Speaking in the brand new issue of Classic Rock magazine, Howe is asked about the chances of any of Yes’ classic line-ups getting back together.
“It's something I'm absolutely resistant to, because I remember the fiasco of the Union tour,” he says, referencing the notoriously difficult tour in support of 1991‘s Union album, which featured eight different past and current Yes members. “It was very, very difficult and out of control. Sometimes I might have thought, ‘Well, one day maybe’, and one never wants to say never, but basically I can’t see it.”
He continues: “I love Jon [Anderson]. I'm a lot older now, and so is he, and the only terms I work on is that I'm happy working on this. I'm not going to take a sudden load on my back that I either don't need or want. My music’s always guided me, and it’s not telling me to do those things. It's telling me to go forwards. If it keeps steering me where it is now, then it's great to have this live and vibrant Yes.“
Anderson was replaced by Benoit David in 2008 after suffering respiratory health issues. He subsequently criticised his former bandmates for not waiting for him to recover and failing to act “in a more gentlemanly fashion”.
David himself was replaced in 2012 by former Glass Hammer frontman Jon Davison, who has appeared on three Yes studio albums, including the recently released Mirror To The Sky. In the new issues of Classic Rock, Davison talks about the flak the band has received from Yes fans who want to see Anderson back.
“I didn't assume any responsibility for that,” says Davison, who says he has met Anderson once, at Yes’ induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in New York in 2017. “I mean, why would I? I'm just the guy they hired and I would be crazy not to take the gig. I know Jon realises that, so there's no blame on me for any reason.”
In the same interview, Steve Howe also addresses the band’s tumultuous appearance at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony, in which several members, including himself, Anderson, former keyboard player Rick Wakeman and ex-guitarist Trevor Rabin, joined forces for a short Yes set.
“The further I go from it, the more speechless I get about those couple of days,” says Howe. “There's much I could tell you, but I'm not going to. Basically, there was a hellish side to it. It was like skating on ice but you've never skated before. I don't want to decry it, but there were problems. There was a bit of pushing and shoving going on. It was very unusual – the Union lineup had been selected, and it was fortunate that [original keyboard player] Tony Kaye was on that tour. Some people got their due respect and others didn't.”
Yes’ new album, Mirror To The Sky, is out now. Read the full interview with Howe and Davison in the brand new issue of Classic Rock, out now. Order it online and have it delivered straight to your door.