Steve Howe Doing Double-Duty With Yes, Asia
Though the guitarist insists specific plans are "hypothetical" at the moment, he tells Billboard.com that Asia is "hot on the trail of another record" after a "pleasant" experience making "Phoenix" -- the original quartet's first set of new material 26 years -- and tends to be "more prepared and jumps at things more quickly." Yes, meanwhile, "has got to pace itself," according to the guitarist, especially with the two new members -- vocalist David Benoit and former keyboardist Rick Wakeman's son Oliver in his dad's spot -- in tow.
Howe does acknowledge, however, that the long-lived quintet has "other plans going through the year, but we're not going to announce them yet. One thing at a time...do a little bit more work and playing and then divert to recordings."
Howe, meanwhile, will be doing plenty of work -- double-duty, in fact -- during the 24-date outing that kicks off June 26 in Indio, Calif. He'll begin with Asia's 50-minute opening set -- which Howe says will focus on the prog all-star group's 1982 debut and last year's "Phoenix" -- and then move to Yes for 95 minutes of favorites from the group's catalog.
His wife, Howe says, "thought it was a completely crazy idea" to play in two bands at one night, but he's confident he can handle it. "I'll actually be on stage about two and a half hours, which was what Yes was doing back in (the fall)," Howe notes.
"Physically Asia's a lot more demanding, guitaristically, a lot of flying around (the fretboard), and Yes has got a kind of smoothness, so I think it's going to be easy to for me to go from one to the other.
"It's a great opportunity, really; all I've got to do is show up and play guitar. That's not too bad, is it?"
Howe is also looking to release a pair of solo recordings, perhaps this year -- "Motif, Vol. 2," another collection of solo guitar pieces, and a live album by the Steve How Trio recorded during tours last year of England and Canada.