Jon Anderson Interview
SECONDS: Discuss the early psychedelic years of Yes.
ANDERSON: It was an amazing time because at the time Yes started, Zeppelin started. Deep Purple, ELP, genesis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report - there was alot of great music going on. In so many ways it was like an incredible explosion of music ideology. Whatever way you turned you would find Zappa, you would find Pink Floyd - you were busy buying people's albums because it was so damn exciting. The only music I buy now is World music, ancient Chinese music, South American Salsa band music. I don't buy modern Rock & Roll because there isn't that explosion anymore in terms of music prowess. at the time, in the late 60s, early 70s, there was a lot of musicianship around. King Crimson were around at that time. It was an amazing period. To watch a band perform great music, you want to do better. you do battle with record companies, you do battle with the business because you're a par t of the avant-garde, your part of the revolution of music. Today, we're still pushing the revolution, we're not letting go. Whoever gets into the music is in for life.
SECONDS: What was Yes initially a reaction to?
ANDERSON: At that point in time, we'd all been in bands for four or five years each. So we'd done everybody's music. We done The Beach Boys, The Beatles, the Stones, the Who. We copied everybody. When we got together we were a fusion of all those things and we were ready to leave to be more adventurous.
'Yes' album sleve
At the beginning of 1969, I was asked as were all Melody Maker writers to pick two groups who I thought would make it in the following year.
One of my choices was Led Zeppelin. A bit obvious perhaps, but then we all like to back a winner occasionally.
The other was Yes. I'd just heard them in a London discotheque where all too often the groups tend to be over-amplified and under-talented.
Yes were not. They had much more than the usual wall-paper music sound. There was life, viritity and musicianship in their approoach. They had a superior vocal sound - assured, clear and harmonic. They knew what they were doing and did it with style. It showed in their own songs and imaginative arrangements. It all shows on this, their first album.
So Yes became my other choice. My second runner in the Great Group-Most-Likely-To-Make-It Stakes. And my money is on them! Natuarally I've watched them with special interest - at the Marquee, The Speakeasy, in concert with Janis Joplin and Cream. Totally convinced after these events, my choice is confirmed.