“In the progressive rock genre, to me, there is only one guitarist and that is Steve Howe. Yes were a part of my ethos – I was a 70s kid so I grew up with their music all around me.
But the first song I heard that really made me pay attention to them was Owner Of A Lonely Heart, which was later on in the stage of their mass popularity. But it really made me want to figure out who Yes were, and that ultimately led me to Asia, who I was heavily into as a kid.
I was lucky enough to have a friend called Michael Tate, and Michael was Yes’ lighting and production designer through their biggest years. They remained friends and about a year ago, I was invited to have dinner with Steve. I got to spend an evening listening to stories of Yes and life on the road, and got to hear about how their musical and performance innovation came to be.
Steve told me how hard it is to live up to that, year after year and tour after tour. Then I also got to speak to Steve about how he’s maintained his musical chops as he has aged. I’m in my 40s and not the same physically as I was when we started in my 20s. So I’ve had to make adjustments to my own playing style. It was so great to talk to Steve about this and hear how he has done that through the years. Anyone who knows his playing will tell you that his chops are just as good today as they were 30 years ago.
I think another thing to add about Yes is their affiliation with Trevor Horn, who invented the sound of the 80s and is such a phenomenal producer. He would be a dream guy for Live to work with.
I’ve been so blessed in my career to have met so many guys who have inspired me, and they all share a similar thread of being well known publicly, but privately introverted people. Steve definitely falls into that category. He’s extremely bright, articulate and intelligent, with an incredible sense of honour. There is also a certain amount of wisdom about him, and I learnt a tremendous amount even in that one evening.”
Live’s latest album The Turn is out now through Think Loud Recordings. For more info, visit http://http://freaks4live.com.