'Just in it for the money'?: Jon Anderson says Yes has let its fans down

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Jon Anderson, ousted from the band he co-founded in 2008, says Yes is “never going to be the same band” without him.

Yes is actually on its second lead singer since dumping Anderson as he struggled with a bout of respiratory problems. Benoit David toured and recorded with the band through the end of last year, when he too had to leave the road with health problems. Yes subsequently replaced him with Jon Davison, a singer with the American prog rockers Glass Hammer.

Anderson says he’s reached out to Yes, which is still led by fellow co-founder Chris Squire, but that they were more interested in touring than returning to the studio to build on the band’s considerable recorded legacy.

“I’ve told them that since I am healthy again that I would to get back with them,” Anderson said, in an interview with The Dallas Morning News. “I told them that I wanted to create new music, but they don’t want to do that. They just want to go on the road and make money.”

At the time of Anderson’s departure, Yes was in the midst of a decade-long span between studio efforts. Last year, the band finally released the well-received Fly From Here, largely constructed from leftover demos created during the recording of 1980’s Drama, even as Anderson issued both a solo studio album called Survival and Other Stories and a live duo recording with fellow Yes alum Rick Wakeman, The Living Tree in Concert: Part 1.

Some controversy followed David’s departure, when the Canadian singer said he only learned of his own exit from Yes through news reports.

“They don’t care for the integrity of the band,” said Anderson, whose own U.S. tour is ongoing. “I feel they have let a lot of fans down. They’re just in it for the money.”

Here’s a look at our recent thoughts on Jon Anderson, and his future concert dates. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: FORMER YES FRONTMAN JON ANDERSON: Anderson spoke about a broad range of topics – from key musical memories with Yes to the recuperative qualities of painting, and the role the Internet might play in reviving rock music’s long-dormant progressive spirit.

JON ANDERSON AND RICK WAKEMAN: THE LIVING TREE IN CONCERT: PART ONE (2011): Anyone expecting the cosmic prog-rock journeys of this duo’s work as members of Yes must have been a little disappointed — and not just with the spare instrumentation. More striking than the lean, guitar-free musical structures was how intimate, even grounded this concert performance was. If anything, though, this album speaks to both the individual trials and the shared will to overcome for both singer Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman. Each has had to grapple against some terrifying health problems, even as Yes continued on without them.

ONE TRACK MIND: JON ANDERSON, “OPEN” (2011): When Jon Anderson told us earlier in the year that he was writing more “Yes-style music” these days, this — even more than his well-received subsequent solo release — was what most people had in mind: A conceptually epic piece, filled with wonderment, musical twists and a theme as broad as it is hopeful. Quite frankly, this is what Jon Anderson does. And it’s terrifically engaging, after too long spent fitting his muse into the ever-dilating strictures of Yes’ modern-day prog-pop, to hear Anderson doing it again.

JON ANDERSON – SURVIVAL AND OTHER STORIES (2011): Too often, it was like Anderson didn’t want to make a solo record that sounded too much like Yes. As interesting as these sideroads no doubt were, they gave few clues to how his own voice fit into the wider topography of the band. And they often were so idiosyncratic that only the deepest, more committed fans had the will to follow along. That is, until Survival and Other Stories, a rousing return to form that finds Anderson coming to terms with his own storied history, even as he transcends it.

ONE TRACK MIND: JON ANDERSON, “GIVE HOPE” (2007; 2011 reissue): With a pixie choir and this heavenly chant right out of “Meeting (Garden of Geda)” from 1976’s Olias of Sunhillow, “Give Hope” melds the hippified bliss of new age with the orchestral intricacies of classical and just the lightest dusting of twinkly Christmas-morning wonder. Maybe it’s the season (OK, yes, it’s definitely the season), but I fall for it every time.

ONE TRACK MIND: JON ANDERSON ON YES, VANGELIS AND SOLO SONGS: Anderson shares unique insights into some of his more memorable tracks, and a few deep cuts, as well. Go inside the creative process as Anderson and Co. complete the epic Side 1 opener to 1974’s Relayer. Get insights into working with Vangelis, and find out why Anderson made another pass at the closing track from 90125 for a solo project almost 10 years later. And, of course, there are the lasting mysteries of “Roundabout.”

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Jon Anderson’s continuing U.S. tour dates:

3/01/2012 – Carolina Theatre – Durham, NC – www.carolinatheatre.org
3/03/2012 – Parrish Auditorium Miami University Hamilton – Hamilton, OH
3/05/2012 – World Cafe Live – Wilmington – Wilmington, DE – www.worldcafelive.com
3/07/2012 – Theatre of Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA – www.philadelphia-theater.com/theaters/theater-of-living-arts/theater.php
3/08/2012 – Baltimore Sound Stage – Baltimore, MD – www.baltimoresoundstage.com
3/10/2012 – B.B. King Blues Club & Grill – New York, NY – www.bbkingblues.com
3/14/2012 – Infinity Hall – Norfolk, CT – www.infinityhall.com
3/15/2012 – Wilbur Theatre – Boston, MA – www.thewilburtheatre.com
3/17/2012 – Narrows Center For The Arts – Fall River, MA – www.ncfta.org

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The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
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  • Sara Lubinski

    I presume Jon isn’t making money from touring as he seems to regard being paid for performing as some sort of sin.

    • Majesty

      Sara,you sad pathetic woman. Talk about missing the point. u sure “Sara” isnt just an alias for Chris or Steve? Im almost sure its Chris.

      Chris,Steve and Alan. Ive loved you since I first heard you….but what your doing is ********.

      is this really happening?

      here is the guilding light of Yes TELLING us he would like to get back together with the boys and write NEW music. I got goose bumps!!! Only if.

      its all about money and greed with those three. its so sad. so very,very sad.

      Jon,please make it work with Rabin and Rick. Please!!!! and you know if you feed Bill a stem or two, he would join. Its really what our world needs.

  • brian t

    It’s a sad fact of the music business today that touring & merchandising is really the only way to make money. Chris & co. know they can’t do it forever, so I don’t really blame them for trying to reach as much of the world as they can e.g. Indonesia. I just wish they weren’t quite as (apparently) Machiavellian about it. They could take a leaf from King Crimson’s book on how to manage a band’s legacy without touring – but if Robert Fripp is right, that’s also a lot of work.

  • Majesty

    and I know it should have been ” what you’RE doing is ********”

    you just have me worked up over here!

    No Jon= No Yes

    id rather listen 2 Oprah queef.

  • Majesty

    opps I meant “Guiding Light”

    Brian. it is the sad fact. but if they managed their money wisely, they would give those that supported them all these years, what they want…and thats NEW MUSIC written and performed by the same men who wrote the epic masterworks. They indeed are ******* on the legacy. Zero Integrity. how they did this to Jon blows my mind. Bruford new this 40 years ago about Chris.

  • Yeah, Anderson and Squire have a lot of issues to work out and I’m pretty sure each of them is lying about the other. Wouldn’t be the first time. Whatever. I don’t listen to Yes for the personalities. The only new music Yes performed as a band with Anderson after Magnification was one song by Anderson (“Show Me”) and one by Squire (“Aliens”), each of which was absolutely terrible. I like the band whose jams resulted in “Into the Storm” a lot better than the band who squeezed out those turds.

    For my tastes, Yes is better off without Jon Anderson currently. “Fly From Here” seems to indicate he was holding them back, resulting in horrifically dull albums like “Magnification” and years of endless greatest hits tours because they didn’t believe in their new material. Let me know how “Open” sounds when Anderson does it live. I won’t hold my breath, though.

    I don’t listen to bands when they become nostalgia factories, which is why I didn’t see Yes with Benoit David before the new album appeared. Jon Anderson, with or without Rick Wakeman, is a nostalgia factory. Yes without Anderson is a somewhat different band, but one which has so far produced two amazing albums. I just hope Jon Davison gets along with Trevor Horn so we get a third.

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