lost the plot.

So we had to find somebody great like Dave Nuttell. So for a lot of the time Dave Nuttell was, you know, Our front of house, he does the Rolling Stones, and, uh, Basically, we had a great team of people who were going like we were, Our career was going forwards, and so was theirs, and, And they were part of our polish, you know, like Roger Dean, you know, The fact that we started using his designs with his brother Martin Dean.

Uh, for our staging, it was a big development. We started with Tales From Total Gravity Oceans Tour. So basically, we were messing with all that quality stuff that we could have made, but a lot of it Was to make our show better, you know, it started with the mirror ball, you know, Mickey Tate thought of that and he [00:23:00] You know went on to become our light designer.

So we had great lights. We had a team of people who really cared about Making a mark themselves not not just owns working for yes, you know, just like being a slave. No No, they came with creativity And there was always things developing. And that was what was exciting. And we try to keep that going today, you know, and we’ve recently just changed from doing video and lots of moving things.

You know, we got fed up with that. So now we just got like really quite intense lighting now that that’s more theatrical and, and we have a set, but it’s very kind of simple. It’s a, it’s a few screens, but they’re not used. you know, to, to show somebody, uh, tapping their foot on. It’s just that the best thing about it is that we want to focus on the band, the players, the music.

You know, one of the great things about Yes is the beauty of collaboration, uh, with, you know, all the band members. Um, what’s the [00:24:00] key to that great collaboration that’s been so much part of Yes through the career? Well, it’s joint willingness, you know? I mean, it’s like, you can’t go, you know, we can’t go in opposite directions.

We’ve got to be willing to go the same way. And that, to find that willingness is, is in the belief, you know, in the band, in the music, the love of the band, but also it’s about getting on with the guys, you know, and finding a way of working professionally with each other, that’s the first thing, but the second is, is to have the harmony, uh, understanding that, that there is.

closeness if it needs to be, you know, there is a discussion between two people if it needs to be, and basically you can work as much out as you can, um, and, and make it a happy environment. That’s what I said when I put my name forward to produce the quest. Uh, I said, it’s got to, I don’t want to do unless it’s fun, you know, because there is a fun element that you need.

[00:25:00] That doesn’t mean, you know, we’ve got a comedian in the group. No, I don’t want a comedian in the group. But fun is enjoying your art, you know, enjoying your opportunity to make your art even better. You know, to, to, to have a pool of people, not just you, but to have a pool of people who they’ve got to get, if they like it, it means a lot, you know?

And so if you do something and figure that’s nice, yeah. Then in a way, All the music starts coming together, flowing together, and there’s not opposition. You know, there’s, there’s no, in other words, there’s no bad stuff left there to stew. You know, there isn’t any bad stuff. Can you take me back to the creation of, uh, The, uh, Fragile album.

Um, how was that collaboration in terms of creating that? How long did it take, uh, any specific memories of that, uh, what, which ultimately produced a masterpiece in my opinion? Well, thanks. I mean, there’s only so many and they are the same ones. I [00:26:00] have to say, whenever I’m asked this question, because I do remember some, some things about Fragile.

It’s not very broad. I remember that although the Yes album was worked on as a very collaborative, you know, unit, John and I just managed to formulate the idea of Roundabout together, uh, doing tours. In fact, we were in Scotland and, uh, I think we both remember somehow that it was, it was on one of my cassette tapes that John and I were like jamming stuff and say, and he’d say, what have you got that’s a bit like this?

Or have you got, you’ve got any chords, you know, or, you know, just kind of throwing it around. Suddenly we got roundabout, you know? And, um, so when we started Fragile, John and I started the thing we did quite often in the seventies, uh, like Coast to the Edge of Tales, Awaken. We were able to jointly put the idea forward.

So that song was built like that, if you like, from the understanding that John and I had a song, we’d do it and we’d [00:27:00] arrange it and blah, blah, blah. We’d record bits and we’d come back the next day at a rehearsal room for three or four weeks, three weeks. But in that time, of course, Tony Kaye had left the band.

It was, it was very sad. Uh, it was not really that anybody ever fired him. He said to him, do you want to do multi keyboards? He says, no, no, I don’t want to do that at all. I want to play piano or going to think. And that made him appear to us. And it may not have been a hundred percent true that, you know, we were just going to stay there, you know, with those sounds.

And we had this imaginary idea that other people were like doing stuff, you know, with. new synthesizer, you know, new kind of keyboards. And that was Rick. So we found Rick and before we knew it, we were, he was popping in. He wasn’t at the writing so much of the album, but he came in and did things with us as much as he could, you know, cause he had some sessions and you know, he was kind of a busy guy and we’d snatched him and he was going to work with us and gonna make the [00:28:00] album.

So, but we had to write the stuff first of all. So, but he was there when we wrote. um, Heart of the Sunrise and things, and there was music flowing around. We didn’t have a lot of South Side of the Sky, that was pretty much written in the studio. Um, so, um, and the idea of us having our own solo pieces was, was great, you know.

Uh, Bill’s idea, I think, after I had clap on the Yes album, I suppose he thought, Well, why don’t we all have a solo? And he was perfectly right. So Fragile was a unique album, uh, where we all had a solo piece. So that, that, that was a nice distraction, because musically you go off and do that yourself and decide what it was yourself.

Uh, and some people use the band. Bill’s idea was that we all use the band. We always, but of course, Rick and I didn’t. Uh, John didn’t a lot, but Chris did on, on the fish. Yeah. So basically the album was unique in that sense. Um, Roundabout is one of the [00:29:00] sounds I’m most, you know, impressed with that, that, uh, Eddie helped us get the tightness and somewhat simplicity of it.

The rock factor in there. Yes, must never forget they’re a rock band. The worst thing we ever do. And we do it sometimes it’s because they’re actually a rock band and we noodle around, you know, with some nerdy stuff sometimes, you know, and inspire what is. And has been some great pieces of music. I’m thinking partly of what was on Keys to Ascension studio recording.

They’re very good, but they fall down here and there. So basically there is a continuity needed that that’s the teamwork. And that’s production also because, uh, like Time in a Word is a great album if it had been really properly produced, you know, so it’s great performances. thrown together, you know, in a, in a big sound, you know, that isn’t, isn’t as clear as the Yes album.

You can hear the space in the music. Oh, of course you do. Actually, tell a lie. I mean, [00:30:00] in, um, No Opportunity Necessary, there’s marvellous Yes arranging. Why we’re not playing that? every night. You know what I mean? That stuff. I’m going to write it down. We’re going to have to play that somewhere. I love it. I got a big smile on my face, Steve, with you taking me back on that.

I absolutely love, uh, love that story. Oh my God. That’s amazing. So let’s talk about the current, the current lineup. And I think what’s fascinating about the current lineup is, uh, there’s so many players in the group who really are students of the group. So talk about the lineup and, and how, uh, how you love playing with, with this band.

Well, of course, John’s been a key to, to the going forwards of this band since Bernard David left, and he joined about 11, 12 years ago, I think it was 10, 11, 12, I mean, time flies, Tempest Future, but basically, John, John was a very solid, uh, person to [00:31:00] come in the band, and we, we share some views about how to play on stage, uh, how to work.

We, we kind of feel at ease with each other because we’re both in similar sort of roughly state of mind where we’re, we’re clear about what’s going on. We’re excited. We’re ready. We haven’t compromised the day. We haven’t compromised the show by anything we’ve done in the day. So we were there. We were really there 100%.

So, but Jay, of course, had a joining in part. At first he was doing some drumming, and then he was doing a lot of the drumming. As Alan White was starting to find the whole set was too much for him to play all and we felt it was too much for him to play and the intricacies and everything we we didn’t want to keep demanding that Alan plays for like two and a half hours or something so it was a beautiful experience to have Alan do the last set in the music the encore stuff of several years so when Jay took over when Alan sadly passed away from time back [00:32:00] well Then Jay has brought with him that previous experience of being, you know, like the helper and the, the provider and, and the solid, uh, assistant, but now he’s, he’s got the whole floor, you know, so we’re finding out what that means, you know, and, uh, It should be marvellous.

Of course, Jeff has had, you know, like Billy, a revisit experience coming back to Yes after Fly from Here. And, um, so he brings all that drama experience as well, and that era. And of course, Jeff and I, not forgetting, we were in Asia together. So, like, Jeff and I have a particularly strange, if you like, unusual relationship.

multi connections with, uh, with musical styles. And, um, so Jeff’s really good and Jeff’s never said anything different than he is in yes to play every keyboard part that yes ever played, you know, if required. [00:33:00] So, um, Billy is an exceptional person too, because multi instrumentalist, you know, talented writer, producer, all of those things.

And yet what he has to do is hone it down to. his admiration of Chris really, you know, and taking on the role of Chris with the bass pedals, with the vocals, you know, Chris is, was not just a bass player by any means. So it’s a big demanding job and he’s, um, he’s doing really well. And we are, we are very determined to keep the, the ship tightly, you know, not controlled, but tightly agreeably run, you know, between us.

So, Jess is going to be going out on the summer tour, playing with the Deep Purple. Tell me how excited you are for that experience. Yeah, I mean, you know, last year we did our sort was like normal tour. Yeah. Mainly theater. Had a tour and uh, you know, we did about seven weekends, I think it was, [00:34:00] or across seven weekends.

So it was about six and a half, seven weeks. So we were wondering as the year, you know, started up, you know, well we we’re gonna target another tour like that and we were virtually gonna do that. And, and then this offer came along where. It fitted in between going to Japan, you know, and leaving the UK and Japan, big, big two month gap there.

So yeah, so it’s marvelous to, to think that finally we got to play with the Purple. It’s been, it’s been talked about before, and we’ve always been very, very excited about the idea. And there’s a group, you know, I mean, what a, I mean, 60s, I mean, they were going before, before, yes, uh, I’m absolutely sure, am I sure?

Anyway, there’s a long. beautiful, uh, history of music. And now, of course, sadly, um, Steve Morse isn’t with them this tour, but they’ve got a remarkable guitarist in, in, um, Simon McBride. He, he’s really a fine player and, uh, I’m, I’m privileged to be, you know, working along with him. [00:35:00] He’s, he’s a wonderful player.

That’s awesome. Well, in closing, um, as someone who is so dedicated to his craft, um, how do you stay curious and how do you stay always with a thirst for learning something new? Definitely, I can say, well, I stay alive. That’s a good idea. Yeah, it is just that simple. I mean, look, what, what I do is what I do, you know, I mean, I haven’t got a side job, like, you know, I fix motorbikes or something.

You know, Benoit, Benoit David, um, did have a really profitable hobby or partly profitable. You know, he liked fixing boats, you know? So, I mean, people do have some other things they want to get on with, but no, I haven’t got, you know, all the things that I like. It’s Having the guitars I want is very, very important to me and I just bought a new pedal steel guitar because my old ones were too tired.

I had to get rid of them. They were, they were out of my face, you know, but now my Williams pedal [00:36:00] steel is just so I get things like that. And it’s remarkable how They re re if as if I don’t need it. They kind of stimulate my interest in, in using particular different kinds of sound. I bought a, a guitar last year called Gibson Tennessean, which was designed by Che Atkins with Gibson, and I saw Chad playing this on stage in some videos, you know, in his later years.

And he always sounded great. I thought, oh, that guitar sounds great. Of course it’s jet actions playing. So I get one and I go. Yeah, but these good guitar are great . This is a great guitar. So of course you can, you can excel. So I think that, you know, is a bit like, you know, it, it is just refreshing to be able to do that and thank good, thank God I can do that.

And um, you know, basically music still excites me, you know, from bark to, well I dunno, I’m trying to think of another B, but, uh, bark goes up anyway. [00:37:00] Bark. is a big, is a big player. But of course, rock music is primarily, you know, what got me off the sofa. It is so joyous to talk to you again. Uh, you, music means so much to so many fans, including me.

And, uh, you’re one of the gentlemen, uh, in the business and one of the nice people and the most talented people. And I’m so grateful, Steve Howe, that you’re here. But, uh, we got to talk again on the Taking a Walk podcast. Thank you. Well, that’s very nice, Buzz. Thanks so much for saying that. That means a lot to me, too.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Taking a Walk podcast. Share this and other episodes with your friends and follow us so you never miss an episode. Taking a Walk is available on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your podcasts.

About The Author

Buzz Knight

Buzz Knight is an established media executive with a long history of content creation and multi-platform distribution.

After a successful career as a Radio Executive, he formed Buzz Knight Media which focuses on strategic guidance and the development of new original content.