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    Jay’s future with Yes

    What do we think? It was a strange move to have him play only percussion on The Quest. What else could it mean than easing him into the band?
    Next album Jay on drums and Alan percussion? But I guess it makes sense and he could certainly spice the band up, which it needs IMO.

    #2
    Less hangin' out in the ping pong room and more tub thumpin'.

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      #3
      I wouldn't necessarily read a lot into it, other than maybe he's helped them out live, they all like each other and enjoy playing together, and felt he could add some colour or textures, to some extent. And likely as they're hoping to hit the road at some point, he'll likely be the main drummer for most of the shows, and if they're planning to play some of the new material, it'll help to have him way more aware of and invested in it. Or they're all lying and he laid down more of the core drums than they want to let on… I'll assume it's entirely Alan's call, how long he feels he wants to keep doing this; it doesn't seem like anyone is pushing him out, certainly given what he brings to the band legally, credibility-wise, historically, and just atmospherically. Bluntly, he's keeping the band from being "Steve Howe and Friends", as the longest-serving continuous member of the band. But also bluntly, Yes without Alan White could continue with Jay. Yes without Steve Howe, right now, I think is done. In the sense that there's no obvious replacement (no, it wouldn't be Rabin) who could take on being the frontman role. (If nothing else, Spinal Tap shows us how easy it is to replace the drummer but not the guitarist… sucks, drummers!)

      Comment


        #4
        We all love Alan White. He's a legend. He'll be playing with in some capacity as long as he wants to be and is able to, and rightfully so.

        However, beginning in 2016, it began to get more and more obvious that the guy was never going to play full sets every night on extended tours again and, while health is a funny thing that sometimes goes up and down suddenly and doesn't necessarily decline in a straight line, it's obvious where the trend line is going with Alan, much as we love him. I was on record with The Quest as saying that the way I would have handled it would have been to have a session drummer like Jay Schellen (or actually Jay Schellen) handle most of the hard drumming, and let Alan do some of the slower stuff, maybe play piano on a song, contribute to the ideas for the songs (He isn't necessarily the best writer of entire songs, but he has great ideas for cool twists to basically existing songs others bring to the table, which is a hugely valuable trait in terms of taking a song from good to great), etc..

        As it turned out, The Quest was way more mellow than I anticipated (I wouldn't have made it nearly that mellow, personally, but I still enjoy the album), and Alan did better with the drums than I anticipated. However, this will be more and more of an issue unless he magically comes back playing like he was decades ago thanks to the downtime during the pandemic (Although, really, all that time off is just as likely with an older person to get them too far out of the habit and the physical shape to handle the rigors of touring, including the travel and off-stage stuff, as it is to rest someone and rejuvenate him.).

        I do think Jay deserved to be on the album and get an album credit (Both of which happened, the former to a limited extent). While he is not officially part of the band, he's been with them touring for over five years, and is at an age himself where he can't be said to be looking for his big break or something. He's around 60 years old, this is it. He's not a young guy you can exclude from things and figure he'll be on albums (for Yes or someone else) and get credits down the road in his career. There isn't likely a down the road for him musically, at least not a far down it. I'm not saying they owed it to him to put him on there and give him the credit (There are plenty of professional touring musicians, which is his primary role with Yes, who never get put on studio albums or receive a credit on studio albums.), but I'm glad that they chose to do so. It's a nice thing to do in recognition of his services.

        I was at Jay's first concert with Yes in 2016 and was extremely impressed at his he handled Drama and half of Tales from the Topographic Oceans only eight days after he was offered the gig. Over the five years since then, I felt like over time he wasn't drumming quite as hard and was slowing up at a tad relative to what we heard out of the gate- still acceptable, but maybe the beginning of that slide drummers have. Maybe that's just how Steve Howe wants him to play the songs. Who knows? Still acceptable. I appreciate his drumming with Circa: (HQ), World Trade (Euphoria), and Arc of Life (self-titled) as well, among other things he's done.

        The thing is, if the band sees itself continuing long-term and being around in ten years, even as a possibility, I am not sure that Jay Schellen is the guy you want as Alan White's protegee. They are barely not in the same generation and are both of an age (Though Schellen is younger than White) where drummers on average seem to start to decline precipitously (Something we've already seen some of with Alan). Honestly, what I would do is hire a 20-something or 30-something who could pound the drums to the moon and serve as the main drummer (In reality, even though Alan would initially likely still be the credited member of the band and he'd be the touring drummer, or they'd both be credited) and Alan's protegee, do the faster harder (as opposed to softer, not as opposed to easier) more up-tempo parts and tracks on the albums, etc.. And then when Alan retires, the new younger guy in his prime has hopefully from the other members, from Alan, and from independent study, gotten the precision and expertise needed to play Yes music well, and can combine that with his raw talent and youth.

        At this point, much as I love some of Jay's playing, he strikes me more as the guy you get for the next tour because you need someone you trust who knows and can handle the material than as the guy you bring along to replace your aging drummer eventually. Jay is an aging drummer, too! Okay, technically, all drummers are aging drummers, but you guys see what I'm saying. If they were doing long-term planning, these non-band touring musicians and session musicians that they work with frequently and are sort of setting up as heirs apparent would be younger. And since I want Yes to be around a long time putting out new albums, I think I would consider a younger guy, with all apologies and due respect to Jay, who's done a great job.

        I only go older at this point if it nets the band a name that will help it continue in terms of selling tickets. For example, if Carl Palmer wanted to join Yes, that would more than make up for whatever ticket sales you lose from Alan White's eventual retirement- and you basically can't say no to that (Mike Portnoy might also fall into that category- or even a Taylor Hawkins- though I doubt they'd be willing to do it as more than a cameo on a track on an album or as a surprise at a tour stop or something.). However, if we're talking about a choice between guys who don't have that kind of star power and are just random names to the average person buying tickets and albums, I'd go with a younger guy.

        I'd also have a young multi-instrumentalist who can do harmonies playing rhythm guitar, and stepping up to play lead guitar and Trevor Rabin vocal parts on anything Steve doesn't want to do but agrees that the band can play. I would be looking for someone who's able to handle or seems likely to be able to handle Howe parts as well as Rabin parts after he spends some time with the band, though, because I'm be grooming him as Steve's potential heir apparent as well as utilizing him to fill present-day needs in the band. A good songwriter would be a plus. Obviously, again, there, any requirements as to age go out the window if you can get a name player who is a huge draw.

        The song writing stuff and a desire to make new Yes albums would be important to me for anyone the band is looking at to do more than what they are initially hired for and potentially be a long-term member of the lineup. I'm an album guy. I realize that touring is their bread and butter and they are always going to look to people who want to and can handle doing that, but I'd also like to see potential future contributions to albums as a possibility. I'd love to see Yes come out of the box at some point (Maybe proving themselves after Alan and/or Steve retire, but right now with the current lineup would be cool, too) and start doing new studio albums every two years like clockwork for a while.
        Last edited by downbyariver; 01-19-2022, 09:58 PM.
        "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

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          #5
          If YES had half a brain they would co-opt Chris Braide into the band. Problem solved. A masterful pop-prog songwriter to propel the next 6 albums. Add Taylor Hawkins for added star power. Never thought I'd see him sing an Andy Gibb song so well. Get him in there, Juano. Dude who plays guitar for DBA can come in too. Leaving Geoff as the old man in the group.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Gilly Goodness View Post
            If YES had half a brain they would co-opt Chris Braide into the band. Problem solved. A masterful pop-prog songwriter to propel the next 6 albums. Add Taylor Hawkins for added star power. Never thought I'd see him sing an Andy Gibb song so well. Get him in there, Juano. Dude who plays guitar for DBA can come in too. Leaving Geoff as the old man in the group.
            Chris Braide would be wonderful also right now in the band, I am saying this since about four years. But we will disagree on one thing, I would like him very much to be the lead singer. He is what I had been imagining for Yes as the lead-singer since Jon Anderson is out. But anyway, I would even be happy with Braide as Co-Leadsinger with Davison.

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              #7
              Chris can sing high notes with a slight Al Stewart twang but Juano can soar in a pure way. Hope Geoff can inveigle him in somehow. But would his ego allow him to be the secondary singer?

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                #8
                Drums and bass are probably the least of the band's concerns going forward.

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                  #9
                  I think its natural for Jay to be the man to replace Alan at some point, after his touring with the band and work on the Quest, but its all Alan's choice if he wants to hang around then I'll be very happy with that choice, he's been there for 50 years now. Truth is it will be extremely hard for Yes to continue without Alan and Steve anyway, the fanbase is already divided and dwindling. I would continue to support a Billy/Jon led Yes but I don't know how many others would, it after all wouldn't be too far from Arc of Life lineup wise.
                  The Definitive YES Albums

                  -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
                  -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
                  -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by soundchaser09 View Post
                    I think its natural for Jay to be the man to replace Alan at some point, after his touring with the band and work on the Quest, but its all Alan's choice if he wants to hang around then I'll be very happy with that choice, he's been there for 50 years now. Truth is it will be extremely hard for Yes to continue without Alan and Steve anyway, the fanbase is already divided and dwindling. I would continue to support a Billy/Jon led Yes but I don't know how many others would, it after all wouldn't be too far from Arc of Life lineup wise.
                    That's a good point about the divided fanbase. I'd like to think that Yes could continue, but I'm not sure how feasible that is.
                    (For me personally, whether I would accept it would depend on whether I liked the music. Minimally, there would need to be strong harmony. Ideally, also some energy in at least some of the songs. This applies to both live performances of existing songs, and hopefully also new songs.)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Gilly Goodness View Post
                      If YES had half a brain they would co-opt Chris Braide into the band. Problem solved. A masterful pop-prog songwriter to propel the next 6 albums. Add Taylor Hawkins for added star power. Never thought I'd see him sing an Andy Gibb song so well. Get him in there, Juano. Dude who plays guitar for DBA can come in too. Leaving Geoff as the old man in the group.
                      Originally posted by PeterCologne View Post
                      Chris Braide would be wonderful also right now in the band, I am saying this since about four years. But we will disagree on one thing, I would like him very much to be the lead singer. He is what I had been imagining for Yes as the lead-singer since Jon Anderson is out. But anyway, I would even be happy with Braide as Co-Leadsinger with Davison.
                      Braide really isn't my cup of tea. I'd still give new Yes albums a chance if Yes added him, just as I would with new music from any new Yes lineup, but I'd prefer that they go in a different direction.

                      I agree that Taylor Hawkins is a strong rock and roll drummer with some star power, and that if he becomes available to Yes thanks to the Jon Davison connection, I think they should go for it. I doubt he would be available to Yes full-time anytime soon unless the Foo Fighters decides to kick him out or disband, though, neither of which seems likely.

                      One thing I was thinking with Hawkins is that his main gig with the Foo Fighters might be less of an obstacle to him also playing with Yes as a side project if one of those scenarios people discuss where a Yes without Steve and Alan can't draw well enough to tour regularly and wind up making new albums from their home studios, doing short tours of small venues, and playing festivals (I don't see Yes' audience declining to that degree in that short a period of time no what the lineup is, but who knows?). He could pretty much contribute to albums wherever he is and no matter what he is doing, and Yes could work most of their gigs in that scenario around what the Foo Fighters are doing, with the occasional unavoidable conflict solved via use of a touring drummer hired just for those select dates (ARW did that with their bass player from time to time).

                      Maybe in a world like that, Yes could even open up for the Foo Fighters on a tour with Hawkins playing both ends of the bill, and the Yes setlist being more focused on the louder rock and roll end of their catalog ("Machine Messiah", "Tempus Fugit", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "It Can Happen", "Yours is Disgrace", etc.) to try to appeal to FF fans and make it less of a strange band match.

                      More realistically, it seems like they could get Mike Portnoy and Taylor Hawkins to do some brief guest appearances. Portnoy could co-write a song and play it for a studio album, and Hawkins could come up and play an existing Yes classic for a live album (Maybe see if he can make 2-3 shows so they can pick the best takes on each segment of the song.). Mike has already said he'd like to do something with Yes sometime, and Taylor is a natural candidate to make a cameo.
                      Last edited by downbyariver; 01-20-2022, 10:22 PM.
                      "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

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I would like to see Jay continue with Yes in any capacity, his drumming style is pretty close to Alan White's stye and is already integrated into the band. If Alan does retire or reduces his playing, then Jay should be the man. Sure there are plenty of other drummers who could do the job, and sure everybody has scenarios in mind (Mike Portnoy, Palmer, get Bruford back, get so-and-so, etc.) - but realistically Jay Schellen most likely would continue with Yes. He could be the one for heavier drumming is Yes ever choose to beef it up a bit, but for now this is the Yes of today. There may be better players, but Schellen seems to have the feel of Alan's style, and may be the only man for the job in terms of someone having the Yes soul - in the same way Billy may be the only man for the job on bass. Being a great or flashy player isn't as important as having the feel, and the Yes soul or spirit - which Jay and Billy do. Only guys for the job.

                        Why only percussion on The Quest? I'm thinking Alan was feeling up for doing main drums and Steve and the others were happy to oblige him. It seems Howe is happier to steer the band in a slightly mellower direction anyway, so it all works out the way it was planned. If Yes wanted heavier material or another 20-minute epic track, I suppose there would have been more Schellen, but that's not where Yes is at today. Like many I also could do with some more punch in Yes, but as far as the Quest goes, I very much enjoy it. For the kind of album it is, it's the 'yacht rock' Yes and doesn't really require any Neil Peart style fireworks in the drum department. That said, I think White's drums and playing sound better and more up in the mix than on Heaven & Earth.

                        I don't think Jay, or anybody, would replace Alan completely. Even if Schellen becomes the main drummer, Alan White will be there in some capacity as occasional drums/percussion/some songwriting, Yes ideas, minor keyboards/piano, lifetime member. It could be compared to the situation in the American pomp rock band Styx. Their original bass player Chuck Panozzo lives with Aides, and of course as a result, can only appear with Styx in a limited capacity: a song or two on any new album from the 2000's-onward or a special guest appearance on a couple encore songs on tour. Health reasons keep him out of most the action, but even though the bass is handled by another player, he's still kept on as an official member - with the freedom to do as little or as much as he feels able to do. And with original singer Dennis Deyoung out of the band - in a somewhat similar Jon Anderson scenario - Styx needs as many links to the old days as possible for credibility's sake. So Panozzo stays on as official member in a forever-friend-of-the-band type unwritten arrangement. The White position in Yes may be similar to that in Styx. Even if he were unable to do much, I believe they would keep him on to do as little or as much as he was able to do. Obviously, Yes seem to care about Alan White and wouldn't be likely to cast him aside the way some other former or even current Yes members may have been. And that link to their past keeps their credibility, and as another post put it, keeps it from being Steve Howe & Friends. So Alan's position will always be secure, and Jay hopefully will continue as his protege.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by downbyariver View Post



                          Braide really isn't my cup of tea.
                          My thesis is, if you want Yes at least to have much more energy and if you want them even to really rock, and as I understood, you do want them to rock - then you should wish for Chris Braide. Downes-Braide-Assocation does not rock so enormously, but I am nevertheless convinced that Braide has that kind of energy and depths in his voice with which Jon Anderson made Yes the best rocking progband and with which he gave the band also subtle energy in more complex and in more quieter sections. Add to that Braides songwriting skils, then you would have the presumably right Anderson-ersatz. It won't happen, but I just regret very much that Yes and Braide won't get together though they were quite close.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Back to Alan. I wasn’t implying that he’ll be pushed out of the band. Whatever his role may be, he will have the final say in that. And let’s hope for an improvement in his health. It’s not impossible. If you’d asked me in 2011 if Jon Anderson would ever regain his voice and be able to perform live with a full band, I’d have said no.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Gilly Goodness View Post
                              If YES had half a brain they would co-opt Chris Braide into the band. Problem solved. A masterful pop-prog songwriter to propel the next 6 albums. Add Taylor Hawkins for added star power. Never thought I'd see him sing an Andy Gibb song so well. Get him in there, Juano. Dude who plays guitar for DBA can come in too. Leaving Geoff as the old man in the group.
                              I'd have loved for either H&E or The Quest to feature a Yessified version of the "Sunday News Suite": add a couple instrumental sections to let Steve and Geoff stretch out, and end with one more return to the amazing "Sunday News" chorus, and a terrific Buggles-y synthpop suite is transformed into a 20 minute+ Yes epic.

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