‘People find out. It isn’t that easy': Original singer Jon Anderson on the difficulties of fronting Yes

Jon Anderson says he completely understands the difficulties that replacement vocalist Benoit David had in taking over. Yes’ founding frontman says he spent decades developing the needed stamina.

“Over the years, I developed very strong vocal power — so that I could sing for two hours, three hours sometimes with the band,” Anderson tells Rich Lynch, during his internet show Rockin Rich on the Radio via SoundPress.net. “So when young guys come in, they think they can do it, but quite honestly it’s not that easy to sing for such a long time with a band that volume-wise is pretty loud. I can understand; they thought: ‘Yes, we can do this, no problem.’ Then you go in and try it, and realize it isn’t that easy. I spent years, and years and years, developing strong vocals, strong lungs, to be able to sing very powerfully all the time. People find out. It isn’t that easy.”

David replaced Anderson in 2008, after Anderson suffered a series of ailments. Over the next four years, David toured incessantly with the band, performed on two albums — a live project and Yes’ long-awaited studio effort Fly From Here. But by late 2011, David was reportedly suffering from respiratory problems.

The band scuttled the final leg of an on-going European jaunt in December of last year, then ultimately replaced David when he was likewise unavailable to perform for a series of shows in New Zealand and Australia back in April. Jon Davison, frontman with the American prog outfit Glass Hammer, has now stepped in for David with Yes.

Meanwhile, Anderson has fully recovered from his own health issues, which included some breathing problems, and has issued a trio of albums since 2010 — two with fellow Yes alum Rick Wakeman (one live and one in studio), as well as 2011’s well-received Survival and Other Stories. He tells Lynch that he is feeling better than ever.

“I think I do more singing now than I ever did with Yes,” Anderson says. “When I was with Yes, I’d sing some, and then the band would play some, and then I would sing and the band would play. I used to spend more of my time playing percussion, or playing guitar — just having a good time.”

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