‘The fans have been great’: Original Yes guitarist Peter Banks’ remains finally set to be released

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The long-time manager of Peter Banks says his body is finally being released, and he hopes arrangements can move forward for cremation by Friday — more than two weeks after the original Yes guitarist suddenly passed.

George Mizer confirms in an exclusive talk with Something Else! Reviews that the coroner’s release papers have been signed by Banks’ ex-wife Cecilia Quino, though she was at first reluctant to do so — leaving Banks in limbo. Next, documentation needs to be completed with the funeral home, where cremation will take place.

[MARCH 24, 2013 UPDATE: Manager George Mizer is planning a celebration of the life and legacy of Peter Banks, after a lengthy struggle to complete the original Yes guitarist’s final arrangements.]

Mizer, and Banks’ friend and sideman Nic Caciappo, leapt into action last week, as Banks’ body remained in the morgue while this paperwork snafu was sorted out. Each reached out to fans and friends through email, message boards and other channels, in the hopes of raising enough money to complete Banks’ arrangements and disburse his estate. Mizer said he hoped that if these initial costs were handled, perhaps Quino would release the body.

“The fans have been great with donating a few bucks to help with the final arrangements,” Mizer told us. “I believe the problem with Ceci, Pete’s ex-wife, was that she was in shock and disbelief.”

Many were, in fact, as Banks’ death at 65 sparked an incredible outpouring of tributes. Over the weekend, Yes set up a special page on Facebook for fans to share memories. Original Yes lead singer Jon Anderson was also said to be involved in helping Mizer.

A fund has been set up through PayPal at TheMiz@PeterBanks.Net, though donors are reminded that their funds must be marked “personal” rather than as a “purchase,” in order to avoid additional fees being taken from the donation.

Mizer has also placed a selection of rare Banks albums on eBay, in another effort to raise funds. (Click the hyperlinks below to purchase.) Copies are available in the U.S. only, for $10 plus shipping.

They include 2002’s Reduction, best described as a combination of the synthesized sounds of Robert Fripp’s Exposure and Adrian Belew’s beat-box experiments; 1999’s Instinct; and (perhaps most interestingly) a mint-condition 1993 repressing of Flash’s 1973 album Out of Our Hands, the group’s underrated concept-album finale.

Banks, who died on Thursday, March 7, 2013, was part of Yes’ first two albums, before going on to success with Flash and as a solo artist in the early 1970s. He was at work on a new Flash concert project when he didn’t show up for scheduled studio time. Banks was found at his North London home, the victim of an apparent heart attack.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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  • John Steele

    After reading George’s plea (and having Anne-True Believer from Yesfans) putting it on Facebook, i posted the link on Yesfans and saw a wonderfully successful response happen.
    The 1st YES album will always be my favorite as it was the beginning of my long affection for the music that has followed. I also saw ‘Flash’ perform at ‘The Whisky A’Go Go’ in Hollywood when they toured the 1st LP. I feel very fortunate to have seen Peter perform and as i know the ‘Ambrosia’ boys, he would have had a splendid run with them, had that materialized.

  • R. W. Tompkins

    Thanks to Mr. Mizer for making the Out of Our Hands CD available. I owned the original LP and it wore out as the years passed and completely fell from my memory.
    Very happy to have this opportunity to re- acquire this great album and help Peter Banks at the same time!

  • Chuck Stack

    Well Done, George! We are all cheering for you, thank you, Nic and all fans for helping to make Peter’s passing handled with the dignity he deserves!

  • cyril

    Shame it’s always about money, having a whip round, is surely not a way to bury a man.