Most musicians start out seeking stardom. Was that you?
Yeah, because I’d been brought up on The Beatles. I was fifteen when they broke in 1963. The screaming girls… Yeah, I wanted a bit of that. It looked like a good job.
When did you first realise that you had really made it?
The Yes Album came out in 1970 and reached Number One [it was actually released in February 1971 and peaked at No.4] and we toured the States for the first time. We realised the American fans were more excessive than the British ones. Everyone got caught up in all of that, because I was still only twenty-three years old at the time.
Presumably you have used your status to get restaurant tables or other perks?
In a manner of speaking. We were in Glasgow once and I was using the pseudonym of Jim Nastics. I wanted to have dinner with my daughter but the hotel restaurant was fully booked. Our tour manager called up and asked: “Sir James Nastics would like a table. Can some space be found?” And, magically, it could.
How would you react to an offer from **I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here? **
In the same way that you’d never get me on a dancing show. That’s not for me. But I would consider a rock-star cookery show. What’s my signature dish? Scrambled eggs. But they’re very good scrambled eggs!
Have you ever uttered the immortal words: “Don’t you know who I am?”
I think I probably have, though the circumstances escape me. I’d have had a few drinks, I know that.
Are camera phones now the blight of your life?
They can be annoying. People often ask for photos. But I don’t mind too much. Because I’m six-foot-five, maybe they assume I’m unapproachable. I quite like it that way, but it doesn’t stop some.
Have you ever declined an autograph or photo opportunity?
I don’t think so. One always tries to be accommodating, but everybody has off days.
Did Yes experience a different kind of fame circa the 90125 album and Owner Of A Lonely Heart?
Yeah, for a while we were pop stars again. I really enjoyed all of the attention from females – that was quite fun.
Do you ever wish it would all go away?
Not really. I’ve learned to take everything in my stride, and also work out who’s an eBay autograph hunter and who isn’t.