Notes From the Edge
Conversation with
Steve Howe
from nfte #238

MIKE TIANO: The Masterworks tour seems like it's something even the band is really excited about. You had just come off THE LADDER tour; you took a little break...I'm curious as to how the whole idea for the Masterworks tour came about.

STEVE HOWE: We were somewhere in Europe and in the middle of the European tour, so somewhere towards the end of February or March 2000, and there were some rather challenging crossroads that we were at about...we were finding it difficult to make plans for the rest of the year. We weren't quite sure what we were going to do...various things on our minds, but difficult to make plans. We had to make some plans right there and then, and the touring option in the way that it was presented was that we would go out and play America again, and there was a feeling in the group of a little bit of aimlessness, you know, here we go again--going around on tour again. And believe it or not, I said to Jon, how about just playing 20-minute pieces--make it a set that's very demanding, but at the same time it's a different flavor of Yes. It gives us a chance to play the big pieces, so Jon looked kind of surprised for a moment and then got excited and said it should be called Masterworks, and it'd be great.

So this idea started to fuel the direction for the tour, you know, what kind of tour are we going to do. And to an extent, we've taken that idea as far as we can at the present, and I originally suggested that it was called Part I, because I think Part II could maybe be a completely 20-minute style, you know, performance. If this idea works at all, which it seems to be. But that's how the germ got going, and then the tour, you know, we got coupled up through management and agents and things with Kansas, and then we saw our set sort of slightly shrink, so you know, the idea of the 20-minutes pieces became a bit mixed with an idea of doing some other songs as well, you know, and not be exclusively hammering through only 20-minute pieces, which I think maybe Part II could be, if this is successful in the way we want it to be.

MOT: When I think of masterworks, I don't think exclusively of 20-minute pieces...

SH: Right. Well, I like that new twist on it because when "Heart of the Sunrise" was presented I was a bit off that song and I wondered if it was time to go back to it so soon. But then I considered the kind of work in there--the kind of busy-ness of it and the cross-play of it, the times that we're suppose to be in synch and yet apparently not in synch sort of thing, so I like those ingredients because they're some of the things that Yes lacked in the 80s and 90s, were sort of mixtures of jazz and keyboard ideas, and the high collaboration of things like "Awaken" didn't happen because any one person wrote them. They happened because the group reinvented that composition; we took a composition and we not only got to Jon's ideas, but we got to satisfy my ideas, and Chris' ideas, and everybody's ideas. That's what was so joyful about those, if you like, masterwork kind-of pieces; they weren't just a song, but they were a kind of concept within themselves.

MOT: Would you say that a Yes masterwork isn't necessarily the length but more the expansiveness of the piece?

SH: Well, I originally considered it the length because I thought it was in the long pieces that Yes kind of explored somewhat some of the individual potentials within the band, to a much greater extent, and I guess I've changed my mind a little. I'm hearing the other side of the story, also that a 10-minute piece can be a masterwork if it's intricate enough and if it goes through lots of changes and has different ingredients. So I would say I can accept both ideas really.

MOT: Great, because I consider probably every song on RELAYER a masterwork.

SH: Yeah, they are particularly, RELAYER is particularly complicated. I'm sometimes playing it and I'm thinking, why did we decide to do this, because some of it is almost inherently complicated; not just complicated because of the structure, but it's complicated because of the way we arranged that structure--the little bar difference here and the beat here and things like that, it also keep you on your toes. There's sometimes quite unnecessary things [laughing] when you look back and you think well, if we'd just made that the same it would have been cooler really, but we made it harder for ourselves by sometimes extending odd little sections by minute amounts or each time we come to a section is one beat shorter--these little games that we thought were quite fun to play.

MOT: Masterwork doesn't necessarily mean a 20-minute piece.

SH: No, no. We're still debating that, yeah. There's definitely a kind of work that we did that we haven't done a lot of for a long time. "Mind Drive" was a bit closer; "That, That Is" was the first time we had a stab at something pretty colossal, and so it's inherent for us seems natural to me that we would want to dream up an idea for a tour that is different, and the more different it is, the better, and I think the program's got a nice, fresh look about it. Potentially Roger did provide some very imaginative new style of T-shirts, I don't know quite how far that's kind of got as an idea of being a different slant yet, because I haven't seen them...

Read reviews of the Masterworks tour

MOT: How much of the Masterworks poll that we held on YesWorld influence the band on its decision as to what to play?

SH: Well, it was a very good ingredient to bring in to play, but at first it was rather overreacted on, and some people thought that maybe this was the list from heaven, you know, this is what we should play--all of them, or everything that's at the top sort of thing. And I mentioned that this was an idea from the fans and we've obviously got to have the wisdom to know what's right about that list and what we can do on that list, so obviously we mix that with a bit of reasonability and possibility and in that way we don't feel dictated to by our fans, that we should play this, but obviously we've taken a big leaf out of it. But it was very much in the direction of where we were going with hence, you know, the conversation I had with Jon in mid-Europe somewhere where he said let's call it Masterworks! That kind of little germ there is quite interesting to see how we cope with it and how much we excel from playing big pieces, and I know when...last night when Shooz [guitar tech Ron "Shooz" Matthews] handed me the Les Paul Junior, and I realized, not only it was the last song of the set, but it was "Ritual", I was quite tantalized to think I was going to be playing "Ritual" now, you know, it was like, wow! There are things in there I like a lot.

But I'm also faced with what there is, if you like--in other words, we did a lot of things on TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS, and they were timed perfectly for us at that time, and I'm interested to see how we treat them. I've got a lot of funny guitar parts where I recapitulate virtually every theme in the other three sides (laughs), and I find myself I'm just getting into playing that, I mean it's quite a thrill to play it, but I think also that Chris, Jon, I, and Alan obviously had a lot of the kind of semi-familiar creative process that went on with this music, which obviously Igor doesn't have. He doesn't know why we did that; he wasn't there when we did it, and for most of them of course Alan was there as well, besides "Close To The Edge", one of the most inventive pieces. I don't know whether, in a way, we've ever topped that, because for me "Close To The Edge" has this incredible energy the first time we did a twenty-minute piece. I think it's like "Yours Is No Disgrace"; it was the first ten-minute piece, so I think these little landmarks for us are quite significant, and obviously I'm thrilled that we're doing something very much along the lines of what I want to do, yet still a semi-democratic sort of decision making process. Sometimes numbers get thrown on me by surprise or they're on a list by surprise (laughs) and I go, I haven't even got the right guitar for this, hence "I've Seen All Good People" the other night in Concord, when we did "I've Seen All Good People" the other night in Concord, which was definitely not on the list this tour. But meantime we've been rehearsing "South Side" and I can't say whether it'll actually end up on the list or not, but in many ways, it ought to and very easily could, but it very easily might not as well.

MOT: As you said, you play all those themes from the other three sides from TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS and it's really great to hear that you're excited to play it because we're really excited to hear it.

SH: Good.

MOT: I take it that one reason you didn't do "Mind Drive", which was one of the top songs on the poll, was more of a matter of time, because you've never played that song live before...

SH: Yeah, well there was two ends to it--let's talk about the middle, maybe Jon and Alan, in the middle, felt very much like let's just try it, you know, let's play that song and we'll be there. I think Chris felt that from his side the musical kind of style of it, he didn't think it fitted very much with this tour, a bit like I was suggesting "Homeworld", and Chris was saying, "I don't think that really fits with this kind of tour", and when I said "Mind Drive" he said the same thing. So I didn't feel that way about either of the songs really, but Chris felt that they wouldn't be appropriate, and he played it and felt it was, he actually used the used the word simplistic to me, and I'm completely the opposite pole where Chris thinks it's kind of simplistic; Jon and Alan are ready to play it with Igor, and I'm on the other side saying this is the most difficult Yes piece I've ever played. I mean I've learned all the Spanish pieces that I play in it; I know them, and I know most of the basic rock guitar, but the improvising is very mysterious that I do, and it's something I would love to learn to play.

It's actually not often I have to hesitate that much about it, it's just that when I hear it I've got no idea what it is; it's like hearing another guitarist. I worked closely with Billy [Sherwood, engineer on KEYS TO ASCENSION II] on that; he was molding the sound that I was making a lot for the particular bits that I played...I got really involved on overdubbing on "Mind Drive", and I was really going for something big-time, and when I got rocking on that 175 I thought to myself I want to go out there with Roland Kirk somewhere--one of my great heroes of music and particularly improvising, Roland Kirk--so I thought I didn't go there on some of the's not a trick, but it's a situation where if you're presented with a very complicated situation like, to me, "Mind Drive", it's got a very simple bass part, but what's happening on top of it is almost discordant, but I had to work my way through it and in the end I just let my ears do it; and I think since working with Martin Taylor, the great jazz guitarist that I admire and have produced--and he's a great friend of mine--since I'd seen him play and worked with him a bit, I really decided to improvise slightly differently and improvise a lot more, and free up that kind of spirit that you've got to invent, so quite often that's my leading force if you like--that's the thing I'm most excited about, that it keeps developing, and I keep seeing other ways to play over a D minor, and I think it's because I'm still interested in the way the guitar works and the way it sounds, so I guess there can be a lot of musicality.

MOT: You're referring mainly to your solo, right? The one that comes in...[sings solo in "Mind Drive"].

SH: When it's going...[sings part of "Mind Drive"]...when I'm racing around the guitar, it's an unusual style of playing that I really like to listen to, but I haven't yet learned; maybe that's completely lazy of me, but I mean I was busy learning "Turn Of The Century", which I could play tomorrow perfectly and we're not playing it, so obviously I was prepared in certain other areas for things that I knew; I ought to know "Turn Of The Century", I can't really forget that song terribly easily, especially since I played it on my solo tour, so I guess the familiarity with the music comes back reasonably quickly. But for me, I'm noticing that "Gates" has a lot of time when there's no actual rhythm going on, and Chris and I are kind of...I'm clinging to Chris desperately because he's the only thing that actually creating a rhythm, and that's not very easy, and I'm waiting to sense the glue of the sort of orchestral sound of the group playing "Gates" a little bit more. So at the moment, even Chris is finding his feet in a situation playing a song where there actually isn't a rhythm. There's a lot of, if you like, surface atmospheric noises going on, and Chris and I...I didn't realize...listening to the record, I've never thought of it like that on the record at all, but when we play it on stage it's kind of different, we've got some moods to keep building on, so part of it is having the right notes and the right sound, but it's also a collective thing, it's a group, it's a collective presentation.

Somebody said to me last night that they listened to side four often and always loved it, and then we played it, and they said they heard things they've never heard before. Well, I thought that was quite amusing because obviously we're not playing it exactly the same as the record, and in some ways we're not playing it at full-tilt in every respect--instrumentally maybe we are, but in the vocal areas we're still getting more assertive, and I guess somebody hearing things differently is nice in a way--it's very nice, because that's what makes music fresh really, is hearing, either because it is actually different or hearing something that you didn't know was a part of it before.

MOT: Well, hopefully we'll hear "Mind Drive" later on, on the next Masterworks tour, whenever that should happen.

SH: Masterworks Part II.

MOT: Part II in a continuing series.

SH: Oh yeah, that has been one of my fearful guitar parts to learn, but all the rest of it is easy--all the nice Spanish stuff that...I know what that is perfectly, but those areas are surprising...I said to Jon maybe I was just going to re-improvise, you know, those bits would be like not even going necessarily in the same place, because I don't know quite why it is.

MOT: This tour has hit a few landmarks; it's the first tour in many years where you've played these long pieces, that's the obvious thing. Another thing is it's probably the first Yes tour where, that I can think of at least, there's no supporting album--it's not going out to promote an album, per se...

SH: Well, with the combination with the idea of the tour--playing big pieces as well, it does compensate somewhat for not having a new album...I hope it kind of rectifies the sense of balance, the sense of occasion, because we're obviously advertising that we're doing the big pieces again, and I think that does give it a certain purpose, and they say it does push it sideways away from record promotion in the general sense--a different growth, as you said a different kind of perspective on the band, and I was quite pleased that that's come about, because I didn't like the other perspectives so much, the way we had been heading before THE LADDER. THE LADDER was quite a big step forward, but it still wasn't a big enough step forward for the band to find out what it's good at, and not just what it can do, but what it can actually invent, imagine, and dream and then make that possible. If the dreams aren't big then the music's not big, so the dream does have to be pretty big, but Yes isn't about anything like much in the music business that exists today, we are a mixture of Crimson, Genesis, ELP--we're a mixture of those things...we're going on with great strength at the moment, so that puts us in quite a special place, and it's not a bad time to look at those things. I've sometimes been shy to, and I loved George Harrison once when I was actually fortunate to be in on an interview he did in 1969, and somebody asked him something like one of those questions 'what's your favorite guitar solo', and he said I hate all of them. I hate all the guitar solos I've done; I could have done them all better, but I mean that was with his humor, so there's a lot more that can be done.

MOT: I think Jon just said something about the first night--the fact that hey, that these songs are still alive for us after all of these years, is a very special thing, and I think it goes a long way towards showing the fans that Yes are not just about record sales and trying to get the big hit.

SH: Well good, yeah. I think that's what we're trying to prove to them, yeah.

MOT: Another landmark is the fact that this is the first tour in many, many years where you haven't played any Trevor Rabin era songs.

SH: That's right.

MOT: None.

SH: Yep, didn't really fit in the kind of the window of opportunity that we've got to play our music; it doesn't fit there, so that was pretty cut-and-dried. Maybe that's why also we're not doing anything from THE LADDER.

MOT: Coming to your site are some downloads that you're making available to the fans; that's pretty exciting. How did this all come about?

SH: We've been talking with Liquid Audio for some time about different opportunities, different projects, and it's kind of nurtured a relationship where now we felt was the right time. I'd selected six tracks that were unreleased--instrumentals of different kinds, different styles--two are basically quite gentle, another two are sort of semi-progressive, and the other two are kind of just a bit more straight ahead, if you like, and I guess I'm excited too, because it's a bit like you can try to do it in Download exclusive songs in Liquid Audio different ways with projects before, but this time with HOMEBREW II being there for download as well along with these six tracks we feel we're starting to present a catalog. We've not just got a song and put it on the Internet; it's actually a catalog that's going to start to grow, that's going to be either like HOMEBREW II available on CD as well, or like some further tracks we're gathering will only be available on download.

So it's like building a new kind of catalog and I'm pretty casual about it, because it's not just something we've just jumped into, like taking a hot shower. We've actually been developing the ideas and sort of sensing the time and also combining it with some photographs and some details about the'll have to check how that actually arrives at people's door, but making it more like a package, more like something that speaks a little bit more than just throwing songs on there...not losing the presentation-- remember that we came from albums, double-sleeve albums, when you have this sense of ownership about things, and of course the downloading thing looks like you don't have anything, and I think that's a great loss, because I think the anonymousness of all the different people who help you make your records--I mean, I'm a little tired of special thanks, you know I got that out of my system on QUANTUM GUITAR and just thanked everybody I liked or I've been playing guitar with recently (laughs), not that they had anything really directly to do with the record, but more that they had direct to do with the way I was feeling about music and life. So I think to get something that looks like something, feels like something just to accompany that, possibly tidies up that feeling're just going to have something on your hard disk, and that's the end of it.

MOT: I know exactly what you're saying--you want to give some value, because you lose that when you don't go out and buy a CD, even if you download it yourself and burn your own CDs, you don't get the graphics...

SH: Steve with Shooz at Reno Masterworks rehearsals Yeah, you don't get anything kind of in your hand, and I think that's what we're trying to experiment with a bit, with making value, because we had some pictures done by one of my favorite photographers, Mike Russell; he did freak them out a bit with giving one of my mood pictures that I got very keen on. I seem to have quite an endless supply of them for HOMEBREW Volume I and II. I started using my photographic work again, and that's what we're doing with the downloads, so the photo is obviously my photo, but it's going into the kind of public pool now, and I'm quite pleased to see it's my photos. My photos are not something I particularly went out of my way to be terribly artistic at, but I did sometimes gain a little bit of timing with being able to get a picture that had a certain interest factor in the mood, or sometimes I like them to be completely like 'what the hell is that?' I like pictures like that. One of my favorites is a picture of a fence, and a guy is walking by the fence, and due to the speed of movement, his head's in front of him. I think it's on HOMEBREW Volume I, but those kind of pictures, like strange or just nature...nature is the most beautiful thing to shoot, and so it must be my filmic goals, you know...I thought I'd always be in films really, and that's sounds really cliché, doesn't it? I mean, that's the most cliché thing (laughs)...

MOT: You really want to direct! (laughs)

SH: And here I am, I'm in Hollywood, talking to you and saying, hey, I want to be in films; I want to direct a film. But yeah, I do love to control pictures, and I do have some minor skill at being able to put ideas together in a visual form, and you know, it's all very marginal, and hopefully it won't distract me from playing my 175, because I don't really want anything much to distract me anymore to play the kind of music that I want to play.

MOT: Well, you have been talking forever about putting together a video compilation, maybe it's time for a video anthology--Steve Howe through the years...Tomorrow, Yes, and Asia...

SH: We were hoping to keep two projects parallel, and that was the idea of a sort of forty year celebration of my playing--sounds a bit presumptuous, but...and also a video--a DVD style thing. Well, what happened was this CD became more of a reality--if you like, immediate reality--and at some point I said to Jim Halley, my personal manager, that I wasn't going to talk about the DVD idea at the moment--it was too much, finishing up HOMEBREW II, and then an anthology to be released this year and is going to be a double CD, forty-track idea; we hope to get all the tracks we like on it, and we'd love some cooperation with that from people. It seems a little bit slow sometimes getting those approvals; some people are obviously very happy about it. Some goes through a lot of different chains of command, and so we'll wait to see how that goes, but the anthology is quite exciting, because it kind of goes from now backwards to 1964, and goes through all those years, so it was quite a challenge. It's the kind of thing I like doing--compiling the kind of work that I did on KEYS TO ASCENSION Volume I, and PULLING STRINGS, and NOT NECESSARILY ACOUSTIC was putting things together and getting the balance and the mix and the cuts, so that's one of the things I like doing. It isn't that I have to do it, but it is something that, it is to me, part-and-parcel of preparing my work.

MOT: Something just occurred to me since we're talking about film, I remember Tomorrow was in a film--even though you didn't make "Blow Up", you were in another film called "Smashing Time".

SH: That's right, yes. We met some terrific people in the 60's--a guy called Anthony Rufus Issacs--he's a lord actually, Lord Anthony Rufus Issacs--anyway he was a marvelous chap, and I daresay, I can't quite remember, but either the management, who was Brian Morrison who managed Pink Floyd or Tony Rufus Issacs--got us involved with...not Polanski, what was the other guy's name who did "Blow Up"?

MOT: Antonioni.

SH: Read more about TomorrowAntonioni, yeah, so he [management] got us in touch with him. We met the guy in a hotel, and he just wanted to see what we looked like and were like, and they must of liked what we looked like, because that's the first thing, and then we did some songs for them anyway. I'm not sure if they actually got around to hearing them--the song that came out on a kind of Keith West and Steve Howe anthology thing...Jeff Beck does actually break a cardboard 175 guitar in that film if you can see it. He's playing a Telecaster or a Strat one minute and then the next minute breaking a 175. They actually got that far with copying my guitar. They asked me to break my guitar and I said no, but break a cardboard one and that's fine, so anyway, that didn't happen, but what did happen was that we got this part in this other film called "Smashing Time" with Rita Tushingham.

MOT: And Lynn Redgrave?

SH: Lynn Redgrave...was it her?

MOT: No, I think it was her too. It was about two women.

SH: Well, what I remember most predominately was that when they showed you the manager's office--the manager of us, the group--that there was these sort of great pictures of us behind, that we never saw, and in those days, that wouldn't have been a blue screen. It would have been big pictures; they were pretty impressive.

Well, we got this film; I hardly knew what was happening to me, but I living in a place called Belsize Park, almost within walking distance to...somewhere in another part of Belsize Park, anyway not far away, and that was a film studio, and we went down there, day after day we went there, and we stood around and we did bit parts. We kept being in bits and then coming out of it, and we didn't have anything to do for the next day. So you don't get the gist of what's going on, certainly if you're only about--what were we, what was I, about 19 or 20 or something. I didn't know what the fuck was happening. I was getting pies thrown at me, and I was being told to stand here and say this and do that. I was about the guitar-playing and the touring and songwriting that was just starting to happen, so it was like I was really ready for it. I really did want to...I do have a side of me that goes on this kind of work. So I'm there with the guys, and we keep going home with cream in our hair, so I'm walking down the street with cream in my hair and wondering why people were looking at me...we have a few bits in it, and I would buy that on a DVD straight away, because that, to me--the little bits that were amazing to see for me.

Available on DVDMOT: Is it out on DVD?

SH: Well, I hope it will be one day.

MOT: I saw it once, because I knew that Tomorrow was going to be in it.

SH: Was it The In Crowd or Tomorrow? I think it was The In Crowd.

MOT: I think it was Tomorrow, and I remember I didn't think it was a very good film, I mean the plot was just...I was sitting through it to get to Tomorrow, and I think you guys are barely in it, like for literally seconds.

SH: Yeah, I say something in it somewhere, like 'stick it on his head' or something like that, something stupid.

MOT: I think there are some scenes where you're kind of in the background, and then there's a pie-throwing scene, and it flashes on the band, but you see the band so briefly.

SH: It's not worth talking about much, because we're not in it a great deal. The mood of it is that we were doing deb parties--we had been doing deb parties, which is another whole circuit in England.

MOT: Deb parties? Like debutantes?

SH: Yeah, and playing in big country houses and playing on the lawn and getting paid a lot of money and getting fed, and just having a riot of a time, so it was a very loose time, and it was just starting on the psychedelic time, so it was like the mixture of all this going on and being in a film. It seemed like just the right thing to be doing.

MOT: We were talking about this anthology album of yours; I'm sure that there's going to be some Asia tracks on there, and recently you played with Asia.

SH: That's right. Geoff had been explaining to me a little about his plans for this next Asia album. There's going to be different musicians on it...well, funny enough Simon Phillips was actually the first drummer that played in Asia, strangely enough.

MOT: Oh really?

SH: Because John Wetton and I got together, and then we got Simon Phillips, and we worked in a house that I had at the time in Hampstead. I had a very small studio upstairs, and lo-and-behold...I may even have some recordings. So, Geoff [got] me, Simon Phillips, Vinnie Colaiuta from Sting's band, and [Peter] Gabriel's I think. So anyway, Geoff plays for me a few tracks, I tell him I liked a couple of those tracks, so we look at my schedule and say, wow, where's it gone? I thought I was doing this months ago, and he said yeah, so did I, and we'd hoped to be working a little bit earlier in the year. So I said I'd like to come and play, and appear on a couple of the tracks, so we came back to those tracks and checked them out, and I played on two tracks--one is a fully-blown track with Simon Phillips, an eight-minute piece that's got a big, powerful kind of mood from Asia, you know it's a big style, DRAMA, plenty of bubbly keyboards. Geoff's keyboard style is so recognizable, so enjoyable to hear. The way he does keyboards, there's nobody else who does that like Geoff. It stems from the Buggles; it stems from his entrance into Yes, his force in Asia, which got a little dominant, say, but there again, in a way that's the strength that's kept the idea going.

I think this album, with the contrast of the second track I play on, where Vinnie Colaiuta plays drums, I just went into a sort of "Wonderous Stories" guitar mode, electric mode that I play on "Wonderous Stories", a bit Wes-y...a bit Wes Montgomery-ish, but not really playing jazz so much as playing melodic guitar, and it's a lovely sound to play octaves on the 175, so it's a kind of octave track really, and yeah, I think they liked it.

MOT: So, that was the one track--

SH: Yes, the big track has got Simon on it, and the slightly shorter track's very melodic, and I was talking about Geoff's kind of work that he does, that his own sort of approach that he's very nice to hear. It's very British, and yeah, it's got its own inner strength, you know, I like it. So it was an opportunity to work with him for a short time, a short burst, get some guitar down that represents a kind of contribution to their movement which is to push the group, push the idea a bit like it was before or at least to have those commanding strengths of its time, so I look forward to seeing how all turns out.

MOT: Would you play with them live on these songs, given the opportunity?

SH:  Possibly, I did quite enjoy touring with them before. It was quite fun. I think I would be clearer about what I'd want to do with Asia than ever before, because in lots of ways I'm a bit more clearer about what I want to do, and I was pleased when--Steve, Mike Tait, Geoff - June 27, 1998to rectify a rumor going around that I was somehow doing much more with Asia--when we came to it, we found that they weren't planning to tour this year anyway, not in the true sense, and they may do some promotional shows, and so I said yeah, let's see what happens next year, you know, we did it before. I think we'd have to reconsider it, restructure it, but we would have a little bit more material to play, because we have the first two albums obviously, or the first one mainly, that's still drawn from by most members of Asia, being "Heat Of The Moment" onwards.

MOT: So you're saying that you'd play more than just a guest spot, or could you conceivably play a whole show with them?

SH: Well, I'm not necessarily saying that, but in a way that they know that I kind of prefer that concept, although we haven't considered it. You're quite bright in bringing it up, if you like. But yes, that might be the case or I might be guesting. It depends if Yes can look at what we do and pick out what we think we should do now, and if Asia was to do the same thing and that meant that they wanted to do tracks with me...but my time isn't easy to maneuver sometimes--I get kind of jammed up sometimes with things, so I don't want to always be on tour or always be in the studio. I want to find the relief moments that I need in my life as well to keep myself balanced, so the more projects I take on, the less time I get to sift through somewhat more crucial things than just what...I won't underestimate the importance of my music to me, but obviously my family and my life are also quite important, so I like to not exactly commit to anything much next year until I know how things work this year and how they go--one of which is of course my solo venture. I thought I wouldn't necessarily come back and do a one-man show again, but due to a few things I decided I wanted to very much, and one of them was that I'm halfway through an acoustic solo album that has new solos and has duets and also guitar family-style instrumental pieces, so that CD may have a bonus CD on it that's yet to be exactly clarified.

MOT: Yet another poll [that Steve held on his site that asked what Yes songs would fans like to hear on a bonus CD accompanying the acoustic album]...

SH: It was...maybe a few Yes songs done in acoustic style, but how they're done and which songs are done I'm not quite clear on yet, but some ideas are coming. But the bulk of it is new compositions by me, the whole CD is new compositions, and that approach, I haven't decided whether I might do anybody else's tune on it as well, which I do play quite a lot of other people's music now. I like to reflect that, but this album won't be out until next year and I've got some time, a few other periods of time that I'll go back to the album and finish it up, so in a way, it's premature for that particular album. But due to what's happened with that material, then I've suddenly got some new material I quite like to play--a few tunes, which I don't want anybody to record, thank you very much, but anyway (laughs) the chances of that are slim, but I may play a new piece...I may limit it to one on that basis, but I will be tempted to play some sort of representation of some of new music that's around that I've written and some of my music's still drawn from a mass of compositions that I did in the 70s...I'm still drawing here and there from pieces of music that go back that far, and I've resigned that that gives me a very strong melodic history that I've been dabbling with on the guitar. I tend to want to play tunes more than improvise on solo guitar.

What I'm mixing now is in the country-picking tunes; I'm doing improvising. In both of the ones I've done so far is improvising, and that puts the whole thing on a whole new slant for me, because to improvise on my own is really quite tantalizing; because, like Martin Taylor, you could say that anything's possible. I mean you're not fixed by any particular...I feel I like to be free, so having a structured piece is most probably very difficult to play, but then having some improvising means that the whole tension's right for me. This piece has really got something there, because I'm going to throw some things in there and they better work, until the recordings represent how I'm getting on with that approach; and also mixing my playing on that album with Martin and Gibson acoustics--I play completely different things I find on Gibson acoustic, quite different pieces, although I take the pieces and they sound different to me when I play them on a Gibson, and I start to play them differently because I've known Gibson instruments for a very long time, and they make a different sort of noise. They seemed quite appropriate for some of these tunes, but also I'm playing dobro, banjo guitar, mandolin, mandocello, and all sorts of other knickknack instruments like octave acoustic guitars and twelve-string guitars and special tunings. I'm having a lot of fun--the duet was great because I had this rhythm guitar, but to do a duet and set up a guitar that's purely supportive and then just play on top of that, to me is really great fun, because I can leave lots of spaces; but I can fill in lots of space as well, so I had a whale of a time doing this album, but it's going to take quite a lot more work. Each track has work to do in one respect or another. We were talking partly about the solo tour...

In the Groove itinerary & reviews

MOT: Yeah, the solo tour, so how did that come about?

SH: Well, thinking that I hadn't done this now for...on a sort of tour basis. I'd done some various individual shows and a short run of shows here and there, but for about six years I've not played a solo guitar show, not for a tour, not kind of got my chops into it and done that, and I'd also been slightly re-inventing the kind of things I could play. I hope to continue that path, but not being able to not only play what I've played before but sort of branching off into some slightly different areas, and this idea made me think that the one-man guitar was a voice that's been rather quiet for a while, you know what I mean? And therefore, to have a nice run at it and excite myself by that freedom of no other musicians, and...I felt a bit like a stand-up comedian with no jokes, and I just know that it is very commanding, and yet...

Like I like Yes, like I like playing with Yes, I go to it with great enthusiasm. I go to my solo show with a cautious enthusiasm, because of how much enthusiasm I've got, so I'm kind of really quite pleased to be having another tour, and we kind of pick what I'd wanted to do and sort of worked on that as a plan. It was originally just going to be two months, and it's kind of two and a half months, but there are short gaps and certain legs of it are not taxing in a way that a normal tour would be, and we're covering two weeks in Europe, two weeks in Britain, and then about...I think about four weeks in America, all on the east coast though. It's going to start in mid-October, go on until towards the middle of November, when I'll go to Argentina for the end of the month [now postponed], and between the end of the American tour I'm going on this cruise that has been advertised a little bit here and there.

MOT: The Rock-n-Roll Fantasy Cruise...Steve Howe with the Eric Stewart Band and Beatlemania Live.

SH: I reckon that the way I'm feeling about that is that I'll as usual be very precious about what I do on my own show. So, that kind of a tour gives me a chance to get it out of my system again, the moving along that path as well, or trying to reinforce the fact that I am still moving on that path, and because I've done PORTRAITS and various other records, I thought well, it'd be nice to get out and be able to choose, you know, do a Bob Dylan song, maybe even do one of them instrumentally, which is one idea I've got with the backing tracks.

I've got some different kinds of slants on things; I always like slants because I'm not so interested in...I say this cautiously because I might suddenly change my mind, but not so interested in singing, unless I can really illustrate something...if it really sounds right to me, then I will, so I was surprised once at [Yestival] somebody asked for a request--a spontaneous request--and I think it was "Pleasure Stole of the Night", and that's quite an old one to pull out of the bag...funny enough I've been thinking about it, and I'd actually sung it a few weeks back, so I'll do it, and I stood there and did it, and it was really quite fun to just be able to do that, in fact maybe like I was doing on the Yes tour--instead of having a set, have an enormous set of ideas that you could do, and kind of figure out sometimes a little riskily what's working by putting something else in.

MOT: It's going to be a great tour. Wow, the tour's not going to be on the West Coast...

SH: Yeah.

MOT: With all of the stuff that you're doing, you've just released yet another album: HOMEBREW II.

SH: Yes.

MOT: What are your thoughts on having compiled this album, say in comparison to the first compilation.

SH: Well, when I did the first one, I'd thought I'd cleaned out the bottom drawer completely, and I had no idea at that time, and all the work that it took on HOMEBREW I, we set a pattern of actually tuning the tracks to concert pitch, because lots of them weren't actually quite at concert pitch, and to my ear, you know, my ear spotted that slight flatness in one track or sharpness, so we did all of this detail, and I had a lot of fun. We've got an incredible amount of detail--things that help to make what it was sound as smooth as it is now. So it finished, and I thought great, that's over, great, and we tempted one of the labels to the idea that there might be another volume, and I always thought that it would be something different. I'd be looking for some other kind of materials or some other slant on that name HOMEBREW, but I was just sitting there, and suddenly, about six months later or something, must have thought, oh, that's a nice song--oh yeah, that became that, and then this list started HOMEBREW I & II.

It didn't take much, I mean, if I motivate myself, I really get behind ideas, so once I've got a list starting of potential songs then over a few weeks songs keep going on there, like something what's on HOMEBREW II, where I might say, I might have thought about "From The Balcony", and I think about "The Spiral", it fits onto HOMEBREW II. So that kind of system started to happen, where I allotted tracks I could see, oh yeah, I got HOMEBREW I, that's nice, then I thought, oh maybe I'll ask Patrick if we can use "Beginnings" because that was from the film; although stretching the concept a bit, but it was still something that wasn't going to be heard and I thought that was also part of the idea.

So  then I got my pattern of KEYS TO ASCENSION II. I had all these demos from KEYS TO ASCENSION II studio tracks, and I thought well, that'll be good, I'll put all those together like I did on the first one, of Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. So I suddenly had things to juggle, and I started compiling a DAT with all this music on it, and I'm looking at different versions, and some of it takes a long time. I got maybe threeDownload MP3 samples of HOMEBREW 2 different versions of one tune--one's got a high-hat that knocks your teeth out, the other one's got a bass drum that's too loud, and the other mix is the one that you spot and you go, (gasp), that's the mix where I left things out, and I kept it smooth, and I can treat it. I can look at that and say that's almost finished now. So I like messing with my tapes, and eventually there were more...a few got chiseled off the side as I thought I still can't live with that version, even though it's interesting (laughs). That version is not going to be heard, because I'll obviously try it on some nights and think well, that's from that song--well, they'll like that, and then I hear it, and the next day I'm thinking I can't live with it, so these go by-the-by, and obviously that's why HOMEBREW II...obviously because it's my main strength that it's mainly instrumental, and that allows the project to really flow through a sort of undisturbed area until I start having fun with "When The Heart Rules The Mind" and having fun by doing "Corkscrew"--or "Resistance Day"--was written like that in the many, many years before I recorded it on TURBULENCE, so having a bit of fun with a couple of songs seemed ok, but oddly enough it just didn't really have songs.

Most of those things I'd been compiling were instrumentals, so I like that, so once I had that, then I just waited for that sort of trigger mechanism when the DAT became the a kind of reality, when I was working on this with a guy in London called Martin Rex, who operates computers and recording and does all that kind of editing, and put it together a little bit simpler than HOMEBREW I. We didn't do so much treatment, but every track either got either EQ'ed , edited, cleaned up in some way, dehissed if necessary. Things were experimented on each track just to make it as good as possible, so that's kind of fun, and it was done efficiently, so next thing we have is a finished project to put on the market, but we retained digital download rights, that's why it's part of the load down plan with Liquid Audio, so these are my tapes, you know, these are my creations if you like. They're my sort of flowerbed of things that rise for a while, and then they kind of disappear and then they kind of come back.

MOT: On the song that became "To Be Over" you have that one portion from the Tomorrow song "Real Life Permanent Dream".

SH: Oh yeah. That's the riff that I obviously really, really liked at the time because I maybe thought at the time that Tomorrow was not going to be heard of again, that I could play that riff and nobody would ever associate it really with Tomorrow. It's kind of curious that I did that, because normally I would try and keep the exclusivity down. I think I couldn't resist playing it, it just seemed the right kind of thing to play. I could have hammered off the strings more and made it sound different if I'd thought a little bit more. It certainly seemed the right thing to play, and you know I think at the time I was kind of oblivious to the fact I'd recorded it before--"Real Life Permanent Dream" was what, '67?

MOT: Yeah.

SH: So, there was like seven years ago, so you know I forgot (laughs), and I stuck it in. It seemed to be the right energy; it's played slightly differently on Tomorrow. It's played the D-string, and the G string plays all the melody, but on the Yes record, the D-string is open again, the G string plays the melody, but the A string plays the harmony, so it's actually in harmony [sings an excerpt of the song], so in a way, I slightly developed it, but it was just a kick-off point for soloing. Yeah, "To Be Over" is quite something.

MOT: Yeah, it's just funny to hear different eras come together...

SH: Yeah.

MOT: ...pieces from different eras come together in one song.

SH:  Yeah, well, that happens of course with "South Side Of The Sky", part of that idea is taken from "Tired Towers" by Bodast. You'll hear [sings melody], which is the same as [singing] "A River...[sings previous melody], a mountain to be crossed", so it might sound a bit cheap, but I think that...I did think Bodast was buried as well, I mean that's why "Nether Street" became ""Leaves of Green"Würm", that's why I had "Würm" because I had it as "Nether Street", but I thought it was buried and I wasn't at all happy about that prospect of recordings being buried. The other day I was singing a song that Bodast recorded at a soundcheck; I was singing "Once In a Lifetime", it's called. It's a great song; Clive was a marvelous talent--greatly missed by me and lots of other people who knew him, and the singer in Bodast wrote this song--he wrote some other songs as well that people have never heard yet, and he basically wrote a lovely song [sings part of "Once In a Lifetime"]. It's a lovely song, I got to tell you, it's great to sing. I might sing it on my solo tour, I mean, that's the kind of song I'd like to sing, something that's really obscure, but like I did with that song "Sometimes In The Morning", I used to sing that, because I felt that really a lovely, dramatic song.

MOT: So, HOMEBREW III--you've got some songs in mind for that one, right?

SH: Well, I said to you I had, but you know I must say they might be worth reserving exactly what direction that that is going to be in. It might not conform totally to the original first two. I might think on it a while; it's a bit soon. When I brought out [Volume] One, I really didn't think I'd have two for a while, I mean I guess it has been a little bit of a while, but I wasn't even sure there was two really but I suppose I like the idea very much of a series. I think it appeals to me to have a series of records, quite nice.

MOT: "South Side Of The Sky" has got almost a mythic status amongst Yes fans. What is it about that song? Why was it never really properly performed on stage, and did the making of the song have some impact on that as well?

SH: Well, yeah, because at that time, we'd played most of THE YES ALBUM material on stage--hence the recording of "Clap"--and we played it ["South Side"] on stage, and when we were in the studio, we really souped it up from what we had originally. In other words, we had a song...when we were in the studio we kind of went, oh yeah, well let's do this and this, oh yeah, let's make this longer--let's make this shorter. We kind of turned it on itself and made it even better, and then we didn't really have enough material for the album, and we hadn't rehearsed everything. We had openings to play; this is quite a good idea for a band. We had openings to play other songs as they came in. We had "A Venture", which I like very much, but few people care for it, it seems; "A Venture" was one of those songs that was just constructed in the studio, we had some ideas, and everybody said oh yeah, I like this song. Jon had a song; I had some riffs, you know we had some things.

But "South Side Of The Sky" went a bit further then this, we saw it as more of an experimental piece. That's why it starts with sound effects. The same ones that are on the Goon records from the comedy series in the '60s probably, but they were standard sound effects that you could get--doors slamming, and people walking across the rooms and things, and of course it led in with this brilliantly tight drum break by Bill, and in comes this band with a like, is making it, you know what I mean? It's like you can tell, to me, you can tell it's a recording. It's a bit like people who want to make live recordings in the studio; there's a funny tangent about that, but if you obviously play well in the studio, and I guess there was quite a lot of electricity.

I can't remember whether I overdubbed all of my guitar parts, I mean, some of them I double-tracked or harmonized, and obviously they were overdubs, but I did definitely put a lot of riffs into it, because mainly it's quite a simple song and had all of these spaces, but then in the middle we created the piano solo and the harmony voices, and this was all totally original. It was highly original, and we went back to the song, and we kind of picked the song out because we used to record these songs in different days of the week, and like when we got to last bit, the third day most probably on the third part of the song when it goes back to [verse after piano section], then off we went into that song, not really being sure whether we were doing anything different than we'd done before, but we were because we could feel this high level of injection, a bit like "Sound Chaser" sort of energy going on in that song--really stompin' stuff, and eventually I come in with this kind of guitar solo that's got lots of sustains and slides [sings melody], and then the track kind of fades off.

I guess why we always struggle with it onstage is because we never played it on stage--but that's not really a reason anymore--in other words we didn't capture playing it on stage right away, so we lost that kind of contact with the song. We didn't have a lot of luck with it on stage as it happened in the early days. We did play it here and there and the middle got dropped permanently. The middle would never be done onstage, and yet it was a classic bit of Yes dimensional stuff, this was Yes, but it was Rick and our voices. It wasn't the drums, and the bass wasn't running at the top of the neck, and the guitar wasn't pounding chords. That was very creative for Yes to take those chances, and no wonder it's on FRAGILE which is itself the album that I don't think Yes have thought enough about, what it is. I've thought a lot about it, but I suspect that the other guys have not seen how separate that album is from all the other records that we've made. It's highly unique; it was the most successful record, in a way, that ever burst out of the bag from that era, besides 90125, I suppose, in the 80's. It came out of the bag; it had "Roundabout"--Bang! It had "South Side Of The Sky", "Heart Of The Sunrise"--thank you very much--Bang! We have all of these solo tracks; everybody liked those as well. This is what was beautiful.

MOT: On the quirky stuff, what was behind the process to cut off "We Have Heaven", have the door slam and the feet run, and then at the end of the album after the big "Heart Of The Sunrise" climax you have the door open and "We Have Heaven" finish. I mean, that's very creative, and that adds to the whole mystique of the album.

SH: Of was very much Yes' first concept album in a way. It was just some unusual concept; we didn't really know what it was, but it was everybody has a solo track, and we'll just work up as much great material as we can, and in a way, because "Heart Of The Sunrise" and "Roundabout" were big, big construction pieces--intensely rehearsed at times, particularly "Heart Of The Sunrise". "South Side Of The Sky" was our "A Venture", if you like, I'm mentioning "A Venture" from THE YES ALBUM earlier, that kind of a recording, outing, where we just sat in the studio and worked out a song, but I think it was a luxury Yes would like to have, to write in the studio. It was actually a different vehicle for writing in rehearsal; it was dangerous, because you could then start to write everything in the studio, and in a way Yes kept abreast with reality by going into the rehearsal room, where it was kind of crappy and playing and making their music work with just the fundamental things, and then recording it, as opposed to if you sit in the studio, you never need that. You could just keep inventing stuff and layering it and putting something else on and taking it off and fixing that and editing know, you just juggle--like they do with making a film, not everything goes according to plan, so they stick something else in and shorten this section. But playing in the studio is playing live like "Close To The Edge" and all of those sections.

That was another side of Yes' ability, not only to cleverly make records that were genuine recordings and not really performances of us playing together, but actually like "Your Move" was the first one we did. That started with a click and a beat and me going out and talking about, is this enough of this? Sure this is two verses here, and there's a the chorus now, and I had to map out the whole of "Your Move" with just Portuguese guitar, so that kind of work, I didn't even notice I was doing it, you know what I mean? I was on the frameworks that Jon had in his mind, and I was like interpreting people's ideas: so ok, we want sixteen bars of this, and we want ten bars of that, so it was all within our stride, so I think FRAGILE deserves to be seen as something quite amazing, to come from THE YES ALBUM and make such a big jump to FRAGILE, and I don't think the group's ever really noticed.

MOT: It was a big jump.

SH: It was a big jump; it was a very special...

MOT: In the production too.

SH: Hmm, yeah.

MOT: But going back to the question I'd asked, do you remember what the thought processes were behind the cutting off the song and bringing "We Have Heaven" after "Heart Of The Sunrise?"

SH: Yeah, I thought when I had said to you that it was like that created the concept here for me. It was beautiful to have that come back. But the juggling, that was Jon's idea, I'm sure. What you had to do in those days was create a piece of tape that you could put on and play, and it was a finished record, and that was a real test, because above making each track and then getting each mix right and then getting the balance of each mix to be quite representative of one another and sticking them together--hearing the one after the other--was quite a shock, and it took a certain sense of guidance from Eddy [Offord] and inventiveness from the band, particularly Jon thinking about those kind of games, chopping it off and going in there. Everybody threw in ideas all the time.

MOT: I was wondering if closing the album with "Heart Of The Sunrise" made you thought about it and said, seems like something else should come there.

SH: Yeah, well, that might have been the mindset; I can't remember.

MOT: It's hard to imagine FRAGILE ending with "Heart Of The Sunrise" and not coming back with the reprise.

SH: I think the idea was to coax you to play the record again, in some way it was the end, but it was the beginning of you playing it again. I don't know.

MOT: Do you remember what guitar you were playing for the electric parts, for the solo parts on "South Side Of The Sky".

SH: Oh yeah, I was playing the 175, definitely, yeah I know.

MOT: Really, those parts are so electric--

SH: Oh, totally!

MOT: They just jumped right out of the speakers.

SH: Eddy was great at recording us, but there again I had a good relationship with my amp, I knew what I wanted it to sound like. But we always went through a limiter on each mic for the compression, or limiting, and Eddy was real good about getting the level, because that obviously helps get the level on the tape, which is a very important thing to have. So he was always bitchin' about getting the meters with his level on so much--the level had to be right at the top of the neck, just underneath the red, and that he was happy, so he liked all his meters up high--plenty of gain, and really, one of the things he must have taught me was positioning, because when I worked with Mark Wertz on Tomorrow I didn't really understand much. I just kind of sat there and let things happen, I didn't really know. Mind you EMI's a bit more formidable, but working with Eddy, it was like he'd kind of go, "Alright, put your guitar over here man," and I'd say oh, I hate that, oh I can't bear you to...oh hang on, oh I see.

You know, I kind of break the ice with myself, and I'd kind of hear things differently--OK, how about the delay on the other side, ok, we'll try the delay on the other side, and then we'd do what the Beatles were always talking about--John Lennon was ADT, you know, when you'd stick it through a delay line, in the day, it was a tape machine...the delay was indescribably short. You couldn't call it fifty milliseconds, because you couldn't design it to be anything particular. It was just something you found, so you kind of went along with this varied speed, and you got an echo of your voice, but it was so close, it would alter your guitar. So Eddy was helping to fulfill the fantasies we had of guitars doing things, and one great thing about "South Side of The Sky" I'd love to mention is when the guitar solo comes in, that guitar solo took a lot of working on, because we were about to use Leslie guitars [IOW a guitar played through a Leslie speaker] quite a lot on CLOSE TO THE EDGE. We had to use them on CLOSE TO THE EDGE; I didn't really want the same sounds. I didn't want a Leslie guitar, and Michael Tait was there, as he was very much around us in those years, and I distinctly remember that he went out there with a pair of headphones on, as I was out there with the headphones. In those days, you actually played out in the big room with your amp, and you communicated very poorly with the people inside, who appeared to want to dominate your life by telling you what to play, and you said no way, I'm playing this. So anyway Michael's there, and the idea is he's going to hold the microphone and twirl it around his head, and that's part of the sound that you hear when he goes [sings closing solo] at the end there, and it's Michael doing this with the microphone, so I'll never forget that, because it was epic. I wish somebody would have taken a photo.

MOT: That makes perfect sense now, I had always thought it was kind of weird that the solo would be up front for a few seconds and then it would kind of recede a little, you know what I'm saying?

SH: It has a mixture of movement, and that's what a Leslie basically gave you.

MOT: But not like that.

SH: It's not a Leslie because it hasn't got that quirky sort of chipmunk sound about it, which I did like using on CLOSE TO THE EDGE, particularly on "And You And I". That's my favorite Leslie we've ever done--the "Preacher" song.

MOT: Yeah, underneath where Jon's singing "I listened hard but could not see".

SH: Yeah.

MOT: You were mentioning "A Venture", and of course it's a short song, but I guess I'm tantalized in how much longer it might have gone on because at the very tail end you start to solo on it.

SH: That's right. I don't know what the criteria would have been there. Often with a solo, one of two things--we all felt that it broke down after that. That's the point that either it didn't go right or in fact, that's the point where everybody wanted to fade it, and I thought it got better after it, but most things were done remarkably agreeably in those days, I mean, not everybody nit-picked through everybody else's thing. It was already done once the mix was done. A lot of the nit-picking went very early on in what people played, and once we played the record and it was being mixed, we had a joyful moment...I remember on GOING FOR THE ONE, when you saw the mix and yet you heard the final mix of something, you were there, and you'd just done it and that's the final're sitting there and everybody's going ok, I think that's the one--I haven't got any problems, are you alright with this bit? Yeah, yeah, I'm alright with that bit--it's alright now. Trying to find that everybody is happy with it, that everybody can live with it, with full commitment.

So they were great times, and Eddy was part of the catalyst of that balance, because he had some great expertise to add to the co-production of the band, and all of the engineering. He was a hands-on engineer; sometimes he was a feet-on, knees-on engineer, or foot. Sometimes he was all over the place, but he was usually stooping over the desk.

MOT: And he was present for all of these masterworks.

SH: Well, we did "Awaken" with John Temperly, who recorded us in Switzerland--GOING FOR THE ONE. We did that without Eddy; We did "Machine Messiah", partially with Eddie when he started recording with us, but unfortunately it didn't last, so Yes took over the production credit on it, and also Trevor Horn and Hugh Padgham, who was the engineer, helped tremendously to make that come off.

MOT: I asked that question about "A Venture" because I wondered if maybe it was a longer song, another section.

SH: Well, yeah, I remember there was lots of piano. It was more sketchy, and I think at the time, the idea was that the idea of going off when the solo's really happening was deemed to be a good idea. In other words, you didn't go off with a solo that wasn't happening, so the only solution there was to go out quite a good bit, so the discussion would be oh, that's quite a good bit, let's fade by there. If you got a bit like more laid back after that and then got hotter later, then people would just judge how much you want there, so those things were just done reasonably decisively, and we were all learning. I was getting really keen on being in the studio at the time, and Eddy was a lot to do with that, although I always got quite a bit of a kick out of it, but I think making the Bodast album was kind of difficult. I didn't make another album that didn't come out (laughs). There was so much energy in Yes to make THE YES ALBUM. FRAGILE and CLOSE TO THE EDGE are kind of...was a very focused train of thought for three years--two years actually doing an immense amount.

MOT: That's a classic album and that's gratifying that you're playing classic tracks on the Masterworks Tour now.

Thanks very much, Steve.

SH: Thanks, Mike.


From Notes From the Edge #238

The entire contents of this interview are
Copyright © 2002, Mike Tiano

Special thanks to Jen Gaudette
The conversation contained herein was conducted
on June 23, 2000

© 2002 Notes from the Edge