Billy Sherwood keeps adding stars to his upcoming prog rock, Supertramp tribute projects

Billy Sherwood is in the final mixing stages on a pair of new guest-packed recording projects, one an original prog rock effort and the other a tribute to Supertramp.

And he’s still adding additional stars to the sessions, bolstering a terrific list that already included John Wetton (Asia, UK, King Crimson), Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, King Crimson), Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Styx, Dixie Dregs), Steve Morse (Deep Purple, Dixie Dregs, Kansas) and Rick Wakeman, a former member of Yes. Just today, Sherwood confirmed that Rod Argent (famous for the 1970s hit “Hold Your Head Up”) is on board for the Supertramp tribute, as well.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Every one remembers Supertramp's hit-making era in the late 1970s. There were other times, however, when we wanted to tell them: "goodbye, stranger."]

Last week, Sherwood — himself a 1990s-era Yes album — was mixing vocals from Alan Parsons for the original “The Technical Divide,” and from XTC alum Colin Moulding on Supertramp’s “It’s Raining Again.” David Sancious, who has played with the E Street Band, Stanley Clarke and Peter Gabriel, is also on “Divide,” which Sherwood described as “the Beach Boys meets Pink Floyd with a Yes twist, of course.”

Speaking of Yes, original guitarist Peter Banks has also been added to both sessions; he’ll appear on the original “Social Circles” with vocalist Annie Haslam, and with vocalist Richard Page of Mr. Mister fame on Roger Hodgson’s timeless hit “Give A Little Bit.” Toto co-founder Steve Porcaro will be sitting in for the Supertramp tribute, as well, adding piano to “Rudy.”

[SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: Roger Hodgson talks about his long-awaited return to U.S. concert venues, writing with the Wurlitzer and how he willed himself back from a catastrophic injury.]

Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees) will sing “Goodbye Stranger,” and Robby Krieger of the Doors is also playing on Supertramp’s “School.” The original “Buried Beneath” will feature guitarist Steve Hillage and keyboard Larry Fast, who’s played with Peter Gabriel, Foreigner and Hall and Oates.

Sherwood appeared on Yes’ 1991 release Union; toured with the band in support of 1994’s Talk; then co-produced and mixed Yes’ Keys to Ascension and Keys to Ascension 2 projects in 1996-97; was a key creative contributor to the band’s 1997 release Open Your Eyes and played on the subsequent tour; then finally appeared on 1999’s The Ladder and the live document from a subsequent tour, House of Yes.

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Billy Sherwood, and Supertramp. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

ONE TRACK MIND: CIRCA FEATURING YES’ BILLY SHERWOOD AND TONY KAYE, “AND SO ON” (2011): Kaye returns to the Hammond organ — the instrument he was featured on during his last album with Yes, 1994’s Talk — as Sherwood sings with an unguarded abandon while deliriously thumping away on the bass. But it’s Bruhns, perhaps, who surprises the most – somehow combining both the modern edge of Trevor Rabin’s thundering 90125 riffs with the atmospheric intellect of Steve Howe.

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: SUPERTRAMP: Supertramp was many things over its too-brief period of hitmaking — art-rockish proggers, post-Beatle popsters, kinda-classical rockers, memory-defining radio monoliths. There was much to love as they moved, over the course of the early-1970s to the early-1980s, from the esoteric to the very top of the charts — something perhaps hastened by the core group’s relocation to the shiny sunscape of Los Angeles in 1977. What Supertramp never was, at least back then: Forgottable. Which only makes their slide into relative obscurity in the age of the Rehydrated-Classic-Rock-Mega-Reunion-Tour-and-T-shirt Extravaganza all the more head-scratchingly curious. If it pleases the court of public opinion, your friends over at SomethingElseReviews.com are here to plea Supertramp’s case.

ONE TRACK MIND: BILLY SHERWOOD, “LIVING IN THE NOW” (2011): Sherwood remains more than the sum of his Yes years. Across the breadth of What Was The Question?, as on his denser concurrent efforts alongside fellow Yes alum Tony Kaye in the band Circa, Sherwood dabbles in the weird impressionism of early Genesis, and the crinkly nerve of Jeff Beck. There are layer upon layer of multi-tracked vocals, straight out of the sun-drenched school of Brian Wilson. And the offbeat yet catchy compositional verve of those unjustly forgotten prog-rockers UK — fitting, since Sherwood produced John Wetton’s 2011 solo project, and has Wetton as a guest on this album’s “Delta Sierra Juliet.” That’s not to mention the thundering improvisational references to Weather Report.

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Something Else!

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  • Nat

    Having Billy Sherwood from Yes doing a tribute to Supertramp feels really strange to me. Why is a Yes member doing a tribute album? It feels like he is just trying to cash in on the good songwriting of Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies. If it’s such a tribute to Supertramp, has Billy even asked Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson how they feel about his tribute album? Cause I haven’t seen any interviews where Billy Sherwood even talks about how the two co-founders and song writers of Supertramp feel about this.

  • Ellen Elders

    Yeah,I want to hear from Rick Davies & Roger Hodgson. Do you know what they have to say about this? Did Billy Sherwood approach them and say I want to do a tribute of your songs and I have so much respect for you as artists and song writers?

    I haven’t seen any interview, where Billy Sherwood is talking to them about it. I’ve seen a few concerts of Roger Hodgson recently and to me it’s totally like seeing Supertramp and to see the original songwriter and composer and signature voice perform his own art is truly something that people check off your “book it” list. I think Billy Sherwood should stick to Yes songs and his own songs and not try to be a copycat of other big bands and leave the tribute bands to the true fans of Supertramp.

  • S. Victor Aaron

    Guys, you realize that Hodgson and Davies are getting some royalty money coming their way…not to mention more recognition…as a result of Sherwood’s tribute project, right? A tribute, that’s when someone’s being honored. That’s a good thing.

  • John B

    I agree with Nat. The other thing that feels untrue to me about it being called a tribute, is that tribute bands are usually done by fans, fans that truly love a band’s songs and music and Billy Sherwood has been a member of Yes and doesn’t strike me as a true fan of Supertramp. So it feels like a farce to me to call it a tribute.

    The other thing I don’t like about it is he is treating Supertramp like they are dead, and they are not. All the Supertramp members are still alive and Roger Hodgson is doing a Breakfast In America world tour and his shows are amazing.
    .

  • Reverend Ebineser

    It’s clear from another Interview that I just read with Billy Sherwood that he is not a huge Supertramp fan.

    Interviewer: How did you get the idea of recording a tribute to Supertramp album, after working on other tributes to Pink Floyd, Queen, AC/DC and Stevie Ray Vaughan? Is Supertramp one of your favorites band ever?

    BILLY: I don’t pick the projects, it is the label that does that… That said, I did strongly suggest Supertramp, great material and I knew it would attract great artists to participate.

    THAT SAID, I went onto Roger Hodgson’s website to check out his current tour schedule and found his new CD – Classics Live and downloaded it from iTunes. It’s awesome and is a compilation of his classic hits – recorded by the original composer and singer himself! His voice is still amazing and his songs are indeed timeless:)