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Reunited Asia Begins Recording New Album
The reunion of Asia's original lineup that began last year will likely yield a new studio album, guitarist Steve Howe tells Billboard.com.The reunion of Asia's original lineup that began last year will likely yield a new studio album, guitarist Steve Howe tells Billboard.com.
"We're starting the process of recording, and we feel good about that -- partly because we're getting on well and we think, 'Why not?'," says Howe, who retains his membership in Yes and formed the prog rock supergroup in 1981 with bassist John Wetton (King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep), adding drummer Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and keyboardist Geoff Downes (the Buggles, Yes).
"We're trying to make an album that isn't terribly predictable for us," Howe adds. "We're not doing retrospective music; we're certainly going to try to show our histories but still have a slightly more diverse range."
Howe also notes that Asia is "not trying to live up to the first album" -- the quartet's self-titled 1982 debut that spent nine weeks at No. 1 on The Billboard 200, launching the hits "Heat of the Moment" and "Only Time Will Tell." This lineup recorded just one more album, 1983's "Alpha," before splintering. Downes has maintained the group over the years with shifting array of members.
But Howe sees the regrouped original lineup -- which releases the "Fantasia: Live in Tokyo" CD on June 26 and begins a new tour today (June 13) in Sarasota, Fla. -- as an ongoing concern.
"We like the chemistry now more than ever," the guitarist says. "This (reunion) is proof there was a great chemistry originally. The fact it got messed up was our fault. We felt we owed it to each other to put it right."
Howe expects Asia to work in earnest on the new album in early 2008. But he also expects to be busy again with Yes, whose planned two-year hiatus has become three years. Plans are afoot for touring and possibly recording, but Howe is confident both groups can co-exist.
"There's no issue of moving Asia out of the way so I can do Yes," says Howe, who also plays in the Steve Howe Trio, a jazz group with his son Dylan. "The other guys in Asia feel it is right Yes should come back. But we're certainly utilizing the time when Yes is dormant to our advantage."