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Q: Steve Howe has no "guitar heir"...Is Yes "done" after Steve's done?

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    #31
    Originally posted by Soundwaveseeker View Post
    If Steve goes for whatever reason, I foresee Jon Anderson coming back. As for Steve's successor, he hasn't worked too closely with another guitarist in terms of taking someone under his wing like Squire/Sherwood. He's precious with his role as guitarist and collaborations with other guitarists are usually competitive (GTR for example - both guitarists had their own developed sound independent from each other). Howe is probably not too interested in 'passing the torch' to another guitarist, even if he gives Yes his blessing to continue. He may even view Yes unworthy to continue past his involvement and view himself as the only valid guitarist for Yes.

    Here's one thought: Steve retires but folds Yes, forbidding it to continue without him. Arc Of Life, with a core of current Yes alumni - once a spin-off Sherwood project and now without the flagship band to compete with - starts to develop more traditional Yes-like material, becoming Yes without the brand name.

    I'm ok with that. Never been too lineup specific, so a 21st century Yes with no original members or members on any classic 70's album is ok by me as long as it feels like Yes. Of course they'll never play the live stuff quite like the 70's members did, so they will be viewed by some as a watered-down Yes, They can't compete with their past. So matching what they did in the 70's or any other era is unlikely. But new pastures - that's my dream scenario. Now is the time to pump out new albums as if there were no old albums to go by. I'm all in for new albums, with Howe or not.

    I'd go for Jimmy Haun for successor, but that's not someone who Howe would choose and I'm sure he doesn't want a successor. To answer the question, I'm not sure if Yes would be done after Howe. I hope it would continue fifty years from now with new generations coming and going and keeping the 'brand' alive. Like a sports team. Nobody from the original Baltimore Orioles is alive playing baseball. Or any team of any sport. But the brand goes on. Walt Disney is long gone, but the films keep coming. As long as certain principles are upheld (and that's a sketchy thing to define, much less agree on) the brand Yes may go on without any member there from its 1970's-1991 heyday.
    The Sports analogy doesn't hold up in my view. Because there is a difference. There are a lot of teams around the world playing basketball forinstance.. And whoever plays, whoever is in a team, the nature of the game remains largely unchanged. That is not the case with a band. Change enough players there and the nature of the band eventually changes.

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      #32
      Originally posted by Soundwaveseeker View Post
      If Steve goes for whatever reason, I foresee Jon Anderson coming back. As for Steve's successor, he hasn't worked too closely with another guitarist in terms of taking someone under his wing like Squire/Sherwood. He's precious with his role as guitarist and collaborations with other guitarists are usually competitive (GTR for example - both guitarists had their own developed sound independent from each other). Howe is probably not too interested in 'passing the torch' to another guitarist, even if he gives Yes his blessing to continue. He may even view Yes unworthy to continue past his involvement and view himself as the only valid guitarist for Yes.

      Here's one thought: Steve retires but folds Yes, forbidding it to continue without him. Arc Of Life, with a core of current Yes alumni - once a spin-off Sherwood project and now without the flagship band to compete with - starts to develop more traditional Yes-like material, becoming Yes without the brand name.

      I'm ok with that. Never been too lineup specific, so a 21st century Yes with no original members or members on any classic 70's album is ok by me as long as it feels like Yes. Of course they'll never play the live stuff quite like the 70's members did, so they will be viewed by some as a watered-down Yes, They can't compete with their past. So matching what they did in the 70's or any other era is unlikely. But new pastures - that's my dream scenario. Now is the time to pump out new albums as if there were no old albums to go by. I'm all in for new albums, with Howe or not.

      I'd go for Jimmy Haun for successor, but that's not someone who Howe would choose and I'm sure he doesn't want a successor. To answer the question, I'm not sure if Yes would be done after Howe. I hope it would continue fifty years from now with new generations coming and going and keeping the 'brand' alive. Like a sports team. Nobody from the original Baltimore Orioles is alive playing baseball. Or any team of any sport. But the brand goes on. Walt Disney is long gone, but the films keep coming. As long as certain principles are upheld (and that's a sketchy thing to define, much less agree on) the brand Yes may go on without any member there from its 1970's-1991 heyday.
      Jon Anderson will be 78 in October, so I doubt it. I'm only 63 and I wouldn't want that.
      Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see.
      Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.

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        #33
        Originally posted by Ash Armstrong View Post

        Jon Anderson will be 78 in October, so I doubt it. I'm only 63 and I wouldn't want that.
        Yes, Jon is three years older than Steve. Steve looks very healthy and things stay that way, then I think he will be doing this for 5 more years before he will call it a day. Jon will be 83 by then.

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          #34
          Originally posted by Mr. Holland View Post

          The individuals or combination of individuals that created Heaven & Earth or The Quest has had a lot less impact on the both creative and commercial succes, and the longlivety of Yes as a band, than those that created Fragile, Close to the Edge, Relayer, Going for the One and 90125 for that matter. So the giving back to the legacy by a new(er) line up is less than the drawing from and it seems that the in-balance in that is becoming bigger with each classic member that either leaves or passes away IMO. I mean it's not like Yes is attracting whole masses of new fans with each new album they make, with those fans coming to concerts especially to hear all this new music.
          I think that's the core of it, and the question going forward: would you want a band (minus Steve in this scenario) playing mostly music from 40-50 years ago that none of the musicians had a hand in writing or playing? If so, is that different from a tribute band, albeit with the official logo? Nothing wrong with a tribute band: you can hear music you love played live, and that's a treat. But is it "live" live, or a time capsule?

          Originally posted by Mr. Holland View Post
          99% of Yes fans have been there for a long long time and those still continuing the ride foremost seem to do so out of a certain loyaty to the band and to the legacy of its music created in its heydays.
          I might quibble over the exact percentage, but sure. Although, as a long-haul fan, I would much rather, in support of the current band (as with any band), prefer they play newer material that the current members actually had a hand in. Yes, I'd rather hear almost anything from The Quest over Roundabout: let them be who they are, playing the music they want to. I'd much rather hear Sherwood's musical ideas than endless overly precise facsimiles of something from a generation or two ago. In that sense, I think it's been a mistake to focus so singularly on legacy material for the last decade, as it's that much harder now to work up material from FFH, H&E (which I'm not even that big a fan of, but still…) and now TQ as part of the repertoire. Say even a third of a concert run time could be for the material Jon, Billy, and Geoff hand a stronger hand in developing, including a couple from Drama and The Ladder.

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            #35
            Originally posted by Homemade Parachute View Post

            I think that's the core of it, and the question going forward: would you want a band (minus Steve in this scenario) playing mostly music from 40-50 years ago that none of the musicians had a hand in writing or playing? If so, is that different from a tribute band, albeit with the official logo? Nothing wrong with a tribute band: you can hear music you love played live, and that's a treat. But is it "live" live, or a time capsule?



            I might quibble over the exact percentage, but sure. Although, as a long-haul fan, I would much rather, in support of the current band (as with any band), prefer they play newer material that the current members actually had a hand in. Yes, I'd rather hear almost anything from The Quest over Roundabout: let them be who they are, playing the music they want to. I'd much rather hear Sherwood's musical ideas than endless overly precise facsimiles of something from a generation or two ago. In that sense, I think it's been a mistake to focus so singularly on legacy material for the last decade, as it's that much harder now to work up material from FFH, H&E (which I'm not even that big a fan of, but still…) and now TQ as part of the repertoire. Say even a third of a concert run time could be for the material Jon, Billy, and Geoff hand a stronger hand in developing, including a couple from Drama and The Ladder.
            I wouldn't mind if 1/3 to 1/2 was new(er) material where current members had a hand in as well.

            The only thing is that I fear we are niche, within what already has become a niche (Yes fans). I got a friend who still goes to the Yes concerts with me. We discovered Yes together at the age of 12. But somewhere in the mid 90s his musical interests developed into other directions and he stopped following Yes so intensely. He knows of later albums and might have heard a song or two, but that's it. His main reason for going to Yes with me is for nostalgia reasons. He loves the 70s albums, the classics. I can say with reasonable certainty that if like 50% was never material, he would stop going. And that's the catch 22 right there. On the one hand they should play more new material to be their own band and be less tied to the heydays. On the other hand they would most probably alienate the majority of their audience with that step, without necessarily adding a big enough new audience to keep the band (financially) viable.

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              #36
              Originally posted by Mr. Holland View Post

              I wouldn't mind if 1/3 to 1/2 was new(er) material where current members had a hand in as well.

              The only thing is that I fear we are niche, within what already has become a niche (Yes fans). I got a friend who still goes to the Yes concerts with me. We discovered Yes together at the age of 12. But somewhere in the mid 90s his musical interests developed into other directions and he stopped following Yes so intensely. He knows of later albums and might have heard a song or two, but that's it. His main reason for going to Yes with me is for nostalgia reasons. He loves the 70s albums, the classics. I can say with reasonable certainty that if like 50% was never material, he would stop going. And that's the catch 22 right there. On the one hand they should play more new material to be their own band and be less tied to the heydays. On the other hand they would most probably alienate the majority of their audience with that step, without necessarily adding a big enough new audience to keep the band (financially) viable.
              That's the dilemma exactly: the band as a going concern, vs. the band as a nostalgia act on the state fair/casino circuit. If Steve leaves, it's hard to see the former continuing, especially if 3/5 of the current band are in another band where they can create original material (and play it live, if that's their thing). But who knows, maybe Arc of Life and Yes merge and become one and the same, or they tour as one and record as another, or tour/record as both… The thing about new recording, esp. for a band like this, is staying within the realm of an "accepted" sound and expectations to keep the current fans happy (ie, it sounds like a Yes album), while also pushing forward. Right now, Steve Howe can do anything he wants, and it's accepted as a Yes album because he holds pretty much all the Yes cards, but if that changes, and a Yes album sounds suspiciously like Arc of Life II(I), is it still Yes?

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                #37
                Several people have brought up the possibility that in this scenario, Steve might retire the Yes name, leaving the remaining band members to continue under a different name (Either a name unrelated to Yes, or with a name that sounds like it's for a Yes tribute band). Among the people who said it, some view it as the ideal, and others do not.

                While I think it's possible that Steve could do that (retire the Yes name with himself.), a possibility that's disturbed me for a long time, I don't think it would be in the best interests of the band. Leaving aside the fact that I very clearly want Yes to continue as Yes and produce new albums indefinitely through any lineup changes that come (and would view them as a legitimate products of Yes provided that the new music still sounded mostly like the Yes), the American touring marketplace may actually demand that they at least tour as Yes (Though I'd hate for Yes to become a touring-only act- please keep the new albums coming as well).

                The surviving member of the Steely Dan duo, when the other guy died, didn't want to tour as Steely Dan, he just wanted to do Steely Dan music under his own name. He now tours as Steely Dan- the promoters basically made him do it if he wanted good venues and good money. They didn't feel his name on it's own was marketable at the level Steely Dan is revenue/venue wise.

                The Little River Band has no original members or members from the 1970s when they were biggest in the US. The lead singer is a guy who joined as a bass player in 1980, and became the lead singer in 1999 (Though he is the original lead singer on an early 80s hit called "Night Owls"- he just wasn't the lead singer of the band back then. He sang on select tracks and added to the harmonies.). I really doubt that group of guys, none of whom are Australian (They only tour North America these days. They're kind of controversial in Australia for obvious reasons.), could book venues without the Little River Band name. They're talented and put on a good show (I even like the three 21st century albums and assorted singles they've done.), but it's clear the drawing card is that they're The Little River Band.

                I guess the counter example here of a band that is not using the name of the band who's song it sings (and isn't playing the music of a band significantly more popular than Yes is in North America) is the Genesis tribute band, The Musical Box. I don't know why that seems to draw crowds that similar tribute acts don't. Part of the early success may have been that they tried to exactly recreate the elaborate stage shows from the Peter Gabriel era that are sort of a spectacle in and of themselves, and something no one had seen in many decades, which many people in North America never got a chance to see because the band wasn't big here back then (Genesis' first album to chart in the US was Selling England by the Pound at #70, and then the album after that, Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, which was Gabriel's finale, charted at #31).

                However, being the group name wise really does seem to make a difference in terms of sales and promotion, the occasional counterexample aside.

                Circa: toured some in it's early going, but only small clubs, and eventually couldn't continue as a touring act. Arc of Life has talked about touring, but hasn't done so yet. Dukes of the Orient envisioned touring, but couldn't get bookings.

                I also feel like it'd be pretty lame to force guys who've been in the real Yes for many years to suddenly start touring as a tribute band as if they are five random guys who worked hard rehearsing in one of their garages when they weren't working their blue collar day jobs. Geoff Downes first joined Yes in 1980, and has been in the band from 2011 onward, having played on four Yes studio albums (With a fifth one in the oven), and actually probably getting close to being the keyboardist who's played the most live gigs as part of Yes (Plus, he's been on every Buggles and Asia album). Billy Sherwood has been involved with Yes on and off in different capacities for over 30 years, has three studio albums as an official member (but was involved with several more), is Chris Squire's handpicked successor, etc.. Jon Davison has been Yes' lead singer for over a decade. Jay Schellen has been the touring drummer for half a dozen years. I mean, these guys are Yes.
                Last edited by downbyariver; 06-16-2022, 10:23 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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                  #38
                  There's a rumour that when he retires he's going to run a hotel in Torquay...
                  Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see.
                  Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.

                  Comment


                    #39
                    Originally posted by Ash Armstrong View Post
                    There's a rumour that when he retires he's going to run a hotel in Torquay...
                    Don't mention Jon Anderson. I did earlier but I think I got away with it....🤣

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                      #40
                      The other thing is that, while Billy Sherwood has proven he can get record contracts for various new groups he's put together in the 21st century like Circa: and Arc of Life, along with his own solo albums, I think a continuing Yes would benefit tremendously sales wise from being Yes and being able to put out Yes albums. Though sales figures aren't public for some of these groups, my guess is that sales of Yes albums dwarf the sales of those other bands, however good they may be (and I generally do think they're very good- I like Sherwood's music a lot, in general, with rare exceptions).

                      I don't think the extent to which existing Yes songs and albums serve as essentially a free 50 plus year publicity campaign for new Yes albums, even though they obviously aren't chart toppers, can be underestimated. It'd seem foolish to throw that away if there is a choice.

                      I also as a Yes fan want new albums in continuity with what came before. Real Yes albums. They need the Yes name for that. Outside that continuity, the albums would still be nice, but would not have that intangible awesomeness that the Yes name lends music. As part of a catalog, it's part of something special.
                      "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


                        #41
                        Originally posted by Mr. Holland View Post

                        I wouldn't mind if 1/3 to 1/2 was new(er) material where current members had a hand in as well.

                        The only thing is that I fear we are niche, within what already has become a niche (Yes fans). I got a friend who still goes to the Yes concerts with me. We discovered Yes together at the age of 12. But somewhere in the mid 90s his musical interests developed into other directions and he stopped following Yes so intensely. He knows of later albums and might have heard a song or two, but that's it. His main reason for going to Yes with me is for nostalgia reasons. He loves the 70s albums, the classics. I can say with reasonable certainty that if like 50% was never material, he would stop going. And that's the catch 22 right there. On the one hand they should play more new material to be their own band and be less tied to the heydays. On the other hand they would most probably alienate the majority of their audience with that step, without necessarily adding a big enough new audience to keep the band (financially) viable.
                        My brother was a HUGE Yes fan. He actually saw The Solo's Tour 76' and said it was the best concert he's ever seen... He has gone to see Yes with me a few times up to the 3 Album Tour. But does he know any of the Rabin stuff? Just songs from the radio. Does he know any of the albums post Talk, or who was on what? No. Does he worship Yessongs, Relayer, and know everything about the 70's Yes? Yes...

                        As far as the band now and into the future, just call it something else, ie "The Steve Howe Yes Experience" or whatever. I have no problem continuing to celebrate the magic music of Yes. But call a spade a spade... I agree regarding the food analogy. You have a "pizza" that once had homemade dough, zesty unique sauce, fresh cheese, fresh basil, and top shelf pepperoni. Now there is a cauliflower crust cheese pizza in the freezer at Walmart. It's still a pizza I guess, but not the same thing at all. Occasionally I can go for the frozen one, but it's just not even close. I am still waiting for the Relayer frozen pizza... LOL. Will it be like 1975? No. But will I enjoy it as much? No, but it will still be fun hearing mostly others perform my favorite album.
                        Last edited by Somis Sound; 06-16-2022, 02:52 PM.

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                          #42
                          I think they should make this last touring dates be in honor of Alan and Chris and call it a day. When Steve does stop playing on the scale of YES they just won't have the power to headline. Hell even Downes prob does not have many years left where he will want to keep touring and touring. Then what do you have? Pipe dreams of Geddy joinging, Roin? Palmer? I think the dream fades and lets just enjoy what was not try to embrace what by then won't be.

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                            #43
                            "There's a rumour that when he retires he's going to run a hotel in Torquay..."

                            BASIL!

                            Comment


                              #44
                              Originally posted by downbyariver View Post
                              I guess the counter example here of a band that is not using the name of the band who's song it sings (and isn't playing the music of a band significantly more popular than Yes is in North America) is the Genesis tribute band, The Musical Box. I don't know why that seems to draw crowds that similar tribute acts don't. Part of the early success may have been that they tried to exactly recreate the elaborate stage shows from the Peter Gabriel era that are sort of a spectacle in and of themselves, and something no one had seen in many decades, which many people in North America never got a chance to see because the band wasn't big here back then (Genesis' first album to chart in the US was Selling England by the Pound at #70, and then the album about that, Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, which was Gabriel's finale charted at #31).
                              Funnily enough, they're like in the exact opposite position from Yes: while Steve Howe's Yes has focussed almost exclusively on the 1970s and avoided their bigger chart hits, Genesis overall has embraced their later period live, and so The Musical Box survives by filling a need, just as a YesWest tribute band might, if they played 90125, BG, some of Talk, and a couple of 70s hits every night.

                              Originally posted by downbyariver View Post
                              I also feel like it'd be pretty lame to force guys who've been in the real Yes for many years to suddenly start touring as a tribute band as if they are five random guys who worked hard rehearsing in one of their garages when they weren't working their blue collar day jobs. Geoff Downes first joined Yes in 1980, and has been in the band from 2011 onward, having played on four Yes studio albums (With a fifth one in the oven), and actually probably getting close to being the keyboardist who's played the most live gigs as part of Yes (Plus, he's been on every Buggles and Asia album). Billy Sherwood has been involved with Yes on and off in different capacities for over 30 years, has three studio albums as an official member (but was involved with several more), is Chris Squire's handpicked successor, etc.. Jon Davison has been Yes' lead singer for over a decade. Jay Schellen has been the touring drummer for half a dozen years. I mean, these guys are Yes.
                              Couldn't agree more, and for me, while I keep harping on the live side of things, a) they haven't exactly been cranking out the studio albums lately (right, JD's been the lead singer/lyricist for over ten years, and all of, what, two songs are in the current setlist?), and b) this is just part of their overall identity/branding now, to play songs from the 70s heyday with a very light smattering of oddball tunes thrown in occasionally. And the problem for me is that yeah, with all the live albums out there, there are some pretty high bars to reach up to for those songs, and I just don't know that they make it. Two solutions to that are to either play a different range of material, which might indeed become an option should Howe retire and the band keep going, or make some radical rearrangements (which Genesis proper has also done, to pack some material into medleys and what not), so that they could at least say "Well, you haven't heard *this* 'Roundabout' before!" We'll see what happens, but if this is who's in the band, I'm just so much more interested in what they can do as a band, not as imitators.

                              Comment


                                #45
                                Originally posted by Homemade Parachute View Post

                                That's the dilemma exactly: the band as a going concern, vs. the band as a nostalgia act on the state fair/casino circuit. If Steve leaves, it's hard to see the former continuing, especially if 3/5 of the current band are in another band where they can create original material (and play it live, if that's their thing). But who knows, maybe Arc of Life and Yes merge and become one and the same, or they tour as one and record as another, or tour/record as both… The thing about new recording, esp. for a band like this, is staying within the realm of an "accepted" sound and expectations to keep the current fans happy (ie, it sounds like a Yes album), while also pushing forward. Right now, Steve Howe can do anything he wants, and it's accepted as a Yes album because he holds pretty much all the Yes cards, but if that changes, and a Yes album sounds suspiciously like Arc of Life II(I), is it still Yes?
                                Arc of Yes?

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