A recent phone interview with Yes guitarist Steve Howe has shed some additional light on the troubles that have kept himself and the current incarnation of Yes separate from the group’s most recognizable frontman, Jon Anderson, who is currently on his “Have Guitar Will Travel” tour in Europe.
Until now, it may have appeared that the rift between Anderson and the rest of the group was minor, but Howe was more open with his thoughts and feelings about it when he talked recently with the Orange County Register.
Howe, even at the age of 62 is pulling double duty on this current tour, since he is a member of both Yes and the group that is opening for them, Asia. He describes the experience as “taxing” and perhaps it has had an influence on his mood and resulted in him making some statements regarding Anderson that are either more vengeful or more truthful.
While the only true mainstay of the group, Chris Squire has painted a decidedly more rosy picture of the relationship between the group and Anderson, Howe sounds like a man who has taken advantage of a chance to open up and tell the story the way he sees it. Howe begins by saying that he felt that himself and the rest of the group were “made to look like the bad guys” when they decided to carry on with their tour plans without Anderson.
“But I can tell you that three, four years of waiting for Jon to decide to come back and tour – and yet he was doing solo tours – influenced my thinking about the way in which Jon loves Yes music. Because if he was fit enough to tour on his own, I thought maybe he was fit enough to tour with us. But he still turned us down,” Howe says.
He goes on to say that there was a period of years when Anderson refused to tour as part of Yes, and although some of the reasons were health-related, he is quick to point out that Anderson was doing solo tours during that time and performing Yes material in the process.
Howe’s comments surely make it clear that he has endured his share of frustrations while waiting for Anderson to re-join the group, but he does seem to leave the door open for Anderson’s return.
“People can see that there’s always been a difficulty in Yes. There’s been so much back-forward-back-forward with Jon that we just decided this is what we’re doing, and let’s get on with it for a while. Nobody’s saying never again with Jon. We’re just saying that until the circumstances are right, then it’s just wrong. There’s a balance to strike – and we can’t strike it at the moment,” he says.
Whether or not we can expect to see a response to Howe’s comments from Jon Anderson like we did a while back when the tour began without him remains to be seen. So far I do not see anything on his personal website, Facebook page or Twitter comments, but those spaces may be worth watching.
For the full interview with Steve Howe, see the Orange County Register.