Jon Anderson does not sound like the kind of guy who holds a grudge. Long-known as a very spiritual kind of fellow, he has come to terms with the physical limitations that are preventing him from taking his old spot in front of legendary progressive rock group Yes.
In a recent telephone interview with the The Hamilton Spectator, Anderson sounds like a man who has made peace with his place in the grand scheme of things, as well as with this former band mates. Although initially miffed when he learned that the rest of the group would embark on the planned 40th anniversary tour without him, he’s since reached the conclusion that, “They were busy. They were just guys who had to make a living.”
Anderson concedes that he is in no shape to handle the kind of tour schedule that Yes had planned. A severe asthma attack that nearly ended his life in 2008 has greatly reduced his ability to push himself to the limits that he once could.
“My body would never be able to do what they do. I can’t do four or five shows a week, or all this hotel travelling. My body just wouldn’t take it,” he says.
Regarding his stand-in, a singer from a Montreal Yes tribute band, Anderson now seems flattered, and agrees that selecting Benoit David as his replacement was not a mistake. “Imitation is the biggest form of flattery,” he says.
Although it appears that Jon Anderson is retired from Yes, he remains hopeful that he will have the opportunity to spend a little time with his old friends. “Maybe we’ll get together when we go to the Hall of Fame,” he says. “It’ll happen when it happens. It’s not something I dwell upon.”
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Anderson is just sitting around reading the paper, however. In addition to the occasional solo appearances he makes, he is also working on two operas and three musicals. He also enjoys painting, something that his recovery period allowed him to devote more time to.
Optimistic about the future, Anderson predicts that his best music is yet to come. “You can’t think that the best music I ever made was in 1972,” he says.
Reflecting on some of the great material that came out of that time period, such as The Yes Album, Close to the Edge and Fragile, it would seem that Anderson has his work cut out for him. One thing seems pretty certain, however. We have not heard the last from Jon Anderson.