Is there a concise explanation of how Anderson Rabin Wakeman came to form?
For quite a while Chris Squire [late Yes bassist] had tried to rework me back into the current Yes, but I felt thatmight be uncomfortable and was enjoying writing for films. When Chris passed away I held a memorial at my house, and it was something that Jon [Anderson] and Rick [Wakeman] started to discuss. The loss of Chris almost became a catalyst.
Anderson’s voice is pivotal element in ARW. What shape is it in these days?
Being frank, that had worried me. But I went to see Jon with Jean-Luc Ponty and he sounded excellent. Good god, he’s certainly not suffering from old age.
The notion of ‘unfinished business’ has become a bit of a cliché, but presumably that’s what ARW is all about?
Not really. For me, anyway. All I knew was that after eighteen years of working in films, I wanted to do something [in rock music] and go on the road again. The three of us have already started writing some stuff and it’s sounding pretty fresh.
Will the shows include material from the four albums you made with Yes along with the new songs?
There will be songs from the old Yes, before I joined, some of them rearranged, plus a lot from 90125, and Big Generator, Union and Talk which didn’t sell very well but is a favourite of mine.
**Rick calls the Union album Onion because it makes him cry. **
[Laughs] I don’t hate Union as much as Rick, but it was a peculiar record. It was instigated by [A&R executive] Clive Davis and made largely in isolation by the musicians and Jon, so the title is misleading. To me Union is more of a failed project than a real album.
Fans will be keen to hear your new material. When will there be an ARW album out?
That’s hard to say. There are a lot of good ideas, and the goal was to have it ready by the tour [which starts in North America in October], but that may be a little too ambitious.
Do you consider ARW a rival to Yes?
No, but inevitably some will see it that way. Jon certainly has just as much right as anyone else to play these songs. I still have friends in the other band and there’s no animosity towards them from me.