Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
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Yes has had many different members over the years, but bassist Chris Squire has been with them from the beginning. He’s the only guy to appear on every Yes album released.
The most recently added members include Oliver Wakeman (Rick’s son) on keyboards, and Benoit David taking over the singing duties for Jon Anderson, who’s been having some medical problems (acute resprotary failure). And how was Benoit discovered? Squire tells me, “He was in a tribute band [Close to the Edge]. I had seen video of him on Youtube or something, and when I closed my eyes, I couldn’t tell the difference between him and Jon. I’m always surprised when there are tribute bands of groups that are still around and touring. There’s a Yes one in England that Steve Howe jammed with once. There’s one in L.A. that’s well respected. They’re called ‘Roundabout’.”
The Chelsea resident has been living in Phoenix for months, after his third wife had a baby three months premature. On one of his many jaunts to San Diego he told me, “Her mom lives in Phoenix, and we needed a place where we could stay with the baby, so we’ve been there for the last four months.”
Because of Squire’s bad experience with drugs, I asked if he preaches to the newer, younger members of the band, on what the dangers can be.
“Yeah, it’s true that I had a bad LSD trip when I was 19. I wouldn’t leave the flat for months, and it was during the introvert part of my life. I woke up in the hospital, but…that recovery, although it kind of took awhile, it got me playing a lot more of my guitar. It kind of solidified my playing and my role. So it had a happy ending, and…who am I to tell anyone what to do regarding those things? I’m dubious about giving advice.”
Squire had a blood clot in his leg last February, which lead to an aneurism. That caused a few cancellations. He told me, “It was during the second leg of a tour on the East Coast. I had to spend two or three days in the hospital, but a month later I was fine.”
When the topic of favorite musicians came up, he talked about his love of bassists John Entwhistle (The Who) and Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and he brought up the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“I don’t know what they have against English prog-rock bands. I swear, I think journalists that work for Rolling Stone have to sign a thing saying they hate those kinds of bands. Yes isn’t in. Genius isn’t in. ELP – no! But the Sex Pistols are there. I don’t know why they don’t look at other things regarding bands. I mean, we were so big in the 70s. We played the biggest concert ever at JFK stadium in Philadelphia, with over 136,000 fans in paid attendance.”
There will be less than a thousand in attendance at their show at Humphrey’s, July 8th. Asia, with all their original members (including Carl Palmer on drums) will be opening.
More like this:
- Yes playing Temecula March 8 with local tribute band frontman at the mic — Jan. 17, 2013
- UCAN: More damning emails surface — Nov. 2, 2012
- Backstage at Humphrey’s with Yes — Aug. 17, 2011
- You're My Chet Atkins — July 7, 2010
- He Should Have Known Better — Nov. 29, 2007