Chris Squire says Yes fans can expect an accessible but still adventurous album when the veteran prog rock troupe releases its new “Heaven and Earth” on July 8.
“It’s pretty well song-based in many ways, but it also has the kind of Yes style of expanding songs into musical pieces,” the bassist and sole constant in Yes’ 46 years tells Billboard, adding that of the album’s eight songs, “there are three that are on the longer side, nine-, 10-minute sort of long songs. So it’s definitely got the Yes stamp of arrangement on the album, there’s no doubt about that.”
“Heaven and Earth,” which the group recorded at the beginning of the year with producer Roy Thomas Baker in Los Angeles, is the follow-up to 2011’s “We Can Fly” and Yes’ first with frontman Jon Davison, who joined the group in 2012 after tenures with Glass Hammer and Sky Cries Mary.
“The way Yes works is when we have a new member come in, as in Jon Davison, it’s appropriate that we see what differences we can get out of a new contributing member in order to keep Yes interesting,” Squire says. “Jon’s done a pretty good job. He worked with the other four of us on a couple of tracks each, and we’ve come together at the end of the album with some very strong music.” The album is currently being mixed by Baker, who had previously worked with Yes on a scotched late 70s album.
“It was interesting to work with Roy again,” Squire reports. “He’s definitely a character. He definitely knows what he’s doing in the studio. It’s gone very well working with him, actually. I think we probably all have mellowed a bit, but he still seems like he’s a force in the studio, and it’s going to be good, I’m sure.”
Yes has a heavy touring schedule slated for the year. The group has just whipped through Canada and departs for its second Cruise To the Edge on April 7 out of Miami. A European tour kicks off April 29 in England, and Yes will be back in North America starting July 8 in Boston for a trek that will find the group playing its “Fragile” and “Close to the Edge” albums in their entirety — as well as material from “Heaven and Earth,” Squire promises.
“As much as possible is all I can say now,” Squire says. “Honestly, I’m really more interested in playing the new material, and that’s really always been Yes’ way of working. I’ve always been a great believer that you have to keep producing new things in order to keep life interesting not only for ourselves but for the audience as well. That’s really always been our principle and way of working. So presumably there’ll be even more new music in the future.”
Yes will, of course, be on the high seas during the 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on April 10 in Brooklyn. The group was nominated for induction but did not make the final list, but Squire says nobody in Yes is wringing their hands over that.
“In some ways I knew the way it worked. Many of the other people who were on that short list with us had been nominated before, and I figured that unless you’re in Nirvana you’re not going to get in the first year, so there you go,” he explains. “I’m not too disappointed. I’m sure it’ll come up again.”