Yes Drummer Alan White on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction: 'The Music Is Priceless & It's Ageless'

Mick Hutson/Redferns


The third time has indeed proven to be the charm for Yes with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The British prog rock group will be one of five inductees in the Rock Hall class of 2017 at the 32nd annual ceremony, taking place April 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and taped for subsequent broadcast by HBO. "It's totally exciting," drummer Alan White tells Billboard. "It's a great pleasure to be recognized for something you've been doing all your life and get recognition in the industry for the amount of work you've put in and to have done something that changed the course of history, I guess, over time."

White adds that, "Yes has always been the kind of band that really didn't adhere to what the music business was telling them and always made albums that everybody would tell you, 'You're crazy making this kind of stuff.' But the longevity of the band is down to the fact the music is priceless and it's ageless. It seems people still love enjoying Yes music."

In addition to White, Yes' induction will include co-founders Jon Anderson, the late Chris Squire, Bill Bruford and Tony Kaye, along with Rick Wakeman and '80s guitarist Trevor Rabin. White says Squire, who died in 2015, will be particularly missed but promised, "I will certainly receive the award in his respect. I feel like that's important. He was one of the main foundations of this band all the way through." There are also intriguing prospects of Anderson fronting Yes for the first time since being acrimoniously dismissed in 2008 -- and has formed a group this year with Wakeman and Rabin to play Yes music.

"I really haven't spoken to Jon or anybody about how we're going to do this," White says. "I have my own ideas about how they should probably try and do that, but whether everybody's on board with that, I don't know. I don't see why we can't [all play together]. I'm very positive about everything in life, and that would be one of them. I think after all these years in the band, being out on the road and creating so much incredible music over a period of time, it's worth doing that."

The Rock Hall induction will make for a festive 2017, which is already slated to be busy for Yes. The group's annual Cruise to the Edge departs Feb. 7 out of Tampa, and the group has some southern U.S. dates booked around it. A full summer tour is also planned. "I think we might be doing the Yes festival thing again, where there's three, four really good, name bands and make a total event from late afternoon until late evening," White says. "It might be an interesting summer." The latter part of the year might also see the current Yes lineup start working on its first new music since Heaven & Earth in 2014.

"There's been ideas thrown around from different people, different pieces of music going around wtih the idea of doing something maybe later in 2017 or thereabouts," White says. "We want to keep creating. Yes is the kind of band that's always had music in the back of their heads and has to get it released somehow. That's always been the case."