Howe Touring Solo While Yes Sleeps
Howe says that after extensive touring in 2003-2004, Yes had agreed to take 2005 off but expected to be back to work this year.When considering his fans' wishes for his solo shows, guitarist Steve Howe notes, "I think they like the Yes music. There's no doubt about it." And Yes' longtime guitarist knows they'd like to hear Yes playing it. But that hasn't happened since 2004 and Howe is among those who's not happy about the wait.
"Yes has been sleeping in this kind of awful mode that I think is slightly disrespectful to our beautiful fans," Howe tells Billboard.com in the midst of a solo tour of North America. "It's all... Political is not the right word, but it's all contrary to different people's opinions of what's right and what's wrong. I think that's really a shame."
Howe says that after extensive touring in 2003-2004, Yes had agreed to take 2005 off but expected to be back to work this year. Though he doesn't "want to point fingers or give names," he admits "there's at least one person in the band who appears to have a different stance. The majority of us would be just happy to go out and tour."
The most recent Yes lineup to hit the road has been the group's most famous -- Howe, vocalist Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, keyboardist Rick Wakeman and drummer Alan White -- which recorded albums such as "Close to the Edge," "Tales of Topographic Oceans" and "Going for the One." Howe says the musicians realize that "this is the best lineup" of Yes but adds that he would be amenable to making changes in order to get the band going again.
"If there's going to be no Yes without that lineup, then maybe that will change," he says. "None of us particularly want to see Yes disappear or sink into the ocean. So if this lineup doesn't get back on the road soon, I think other lineups might have to be considered. There has to be a Yes."
Howe is finding plenty to keep his time occupied in the interim. After the solo tour, he'll play some British dates with the Yes tribute band Fragile. He also appears on "Back Against the Wall," an upcoming tribute album to Pink Floyd's "The Wall" organized by former Yes member Billy Sherwood.
And in the fall, Howe will join Carl Palmer, John Wetton and Geoff Downes for a 25th anniversary tour of the original lineup of Asia -- which he notes could lead to some new recording as well.