Though Yes will be busy with a spate of touring in support of 2011's "Fly From Here" and the new concert album "In The Present: Live From Lyon," bassist Chris Squire is also preparing to roll out his long-gestating collaboration with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett.
Squackett, as the duo has dubbed itself, is planning a spring release for its debut album, which Squire tells Billboard.com "is going to surprise a few people, I think."
"Interestingly enough, I didn't really know much about Steve apart from the fact he was in Genesis until we got together in 2006 for the 'Chris Squire's Swiss Choir' album," the Yes man says. "After that we started writing together, and then I realized Steve actually was a pretty good singer. Our voices blend really, really well, so there's quite a bit of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young-type harmony stuff on the Squackett album as well as some pretty heavy-duty bass and guitar playing. It's a lot of good elements, and it sounds very good."
Squire says he and Hackett have talked about taking Squackett on the road in the fall to promote the album, with a repertoire that will also dip into their respective solo releases. "We're going to have more than enough material for a good Squackett show," Squire says. "We'll base the tour around the album, of course, but we'll also be able to do things that haven't been done before. I'd be able to do 'Fish Out of Water' (his 1975 solo album) material; it's never really been done live except for specialty occasions. Steve wants to do some things he worked on as well, and I'm on his new album ('Beyond the Shrouded Horizon'), so that would fit nicely as well." Squire also appears on Hackett's 2009 release "Out of the Tunnel's Mouth."
Prior to Squackett activity, however, Squire has plenty of Yes commitments. The group hits Australia for three shows in April, and he says Yes will be back in North America this summer, this time playing more of the "Fly From Here" album -- including the title suite -- than it did during its 2011 tour with Styx.
"We're planning on doing a more 'Fly From Here'-concentrated set for the U.S.," Squire says. "I know our U.S. fans will want to hear the live versions of the 'Fly From Here' material, and of course we've had quite a bit of time to practice in Europe last year. And probably by the time we get to the U.S. we may even add a couple more of the songs. It's been a long time since we've been out there playing new material, and we have really enjoyed that. Of course we still enjoy playing the Yes standards as well, but it's great to have a bit of a challenge and pull off new material."
Fans wanting a bit of the old, however, can check out "Live From Lyon," which was recorded during 2009 in France with the short-lived lineup that included new Yes frontman Benoit David and former keyboardist Rick Wakeman's son Oliver in his father's stead. Wakeman was subsequently bounced for the returning Geoff Downes for "Fly From Here." Squire says "Life From Lyon" was initially conceived as a 3D concert film, which he says the group still hopes to release in the future. "We're sort of waiting 'til they've got the whole 3D TV thing without glasses, which I'm told is on the horizon," he says. "In the meantime we wanted to get it out there, because that was a very good version of the band and a very good performance, I think."
Squire says he hopes to get another Yes studio album in motion sooner rather than later, "with the same group and Trevor Horn," the onetime Yes singer (and Downes' Buggles bandmate) who produced "Fly From Here." As for Anderson's public criticisms of "Fly From Here," Squire notes that, "I know he said he didn't care for the album, but he wasn't involved. Nobody expected he'd get the same enjoyment out of it that we are." Squire also maintains that he's "never ruled out the idea of working with Jon again...but right now the task at hand is promoting 'Fly From Here,' and it definitely will be for this year."