Geoff Downes discusses Yes’ challenges in replacing Jon Anderson: ‘There’s a certain resentment’

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Has Yes finally hit upon a replacement for Jon Anderson who long-standing fans will accept? Geoff Downes think so, principally because Jon Davison has an involvement in the creative process that Benoit David didn’t — and a comfort level that Trevor Horn didn’t.

“Jon Davison was a breath of fresh air for everybody, because he brings in this creativity,” Downes says in a newly posted talk with BackstageAxxess. “He’s a very creative musician; he has a good sense of musicality. And when people see Yes now, there’s a lot more of an acceptance, I think.”

Of course, Geoff Downes was also part of the group on the two previous occasions before 2014’s Heaven and Earth when Yes released albums without Jon Anderson — 2011’s Fly From Here and 1980’s Drama. The former featured Benoit David on a project that was built around leftover from the latter. Drama found future Yes producer Trevor Horn, a long-time bandmate of Geoff Downes’, in a one-project stint as frontman.

“After the Drama tour, he kind of felt like it wasn’t really for him,” says Downes, who was earlier in the Buggles with Horn. “He was getting quite a lot of schtick from the real diehard fans. I think he just got more comfortable being in the studio — which he’s terrific at.”

As for David, who also only lasted for a single studio effort, Downes likewise notes a “certain resentment. … I think that was somewhat misguided, because Benoit did offer a lot. I think he did a very good job on the Fly From Here album.” Like Jon Anderson before him, Benoit David was felled by a respiratory ailment, and Yes moved on to Jon Davison.

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