Jon Anderson Would Love to Be Involved in Potential Rock Hall Ceremony: 'I Never Felt That I've Left Yes'
Jon Anderson will be happy to serve if Yes is elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's class of 2016 -- even though the group booted him out 10 years ago when he couldn't tour for health reasons.
"That'd be cool," Anderson, who's about to start a tour with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and their AndersonPonty Band, tells Billboard. "It's funny, 'cause I never felt that I've left Yes. Emotionally I'm still in that Yes entity. When we were very, very young as a band I realized that Yes is this thing above us. It's something to do with the energy of who we are musically and not who's in the band. People say, 'What's it like not being in Yes?' and I feel like I'm still in Yes. I'm always thinking Yes music, and the best of what Yes has done is still alive and kicking. 'Heart of the Sunrise' and 'Awaken,' all these songs I was helping to evolve when I was in the band, it's still alive and going. It reaches a lot of people."
Yes has been nominated for a second time this year after previously appearing on the 2014 ballot. Anderson has performed at the Rock Hall before, and during one visit, he recalls, "They walked me around and then they said to me, 'You see that corner over there, Jon? That's for Yes.' I said, 'Well, I'll see you in 10 years...' Y'know when you walk around that place you realize that I'm part of that incredible amount of music, incredible amount of great artists, and my time will come when I'll be there, whether I'm alive or what. I just know that what I did with Yes, what I did with Vangelis and what I've done in my career is part of the sort of jigsaw puzzle of music, isn't it?"
A Yes induction, of course, will be bittersweet after the death earlier this year of bassist Chris Squire, a co-founder and the sole constant member of the group's entire career. "We connected before he passed away," Anderson reports. "I just wanted to thank him more than anything when he got really sick. I just thanked him for being in my life, because without him I wouldn't be doing what I do -- that's the truth. And we both agreed that's what it is, we're musical brothers no matter what."
Anderson will be busy while the Rock Hall votes are being cast and tallied. The AndersonPonty Band -- which released the live "Better Late Than Never" CD/DVD last month -- kicks off a 16-date North American tour on Oct. 27 in Keswick Theater. The shows will mix each of the two artists' own material, including Yes favorites, and the duo has also started writing some original material that may become part of the repertoire. And looking forward, there are desires to create both a stripped-down, acoustic presentation and full-scale orchestra and choir concert piece. "I think the days of just going into a studio and making an album are not what I want to do anymore," Anderson says. "I'm more interested in the adventure of free-form ideas. I know it sounds crazy, but I like it when you're not quite sure what you're gonna do until you get on stage."
Off the stage Anderson has "a dozen projects that I want to get finished in the next 10 years," ranging from an album he started working on 22 years ago to another that began last year. There's also n opera -- about Bill and Hillary Clinton. "It's very bizarre, very surreal," Anderson promises. There are no plans to finish it in time for the presidential campaign, however. "I'll wait to see when she gets in," Anderson says. "I won't tell you anything about it, but it's very surreal, believe me."