When keyboard player Geoff Downes helped to write the song “Video Killed the Radio Star” as part of The Buggles, he didn’t know that it would have the distinction of becoming the first video shown on MTV. He also didn’t know that soon he would be joining prog rockers Yes for their transitional Drama album, or that he would co-found the supergroup Asia, for which he would co-write hit songs including “Heat of the Moment”, “Only Time Will Tell”, and “Don’t Cry”. But that all happened, and it happened in the space of just a few years.
Fastforwarding to the present, Downes is active with all three of these bands. Asia is ramping back up after John Wetton’s battle with cancer, and he is working on new songs with fellow Buggle Trevor Horn. And he rejoined Yes in 2011, which is currently on a tour performing the Drama album in its entirety and Sides 1 and 4 of the epic Yes album Tales from Topographic Oceans.
This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the 8/28/16 Yes concert at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara. It was done by phone on 8/15/16. (L. Paul Mann photo)
The following is a list of some of the notable musicians who passed away in 2015, including a few who performed in the Santa Barbara area in recent years. Some are well-known, many are not, but all are worthy of our respect.
R.I.P. — Rock In Peace.
Tony Kaye was the keyboard player in the original line-up of Yes, and played on the albums Yes, Time And A Word, and The Yes Album. After touring with the band in support of the latter, he left Yes and played in Badger, which released two albums. He rejoined Yes for the 90125 and Big Generator albums. He also toured with David Bowie for the Station To Station tour. Kaye is currently playing keyboards in CIRCA:, which recently released the album And So On. This interview was done by phone on 8/15/11.
Jon Anderson is, quite literally, the voice of Yes, the band whose albums The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close To The Edge are amongst the most beloved of the progressive rock genre. Songs from this era co-written by Anderson include “Roundabout”, “Yours Is No Disgrace”, “I’ve Seen All Good People”, “Heart Of The Sunrise”, and many others. His first solo album was 1976’s Olias of Sunhillow, and he sang on Yes’ 1983 runaway hit “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. Anderson also had a long-running collaboration with Vangelis of Chariots of Fire fame.
Anderson recovered from an episode of acute respiratory failure in 2008, returning to performing solo shows in 2009. He has a new album called Survival & Other Stories which will be released in mid-June, 2011. The following interview was conducted by email, with answers received on June 2, 2011.
(Robin Kauffman photo)
Photos of Jon Anderson from 11/15/09 concert at SOhO, Santa Barbara. Photos by L. Paul Mann.
Here is a link to my review of this concert.