Chris Squire talks about the prog-rock band's longevity and its annual snub by the Rock 'N Roll of Fame.
By actual count, 18 musicians and singers have transited through the lineup of Yes, the pioneering progressive and symphonic rock band that began stirring up the musical pot when Chris Squire and Jon Anderson formed the group in 1968.
Squire, whose melodic and contoured playing made him one of the most influential bass guitarists of early British prog rock bands, wonders how it might sound if everyone who passed through the band got together to play.
For that to happen, though, it would have to be a very special occasion, and Squire has already identified that potential moment in the future.
“Maybe on the day when they induct us into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, if that ever happens,” Squire says with a rueful laugh.
For reasons known only to Rolling Stone magazine publisher Jann Wenner, a co-founder of the rock hall, Yes has consistently been ignored when the inductees are announced each year.
“It’s a question I’ve long given up asking,” Squire says. “I just think there’s a bias against progressive rock there and always has been. Occasionally, they make a token kind of nod to it. I mean, they put Genesis in there a couple of years ago. But it’s still quite amazing to me that Chicago and The Moody Blues aren’t in there yet.”
Yes is in good company on the rock hall’s exclusion list. Other best-selling and influential groups and artists who have clearly earned a ticket to the hall — but have consistently been denied a boarding pass — include The Doobie Brothers, KISS, The Monkees, Linda Ronstadt, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Jethro Tull and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
“I think it has a lot to do with [Wenner’s musical] tastes,” Squire theorizes. “But who knows?”
Not that Squire, 64, is losing any sleep over the snub. He’s quite content that Yes is still together and considered a relevant musical force after more than four decades. Frankly, it’s a run that far exceeded his expectations.
“I had no idea back in ’68 that Yes would still be a viable unit 44 years later,” he says during a recent phone call ahead of the band’s Friday night (July 13) gig at the Tropicana, where it will share the bill with fellow ’60s British band Procol Harum.
“If we had a career as long as The Beatles, which was visibly from ’63 to ’69, I thought that would be a really long career at that time,” he adds. ”So the fact that Yes is still going now is incredible, really.”
Squire and Anderson, who has come and gone several times as lead singer, formed Yes out of a combination of frustration and necessity.
A former choir boy who dropped out of high school to pursue a music career, Squire, who considers everyone from Simon & Garfunkel to The Beatles to The 5th Dimension as his earliest influences, played with several bands and began developing a style of bass playing that didn’t conform to what most musicians and bands considered typical for the instrument.
He couldn’t get session work because most musicians hated the way he played. So he and Anderson assembled Yes so they could develop the individual styles of the members of the group.
“It’s a shame, really, because progressive rock ... has been a really integral part of [American music], and I don’t understand why they miss that in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
Alan White: “We’ve also got a lot of stalwart fans who I’m sure include people who have seen Yes shows 50 or 60 times. I had a guy come up to me at the start of this tour and tell me ‘This is my 80th show.’ I thought, oh my God, you’ve got to get a life, guy.”
Chris Squire isn’t getting his hopes up just yet. But the only original member still working with the 1960s rock band Yes admits it’s probably just a matter of time before his long-running group is finally voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Last March, members of the British progressive rock band Yes announced plans to celebrate the band's 40th anniversary with its first North American tour in five years. The tour was to feature the gro...
Jon Anderson has one of the most recognizable and memorable voices in rock 'n' roll. His soaring falsetto, whether with his band Yes or in one of his many side projects, has always made for a captivating musical presence. For the first time since 1982, Anderson is touring as a solo act, and fans in Atlantic City will have a rare opportunity to see the performer singing a more intimate set at Trump Marina. Whether wailing away over epic rock jams, spacing out to New Age soundscapes or going rootsy with Celtic traditional music, Jon Anderson has made consistent and significant contributions over four decades of music. Entitled the Work in Progress Tour, this outing takes Anderson on a worldwide solo tour and is every bit a one-man show. A variety of the instruments will be hooked up to an electronic system that will cue animations, films, lights and other images. There is a method to this madness however, as the visual elements reflect Anderson's appreciation of Chakra color healing, an ancient Indian healing system based on vision. He will be performing hits from all eras of his career - as a solo artist, with Yes, and with such collaborators...
Between Friday and Monday, Atlantic City will experience the single biggest weekend of entertainment the town has ever seen, and with the most demographically diverse collection of artists, too. Few cities anywhere can match the quality, quantity and calibre of shows this weekend, if ever.
The new show, Massey explains, more closely resembles the “sit-down” performances Blue Man Group presents in cities where they’ve been featured for years, including New York, Boston, Orlando and Las Vegas.
“It was never meant to be a competition. It was only meant to be an extension of the first 'My Life' album, because there is no competition for the first 'My Life' album.”