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Thread: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

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    SR Super Yesfan downbyariver's Avatar
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    Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    Link:

    http://somethingelsereviews.com/2017...illy-sherwood/

    Hat tip to nzyesfan, who posted this link in a different thread as a source for a quote about the topic that was under discussion. I figured that since the article was just published yesterday, we could use a thread to discuss the interview as a whole as well.

    Some interesting stuff. Looking forward to Topographic Drama.
    "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. He kept telling me, ‘No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that’s something you want to do.’ And I have to keep making music. It’s just what I do. I’m a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood (Quote edited to fit under character limit for sig files)





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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    Alan White alone on drums? Not so sure he is up to the task.

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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    Quote Originally Posted by chescorph View Post
    Alan White alone on drums? Not so sure he is up to the task.
    And yet.... Billy says Alan is much improved.

    The Uk/Euro dates start in a little over four months so there's plenty of time for further improvement (.... as they work on the next Yes album..... I wish :-))
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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    There is certainly room for more improvement. Although the recent clip of Alan playing with the marching band didn't have me convinced and I'm a YesO supporter. But perhaps I'm totally wrong.

    ....this had me cracking up "...and I’m working on a Starbucks endorsement.".
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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    One of my quirks is that I really enjoy seeing Yes and it's lineups in various combinations. I'm kind of disappointed that the U.K. didn't get to see Yes with Jay and now I may not see them with Dylan.
    Soon oh soon the light, Pass within and soothe this endless night, And wait here for you, Our reason to be here...

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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    ^ Same here.

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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    I noticed that Billy's answer about Alan is not fully certain, just that he 'understands' it is to be Alan on his own but "you'll have to ask the drum department" to get a definitive answer.
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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    Doesn't sound as YesO is moving on new music. Billy can get together with someone and write and produce enough for an album in two moths?. Doesn't appear Billy has a creative block.
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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    They should focus on the tour for 2018 and put out an album in 2019, the 50th anniversary of the debut album.

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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    Quote Originally Posted by Laddr View Post
    Doesn't sound as YesO is moving on new music. Billy can get together with someone and write and produce enough for an album in two moths?. Doesn't appear Billy has a creative block.
    I think if it were up to Billy Sherwood, we'd already be on our second Yes album after Heaven and Earth, and wondering if a third would be out next year or the following year.

    Yes had already been holding planning meetings after a followup to Heaven and Earth before Chris Squire passed away. Jon Davison and Geoff Downes had a 24 minute plus epic called "Horizons" partly worked up with the idea of it making it onto Heaven and Earth, and were talking about using it in a subsequent album. There has been word that Steve Howe and Jon Davison also have done some writing together. And of course we know that Billy Sherwood could practically write, perform, and produce Yes albums almost by himself twice a year if he wanted to and had the go ahead.

    I think Steve Howe is dragging his feet. And I say that with all due respect. I love Howe's work with Yes and Asia. I just wish he would be more proactive about getting new Yes albums out there. He wouldn't really even have to do the work himself unless he wanted to. I think it'd mostly just take him giving the others the go ahead and then adding some guitar parts and instrumentals where he wants to towards the end of the process, along with any songs he wants to contribute earlier, if he wants to. He could instead do a ton of it himself and I think Yes fans would welcome Steve Howe's take on a Yes album, but he has options to where he basically could do almost nothing right up to almost everything at this point- the only thing he really *has* to do to get an album going is give the go-ahead to the rest of the band, and it doesn't seem like that's been done (Or, if it has been, he took a while to get to it, and it's going on in secret for the time being).

    Not only do we know that Sherwood could basically do it himself, Downes has put out tons of albums where he's written all or most of the instrumental parts (With Asia and DBA, mostly) and Davison did a lot of the lyrics on Heaven and Earth- the two of them could also probably almost singlehandedly put out a Yes album also.

    It's just not going to be a "go" until Howe gives his permission. I think that's the bottom line. And Howe seems like he's okay with doing a new album in theory, but not super-eager to do it, and wants to take his time and get something he really really likes before doing it. I don't think he's *against* it, but I do think he's gumming up the works a bit and delaying it versus what would be happening if basically anyone else in the band were given the final say.

    I don't think we can attribute this to the tragedy surrounding Vigil Howe's passing either, because that was this fall. So, it's not really relevant to the overall discussion about what's been going on. We know Chris Squire was basically pushing for a new album from his deathbed, so that's not relevant either, except in so far as the power structure of the band flipped from a guy who seemed to be more in favor of a steady pace of new albums in Squire to a guy who was more reluctant in S. Howe.

    They, of course, can do what they want. It's not for me to tell them what to do. It's just that my opinion is that I love Yes music and would love to have more of it, especially from this group of guys. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by JMKUSA View Post
    They should focus on the tour for 2018 and put out an album in 2019, the 50th anniversary of the debut album.
    I respectfully disagree. It's your opinion, and you're of course welcome to it, I just have a different one, is all. :) I really would have liked to have seen a new Yes album in 2016 and another in 2018, and another in 2020. I feel like the Juano-Sherwood combination could particularly have some things to say in a Yes context that they've obviously not had a chance to say together. Even Downes has only had three shots at doing a Yes album. White is obviously close to the end of his career, and Howe hopefully will go on for years to come, but he's not a spring chicken anymore. The clock is ticking for everyone. The longer they take to make another album, the less chance they will make another album, and if the hang around to make more than one, the longer they take to start and the longer the space between each album, the less total albums there will be.

    Even Davison is in his 40s and Sherwood is in his 50s, and it's not a lock that these guys are going to have the legal rights to make Yes albums and continue the band after Howe and White retire (I hope they are given them or buy them, but it's possible that Howe and White could refuse.). I wish there were more of a sense of urgency about new Yes music and getting it out there.

    I don't feel like if they plan for an album in 2019 that there is any guarantee that they'll reach 2019 with the same people. So many of these guys are older and/or in ill-health. Yes has also had extremely frequent lineup changes, and it's not a stretch to think that 2 of the 5 guys could be different in 2019, which could force them, or encourage them, to toss any existing work those guys had contributed to ("Force" if the guys pulled their consent, "encourage" if the band just said that they don't want to share royalties with guys who are no longer in the band and want to promote the then-current band by highlighting the work of the people who are in it).

    But it'll be what it will be. If they make it, I will buy it. :) If they don't, then obviously I can't. It is what it is.
    "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. He kept telling me, ‘No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that’s something you want to do.’ And I have to keep making music. It’s just what I do. I’m a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood (Quote edited to fit under character limit for sig files)

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    SR Mega Yesfan Mr. Holland's Avatar
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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    More and fast doesn't equal good and better, most of the time not. While I like FFH and H&E well enough they're not exactly in my top list of Yes albums and I don't think they are with many fans. I think Howe cares about quality. He is not interested in releasing new music just for the sake of releasing new music and a new album just for the sake of a new album. And rightfully so IMO.
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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Holland View Post
    More and fast doesn't equal good and better
    Less and slowr doesn't equal good and better either. Yes released three of their best studio albums in one 18 month span in the early 70s.

    While I like FFH and H&E well enough they're not exactly in my top list of Yes albums and I don't think they are with many fans.
    One could argue that Fly From Here was 30 years in the making with where some of its material came from. It was also 10 years after the previous Yes album and 4-5 years after they resumed touring. Just how long are they supposed to waiting on doing albums anyway to meet your criteria? Fly From Here was a good album.

    Though Heaven and Earth could have probably benefited from more time in the studio and the production process after the initial tracks had been been laid down, or just a better producer than Baker and a different approach to the music in some respects, it didn't need more time on the sense of needing more than the 3 years between FFH and H&E. They just needed to start earlier, is all, and it would have been fine (As is, it still has some strong songs and parts of songs, though it isn't one of Yes' best overall). There's no reason Yes couldn't be working on a two year release schedule if they really wanted to be. Asia did it for a while in the late 00s and early 10s and produced 4 excellent albums in 8 years.

    He is not interested in releasing new music just for the sake of releasing new music and a new album just for the sake of a new album. And rightfully so IMO.
    I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that, because I'm just fundamentally not there and don't see what could persuade me to change my mind. I think bands that do original material should fundamentally be about the music- including new albums of fresh music as a core element.

    I mean, of course, they are free to do as they like, but I am much closer to Sherwood's philosophy as outlined in my sig file than what I perceive as Howe's philosophy on this subject at this point in his career.
    "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. He kept telling me, ‘No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that’s something you want to do.’ And I have to keep making music. It’s just what I do. I’m a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood (Quote edited to fit under character limit for sig files)

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    Insane Yesfan ragtime's Avatar
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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    I think Steve Howe doesn't want just another collection of tracks in some kind of Yes style. He wants a big idea or theme, musically and conceptually that will produce a lasting statement, most probably their last. I get that, but the problem seems to me that that sort of thing only comes about by experimenting and improvising together constantly. Something emerges out of the trial and error, and you know it when you hear it. You create your own collective inspiration, as it were. Waiting for some ready-made idea to arrive, if that is what he is doing (this is speculative as always, of course) seems doomed to be contrived and never ending. It's true that Tales and Relayer began with Anderson suggesting highly improbable concepts and sketchy musical structures - together with Howe's input in the case of Tales -, but they were worked up from vague outlines to something solid and grand in close collaboration with the rest of the band. My impression is that the band just don't work together like that regularly at this stage of their careers. H&E came about because Jon D trekked round the globe initiating a series of discrete collaborations which the band hastily arranged in the studio (that's not a knock at the album, which I quite enjoy but it is not on the level of of CttE or even Magnification). Perhaps if someone proposes some clear and distinctive unifying direction for an album, both musically and lyrically, he might be motivated to get them together for one last push in the studio. But the activity of the band does seem to rely wholly on his say so now. I know he is grieving for his son, and have no wish to criticize, but it is a different dynamic from the Yes of the past.
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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    Quote Originally Posted by downbyariver View Post
    White is obviously close to the end of his career
    He's had a discrete health problem: that doesn't mean he's close to the end of his career. Sherwood indeed says in this very interview that he's recovering well.

    In 2008, it looked like Anderson's career might be over, and look at him now. Just because you have a health problem doesn't mean you can't get better again. Ageing is not some predictable process of decline.

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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    Quote Originally Posted by bondegezou View Post
    He's had a discrete health problem: that doesn't mean he's close to the end of his career. Sherwood indeed says in this very interview that he's recovering well.

    In 2008, it looked like Anderson's career might be over, and look at him now. Just because you have a health problem doesn't mean you can't get better again. Ageing is not some predictable process of decline.

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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    Quote Originally Posted by ragtime View Post
    I think Steve Howe doesn't want just another collection of tracks in some kind of Yes style. He wants a big idea or theme, musically and lly that will produce a lasting statement, most probably their last. I get that, but the problem seems to me that that sort of thing only comes about by experimenting and improvising together constantly. Something emerges out of the trial and error, and you know it when you hear it. You create your own collective inspiration, as it were. Waiting for some ready-made idea to arrive, if that is what he is doing (this is speculative as always, of course) seems doomed to be contrived and never ending. It's true that Tales and Relayer began with Anderson suggesting highly improbable concepts and sketchy musical structures - together with Howe's input in the case of Tales -, but they were worked up from vague outlines to something solid and grand in close collaboration with the rest of the band. My impression is that the band just don't work together like that regularly at this stage of their careers. H&E came about because Jon D trekked round the globe initiating a series of discrete collaborations which the band hastily arranged in the studio (that's not a knock at the album, which I quite enjoy but it is not on the level of of CttE or even Magnification). Perhaps if someone proposes some clear and distinctive unifying direction for an album, both musically and lyrically, he might be motivated to get them together for one last push in the studio. But the activity of the band does seem to rely wholly on his say so now. I know he is grieving for his son, and have no wish to criticize, but it is a different dynamic from the Yes of the past.
    I hear you. And you do say it's all speculative. But these guys are on tour together quite a lot. Who knows what develops during rehearsals, sound checks etc. They could very well be experimenting and improvising then. I realise very well that's also speculation, but it's a possibility. It was reported (Henry's site) that Howe and Davison had been writing together for instance and since they both live in different areas of the world and Davison hasn't been undertaking any trips, presumably the writing has been happening on tour.
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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Holland View Post
    I hear you. And you do say it's all speculative. But these guys are on tour together quite a lot. Who knows what develops during rehearsals, sound checks etc. They could very well be experimenting and improvising then. I realise very well that's also speculation, but it's a possibility. It was reported (Henry's site) that Howe and Davison had been writing together for instance and since they both live in different areas of the world and Davison hasn't been undertaking any trips, presumably the writing has been happening on tour.
    The same creative activities could have taken place for YesF during their touring cycles.
    Last edited by josuev80; 1 Week Ago at 09:48 AM.

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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    I believe if they had the songs, they would make a record. Apparently they didn't have an adequate batch of songs for Fly From Here so they drafted Horn and Downes and got some new material there in addition to the leftover from the Drama era. They didn't quite have the songs but put out Heaven and Earth anyway. Howe understands this and does not want to put out something without some songs which he likes. If they were to put out a collection of various ideas from the members but no strong songs, everyone would be disappointed.

    I've seen this comment in numerous interviews "Yes moves at its own pace", which is really a non-answer. They might want to think about a more substantive response, even if it's "We have not discussed it" etc.
    True

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    SR Mega Yesfan Mr. Holland's Avatar
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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    Quote Originally Posted by josuev80 View Post
    The same creative activities could have taken place for YesF during their touring cycles.
    Certainly.
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    Re: Billy Sherwood Talks #Yes50, ‘Topographic Drama’ and a Tribute to Chris Squire

    I enjoyed reading post #10, agreeing on almost every point being made.

    The thing is that I could well understand and even support Howe being hypercritical and striving for excellence, like he has been not only now, but also on previous albums, if his writing and playing contributions to H&E had been excellent.
    Only they weren’t, in fact they were the opposite IMO.
    The Howe-playing-the-odd-note-here-and-there-and-not-writing option is becoming more and more appealing to me...

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