Chris Squire sounds like a happy guy. With the end of the Yes tour just around the corner, he has nothing but good things to say about the recent history of the venerable group; one that has weathered dramatic personnel changes during its four decades of existence.
“Most people who come to see us have a real favorable opinion of Benoit. I have heard nothing but positive feedback,” the veteran bassist says regarding their current lead singer Benoit David. David, who came into the limelight after what must have been a pretty successful run as part of a Yes tribute band, has been filling Jon Anderson’s shoes since Anderson was sidelined by health problems.
It’s not certain what the relationship between Anderson and the rest of the group is these days, but Squire has continued to say that they would like to do something with him again in the future. It sounds like Squire might be a bit less optimistic about the possibility of a full recovery than Anderson may be, and indicates that he does not think the singer will ever be well enough to take on a full-blown tour.
Although Anderson’s absence from the lineup seemed like it would be temporary situation at first, over the last two years that possibility has gradually diminished if Squire’s comments are any indication.
Yes –- in it’s current form – has started to talk about a new music. Squire confirms that they plan to work on new material that they hope to release at some point during the year. There’s obviously enough confidence in Benoit David among to other member of the group to grant him what is looking more and more like a permanent slot.
Squire’s comments fortify that speculation.
“When new members come in, they usually bring something that’s refreshing and exciting and full of energy, and I’m hoping that will happen this time, as well,” he says, referring to their plans to record new music.
Guitarist Steve Howe seems fully on board with the idea of including David as a permanent member of the group as well. His reference to the group’s many personnel changes over the years is an indication that he has no problems welcoming a new member.
“Peter Banks was a pretty fine guitarist when I took his place; (keyboardist) Rick Wakeman brought in something different coming in for Tony Kaye; and (drummer) Alan White took on a new role when Bill Bruford decided to try something more eclectic. People’s individual experience were allowed to come into the band,” Howe explains.
In addition to David, the group seems to have accepted keyboardist Oliver Wakeman as one of their own. As the son of former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, Oliver is not quite the outsider that some might consider Benoit David to be, and he may not be subject to the same fan scrutiny that a lead vocalist might have to endure.
Squire, Howe and drummer Alan White seem determined to keep Yes alive in one incarnation or another. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is something fans will decide for themselves.