Interesting 4 page interview with Jem in the latest issue of Prog, covering everything from his dislike of playing live ("What irritates me most about the band is that we're a bit shit live: we're a pub band in many respects." I must have seen a different band then...) to whether it'll be 5 albums and out - or not.
Interesting readers' poll on the greatest keyboard players ever in the latest Prog magazine. Jem was number 29, which was quite respectable given the opposition and that this was a survey of more than just the Frosties (we'd obviously have him far higher!).
One or two anomalies as you always get in such surveys. John Beck (It Bites & Kino) only at 47 and Geddy Lee at 19! Now, Geddy is my favourite bass player but putting him 10 places ahead of Jem as a keyboard player - really?! Even I can play Subdivisions but I can't play Milliontown...
The latest Prog magazine arrived today. There was a photo of Jem at the Prog awards. The page before has an interview with Dec. And who is that being interviewed on the next page, surrounded by Frost* CDs and, of course, Yes' Tales From Topographic Oceans, amongst others? Oh, that'll be TA / MT! And this very forum gets a name check! Many congrats TA (you did tell me in Edinburgh that this was coming but I'd forgotten until now).
"Listen more than you talk. Remind yourself when projects get into a bad place that none of this will matter in six months' time, and you will be alright. Say 'yes' to everything, worry about scheduling later. Make sure your bullshit detector always has fresh batteries in it."
Never mind that being good advice for working in the music industry - I think it is good advice for life!
Just in case you missed this on the main website. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=v3uVBt0nRQQ Lovely sounds. Spoke to JM after the Edinburgh gig and complimented him getting the Satch solo spot on but he was quite modest about it, saying it really wasn't that difficult. However, as this shows, he clearly put a lot of work into getting it all sounding right.
Well, after having seen them last night in Glasgow, I'm pleased to report (to TA and any others who may be interested) that Yes are alive and well, even without Chris Squire and Jon Anderson. They kicked off their latest tour yesterday and it includes all the songs from Fragile and Drama (in their correct album order) plus some surprises (no spoilers!). Drama sounded fantastic (it's where I came in to Yes music) and although Fragile isn't my favourite Yes album (too much solo filler IMO), I now appreciate it more for having heard it live.
It must be said that Steve Howe and Alan White (who inexplicably wore a 'pork pie' hat throughout) are looking quite elderly now but they can both play as well as ever. Geoff Downes was surrounded by 9 keyboards and a set of Moog Taurus bass pedals and he comfortably handled both his own keyboard parts from Drama and the challenging Wakeman parts on Fragile. Jon Davidson sounds impressively like 'the other Jon' (and I actually find him less irritating to watch than JA!).
However, the star of the night for me was Billy Sherwood. OK, I've long been a fan of his work and thought that if anyone could step into Chris Squire's (rather large - in every sense) boots, it would be him. What I didn't know is how the traditionalist Yes fans would take to him – after all, Chris was the only person to have been in every line-up of the band. In short, he totally nailed it, both in terms of the sound and the complex basslines. If anything, Billy has revived the band a bit, as the last time I saw them, it felt a little bit like some old men just playing the same old stuff without much passion. Tracks like Does It Really Happen?, Into the Lens, Tempus Fugit, Long Distance Runaround, and Heart of the Sunrise really showed just how good he is and his bass solo in The Fish earned him a standing ovation. Now that's fan acceptance!
There were a couple of minor hiccups, as you'd expect on a first night, such as Billy being given a fretless bass a song too early, but, much to my surprise, I actually enjoyed last night's gig the most of any Yes gig I've been to (although being 5 rows from the front helped).
In summary, if you are going to any of the forthcoming shows, the band's music is in safe hands and you should have a great time!
Was driving in the car just now and put on Radio 2 to play along with Ken Bruce's Popmaster. First song afterwards was King Crimson's In The Court of the Crimson King! The next but one song was ELP's Fanfare for the Common Man! What's going on?!
Jem, seeing as you're back frequenting this good place, you can hopefully answer this one. I was suffering from uhtceare this morning so plugged into an iPod and put it on shuffle. The title track of EIMA came on and I realised I'd not heard it for a long time through headphones. What struck me was the just how BIG the ending was, with huge massed choirs going on, presumably created by multitracking Dec, Belinda, yourself, JM, etc. Even roughly, how many tracks were you using in Pro-tools for that song?!
Somehow I'd missed this, despite regularly checking their website. 3 dates in August 2015, all in London () , 2 already sold out. Still tickets for the Sunday matinee - got mine! Quick, hurry! http://www.bigbigtrain.com/main/gigs
I went across to the Borders Book Festival in Melrose last night and saw Rory Bremner interviewing Nick Mason about Pink Floyd for an hour or so. He tells a good amusing story and comes across as a very decent likeable chap. He was good enough to have a quick chat and sign some stuff for me afterwards. Which rather got me thinking. Like many of us, I've met quite a few musicians from prog bands over the years but, perhaps with the exception of Steve Hackett, I'd never previously met someone from one of the 'Premier League' prog bands before. So who have people met from the really big prog bands (I'm thinking more virtual household names like Peter Gabriel / Rick Wakeman than you know the cousin of someone who once played bass for Pendragon ) and did they live up to your expectations - or was it a case of 'you should never meet your heroes'?!